Winter Wonderland Tablescape …

I had fun creating a whimsical tablescape befitting our first wintry weather, complete with snow flocked trees, a frozen pond, and miniature skaters.  Little twinkle lights glow in faux white branches covered in glitter while the “real” tree branches loom beyond the window, stark and dark against the twilight sky.

twilight

A navy tablecloth covered with white lace is the snowy backdrop for crystal mugs and cherished blue stemware … reflecting sweet “yesteryear.”  Memories of our  own dear little boy and girl carefully choosing each jewel colored stem and buying them for me with their combined allowances … Momma’s beloved Christmas present! ❤ ww place setting.jpg

Christmas Naif dishes by Villeroy and Boch, painted by the French artist Gérard Laplau depict a picturesque village scene with children playing near a snowman … “with a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal” and a horse-drawn sleigh … are perfect for my Winter Wonderland!

place setting.jpg

“Come to the church in the wildwood” with windows glowing, amongst the twinkling trees and spruce.

church.jpg

  Winter evening beckoning in the deepening twilight, within and beyond …

ice pond.jpgThese little skaters, with their magnet pedestals actually pirouette around the iced pond when the music box is wound up and playing. 

closeup skaters.jpgAfter dinner coffee and Dutch Almonette cookies are waiting to be served.  Crystal mugs, biscuit barrel, and sugar creamer set match the “icicle” look of the frozen pond and snow flocked trees.

duo windows.jpg

“Coffee?”  “Yes, please!” (:

mugs.jpgWhite crocheted-edged napkins are tucked inside navy blue napkins and are tied with a simple gold cord which nonchalantly holds the salad and dinner fork.  Individual little tealights glow in white holders covered in “snowballs” and personalize each place setting.

napkins.jpg

Hope you’re staying warm and enjoying this special season with moments … snuggled under cozy blankets … holding steamy mugs that warm your hands … gazing at the beauty of winter through frosted window panes … with family and friends taking “the bite” out of the frost! (:

last shot

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda 

snow and scattered frost.png

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST!

Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

EASY RECIPE for Tuscan Tomato Soup … and Winter Weather

When I was a little girl I remember coming in from the cold with cheeks stinging and hands frozen (inside inadequate mittens) and seeing bowls of steamy tomato soup that our mother had made.  I loved the flavor of the soup, but I always liked to add a little “flotsam and jetsam” to the broth! (:  I would get a slice of American cheese, fold it into smaller pieces and drop them into my soup.

I can remember how scratchy this little wool hat was and couldn’t stand to have it tied under my chin!  See the gum in my mouth?!? (:

playing in the snow.jpg

Just a little detour before I share my recipe.  Here are some interesting FUN FACTS I discovered when I was looking up Campbell’s Tomato Soup that I thought you’d be interested in, also.  Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup  is still the top 10 grocery items that American buy … it has been in the market since 1895 (123 years!) … 85 million cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup are still sold each year …Campbell’s sent the Tomato Soup to the Paris Exposition of 1900 where it won the Gold Medallion of Excellence which is still displayed proudly on every can of Tomato Soup … out of 100+ varieties of Campbell’s Soup available today, Tomato Soup is still one their 3 top sellers along with Cream of Mushroom Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup! (:Campbell KidsMy mind still links Tomato Soup and cold winter days together and we had a “snow day” this week which made me want to make “Tuscan Tomato Soup.” (first pictured on my blog “Al Fresco Dining in Autumn”) This soup is just a combination of ingredients I keep on hand … a can of Tomato Soup and a bag of frozen Beef Ravioli (which provides the “flotsam and jetsam” I still love adding to my Tomato Soup!) It’s so easy to make … in 20 minutes or less, you’ll have a delicious soup Mama Mia herself would be happy to serve to her own family! (;Tuscan Tomato Soup header .jpg

Tuscan Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups frozen beef ravioli (or if you prefer, cheese tortellini) from a family sized bag, cooked and drained according to directions (mine cooked in only 6 minutes) 
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cups chicken stock or 3 cups of water with 3 cubes or 3 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules or reduced sodium chicken bouillon added
  • 1 Family size can (23.2 oz) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach or kale (I used and loved Trader Joe’s Triple Washed Organic Baby Spinach!  Even after a week in the refrigerator, all spinach leaves are still so fresh)
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook frozen ravioli (or cheese tortellini) according to directions, and drain
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in another large saucepan or Dutch oven
  3. Add onion to melted butter and saute until translucent
  4. Add chicken stock or water with chicken bouillon added and turn heat to medium/medium-high 
  5. Pour in condensed Tomato Soup and stir with whisk, continuing to warm 
  6. Add chopped spinach or kale 
  7. Add cooked ravioli and warm all ingredients in saucepan until thoroughly warmed, without bringing to a boil
  8. Dish into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled with black pepper

Woodland free printable tags decorate sweet napkins rings made of miniature grapevine wreaths and are tied on with a satin ribbon …
Tuscan Tomato Soup.jpgWinter weather managed to push past the borders of Texas earlier this week, and obliged us with a deposit of sleet and snow!  We were excited when the weather forecasters predicted the possibility of us getting a wintry mix and began to look expectantly for our guests’ arrival.  At 10:00 pm Monday evening the sleet arrived, right on time and entertained us for 2 hours before tiny snowflakes began falling!  Snow is always a thrilling sight in our area of TEXAS and Richard and I watched the enchanting display from our opened door until shivering, we reluctantly left our vigil to warm up, before checking again.  We finally went to bed around 2:00 am; the flakes were still swirling and our driveway and deck were covered.  The weather forecasters deserve a gold star … not only did they get their predictions correct, our winter guests were punctual and came exactly when expected! (;

Front Deck …snow covered benchSide yard and cobbled pathway …sideyard font.jpgWaiting for Spring …robin with bannerBackyard and lake …snowy backyardView from our bathroom the next, sunny but cold day!south side.pngHope you have a wonderful weekend with moments enjoyed padding around in warm fuzzy socks, mugs of coffee in hand, snuggled under comforters, comfy within and without!snow scripture

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST! 

Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining: Lynn from The Vintage Nest

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

Sandra with Sweet Sensations

Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

collage.png

Seeing snow in East Texas is always an anticipated occasion, like a circus or carnival coming to town!  Everyone dashes to one of our two grocery stores and stocks up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

cocoaupclose

So .. with a forecast of possible snow on Friday, there was expectation in the air as the temperatures hovered below 30 … and by afternoon, our hope of seeing some snow was rewarded when the first tiny flakes appeared!

south2

I wanted to make sure our “furry friends and feathered folks” had plenty to eat to keep themselves warm and I decided to set up a winter picnic for them with some extra special treats… birdseed ornaments!   I chose a recipe that Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributor submitted on Pinterest (click here for Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributot’s recipe for birdseed ornaments) During the entire process I was apprehensive that my ornaments wouldn’t slip out of their molds or remain intact and I was happily surprised when each of the ornament’s “held” their shape and slid out easily from my plastic cookie cutters (part of an extensive collection my dear daughter in law (DDIL)(:  gave me.

img_0227

Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

trio.png

I love these “woodland” tags and thought they would add a little whimsy, hanging amongst the branches with my birdseed ornaments.  This is a free printable I downloaded from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John (click here for free printable woodland tags) They printed off beautifully and I made extra’s for package tie-on’s and other ideas, yet to come!

Free downloadable gift tags from Decorator's Notebook 14 designs

I also made some extra tags using a die-cut label maker and some rubber stamps that fit right in with my woodland/lakeside theme: a clump of oak leaves and acorns stamp, a single leaf stamp, and a bird nest with eggs stamp … the bird nest is my favorite!  I used a hole punch to make a hole in each tag and then slipped ribbons through the hole.  To add a little variety to my paper ornaments, I used several different ribbons and  either knotted the ends of the ribbon and slipped the labels over a branch or clipped them to my little fir tree, using mini-clothespins.

disc.png

Then I had the fun of creating my winter tablescape and putting out “picnic fare” for our birds and lakeside critters. (:  I covered our outdoor table with a Coleman blanket in a buffalo plaid in navy, khaki and forest green and placed a tall Fir tree (one of our Christmas decorations) in the center of the table … it worked great for hanging my birdseed ornaments and woodland/lakeside tags on!   A sweet little birdbath that Richard gave me (usually a part of our cottage decor inside) is filled with fresh water and I used chunky urns and “woodsy” platters to offer a buffet of different seeds and peanuts.

img_0231

A Hairy Woodpecker “heard it through the grapevine” that there were peanuts on the menu! (: A little Red-breasted Nuthatch, native to Ontario Canada perches on the side of a “new favorite”  … a rough blown-glass bowl, a special gift from our daughter’s boyfriend, that is  perfectly suited for Cottage Green with painted pine boughs and a “sprinkling” of snow.

img_0284Look how adorable my cookie cutter letters spelling B-I-R-D came out!  I loved how charming these letters looked all together so I just lined them all up on a forest green plate edged with leaves and acorns and set them out for the birdies to enjoy!

finalboughround

A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

redbird

The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

img_0283

Today’s Menu …

Menu2.png

A House Finch awaits his turn “in pecking order” on the downspout …

img_0254-1

Well, we didn’t have any accumulation of snow, but we did enjoy our beautiful snow flurries … our whirling, twisting, dancing flakes and we enjoyed 3 cold winter days.  But 3 days is just enough … and we were ready for the return of our usual, mild Texas winter weather.  Happily, today’s temperature was in the mid 60’s and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … it’s going to be in the 70’s!  Ahhh … now, that’s more like it!

flipflops.png

But next time there’s a chance of snow or snow flurries in the forecast for a little town on Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas, you can be sure that … everyone will once again dash to one of our two grocery stores and stock up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful  that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace. (;

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

faith

 

 

 

Thank you for spending some time with me today.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have, in the COMMENT section.

Texas-style Winter and the last of Thanksgiving … Recipe for Delicious Thanksgiving Soup

Trenda

It has been another delightful autumn here in East Texas but today’s temperature never “got out of” the 30’s and tonight, December 8th, we are finally expected to have our first freeze!  Fall is certainly a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer!

fall.png

Just a peek at Cottage Green on the Lake during the winter … 4the seasons!

leaves.pngPresuming it will freeze tonight, I gazed a little sadly at our still blooming Encore azaleas, roses, begonias, impatiens, coleus, and ferns.  However, Richard (forever surprising me) brought in one last winter rosebud he found blooming in our yard, put it in an antique vase that belonged to my grandmother, and set it on my vanity, where I happily discovered “it” after I showered! (imagine a picture of a heart, here!)

rose.png  Getting ready for “winter-on-the-lake” comes with a long to-do list … filling bird feeders, decorating the outside of the house with Christmas decorations, putting the potted begonias and impatiens away in their winter residence -our cedar greenhouse (: and last, covering the boat and draining our sprinkler system (which our son came over and helped his father with. PLUS … he also helped his father with our latest DIY project, the remodeling of our upstairs bathroom (pictures upon completion!)

Winter Twilight on the Lake …

porcupine.png

Thanksgiving Soup …

A delicious and easy soup that is made with Thanksgiving leftovers!  After enjoying our Thanksgiving leftovers for several meals, one of the simplest things we enjoy is making a big pot of comforting soup that uses all the “bits and pieces”still left from our Thanksgiving.

Instructions:

(So simple and delicious!)  In a Dutch Oven, add the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers.  (You’ll want to add only those leftovers whose flavors will compliment each other, when combined … no dill pickles from the relish tray or pumpkin pie!)  The leftovers I had which blended perfectly together were … dressing, a little turkey gravy, squash casserole, some leftover Rotel and Velvetta cheese dip (from football snacks!) and some turkey, I diced into smaller pieces.  To this mixture I added 6 cups of water and 6 teaspoons of dried chicken bouillon granules, stirring to mix.  Turn heat to high, until broth boils, then add uncooked pasta (I used 8 oz. from a 1 lb.box of Fideo Spaghetti.)  Return to boil, then lower heat “to simmer” until pasta is done.  That’s it!  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated mild cheese and buttered breadcrumbs (leftover from my squash casserole!)  Delicious!  My husband and son had 2 bowls!


I ladled our soup into these favorite Fitz & Floyd “Tis the Season” mugs.  These mugs are “jumbo size” and hold 4 cups of liquid, each! Since they are so large, I only filled each mug, half full, topped with grated cheese and buttered bread crumbs

Wherever you are while reading this, I hope … you are nice and warm … have lots of sweet birdies twittering around your bird feeders … a pot of soup is simmering on your stove, beautiful Christmas carols are playing in the background!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

matthew

 

 

 

A Woodland Christmas Tablescape

by Trenda

finale.png

“Christmas in the Woods” ~  by Frances Frost

Tonight when the hoar frost falls on the wood,

And the rabbit cowers, and the squirrel is cold,

And the horned owl huddles against a star,

And the drifts are deep, and the year is old,

All shy creatures will think of Him.

The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox,

The doe with the startled fawn,

Will dream of gentleness and a Child:


The buck with budding horns will turn

His starry eyes to a silver hill tonight,

The chipmunk will awake and stir

And leave his burrow for the chill, dark midnight,

And all timid things will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless

That Child who loves the trembling hearts,

The shy hearts of the wilderness.

Thinking of this sweet poem, I created a tablescape that is a little forest haven where woodland creatures … The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox (:  can gather among snow sprinkled bird nests, glimmering candlelight, and fir trees.

woodland collage.png

In keeping with the woodland theme, deep green “forest” plates, bought from Pier 1 years ago have embossed edges of leaves and are resting on a “snowy bank” of Battenbug lace place mats … a surprise gift Richard bought for me from a little boutique, aptly named “Waldenwood.”plates2.png

I love the juxtaposition of this rustic twig basket lined with the white luxurious Battenburg lace and filled with silver cutlery … an enchanting and charming caddy for a woodland picnic!

caddy.png

Christmas fantasies are easily imagined while dining among this forest scene; a woodland “critter” perches at each place setting, lace napkins are tied with red and green plaid ribbon and are adorned with glass pinecone ornaments (a favor your guests can take home in remembrance of their picnic amidst the woods!) and individual salt cellars are placed at each setting for a “light dusting” of seasoning.

critters.png Look at these darling, tiny, sterling silver, salt cellar spoons!  I love using these “fairy spoons” and it feels so elegant adding salt in this old-fashioned and queenly way!

spoons.png

Each crystal salt cellar is as unique as the pattern of the spoons; I can never decide which is my favorite!  The larger cellar is used for pepper and is placed on the table where several people can share it.

Well, my woodland table is ready and set but before decorating any more I am going to “O bed!  O bed!  Delicious bed … that heaven on earth to the weary head.”    ~  Thomas Hood 

And as I nestle down in my feathered nest, I’ll close my eyes and I … “will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless … That Child who loves the trembling hearts.”

Have a blessed week while you are busy preparing for … the birthday of the King!

Jesus.png

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments, below.

Come join me on a Christmas Blog Hop “Celebrate #55” with hostess’ Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate and Decorate and Sandra from Sweet Sensations for more Christmas tablescapes.