Winter at Cottage Green – Evergreen Centerpiece and DIY Bird Treats

Twilight was closing in which was a signal to the Loons to begin their enchanting love calls over the lake.

Auld Lang Syne and best wishes for the brightest and merriest of new years! You know I haven’t written you since last year (; so I need to write about the last bit of our 2020 before I begin writing about the new year. Get comfy and pour yourself something warm to drink, and as a dear friend and I say to one another, “Let’s drink some tea and talk of happy things.”

It was a wonderful Christmas season filled with bustling and busy-ness, yuletide cheer, and enough merry making “to make the season bright.” Then on the night of Winter Solstice we all had the added excitement and wonder of the celestial 2,000 year phenomenon of Jupiter and Saturn coming so closely aligned in their orbits they appeared as “a double planet” and were nicknamed the Christmas Star. All-the-while, our days were intermingled with the holiness and awe of the season as we reflected on what Christmas truly means and marveled anew that Jesus chose to come down to earth as a little baby to be our Savior.

A thousand times in history a baby has become a king, but only once in history did a King become a baby.

As usual I ran out of time to do all I wanted to do. However, one fun project I did have time to do was to make a beautiful evergreen centerpiece. I wish I could share with you the wonderful, heady, fir fragrance that enveloped my greenhouse while I was making it! The beautiful winter day was fading into twilight, but it was still warm enough outside to leave my greenhouse door open to see the lake and hear the birds twittering as they enjoyed their evening meal together at the bird feeders, while I worked.

The fir boughs I was using I had saved and kept fresh in 2 big buckets of water in the greenhouse ever since Richard had trimmed them from our Christmas tree. I had plenty of branches to work with, but I still needed a little texture and color to mix in with my fir branches. Out into the backyard I went to forage with pruners in hand. I experienced a little thrill of resourcefulness when I found the perfect filler I needed…pointed, deep green, holly leaves with bright red berries from our very own holly bushes! I couldn’t help myself and began humming “The Holly and the Ivy” while I was clipping.

The holly and the ivy, 
When they are both full grown 
Of all the trees that are in the wood 
The holly bears the crown.

I was back in the Cottage Greenhouse, ready to make my arrangement, still humming, now on the refrain…

O, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playin of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir 

All done, just in time with the last light fading away.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as  lily flow'r
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our dear Saviour

My simple arrangement looked elegant on our woodland table and red tapers and red votive cups enhanced the red of the holly berries.

Then the Christmas season blended into New Year’s Eve and our son and daughter in law asked us to spend the festive evening with them and our 2 grand babies. ❤ Our DDIL had prepared a Mexican feast for us and we had corn and flour taquitos served with her homemade sausage queso and pico de gallo, Chicken Enchilada Dip (click here for recipe) served with chips and veggies, and a delicious Key Lime Pie. We spent the evening just enjoying each other’s company, watching the antics of our grand children, and toasting in the New Year with some sparkling White Grape Juice.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year…This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then, this weekend SNOW was forecasted for us! It was the perfect time for another fun winter project I always enjoy doing, especially on a cold winter afternoon during NFL Wild Card Weekend; I made treats to decorate a tree for the birds! Click on the highlighted link to see another one of my posts about DIY bird treats… “A Picnic for the Birds” Since reading all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was in elementary school, I’ve always wanted to string popcorn. Finally, after all these years, I decided to do it. Unlike Laura, who had to pop her corn over the kitchen fireplace, I conveniently got a bag of popcorn out of our cabinet and placed it in the microwave. While the kernels were popping, I set out some fresh cranberries I wanted to add to my popcorn string, found some cute red, green, and white cording to use for stringing, and a tapestry needle.

Helpful hints to make popcorn stringing easier:

  • Stale popcorn is easier to string than fresh, crispy popcorn. Pop your popcorn the night before and spread it out on wax paper so your popcorn will be easier to thread the next day.
  • Use a smaller needle and thread. A tapestry needle is blunt and much larger then a regular needle. It is a great choice if you have young children that are helping you that you don’t want to get hurt when working with a needle, however, it is harder for the large tapestry needle to go through the popcorn without breaking the popped kernel. After a few trials, I switched to a finer needle and just “doubled” sewing thread instead of using the thicker cording I had been using. I was amazed how much quicker and easier the stringing became!

After I got through stringing my popcorn and cranberries, I cut a grapefruit, an orange, and a lemon into thin slices to dry in the oven and hang as ornaments and treats on my bird tree.

Directions:

  • Slice your choice of fruits (I used 1 grapefruit, 1 orange, and 1 lemon) into thin rounds.
  • Pat both sides of fruit with a paper towel to dry and place the slices on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and bake fruit slices for 1 hour.
  • Turn slices over after the first hour and continue baking for another 1-2 hours, checking periodically to make sure the slices don’t burn
  • Total baking time, 2-3 hours, or until fruits are dried and transparent
  • Remove from oven
  • When cool, make a small slit in each fruit round near the rind to insert jute or yarn for hanging.

Next, I cut apple slices and used a mini cookie cutter to punch out heart in each apple slice. After the apple slices, I made sweet little orange cups and filled them with a mixture of peanut butter, corn meal, and bird seed.

Directions for Apple Slices w/heart cutout:

  • Cut apple in thin slices
  • Brush slices with lemon juice to keep apples from discoloring
  • Use a mini cookie cutter to punch out a heart in each apple slice
  • Insert yarn through heart and tie for hanging…or fill heart cut out with peanut butter seed mixture

Directions for Orange Seed Cups :

  • Cut orange in half and scoop out orange segments and pulp
  • Dry inside of both orange halves with a paper towel
  • Using a knife, make 3 holes near the cut edge of each orange half, making sure the holes are evenly spaced around the circumference of your orange
  • Insert jute or yarn into each hole and tie a knot to secure each strand to the orange, allowing extra length of yarn/jute for hanging (see picture below)
  • Knot the 3 strands of jute/yarn together at the top for hanging
  • Fill cups with birdseed or…I made a blend of peanut butter, cornmeal (adding cornmeal to peanut butter makes it easier for the birds to swallow) and birdseed to fill each orange cup

All the special treats for the bird feast were done and I hung them on what-had-been our Christmas tree. Strings of popcorn and cranberries, stained glass grapefruit, orange, and lemon slices, apple slices with little punched out hearts, and charming orange cups soon filled the tree. When I had finished, dear Richard, who always goes along with my whims, carried the whole tree up to the landing on our stairs where I could watch the birds from my chair. Just look how cute the tree looks perched up there!

“Bon Appetit!”

Sweet apple rounds underneath an appetizer of popcorn and cranberries.

Everything for the next day was done; the fruit ornaments and festoons of popcorn strands were hung. A winter feast awaited my feathered friends and the only thing needed was the predicted and unaccustomed snow for our area in East Texas.

After taking some pictures, I was sitting on the upper stairs hoping to see some late visitors, though I knew it was unlikely at that hour. [Side note: Did you know that by 4:30 (here in East Texas) most birds have quit feeding and are already tucked away, safe in their nests? The cardinals are usually the latest birds to arrive at the feeders. My guess is they use the evening shadows to help diminish the visibility of their bright red feathers which makes them more vulnerable and highly visible to predators.] Twilight was closing in which was a signal to the Loons to begin their enchanting love calls over the lake. While I was enthralled and still listening to the Loons, 2 bald headed eagles flew by right above me, only 25 feet from where I was sitting! My winter evening came with gifts. ❤

And the next day, even earlier than predicted, our snow came!

The birds lined up in pecking order [which is a very important social order and strictly observed at our feeders!] Woodpeckers, with their strong, swift beaks are given the highest respect, with the Blue Jays next in line since they are bigger than most of the birds we typically see at our feeders. Regal Cardinals seem indifferent to all, but their own mate and cautiously watched from the snow covered branches eyeing and picking out which treats they wanted before they approached. The Junco’s, or Snow Birds as they’re commonly called and the Carolina Wrens happily ate the treats that fell to the deck, thus avoiding the wait and the line. The rest of the crew, the sweet, smaller birds, the Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees, all the Finches (the American Goldfinch, House Finch, and Red Finch) Warblers, and Titmouse stayed close by, flitting in and out, and rested on the branches between courses.

Beautiful, beautiful snow! I couldn’t get over it’s loveliness and how it felt falling “on my nose and eyelashes.”

or… thinking how clever God is to imagine and be so creative that He made what usually comes down as rain in other seasons, into something soft, fluffy, and fun to play in, just to soften the landscape and mood of winter.

Look how enchanting my Potting Cottage looks in the snow!

Well, I think that catches us all up. Our snow was a delight for the day, and the next day the sun was shining brightly and only the bravest and most stalwart of snowmen remained. Bemusedly, when Richard brought in the mail yesterday there on top of the stack of mail was my Burpee Seed Catalog, filled with the promise of Spring, zesty-mix zinnia’s, and Gloriosa Daisy’s!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Winter Woodland Tablescape with Birches, Bottlebrush, Birdies, and Burlap

After filling up our bird feeders with suet and seed, I was “inspired” to set up a Winter Woodland Tablescape that looked perfectly suited for my feathered friends.

I had fun gathering a little of “this” … little birdhouses, nests, bottle brush trees, and … “that” a collection of metal bird baths, interesting little urns, cloches, and gold sprinkled votives for my woodland tablescape.

Sparkly bottle brush trees and twiggy nests covered in glitter added depth and gleam in their bronzed hues of nature.

A delicate blown glass cloche with a bird finial sets atop a bed of moss and adds another layer to my woodland table.

A little bejeweled acorn fits snugly inside a moss lined nest and rests in an ornate silver bowl.

While a chunky little bird rests beneath a twiggy winter nest trimmed with winter berries and holly leaves.

A burlap runner runs down the length of the table with another gauzy, runner on top of it which softens the rough burlap and blends the rustic and elegant elements together. “The Friendly Village” dinnerware by Johnson Brothers seemed the the perfect choice for this wintry, woodland tablescape with it’s snowy village scene and earth tone colors.

Moss green napkins are tucked into mini-grapevine wreaths and make charming napkin rings with tags tied on with bows of green satin ribbon. Click on both of these links to see these napkin rings I made in a “Rustic Tablescape” and the woodland tags I used in a “Winter Tablescape for the Birds.”

This pedestal-ed cloche is a favorite of mine and holds a ceramic owl next to a teeny tiny nest with a soft little feather from a Downy Woodpecker I stuck into the top of it.

A little bird tea light and a golden votive completes this birdie vignette.

You know I love to use items in unexpected ways and these little bird baths and urns I collect look darling used as salt cellars for this Woodland Tablescape.

Birch candles on rustic candle holders complete the tablescape and add a winter glow to the scene.

Twilight on the lake highlights the winter tablescape.

There was a beautiful full moon shining on the lake tonight and we saw some white pelicans floating, like large bars of Ivory soap, lustrously highlighted by the moon. Hope you’re taking some time each day to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of this glorious season.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

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.

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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!

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

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  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.

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“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.

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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! (:

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda 

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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

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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?!? (:

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

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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.

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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.

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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!

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A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

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The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

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Today’s Menu …

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

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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!

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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!

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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 …

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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

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“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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.