Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Painted oil can and guords

I was putting away some things today that I had painted for Christmas decorations and thought I would share them.

I painted a Santa on this old oil can. It could actually be used for cooking oil, but I just like to sit it near the stove as a cute decoration.

One year I grew some guords. They are not hard to grow. You put about 4 or 5 guord seeds in a hill and make the hills about 4 or 5 feet apart, so it does take some space to grow them. Thin to about 2 seedlings per hill and it takes about 110 to 130 days for them to mature. When the stems are dried, you harvest and dry them by putting in a ventilated place such as a shed or you can just leave them outside until they are dried, which can take up to 6 months. I just threw mine in an old shed and paid little attention to them for months until they were dried. They will mildew some, but you can remove discolorations by sanding. They can be used for crafts of all kinds, such as birdhouses or painted items.

I used acrylic paint to paint mine and as you can see, they do make cute Santas and snowmen!

Such a happy little group of snowmen! Into storage they go until next year. Guords last indefinitely.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frosty Weather in Florida

Good morning from a cold Ten Gables Cottage!

For the past 3 mornings, we have had frost and freezing temperatures! Today it may get up to 60 degrees, which will be welcome and probably not freezing tonight. Here are photos of frost on things...just look at my Rosemary, covered with white. It is pretty, but do we need this? I think not! In Florida, we are not used to the nippy cold. You should see everyone all decked out in hats and gloves----quite a strange sight here instead of shorts and sleeveless tops!

This is the top of a Japanese Garden Ornament in the garden. Check out the frosty top... it IS pretty!

The ground is covered with frost, but the sun is out, as you can see in the top of the photo.

This is the boxwood hedge in the back garden. All these photographs were taken on the North side of the house.
The sun is out very bright today, so it should warm up some soon. I hope in your part of the country, it is not too cold or too snowy. Have a good day, Egretta

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lunch at the Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Fl

On Christmas Eve, I, my children and grandchildren met at Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Florida for lunch. The Inn is very historic and beautiful. Inside, one of the first things you see is a display of memorabilia from the time the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited the Inn and West Palm Beach, guests of the Merryweathers. You can see the happy couple in the photo at left, along with books, etc.
Here is another photograph showing the Windsors up close.

Here is a photograph of part of the dining room, all decorated for Christmas.

Another view of the beautiful dining room at Seminole Inn. We ate in a smaller dining room for lunch and had a very nice lunch, enjoying the historic atmosphere. Afterwards we sat in rockers on the front porch and the grandchildren took turns in the hammock. It was a really nice day!

We had a lovely Christmas, too. Of course we ate too much, but we will put off dieting a little longer! Hope your Christmas was wonderful!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have a Wonderful Christmas!

Hello everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
It is only two days until Christmas. I hope you have not been naughty this year and that Santa stops in to see you! Ten Gables Cottage is abuzz with all sorts of last minute preparations, so today will be my last post for a few days as I am going to be very busy and lots of company in!
Christmas Eve night, we all go to a beautiful candlelight service at church, which is so awesome and very inspirational and inspiring. We will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas---the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christmas day we will have a feast of ham, turkey, all the trimmings and of course, the massive Old Fashioned Apple Stack Cake! We will also have the traditional Christmas pudding with custard. After an early afternoon meal, we will gather in the family room to open gifts. The grandchildren, especially, look forward to this hour and all are excited. This year, I see that the grandchildren are keen on GIVING as well as receiving. That is nice to see!
We'll have eggnog and cookies later in the afternoon and just visit and have fun, maybe go for a drive and see the decorations our town has put out, as well as certain neighborhoods that are well-decorated.
I want to thank you for looking at my blog and making it successful. Thanks for all your comments and input and I do hope you will continue to follow Cottage Creative Living. I hope you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Egretta

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Making a Gingerbread Village

All the ingredients are spread out on the table and we are ready to make a gingerbread village from the Wilton kit I bought. Austin, my youngest grandson is excited about helping to make the 5 pieces in the village!

So let's get started.

We really had fun and made a big mess, but came out with some very good looking houses, a church and an "outhouse", the finest you've ever seen!

Here is Austin happy with the results! Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cheater Quilts make great gifts!

What is a cheater quilt??

It is a quilt that is printed on fabric and all you do to make a quilt is to add batting between it and a backing fabric and then quilt around the pattern already printed on. It makes it fast and easy to finish a quilt!

Here are some small "Cheater" quilts I have made that are perfect wall hangings or can be used on a small table, on back of a sofa, etc.

I embellished some of them with colored buttons and used colored quilting threads. They go very fast and make gifts that everyone loves.

You can buy cheater quilt tops on the net or at fabric stores and they not only come in holiday patterns, but many others as well.

Is it time to start thinking about next year?Who on my list would like a "cheater" quilt?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Giving Christmas Goodies

It is time to fix trays of goodies to go to our friends. I found some beautiful clear wrap that looks like a snow storm to wrap the trays.
There is a sampling of all the different cookies and candies I have made and had in the freezer until ready to wrap and give.

Here is a tray wrapped and ready to go!

The candy canes are actually pipe stems , but one could use real candy canes. I love the snowstorm clear wrap, which really adds a festive look.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making an Old Fashioned Apple Stack Cake

Hello everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
Yesterday was the day to make the Old Fashioned Apple Stack Cake and let it moisten up for Christmas dessert!
Do you remember the McIntosh apples I dried in the dehydrator? Well, I got them out of the freezer and began to cook them and I kept adding water as they reconstituted.
While they cooked, I made 9 layers for the cake! Here is the recipe.
For the cake:
6 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup solid shortening
1 cup sugar (1/2 white and 1/2 brown)
Sift the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. In another Large bowl cream the shortening and sugars and add:
1 cup molasses and mix well. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Then add 1/2 cup buttermilk, alternately with dry ingredients. Place dough on a floured surface and work in enough extra flour to make it easy to handle, but not stiff. Divide into 9 portions at a time.
Here are the portions of dough.

Pat one portion at a time into 9" round pans. Press down with your fingers evenly over bottom of pans. Bake at 375 degrees until light brown.

The dough pressed into pans, ready for oven.

The baked cake layers are cooling on racks.

When all layers have baked and cooled, put together with the seasoned apples mixture. Store cake in fridge in airtight container for 3 or 4 days to moisten. Freezes well.

Now here is the way to season the apples before you spread between the cake layers.
Use 20-24 ounces of evaporated (dried) apples. Add about 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar. Taste and adjust. Mash apples and makes sure they are juicy enough (add water as needed as they cook). They should be the consistency of applesauce. Cool and use generously between each layer of cake. It makes a BIG CAKE as you can see, so you can freeze part if you choose. The house smells absolutely wonderful while it is baking! My mother and grandmother made this cake every year, so I am carrying on the tradition.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vintage Ruby Glass Punch Bowl

Hello from Ten Gables Cottage,
I have gotten out the old ruby red glass puch bowl and cups ready for egg nog on Christmas afternoon! This beautiful glass has been produced for about the last 100 years by many different manufacturers. I suspect mine is by Anchor Hocking. I don't have the stand and must try to find one when I go antiquing. That may be hard to do, as usually you don't find a seperate piece, but the whole set. I do have twelve cups with mine--I think I only put eight out here.
The egg nog recipe I will be using is so simple and delicious. It does not require eggs, so perhaps it should have a different name, but the taste is as good as the most eggy egg nog! Here is below and I really think you should try it!
Put about a quart of vanilla frozen yogurt in the punch bowl. Add 2 or 3 cups of cold skim or low fat milk and stir until some of the yogurt begins to melt a little. Add some rum to taste or if there are children, like at my house, add a teaspoon of rum flavoring. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of nutmeg. The measurements aren't written in law. Just add as much yogurt and milk as you think your gang will want and flavor it by tasting. It can be made ahead in the bowl and sit out for all afternoon and still be cold and delicious! So good with homemade Christmas cookies.
I hope you will try this good egg nog. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Taking a Walk

Greetings from Ten Gables Cottage,

I hope you are having a fun day and staying warm. My sister-in-law called from Virginia and they got snow last night, as did lots of places. It has warmed up here and I thought I would post some photos taken around the house and yard.

There is a nice little birds nest from last Spring in a small Crape Myrtle tree. I have heard that every Christmas tree should have a bird nest somewhere in it for Good Luck! Has anyone else heard of such a thing?

Just before the freeze, I had the boxwood trimmed , but it did not hurt it in the least. It is close to my studio, though, so probably was protected. Plus boxwood is hardy.

In the front yard the two huge Live Oak trees have lost most of the leaves and acorns are all over the place. The squirrels are having a field day out there all the time. There is so much Spanish Moss in the trees, but with every wind, some falls out and then has to be picked up.

The photo was taken late in the day when the sun was just beginning to go down, so the back light on the moss looked reddish. Very pretty.

The cold did not seem to bother the Pygmy Palm group in the front garden.
The weather forecast is for more cold next week.

Only a week til Christmas! I hope you are being really creative and making you preparations special!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pretzel Rods and Avocados

Hello everyone,
I have been very busy at Ten Gables! Many avocados fell from the big trees during this cold weather, so I picked them up and have been giving them away. It will be good to make guacamole dip for the holidays! The other thing I have been doing today is making dipped pretzel rods! My daughter and daughter-in-law both love these and I always make a big glass container full to sit on the kitchen counter. They particularly like the white chocolate ones and I do different little decorative things to them, like drizzle with milk chocolate, add dark chocolate chips to the coating or sprinkle with colored sugar or different sprinkles. Using the microwave to melt the dipping chocolates makes this a speedy project.
Well, thankfully, it is warmer today, in the 60's with plenty of sun and not much wind, so it is pleasant. The poor yard is all brown now, though, and some of the plants look pretty shocked. I heard there may be more cold on the way by next week! It does seem more Christmasy when it is cold. Hope you are having a very good day, Egretta

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Broccoli and Cabbage

Hello everyone,
In spite of the cold temps, the broccoli and cabbages look great. I uncovered them a few minutes ago.

The cabbages are heading up and I was afraid I would lose them, but so far, so good!

Here they are all covered up--poor things! It got down to 24 last night again, but today is supposed to warm up. You can see the sun on the cabbage!
It may be cold outside, but what warms my heart this time of year is getting the creche out and sat up and turning to the account of the birth of Christ in the Bible and reading it once again. I put out the family Bible, marked the account in Luke with a ribbon, so visitors can read it, too, and that is the best part of Christmas! Sometimes, with all the planning, cooking, and decorating, buying gifts for our family, we forget that the best gift of all was the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happiness to you, Egretta

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Forced to harvest---Brrrrrrrrrrr, It's Cold

Hello and I hope you are warm, wherever you are! It is cold in South Florida and got down to 24 last night. So I decided to pick some of the oranges--don't know if they froze at all, but they must have, so I will juice them.
Tonight it is supposed to be below freezing again, so I will be covering things again and will see the damages on Wed.
Keep warm! Egretta

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Vegetable Appetizer

Hi everyone, I do hope you are keeping warm. Here in South Florida, it is turning very cold again and between 12:00 midnight and 8 a.m, we are to get below freezing temperatures! I have covered veggies and plants once again and weighted the covers down with various things, as the wind is ferocious!The wind chill is terrible right now at 5:45 p.m even though the temperature is just under 50 degrees. But we should be thankful, as many parts of the U.S. has deep snow AND cold.
There was a party with a group and the meat, a ham, was furnished, so everyone was to bring an appetizer or side dish. I made this yummy veggie appetizer. It is so colorful and delicious and even people who dislike veggies, love this! You just use crescent roll dough in the cans, press it onto a baking sheet and bake as package directs, making a large rectangle of golden brown pastry. Next beat together 1 large package of cream cheese with 1 package of dry ranch dressing seasoning added. Spread on the pastry. Then add any chopped raw veggies you like. I used green, red, and yellow peppers, green onions, broccoli florets and cauliflower plus I added some slices of stuffed olives. This is a great recipe! Simple and delicious! Try it!
Stay Warm! Egretta

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh, Santa!

Christmas greetings from Ten Gables Cottage
Looking around the house, there are Santas galore! I did not realize how many Santas I have, so I decided to show you some of my favorites!
I love the Nesting Dolls from St. Petersburg, Russia that I bought at an outdoor market there. These are hand carved as well as hand painted. I suppose the lady is Mrs. Santa and maybe that is Santa, Jr. standing next to her. Love the snowman and tiny tree.
Next, is a tiny glass Santa from Stockholm, Sweden. I was there one September and exploring little shops in the old part of the city and found some beautiful tiny glass Santas and elves. He is just a little over an inch tall.

Here is a Santa made in Germany. I went to an indoor flea market there and found this vintage Santa. He is about 3 or 4 inches tall and I can tell he is very old, but in nice condition. His tree is shaped more like a rolling pin, but isn't he a cutie!

Here is another view of him on the kitchen counter to show you how tiny he is !

And this Santa is an Annalee figure, with handpainted features. They used to be made in the U.S. , I believe in New Hampshire, but now I see they are being made in China. Still, the details are nice. This one is ready for bedtime and has a hot water bottle in his hand!

An Annalee mouse dressed as a Santa. I love his painted face.

On the front porch of Ten Gables cottage, there is an old rickshaw!
I find it very hard to get anyone to volunteer to pull it! So, Santa has taken it over and is sitting there until a reindeer happens along to get him going on his way! This Santa is nylon and poor thing somehow has lost his belly!

I bought this pole Santa from a crafter at a local crafts show. He is handpainted and has a little hook for a wreath in front and he stands guard at the back porch steps.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fair Weather at Ten Gables

Hi from Ten Gables,
Today is absolutely gorgeous! It has faired up and the sun is out---it will reach the high 70's today! So, happily, I have been in the garden tidying up, pulling up any dead things and have spread red mulch around. If we don't have a white Christmas, at least the red mulch is pretty and gives a festive look to the garden and the house decorations.
Click on photos for up close view.

Up the walk to Ten Gables. My grandsons will love the Christmas canes!

Even the two Leos that guard the front porch take on a friendly air with all the red bows and garlands, wreaths and poinsettias!

What a blue sky we have today with no clouds in sight! You can see the shadows from the two big oak trees in the front yard. Notice how sparse my garden is! I must plant a few more things, but will wait until cold weather is all gone. We have forecast next week of more cold. I do love the red mulch, though. It makes a bit of color and looks tidy, now.