The Tree

As many parts of the country (world) experience their first blast of Winter, here in central California we are still savoring a late Fall color. I love this time of the year so much that it is almost impossible to feel that state of mind required for transporting the cottage into a Winter Wonderland.

This year we are co-hosting an early Annual Christmas Dinner for our group of friends and today I need to decorate the lake cottage for Christmas. It is a busy time of year with two back-to back Holidays. Yesterday, within minutes of the Thanksgiving guests leaving for the airport, I began swapping-out pumpkins with pine cones and whisking away all the amber tones to a giant pile in the now-vacated (recently organized) guestroom. New season, new piles…

Since I am just sitting here I may as well share the moment with you…first off, I should not be sitting…

The blazing pistache tree that only a few days ago was the photo backdrop for our family Christmas card is the Big Disruptor today for me moving forward to Winter. The sun shining through the yellow and orange leaves make the tree look like it is on fire. As I pulled myself away from the kitchen window to head to the living room to start my Christmas decoration, I am stopped in my tracks…by the golden glow of the entire room. I can’t do IT, at least not quite yet…maybe once the sun gets high and the intense color settles down, then, maybe, I can catch the spirit of a new season.

thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside! (stuck in the moment)

 

Time to Learn Something

(Revised, Yikes) SURPRISE!!  I had a little free time, so I popped in today to tell you what’s up and to test my ol’ WordPress skills. I am a bit rusty, I messed up this post’s scheduling over the weekend. Then it slipped out this morning. Anyway, back to it…

Now that I am NOT Blogging, ahem, I often find myself asked, “What are you doing Now?”

so……

For starters, last week I updated the saying on my Farmhouse Kraft Paper Roller. If you want to do the same or maybe print & frame the saying, you can go to Home Stories A to Z blog. I used one of Beth’s many terrific free printable downloads. Check out this blog, she has great style!

This quote really spoke to me since I am, it seems, in the midst of “learning something” new every day.

Here’s what I am learning…

I’m working more on my Photography, as I near the end of my year-long Kim Klassen Studio 2.0 course, of which I have not been diligent about. This morning I ran outside to capture an amazing crack-of-dawn sunrise photo of our colorful Autumn lake. to edit in Topaz Labs and Lightroom. Topaz Labs has many new updates that I want to experiment with. You may remember my “snowy” Winter lake sunrise photo tutorial HERE. Wow, that was in 2015…seems like yesterday (morning.)

Then, after sitting a lot at my computer this past year…to get myself moving more…I am learning Pickleball. Yep, practicing with a friend, although we’re at that level of chasing the ball, we both have a goal to get good enough to challenge “real” players.

Let’s see…my extra time has allowed me to read more and take part in an online (app) book discussion group. Don’t you love having a world internet community?

I’m also doing several Friend Meet-ups, each centered around different purpose…coffee chat, girls’ day out, neighborhood Bunko, and a meetup with a friend to make wood projects. So fun!

Then there are PLANS…

Captain finally has relented to (help) shiplap our livingroom wall in the lake cottage. Sooo, I am planning that project to happen after the Holidays, maybe in March when the weather is warmer and dry…and when I have more time. Woo Hoo, I can’t stand the wait!

I’m spinning my wheels in one place, can’t seem to get started…learning Esperanto.

Political Action & Volunteering is something weighing on me now, too. With so much happening in the world and in the U.S. it is time to get involved in purposeful work. There are many groups to join, I just need to find one that fits.

I GoogledMeetups” (for my city) and found a site with all kinds of groups to join. It filters by  a list of Interests that can be checked-off. That is how I found Pickleball groups, then was able to see their meetup schedule and RSVP ad go to learn & play. If you can’t find a group, it is easy to start one of yourself to connect with like-minded people. Cool.

In all this learning something new, there is the normal busy of preparing for the Holidays; cleaning, decorating, cooking – so, it’s no wonder why Beth’s Autumn Quote touched a nerve! Autumn is my season to learn something.

as always, stay Busy, but keep it Simple – Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!

 

 

 

DIY – Wooden “Place Tray”

Last week’s Thanksgiving Tablescape Post included a wooden “Place Tray” that I made after being inspired by a table display at my local World Market. The store layered small wooden cutting boards under soup bowls in the tablescape. A hole in one end of the board had a napkin threaded through it, and the board was angled so the napkin fell over the table edge.

Inspiration…

World Market: cutting board Inspiration

I adjusted the Inspiration cutting board to bring a wooden layer to my Modern/Rustic 2017 Thanksgiving Tablescape.

My version of a Place Tray…

The project is Simple. I positioned scrap pieces of wood (from the garage) under my charger plates to come up with a depth measurement, and placed utensils and a glass on the boards, to come up with my ideal place tray measurement. Final (actual) size: 18″ x 12.5″, and 3/4” thick. Then I headed to Lowe’s to choose wood and for my “buddies” to cut-it-to-size. Once there I was hit with my, uhum, Budget! I needed to make enough place trays for our big holiday feasts, that’s a lot of wood. Solution:  use a combination of woods, with a cheaper pine for the wider 9” piece. For the thinner (top) 3.5” width of wood, I found a ($) wood with blueish-gray markings…totally my taste! I kept that gorgeous gray wood as natural as possible, by using an almost clear stain, stained the wider pine a medium brown (Provincial) for contrast. The only other wood I needed was something to hold the two sections together, and lift the tray UP off the table so the napkin could be easily inserted & removed. I bought a long length of .625″ thick wood that was 2″ wide, and had the guys cut it down to 10″ lengths. I needed 2 pieces per tray.

I also purchased a 1-3/4 inch hole cutter bit ($10.) that attaches to my power drill, to cut the hole in the left corner of the top wood. It takes muscle to hold the drill steady as it cuts. Wear eye protection and (ladies) move your car (and children) so they are not hit by an airborne board ; (  Tip: pre-drill a shallow center hole to anchor the hole bit, otherwise it is hard to get on the center mark where you want the hole (bounce-bounce.) After the hole is cut, lightly sand the area so it will not snag your napkin fabric.

Now for the bigger wood piece: Sand sharp & rough edges and distress the wood.

Stains…

My Thanksgiving Tablescape has a Modern/Rustic style so the contrasting stain (below) is perfect. The smooth light wood next to the the distressed darker stained wood creates a Yin Yang harmony that will fit into many future tablescapes.

Now to attach the two pieces of wood: I used two pieces of 10″x 2″ x .625 thick wood attached (glued & nailed) to the backside, it also provides some height above the table for the napkin to pass through.

Pre-drill holes into the attaching 10-inch wood strips, then hammer nails so they barely peek through the backside. I suggest you do this pre-drill technique so the thin wood doesn’t split when hammering it to the place tray boards.

A thin line of glue applied to the wood strips, before the final hammering, will help secure them to the place tray.

I found it easier to do an assembly line after I made one tray completely; I then produced the rest by doing all the holes at one time, then all the sanding & distressing, then all the staining…I loved seeing the stack of completed trays at the end of the day.

I will get a lot of use out of these babies….

I am amazed how a small cutting board displayed so creatively in World Market Inspired my Place Tray!

What Inspires your Creativity?

BTW, it cost me $40. (hole drill bit included, but I used stains from our garage) to make 10 place trays, yes I went crazy, whereas a store purchase of one small cutting board costs between $12. – $25. Making this Place Tray DIY both Simple & Affordable!

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside! (I am going to miss our weekly visit), MML will be up (for browsing) through January 3, 2018.

Thanksgiving Tablescape 2017

My 2017 Thanksgiving Tablescape is a warm & cozy Modern Rustic style. I layered neutral colored dishware, copper, wood, plaid fabric, and succulents planted in a dough bowl to get the Look.

The plaid tablecloth has plenty of ivory colored background and not too many stripes to create a clean contemporary base for my Modern Rustic tablescape. Hammered copper utensils, even with clean line, throw a twist of rustic into the tablescape. I love the understated Fall vibe of my Boho Dough Bowl Centerpiece. Once I placed the light wooden dough bowl in the center of the table, I knew I must add more wood to pull all the elements together.

For that beautiful golden glow during dinner, I added copper and bronze glass votive candles to the centerpiece.

And finally, for that extra wood element, a “Place Tray” for under each place setting, bringing another layer of Rustic charm to my Thanksgiving Tablescape. I designed my wooden “Place Trays” (yep, that’s what I named them) to be a raised stage upon which to stack a very Simple dish combination. The lift of the stage seems to visually elevate the importance of each person at the table. It really does, without a place card, make each setting very personal & special.

A casual coffee/dessert station is set up near the table for after-dinner lingering. Copper coffee pot & white mugs carry over the Modern Rustic style of the tablescape. (Wall Art DIY.)

The feature that makes my Place Tray unique is the 1-3/4″ hole in the upper left corner, where a cloth napkin can be gracefully draped. In order for the napkin to be easily removed I have cleverly elevated the wooden tray. (More details next week.)

Since I was not bringing pumpkins this year to the tablescape, I used orange napkins. The orange napkin did not “match” any of the colors in the tablecloth, but rather went well with the copper utensil and a provided a warm ambiance to the overall look.

I chose two different types of wood and stain contrasts for the Modern Rustic style. The lower portion of wood is distressed and stained medium brown, whereas, the upper wood is left more natural so its blueish-gray tones can be seen. The Yin/Yang Modern Rustic contrast makes these Place Trays versatile for many tablescape styles.

Plain white plates layered with an amber glass compote and a pine cone & faux autumn leaves keep the tablescape Fresh & Simple…

Pop in next week when I share a How-to make my wooden Place Tray. They are easy enough to make in time for your Holiday tablescape, or as a great gift for the decor enthusiast in your life.

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!

 

Weekend Wanderings 10.15

Meet Me Lakeside blog is about to go into its FOURTH year. It has been the motivating force behind many style changes around the lake cottage, both home improvement & self-improvement. I have given some thought this month, as I do every year in October, whether or not to continue blogging. I always reach the conclusion, “There are so many positives to blogging that seem out-weigh the negative of TIME spent each week to produce a post.” (spoiler alert…BUT…)

I have several other hobbies/passions, yet no time to develop any of them…if compared to a juggling act, sadly most of the time, ALL balls are on the floor.

I find it hard to focus on both maintaining old hobbies while nurturing new ones when time is so limited.

Then, yesterday I wandered upon a HuffPost review of a book, Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I had just read the book, and a light bulb went ON when I read this sentence in Ms Breen’s article.

“Life is a series of choices, when you pursue one passion, you let go of another.” (Galit Breen)

Yes, that’s it! “Something” sadly has to be Let Go, to make room (time) for the new. It is a ripple effect, as one passion leads into another, it fades away; but not really, the old passion just blends-in, allowing room for new growth.

I look forward to having TIME to continue to grow my new passions. I will continue posting MML two more times, (Oct. 18) Thanksgiving Tablescape 2017, and (Oct. 25) DIY Wooden Place Tray (as shown in the 10/18 tablescape). Then, MML will be Let Go as I Set Sail on a new journey.

I can’t end this post without Thanking my Readers, who have been with me through 3 years of my Blog trial & errors. Your kind comments have encouraged me to venture beyond my comfort zone. As a member of the Word Press blogger Community, the global Community has broadened my concept of how much more similar we ALL are, than different from each other. I hope, too, that some of what you’ve read here on MML has Inspired you to be a Maker and to try on new tool belts and where needed, update your style.

Are you willing to Let Go, to pursue a NEW Passion?

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside – Keep it Simple & Fresh!

Photos in this post are from Pixabay.com

Halloween Cocktails at the Cottage

It’s such fun to welcome October guests to the lake cottage, by handing them a spooky cocktail as they walk through the door…or gate…or up from the dock – guests drop-by from many directions around here, sometimes even over the fence…so we try to be “ready” with a fun signature drink.

We convert the potting bench into a serving table & bar for the Holidays and concoct one or two specialty cocktails fitting for a particular month. My favorite part is to come-up an appropriate name for each cocktail. Surely, I’m not the only one who lays awake at night dreaming of a clever name to fit a special house brew.

This year I was working with pretty black-stemmed martini glasses (Home Goods) for our October cocktail, so we shook-up a blackberry-infused vodka martini and christened it the Black Widow.

I used a low temperature glue gun to attach a rubber spider to the glass rim and darkened the blackberry infused vodka with black food coloring, a little goes a long way, then I dropped a sweet cherry pepper into the glass. Adding a few small chunks of dry ice creates one smokin’ Halloween drink. By the time the glass is empty your guests won’t care that their lips are black, too.

Just add affordable spooky decorations from the Dollar store and Walmart, so you can spend more on the fixin’s. Remember last year’s Forgotten Bag from Target bargain bin? That is where I found the Apothecary jars and Lab glasses for the drink ingredients. A quick Google search landed me free Halloween apothecary labels from HERE and HERE. Wow!

The best cocktail for any season is a Bloody Mary, I love that it can be served any time of the day. Captain always makes a crazy-good Bloody Mary, so we keep the ingredients for that perfect cocktail always on-hand. Again, the fun is in re-naming it to fit the season, and to add personality to the swizzle stick. It doesn’t have to be a celery stick; this year’s Scary Mary sports a pickled okra, jalapeño stuffed olive, lemon, and a sweet cherry pepper, with a non-edible eyeball to top the swizzle.

Don’t forget to serve Bites during cocktail hour! We keep a few Simple choices in the pantry; jars of artichokes, olives, chips/dips and cheeses, popcorn and always bottled water so I don’t have guests to cook breakfast for the next morning.

Now that the party is rockin’, the moon is out, and the guests are not feeling inclined to “sail-on”…Hey, Whose ordering pizza delivered?

Do you have a “House” Signature drink?

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!