27 December 2011

Today and everyday . . .

Like many of you, I have always found peace, comfort & joy
in simple, natural touches for the holiday season. 
And, today for the first time in what seems like many, 
the sun shone ever so brightly
so that in the still calm of the afternoon
peace, comfort and joy enveloped us as we
spent the day resting, reading, being delightfully lazy.
You see, last night we hosted our annual Christmas bonfire.  A tradition
usually reserved for Christmas eve.  But, this year we held the fire party as a boxing day night event. 
Given that our heads hit the pillow at 4 a.m. a day of rest and general laziness was
called for.
So, here's to a lazy afternoon after a fun filled evening
spent with family and friends.  And just remember guys, what
happens around the fire stays around the fire!  
Cheers and may peace, comfort and joy fill your lazy afternoons, today and everyday.

24 December 2011

Best Wishes . . .

for a most joyful Christmas Season
From our home to yours . . .

21 December 2011

Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice.  Tomorrow, and each day thereafter
becomes longer with light.  
The beauty of winter . . . 

19 December 2011

Final Countdown . .

The shop is technically closed for the season
we've had lots of calls today to see if we're open this week. 
Sooooo, we're happy to accommodate and hope that this helps:

OPEN this week


CHEERS and Happy Holidays!

16 December 2011

We're almost done here . . .

for the season and to say
for your continued support
all remaining stock is
30% off.
{Sorry, does not include special orders, local pottery, 
farmchick soap or bags}
Thanks and enjoy!

13 December 2011

A touch of winter decorating . . . Moss Cottage style

Just a few sneaks at our outdoor winter decorating
for the 2011 season
We made these wonderful vintage primitive shaped stars for the shop this season.  They look fantastic pretty much anywhere you use them.  I popped one into my front door wreath.  I'm absolutely not a "glitzy" Christmas/Winter gal, the more natural the better and I just LOVE burlap bows. 
These yummy willow planters were made for the shop this season by Evelyn.  They were stunning but my husband had to re-work them to a more manageable size.  They look so festive when filled with mini-lights, topped with greens, twigs and a handmade winter star.  If you look closely at the window you will see "Baxter" the cat getting in on the photo shoot.
One of the lower level window boxes.  Mixed evergreen branches and by the way, I think that the lowly branches of the Jack Pine get a completely bad rap.  They are long and gently droopy, fluffy and come with cones attached.  Really, who could ask for more!  Then, to finish it off, compliments of inspiration from Lorraine's window boxes of seasons ago, frosted annabelle hydrangea stems.
The front of the house now adorned with the star evergreen wreath and the second story 
window boxes stuffed with the simple elegance of red pine and beautiful BC cedar.
The summer gazebo structure remains throughout the winter and in a few days or so I'll be fashioning a candle lantern to hang from the center.  Stay tuned.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, love birds nests.  They are amazing structures of the most natural kind.  This nest was built by a busy mom-to-be this spring on the beam of the porch of the studio shop.  I was delighted to see her there, busy coming to and fro in anticipation of the chicks that would someday rest and grow there.  Within days of the nest being finished we had hurricane style winds and I was horrified to find the nest blown to pieces, laying on the ground underneath the beam.  But, unsurprisingly, I guess, within the day, she had rebuilt the nest, reusing and recycling the bits and pieces of her first attempt.  I watched patiently for the flitting to and fro, signs of the hatching, but it never came.  The studio was abuzz with activity over the following few weeks and I suspect that the banging of the old barn door as I went in and out may have sent her off in search of a much more calm and quiet roost upon which to have and raise her young.  Oh well, maybe next year she'll build another and this time, I'll not use the old barn door.  
I harvested the nest just days ago.  I fanned out the bottom of a grapevine wreath, tucked in some fresh Fraser Fir and White Pine branches, pine cones and a touch of burlap.  This lovely nest wreath hangs on the wall by my back door entrance beside the rustic reclaimed storm door. 

Now, next the inside! 

12 December 2011

Down for the count but still pluggin' along . . .

T'is the season.  In my exhausted, slightly run down state as is the case this time of year, I managed to catch
a cold bug on Saturday.  But you can't keep a Christmas decorator down! 
So, today I managed to get some of my own outdoor winter decorating done.  
By the time I finished it was getting dark so the pictures will 
have to wait until tomorrow.  Throughout the week I hope to also post photos of
the Christmas decorating taking place in our home.  
All Moss Cottage style of course!

10 December 2011

Forever and always in my heart

To mom's everywhere who are gone but never forgotten.
{photo pinterest}

08 December 2011

Peace on earth . . .

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.

30 November 2011

Today I'm just sharing . . .

. . . one of my most favorite blogs, sure to entice all you foodies out there!
What Katie Ate is not only a really beautiful blog, she is a food photographer among other things,
she's in Australia so you get to travel vicariously and, she shares some pretty amazing recipes to boot.  
Now around here at the height of the Christmas season, it's rare that anything interesting, out-of-the ordinary or "foodie" approved hits the dinner table so for today, I'm just dreaming about making this our next meal.
But, don't wait for me, you go ahead.  
"Lamb with beer and roasted garlic" - need I say more.

23 November 2011

Can you say e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d!

Wow, what a whirl wind of a weekend!  Thank you all for making our
Winter Open House 
weekend such a H-U-G-E success.  I really appreciate it.  Really.

My hands and feet are sore, my sleep deprived mind is slowly recovering . . .
hard but joyful work indeed.  
After taking a few days to clean the house, fill the cupboards and fridge
with "real" food and do a little laundry so I have something to wear that
doesn't have paint or pine pitch on it, we're off and running again. 
Today we managed to spend some time in the workshop.  We're busy making a fresh batch of wreaths and arrangements and other wonderful handmade treasures to re-stock the "shelves" of the shop.  
Christmas Season Shop Hours:
Thursday & Friday  11-6
Saturday  11-5
Sunday  12-4
Until December 18th

Thanks again, much to come, see you soon.
And, to those of you who have taken the time to call, say when you see us, or otherwise pass on your wonderful comments after visiting our Christmas House, Thanks very much.  We're glad you enjoyed your visit and appreciate you letting us know.  

Thanks indeed and to our American friends . . . Happy Thanksgiving.
 * * *

19 November 2011


(The above photograph © Ulrike Welsch.  Use or copy of any kind is prohibited.
The photo is available in greeting card format from here.


Regular Christmas Season Hours:

Thursdays & Fridays  11-6
Saturday  11-5
Sundays  12-4

beginning November 24  until December 18

Season's Greeting!


10 November 2011

And the lucky winner . . .

Thank you everyone for all your comments.  I haven't had a chance to go through them all and even less a chance to post them - but cheers and season's greetings to you also.  The luck winner selected with the assistance of random.org is Susie K.  Send me an e-mail Susie and I'll let you know what you need to know to get your hands on the House Tour tickets.  Enjoy. 

Count down is on to Comfort & Joy . . 

See you soon!

02 November 2011

Winter Wishes & a Delightful Giveaway

Comfort & Joy
The Winter Season
begins with our Winter Open House and we hope you will join us in discovering
Comfort & Joy this Christmas Season

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18,   5 - 9

The delightful details and regular Christmas Season Hours will arrive here on the blog
shortly but in the meantime, we hope you are busy preparing, at least creatively.

We are delighted to be part of the
Thunder Bay Art Gallery 
and have had the honor of styling and decorating
the wonderful home of Heather Cranston.  
Getting involved was easy once we saw Heather's home.  
Heather's character home offered an instant backdrop for our
urban meets farmhouse stylings.  We hope that upon entering Heather's
home you'll be reminded that the holiday season -- the baking, the crafting,
trimmings and decor blend together to make this special
time of year something to savour.  

In celebration of this fun, glorious time, we've purchased TWO House Tour tickets and they can be yours!  The tickets are for the Sunday, November 13th house tour.  Entering to win is easy.  Leave me a comment, link our blog to your blog or facebook page and send us the link.  That's it, it's easy as pie! We'll randomly select a winner 
on Thursday, November 10th and announce the winner here. 
For the House Tour details, go here.

Until then . . . cheers to this most glorious of seasons!

09 October 2011

Giving Thanks . . .

"This is your Blessing Bowl.  Everyday, hold it in your hand,
count your blessings and fill it to overflowing . . ."
{Blessing Bowl and tag Susan Felix Pottery}

04 October 2011

A lovely little autumn project

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a lovely little project to make
for yourself but what a perfectly lovely 
little gift they make . . . enjoy!
Here are the directions for a small wreath about 8 inches finished size.
Gather lots of leaves.
You will need a pliable but sturdy piece of wire.  I used a 16 gauge wire from the hardware store. Measure off about 16 inches and cut.  About 3 inches down from one end, bend the wire
straight up away from the main wire stem.  This will prevent the leaves from falling
off as you thread them onto the wire and allow for closure of the wreath 
frame when you are finished. 
Begin "threading" leaves onto the wire.  I have left the stems of the leaves on if that is how I found them.
Continue threading the leaves on until you reach a desired size, pushing the leaves around the frame until you reach the bent wire end.   Make sure to leave about three inches at the opposite end of the wire to bend the frame closed. 
When you reach the desired size, bend the end to prevent the leaves from falling off and cut 
the wire off leaving about 3 inches.  Wrap the bent wire ends together at the bend and
twist/wrap to close.  You may make a loop above the closure if you wish but I don't. 
Once closed, tie a ribbon over the wire at the point of closure to hide the wire and create a hanger/bow. 
I tied a ribbon onto the wire and left a long tail which is above the top of the wreath and then tied a bow onto the wire frame overtop of the hanging ribbon.  You can use the long ribbon to hang the wreath. You can also use a piece of twine or fishing line to create a hanger, that works nicely as well.  
Have fun.

To all my Canadian friends, have a most wonderful, joyful

28 September 2011

Autumn's Treasures

The autumn colors are coming on with hurried splendor.
One day they can be found creeping in here and there amongst the gardens and 
the next, at least it seems, the birch trees are aglow with the 
fiery hues found only at this most enchanting time of year.  
The poplars have begun to turn, the reds of the amur maple mingle
gently with the just touched tips of the tamarack. 
While this time of year finds me wanting to do this
I think I could be just as happy doing this
But instead, I'm really, seriously trying to get my blog "shop" up and running.  
Really, I''m trying.  Thanks for being patient.  
In between I'm working on a little autumn DIY project for you to try. 
I think you'll like it.  
{both photos above Sarah Maingot}

Enjoy its every moment, it's passing quickly.
Here's to autumn and all her possibilities.

26 September 2011

A technical melt down and a so long . . .

    FULL . . .
It's been a couple of those weeks.  Autumn is without question my most
favorite season.  A time when the sun shines more brightly, when the warm cool breeze
and scent of the earth's floor bring a sense of renewal and calm and feeling of
contented joy.  It's a time full of "nesting" tendencies,
of harvesting natures bounty, of making and baking and preparing 
for the colder days to come.  It's a beautiful time full of life and which
on occasion finds me asking the question:
"How can life be so breathtakingly beautiful and so 
challengeing and heartbreaking all at the same time?"
In the scheme of things, the technical glitch (a.k.a. computer meltdown) that has 
prevented us from getting our "shop" up and running on the blog
or posting at all,
seems unimportant when it also arrived at a time when I said
so long to a really great guy in my life.  
10.10.98 - 13.09.11
A great companion who loved to help out in the garden, loved to be carried, but in 
just the right way, was a great cuddler but hated to be hugged,
a really great "hot water bottle", an incredible hunter, watching out for his brother even 
sharing the occasional mouse, going on one unauthorized week long vacation causing 
intense worry at home until a mailbox flyer in the neighborhood returned 
him home safely.
We miss his presence in our home and in our lives.  Probably more so 
because unlike any feline companion I've ever had, Sam was a "talker".  He held 
his own in a great conversation leaving no doubt that he needed to be heard.
His range of vocals was noticeable.  The "I want to go out NOW" tone, the
"I'm hungry NOW" tone, the I'm in need of a good cuddle" tone, the "oh please, please, please" 
tone and the "hunting sucked" tone offered in reply to being asked
"how was hunting today Sam?".  Known to be a scrapper who protected
his territory when the unauthorized "wild" cats showed up on his turf and
a kind and gentle soul at the same time to be sure. 

You were loved Sam, rest easy and party on!
Here's to the family members of the furry kind . . .

07 September 2011

Getting ready . . .

I know, I know, it says "coming soon".  
I really did mean it at the time but time's the thing!
It's soooo hard to believe it's already September.   It has been
a fantastic but seemingly fly by summer. 
We have had our first few nights of light frost but an early
rise to spray the gardens down has prevented most damage.  
The forecast is fantastic and the overnight temps more reasonable.
And so it goes come September.  There is still much to be done
in the gardens.  The final perennials are going into the gardens to allow
them to put down proper roots before winter, the cutting gardens will
be harvested one last time for fresh cuts for market this week, the harvesting for 
our lovely dried bunches has begun and will continue throughout the week,
the soap making marathon has begun in preparation for the gift 
giving season, the house is a mess and the laundry has been piling up. 
We've been a little busy.  Not complaining, just saying.  The infamous
list never wanes and some days it's all about priorities.  
But, having said all of that, we have been busy taking pictures and getting ready to
post the pretty awesome little pictures of goods for sale. 
Effective Monday, September 12th,  you'll be able to pop by the "Shop" and pick out a 
treasure or two.  Mark your calendar, don't miss out, we've been
saving stuff up!  
Here's to being busy and enjoying these golden, sunny, cozy days.

31 August 2011

Beets, Beets the musical fruit . . .

Oh ya, that's beans! 
The beets are bursting from my garden and many of yours as well I suspect.
My most favorite way to eat beets - plain and simple.
I simply harvest beets and after removing the tops, snipping off the root
and giving a gentle scrub, I wrap them snugly in tinfoil and bake/roast
on the barbeque.  When squeezed (with the oven mitts on)
and the package feels tender but not too tender,
I take them off, let them sit for a bit,
open the package and let them cool just enough to handle them
with a rubber glove on - then the skin just slips right off.  Nothing added, just
wonderful, naturally grown, sweet beets!  

They are great chilled and added to salad and a few beets also make their way into jars of lovely 
pickled beets.
But, today my friend linked me to this really beautiful recipe for 
I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful, relaxing baking video.
  Not that I watch a whole bunch of baking video's but trust me, you'll
know what I mean.  
You can take a peak  here (be sure to shut my blog music off at the bottom first).

She also sent along a very pretty printed version but she didn't write down where 
she picked it up from so I apologize, I'm sharing without a link.  If you happen
to know who it belongs to please e-mail me or send me a comment and 
I'll be sure and get the link up right away.  

Have a really Beeeetiful day!

22 August 2011

To market, to market

I think it continues to be one of those best kept secrets.  Did you know that Thunder Bay has a thriving farmer's market called the THUNDER BAY COUNTRY MARKET.  Home to some of Thunder Bay's best bakers, makers and producers who bring a wonderful selection of made, baked and grown goods to their market tables every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.  Did ya know, huh, huh, huh . . .

Well if you didn't, now you do!  One of my favorite market vendors is Renata of MILE HILL FARM.  I swear she grows the best lettuce and seasonal greens mix around.  When in season, I get my fix every Saturday and knowing that what I bring home and put on our plates is grown locally, naturally in and on land that continues to be worked by Renata and her family, and by the way also tastes really incredible, is a nice feeling.  
Renata and no - not Moe!
Renata's farm is a family run farm committed to providing natural meat and naturally grown produce for people who are concerned not only about what they eat, but also about the health and well being of the world around them.  You can catch Renata in the market garden of the Country Market every Saturday and to learn more about her wonderful and by the way beautiful farm, go here.
If you visit Renata at the market these days you'll find her fantastic garlic, beautiful sweet onions which will be making their way into my salsa this week,  and 'working' right along beside her -- a little farmer in the making.  
Miera Thiboutot was offering these fabulous little morsels 
'free with a 50 cent donation'!

Affectionately called Basil Boats -- a beautiful basil leaf,
one gouda cheese curd and a yummy, sweet cherry tomato. 
Just the smile was worth 50 cents. 

Cheers to little farmers!

18 August 2011

Fresh picked

The other day I went to the farm to pick raspberries.  Yum. 
While many immediately became a lovely snack
 as I drove home, the remainder have made their way into my freezer 
(and then back out again quickly for this photo).  
Later on when I have time, they will become jam or make
their way into muffins and scones.  
Gotta love fresh picked from the farm to your table, nothing beats a lovely
summers day drive to the farm knowing that the goodness found
there will be discovered in your freezer or pantry months down the road. 
On the other hand, as I was driving home, there was what seemed like 
a large number of dead skunks on the road here and there.  Not unusual at 
this time of year, especially on a "country" road but it seems to me
 I've come across a great deal of "road kill" this year -- deer, rabbits, porcupines
and it got me thinking . . .
not about the poor little skunk really but the larger picture . . .
how heavy our footprint has really become and how we need to be purposefully mindful
to tread more lightly when we can.

Here's to farmers -- backyard & otherwise.

Have a tread lightly lovely day.  

16 August 2011

A little R & R

I know I haven't posted in a bit -- I've been away 
looking at 
and doing 
and well, this
but, I've been up to lots of other things as well.  Watch for my posts on the
market, the gardens, works in progress . . . 
I hope that you have had some time to chill out as well!
See you again soon.

13 July 2011

Beautiful Bloomers!

I LOVE peonies.  I suspect if I had to choose my favorite flower it would be a tough job - I love so many but peonies are most definitely at the top of the list of beautiful bloomers. 
I grow flowers.  I'm a grower of flowers.  The majority of my gardens are classified as cutting gardens meaning they are planted primarily for the purpose of cutting the flowers that grow there.  It's a tough thing to do.  Even after all these years I am taken by the beauty of the gardens in bloom. It's always hard on cutting day.  While I know they are headed for beautiful Urban Farmchick market bunches I also know that once cut the beauty of the gardens will be changed.  The landscape altered yet again for another season.  
I do have pretty perennial gardens which are undergoing a slow but steady overhaul this year but given the amount of time and energy the cutting gardens require of me, the perennial gardens are the last to get my full and undivided attention.  A number of years ago I planted a whole bunch of peonies for the soul sole purpose of a cut flower.  It is my intention every year to take lovely bunches of peonies to market and that does happen in small number.  But, it also never fails that when the peonies are ready to be harvested, market day is too far away for them to last - even with refrigeration.  So, alas, they are harvested for a different but ultimately beautiful purpose - for drying and eventually, wound into wreaths  Moss Cottage style.
These lovely beauties along with some other interesting cuttings have been making their way onto the drying strings hanging in the living room.  Today I had to light the wood stove to get them drying more quickly to prevent browning.  Lets just say that having the wood stove burning on July 13 is a bit hard to take but as it turns out, the overnight temp tonight is forecast for 6 degrees!  

The foxglove is most certainly another on the "list" and it's in full bloom along with the Gentian Sage.  I don't think my cottage gardens would be complete without a foxglove or two, or ten.  The stunning blue of the sage is a pretty sight, don't you think.  I can hardly wait to see when all are in full bloom.

Happy Gardening - enjoy your bloomers!