27 December 2013

By special request . . .

We're throwing the shop doors OPEN one last time.

Saturday, December 28th 

Noon - 3

Seasonal Sale

26 December 2013

Hoping your days . . .

. . . have been MERRY and BRIGHT ~

THANK YOU for making our season so.  

What does remain you'll find today . . .  the Boxing Day sale begins at noon and by 4 p.m. it's done. 

The online BD pop up shop opens just after 4 p.m.

{photo:  http://mariamariaphotoblog.myfotojournal.com/}

10 December 2013

During this most magical . . .

of seasons,

 take time to create memories and embrace the beauty of winter.

{images:  http://www.pinterest.com/ufmc/}

Simple.  Beautiful.  Mindful.

06 December 2013

The magic continues

Has it really been that long since I've posted?  During this most glorious of seasons, it's all a matter of time.  There's just never enough of it!  After a fantastic and much appreciated Winter Open House, we've been furiously filling shop orders and working to restock ready-made wreaths and other goodies.  We're just about ready to open the pop-up shop (just a week late!) but we wanted it to be just right, overflowing with Moss Cottage goodness.  

Until then we're open in the shop until December 22nd during these hours:

Thursday . . .  11-7
Friday . . . .  11-5
Saturday . . . . 11-4
Sunday . . . . 12-4

Stay warm, blessings of the season go out to you all.

{image:  Ashley Kibzey.  Maria Maria Photography}

03 November 2013

It's beginning to feel . . .

. . . a lot like Christmas.  

How quickly the season's change.  

Here at Moss Cottage it is the season's that drive us, always.  While preparing this year's winter postcard, I came across flyer's prepared many (insert the word scary) years ago that I had written for our seasonal open house events.  The common thread, the common phrase . . . "Here at Moss Cottage we celebrate the season's not the holidays . . ." ran throughout them all.  The holiday's, lovely and celebratory, Christmas the most glorious of them all, but it got me to thinking . . . what is it about the seasons that were more important than the holiday(s) which fell within them?

Within the big world of retail, the "seasons" have become so rushed moving frantically from one holiday season to the next.  For me, a celebration of the seasons causes us, at least in part, to slow down, to embrace the moments, the natural environmental evolution that arrives, blossoms and then moves on, sometimes hurriedly, sometimes slowly, gently into the next.  Admittedly, some season's come so entwined with the holiday that falls within it's hard to separate the two, at least for a time.  In the end, it's the season that ultimately drives us here at Moss Cottage and it's why I continue to refer to the Christmas season as the Winter Season and why our seasonal vision is easily entwined, easy to live with throughout the holidays and beyond.  

The harvesting, creating, packaging are seriously underway as we work to welcome you to the Winter 2013 season.  We look forward to seeing you and have yourself a Merry little Christmas.  Cheers! 

The Winter Season begins . . .

Saturday, November 23rd, 11-5
Sunday, November 24th,  12-4

In the meantime, we were talked into participating in the Thunder Bay Art Gallery's Christmas House tour by the exceptionally talented Heather Cranston of the Harry Canary Company.  We'll be contributing to Heather's very creative, fun, real life vision of the Christmas House she is decorating for the tour and you can read all about it here.  

I just know you'll love Heather's vision.  It's a perfect reflection of the season.

Now, off to create . . .



30 October 2013

A little decor inspiration

Just a little kitchen inspiration from one of my favourite blogs . . .

Have an inspirational day!  

Now, off to harvest winter greens.

11 October 2013

Finding Grateful

 . . .

This weekend, allow time for finding grateful.  Enjoy a gloriously simple thanksgiving weekend.

{images:  http://www.pinterest.com/ufmc/boards/}

10 October 2013

A Gift

It's likely you know by now that the Flower, Soap & Honey festival scheduled for today has been cancelled because the flu bug latched on this past Sunday and took its time letting go.  'Nuf so that it was impossible for me to finish up and pull things together in that Moss Cottage way that you have become accustomed to.  Although we posted about it here on the blog and on our facebook page, I know that we weren't able to reach all of you and many of you ventured out in search of goodies as you always do.  I hate that you had to drive all the way out to discover us closed and to show how much I appreciate your continued support, I would like to offer you a gift in exchange for the let down at the end of the drive.  So, if you drove out to see us today, send me an e-mail with your name, time of your visit and what method we used to let you know about the cancellation once you arrived here and I will e-mail you a code to use for a discount coupon.  Simply present the discount coupon on your next visit.  The coded coupon may be used only once.

You have until Thanksgiving Monday.

Cheers, stay well.

08 October 2013

I can't believe it but . . .

. . . I have been down for the count with a nasty case of the flu.  What a season, seriously.  It  would appear that this bug is intent on keeping me down.  Sufficiently enough that I am going to have to CANCEL the Flower Soap & Honey Festival scheduled to go ahead this Thursday from 4 - 8.  I'm sooooo bummed out but the way this bug has me feeling, pulling it all together for you in the Moss Cottage way by Thursday at this point isn't even remotely possible.  It's a total bummer, it's just so beautiful here right now with the last of the autumn colours showing themselves, the perennial gardens still holding steady and the glorious sunshine forecast to appear again come Thursday.  Ahh, there is just so much out of my control!  Please share this message with anyone you know who was planning on or thinking of joining us. 

I will be hauling along some of the autumnal goodies to the Thunder Bay Country Market on Saturday so please do pop in and say hello.  

Ready to go Spiced Cider mix, hand printed tea towels, bunches of wheat and other seasonal drieds, small wreaths suitable for hanging or ringing a candle, and whatever else my mind has deliriously let slip away at the time of this writing . . .

I do so apologize and if I don't see you at market, have a gloriously grateful Thanksgiving and schedule your calendar for Saturday, November 23rd.  The winter season begins here come rain, snow, sleet, hail, or the flu!.


02 October 2013

I cannot be the only one . . .

noticing the fast pace at which autumn has chosen to show her true colours.  It may just be my imagination and technically someone is likely to correct me with the knowledge that we're right on schedule.  The telltale sign . . . the tamarack tree in my front yard began to show its golden glow about one week ago.  Almost always the last to turn and more noticeably following the poplar, the glorious birch, the stunning maple . . . the ever trustworthy tamarack appears to be in a bit of a rush.  Oh my, where has September gone?

Just a lot little behind schedule this fall, our harvest celebration, originally scheduled for September was postponed and we hope you will now join us for a brief but beautiful 
Autumn harvest celebration, just in time for Thanksgiving.  Originally and most deservedly called "The Flower, Soap & Honey Harvest festival" it was the intention to pull together all of the parts of the summer and early autumn season dear to my heart and celebrate the harvest of a Moss Cottage kind.  But as you have no doubt experienced yourself, the growing season was unpredictable with an early but killing frost, the humidity unusually high for a long period of time and the honey flow significantly diminished.  Not to be discouraged, The Flower, Soap & Honey Harvest festival will be and you shall not be disappointed.  A heart warming autumnal delight for the senses awaits, so please join us. 

You will indeed find flowers, soap and honey woven together in surprising and delightful ways, a lovely selection of simply thankful gifts, table decor and apple cider.  

Forever Grateful for you all,  

12 September 2013

In reply

. . . to those of you who have asked . . . we have asked that to be considered your work must not have been available in Thunder Bay before.  We will consider your work if you think it is unique and has been available in limited supply.  If in doubt, send an e-mail with a description and a few high res photos, we'll be in touch.  I appreciate you asking. 

Now, I'm off to harvest what I can from the cutting gardens.  There is a risk of frost overnight.  

{image:  http://www.pinterest.com/ufmc/boards/}

06 September 2013

H-E-L-L-O . . .

I've been waiting

It's hard to imagine that September is upon us.  Summer seems to have flown by, don't you think?  As an addicted urban flower grower I do love the summer season but by far I have an autumn soul.  While many find autumn simply as a not so welcome sign of the season which follows it, the colours, scents and crispness of the autumn air inspire me, rejuvenate me, cause me to reflect and to plan ahead.  

As the flower season begins to draw to a close, I have begun to harvest the garden for drying.  Most years would have seen me carting buckets of freshly grown flowers to the market, but the season is late and many of the gardens are just now showing their true and lovely blooms.  Watching for frost becomes a daily adventure.  So, rather than filling buckets for market, we're preparing for a flower season of a different kind and if you love flowers as much as I do I hope you will join me for a lovely harvest gathering.

We'll be back next week to share the details but lets just say it involves flowers, soap and honey.  

We're also looking ahead to that most glorious of seasons and our winter's vision is just so magical I can (almost) hardly wait!  This year we are seeking out creatively unique souls searching for a place to share their work.  If you or someone you know is a creatively unique artisan or crafter looking for a one-of-a-kind shop from which to share your work then we want to hear from you.  Moss Cottage will be accepting work for jurying later in September to be included in the shop during the winter christmas season.  If interested, 
e-mail me with information about who you are, a bit about your work with one or two high resolution photos.  Should your work compliment Moss Cottage and the lovely folks who visit Moss Cottage we'll let you know and see that you get the details you need to provide your work for the jurying.  
First and foremost, to be considered,
your work must be handmade of original design  (not from a kit or copied from another's work or idea) and not have been available for sale to date in Thunder Bay.  

Now, I'm off to feed the bees.  Have a gloriously inspired, rejuvenating weekend.  Be sure to pop back for the details of the Flower, Soap + Honey Harvest Gathering.

{Image:  pumpkin-harvest.com)

25 August 2013

Dennis the Menace

I feel like the Wilson's from the movie Dennis the Menace.  Oh how they covet that arum or corpse flower which is known to bloom only once every 40 years or something insane like that.  You know the scene of which I speak.  

 I  adore the free flowering varieties of Papaver (poppy) growing melodically throughout the gardens.  Single and double varieties in pinks, lavenders and the odd white.  The bees appear to adore poppies and the poppy seed head which follows is a staple in my cut flower bunches.  

Earlier this season, I became obsessed with Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape' poppy.

To learn more about Papaver somniferum check out THIS great post by my friend, Master Gardener and garden writer, Holly Rupert.

I discovered Lauren's Grape while scouring online catalogues searching for the perennial poppy, 'Patty's Plum' and was immediately smitten.  I was desperately searching for Canadian sources for the seed when I discovered it through the Gardenweb Forum.  

There, a fellow gardener generously shared seed from her Southern Ontario garden.  I was graciously delirious with happy when the seed arrived in the mail.  After fluffing of the garden soil in early spring, I broadcast seed in specific spots throughout the garden, spots I thought would go undisturbed by a busy gardener's hands.  I did not mark the spots upon which I scattered self-proclaiming that I would recall their location and the seeds would remain undisturbed during germination.  As the season progressed and the garden began to fulfill it's promise of a true and proper spring, the patches of poppy became covered with the ever increasing foliage of the surrounding plants and I promptly forgot where I had so carefully scattered.  

Having shared seed with two fellow gardener's to ensure a local supply of seed next spring, I cautiously inquired if the seed which they had so carefully sewn was showing signs of germination?  So far, not a sign.  

I was careful not to overweed or excavate the poppies which revealed themselves in areas which I thought might contain this precious commodity and watched my gardens closely.  

Now, after a full season in the gardens, Papaver, 'Lauren's Grape' has begun to show herself in full regalia.  She's just as I imagined. 

While I'm not throwing a party like the Wilson's, if you too love Lauren's Grape and have yet to see her in person, this is your chance.  You are invited to have a peek at her, she's growing in the potager garden at the shops entrance.  This heat will no doubt  bring her along quickly.  I have been watching her bloom all day long and I suspect that by tomorrow morning, she will be in full and stunning bloom. Luckily she has a few smaller sisters. 

The annual cutting gardens are also beginning to burst into bloom and while I now begin to watch the weather carefully for signs of frost, the gardens will be left to come along at what I expect will now be a fast and furious pace.  

If you are in the mood for a garden stroll . . .

Tuesday, August 27th  7 - 8:30 p.m.  

As a gentle reminder, there are honeybees and a large population of other bees on the property.  They are busy foraging for nectar and pollen and do so amongst the gardens and the grounds, including the grass.  If you are allergic to bees, please be prepared.  

Photos 1, 3, 4 & 5:  theurbanfarmchick.blogspot.com
Photos 2:  crocus.uk via therebloomsagarden.com

09 August 2013

Friday Inspiration

These persistant cool temps and rainy, gray skies turn my mind to indoors and unfinished projects that may just get my attention this weekend.  Bummer!

Organized inspiration.

Hmm, maybe I'll spend sommmme time outside searching for driftwood.

But then again, these lovely things are in season . . .

Whatever your weekend finds you doing, make it inspirational and let me know about it.

Cheers to the weekend. 

{source:  simplevintagecharm.tumblr.com, ba-interiordesign.tumblr.com}

07 August 2013


Moss Cottage

O P E N 

Thursday, August 8th & Friday, August 9th

1 - 4 pm

With REALLY  great DEALS for those who venture our way.  While summer is far from over, we are preparing for a really lovely early September event sure to bring a summers' smile to your face and we need to clear out and make room.  

Then, on Saturday, August 10th you will find us outside with all of those lovely veggie producers.  Don't forget the market has temporarily moved to the Labour Center on Fort William Road while the fair is in town.  

Nothing but sunshine coming our way . . .

{image:  http://pinterest.com/ufmc/boards/}

31 July 2013

Mid-summer's reflection

It's disheartening to realize that it's almost August.  After all, summer and all it's warm, sun filled glow has been fleeting.  

A challenging season for farmer's and growers, the honeybees and butterflies.

I'm hopefully optimistic.  Effective tomorrow, sunshine and blue skies from here on in (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
While we wait for the heat to return and the cutting gardens to burst into bloom we prepare for a very special August event sure to bring a summer smile.  

A quick stroll around the gardens this week reveals a lovely collection of perennial goodness, slow and steady growth in the annual cutting gardens, wind and torrential rain damaged delphiniums, mud puddles and nesting birds.  The peonies came and went, fast and furious.  One day they were barely in bud, the next in full bloom, the next, rain soaked and done.  

We are closed this Sunday, August 4th, hoping to enjoy the second last long weekend of the summer, BUT you can join us here tomorrow, THURSDAY, AUGUST 1st from 1 - 4 pm.  
Enjoy this mid-summer's day special where almost everything is 25% off.  

On Saturday, August 3rd, you will find me at the Thunder Bay Country Market which has temporarily re-located to the Labour Centre on Fort William Road (across from Intercity).  And, I will have a guest sharing my market table . . . my husband Brad will be joining me with his wonderful pottery.  Yay!  

Now, off to do some weedin' and such . . .

{images:  theurbanfarmchick.blogspot.com}

25 July 2013

Simple ordinary beauty

I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Holly's lovely garden last week.   

While there were many beautiful views to be had that day, the sun was blazing in the early summers sky which made taking photos a particularly challenging event (for me), but these blueberries made my day.  I think I need to grow blueberries.

{images:  theurbanfarmchick.  Verse:  pinterest}

And, as promised, the culinary lavender has arrived so here's the recipe:

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

6 cups wateer
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 T lavender blossoms
1 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

In saucepan bring water to a boil.  Add sugar, reduce heat, stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat, stir in lavender blossoms.  Steep 30 - 60 minutes.  Strain.  Stir in LJ.  Cool, serve with crushed ice.

18 July 2013

Rain or shine . . .

Moss Cottage is open Sunday, July 21.  Join us for a stroll we're open 10 - 4.

Some lovely summer specials await along with a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade.

Here's to rain, lemonade and bursting into bloom.

{Images:  google, google, theurbanfarmchick.blogspot.com}

11 July 2013

Hello Summer . . .

So far, summer has been crazy busy and hugely challenging.  In any other year I would whole heartedly welcome the soaker rains that continue to come.  This year . . . not so much.  Thank goodness for raised garden beds which have allowed me to get cutting flowers planted to some degree.  Unfortunately the flower field remains almost entirely unplanted and what has been planted I suspect will not survive this latest deluge.  Let's just say you pretty much need rubber boots!  It has however, forced allowed me to consider the possibility of all raised beds.  Hmm, we'll see how that goes.  

On the other hand, the perennial gardens are loving these good soaks.  I've managed to replace winter's loss, I'm working on reclaiming the shop potager which got entirely out of control over a two week period while a robin, nesting on the beam above the shop studio entrance, dive-bombed any who dare enter the surrounding area.  The annual cutting gardens which have been planted in the raised beds are coming along nicely but overnight temps of 8 & 9 degrees are holding them back.  In any event, we're almost ready for OPEN GARDEN days, so stay tuned to the blog for random dates and times for a casual stroll about. 

The honeybees have been keeping me immensely occupied with their swarming tendencies.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are all done with that and have settled in.  They too are feeling the effects of a nutty spring and early summer season.  Much more experienced beekeepers than I suspect it is going to be a tough and slim honey season.  Don't get me wrong, swarming isn't all bad ~ it allows me to increase the number of hives in the apiary.  The unfortunate thing is the time consuming nature of re-hiving the swarm and the reduced honey production that comes with a new hive.  They will be busy rebuilding a (hopefully) strong hive before the winter season arrives once again. 

Luckily for us, we have had the lovely pleasure of family and friends visiting, taken in the Blue's Festival, a beautiful drive to Grand Marais, MN and a few lazy moments when time allows.

The only thing certain at this point is that the summer season seems to hurry by.  So, whatever is good for your soul, find the time, make the time and do that.  

{images:  agirlsgotarighttodream.tumblr.com}

03 July 2013

Fuel for my . . .

. . . white, grey and wood addiction.

The vision for the new foyer entrance is becoming more clear.

Did I ever tell you that I have a "thing" for white bowls.  Especially vintage ones.  I love the hooks under the shelf to hold pitchers and things and all those vintage boxes could easily hide "stuff", don't you think.

Still working on the master bedroom makeover but it has come to a grinding halt since gardening season which leads me to a little tale . . . after a busy outdoor working long weekend, the hubby and I finally plunked our butts down in front of the tube to watch an old movie (we love old dusters and black and whites).  The evening sun beamed through the living room window casting a light upon the side of the tube revealing what appeared to be a cobweb to which I asked, "is that a cobweb"?  The hubby replies, yes it is and I'm going to do a post on your blog about it and I'm going to call the post "Gardening Season".  

Each spring he half jokingly comments . . . I'll see you in September! 

Happy gardening and never mind the cobwebs.  They will still be there when gardening season is done!

(Images:  okay, I goofed and by the time I got to posting I had forgotten where I sourced these great photos.  If you know, please give a shout out and I'll correct it}

01 July 2013


For Fiona . . .

June 21, 1957 - July 1, 2008

 For those of you who have ever provided end of life care to someone you love, this recollection I find with me today may be something you can appreciate.  Funny and sad and loaded with memories.

Fiona loved her Tim's coffee.  Altered by comforting care, she reached over, pressed her nurse's call button and said "I'll have a large double double".  Mere moments later, "Cancel that"!

We laughed so hard, we cried. 

Gone but never forgotten.  Happy, sad and every other memory in between.

To sisters . . .

{Source:  pinterest}

28 June 2013

And time how she flies . . .

 . . . and then, it's July!  
The sunshine is all set, the rest is up to you.

Enjoy a fabulous July long, see you next week.

* * * 

{images:  thelittlecorner.tumblr.com, agirlsgotarighttodream.tumblr.com}