That is the question I repeatedly asked everyone and myself all weekend. Chanterelles are the Rolls Royce of mushrooms and found on the menus of the fanciest restaurants in town. They caught my eye mid-week at Fiesta Farms for 2 reasons. Cha-ching! They’re super pricey and second, they have a really strange cap (rippled and uneven- not circular) and a unique colour – sort of similar to egg yolks.
Fast forward to the weekend and I stumbled on what I suspected were those very coveted mushrooms! But this time the strange shaped fungi were in the ground all around me. This summer has been so rainy and damp that my parents’ cottage property is carpeted with all kinds of fungi. And lots of them have that signature gold colour. Are these edible chanterelles? Or are they deadly? Had I uncovered treasures amongst the pine needles and decomposing leaves?
My dad Marty Kosoy working on his beautiful Lily garden at the cottage
Years ago, when I was still working at HGTV, we had to come up with a title for a new craft show. This show was going to blow all others out of the water. It would be unlike any craft show because it had edge. (I know, that sounds a little ridiculous). We all wanted to call it “Craft Addict” but alas, the ‘higher ups’ said no because it was too close, they thought, to crack addict. At least now I can put the term “craft addict” to good use! 🙂 But, seriously, I never considered myself to be a ‘crafty’ type of gal. Far from it! But, as you can see, I got a little carried away with these DIY mason jar gifts. I’m thinking they are going to make great treats for Valentine’s Day!
A while back, when I shared my granola recipe, I included a picture of my go-to breakfast cereal in a mason jar. It was all ‘dolled up’ with some fancy paper and bows. To my surprise, some lovely people actually reached out to say they would pay me to make some pretty mason jars to give away as gifts. How unexpected! How strange… because I think it brought out this dormant crafting bug I think I caught! Oh! Oh! Does this mean I will be scrapbooking soon? Help!
So, off I went to Michael’s to stock up on supplies. I entered another world. I went to town on labels, craft paper, jute twine and ribbon. Made a couple batches of cereal, put them all together and was pretty pleased with the end result. What fun! I thought, “Hey, if I can do this, anyone can”.
So, in case you want to see how easy it is to jazz up a jar to make anything more enticing, check out my DIY mason jar demo (below)! Here’s what you’ll need for each mason jar: craft paper cut into an 8”x 8” square, 30” of ribbon and 1 label.
As much as I love travelling and going out (especially to dinner), I’m a homebody. One of the simple pleasures for me is getting my hands dirty in the garden. Hey, can you blame me? I worked on a fair share of gardening shows at HGTV for over a decade. My son, Alex and I are experimenting for the first time since he was a little boy. We planted some vegetables together on Mother’s Day. Fingers crossed that the raccoons, squirrels and abundant shade don’t lead to their demise! What I haven’t done until now, is plant my summer flower garden pots. Every year I like to try something new. I’m SO thrilled with the way they turned out that I just had to share what I did!
It’s a great creative outlet to choose the combination of flowers and greens. Before I commit, I usually scout around the neighbourhood and take pictures of planters I like. I also make a trip to the garden centre to scout out prospects and to get inspiration. As with any design choice you make inside OR out, when selecting the plant material for your garden pots, it’s important to factor the colours surrounding the exterior of your house. Choose plants that are complementary to the existing shrubs, trees and flowers, as well as the roof shingles and paint trim of your windows and doors. For me, the biggest challenge is working with the colour of the orangey brown bricks of my house. I’ve always been partial to blues and purples. In the spring I love the lilac hue of Phlox and lighter violet blue pansies. For summer, though it’s not always easy to find those calming colours. Continue Reading
And that’s why THIS is the season to go all out on your containers with something pretty
They really do bring a little warmth and sunshine your way every time you walk in and out of your home during the frigid months. Or, at least they do for me.
So, if you haven’t already got your outdoor pots planted, then rush out this weekend while the weather is still mild!
We are all busy, especially at this time of year, but since there are so many options, there’s no excuse! The easiest, (but not necessarily the cheapest OR most attractive option) is obviously to pick up a pot that has already been arranged. BUT, if you want to enjoy a creative and meditative exercise, why not try making your own pots the old fashioned way! Creating something beautiful is fun, easy and so satisfying. I like to do something more elaborate for the front door and something simple in the back.
SIMPLE 5 MINUTE BACKYARD CONTAINER (easy peasy!)
Large Leaf Boxwood 26 inch round wreath
Copper LED bundle Lights
For this traditional cast iron pot, you don’t even need soil! Place the wreath around the circumference of the planter. It literally took me 5 minutes to wrap the lights around the sphere. Then, place the sphere on top of the wreath and voila! Done!
I didn’t want to go to the expense of buying outdoor lights, so instead I got the indoor battery powered variety. To protect it against the elements, I placed the battery pack in a Ziploc baggie and then placed it in a plastic container so no moisture can get in. I just turn it on manually when I want to light it up. So pretty at night!
Tip: Save your grapevine sphere, pine cones, logs, coconut shells etc. They are expensive and should be recycled every year. You can add new things to your collection slowly.
DECADENT FRONT DOOR CONTAINERS
Triple Mix BC Cedar stems
Square boxwood wreath Pine cones
Magnolia Tips Tall branches or birch logs
Leyland Cypress stems Coconut shells
Fill your container with Triple Mix, place the wreath around the circumference of the container and start by placing your tall branches or birch logs in the centre to anchor the arrangement and give it height. It’s good to use an odd number of branches or logs. Since logs are big, I’d use 3, but since my branches were thin, I used 5.
Then start filling above and below the wreath. Use, the taller, sturdier BC Cedar and Cypress stems in the centre around the tall branches(or birch logs), and use the smaller droopier stems below the wreath so they drape down. Be sure that everything you place in the pot is firmly planted in the soil.
Then, take the magnolia tips and place them at the base of the tall branches and fill in the gaps around the wreath. I like to showcase the brown part of the leaf instead of the green part for contrast. Then fill in any remaining gaps with more greenery.
Finally place the pine cones and coconut shells at strategic points in the corners and centre. Once the arrangement is full and you are satisfied, spray it with Wilt Pruf which reduces the loss of moisture and will enable the greenery to last until the end of winter. (although don’t use it on silver fir and juniper berries because they will lose their colour). It’s crucial to water your pots well until the temperatures dip and the earth freezes. Once it freezes you don’t have to water it anymore. That’s it!
As we get further into the deep freeze, with snow and icicles forming, the plant material in your containers take on a different look and shape.
It’s just another way to embrace and celebrate the beauty of those winter months.