Browsing Tag


Food fun stuff


wild mushrooms, chanterelles, chaterelle mushrooms sauteed in butter



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.    chanterelles, wild mushrooms


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? 

chanterelles, cottage muskoka

My dad Marty Kosoy working on his beautiful Lily garden at the cottage

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Design Video


spring planter, design, garden pots, gardening, planters, how-to, spring


spring planter, design, garden pots, gardening, planters, how-to, springAfer a long cold grey winter, it’s so tempting to get carried away with all the pretty spring flowers. Trouble is, tulips and daffodils don’t last very long.  I adore the look of blue hydrangeas, but temperature fluctuations at this time of year mean they often die.   I’m a gal who needs bang for her buck.  So, if I’m going to spend anything, I want to enjoy my plant containers for months instead of weeks. That’s how I justify splurging on winter and summer pots like the ones I’ve shared with you on this blog.    So, the only time I ever go to the effort of making spring planters is if they can be cheap and/or easy (prefereably both). If you want more fab photos and info on the elements I used, click ‘continue reading’ (below).  Or, if  you just want to see the video demo of how simple these babies are to make, here’s the link to michelleswalnutkitchen easy spring planter demo.  Continue Reading

Design Video


Outdoor winter planters, front entry pots, winter front entry pots


Outdoor winter planters, front entry pots, winter front entry potsAppreciating the beauty of this season is easy after a fresh snowfall.   But, on those ugly, freezing, slushy grey days, I need a dose of PRETTY!   So, part of MY preparedness plan for the drudgery of these cold months is to indulge in beautiful winter planters.  Don’t laugh!  It’s a splurge that makes me happy and warms my heart.  When I see 2 pretty winter containers flanking each side of my front door, it’s the best welcome home hug I can think of.

Outdoor winter planters, front entry pots, winter front entry pots

Winter planters are THE best welcome home hug PARTLY because the window right beside them is where my dog Woody is always perched!

There are tons of beautiful, affordable pre-made winter pots out there.  But, I’m a sucker for those extravagant planters in the fancy neighbourhoods done by high-end florists. Unfortunately, they are WAY out of my league in terms of the price tag.  So, my compromise is to make them myself!  I love channeling Martha Stewart! It’s great to be outdoors, nice to be creative and it is satisfying to know you saved money by making it yourself.  The end result isn’t always perfect, but perfection is overrated.  Continue Reading

Design fun stuff


Easy garden pots, purple garden pots, large planters, garden planters, summer pots, summer planters, sunshine planters, sunshine pots



Time to get dirty and make pretty garden pots

Easy garden pots, purple garden pots, large planters, garden planters, summer pots, summer planters, sunshine planters, sunshine pots, gardening, front door potsAs 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.   Easy garden pots, purple garden pots, large planters, garden planters, summer pots, summer planters, sunshine planters, sunshine pots, gardening, front door potsMy 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!    Easy garden pots, purple garden pots, large planters, garden planters, summer pots, summer planters, sunshine planters, sunshine pots, gardening, front door pots

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

Design fun stuff


Winters are endless. The cold weather is BRUTAL

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.

IMG_3886 IMG_3893


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.


IMG_4153 IMG_4157 IMG_4161Materials list:

Large Leaf Boxwood 26 inch round wreath

Grapevine sphere

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!


IMG_4171 IMG_4172 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.



Materials List:

Triple Mix                                                           BC Cedar stems

Square boxwood wreath                                  Pine cones

Magnolia Tips                                                    Tall branches or birch logs

Leyland Cypress stems                                     Coconut shells

IMG_3523Fill 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. IMG_3526



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.

IMG_3894Finally 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.

For more ideas on how to create beautiful winter containers see my post and video demo called Front Door Winter Planters here.