Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I bought a million green trees at Christmas and my poinsettias won't die

I love all aspects of my little shop but one of my favourites as I have said many times before is the plants. They are running out the door right now as everyone starts the cabin fever shuffle. The growers at the greenhouses are getting used to seeing my face right now, as I tend to stop by bi-weekly looking for new goodies or stocking up on favourites.

This greenhouse stop also helps me stock up on vitamins and fight my February SAD issue.

Anyways to the point for this dreary morning.
What the heck do you do with all the green cypress trees you brought into the house at Christmas now that winter is coming near it's end. You got carried away and brought one home everytime you were at your favourite store, ahem Oliver and Rust or at the grocery store or a local greenhouse. It's ok. I did too and have 4 of them still living it up in my house.

Now, that is if you kept your tree alive long enough. Some of you, head of shame may have accidentally murdered your trees prematurely and that's ok, try again next year.

These lemon cypress trees actually love being outside in the summer with the humidity so if you just want to keep the tree potted, more power to you. Replant it in a great pot with some drainage and high quality potting soil and watch your tree flourish in bright shade all summer.

I got the idea to do a little snipping and planting though so,

here's what we started with.

these trees are really full at the base and can take over any arrangement quite quickly because of their size so get out the clippers.

gently bend your branches back to expose the trunk at a point a little more than halfway down and get as close as you can to the trunk and start pruning until you have

the tree looks great like this and repotted would make a sweet little topiary. aged clay pot, some green moss and this would be lovely with spring and easter decor.

of course we're going a few steps farther here

i used a big vintage enamel stock pot for this plant recipe. i stuffed the bottom with bubble wrap for 2 reasons, a little drainage and less waste of potting soil. 
no bubble wrap?
flip the growers pots over of the plants you will be using and throw the soil on top.

i choose the plants i would be working with and decided to combine the newly trimmed cypress with a flowering azalea, some trailing fittonia, and the ever graceful maidenhair fern.

they generally have the same water and light requirements so no one plant is going to be outnumbered here.

once you get everything together i gave it a good drink and a nice mist and filled in all the gaps with some reindeer moss.

the result is a vintage inspired spring centrepiece that can easily take us through the next few months. the azalea is just starting so will flower for quite some time but when it is done, you can remove it and add another flowering plant or turn this into a green explosion out on the patio.

you can see that if we hadn't given our little tree a trim it would have forced out the azalea and fern. the whole planter would have been a bit too full and not given the plants space to equally shine.

So now that your planter is finished lets address the other common comment coming in the door right now. This one just makes me laugh when people say it.
 The poinsettia thing I can't help you with. They aren't my favourite so I don't buy them but the comment comes from multiple shoppers that have these plants at home and are "trying to kill it", "it just won't die and i want something else now" because they want spring flowers but either their thumbs are too green or they have plant guilt.
Here's my tip, accidentally clean your house and move the poinsettia over the furnace vent and forget to water it, it'll be dead in a week and you can toss it without seeing it's happy face next to last nights scraps. 


Monday was a chaotic day and saw us fill the truck box and cab to the roof with new vintage (that is already running out the door.) and some awesome new pots again.
one of my favourite low light easy to care for plants that you can just see in this photo is the zz plant. it's the one coming up right under neath the card cabinet. there will be lots more use of this guy as the season gets rolling but just thought i'd sneak a photo of it in here.

Have a great day all,


Friday, February 19, 2016

Picking it up & putting it down... the paintbrush that is.

****late addition: the window that is shown in my furniture posts is unfortunately not for sale. after a few people have called and messaged i figured i should add that in here.***

It's been forever since I've shared a good before and after post here on the blog.
My poor furniture followers have probably jumped ship in all the store and home posts.

In between all the other shop fun, sewing and life of snow we are back in the middle of I got a burr in my shoe about finally getting back in the saddle of painting. It isn't and likely never will be the main part of the shop but, it is still something I really enjoy doing when time allows. I have a few custom pieces next in the hopper but this china cabinet has been sitting in our garage waiting for its turn at the brush.

As I said I have had this cabinet for awhile so I had a lot of back and forth about what colours to do it and because I don't get a ton of my own pieces to do anymore it was fun choosing. The size of this cabinet lends to being in a bathroom or even a bedroom rather than as a full scale dining cabinet so I wanted it to generally appear earthy and natural.

I went with my favourite paint General Finishes in Queenstown Gray and the interior was done in Seagull Gray.
It looks like a nice steel grey with a slight blue undertone with a pale grey inside.
I changed the hardware out to branch slice style ivory knobs on the lowers and bone pulls on the doors to compliment

and of course added some styling items. i only have the 1 teapot at home right now so made trev go clean it out while i was trying to style this the other night. oh life of being a blogging shop husband.

the inside of the doors are painted to match the interior so if someone wants to leave the door open for some reason it still looks good.


For anyone local interested.

This cabinet measures
67"h x 31.25"w x 14"d

It is 425.00 hardware included but not any of the staging items.

Have a great day everyone,


Wednesday, February 17, 2016


In a brainstorming session a little bit ago I had an idea to start a monthly post here on the blog to showcase some of the favourites in the shop.

I tend to find things and order in smaller chunks in the shop so there is always something new and for our regulars this keeps things interesting. Never too stale. 
But if you don't live here like we do it's hard to keep track of the new things coming and going as some run out the door just as fast as they come in.

So here's to the favourites for February.

5. our lovely coffee and curls knitwear
keeping your neck stylish and warm when the weather isn't cooperating.

4. plants plants but specifically snake plants
you can practically grow these in a closet they are such resilient little sculptures

and while we are looking at this photo, i am actively looking for this style of amazing pots with brass bases for the shop because i need one. it's keeping me up at night

3. caldrea body and home products.
jill is in love with the sea salt neroli and i love the basil blue sage (i've used it for years). a shop favourite seems to be the black lime coriander. the products are phthalate, paraben, DEA and sulphate free. They are made from plant derived ingredients and smell amazing. The room spray is safe for linens as well which is what I have been using it for at home. I spray my rugs and then vacuum, gives the whole room a great smell.

2. kubu rattan laundry baskets
alright so baskets could be on my favourites list all the time. even when we go antique hunting or picking i always end up with wicker baskets of some kind. these grey ones that just came in are the perfect size for use in their intended way, they also make great cat beds, blanket holders, who knows what else you can do with these beauties

1. rosy rings candle line
on the heels of my post about reusing those beauty candle containers, this line is a newbie already being well received in the shop. we have 4 fantastic fresh and earthy scents in honey tobacco, earl grey, sea salt and antique clove.

and because we mostly all love piles of pillows, new pillow covers, pillow everything.
i'll also be sharing a favourite combination of 2 that have shown up in the shop.
this month is a combination of a rusty caramel brown super soft velvet and a linen tone gorgeous botanical with birds and sewn with linen piping. this pillow can look dark or light fresh depending on the neighbouring pillow on the sofa. it's a win win for going from season to season.

Well thanks for stopping by everyone

As always,


Monday, February 15, 2016

It was one year ago.......

That our life for the foreseeable future would completely change.

We got the keys to our little shop on the 20 on Valentine's Day of 2015 so it has officially been in our possession for 1 year.

I thought it would be fun to go back and see how this shop started out for me, for Trevor, our family that have been listening to this rollercoaster ride and for our new followers that have only just found out about us in our great area.

The shop you know now did not start out looking as it does today.

our first viewing of the shop looked like a peach gone wrong office space with speckled black and white carpet. and it was freezing. the heat hadn't been on in almost 2 years but our minds were whirring with the possibilities.

we hadn't told anyone yet that we were thinking about it at this point as we didn't even know if we could afford to do this in our dream location of fonthill. sure the rent was cheaper lots of places like welland (where most business' struggle forever for some reason) or even port colborne but we knew where a store of our style needed to be.
we talked about it for almost a week before we shared the photos and ideas with my parents where i think i almost killed my poor dad with my rapid talk, ideas and everything that spelt out money and leaving the career i had worked so hard for. more than i will ever be able to share here.

our plain office space bathroom that to most should be just fine for a store space but i wanted more.

want want want it's an impossible hill to climb sometimes but with enough perseverance and planning it sometimes works out. not the way you thought in a million years but, it exceeds your expectations almost daily.

The first full day we had the shop I sat on the floor listening to the gentleman banging away at our furnace in the basement trying to bring it to life and planning.
planning first steps
planning parties at christmas
and feeling like i was going to puke

We spent the first weekend ripping out the brand new carpet much to the chagrin of our helpers who did not understand why I was removing perfectly good carpet. Sometimes it takes awhile to catch up to the plans in my brain [the squirrels as we lovingly dub them] but eventually the vision comes out and people can see it.

Then the floor fiasco that I suppose we can laugh about now but still should be close to a glass of wine when discussing the story as it was traumatic. My darling husband had to learn how to clean concrete, we have never been so worried about an outcome of something we did not know how to do and knew if we f-ed it up it was going to cost A LOT of money to fix.

We got it done after a week and then a week of drying and ended up painting the floor a bright shade of white which I still love this decision now.

We moved the monster counter I love and so many of you do as well in on a day much like this past weekend from Niagara on the Lake .

So many little bits and pieces fitting together, late nights between day jobs, setting up new accounts, crying, laughing and plain old excitement getting ready for our opening weekend. 

March 17 I pulled the trigger and ran, skipped, quit my way out of the job that had plagued me mentally for 10 years and never felt so good.

And then it came, our opening day.

we started with all the vintage we had collected over the years and had little in the way of big displays that we have been collecting over the past year like our huge postal sorter.

The bathroom underwent a huge transformation. An inspirational place to pee while you shop.

Oh how things have changed.
As I was going through all these photos I came across a lot of pictures of picking trips and vintage hunts Trevor and I have done and can't wait to get some time to do that again. The vintage comes and goes so quickly in the shop that sometimes it feels like we don't have any to me. Don't  worry though we're still hunting lots of vintage goodies with the new stuff.



So that concludes our little walk down memory lane. It's been a hell of a year. We are ecstatic to say that this little venture has been working out splendidly and we are hoping to be around for quite some time.

Thanks to all our lovely customers making this dream possible. 
Thank you to the man of my dreams who keeps the train on the tracks.
Thank you to the best employee managing sales associate full time squirrel taming multitasking ninja a girl could ask for in Jill.
Thank you to our friends and family for understanding when we periodically have to cancel or work through a dinner when things get crazy.

Have a swell day everyone


Friday, February 12, 2016

Speaking of orchids.....

So like I said, speaking of orchids!

It's one of those plants that so many people love. They last a good 2-4 months depending on your homes temperature and care patterns but a lot of people are scared of them.

Scared to screw up,
scared to murder the plant that cost anywhere from 15-35 bucks.

Let's learn instead of being scared.

Orchidaceae "Orchid"  is a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with blooms that are often colourful and often fragrant commonly known as the orchid family. (wikipedia)
The most commonly cultivated orchid plant is the phalenopsis (the orchids you see all over from the grocery store to your favourite florist/retail store [ ie. Oliver and Rust...]
This is the type we will deal with here.

Alright you're in the store and you want to bring one home.
Many grocery stores don't have these plants set up near a window so the belief is that they are living fine in here so they should be fine in the basement, right?
Not right.
Chain stores tend to buy plants and price them low as they assume they will move quickly and won't have a chance to die out prior to finding an adoptive plant parent.
Your orchid will need bright indirect light. They don't love being blasted with sun all day long in a window but do crave sunshine much like we do. The leaves can actually sunburn (although they don't get that fantastic lobster shade that humans do)

oh watering. the bane of most black thumbs existence.
when to do it? 
how much?

Easiest method: The ice cube treatment!
Once per week put 3 ice cubes on the plants dirt, bark media and let it melt.
Second method: Take the plant out of the fantastic container you have it in and hold the growers pot (the cheap plastic pot it came in) under your tap with room temperature-ish water and let the excess drain out the bottom. Once it mostly stops dripping put it back in your container.
Orchids don't like to have their roots be soaking wet so if you don't let it drain out somewhere other than its container and water sits around them, your orchid will reward you with quickly falling flowers, rotting leaves and general suicidal behaviour.

Now here's the tricky part. Some people like to heat their house like the dickens in the winter and it gets very dry so your plants will dry out quicker.
Are you getting zapped by static when you empty the dryer?
Yes? your house is dry!
You need to mist not only your orchids but your other tropical houseplants as well.
If you keep your house above 73 degrees fahrenheit and do not have a humidifier, you need to mist your plants 2 times per week as well. 

alright so this one is one of the most commonly asked questions in the shop.
How do I make it rebloom?
Well first and foremost remember after blooming your plant does need a bit of a "rest" but the best thing to do after all your flowers fall off is to trim the stalk that's left.

There are nodes on the stalk that held the flowers. Start at the bottom, there is usually a node (ripple like spot)  right near the soil/bark, go to the next one and cut it about an inch above that second node.
Your orchid will rebloom right out of this stalk.

Another point to consider is even though your plant is done flowering, it still has the light requirements it had when flowering, will like a few cool nights so pick the room with the most light and coolest temps like a second story room.

If your orchid doesn't rebloom, don't consider yourself a failure. It just doesn't always work out on the first shot. 

And hey remember your gorgeous flower lasted you quite some time and for 20 bucks even if you don't successfully rebloom it, you would have went through at least 2 or 3 bouquets in that time. Now you at least have a great green foliage plant too.

Other items of note. To fertilize or not to fertilize.
Well I am going to be honest. I have never never been great about fertilizing my indoor plants. I did just find an orchid fertilizer spray mister by miracle grow at Canadian Tire that I have been using. Easy peasy. That whole mixing thing was just never my thing.

And un-orchid related but these cute smoochy poo little pink and white kalanchoes popped up in the shop this week if you still aren't convinced of orchid growing.

So here's to Valentine's Day and growing some lovelies.

Keep warm and put some gloves on those green thumbs