Friday, December 14, 2018

Chirstmas Porch...2018

This year I've really taken my time to decorate the house for Christmas time.  Doing it this way has really helped with enjoying the Holiday season so much more for me.  My kids are older now and my grandbaby is living in Washington DC - so focusing on each element of my home hasn't felt like a chore this year.  Decided that decorating with as much natural greenery has been a priority which also means I don't have to store the decor. Sharing today the front porch of my home....

 Keeping it simple this year, with winterberry and holly and a few found evergreen trees. Hope you are enjoying the holidays as well!

If you missed yesterdays post about my Favorite Things of 2018 - click here to see! 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

My top 10 FAVORITE THINGS in 2018

Merry Christmas!

I know you are like me and in the throws of preparing for Christmas.  Holiday decorating, organizing, purging, baking, planning and of course there is shopping.....!  Whether it be on-line or in stores - I hope you are taking the time to slow down and really enjoy this time of year. I know that isn't easy, but really it's something we all need to do - 

I have been wanting to share with you my FAVORITE THINGS of 2018 over this past month in hopes you are still searching for that perfect gift for someone in your life, or maybe this is for you! 

  • VAUX Portable Speaker/DOX Portable Battery Base for the Amazon Echo Dot retails for $49.95 & $39.95 (click on the links above - both are $10. off right this minute). Okay, I know there is two items in this first listing, but the two of these go hand in hand!  We love our Echo Dot and having both of these devices has made using the Echo Dot even more amazing!  We can take these anywhere in our home, I love love love using the speaker on our patio, outside while I am working in the garden, on the boat, to the park etc. and the portable battery base is so easy to tag along if you know you are headed out for an all day event.  If you have an Echo Dot in your life  or know of someone who does, these two devices make an excellent addition to it.  Did I mention these are both on sale right now?  You can order on Amazon too. But Ninety7 has the best price! 
  • Woodinville Sign Lady makes the most incredible signs, she is affordable and quick.  I've had her create a few customized signs for me this year to put up around the house depending on either my mood or the season.  She is so creative and talented - I found her on Instagram - you have to go see what she makes - you too will be sending in your order and lucky you if you are local to the Pacific Northwest to pick up your order in person! 
  • Capri Blue Spiced Cider Jar Candle from Anthropology- retails for $12. or $30. take your pick!  I have a few of both....this candle is simply amazing anywhere in your home. The fragrance is a mix of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon are layered over fresh apple and juicy orange. Burns so nicely without any black residue even when you are half way through the burning cycle.  It isn't to over or under powering in a house - its the perfect vibe for the holiday season October thru February! 
  • Stephen Rulo from Grace Rose Farm retails for $49.  Although I do not have this particular Rose yet....I certainly have it on my personal wish list. I have been following Grace Rose Farm on Instagram for over a year now and have been introduced to so many beautiful roses because of her.  Recently they opened an online store (click here to visit) where you can order hard to find roses to plant in your own gardens. You can also order fresh cut flowers to be delivered to your home and also they just introduced an all natural handmade skin care line inspired by the scents in their own gardens...YES PLEASE!  I do dream of visiting the farm someday as well and staying in a guest house. 
  • Growing Heirloom Flowers on Amazon retails for $14.68 is my absolute favorite book I have added to my garden library in 2018. If you follow me, you know how much I love old roses, but this book is about all old blooms - I love reading about flowers with a history and learn how to grow them in my own landscape. This book shares absolutely gorgeous photos and simple tips on how to propagate, divide, plant pretty much all of my favorite cottage flowers. (Think Grandmas garden!) Its been my go to book on several occasions this past summer and also has me preparing for next years blooms! This book has sweet crafting ideas and flower arrangement ideas as well. A gardeners dream gift, I swear by it! 
  • Wilshire Charm Adjustable Necklace from Gorjana retails for $55.  I love simple jewelry a piece that goes with everything and not too expensive.  I wear mostly silver and this is a perfect fit with just about everything I wear.   All the jewelry from Gorjana mixes so nicely together, so fair warning - it's hard to stop at just one item.
  • Rose 31 Eau de Parfum from Nordstrom retails from $80. to $184. I know it's a bit spendy, but when you wear something everyday and want a signature fragrance to say "it's me" this is fabulous.  I mentioned it to my husband for my birthday and he had to go downtown Seattle to have it compounded for me - the bottle even has my name on it.  The packaging is beautiful and the fragrance is divine.  If you are ever in Nordstrom, stop and take a sniff at any of the "Le Labo" fragrances, I'll bet you'll find the perfect one just for you too!
  • Sorel Janey Chelsea Boot from Amazon retails $119.95 I purchased mine from a boutique called "Hoity Toity" in Snohomish - if you try there, let them know I sent you! But because most of you are not local, I figured sharing a link where you can find these easily would be nice of me BECAUSE....You want these boots - think "extremely comfortable run around town muck boots"!  I did size up a half of a size because I wanted to make room for cute boot socks. These boots slide on so nicely - no cramming your feet in and having to wiggle a bunch to get them on like some others I have in the closet - I promise these slip on super nice with or without socks.  They are perfect for Seattle weather!  I have worn these boots so many times to run errands around town and have stepped in mud puddles and dirt and they have not leaked inside and they have been really easy to clean off the bottoms. They are slim fitting so it doesn't look like you have big clunky boots on and this may sound silly, but they are easy to drive in.  Not sure if I would wear them to garden because the high part of the heel is elastic honestly would want to ruin having comfortable shoes like these! They have been my new "go to" boots since August. 
  • MagGrip Vent Universal Car Mount from The Container Store retails for $9.99 Washington State passed the law awhile back that we will be fined if we have a hand held device in our hands while driving.  This amazing gadget easy to install - I placed the magnet between my phone and the case (no adhesive needed) so you can't even see the magnet.  The Grip piece mounts to your car vent and  is fully adjustable. Its so perfect, I bought one for every one of my kids and husband.  I feel so much better using the Mag Grip Vent Universal Car Mount - the phone is secure and tight to the vent piece while driving and makes viewing navigation and other hands free options on your phone easier than before. It seems to be compatible with all smart phones and cars. A safety necessity for sure! 
  • Circle Creek Home Bar Soaps retail for $7. each.  I have the most sensitive skin of anyone you will ever meet.  I was introduced to these soaps several years ago at a flea market in Seattle called Second Saturdays. Was super scared to try, but after multiple sniffs of beautiful scents and a promise from John and Brenda that I will not be disappointed I took home a couple to try.  I filled my bathroom apothecary jar up with the pretty papered wrapped soaps and placed one in the shower.  I was immediately hooked and still am - I like to share this company with other because of my own personal experience - the soaps are my favorites and so easy to shop on line and have sent to your home.  The bar itself lasts for a very long time - I'm thinking at least a month and a half of my husband and I both using the same bar in the shower.  I have not ever had one reaction and in fact my skin always feels so good after use. of course my favorite one right now is PEPPERMINT TEA TREE BATH BAR, It is perfect for the Christmas season! 
By no means are any of these in any particular order - they are honestly just my favorite things I've found over the past year that I have come to love and want to share with you.  I have not been personally compensated for any of the above items, they are truly just my favorite things of 2018!
xoxo, tracie 

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Side Note: If you are interested in collaborating with me in the future - please send me a private message by clicking here. I only share about items I have personally tried in my own home. There is no guarantee that I will share the items sent to me.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Fishtail Cottage Garden Journey from 2006 to 2018

My journey of the garden landscape here at Fishtail Cottage began in 2006 when we built our home here in Bothell Washington. I had to do a lot of forward thinking, as starting with a blank slate can be overwhelming.  I focused on my vision as if every inch of the garden was its own room.  I would stand, and sometimes pull up a chair to plan, scheme and dream about what I someday wanted to see.  I would go to different rooms of the house and stare out the windows so I could see what the view from inside would be  - all the while doing my best to focus on only one area at a time.  

I spent hours searching magazines and even more hours online looking at Pinterest for inspiration.  Writing down names of plants, trees and shrubs in a journal and then taking time to research each plant to decide if and where I would put it.  My three youngest kids were 2, 4 and 6 -  so I'd stay up late at night to do the research and make the most of school hours for time spent in working in the garden.  

I drove around neighborhoods to see what was blooming and took photo's of peoples gardens. This was back before I uploaded photo's digitally, so I would print the photo's and bring them into local nurseries who's staff would help me identify the plants in the pictures. I wasn't very seasoned of knowing plants, flowers etc when I first began this garden, I did have some experience from the garden we had in our previous home, but I really wanted to do this yard entirely my way  - The passion to learn kept me motivated and inspired. Honestly my knowledge of what to plant and taking care of what I plant came from trial and error.  

I found that it was way less expensive and easier for me to purchase online  - however when I ordered online I didn't really understand the size that I was ordering and because I was ordering massive quantities - I went with the least expensive option.  When I would receive my plants I would be disappointed that the photo I saw of this massive mature tree I saw online arrived standing only 6" tall.  My family had to laugh at what started out as a miniature garden, much like the ride at Disneyland. 

Here are few snapshots of what the garden looked like in 2006. The only thing I had help with in the beginning was having dirt brought in and laying sod and bark where I wanted it. We also had to hire someone to pour my cement steps where I wanted them. Now don't laugh that I had pots set out and teeny tiny flowers planted before anyone could say "go". 

Immediately we put up the picket fence and I got to planting.  Within the first week I realized I will never put bark in my gardens - I will only put high quality fertile mulch.  Doing so will save my hands, and knees from multiple splinters and will nourish the dirt we paid to have brought in. We also had to terrace an area of the back yard because of rain run off, which has since become my rose terrace. The gravel path along the side is now my flagstone path.  The side yard where you can see the bunny hutch is now my "Secret Garden". 

I've learned that buying small works out in the end because everything will grow.  I've learned that having a vision and being patient is necessary when you want to see your garden grow into something beautiful. I've learned that my favorite garden plants are Bleeding Hearts, Old Roses, Hostas, Heuchra, Bearded Iris and Boxwood.  I've learned not everything should be rounded in shape (which is what my eye was initially attracted to) and that textures of all different shapes should be welcome.  I learned that Evergreens are just as amazing as deciduous plants. I've learned that every landscape needs "good bones" - arbors, birdbath's large trees for focal points.  Garden art is amazing, but not too much, there is a difference between "focal points" in the landscape and "clutter". I've learned that just like rooms in your home, you grow and mature and it's okay to not keep everything - purging and replacing with something new is acceptable.  

I've also learned that this garden of mine has made me a better person. A better friend, wife and mom.  I am a nurturer, and want to try to please everyone, which I've learned is impossible....just as I can't please every plant I've planted.  The garden is my escape to do what comes naturally to me and care for it unconditionally. I've also learned I still have more dreaming to do.

Here are some updated photo's of the garden landscape to see how far it's come since 2006. 

Thank you for coming over to see this newest blog post about my garden journey.  Happy to answer questions & look forward to reading who came to visit. oxox, tracie