Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rocking around the Christmas Tree

at the Christmas party Hop!

I'm so behind I've decided to forget the whole "Keep Calm & Carry On" adage and just go into full blown panic! (Which sometimes manifests itself by loud, off tune singing of Christmas music).

I know Christmas comes at the same time every year but why does it seem that this year it's sooner than ever?

I've received quite a few calls about last minute gift ideas so here are a few suggestions - scented and unscented whipped shea butter. It's easy to spread and the perfect cure for dry skin (I use it all the time on mine because it starts to resemble the Sahara Desert once Winter sets in). Don't forget No-Crack Hand cream , a great stocking stuffer especially with the cold and flue season upon us. Treat Your Doggyness to a jar of Sally Ander Dry Dog Shampoo, for when he or she starts to smell.

Great Gift Basket ideas: Chocolate Truffles and Biscottis, Relaxation and Spa baskets, and much more. They also make a great hostess gift. And yes, we do deliver (for a price!).

For those of us who're remembering our loved ones who've passed, consider evergreens. This year, to commemorate what would've been my Dad's 80th birthday (he passed in 2001) on Dec 23rd we're hanging an evergreen wreath on our french doors. The doors open out to our back deck and boast a glorious view of the Norwester mountains - he loved sitting out there when he visited in the summer. If you'd like to send a sympathy tribute consider an evergeen wreath or our fresh evergreen headstone saddles.

On the decorating front, refresh your traditional Christmas decora with Faux evergreen wreaths, garlands and branches; if you prefer fresh, we have a small selection of real wreaths - square evergreen and magnolia, small red willows, large red pine and Magnolia with Birch twigs, and Green Moss wreaths.

We also have a lovely selection of ribbons by the yard which are great to pair with plain brown paper for a wrapping creation all your own.

I'd love to see what you've done with your decor, so do send me some pictures. I'll feature them in January on the blog.

And if you've left the impossible person to buy for last on your list, email me - I'm sure I can help.

Hours this week:

Sunday, Dec. 20, Noon to 5
Monday , Dec. 21, and Tues. Dec. 22nd, Open by appointment, Phone 475-3551
Wednesday , Dec. 23rd. 11-6
Thursday, Dec. 24th. 11-4

See you soon!


ps. Here's what's on my Christmas wish list - a virtual assistant. They exist and I'd really like one!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On

This motivational slogan developed by the Brits during World War II was developed to offer reassurance during a time of great fear and stress.

I find it particularly à propos as we enter the final weeks of Christmas. We have 21 days of intense shopping, baking, cleaning, and decorating as we prepare for the invasion by family and friends.

However the holidays are also about giving, sharing, reminiscing and all that good stuff so folks, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” because I’ve a plan that may actually let you enjoy the holiday preparations!


It’s always a rush, knowing you’ve found the perfect gift for your special someone; whether it’s your girly daughter who’s into lotions, potions, and soaps or your control-freak fiancée who prefers gift cards because you couldn’t possibly know what she really wants.

Come to our Winter Wonderland Show & Sale on Friday December 4th & Saturday December 5th and discover the treasures that abound. Choose from:
· Monogrammed Linens
· All things Lavender
· Handmade Soaps
· Gifts for your Doggyness (or in our case the Dogfather as he’s soon to be a Grandfather)
· Customizable Gift Baskets


I find something intrinsically comforting, a sense of all being well with the world, when I see a Christmas tree replete with ornaments and lights. Maybe because it transports me back to simpler times – Santa, wishes, helping my Mum decorate the (excuse for) a real pine tree that my Dad had managed to find. (Pine trees aren’t native to Guyana).

Whether you’re thinking about recreating Christmas’s of your childhood or starting new traditions, consider our fresh and faux wreaths and garlands; fragrant evergreens, symbolizing enduring love and hope for a fruitful year ahead, are a lovely touch to spruce up planters and urns.

Ask me how to pair ribbons and bows with unusual wrapping paper, greenery, fruit, and flowers to create opulent and unique displays that shimmer and sparkle.

Hint Hint Cards

As a teenager, after my parents and siblings had immigrated to Canada, my sister would methodically compile her Christmas list and give a copy to everyone. She figured this way she’d get things she really wanted, rather than having to fake pleasure at things she didn’t want.

Our Hint Hint cards allow you to do the same thing in a much more elegant and graceful manner. Simply list the item you desire, include the name and email address of the person you’d like to receive it from, and we’ll make sure they get the hint.

Come out to the Camellia and be inspired by nature’s decorations of snow drifts and lush evergreens to create your own Christmas Winter wonderland in your home.

Show & Sale
Friday, Dec. 4th, 2009 11-8
Saturday, Dec.5th, 2009 11-5
Additional hours by appointment.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Santa's Newest Helper

Christmas is truly a magical time - a time of giving; a time to show our appreciation for each other; parties and bubbly.

It can also be extremely stressful.

Let us help you ring in the holidays with our
Holiday Decorating & Gifting Service.

We have garlands for draping over doorways, mantels, staircases, and decks. What about doing up your planter boxes and Garden Urns in evergreens?
We also make Wreaths & Swags of magnolia, birch, alder, and red willow. Our garlands and wreaths are made fresh from local evergreens, red and white pine, cedar, and balsam.

For me working with fresh evergreens helps me forget the stress of the holidays. Grab some friends and come out to the country for a wreath-making class; the smell will whisk you away (at least for a little while).

We have unique and useful gifts for your clients, staff, and business partners like a jar of No-Crack hand cream, perfect for dry hands (and especially perfect given the flu season). Boxed, gift-wrapped, and delivered to your door or shipped to your destination - what could be easier?

In fact we even have a present for you – a free 1-hr co

Please call us at 475-3551 to schedule your free custom consultation and see how our Holiday Decorating & Gifting service can work for you. We are booking consultations through November 30th.

We're also at the Artisans Northwest show at The Valhalla Inn, Saturday Nov21st and Sunday Nov 22nd so come out and see us if you can. Remember that your best selection of products is at our store location on Hacquoil Rd, a scenic 10 minute drive form The Airport, south on Hwy.61, left on Hacquoil Rd. Phone ahead to check our hours.

See you in the country.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays: Self Care

As a kid who hasn’t heard the refrain “make sure you wash your hands before…”? It was always such a pain because invariably I’d forget and get totally involved in what I was doing only to be interrupted by my mother or the maid saying “Camille did you wash your hands?” I’d contemplate lying for an instant before I’d sigh, decide it wasn’t worth the trouble, then go wash my hands.

Now with flu and H1N1 prevention being top of mind, washing my hands is almost as essential as breathing. The downside is that my hands can sometimes feel like sandpaper…not so attractive.

The upside: No-Crack Cream.

Containing allantoin, camphor, menthol, lanolin, corn oil, and urea, along with alcohol based sanitizers, the No-Crack cream works to moisturize the dry area and helps to restore natural oils.

“I am a physical therapist in a hospital. I wash my hands so frequently at work they quickly become dry and rough to the point where my fingertips will crack. I’ve tried numerous lotions, balms, etc. over the years, but always find them too greasy or the fragrance overpowering or it quickly washes off. I seldom “endorse” a product, but your hand cream certainly meets my needs.” K. L., Forks, WA.

Call or email me if you’d like a free sample.

In keeping with the prevention theme we also have essential oil blends as well as various elements to help you recreate a spa atmosphere within the privacy and comfort of your own home. Deepak Chopra says it best, “The mind and the body are like parallel universes. Anything that happens in the mental universe must leave tracks in the physical one.”

It’s amazing how much stress can impact on our well-being. I sometimes think we wear our busy-ness and stress like a badge of honour – “you think you’re busy? Well I have blah blah blah…” And the more we race to get everything done, the worse it is for our health and well-being.

Anyways, quick tips to keep you vital, help you reenergize, and stay in good health:
- Designate a room within your home (and only pick the bathroom if you’ve 2 in the house) for your treatment
- Make a date with yourself for at least 15 mins
- Place a few drops of essential oil in the diffuser of a cool mist vaporizer or warm air humidifier
- Gently lay a heated flaxseed and lavender pillow on the tense areas of your body
- Inhale deeply, allowing yourself to drift away to your happy place (for me it’s a tropical paradise)
- Breathe deeply, using deep diaphragmatic breaths, letting the belly rise up as you breathe in, and fall as you breathe out (note: do not tangent and think disparaging thoughts about your belly).
- Continue this deep breathing process for as long as you can, ideally to the soundtrack of water lapping on the seashore.

In stock right now: Peppermint (my favourite and great for getting me energized), Litsea Cubeba (similar to Lemon Verbena), Eucalyptus Radiata, Orange, Sinus Clear (fantastic for allergies), Respair Synergy, and Warming Winter Synergy.

Well I’m going back to the battle…ok not quite…I’m going to stretch and then back to the frontline (blind consultation, custom arrangement for a front foyer, and the list goes on).

Escape the bustle of your life…come out to the country (experience my hustle and bustle and I guarantee you yours won’t be as bad...oops there I go again wearing my badge).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Preparing for winter

This summer, my youngest son decided to take on the enormous job of redoing a pond (like most things we didn’t realize how long it would take) that had fallen in due to neglect and ignorance.

One week later, countless hours, numerous squabbles, and much questioning out loud about “whose idea was this anyway,” it was finished.

Soothing sounds of running water now wafted into our bedroom window.

It was a huge hit with my niece who visited this summer.

But here’s the thing – what do you do to winterize your pond? I’ve removed the pumps and drained some of the water out. We don’t have any fish (I couldn’t handle any more dependents) and all the information out there seems geared to keeping your fish alive in your outdoor pond.

If you’ve any ideas for winterizing a fish-free pond with a hard liner, please email me or post a comment.

I was wholly unprepared for that first bit of snow so I’m going to rewind and pretend it didn’t really happen. (Wouldn’t it be nice if that actually worked in real-life?)

Consistently plummeting night-time temps are a good indicator that it’s time to take look at your outdoor garden planters.

Winterize your outdoor planters in 5 easy and inexpensive steps:

Remove the dead foliage

Gather up balsam, pine, and whatever other Evergen boughs and twigs are readily available.

Dampen the soil in the planter, cut the stems off the evergreen boughs and twigs, and stick them firmly into the soil. When the soil freezes everything stays in place and your planters (or hanging baskets) now look like this:

If you don’t have bundles of balsam, pine, red willow, and magnolia readily available give us a call to order; if you’re not a DIY-er (like my sister…her philosophy is why do it yourself when you can just get someone else to do it for you), we’ll come over and do it for you.

This year I plan to grow winter garlic as part of our new commitment to knowing the origin of our food (it’s a small step but a step nonetheless). I’ve bought the bulbs and am planning on planting them very soon as it’s definitely the right time to get them in the ground.

Drain all water from your bird baths, garden statuaries, and decorative birdhouses to avoid cracking and breakage. Make sure there is no water left in them, to avoid cracking and breakage.

If you’re a bird lover or you’re looking for inexpensive entertainment stock up on birdseed as this is the time they’re scouting for winter backyards. A great gift idea for the bird lover in your life is our Gift Sunflower Seed Bag, sewn up in lime burlap and filled with sunflower seeds. If you’d like to encourage your child or grandchild to appreciate nature add a hand made birdfeeder.

And if you’d like an indoor reminder of the summer (that wasn’t) consider our hand-made, wooden decorative birdhouses with tin roofs – they also make a great place to drape your necklaces.

What are you doing to winterize your backyard and garden?

On a slight tangent we’re selling a few of our props - a lovely antique steamer trunk. Here's an open and closed view:

Also up for grabs is an old-fashioned Kenmore washing machine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Flower Power

Never underestimate the power of flowers!

No, not the whole hippie movement, counter culture, Vietnam War flower power!

Literally the power of flowers.

Their colour and scent can lift you out of funk, lend an elegance and warmth to your space, and German scientists think their scent can help us to have sweet dreams (literally).

Take a moment and think back to the spring (I know it feels like winter for most of us)...close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture it - your garden awash and alive in various bursts of colour, or your local farmer's market with buckets of gaily coloured flowers, all shapes and sizes. Slowly exhale.

Don't you feel better?

There it is...the power of flowers.

If you're still doubtful plan a trip to the Netherlands - they are the major supplier of flowers to Europe, North American, and South America. In fact, flowers and the flora culture industry generate over $3 billion dollars annually, making it the economic backbone of the country.

I'm lucky enough to have relatives there (yay for in-laws) so I've had the luxury of traveling there a couple of times and each time I land, it's the same feeling - that sense that no matter what, it's ok.

You land at the the airport in Schiphol and it feels like you've stepped into a fairytale, surrounded by gardens of flowers - tulips, carnations, camellias, and a host of other flowers. Airport display screens boast flowers; every store (apparel, restaurants, gift shops) has a gorgeous flower creation (it really is an art form) outside, enticing you to come in. Even the cleaning carts are adorned with tulips!

I find them such a a joy to behold but I've clients who've "confessed" to foregoing their fresh flowers and relegating their faux flowers to their closet because they don't think there's a place for them amidst clean, contemporary design. All the while, they may just need to be rearranged into cleaner lines, maybe a stunning glass vase.

If you love fresh flowers, but don’t like the mess and the work involved you may want to try our Faux Botanicals. They are incredibly life-like, and little is required of them except an occasional blow-dry on a cool setting.

On the off chance that you're ahead of the game (and if you are please tell me how you do it) and are considering Christmas presents (I'm shuddering just typing the word) a Gift certificate towards a Custom botanical arrangement would be an interesting option for all your hard to please giftees.

Well the weather forecast actually calls for sun this weekend so take a well-deserved break, go for a Fall drive and stop in and vist us on Hacquoil Rd. If you've the time, might I suggest meandering over to Belluz Farms and the Cheese Farm on Boundary Drive, as well as, the De Bruin’s Greenhouses for farm fresh Veggies.

See you soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving??? Seriously???

Do you remember as a kid the amount of time you’d just sit around, moaning about how bored you were, or how you couldn’t wait to be grown up?

Now that I’m all grown up I moan about never having enough time to do everything that needs to be done. The long, leisurely summer days of my childhood have long given way to to-do lists, lots of frantic racing around trying to get everything done, and constantly trying to stay one step ahead of this crazy thing we call life

So imagine my surprise when I get the phone call about “Who’s hosting Thanksgiving dinner?”

How is it possible for time to have whizzed by to the point where it’s Thanksgiving? Any chance someone made a mistake? Had their calendar been turned to the wrong month??

I often think that it would be better for Canadians to hav
e Thanksgiving at the same time as Americans. It would buy us all a few more weeks to give some thought to the important stuff…like how to decorate your dinner table!

Have you given any thought to how you’r
e going to decorate your dinner table?

For those of you who have no time to shop (read most all of us), use what you have on hand – backyard foliage, fruit, and tea lights.

Step out into your backyard; take a deep breath and relax for moment as you look around at the explosion of colour. Then harvest as much of that colour as you can and bring it inside.

Place a runner down the middle of the table, grab whatever fruit you have in the house, along with some candles or tealites.

Gently lay your foliage down, then your fruit, and scatter your candles in holders in-between.

If you’d like something fragrant, try Aromatique's candle
s – Cinnamon Cider, Pumpkin Spice, or Creme Caramel – to add to the warmth of your home. Other ideas - teensy weensy pumpkins or acorns look fantastic in a glass vase with a battery-operated tealite.

Simple, yet quietly elegant, are our beautiful Fall wreaths – perfect to welcome your guests into your home.

For a bit of fun add our custom Hell’s Kitchen (my son’s favourite cooking show) tea towels.

Thanksgiving weekend hours are limited to Saturday October 10th from 11-5p. Please be in touch for any last-minute requests/emergencies/advice…

This year I'm not too worried about surviving Thanksgiving because (thankfully) I'm not hosting dinner. My personal survival tips:
  • thaw your turkey a few days in advance (my sister learned this the hard way)
  • do as much prep as you can the night before (chopping vegetables, etc)
  • get everyone to bring a side dish (if there are different cultures present then bring a cultural dish)
  • if things get tense at any point (just in case), relax and take hope in the fact that dinner is temporary...everyone is going to leave very soon!

This year I’m grateful for my family, my health, my life in general, and the fact that I’m not hosting Thanksgiving dinner!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the Illusion of Control

Brian Andreas, an American mixed-media artist, is known for the StoryPeople objects he makes using salvaged wood from old homesteads and includes a short story.

I've a number of his prints in my store including my personal favourite - the Illusion of Control, “If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control. But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.”

Like most of us, I like the illusion of control so I try to hold onto the handle at all costs.

I make to-do lists on every scrap of paper I can lay my hands on. Not to mention several day-planners and countless notebooks. In fact, I’ve been known to make lists about my existing lists when I’m really desperate.

Thing is, you’ve to be a bit of “list-freak" when you work at least two seasons ahead of everyone else. It’s the only way to stay on top things.

Currently I’m harvesting as much as possible before the first frost comes, gathering a variety of leaves, branches, flowers, and just about anything I can get my hands. I’ll experiment with them once they’re dried and transform into gorgeous Fall and Christmas Wreaths like this one:

Most of us deal with a fair degree of chaos in our lives and of the things I find helps immensely is coming home to an uncluttered space. If you struggle with recalling what your floor or dining room table (in my sister’s case) looks like, consider Baskets or Containers with lids and labels.

I’m South American and like most South Americans I’ll get undressed and put my clothes away – who knows what could get into your things if you leave them on the ground. After all a scorpion or another bug may crawl in, not to mention weather elements – maybe a rain storm that results in flooding.

My husband is North American – invariable he’ll get undressed and throw his clothes on the floor. There they’ll sit until he’s looking for something or another and it’s in his pocket. After 30 years of marriage I’ve finally hit upon a solution that works: placing a basket where he tosses his clothes.

He’s gotten the hint.

Things look neater, you feel more organized, you’ll spend less time looking for things that are often easily misplaced, and chances are, you’ll feel more in control.

Ask me about customized solutions for your unique storage needs.

If you’re going to let the wind carry you, why not let it carry you a serene, calm place at the end of your busy day.

For me, this is my bedroom. It’s the one area in my home where things remain in place most of the time.

My favourite scent is Lavender and I’ll have lavender in a vase with essential oil.

Monogrammed pillowcases and deliciously soft bedding create a sense of “being away from it all.”

Poet Leigh Hunt says it best, “It is a delicious moment, certainly, that of being well nestled in bed and feeling that you shall gently drop to sleep.

We offer in-home consultation to create your personal space to escape from it all – master bedroom planning, a return to the drawing room, and even a space within a space.

Ask me about pillows and throws, washable cotton bedding ensembles, and aromatherapy options.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall's here

At least technically it is although it still feels like the dog days of summer with temperature's in the 80's. While it'd be nice to pretend it's summer and lollygag around, sadly it isn't ... school's back in session, and so are we.

This week is our Autumn Splendour week kicking off on September 23rd with our week-long Great Autumn Sale. Enjoy 30 - 50% reductions on select products including bath products, table linens, curtains and much more. Contact us at or at 807.475.3551 with questions or requests. Sale wraps up Sept 27th!

September 26 - 27 is our annual Fall Open House. Visit us on Saturday from 11-5p and Sunday from 12-5p and take in our new fall bouquets and wreaths. Custom designed with natural flowers and foliage, no two pieces are alike.

This season's must-have: our Magnolia and Birch wreaths, recently featured on the 2009 cover of "Handmade in Thunder Bay," in classic dark brown and green earthtones.

Check out our essential oil blends to help you survive the upcoming flu/cold season by breathing easy while still looking fabulous (there's nothing attractive about the sniffles and a runny nose).

If you're like me and your idea of being whisked away from it all has to do with flowers, try our "Smell of a Flower Shop" direct from France; if you're like my son whose tastes are more epicurean, then you'll appreciate the scent of Crème Caramel from Aromatique wafting languorously through your home.

Upcoming workshops:
September 26th: Celebration of Sunshine
October 3rd: Designing your Thanksgiving Centerpiece
October 3rd: Lake Superior Fall Wreath.

Please contact me to reserve your place: or 807.475.3551.

Well I’d better get back to it – I’m taking advantage of the continued good weather to harvest and dry our garden flowers; also working on hydrangea and oregano wreaths, and designing French Linen Laundry bags (part of the Pretty & Functional line).

Hmm...mental note to self: take a moment to stop, breathe and be inspired by everything around me. And for my readers: Dream, design, decorate, re-invent old spaces, and notice the beauty everywhere!

See you in the country.