Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mooseberry Soap…

Recently I was contacted by Mooseberry Soap Company and asked to try a couple samples of their handmade soaps.  Now I need to tell you that I am a bit obsessed about what I use on my family’s skin – as anything we put on the outside of our skin goes directly into our bodies transdermally. So I had to do a little online research before I said yes to trying this product.
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I saw on the Mooseberry Soap Company website – that the soaps and body care products are organic! Made with sustainable oils, pure earth clays, natural powders, herbs and spices. The bars last longer, creams refresh and smooth the skin and scrubs exfoliate and wick away dead skin naturally. I liked the sound of what I was reading and agreed to try the product.
IMG_6754Within just a few  days I received a brochure along with samples of Raspberry Mint Garden Soap (An earthy, herbaceous soap that deep cleans. Washes away dirt and grime; natural seeds, berries and clays for extra scrubbiness. Raspberry Seeds with Mint and Crushed Walnut, a touch of vanilla. Great in winter to wick away dead skin; Also good for summer gardening) and  Flea Soap  (soap bars last longer, creams refresh and smooth the skin and scrubs exfoliate and wick away dead skin naturally) to try on our three shih tzu’s!
My husband and I tried the Raspberry Mint Garden Soap over the weekend and loved it.  We both agreed it had just the right amount of suds and the natural exfoliates in the soap left my skin feeling soft and nourished.  The red color in the soap made me a little nervous to use on my white wash clothes, but it rinsed right out! 
IMG_6775Our dogs have sensitive skin as well and seemed to be just fine after a good scrub with the flea soap! I’m used to using liquid soaps when washing their coats, but it worked just fine.  They smell clean and the soap left their coats soft and fluffy! As we haven’t had any problems with flea’s or ticks, I’m sure this will help keep them at bay since this is the time of year that most pets are effected by those pesky bugs!
So would I recommend this soap, you bet! The website is super user friendly too – you can go visit and browse by clicking here!  Please let me know if you end up ordering anything ~ I’d love to know what which is your favorite!  xoxo, tracie
For a limited time, a coupon code for Fishtail Cottage readers has been set up, just type “15off” at check out. Can’t wait to hear what you think of Mooseberry Soap too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cottage Dining…

I am not sure how this space in my home came to be. It seems that it has been an addition of little pieces ~ sometimes big and sometimes so very tiny!  But seeing the evolvement over time, is what has been so rewarding.
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The table came from a local consignment shop when we first moved in to our home.  My gorgeous and very expensive table from a high end retailer was just too large to fit in my nook.  So I set out to find the perfect table. I wasn’t in love with this table at first…but the measurements and eclectic chairs fit what I needed.  Over time, this table that hosted numerous dents and paint splatters from the previous owner made it’s way into my heart ~ mostly because of the worry I never had when my own children placed their own character flaws into the table. They were able to paint and pound projects without giving me the anxiety of ruining a new piece of furniture.
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The hutch I’ve held onto since I was a single mom in the early ninety’s. It is a piece I put on layaway for months before I could finally bring it home.  I haven’t been able to part with it because of my own sentimental history with it. I recently painted the natural wood to white and am enjoying it like it’s a brand new piece in my home.
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Under the hutch sits a very vintage Tillamook cheese crate. I love the patina that this piece has and what it brings to the room.
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The collection of possessions the hutch holds is special to me as well ~ carefully thought out displayed pieces.
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Right now, it holds a reflection of what I think is beautiful ‘right now’.  It’s the countless hours I’ve spent of hunting for the White Ironstone pitchers.  The thrill I felt of finding a vintage Bluebird print from the talented Zula Kenyon. Along with few treasured additions that are from my own grandparents or flea market finds. 
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The sign “Cottage” that sits above the hutch and the two wooden shutters that stand beside it, are a significant part of my own journey. These pieces I found myself confident enough to create because of special friends that have shared and taught me their talents of “how to”.  Amazing women that have encouraged me to create ‘my own kind of beautiful’ instead of just go out and purchase it.
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Because I love gardening, I can’t help but bring a little of the outside in when it comes to what I love to surround myself with. Using an old watering can adorned with last years hydrangeas is a perfect accessory!  The little boxwood wreaths and flowers on the table in some old ‘found’ jars are sweet reminders of what is just outside my French doors.
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The chandelier is a recent addition to this space as well.  The beauty it brings to this room is so beautiful to me.
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I love the mixing of collected treasures regardless of old or new and where it came from – it seems that if I love it, I can find a place for it.  xoxo, tracie

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fishtail Cottage’s Garden 11/3/14…

Its crazy to look back just one week ago and see the photo’s of what the garden looked like, much less the summer photo’s that I shared with you of our landscape. If you missed that post, click here. While my magical helpers were here last week, weeding, removing, trimming and moving pieces of the garden around, the garden was transformed almost overnight into a manageable piece of art. I no longer am looking out my windows dreading hours of hard labor that needed to be done. I even snuck out last Thursday to finish a few tasks that were missed from my list of requests and felt happy to do so.  Although, I ended up spending hours out there and filling up two yard waste containers, it was more like puttering in the garden rather than a mad woman racing from plant to plant with clippers and a weed whacker! 

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IMG_6895Was I nervous about having help, absolutely!  I have planted each and every plant here with my own two hands! I noticed several plants missing and I won’t know until next spring if they are really gone, or just accidently trimmed. (Plants like hydrangeas…) I know there will always be “casualties” in the garden, but trying to look on the bright side that I might have a few open spaces that I can plant something new next spring. 

Will I lose some blooms on next years shrubs because of the amount of cutting back that happened this year? Possibly, but I’m okay with that to be seeing a little more structure in the landscape.

Some very apparent changes that happened was the removal of Mock Orange shrubs in the front. They have only grown taller and wider since 2006, but never more than one or two blooms to speak of.  Removing those shrubs will give the Crabapples room to flourish!

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IMG_6763Always planning a few steps ahead of mother nature is worth it! Visualizing what will be in a few more years is key.  Planning your vision of growth regarding size and colors is so important.  Sometimes, having a plant for only a few years that fills in the space “for now” may all you need from that certain plant. Removing it when the time comes is perfectly fine.  Like when I planted colorful maples a couple years ago in my planters ~ they’ve served their purpose, but as they grew two large for the pots, they are now placed up by the coop to grow as they need nature sees fit.  Adding a new texture to that space as well as color.

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My gardens are not formal by any means, however, shaping the boxwood and manicured trees and shrubs are important so that the plants like roses, astilbe, iris, heuchra and so many others can be appreciated and perform with their whimsical blooms during the summer months. 

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We had this cement bench in a place you couldn’t see from the upper patio – so I had it relocated and I really like how welcoming it feels from the patio!

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I also moved this gorgeous maple tree from our side yard to under our master bedroom window.  I know it will take a few more years before I see the ‘vision’ in my mind ~ but I’m willing to be patient!

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I also cut the fragrant “Colette” rose all the way to ground and removed all of the Lithodora ground cover from the area.  This climber hasn’t performed as well as I’d like the past couple years and thought I’d give it a fresh start and allow it to ‘breath’!

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The rose terrace received a major clean up as did the side yard…both these areas feel amazing to me!

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I know you are probably cringing at what I’ve done to my gorgeous gardens…but not to worry, it will come back with more vigor and happier blooms and an outstanding performance next year! I can’t wait to see it too! For now, I am going to enjoy the simplified look and allow nature to work its wonders over the winter months!

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Have an amazing and relaxing week! xoxo,tracie