Fall Frenzy

There always seems to be a frenzied pace to the Fall with work and children needing attention and the sense of impending winter.  But as the temperatures start to cool, I retreat indoors, leaving the garden a weedy mess and the roses to wilt and die. It is time to cook! This is the perfect time of year for a cook. The summer is luscious but overwhelming, with the clamor of ripe vegetables and fruit. I have trouble choosing, and often realize at the end of the season that I forgot to make many of my favorites. Though I did get to my Blueberry Crostata several times this summer at the request of my children. Early fall is all about tomatoes and zucchini, two vegetables that are easy to love and to cook (or not, raw is good even for zucchini, thinly shaved into noodles and tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, shaved parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts). But now that the tomatoes have gone and frost has left even the green ones mealy and inedible, it is time to turn on the heat.  The winter squash are starting to come into the markets and I am not yet tired of their fleshy sweetness.  I’ll make acorn squash soup, toss together butternut squash, bacon and kale to serve over pasta, or slice the last Delicata squash from the CSA to roast in a hot oven.

The only drawback to all this cooking is that it cuts into my time working! Fall is a busy time when you make fire pits for a living. As soon as the summer heat starts to fade and the nights dip below 75, an evening spent around a fire seems like a good idea. I am not complaining, busy is good and with winter, things are sure to slow.

Busy Fall at Fancy Fire Pit

In the meantime, I plan to enjoy theses fleeting indian summer days, make lots of fire pits  and try to get outside and weed that garden! I hope I’ll have time to cook too and make myself a bowl of delicious pasta with roasted fall vegetables, maybe even finding a minute to enjoy it outdoors in front of my own Fancy Fire Pit!

Happy Fall, Joy

La Dolce Vita!

I love to travel. And when I am lucky enough to travel, I am always looking for spaces that absolutely need a Fancy Fire Pit. I recently spent a week in Italy and aside from eating too much pasta and drinking too much delicious Italian wine, I found a perfect spot for my fire pits.

roof

Imagine yourself here…a glass of red wine and a plate of crunchy, juicy tomato bruschetta dripping with olive oil. And, of course, a fire in your fire pit. No s’mores in this scene!

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Or even better, picture yourself here. My new Onda design, with its sexy curves, would be perfect. You could be sitting on luxurious brocade couches, looking out onto this gorgeous view.

snacks

I’d like a Bellini or a glass of chilled white wine and some delicious cicchetti (Venetian snacks). Back at home, I will be trying to recreate the amazing Spaghetti Carbonara we ate in Rome, bowls and bowls of it.

pasta

It has always been my children’s most requested dish, made for all birthdays and special occasions. But I digress… I start writing my posts with the best of intentions, to write about my work. But inevitably, they end of being about food- a little obsessed perhaps?

The next time I light my fire pit, if it ever gets warm enough, I will be making a plate of salty little snacks, salami, bruschetta and the like. I will be drinking a glass of wine and enjoying my version of La Dolce Vita, at home in my own backyard.

Salute, Joy

Back to Work!

It was a long, hot summer, but sadly, it is over and I find myself in September, facing the first day of fall. The children are back in school and I need to get back to writing! I am not sure if anyone actually missed my blog posts but I am back at it, so cry no more. Along with the fun I had this summer, I did quite a bit of work and spent some time in Chicago at a trade show. I took my 20-year old son with me and he was very helpful indeed. He is a great schmoozer and salesman, so trade shows are a natural for him. It was also great to be able to spend some time alone with him, something in very short supply.

Our newest Fancy Fire Pit, Onda, in the boot at IGC

Our newest Fancy Fire Pit, Onda, in the boot at IGC

We rolled out our newest design at the show, the Onda. It was a big hit!  It is a curvy, graceful fire pit which would be gorgeous in any garden. I am making one for my own garden, just in time for the cooler evenings of autumn.  Though my children love to light up the fire pit in the heat of the summer, I prefer these beautiful September evenings for toasting marshmallows and toasting friends around the fire.

I plan to start this week. Happy Fall! Joy

Rainy Day Blues

Usually, I love a cool, rainy day in the summer. Mostly because I am a lazy gardener and rain means less work for me. The watering will have been taken care of, thank you very much, and weeding is much easier following a good soaking. But a rainy week with temperatures barely reaching 60 is a little too much of a good thing. I don’t doubt that my trees will have growth rings the size of a tractor tire, but a little heat right about now would be lovely.

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In the absence of heat, I am going to pretend. Tonight, I am going to make myself a tropical cocktail, turn the heat up (I know, it is late June, but I still need it in my house!) and bask. Summer cocktails in my neck of the woods are sailor’s drinks, Dark and Stormys or dark rum and tonic with lots of lime. The latter is not really a sailor’s drink but it is one I love in the summer.  Let’s drink to a hot and steamy summer with a sprinkling of cool rainy days.

Happy Summer! Joy

Staycation

It is still cold and wintery outside and many of my firends have escaped recently for warmer climates. I will try not to be too jealous of their lovely bronze skin while I sport the pasty mid winter glow.  I am not going to be getting anywhere warm for awhile so I will have to make do with blasting the heat at home and sipping tropical cocktails. Once I checked the calorie count of said cocktails, I was grateful to not have to sip it in a bathing suit, but I digress. My staycation will be a brief affair lasting just an evening, or maybe a day. I am planning to peruse the web in search of flowers for my garden and start thinking about spring.

My Fantasy Garden

I love a fantasy garden, especially a cottage garden which alwasy looks to me like controlled chaos. In my fantasy, the path would lead to a Fancy Fire Pit instead of a rose covered arch. Everything is possible, no plants too expensive to buy and all is installed by some willing and hardworking helpers. None of this is the case but it is a fantasy after all. My reality is more like just plain chaos and alot of weeds but at this time of the year I am hopeful and determined.

I will enjoy my fruity drink with a little umbrella, pick something beautiful for my garden and then wait for spring.

Think Spring! Joy

New England Grows: Winter Green

I am off to New England Grows trade show this week at the Boston Convention Center. I will be working hard to sell Fancy Fire Pits, and I will also be enjoying all the green and growing things around me.

Getting ready for NE Grows!

Getting ready for NE Grows!

This will be my second time at this particular trade show and I am really looking forward to it.  It is fun to meet new people and talk about my product and it is great to see what others in the landscape and garden design industry are doing. There are always interesting new products and new, though sometimes odd, colors of plants. Last year’s odd color was a bright, nearly turquoise orchid. It looked great massed together in the display but it was a little bright for me and I have not actually seen it for sale anywhere so maybe it didn’t go over well.

If I was a four-year-old boy, this would be heaven on earth, filled with lots of giant trucks and earth moving machines. As a much (much!) older woman, I will appreciate all of the wonderful plants and trees instead. In any case, as I sit here willing myself to go for a run in 17 degree wind chill weather, I will enjoy being indoors surrounded by green things and dreaming of spring!

Stay warm, Joy

It’s Never Easy…

On a walk with a friend this past weekend, I was complaining about the problems I was having with my fire pits. His reponse was, “It’s never easy” and he is right. I have three fire pits in my driveway which I have been spraying every day to create a nice, rusty patina. In the midst of all this spritzing and babying of the fire pits we had a storm. I figured all that rain would be great to speed things along. What I didn’t count on was the leaves that would blow into the pit and create leaf-shaped black marks all over them. In truth, it is interesting looking, but it is not what I was going for.

The Falling Leaves Fire Pit!

Thus, I found myself on Sunday morning scrubbing fire pits for an hour with steel wool and a steel brush trying to get rid of the marks. I was successful with the brush, for the most part. And the leaf marks that remain give the fire pits a very natural autumnal appeal (I hope!).

When you start a business there are so many little, and not so little, details that you never consider. Or at least I never considered. Scrubbing carbon steel with a metal brush was not something I thought I would be doing for work. Other jobs have been equally unexpected, but useful, such as becoming more computer literate and learning how to blog! I would like to say that I have learned how to keep my own books and accountings as well,  but that would be completely false. It is important to know which jobs are just not in your skill set.  And it is fun to learn how to do things that you never gave much, if any, thought to, but which you enjoy. I never thought of myself as much of a designer, but I am designing fire pits and having alot of fun doing it. Time will tell how good I really am but that is another story. And for now, I am on an hourly schedule to water down those pesky fire pits and help them along in their rusty patina, so I am off to do my job, whatever it is!

Happy sunny fall days ( and rainy ones too!) Joy

Weathering Fire Pits in my Driveway

Tools of My Trade

Custom Designed FirePit | Fancy Fire Pit | Design Tools

Tools of the Design Trade

When I graduated from college several years ago (ahem, maybe more than several years..) I never imagined that I would be using my degree in English Literature to design and manufacture fire pits. The degree is useful when I sit down to write this blog and I loved my years at college studying Chaucer, Shakespeare and Faulkner. But the tools of my current trade are not novels or computer keyboards (mostly) but plastic templates, Sharpie markers, soapstone “pencils” and a tape measure.

Making a fire pit is a dirty job, and noisy too, since I make them in a steel fabricating plant where there is lots of welding, grinding and steel cutting going on. But it is also creative and gratifying, especially when I can work with a customer to design a fire pit, help them come up with a design that they like and then make it into a beautiful fire pit that I know they will use and enjoy for many years.

Being in business for myself and by myself also means that I wear lots of different hats and have learned over the past year to do many different things. Coming into this venture, I was a true “techno-idiot”. I am still pretty much on that side of the technology fence but can now do at least a few things on my computer. Most of it is fun, some of it is hard (for me at least) and some of it is not so great, like accounting. I hope the IRS doesn’t come after me anytime soon!

And when it gets to be too much, I come home, pour a glass of wine, light a fire and enjoy my handiwork! Check out the cool Texas Longhorn that I made for a customer. Some of my custom work can be seen on my website Fancyfirepit.com .

Custom designed Texas Longhorn Fire Pit

Happy long weekend! Joy

Pink and Green

As the Sargent Crabapple blooms outside my window, I am thinking pink and green. The buds start out hot pink and open to a beautiful pale pink. It is my favorite tree in the garden and when it blooms, I know spring is really here. It also signals the arrival of my birthday, an event I look forward to with childlike pleasure. Although, as the years march on, not so much!

I love pink and green!

Pink and green has gotten somewhat of a  bad rap, in my opinion. It brings up images of preppy, bright Lilly prints which are fun and cute on little children but can be a bit too pink and green. What I do love is my pink and green tree and the hot pink azaleas that bloom at the same time in my yard. I also adore lipstick pink peonies. I actually chose the color for my bridesmaid dresses, much to their dismay! I got married an eon ago and it really was quite beautiful with the girls in their pink dresses and the bouquets full of peonies,  rubrum lilies and roses. Lately, I have returned to my love of pink. I have been wearing it often and it is the color of my favorite cocktail- the Cosmo!

In the pink spirit, I am going to mix up a pitcher of cosmos, light a fire in my Fancy Fire Pit and invite over a few friends to help me drink them and celebrate Spring.

Happy Pink and Green, Joy

Fire and Wood

I am having tree work done in my yard and it occurs to me as I stare out at the piles of wood that I know exactly what I am going to do with all this wood. I am going to burn it in my Fancy Fire Pit!  Granted, it will probably take me years to plow through all this wood but I will dutifully arrange it in a very tall stack and start burning.

Ready for burning in the Fire Pit!

We are having quite a draught where I live so it would not be particularly responsible to have a fire in my fire pit anytime soon but as soon as we get some rain, I am good to go.  My crabapple tree is about to burst into bloom and I would love to sit outside in the evening ( finally staying light later- yay!) and enjoy a pink cocktail to go with the pink blooms on my tree. Cosmo anyone??

Cheers, Joy