The Winter Blues

Making and selling fire pits is warm weather stuff. Looking out over my snowy backyard with the temperature in the single digits does not bring up thoughts of warm summer nights around the fire pit. Though maybe this is a good way to get through our long New England winter.

Winter is here to stay!

This is actually a very busy time for me, not in the actual making of the fire pits, but in the planning of how to sell and market them.  It is fun to think about warmer times to come and to think about sales trips to garden centers.  And I love dreaming about summer evenings spent around my own fire pit, now buried in snow.  So for now I will stay inside making soup and working away on this computer and drawing up new designs for the summer to come.

Stay Warm! Joy

New Day, New Year

I walked outside of my door early Wednesday morning and the sky was so beautiful I had to go back, get my camera and take a picture. I can’t decide if the camera on the phone is great or awful because everyone, including me, thinks they are a photographer!

A beautiful start to the day!

Either way, it was really special and a great way to start my day. In fact, I like to think of it as the start of my year. I kind of missed New Year’s Eve and I certainly didn’t make any resolutions. Even two weeks in, they would be down the tubes already. So I am going to be different and start my new year on this beautiful morning in the second week of January.  And I will make one resolution that I know will stick- walk every morning. My dog is so happy!

Here is to beautiful sunrises and sunsets, Joy

Home Again.

The vacation is over and I am back in cold,snow-covered Massachusetts.  Though traveling in a snow storm is not my idea of a good time, I was happy to come home to this beautiful view outside my window.

Home to snow in the Fire Pit!

I actually don’t mind the cold and the snow.  Dressed properly, running outside can be invigorating. Skiing is one of my favorite sports. And any outdoors activity is a prelude to a warm mug of tea or hot chocolate. Also, I have read that your body burns more calories while exercising in the cold, so it is great for those January weight loss resolutions. I myself never make them. Weight loss seems to be more of a year round endeavor for me and I like to focus on resolutions that are more fun to stick to, like reading more books, taking more yoga classes and baking more brownies (not really, though it sounds good!).  And I have also resolved to blog more often in the new year. It is one of the most fun parts of my work as owner of so why not do more of it??

Happy New Year! Joy

Fantasy Island!

Whenever I travel, I look around and think, “now here is a good place for a fire pit”. I don’t worry too much about the logistics of actually getting a Fancy Fire Pit to said location, that would ruin the fantasy. I am currently on a small island off of Puerto Rico called Vieques. This is a place where they have trouble getting planes to land on time and one cannot dependably find a banana or a lime in the little local grocery. Needless to say, shipping a fire pit here would be difficult at best. And yet, it is so beautiful and has lovely warm days and breezy nights.

The perfect spot for a Fancy Fire Pit!

There is very little to do here save go to the beach during the day and drink rum punch at night. Which makes it a perfect place for a fire pit- can we say evening activity!

If you don’t care for rum punch and would like to get into the holiday spirit, they have an island version of eggnog which is rich, delicious and very strong. It is called Coquito and is made with coconut milk and lots of rum.


Recipe for Coquito. A little glass of this stuff goes a long way!

For a Caribbean Christmas celebration, serve chilled Coquito and some toasted coconut shortbread. Even if it is cold and snowy outside, you will be warm inside!

Happy Holidays, Joy

Baking Queen

For many, the holiday season means hours spent shopping and mountains of gifts to be purchased, wrapped and hidden and hopefully a few wonderful things to open themselves. For me, I do some shopping and wrapping, albeit on a fairly small scale. But mostly what I do is bake. Each year I bake dozens of small cakes and cookies to pile into baskets for my husband’s best customers and then I bake more cakes to cookies to give to friends and family. I even used to bake for my kids’ teachers but they are now in high school and that would definately not be cool. This past weekend was my big baking bonanza and my kitchen is still coated in a fine dusting of sugar and flour.

Work in progress

Almost finished!


Now that everything in this first round is neatly packaged and off for delivery, all that is left to do is clean my kitchen. And just a little more baking, cookie swap this week! One thing I appreciate about making all these cakes and cookies is that I seem to have lost interest in eating them. Maybe if someone else makes a tart little lemon square it will taste delicious but for now, bring on the pretzels and salt!

Here’s to a sweet holiday season, Joy




Christmas is Coming!

I am sure I don’t need to tell anyone what is patently obvious- from the songs on the radio to the frantic emails from every store under the sun, and the garden shops filled with tightly wrapped trees and holiday wreaths. Christmas is coming! I myself will be joining in the fun by lighting a Fancy Fire Pit at Windy-Lo Nursery in Natick and lighting two Fancy Fire Pits to serve up s’mores at the Marion Christmas Stroll. And though it is certainly not a stocking stuffer, a fire pit makes a fabulously original gift! If you celebrate Hanukkah, like I do, it gets into the whole Festival of Lights theme. Give your family a fire pit on the first night of Hanukkah and light a fire in it for the remaining seven nights, so you can enjoy the fire while feasting on sufganiyot or latkes! Every year I pull out a couple of recipes for sufganiyot, which are jelly doughnuts, but I have never actually made them. Maybe this is the year, though I would prefer mine stuffed with chocolate ganache, like a Hanukkah pain au chocolate. Either jelly-filed or chocolate, a homemade doughnut and a cup of tea would make a  lovely treat after a long day of shopping. Happy Holidays, Joy

Don't these look delicious!

Vegetable Love!

I just picked up my CSA share at the local organic farm.  The colors and variety of vegetables were so beautiful that I had to arrange them on my counter and take a picture. It is not exactly Cezanne but lovely, just the same.

Vegetable Love

Now I have to figure out what to do with this bounty. A beet salad will make a fresh, healthy dish for the Thanksgiving feast, one down!  Squash soups are delicious and keep for a few days, two down.  I don’t even want to cook that purple cauliflower, it is so lovely raw, so maybe a big crunchy salad, that makes three! There are apples and cranberries, and crisp is a favorite in my family, five vegetables cooked and eaten! The rest will have to wait until after Thanksgiving, though I am tempted to turn the pumpkin into pie instead of relying on canned puree. And that will be my week, like so many others. My chicks will be home and I will be cooking and eating and giving thanks for the bounty on my plate and in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving! Joy


Snowy Day, Rainy Night

I made the monumental mistake of spending last Wednesday on the road, driving from coastal Massachusetts , where I live, to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut.  I had no expectaion of anything other than rain or maybe some wet snow and boy was I surprised to drive into a blizzard. One minute it was raining and a little blustery and then next, there was an inch of snow on the roads and traffic was crawling along. It was a very long day spent listening to books on tape in my car.

Snow covered trees in Connecticut!

I did have lots of time to think and plan. I neglected to pack any car snacks and was starving so mostly I thought about food and dinner parties. I love to plan and throw parties of all kinds. When my children were small, I loved doing their birthday parties. One year, clearly suffering from post partem brain freeze, I baked and decorated huge doll shaped cookies as party favors and attached a cookie cutter in the shape of each child’s first initial. Plus, I ignored the very good rule of one guest for each year of your child’s life. That would have made 4 guests but I think there were more like 15.

Thankfully, my children are much bigger now and have no interest in the kind of party I might plan for them. They do have some interest in the adult parties I plan, but I digress!  I am hoping the weather will hold for another week or so by which mean brisk and cool but not cold and snowy! If it does, I will have drinks and snacks around the Fire Pit before we move inside to dinner.  The pile of leeks from the CSA will be turned into little fritters served with creme fraiche and the winter squashes will be roasted and stirred into a warming risotto served in smallish bowls or maybe even coffee cups. And sticky toffee pudding with a side of softly whipped cream will make a delicious dessert. Thanksgiving is next week!! I can hardly believe it and I can’t wait to make (and eat) turkey!

Happy Fall, Joy

Partying around the Fire Pit

It feels a bit unseemly to be talking about parties when so many people up and down the Northeast are suffering real hardship and are worrying about when the power will come back on and how to stay warm. My son is on his way home this morning from PA where his school has been closed until Monday. I am so happy to have him home, even under these difficult circumstances and I can’t wait to do some serious cooking!  The food he loves is hearty and warming and works as well to fill a young man’s belly as to feed a crowd at a late fall party around the fire pit. We are lucky enough to have both lights and heat here in MA so I can turn my attention to getting a fire going outdoors in my fire pit and cooking up some delicious beef stew. Now that it is finally getting cold, cooking stews and soups is so satisfying. I love to serve Bouef Bourgignon on my best china at a fancy dinner party, but it is equally great served over noodles in large pottery bowls while sitting around a blazing fire.  Start your outdoor party with pizza topped with caramelized onions and gorgonzola cut into small wedges, and finish with a bowl of warm gingered pear crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. You will not win any awards for the best low calorie meal, but you will surely have some very happy guests!  Happy Weekend! Joy

Fun with friends around their Fancy Fire Pit!

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