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October 2013
Ottawa at Home–Supporting a hospice in style

The 11th annual Homes for the Holidays tour takes place November 15, 16 & 17. Six stunning homes will be decked out in holiday décor for a tour that supports Hospice Care Ottawa. 

Florists and decorators throughout the city are going all out to create unique looks for each of the homes. Spend the weekend with the tour and be inspired. Be sure to include a stop at the Irish Embassy, 291 Park Rd in Rockcliffe, to visit the pop-up shop. This new addition brings local vendors together to help with holiday shopping. You can find everything from toys to food items, artwork, jewelry and more, all while getting a peek inside one of Ottawa’s most elegant embassies. Be sure to pick up a copy of the holiday edition of Ottawa At Home while you’re there!

This years tour homes include:

  • 8 Thornton Ave, a Glebe area residence with modern architecture and funky furnishings, to provide the perfect backdrop for the whimsical décor style of Tinseltown Christmas Emporium.
  • 900 Colonel By Drive, a stately home on the canal that combines old and new, offers Mill Street Florists the opportunity to showcase their talents at blending traditional décor with modern influences.
  • 104 Black Maple Private shows off a sophisticated flair with glamorous décor playing a leading role. Mood Moss Flowers and Jacobsons will create the quintessential Christmas Eve within this contemporary home.
  • 494 Lansdowne is the residence of the Swiss Ambassador to Canada. The architecture of the home lends itself to European influences and its only fitting that Tivoli florist is tasked with decorating this splendid home.
  • 13 Massey Lane, a gracious family home with inviting spaces in Rothwell Heights, is an opportune space for the talents of Stoneblossom Floral Gallery, who will create décor to suit family time during the holiday season.
  • 521 Island Park Drive, a newly built home showcasing open spaces, is ideal for party hosting. Michael Courdin Design will wow with décor fitting of a swanky New Years Eve celebration!

For more information and to purchase tickets www.hospicecareottawa.ca


 

June 2013
New Edinburgh News–Burgh Business Briefs

Mood Moss Flowers’ Eric Cardinal: Underwater Athlete! While most readers are well aware that Mood Moss Flowers’ owner Eric Cardinal is a talented florist with a remarkably successful Beechwood business, it would seem a safe bet to say that few, if any, were aware of his prowess as an athlete, more specifically, as an underwater hockey player of world-class calibre. And if you were unaware of the existence of underwater hockey, you’re not alone! Well, thanks to a well-timed prompt from Eric, the NEN wishes to report that there is indeed such a sport, and that he is now an elite player, recently chosen as a member of the Canadian National Men’s team competing in the World Championships in Eger, Hungary, this summer.

Underwater hockey is a noncontact sport in which two opposing teams manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool towards goals at either end. Teams consist of up to 10 players, with six in play at any one time, typically three forwards and three backs, or defensive players. The equipment includes a diving mask, snorkel and fins, and a water polo cap to protect players’ eardrums and also to designate which team they are playing for. Players carry a short stick to manoeuvre the puck, and not surprisingly, a prodigious breath-holding capacity is key to their effectiveness in the underwater fray.

The sport has been around since the early 1950s when it first emerged in the U.K., and has since spread to the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, the Netherlands and a host of other countries, all of which now take part in the biennial World Championships organized by the sport’s governing body, la Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS). Up to 80 teams are expected to participate in this year’s CMAS World Championship in Hungary, which Eric proudly reports will be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest underwater hockey tournament in history.

In case you were wondering what underwater hockey has to do with floral design, the answer is not much. Eric has, however, a longstanding connection to the sport, which his father has played since the 1970s, and which he first played as a youth in the 1980s. After a decade-long hiatus, Eric picked up the game again in 1999, and has been playing with increasing seriousness ever since. He now averages four hockey practices a week, along with regular cardio-fitness workouts at the Physical Therapy Institute, where he has trained with both Eduardo and Lydia. Among the rigorous exercises involved in the try-outs for the National Team this year was a test of the number of times the player was able to swim 25 metres underwater in 25 minutes, a gauntlet which is exhausting just to contemplate, but which he clearly tackled with flying colours.

Members of the National Underwater Hockey Team were selected from clubs across Canada, ranging from Smithers, B.C., in the west to Rimouski in the east. Needless to say, because the sport has so far lacked the visibility to attract significant sponsorship funding, the players have few opportunities to leave their gainful employment in order to practice as a team. Recently, however, they managed to get together for a competition in Quebec City where they emerged victorious as gold medal winners of the tournament. Interested readers can find out more about this intriguing new world of underwater sport, and Eric’s prowess on the national scene, by checking out http://www.cuga.org/ index.php/uwhmenu/uwhnt/ uwh-nt-elitemen.

We wish Eric and his team the best of luck in this summer’s World Championships, and look forward to a full report on the results in time for our first edition in October.
 

June 2011
Brittany Veinot's dog Montecristo poses at Mood Moss Flowers for Dog Fancy Magazine April 2011


 

June 2011
New Edinburgh News–Burgh Business Briefs

Since its opening at 186 Beechwood in August, 2004, Mood Moss Flowers has established itself as a leading florist; not only in our community and environs, but throughout the Ottawa/Gatineau area, with clients ranging from Kanata and Stittsville in the west, to Manotick in the south and Orleans in the east. Owner/operator Eric Cardinal was initially uncertain about his location at the outer edge of Beechwood Village, but after briefly exploring the possibility of a move closer to the core, astutely arrived at the conclusion that his current spot at Beechwood and Marier is in fact uniquely well positioned to serve not only New Edinburgh, but also Rockcliffe Park, Lindenlea, Manor Park and Vanier. So, happily for us all, Mood Moss is staying put, and Eric has just renewed his lease to 2016.

Among the secrets to Mood Moss' success in a highly competitive business is, their 7 days-a-week delivery service throughout the Ottawa/Gatineau region, with three daily delivery runs from Monday through Friday, and two on Saturdays and Sundays. Their services range from the creation of glorious hand-tied bouquets to formal table settings, funeral tributes, outdoor planter arrangements, and—of course—flowers for weddings and other special events. In addition to their countless residential clients, over the years, Eric and his team have kept numerous local businesses supplied with fresh floral arrangements. In recent years, Mood Moss has been among the decorators selected for the Homes for the Holidays benefit event for the Hospice at Maycourt.

Assisting Eric in the preparation of Mood Moss' signature bouquets and floral arrangements are Renee Richer, a veteran of five years at the Beechwood store, and more recent arrivals Buffy Main and Tammy Albert, all graduate florists with the skills to turn a bulky armful of blooms and greenery into works of art. As the recipient of more than my share of Mood Moss' freshly cut, colourful bouquets over the years, I can attest not only to their great beauty but also to their amazing staying power, often continuing to flourish long after the birthday or other special occasion has faded into memory.

As the summer approaches, with it comes the season of gardening and garden tours, and Mood Moss is doing its part by acting as a Ticket Seller for two such events. The Annual lODE House and Garden Tour, this year sponsored by New Edinburgh's local Laurentian Chapter of the lODE in collaboration with NECA, will take place on Saturday, June 11 here in the Burgh. On June 25 and 26, the Ottawa Botanical' Garden Society will hold a Country Garden Tour and Car Rally, when you can visit twelve beautiful country gardens located west of Ottawa in Kanata, Dunrobin, Woodlawn, Arnprior, White Lake, Pakenham, and Almonte.

Tickets to both events will be available at Mood Moss at 186 Beechwood, so if you're interested, be sure to drop by the store and perhaps indulge in a fresh bouquet of cut flowers while you're at it.
 

February 2011
Mood Moss' own Buffy Main first prize photos of "Take Your Monster to Work" contest

Going back to work after the holidays can be a real drag. So, why not bring a monster to work to help out with the filing, answer phones, and overall make your day a bit brighter.

To enter this contest, take a picture of your monster at work, doing whatever it is you do and send it to info@monsterfactory.net by Monday January 24th at 4pm EST. And because we all know that school is pretty much work too, we’ll also accept monsters at school, participating in gym class, dissecting frogs, and having lunch in the cafeteria.

The photos will be judged on creativity and humour, which basically means have some fun, without getting in trouble of course.

Prizes
1st Prize – Big Mr. Jefferson and mini Mr. Jefferson
2nd Prize – Big Mr. Jefferson
3rd Prize – Mini Mr. Jefferson
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 24th.


 

December 11, 2010
Winter sentinels–Jardinieres keep holiday spirit alive long after New Year's

by Paula McCooey, The Ottawa Citizen

Seasonal urns and planters are a great way to jazz up your home with fresh greens and accessories. They look especially magical with a fresh dusting of snow.

Whether standing at command outside your front door or placed in front of a condo building, jardinieres are great options to maximize curb appeal and to turn up the holiday spirit.

Floral designers across the city have been busy bees, trimming fragrant greenery, tucking colourful berries and adding ornaments, fruits and ribbons to form beautiful seasonal urns.

These arrangements are typically made as an insert -- saving clients the hassle of having to lug their cement or fibreglass urns to the florist. Ideally, customers will take the measurements of the container and e-mail a photograph, so the plastic or papier-mache liner will fit snugly into the urn.

"Some people like the plastic liner because if it's heavy, then they can keep (it) from year to year and bring it back to us," says Mill Street Florist owner Joanne Plummer, who has been diligently making dozens of seasonal arrangements over the past three weeks.

This year, designers have been drawn to birch logs and sticks, clusters of pine cones, ornamental grasses and artistic branch spheres for their holiday offerings -- but really the sky is the limit when it comes to personalizing these beauties.

"We have a client where we build hers around a pair of antique cross country skis. She brings us the liner and the cross country skis (every year)," says Plummer, whose store is located at 1136 Mill St. in Manotick. "We have another guy where we put a pair of his old snowshoes in (the seasonal urn)."

The materials used depends on the architecture of the home and the client's style, but floral design experts say typically the plants should be one and a half times the size of the containers.

Donna Parnell, a designer at Wild Willy's Plants and Flowers at 1252 Wellington St., says each arrangement is unique to a person's personality and vision.

"We don't just make up a bunch of them and then people buy them like you would at (a grocery store)," says Parnell, who has been working with big beautiful pine cones imported from British Columbia this year.

"Everything is individual. For instance someone might not want the white twigs all sparkly, they might want natural willow. So if someone comes in and says, 'OK I want this, and this and this,' then that's what we would do."

Inserts typically range from $75 to $200, but can cost more or less, depending on size and materials.

For example, arrangements sold at the grocery store may be cheaper, but they also will come with shorter pieces of greenery. The longer the stems of seasonal foliage, the higher the price-tag.

Then there are the additional details -- unusual berries or velvety roses.

"If you wanted to have beautiful ilex berries from Holland, which is very popular, then that's going to increase the price, or some people will want an accent of a fresh rose ball tucked into it," says Plummer. "That is going to obviously raise the price a little bit more. We do have people who save their accents from year to year."

Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss Flowers at 186 Beechwood Ave., makes up seasonal urns for homes and commercial properties throughout the year. He starts making winter planters in November. If he's not making an insert, he'll arrange the foliage in the same soil that was used for the summer plants, so when the soil freezes the boughs will be securely held all winter. If there is no soil, Cardinal uses a papier-mache insert container with a floral foam oasis to secure the branches.

In an arrangement he created for Bridgehead in New Edinburgh, Cardinal added faux ilex berries for a pop of colour. The key, he says, is to make sure the urns have more of a winter theme.

"We try not to overdo it on the Christmas aspect, because people don't want to see Christmas in January."

Jamie Roy, the floral designer at Tivoli Florist at 282 Richmond Rd., uses a large and small container for one of his seasonal arrangements, which are mixed with evergreens including pine, fir and cedar, rosehips, magnolia and birch branches. All are placed into floral foam.

He starts with the birch branches, uses evergreens to fill in the empty spaces and adds red artificial antlers for shiny glitz.

"The antlers are modern, but still very traditional," says Roy. "We have them in almost every colour. It's still natural with all the greens, but with a more modern style."

The birch branches have been a huge hit for florists this year.

Virginia Vince at Bloomfields Flowers on Fourth Avenue says the allure of the winter-white birch branches is evident this year, with customers requesting birch arrangements that can include everything from a small pine tree, willows and ilex berries, to magnolia, Carolina sapphire, and sumac.

"I find in winter it's just so grey outside and there's something about the birch that really pops out of the containers," says Vince.

"Most people are really drawn towards birch, it reminds them of the country. It's such a Canadian type of thing."
 

February 13, 2010
Five great places for last-minute flowers for Valentine's Day

by Katie Burke And Andrea Sirman, The Ottawa Citizen

Why it's good: Mood moss is thick and dense, has a velvety texture and is bright green in colour. Eric Cardinal knew the moment he learned about the moss at floral school he would one day name his shop after it. Mood Moss Florists offers individual service and rustic arrangements.

Tip: Mood Moss will deliver anywhere in the Ottawa-Gatineau region on Sunday, which means no one needs to know you left it to the last minute.
 

November 1, 2009
Zed Family home featured on Ottawa at Home Magazine

Ottawa at Home
 

November 1, 2009
Mood Moss feature in Ottawa Citizen Style Magazine

Ottawa Citizen Style

DESIGNER:
Eric Cardinal, Mood Moss Flowers

MANTEL MAGIC, top left
Adorned with orchids, feathers and other exotics, Cardinal's arrangement shows his stuff with a mantelpiece filled with surprises, including a small flock of ceramic sparrows nestled amongst traditional greens. Prices begin at $300.

CHRISTMAS CANDY, above
Designed for a grand table, the centrepiece features a symphony of tropicals, including orchids, in rich jewel tones that rise from a base of traditional Christmas greens. Priced at $90, the piece is exotic by intention.

AU NATUREL, right
Constructed on a durable frame, then intertwined with grapevine, it's the abundance of greens that sets the background for a wicker cornucopia stuffed with berries and greens, then topped with a large birch bark star. Expect to pay $90 for this wreath.

UP COUNTRY, top right
Designed to complement the wreath, the potted outdoor arrangement stands two metres tall. It began with a base of greens and branches that bear hanging balls and berries, yet it's the birch bark star that ties the two pieces together. Expect to pay $150 for an arrangement, add $100 with the cast iron urn.
 

September 21, 2009
Mood Moss Flowers was mentioned as one of Ottawa’s top 356 stores in the 2010 edition of Ottawa Magazine’s Shopping Guide within the Garden/Florist section

“Named for a thick moss often used in terrariums, this shop is one of the few in Ottawa that delivers on Sundays (it also does three runs daily on weekdays and two on Saturdays). A big booster for the neighbourhood, Mood Moss also sells artwork and soaps by locals. Weddings and special events are a specialty; since opening in 2004, florist Eric Cardinal has created arrangements for several events on Parliament Hill and participated in the Homes for the Holidays annual fundraiser for the Hospice at May Court. Seeking an unusual gift? Check out boxes of edelweiss ($25).
 

August 28, 2009, Maclean’s by Mitchel Raphael
Wedding bells ring in Ottawa as Liberal MP Mark Holland ties the knot

Ontario Liberal MP Mark Holland recently tied the knot in Ottawa with Cindy Fournier.

To view more photos click here to view the original link.
 

December 20, 2008, Ottawa Citizen
Proud as a peacock: Art dominates in Glebe home, yet an artful florist found ways to complement it with Asiatic lilie
BY SHEILA BRADY


For this Linden Terrace home, it was 'art first, house second and flowers third,' says florist Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss in New Edinburgh. Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen

The art comes first, then the house, and pulling up the rear are subdued helpings of holiday greenery and flowers, says one of the city's most talented florists, Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss in New Edinburgh.

"We wanted to be subtle and restrained because everybody would be looking at the art work," says Cardinal, who first walked through the Linden Terrace home with Ottawa lawyer Donald Grant last spring.

"It was a pleasure to be able to decorate this home," says Cardinal. "The house is not too big, not too small and it is so nice to walk through. The house sold itself because the art work takes centre stage.
"It is art first, house second and flowers third," says the practical florist, who did not want to distract from the art, but complement it.

"We picked our spots to show what we can do," says Cardinal, who covered the black granite island in the kitchen with green boughs, curly dogwood, stars made from birch bark and twigs to large clusters of silver trees, Santas and ornaments.

There isn't a bit of space left on the countertop, but then the Homes for the Holidays Tour wasn't about serving food, but offering decorating ideas for 2,500 who walked through six spectacular homes during three rainy days in the middle of November.

The ornaments and Santas are actually made of silver mercury, throwing off a metallic lustre in the kitchen which features dark cabinetry and tiny, colourful tiles made of recycled glass in the backsplash. The silver ornaments, which are available at the Beechwood Avenue shop, start at $20 for a small Santa or $30 for a small tree, going up to $70 for a large urn with a lid.

Instead of completely covering an island or kitchen countertop, homeowners would likely cluster three or so silver ornaments of various sizes in a corner, leaving room for a fast meal or an evening drink.

There were also lessons in the family room, where Cardinal loaded up the elaborately carved mantel with arrangements of huge white Asiatic lilies, bronze mums and elegant pine boughs. He added exotic flourishes by inserting colourful peacock feathers.

The veteran florist repeated variations on either side of the fireplace, on the raised hearth, while filling a large urn with birch-bark stars and an old-fashioned sleigh directly in front of the glass fire doors.

The kitchen and family room were recently added to the original home which was built in 1924, commanding a view of Patterson Creek in the Glebe. Grant and his partner bought the house in August 2003, because they liked the centre hall plan, then proceeded to replace the wiring and plumbing, while excavating by the foundation to replace weeping tiles.

The history and art buffs kept the original light fixtures in the front living room and the enlarged dining room, which was painstakingly painted in a venetian finish of deep oranges by European-trained painter, Jan Bohus (613-271-9047 or www3.sympatico.ca/janbohus).

"We were lucky because we worked with really good artists, rather than workers," says Grant, who has a long history of collecting art, a love first nurtured by his father, A.J. Grant, who had "a good eye for art," but a propensity to sell his finds so he could imbibe.

The dining room is a showcase for art, prompting Cardinal to gear back the trio of centrepieces on the gleaming dining room table. He combined polished artificial fruit, with small clusters of bronze mums, red berries and simple branches of prickly pine in a long centrepiece. The florist played with the same textures in red ceramic pots on either end of the centrepiece.

The effect is colourful, yet restrained. The beauty of the room clearly shines through, which is an important lesson when decorating for Christmas, says Cardinal.

"You always have to look at your room and pick up colours. You don't always need a big, humungous display. Small is also powerful."

MAKING IT HAPPEN

Textures, colour and size are the keys to success when designing a centrepiece, says Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss in New Edinburgh. You have to look at the size of the table, the number of people sitting down and then colours in the room, says the florist, who designed one long and two, smaller displays in red ceramic pots for the dining room table. The low centrepiece allows for easy conversation, while the two, smaller arrangements add scale. The pair of red ceramic pots add colour, picking up the red of the polished, artificial apple and the green of the pine branches.

What you need: A ceramic pot; oasis to set into pot and retain water; floral pics to secure plants; selection of small bronze mums, red berries, pine branches, artificial fruit.

How to: Place oasis in ceramic pot. Start with bottom layer of pine branches. Stack fruit, mums and berries. Play with shapes and textures.

Maintenance: Water as needed.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
 

December 15, 2007, Ottawa Citizen
Smashing surprises: BY HATTIlE KLOTZ

A quiet looking bungalow reveals understated accents and one sumptuous spa

When Stuart and Tracy Arnett and their two teenage 'daughters moved to their new old house on Avenue Road last year, they estimate that nothing had been done to the unassuming bungalow since it was built in 1952.

In the past 12 months, the Arnetts – she’s a successful real estate agent, he's an artist – have completely renovated the grey stone home from top to bottom, creating many unexpected surprises behind the door.

Earlier this fall, they opened their doors for three-days to 2,600 folks who bought tickets for the hugely successful tour, Homes for the Holidays.

Even before Ottawa florist Eric Cardinal arrived at the door, there were strong tones of holiday colours running through the house, starting with the red-and-black striped sisal carpet that covers the front and back steps, to the vibrant red front door and the impressive red, black and silver Aga stove dominating one wall in the kitchen.

The owner of Mood Moss Flowers on Beechwood Avenue played up these colours, contributing deep-red orchids, vibrant poinsettia and masses of cream, red and green amaryllis, reminiscent of candy canes.

Cardinal asked the - Arnetts to set their dining room table as they would for a party, and then he took his cues from the settings.

The professional couple chose large red globe candles and square black charger plates set on round red placemats. The large table was set for six, but could easily accommodate a dozen friends.

“We entertain a lot,” says Stuart Arnett, who did a lot of the renovation work himself, when he found time between working at his painting easel. “We do quite often seat 12 people.”

The florist chose ceramic doves in the main-floor living room to playoff the stone surrounding the fireplace. He placed groupings of doves on silky gossamer leaves on the coffee table, while setting elegant ceramic angels across the top of the upright piano.

“When I first visited the house, I found it so well put together that I didn't want to overpower it with decoration,” he explains. “I wanted people to see the home. Like a bride on her wedding day, you want the flowers to be one of the last things you notice, not to take the attention away. It was the same thing here.”

He used the same understated approach downstairs, which is home to a large family room and master bedroom on one side and a lavish spa on the other. The spa is a total surprise to visitors and a welcome retreat for Tracy Arnett after a long day. There is a gym with cork floors and stationary bicycles and a spa, including a Finnish sauna, and an oversized steam shower with a neighboring tub. Here, the florist let the couple’s decorative details do most of the talking, only adding vases of pale cream hydrangea and ornamental kale to a miniature polished wooden boat loaded with rolled towels hanging from the ceiling.

The artistic Arnett made the boat as a cradle for his first daughter. “We use the spa almost every day” explains Arnett. “My daughters love it. We recently had 13 girls for the weekend running around in their bikinis.”

In the neighboring entertainment room, more doves perched on the fireplace mantel, while a cascade of birch wooden stars spilled across one side of the hearth.

In one corner, the florist placed a large vase filled with pale-green chrysanthemums and shiny red balls floating on the water.

Back upstairs in the kitchen, pale pink orchids shot tall into the air, making a dramatic counterpoint to a nearby still life of a low basket of ceramic fruit sitting on a cedar bed.

“Ceramics are an easy and simple thing to do,” says Cardinal. “I worked with tabletop accents in this house, using groupings of three.”

Simple but sophisticated is a good way to describe the approach of the Arnetts and the owner of Mood Moss Florist.

From the outside, the bungalow looked small, but walk inside and the open plan revealed a series of smashing surprises.

Hattie Klotz is an Ottawa writer.
 

October 2007
As seen in Canadian House and Home Magazine

Gatineau Hills Cottage of Keven and Jenny Bon


 

Saturday, January 15th 2007
Making A Statement : by David Gonczol, Ottawa At Home

Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss Flowers on Beechwood Avenue, says you can give new life to a simple grapevine or redberry wreath by attaching a fresh evergreen wreath to the back.

“It will bulk it up and add a new dimension to an otherwise plain wreath that will last through the winter months,” employee Michelle Stenson says.

Michelle says creating an interesting centrepiece can be as easy as taking a glass container, either a large bowl or cube vase, add water, and a “wacky mess of coloured wire for a bit of glitz.”

Try adding flowers such as gerberas, roses, gloriosa lilies or orchids, cut them short and place them inside the container amongst the wire. Holly or other “Christmassy” foliage even Christmas balls, will add more colour to the centrepiece.

“Basically you want a layered effect. An arrangement trapped inside of glass,” she says.
Another option Michelle suggests is to use a fresh flower wreath on your table and fill the centre with a variety of fruit, nuts and other treats.
 

Saturday, December 16th 2006

Advent wreath for the dining room table of U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins and Mrs. Susan Wilkins as seen in the Ottawa Citizen Home Section.

Saturday, December 9th 2006
Natural Diplomacy: by Karen Turner
Birch bark, cedar and pudgy swallows add earthy feel to holiday spread.

Quiet, understated elegance is how Eric Cardinal describes the festive ambiance he created in the Rockcliffe home of Austrian ambassador Otto Dietz and his wife Maureen for last month's Homes for the Holidays tour.

Rather than splash glitter and wrap rooms in flouncy red bows and bushy garlands, the owner of Mood Moss Flowers took a more subdued approach, dressing the official residence for the three-day house tour with fresh-cut cedar, birch-bark wreaths and a family of pudgey swallows.

“We tried to do what looked best for the house. We didn't want to overshadow its beauty,” says Cardinal of the sprawling red brick home built for Harry Southam in 1911 and bought by the Austrian government in 1968.

Cardinal, with the help of his two employees, Michelle Stenson and Renee Richer, incorporated natural, earthy elements into the festive spread using the home's decor as the inspiration.

For instance, in a sitting room off the main living room, 11 pots of red, pink and white cyclamens lined a deep ledge at the base of two soaring arched windows. The pretty colour palette was chosen to match the room's striped sofa and three comfortable easy chairs.

In the living room, it was the royal blue carpet and gold and blue striped couchs in front of the fireplace that set the colour scheme for the lush flower arrangements sprouting from tabletops throughout the room. On the mantel, nine chubby birds nested on a bed of fresh cedar and thick greenery weaved around stone cherubs praying on their knees on the windowsill.

To pay homage to the family's native homeland, Cardinal ordered edelweiss, Austria's national flower, from a grower in B.C. to make the dining room centrepiece. The delicate white blooms were combined with orchids and fresh cedar and set on a narrow wood plank in the centre of the formally dressed table. Cardinal says the arrangement was simple but elegant to complement the white china place settings. It was intentionally low so it didn't obstruct the view across the table, he says.

On a second round table in the curved nook, an evergreen wreath formed the base of the centrepiece then was filled with fragrant cinnamon sticks, dried oranges and nuts.

Finding a Christmas tree in mid-November was no easy task for the decorating trio. A trip to a tree farm netted three spindly evergreens which were sparsely decorated with gold ornaments, feathery sprays and tiny birds. Birch-bark wreaths were layered at the base of the trees on both sides of a hand-carved wooden nativity scene from Austria.

“We tried not to overdo it, but we wanted to add seasonal touches,” says the humble designer who even gave a nod to the Vienness Ball held every February at the National Gallery. In a corner of the music room, a white gown with snowflake beading doubled as a giant vase with boughs of cedar and pine brimming from both ends of the strapless debutant dress.

“The house has a lot of neat history and stories to it,” says Cardinal who favoured the less-is-more approach to dressing the home for the charity tour. “We didn’t go in wanting to make it look like Christmas. We wanted it to look seasonal and not overshadow its beauty.”
 

Saturday, December 17th 2005
Simple & Dramatic: by Sheila Brady
The simplest things are often the most dramatic. Consider seven ruby red candles sitting snuggly in a tin holder filled with nuts and wrapped with dogwood. The colour and textures were brought together by Eric Cardinal, owner of Mood Moss Flowers and the flower man behind dressing up the inside spaces in Michael and Betty LeClair's new bungalow near the Rideau River.

Griffin Kennedy Interiors also helped dress the LeClair home for the holiday tour.

The tall red candles sat in the middle of the couple's kitchen table, immediately catching your attention before turning to see a Christmas tree covered in small, white lights.

Across the family room, presents in colourful wrapping sat next to the fireplace and the mantel was covered in cedar, and vibrant lilies.

Cardinal was also the inspiration behind disarmingly simple, yet dramatic wreaths on each side of the LeClairs' front door, He started with an artificial wreath of cranberries and vines, added fresh cedar and pine boughs. Then he introduced a natural wicker cornucopia and filled it with sprigs of cedar and wooden roses.

“You usually think of a cornucopia at Thanksgiving because they symbolize plenty," says Cardinal. "It worked for us,"

“It also works to blend artificial and natural flowers," says the florist, noting there is a trend to using a natural wreath as a backing and then adding an artificial one at the front. There is lots of colour and a feeling of weight, he says.

It's also easy to add natural elements, including roses, throughout the holiday season, to keep the arrangement looking fresh.

Cardinal went the natural route in the LeClairs' spacious bungalow, weaving cedar and dogwood through light fixtures in the hallway and in the dining room. Instant warmth and smells of the holidays.

You can achieve the same warmth by using artificial greens and not worry about petals and leaves falling on the Christmas turkey.

Downstairs, Santa sat in a white wicker chair beside a mural of a tropical beach and pots and pots of colourful cyclamen which surrounded the lap pool which is a favourite play area for the LeClairs' 30-month-old granddaughter, Emma Avery.

The couple decided on a lap pool after going on a cruise. "There was a pool on the cruise ship," says Mike LeClair, who confesses the road to the edge of the pool and a regular exercise plan are paved with good intentions.

"The house felt so full and warm," says his wife, who opened her home to the public because the Hospice at May Court is an essential part of the community and deserves support.

MoodMoss Flowers is at 186 Beechwood Ave. Call 741-1774 or visit www.moodmossftowers.com. Griffin Kennedy Interiors is at 1 Beechwood Ave., 747-0155.
 

Monday, November 29th 2004
In The Mood: by Stacey Acker
Take a stroll down Beechwood Avenue and you'll discover that most of its business' are run by members of the community. People who, being intimately in tune with the needs and desires of their neighbours, have developed personalized and unique services that cater specifically to this area. Mood Moss Flowers is no exception.

On August 19, 2004 Eric Cardinal realized a dream, and opened the doors of Mood Moss Flowers for the first time. Eric had chosen the name long before venturing into his own business. Named after a tight, thick moss which grows in mounds whose surface has the look and feel of velvet; a versatile plant which now shares its name with an equally versatile business.

Mood Moss' warm, inviting, organic atmosphere was created in just 17 days. No interior designer, just an artistic soul and a whole lot of grit! (An amazing wife and great friends and relatives didn't hurt either.) Indeed. store displays (which include items purchased from local business Electric Street Studio, tree stumps and a dead weeping Mulberry tree) are just as beautiful as the distinctive items which they hold.

Local artists' artwork and photographs adorn the walls. There are carved wooden panels on the main counted! The store itself is a work of art. Then you add the flowers, some supplied locally, others from more exotic locations: all breathtakingly beautiful, and many not commonly seen in other floral shops.

When you look at the arrangements they make you smile; as do his wonderful staff, all of whom possess the same twinkle in their eye when they reminisce about the past year. All agree it has been a year of learning, of geltlng to know the community. Eric contributes the positive journey largely to the publicity that "word of mouth" has created and to the fellow business' that promoted him by carrying weekly floral arrangements. They are constantly surprised (and delighted) by the number of people who go out of their way to pop in and say thank you; impressed as well with the number of clients who actually supply the vessel themselves, items that have special meaning. It means a lot to everyone in Mood Moss and their admiration for this is obvious.

When asked to reflect on his first year and cite a particular arrangement or memorable moment Eric couldn't choose. Neither could the girls. Instead they all agreed that there are too many. Whether it be an Embassy function, a wedding or a social event, each allowed them to go above and beyond, led them to create amazing, beautiful things that were enjoyed by many people.

Eric has created "Mood Lights" (a floral lantern display featuring two softly glowing red and green structures encircled by stylized floral arrangements) for the Lumière Festival. The event is a favorite of Eric's and he's looking forward to the amazing talents and creativity that emerge from throughout the community. Then this coming November 18, 19 and 20th, Mood Moss is really looking forward to being a first-time decor participant in the 3rd Annual Homes for the Holidays by The Hospice at May Court. A goal he is happy to have achieved. Beyond thai Eric simply wants to keep it like it is. He enjoys being able to add the personal touch. Be it traveling to his clients, or staying open the odd time to accommodate a busy bride to be or hostess. Knowing his client is happy is important.

Congratulations Mood Moss on your one year anniversary! You are in a most notable profession... making people smile.
 

Monday, November 29th 2004
Mood Moss Flowers is a proud sponsor of "Cocktails for Cancer" held at the Meseum of Nature in Ottawa. With over $20,000 raised so far and voted The Best Charity Event of 2004, Cocktails for Cancer is continuing in its dedication to help eradicate this deadly disease. Visit www.cocktailsforcancer.com for more details.

    
 

Tuesday, November 23rd 2004
Owner of Mood Moss Flowers, Eric Cardinal, appeared on a live broadcast for Breakfast on the New RO. Filmed on location at the Courtyard Restaurant, Eric was interviewed along with Genevieve Rochon, the restaurant's Event Manager, by New RO reporter Angie Poirier. The segment focused on wedding trends and was in collaboration with the surprise renewal of vows by Susan & Carlos Fisher, who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary that day.

   
186 Beechwood Ave. ~ Ottawa, Ontario ~ K1L1A9
Phone (613) 741-1774 ~ info@moodmossflowers.com