All posts by borealisboutique

Summer Solstice Ideas !

Summer Solstice is when the sun travels along the most northern path in the sky. The sun takes the longest to rise and longest to set. the Sun appears highest in the sky while the moon appears lowest.

How to Celebrate !  Pick strawberries and celebrate with what coincides with June’s full moon also known as the Strawberry moon.  Enjoy a bonfire as the Midsummer’s Eve as the ancients called it, was celebrated the evening before. A bonfire party is a common theme on the longest day as we emerge from the long dark winters.  Pursue a magical fern flower to bring good luck before cleaning one’s face in the morning dew. Ferns produce a magic blossom once a year, on the eve of the Summer Solstice. Whoever is lucky enough to find a fern flower will receive good luck, prosperity, and the ability to understand the speech of animals.  The flower is believed to be protected by evil spirits. In some folklore, the Devil was said to appear and snatch the flowers for himself.

#summersolstice #borealisboutique #Artistsolstice #prosperity #goodluck #protection #fernflower #MidsummerEve #celebrate #longestDay #sunhigh #moonlow #strawberrymoon


by Toby Cote

Loon by Toby Cote

The Canadian Loon is a symbol of the Canadian wilderness and evokes a feeling of tranquility. This loon was designed from my collection of photos from one of the many lakes in Saskatchewan.

I reproduced this loon in a watercolour to colourplan the work and finished it in wool strips hooked into foundation cloth.

The hooked rug piece is currently available at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Boutique @skcraftcouncil on Broadway in Saskatoon.

#loon #aquaticduck #wildlife #instaloon #yxeart #artistsoninstagram #wilnernessculture #woodlandwild #wool #hookedrugsofinstagram #hookedrugart #fibreartist #fibrearts #canadianfibre #fiberart #borealisboutique #tncotes


We recently replaced our kitchen backsplash and had two areas where we didn’t want to replace the builder beige plastic switchplate that formerly housed a landline phone connection, and we no longer have a landline phone. There was also a box that housed a cable TV connector (yes, in the kitchen by the stove.. 😮 )

We created glass switchplates and drilled holes to accomodate the screw holes and tried to recreate a Mission-styled Arts & Crafts theme, a la Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window !

These are how they look in natural light ..

And finally installed in the stone tiles! These were created with clear glass, glass frit and powders and then finally kiln-fired !!

These will soon be available in our Etsy store with custom configurations! Please leave a comment if you are interested – Thanks !


Hand Painted stained glass copper foiled panel with traditional ground-glass paints, pigment oxides, enamels, stained glass, kiln-fired, soldered, patina application and framed in custom-made pine frame hand-cut dovetail joints with hooks and chain hardware.
18-1/2 x 21-3/4 x 1-1/2 inches

Laietana, the goose, in Carla’s protective embrace has a new lease on life at Santuario Gaia in Camprodon, Spain.
The rescue and protection of animals is the primary function of Fundación Santuario Gaia in Camprodon, Spain. This piece was adapted from a photograph and with the gracious permission of the visual journalist Ana Palacios.
Hand painted stained glass copper foiled panel with traditional ground-glass paints, pigment oxides, enamels, stained glass, kiln-fired, soldered, patina application and framed in custom-made pine frame hand-cut dovetail joints with hooks and chain hardware.
Fundación Santuario Gaia a sanctuary to save animals, is a true cause in Camprodon, Spain. To learn more, please visit

That Alley Downtown

That Alley Downtown 2020. T Cote, watercolour on graphite, line and wash
9-1/2” x 13-1/2”

I always enjoyed this alley in downtown Saskatoon, with its iconic architecture, gaining access to some unique local businesses.

The two major buildings in the foreground are the Avenue Building on the right, which was built in 1912 and originally known as the MacMillan Department Store. It was built by Saskatoon’s then future mayor Frank R. MacMillan and designed by Winnipeg architect William Fingland. The T. Eaton Company purchased MacMillan’s store and it was the single largest department store in the city before selling the business, but not the building, to T. Eaton Company in 1927. MacMillan extensively remodeled his building, inside and out, to convert it to office space, and renamed it the Avenue Building.

In the left foreground is the Travellers block annex followed by a private alley and the original Travellers block. You can peer down the lane and see the street front of 3rd Avenue South, and the jewel in the vanishing point is an edit I made. I historically changed the storefront to be that of Mikado Silk in the McKay Block, 223 2nd Avenue South. The style of the McKay Block is characteristic of Edwardian architecture. The building is named for Dr. William J.McKay, a physician and Saskatoon’s medical health officer (1906-1912). and Dr. McKay’s office from 1907-1911. Mikado Silk is no longer there, but was a historic business in downtown Saskatoon starting in 1933 for over 40 years and being a prolific sewer, I had more of a connection to it.

Buttercream Roses

Buttercream Roses, Sculptural Cake, Rug Hooking and Crochet Work

Update September 2021

Buttercream Roses was sold in the show ‘Luscious.Tasty.Delicious’ I was sad to see one of my favorite pieces go, but happy to know it is now enjoyed by a purchaser in New York.

Update – July 2021

Buttercream Roses was invited to show at the Barrett Art Center in Poughskeepsie, New York in a show called ‘Luscious.Tasty.Delicious.’ An International Juried Art Exhibition. The show runs from Aug 7, 2011 to September 11, 2021.

The show was juried by Holly E. Hughes and her Juror Statement is here:

I was happy to be in such wonderful company with many great pieces. You can check out the entire show online here:

My recently completed piece ‘Buttercream Roses’, has been accepted into a show called ‘From Scratch’  beginning in August in Saskatoon.   

Rug hooking is a traditional craft, using techniques from hundreds of years ago. I envisioned the concept and creation of  ‘Buttercream Roses’ in my process and engaged with the theme ‘From Scratch’ to mean no pre-made materials, packaged, or kitted items were used. 

I associated the theme ‘From Scratch’ with baking as that is where I first heard the term. To bake a cake from scratch meant to use a recipe and not a cake mix. I wanted to challenge myself in the textile arts area. My piece, a two-tiered cake structure, involved the design and creation of a three-dimensional hooked rug piece from sketch to completion. I sketched a repeating rose and vine pattern on a frosted buttercream background and created a watercolor to determine the wool colors. From this color plan, I transferred the design onto linen foundation cloth and chose the colors to resemble a frosted, two-tiered layered cake. The sides and top are hooked using the traditional rug hooking technique with strips of wool on linen foundation cloth. The second tier was joined to the first, using cotton floss and yarn crocheted together to resemble piped frosting. I then structured the piece over a form that I have sewn and assembled.

The show runs August 3 – November 6, 2020 at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery, 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Off To War

Off To War by T. Cote

Camille BonSeigneur
1918-1940 Off to War, circa 1939. Camille BonSeigneur, pictured at his Saskatchewan farm home, shortly before leaving for London to become part of the Royal Air Force and ultimately becoming a war hero, making the ultimate sacrifice at the Battle of Britain.

Hand Painted glass, kiln-fired glass tile from a family photo. #paintedglass #glasspainting #instagramartists #ancestryportraits #battleofbritain #acommonthread #war hero

Memories of a knitted passion

Waltzing with Memories, by T.Cote

My grandma taught me to knit when I was a very young girl.  As a child, I used to go over there after school each day until my parents returned home from work. 

One of the first projects I did with her that I remember was a knit pillow cover.  It was pink and worked in stockinette stitch.  It took me what I thought was forever to finish.  If there were any stitches out of place, she used to say, albeit with love, ‘Well there now! No, you must rip it and try again’. It seemed heartbreaking at the time, but she was right, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, or understand why it wasn’t good enough just to finish my first project, she was trying to show me how to do my best work and appreciate it always!

I finished knitting the pillow cover, although it was smaller than most standard cushions, but she said I did an excellent job, and that meant the world to me. Next, she showed me how to weave a simple design between the stitches. A simple pattern, but this is where I got to be creative! She gave me my first knitting needles and a project bag. The needles were a tortoiseshell and were so beautiful!  I felt so proud and special to have them, and I still remember that cushion. It sat proudly on our family couch for many years.

I still remember this first project, and it brings back the joy of spending time with my grandma and what she taught me about the pride, appreciation, and integrity of a job well done! She passed many years ago, but I still carry those memories with me today. I still love to knit and I think of her and what her spirit is whispering in my year as I tackle each new project!

Words of The Woman Who Knows

I was happy and excited to be notified that a textile piece I recently completed has been accepted into the 2020 FFAA Focus on Fibre Arts show in Alberta. The theme this year was Focus On Your Future.

The show will be on display online and at the new gallery space from July 20th to August 31st 2020 at the new Focus On Fibre Art Studio in Strathearn Centre in Edmonton. The full exhibition will also be viewable on the FFAA website. 

I entered a rug hooking piece entitled ‘Words of the Woman Who Knows’

Artist Statement:

To determine what our future holds, some consult a fortune teller. Depicted here is a stereotypical seer, one you may happen upon at a country fair. 

Looking to see what is in our future, the seers base their knowledge on their tools: crystal balls, palmistry, tea leaves, tarot cards, and potions to give them sight into our future, what is in store for us, and how they interpret this vision in our future. Even though she has seen our future, it is up to us to ultimately understand it, act on it, and make it our own!

The Clouds Tell The Story


The Clouds Tell The Story   by:  T.Cote©2020

The colourful landscape contrasts with an active sky and each day is different. The great wide-open of Saskatchewan lets you breathe and meditate as you consider where you fit in the perspective of this great wide open.

The clouds are full and low in an active sky with a multitude of sizes and shapes and the summer light kisses the fields of canola amidst a deep green meadow which looks far into the horizon as the sky shows gradation from dark to light. Similar to the minor and major chords in music, balancing into a harmonic scale.

The posts and gate disappear into the purview as the path seems to go on forever. The contrasts of the landscape are analogous to the contrasts of life.  Truly the land of the living skies, It is my think place.