Although we are a full month away from the official first day of summer, this past weekend was, for most of us, the “real” start of the season. Up here in the middle of Canada, the Victoria Day long-weekend is when we start wearing white shoes, planting our gardens, and firing up our barbeques. Sure, you can try to do those things before “May Long”, but you run the risk of a major fashion faux-pas and frost damage to your tender seedlings. (There’s really no compelling reason to hold off grilling, but I think it’s more fun when the evenings are long and the spring veggies start to appear in the market.)
I can’t help you with the white shoes, but I can help get your garden off to a good start. These upcycled seedling jars (above) made by Morgann of Bragging Bags make cute, little vessels to hold and protect your seedlings until they’re ready to go into the ground. The chalkboard “labels” will identify the contents and wipe clean for a fresh start next year. (They’d also be fantastic on your desk to hold paperclips, pushpins, etc!)
Once you have started your planting, you’ll want to keep everything neat and organized with a few pretty garden markers. Jacquie flattens and stamps vintage, silver-plated spoons to create these elegant upcycled markers, pictured above, for her shop, J Lynn Creations. Sets are made to order, so yours will be just like your garden – one of a kind.
If you’re like me, when it comes to working in the garden, the gloves are off. After an afternoon of digging in the dirt, there’s nothing like a good scrub to get those hardworking hands clean and soft again. Abbey James makes her Gardener’s Soap (above) with a blend of pumice, clay and cornmeal to clean, and a combination of oils, butters and coconut milk to soften.
All of that planting is bound to work up an appetite; if the weather’s nice, you might as well stay outside and grill up something good for dinner. Whether you are in the mood for skewers of Jamaican Jerk Shrimp, Bollywood-inspired Tandoori Tofu, Adobo Chicken fajitas, or a classic Texas BBQ steak, this dry-rub collection (above) by Cook Outside the Box literally puts a world of flavours at your fingertips. The rubs are blended in small batches, packaged for freshness and perfect for gift giving.
I said earlier that I am a no-glove gardener; the opposite is true for cooking. After getting my fair-share of burns over the years, I have finally learned to reach for my mitts when the heat is on. These cool, upcycled grilling mitts, pictured above, by Undone Clothing are made from durable lead-shot bags and an insulating layer of batting. Generously sized for maximum protection, they’ll fit both the King and the Queen of the Grill.