Odile Gova: I am mostly self taught, although I have made attempts at Art college and various workshops over the past 25 years. I am deeply passionate and committed to my art forms. I’m a stay at home mother, how lucky am I ??!! I pour concrete garden art in the Spring and early Summer . The rest of the year is devoted to knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery and felting. My felt is made from reclaimed wool sweaters that I find at thrift stores and the like.
These calendars are brilliant.
girl*in*gear studio: It’s a calendar… it’s a wildflower garden… it’s frameable art… all at the same time! There’s no waste.
It’s printed on seeded, plantable handmade paper. The paper is embedded with 15 species of tiny annual wildflower seeds, including red corn poppy, spurred snapdragon, showy evening primrose, and foxglove. Not only can you recycle this calendar, but you can also compost it or even plant it and watch your garden grow! Instructions for planting are included with each calendar.
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.
What is moss? Let’s start with a quick botany lesson. Lacking conventional leaves, stems and roots, moss is a simple plant belonging to the class Bryopsida. It is believed to have evolved from primitive vascular plants and is among the first green land plants to have developed during the evolutionary process. There are now over 12,000 species of moss.
Commonly found in wooded areas and at the edges of streams, mosses thrive in damp, low-light conditions. Although a few varieties of moss can survive drying out, and will return to life after being dehydrated, all mosses require constant moisture to survive. Indoors, where the air is typically dry, terrariums are perfect environments for growing moss. This lovely example by Mossopotamia is made from an upcycled glass jar. As easy to care for as it is pretty, all that it takes to keep your moss lush and green is a light misting of water and indirect light. As shop-owner Sherri says “No green thumb or horticulture degree required!”
Last year both our garden and home-grown meat endeavors were far from what anyone would call successful. Between the late blight, the wonky weather, and a four-day trip to a blogging conference during which the very loose grip I had on weeding was lost entirely, spinach and peppers were the only produce we managed to harvest in any significant quantities. Add that to a late spring flood and the incredibly persistent raccoon predation that all but wiped out our poultry flock and suffice it to say 2009 was a giant failure here. We have been, I am more than a little embarrassed to admit, depending quite heavily on supermarket fare to fill-in the gaps that we were unsuccessful in filling during the growing months ourselves.
It has been a humbling experience; having to very reluctantly fill a shopping cart with goods I know will never really satisfy the cravings for the hearty homemade meals I need this time of year; having to stare our own failure in the face week after week, month after month. It has been more frustrating than words can express; having to hand over much of our hard earned money for products I consider, in many cases, to be incredibly inferior to those I tried and failed at stocking away myself — for much more labor, but much less money I might add.
And yet, it has also been an invaluable exercise in extending our food comfort zones and, of course, a crash course in being more creative. Did you know, for instance, there are approximately eleven hundred and seventy three meals based entirely on the green beans you managed to procure and freeze in copious amounts from a fellow gardener more successful than yourself? Me either. Or that spinach can be added to almost any recipe to extend the store bought ingredients and that, perhaps more importantly, you can feed your children said spinach three times per day, every single day, for weeks and so long as you don’t point it out they won’t complain — or turn green? I know, I too was shocked.
Tell me, in lean years how have you become more creative? How did it change your buying and growing habits for the following year? Already we’ve invested in raised garden beds, heavily composted and have decided not to accept pre-orders from our clients for poultry; not to sell the eggs before they’re in the basket, so to speak, in order to ensure we can provide for ourselves first.
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Of course the Pop’s Grass Fed Ground Beef (top), small-farm grown Gourmet Dried Mushrooms (middle), and Rick’s Picks Mean Beans — and other spicy pickled produce — (bottom) all of which I’ve been coveting certainly wouldn’t hurt the mealtime variety. Of that I’m sure.