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.
Despite a sudden (albeit much-welcomed) stretch of unseasonably warm weather, it is definitely fall in Winnipeg. All of the signs are here: a chill in the night-air, squirrels scrambling to gather and hide fallen acorns, gardens slowly withering, and neighbours out in the sunshine raking up piles of brilliant yellow and orange leaves. It’s a time, as D.V. Moore of Papermoth suggests, to “Welcome Change”.
Even though it means winter is around the corner, I absolutely love this time of year. My reasons for favouring it over the other seasons are many, but the clothes have to be at the top of the list. I might be too soon to commit to a coat, but conditions are perfect for tossing on a cardigan or a vest. The kid-sized cardigan pictured above is quintessentially fall, with its autumnal palette and scattering of appliquéd leaves. It is a one-of-a-kind piece, upcycled from wool sweaters, and available in the Gock’s Frocks shop.
I’m sure the runners in the group will agree that fall is a great time to hit the streets and paths. Not only are the vistas constantly changing, gone is the oppressive heat of summer. There are seasonal hazards to watch out for, though, which can make the average run into a bit of an obstacle course. My usual route, for example, has its share of “acorn-hazards”, which can send a less-than-attentive runner flying. Don’t get me wrong; I am nuts about acorns, but for more decorative purposes. I’ll let the squirrels clean up what’s on the ground while I grab myself one of these amazing, one-of-a-kind pendants by Bullseye Beads. A handmade glass bead is topped with a real acorn cap to make each piece truly unique.
It seems like just yesterday that I was gushing about my garden. The tomatoes, as I predicted, were the stand-outs, but the big surprise to this budding green-thumb was the butternut squash that I planted on a whim. At first, it looked like nothing would come of the little vine. It bloomed like mad as it stretched its way across the back of the garden, but didn’t seem to be producing any actual squash. I left it alone, though, and it seems that my intentional neglect has paid-off; hidden behind the basil is a single perfect, bell-shaped squash. Solstice Scents captures the essence of the fall garden, including squash, in this vegan, cruelty-free whipped body butter. I can’t think of a better way to moisturize and carry the scent of autumn with you; throughout the season and beyond.
If you are lucky enough to live in an area with trees that change colour with the seasons, then you are probably quite familiar with the spectacular display as green turns to orange (and red and yellow and crimson…) Prairie Peasant was inspired by those autumnal hues when she pieced together the cover of this stunning handbound journal. As beautiful as it is on the outside, though, the real surprise lies within. Contained between the covers of this special book are deckle-edge sheets of handmade botanical paper, which include real petals and leaves, and plain sheets for recording all of your musings.
Ken’s Garden Pottery: This beautiful Ikebana style pottery vase features the imprint of a beautiful antique crocheted lace doily. The design has pretty flowers. The vase has a pin frog inside that holds the flower stems upright and makes it easy to create a beautiful arrangement with just a few flowers from you garden.
How many of you have been outside taking advantage of this beautiful, sunny weather? I know I have! Let’s get our hands dirty with some garden talk today.
If you’re in the works growing a vegetable garden, jazz it up a little with these colorful garden stakes by fromArtisanHands. If you’re new to veggie gardening like me, then you may need a little guidance with remembering which of your plant starts is which. These handcrafted stakes were cut from slabs of stoneware and come in a variety of fun colors. Not only do they come with vegetable names, but you can order them with herb names or inspirational words as well.
I have absolutely fallen in love with these handcut, recycled tire planters by DuchessCraft. Made from old lawnmower and trailer tires, these planters will make a huge statement when strategically placed in your flower garden. You can also use them inside the home to sort and organize your magazines, knick knacks, or even your recycling. Also, this artist donates a portion of the proceeds from these planters to the Second Harvest Food Bank where millions of pounds of food are donated to families in need all over the country every year. Visit the Second Harvest Food Bank website to see what else you can do to help!
Carry your gardening tools, seed packets, gloves, and other supplies with ease with this cedar wooden garden tote made by DesignByKohler. Cedar is perfect for this type of outdoor job since it is termite and rot resistant as well as lightweight for easy carrying. As their product description suggests, you can also turn it into a rustic style planter by simply drilling a few holes in the bottom and filling it with soil and an assortment of plants. DesignByKohler makes many custom designed and built wooden products for your home and garden from both exotic and domestic woods.
Now that you have some tools to get started on your garden, head over to Diana’s posts for some tips on What’s In Season.
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.