NighBluey: I am not an artist or a designer of anything but I am told that I am artistic. Still not sure what that means. Maybe I am an artisan. I would like to be called that – it would be flattering.
When “I grow up”, I will own a flower shop. Arranging twigs, branches and stems all day – that would be my dream come true.
I live with an infinitely patient man, two dogs and three cats in a little community on an Ontario lake (which freezes in the winter and becomes home to thousands of ice huts and our annual by-the-shore rink). I am a “country yuppie” you might say. For years, I lived in big cities but I am already busy shedding my big city attachments. In the summer, I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, including in my garden looking low to the ground and high into the trees, as well as sailing and taking bike trips. My partner, Kevin, and I are also trying to get rid of all the “things” we accumulated over the years, boats, old cars and powertools we will never use.
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.
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.