Summer at Silverwood

Here's a quick rundown of what to expect from B&B this summer!

:: New products! ::

Over the course of the next few months, we'll be adding new products to our store, like the children's name wall art (pictured above) and some exciting storage solutions for vinyl record collectors! We'll also make sure we restock the store with our sold out Wine Racks.

:: July ::

Rachel will be driving across the country throughout July while Aaron holds down the fort and processes orders.

Are you on instagram? See Rachel's pictures as she crosses this beautiful land. Follow us @blisscraftandbrazen.

:: August::

We'll be part of an exciting show called Nature Fever in Montreal August 2 - 3rd.

We will be closed for all of August to do some repairs at Silverwood and begin production for the One of A Kind Show.

B&B in Ottawa, June 28

Dear people of the capital! Come say "hi" this coming Saturday June 28th, at the beautiful Glebe Community Centre.

Urban Craft's quarterly shows are an awesome gathering of Canadian artisans. We love seeing so many awesome makers in one room. Don't miss out!

Spring has straight up sprung.

Now that spring is FINALLY here at Silverwood, we have been getting right down to the business of the garden. Ordering and planting fruit trees, herbs, mulching & spreading compost. Oh, and turning the sunroom into our home office/living room/dining room for the next six months.

We're in such a good mood, we're celebrating with a coupon code that you'll only see if you scroll through ALL. OF. THE. PRETTY. PICTURES. buahahahahahahh!!!

Planting fruit trees

Planting fruit trees

Potting up some Thai and Mexican coriander

Potting up some Thai and Mexican coriander

First BBQ of the year!

First BBQ of the year!

One of the beautiful creepy crawly residents of the Silverwood acre.

One of the beautiful creepy crawly residents of the Silverwood acre.

On the way to the mailbox - this meadow will soon be full of milkweed.

On the way to the mailbox - this meadow will soon be full of milkweed.

One of our neighbour's chickens - some are prettier than others.

One of our neighbour's chickens - some are prettier than others.

We use some of our wood shop shavings to mulch the garden beds.

We use some of our wood shop shavings to mulch the garden beds.

The Bartlett pear in bloom! Don't get close - the flowers actually stink like poop.

The Bartlett pear in bloom! Don't get close - the flowers actually stink like poop.

Where we come to shove our faces with above mentioned BBQ.

Where we come to shove our faces with above mentioned BBQ.

Aw yeah. 

Aw yeah. 

Alright, you made it to the end! If you like our images and never want to miss another one, simply follow us on instagram or like us on facebook!

Ok, now for your coupon code! Use the code SPRINGSPRUNG to get 15% off anything in the shop right here at blisscraftandbrazen.com! Valid until midnight EST on Friday May 30th.

Earth Day!

Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day.

Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970, as a way to promote the cause of environmental protection. Learn more about Earth Day here, and take some time to stop and celebrate!

Let's take a moment to reflect on the incredible planet we inhabit. Could we be more kind, more gentle, to this cosmic body that supports our existence? What small actions can we all take to help alleviate the strain of humankind?

We are celebrating Earth Day with a coupon code!

Houseplants are a great way to bring greenery, beauty and fresh air into your home.

Get 20% off all B&B plant hangers by using the coupon code FLOWERPOWER in our store. Expires at midnight PST.

Hummingbird Garden Part 2: Set the stage

Welcome to Part 2 of Building a Hummingbird Garden!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace Photography on flickr  

Photo Credit: Stephanie Wallace Photography on flickr

 

The snow has almost all melted into the ground here at Silverwood and it's time to choose which flowers we will plant to entice hummers to drop by and stay awhile.

Here are the basic guidelines for a garden hummingbirds will find irresistible:

  • Red or Orange tubular flowers
  • Plants with many small blossoms pointing sideways or down
  • Plants with long bloom periods
  • Plants that bloom profusely during August and September
  • Tall plants (by which we mean plants over 75 cm or 30")
  • Mass plantings of flowers

You may be feeling a bit thrown off by that last criteria. Don't worry! Several of the plants recommended below reproduce vigorously, self-seed with ease and can be started from seed quite easily. For this reason mass plantings (also referred to as large drifts) are a breeze. Remember: It is very common for hummingbirds to sample the nectar from every single blossom in the vicinity! The more blossoms = a better chance of observing them in action! (Even if you don't have a lot of space plant some hummer favourites anyway and give them a reason for occasional visits.)

I'm a big proponent of the gardening saying "Friends don't let friends plant annuals". At least not until their garden is well stocked with perennials. Sure there are plenty of annuals to draw hummers to the yard. By all means plant them if you like. Perennials just happen to be a better long term investment.

Here are some plants that are sure to magnetize hummers to your yard. We have the first few in our garden already, and they do a stellar job of bringing in hummers and even bees. The latter few are new to our garden this year, but I have selected them after fairly extensive research:

Photo Credit: disownedlight via Compfight cc

Bergamot

(Monarda didyma, aka Bee Balm, Oswego Tea)

Perennial : zone 3 - 8

This plant has sooo much to offer! It is easily my top pick. (Rachel's note: Aaron is OBSESSED.) Hummingbirds love this flower for its bright red, profuse, nectar-rich and long lasting blossoms. Bergamot comes in many colours. For best results look for the red variety. While the others may provide nourishment, the red varieties act as the best calling card. On hot, sunny days its pleasant fragrance wafts around the garden. Bergamot is super easy to grow. So easy in fact that it can begin to take over a garden if left unchecked. Like mint it has a tendency to spread and can be divided easily. Bergamot is also good for attracting butterflies.

[Fun fact! Ever tried Earl Grey Tea? If yes, then you have sampled Bergamot. It happens to be the key flavouring ingredient in that popular tea blend. It also has many other uses us bipeds enjoy. Try it as a minty herbal tea, or an olfactory treat added to bath water.]

Photo Credit: sniffette via Compfight cc

Red Columbine

(Aquilegia canadensis, aka Columbine)

Perennial : zone 3 - 8

Native to North America

These flowers have a really unique look - unlike any other flower I can think of. They make me think of spaceships and comets. Columbines are available in just about every colour and colour combination you can think of. To best attract hummingbirds, it is important to choose Aquilegia canadensis.

Aquilegia are super easy to sow from seed & self-seed readily. They like semi-shaded areas - this is nice since so many other plants demand front row seats in the sun. They grow equally well in a wooded setting or in a window box. They are reliable germinators, easy to establish from seed. Simply scatter seed in disturbed soil in the fall or early spring. Once established, Columbine will tend to self-seed and persist.

Cardinal Flower

(Lobelia cardinalis)

Perennial : zone 3 - 9

Native to North America

This bright red flower is a late summer bloomer. This will help ensure a food source that is available well into the fall. It requires part shade and soil that will remain relatively moist. Planting near water will help ensure long term success. Propagation is easy by dividing since the young plants spread from the base of older plants.

Photo Credit: edgeplot via Compfight cc

Agastache

(*several varieties* A. foeniculum, A. aurantiaca, A. cana, A. ruprestris, etc., aka Hummingbird Mint, Anise Hyssop,)

Perennial : zone 4 - 11

Native to North America

Agastache is classic plant for both herb gardens and borders. These plants are characteristically composed of erect branches, spires of several small flowers and minty-licorice-scented leaves. They are especially eye catching when planted in large drifts or groupings. Agastache is also a very attractive plant to bees.

Campsis radicans, photo modified from SamwiseGamgee69 on Flickr
Photo Credit: SamwiseGamgee69 via Compfight cc

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans, aka Trumpet Creeper, Hummingbird Vine)

Perennial : zone 4 - 9

Native to North America

This vine is so good at attracting hummingbirds with its summer-long clusters of red, orange, or yellow flowers that you'll sometimes see it sold as hummingbird vine. This plant requires some planning because it can climb to a height of 30 feet or more, needs a strong support and room to grow. To support the plant, consider a robust trellis, a pergola or a south-facing exterior wall of your house. It's worth mentioning that Trumpet Vine can exhibit a very aggressive growth pattern that quickly overtakes its supports (sometimes destroying them in the process). This is especially the case in warmer zones. For this reason, it is considered an invasive species in some areas . However, this is not the case in the cooler zones. It can take several years to flower so patience is also required. It likes full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is tolerant of poor soils.

Photo Credit: Nemo's great uncle via Compfight cc

Honeysuckle Vine

(Lonicera sempervirens)

Perennial : zone 4 - 9

Native to Northern Hemisphere

This vine has showy clusters of tubular flowers. It blooms through the summer and autumn. There are different varieties available. Each has with their own blossom colour range - but all should do the trick of enticing hummingbirds to the garden. It requires support of a trellis or arbor and can grow to a height of 15 feet.

Most of these are quite common and easy to find in your local nursery. If you can't find them there, a quick online search will yield tons of online seed stores.

Next post we will be share photos of our hummingbird garden in process! We'd love to see pictures of your garden, too. Send them to us at blisscraftandbrazen [at] gmail [dot] com.

Happy gardening!

Aaron

Sushi Serving Sets are here!

Sushi serving sets for Spring and Summer: Suck it, stupid winter stews!

Try saying that five times fast!

As we write this, more snow is falling from the skies and settling on the chin-high snowscape that is our lawn. We can't wait to throw open the windows, set up the sunroom and dig our hands into the dirt.

Sushi is one of our favourite foods, but it sometimes feel odd to eat this cold meal in the depths of winter (plus the nearest sushi restaurant is three towns away!). But we can dream about all the sushi we will eat once the warmer weather is here - and we can't wait to serve it on our new Sushi Serving Set!

The minimalist design gives a nod to the Pagoda, with beveled edges and a floating look achieved by using two feet to elevate each platter. Choose from sets for 2 people or 4, and add our handmade chopsticks if you like!

We've done a small limited-edition run of these, so if you like them, don't wait! Buy them here or in our etsy shop.

PSST! Wannw win a set on Friday April 4th? Subscribe to our B&B Love Letters and you'll find out how to enter!

Wine Racks coming soon!

We've pulled a fresh baked batch of reclaimed wood & recycled leather wine racks out of the oven - just in time for this Saturday's Urban Craft Market in Ottawa.

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When we return, these bad boys are going straight into our online store!

Bath Caddies! A sale and a giveaway!

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Everyone knows the best way to chase the winter blues away is to SPA it out, amirite??

And yet... we don't all have the means to treat ourselves to hot tubs, steam rooms and massages.

Never fear, we're here to help. We want to celebrate our spanking new website AND stick it to winter. That's why, for the next 48 hours, our ready to ship bamboo bath caddy is only 59.99! Simply use the coupon code SUCKITWINTER

 


Featured Designer: Michelle of Simone's Rose

We are super-stoked to inaugurate our Featured Designer Series with Michelle Maynard, the incredible talent behind eco-conscious womenswear line, Simone's Rose.

We have had the pleasure of being wearers of Simone's Rose as well as collaborating with Michelle - in fact, Michelle is the one who makes our vintage kimono fabric chopstick sleeves! The material is all offcuts from the Simone's Rose studio.

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We have always been so impressed with the seamless way that Michelle incorporates eco-practices into her business - we think she's an incredible example, and she has certainly inspired many of the eco-minded decisions we have made while running B&B. 

The mandate of Michelle's Canadian fashion label, aside from creating gorgeous romantic clothes with impeccable tailoring (not to mention feats of fabric folding) is to "affect change by supporting and implementing sustainable and ecologically conscious business practices and projects internally, locally and across the globe". No small feat! She does this by using organic and fair trade fabrics, vintage textiles and trims, as well as deadstock. As she says; "After all, it's all about having style – both in the way we dress and the way we affect people and the world around us!" Who can argue with that?

We asked Michelle to speak about the importance of eco fashion & running en eco-conscious business.

B&B: Why is eco fashion important to you?

Michelle: Eco fashion for me is more about a lifestyle than a thing you "do" so to speak.  I believe that clothing can be made ethically from materials that are sustainable for our environment without compromising style. There is so much excess around us, it kind of drives me crazy.. sometimes I think the world has gone crazy!  I mean, do we really need $5 Walmart t-shirts that fall apart after one wash?  (Lets not even get started on what someone got paid to make that t-shirt.)  That seems so ridiculous to me and that's why eco fashion is so important.  

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B&B: How does Simone's Rose embody an eco/sustainable philosophy? How do you put it into practice?

Michelle: Everything I use for my collections & business is carefully picked for its sustainability or eco friendliness.  Even my designs are built around it! If a particular dress causes too much fabric waste I'll tweak the design or come up with a better way to do the pattern so it makes more sense where that's concerned.   I also use recycled paper products for my packaging and eco friendly shipping supplies.  If I choose to purchase a fabric locally, it has to be pretty awesome, the end of a fabric bolt and/or supporting a great local business (because that's important too).   

B&B: What's the hardest part about "going green", both with your business and your life?

Michelle: Its actually not that hard to be conscious about the environment!  When you start implementing small changes to your life, they become habit and part of your lifestyle.  I don't really see any drawbacks with choosing a recycled shipping product vs a regular shipping product for example.  It may sometimes cost a little bit more money but in the end its usually not that much and its a better choice.  The same goes for fabrics - I would much rather use a gorgeous organic cotton or hemp textile that feels great against the skin than a slick polyester covered in chemicals.  There's really no choice to be made there so I don't really see 'going green' as a challenge in any way.

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B&B: Where do you think people or businesses should start when they want to begin "going green"?

Michelle: I think starting with small changes is key to adjusting your business or lifestyle.  The next time you need to order paper for your printer, think about your choices... Is it recycled paper, is it made from bamboo, is it super white slick bleached paper and it doesn't need to be? The same goes for building your wardrobe.. why choose a cheap dress from the mall made from chemical covered polyester when you can have something that is not only made from a better fabric but also made in Canada or by a reputable company?  Consumers have an infinite amount of choices these days and it all starts with making small steps.  Why waste your hard earned money on clothing that will be tossed in the 'donation' pile and inevitably end up in the garbage?  I think spending a little more money on one item of quality that will last you a very long time, feels good, does good and looks great is a fantastic start.   Check out Etsy or search the web for local designers, pop in to your local boutiques rather than the mall and visit some arts & craft shows the next time there's one happening in your town or neighbourhood!    You never know what or who you will discover.  Going 'green' is just about making choices, it won't hurt & you'll be better off, I promise!