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.

Green Wedding Dreams

Despite not having had a wedding ourselves (nor any plans to anytime soon), we've had weddings on the brain a lot lately. We've been best man/groomsman/bridesmaid/maid of honour/emcee, made many products for friends' wedding, strangers' weddings, and recently showcased our wares at Ottawa's Indie Wedding Show, Wed By Hand.

We love the current trend of rustic, nature-inspired garden weddings with an emphasis on being green. Weddings are notoriously wasteful and we commend all efforts to leave less of an impact on the planet with your special day. We have added a bunch of items to our line to cater to requests we've received. Here's a little wedding round up of our favourite items sprinkled with nuptial-oriented B&B goods.

Rachel is obsessed with this bespoke wedding dress from eco-indie fashion label Simone's Rose. Just imagine a barefoot bride walking across the dewy grass in this beauty!simones-rose-wedding-dressIn the summer here at Silverwood, we always have jars full of flowering herbs from the herb garden. You don't want to let all your herbs go to flower, but chives are one of the few that flower early, and they make the most incredible bouquets. Those purple blossoms and bright green stems would just pop from antique tinted blue glass jars, don't you think?

chives-on-white

These white birch place card holders make a lovely compliment to jars full of chive flowers. We rent these, just contact us if you're interested in details!

white-birch-place-card-holders

We love the beautiful artisanal letter press wedding invitations from Montreal's Tartine Paperie. If you are going the DIY route for your invites, why not use seed paper? A few summers ago, we enjoyed three large planters full of gorgeous wildflowers that started out a friend's wedding invitation.

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 12.11.35 PMA really great way to incorporate a slideshow into your wedding reception is to use the picture frame function on your iPad - you create an album with your adorable romantic pictures in it, choose that album in the settings for the picture frame, then simply press the flower icon on the home screen of your iPad. It'll play an endless slideshow loop of that album, without going to sleep. Just remember to fully charge your iPad!

We created this tablet stand from a heavy maple log. A minimalist and sturdy way to hold your tablet on the reception table by your guest book.

tablet-stand-4Speaking of guest books, we make a wedding album that doubles as a guest book - the chicago bolts allow you to add more of the FSC certified archival quality paper. Why separate the photos captured on your special day from the heartwarming notes left by your guests?

wedding-album-3

We love all of Dallas Curow's wedding photography, and especially this snap from her styled wedding shoot, Underwater Garden.

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 11.47.22 AM Our scrap veneer bunting is a really versatile decoration - use it decorate your walls, run it across the garden, cap the ends of each row of seating - and when you're done, simply compost it!

bunting-11

We love the current trend of using slices of log as a cake stand. Until we have a bandsaw big enough to slice logs, we have this vintage walnut cake stand that Rachel refinished and woodburned, as part of our new section "Refurbished by Rachel".walnut-platter-5When all is said and done, don't forget to thank all your friends and family who helped make your special day a reality! We had a "blast" (pardon the pun) making these custom rifle bookmarks with riveted recycled copper bullets for groomsmen who had organized a skeet shooting themed bachelor party. groomsman-bookmarks-4We also offer sets of chopsticks that make great wedding favours or even a wonderful wedding gift for your getting-hitched friends!

set-of-six-2

Jars full of onions

Ok, not onions, exactly. Onion flowers! Well, chive flowers. These things have been making my WEEK. I have jars of them around my house and they are stunning. I can stare at them for hours. They're so pretty at all stages, from the sepal-enclosed bulb, the half opened blooms, the round head of open soft purple-pink flowers with their teeny-tiny anthers perched on their filaments.

I've had a rough couple weeks, with what seems a year's worth of shipping problems happening all at once - delays, missing packages, swapped envelopes and miscommunications. On top of the shipping drama, I've had some problems with my jewellery castings and I'm under some serious pressure from wedding-rings-and-bridesmaids/groomsman-presents deadlines. The deadlines being, y'know... the wedding. Can't really miss a deadline like that.

The stress has been taking its toll and the constantly pouring gray skies this week just enabled my mood.

But! These jars full of chive flowers got me through. Spend five minutes lost in the miniature universe of purple petals, bright green stems and delicate stamens and the bigger picture reveals itself. How can one be upset in a world where these incredible things exist?

The best part is that chives grow like dandelions! We have about four patches of them on our property and we never look after them - they just appear every spring, lush and healthy and abundant. They also keep in the vase for ages - my oldest chive bouquet is now two weeks old and still going strong.

Look at that! It's like a bouquet within a flower!

I placed some of them in our B&B mini bud vases along our windowsills and they look so pretty as a single flower in a vase.

And then I found a recipe for a dressing made from chive flowers, on The Barrows Farm blog via The Soulsby Farm blog. You place the flower heads in a mason jar in the sun with vinegar... and I bet that looks gorgeous too!

Starting Seeds & Paper Pots, Part #2

It has been about a week and a half since I began sprouting seeds for the upcoming gardening season. So far so good. Over 80% of the seeds have sprouted and the paper pots are holding up well. sprouting trays

Sprouting really is an exercise in patience. Some of my seeds only began showing signs of life in the past 24 hrs.  Sure, the ones that haven't peeked through the surface yet concern me somewhat, but it's important for me to remember that they operate on their own schedule. Considering that I've planted a couple of exotics and mainly seeds I or my friends have gathered it makes perfect sense that some of them have yet to show signs of life. Some of them may not be viable at all & it's likely some will fail completely. Failure in gardening is something to be expected and not lamented. I find it's far more useful to celebrate the successes.

So far my nightshades (tomatoes and bell peppers) have offered me the most assurance. They sprouted first and show increasing signs of vigor.

I'll be putting my newly acquired seed spoons to good use when I plant the second wave of plants this weekend. I most certainly over-seeded my foxglove and million bells. I have some serious thinning to do!

I tried bending the rules with my wild arugula. The packet suggested sowing direct... seemingly for good reason. Soon after sprouting most of the sprouts wilted and died. Proof that it's worth taking the advice of the generations of gardeners that have come before us.

All of the exotics I planted have yet to stir. Bitter Melon seeds I collected while preparing dinner one evening and Calamondin harvested from the healthy specimen that resides in our living room. My hopeful suspicion is that they all require a long time to germinate and/or more intense heat. I'm not ready to believe that the seeds weren't viable. I've been focusing on the latter as I stave off the desire to plant anew in their pots.

The cast of my second round of sprouting includes lettuces, kale and sunflowers. The third round will be sown mid-April followed by the final direct sowing in the garden. The reason behind this staggered approach is that here in chilly zone 4 the growing season is short. The indoor head-start gives certain plants the full growth period they require. By the way, I determined my schedule and psyched myself up with this helpful advice from a fellow northern gardener.

Good luck to everyone else preparing a garden!!! Another update soon.

Starting Seeds & Paper Pots

The Spring Equinox took place two days ago on March 20 and ushered in many reasons for celebration.  If you're an avid gardener like myself you know that its high time to celebrate sprouting vegetables.   The time has come if you are planning to grow Tomatoes, Peppers, Broccoli, or Celery (amongst others) from seed. The next batch includes such favourites as Lettuce, Squash and Melons. Here in my Northern climate (zone 4) it's important to sprout certain plants in order to ensure they have a sufficiently long growing season and to circumvent the final frost of the year (May 13). This year I debated about how I was going to equip myself. Even though I've been gardening in varying degrees for many years I don't have a full kit of trays and pots. Since I'm keeping to a budget and I don't want to purchase plastic trays I could eventually salvage I decided to try paper pots. In two separate gardening catalogues and subsequent websites I saw paper pot makers for sale. Since I own a lathe and love wood-turning I decided to make my own.  I used scrap wood and firewood to make two models (55mm & 35mm) based on the sizes I saw in the catalogues.

Making the pots proved quite easy. It a perfect activity to do while watching a movie on the couch. Wrapping the paper strips twice around the wooden form seems to ensure they will hold their shape. When the two wooden pieces are pressed into one another the paper is folded to conform to the mating profiles of the wood. It's this fold that creates the structural integrity.

I've used a potting mix of coir (a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut) and perlite (naturally occurring volcanic glass). Coir is a wonderful alternative to Peat Moss. Since neither of these materials contain any nutrients I'm going to have to enhance my water once the sprouts gain their true leaves. I will either make a compost tea or invest in some sea kelp.

As it is, 5 days after seeding, the pots have held up well.  Since I have them trapped in a mini "Greenhouse" they are entirely wet all the time. I really do hope they continue hold up well - I've entrusted my entire crop to this method. Fingers Crossed!