A Busy Lavender Week

With all the lavender harvesting, drying and wreath making going on around here, things are in full swing for what’s coming up next: my first juried craft show! Up to this point I have only participated in craft shows at schools and community centers, but this year I have decided to do something different.

The Windfall Fine Art and Handcraft Market takes place in Antigonish NS in September at the Keating Center on St FX campus. It is a juried show, which means that you apply to have a spot and then your work is judged on its merit, originality and suitability for the show. I applied and was accepted! Yay me!

So now I have to make sure I have enough merchandise to sell at this well advertised two day show. I have been making my products in larger quantities than before for the past few weeks and I’ll give you a sneak peek at a couple of my most popular items.

I make this whipped Lavender Body Butter that is becoming more and more popular each year. Most of my customers are looking for natural products and this really fits the bill without additives or chemicals. It contains shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil and lavender essential oil. That’s it. I as well as several of my customers use this body butter as a facial foundation cream. It takes a few minutes for the skin to absorb; its well worth the wait because you’re using pure food grade cream. After several months of use, people agree that their complexion has never been smoother and more nourished.

img_0555

Filling jars with body butter in my kitchen.

img_0614

An afternoon’s work ready to be capped and boxed.

img_0615

All set to go!

One other item I have been making the past week is wreaths. They have to be made while the lavender is fresh and then it dries right on the wreath. Dried lavender is too fragile for all the manipulation required for wreath making. People ask me all the time if the dried lavender smells good and I have to tell them that no, it has no smell. In order to have that wonderful lavender scent, the flower has to be squeezed or crushed, releasing the essential oil that is contained therein. You can’t really do that with a dried lavender wreath or bouquet because you would destroy it. So these things are purely ornamental.

The wreaths you see here are still in the process of drying. Once they are completely dry I will embellish them with dried miniature roses and some grasses.

img_0613

First the fresh lavender is put into little bundles.

 

img_0616

Then it is wired onto a grapevine wreath form.

img_0612

Et voila! One finished wreath.

img_0617

Here are some of the wreaths, almost dry now, and soon will be ready to embellish with dried mini roses and some grasses.

There are several other items in the works: lavender and wheat eye pillows, sachets, tub tea and a few more. I’ll keep you posted.

What a busy week it’s been!

After the Pruning Comes the Harvest

People around here who know me know that I love lavender. It all started in 2009 when I went out looking for my first job in 20 years and ended up working at a lavender farm in St Eustache, Quebec. It was a rough time in my life, post-divorce, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than working with lavender to calm me down. I loved my job so much that when I moved to Nova Scotia the next year, having a lavender farm of my own was the logical next step.

Well, it is actually a lavender hobby farm, as there are about 80 mature plants that cover the front lawn. These plants have gone through maturing and pruning over the past seven years, just as I have- – and we both have grown stronger as a result.

Growing lavender has been a calming, maturing, learning, patience-practicing and beautiful part of my life and I am grateful. After the rough winter of 2015 when it just did not stop snowing, the plants took a beating. Did you know that the biggest enemy of growing lavender is having its roots sit in water? That’s what happened after that winter. So last year I noticed a lot of old wood and dead branches on many of the plants and decided to give them a ruthless pruning.

As Spring came on this year I was anxious to see what would result from that pruning…and I wasn’t disappointed.

Here are a few pics taken this past week as I harvested the lavender for some special projects coming up.

I will share them with you in the coming weeks!

img_0575

Ahh…lavender!

img_0582

Oh Yeah!

img_0585

Lavender tied in bundles and ready to dry.

img_0592

Lavender drying in the basement, with fans working overtime to circulate the air.

img_0573

Happy Canada Day!

img_0598

Cutting, bundling, tying…