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.

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Filling jars with body butter in my kitchen.

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

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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.

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First the fresh lavender is put into little bundles.

 

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Then it is wired onto a grapevine wreath form.

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Et voila! One finished wreath.

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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!

Everything Will Be All Right In The End…

Positivity No Negativity Challenge

Day 39 of 84

I’m off to my last craft show of the season this morning. Frankly, with other things on my plate these days, I haven’t been able to muster up the usual enthusiasm for getting out there with my wares once again. As I reluctantly packed up the car yesterday, I was feeling negative. I just wanted to sit in my chair and read or zone out. I think that the stresses of the past few weeks are finally catching up on me.

And I thought that maybe this wasn’t a great time to do a no negativity challenge. But wait! When is a good time?

I rationalized out loud with Dave later as we drove into town for a few errands. Doing a no negativity challenge is easy when life is great, no one is sick, the sun is shining and everyone is smiling. It’s not so easy when there are hardships, stressors and things are not going our way. It’s difficult when faced with problems that have no immediate resolution.

I guess that is why it is a challenge.

Actually, just because I am doing this challenge, I have been handling a lot of those stressors much better than I would have in the past. It is making me conscious of my thoughts and words pretty much all the time now, and I have noticed my disposition has improved. I am more positive. I think that some of it has rubbed off on certain people around me.

That’s the goal, right?

I wanted to do this challenge in the first place in order to get the negativity out and to realize that I am not my problems.

I’m reminded of that line I love from the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

“Everything will be all right in the end… and if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.”

And this one:

“Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected. Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.”

Have a positive Saturday!

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Today I am grateful for:

1. A warm duvet blanket

2. A delightful craft show to attend this morning

3. Two days of no sugar!

4. My husband

5. The support I’ve received since starting this challenge

Have a Positively Fabulous Saturday!

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 5

Today I am off to sell my wares at a craft show. Normally right around now I would be pessimistically thinking that no one will come to the show, that those who do come won’t buy from me, that I hope I make enough to pay for my table, I hope I don’t die from boredom…well you get the picture.

But today is different because I am focusing on being positive, no matter what. So instead, my thoughts are:

What a GREAT day for a show!

I’m so proud of my handicrafts!

There has been lots of publicity so there should be lots of people.

I will meet some new crafts people (we’re a great bunch, you know)

Have a positively fabulous Saturday –

See you later!

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A Lavender Kind of Show

If you know me, you know that I love lavender! My Pinterest board is full of Lavenderish ideas and des belles photos of la lavande. Not only that, when I arrived here in Nova Scotia, I immediately bought 60 lavender plants.

Yes, 60. And this year I plan to put 30 more!

They are in four rows of 15 in my front yard. This year will be their (as well as my) third year here in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia. Lavender takes about three years to mature, so this year should be great!

Funny, even though I love it here in the Annapolis Valley, it has also taken me three years to get my roots firmly planted. I now have a few circles of friends and more activities than I have time to do.

My love of lavender started in 2009 when I worked at La Maison Lavande , a beautiful lavender farm in St. Eustache, Quebec. There I learned all about the cultivation of lavender as well as its many benefits. During the short seven months I worked there, before moving to Nova Scotia, I became hooked.

And that’s why, in my craft shows this year, I will showcase ‘la lavande’. I have always made my crafts according to what is popular in the area and what I think will sell well.  I often found myself working on projects that were not a lot of fun- but they sold well.

They say that you should ‘follow your passion’, and the success will follow. Well, this year I intend to do just that.

So my table will be predominantly lavender purple, and off-white; here are a few things I have been working on up to now.

These have been made from vintage scrabble games…in both French and English.

Scrabble anyone?

Scrabble anyone?

Beautiful cotton dishcloths crocheted in purple and off white.

Beautiful cotton dishcloths knitted in purple and off white.

The lavender came from my front yard; don’t ask me where the wheat came from. I’ll never tell!

Lavender and wheat wreath

Lavender and wheat wreath

The gorgeous jug in this pic came from, where else? Provence, France. A little something I picked up in a second hand shop where the owner was this older man, so anxious to please and so happy to have made a sale.

I couldn't resist this one...does anyone recognize the picture in the background?

I couldn’t resist this one…does anyone recognize the picture in the background?

I have many more things to follow; some of them will require fresh lavender which I will have at the end of July, and others I will show you as I get to them.

I am excited!

 

The Gäst Shawl

The end of my craft show season has arrived! It’s been good, although I sold things I thought would never sell and conversely I didn’t sell much of what I thought would be in demand. Every year brings different sorts of customers, looking for something new.

For example, last winter I knit four lovely shawls from Homespun yarn. I loved them. I like to knit when we are on a long drive as it helps to pass the time. As we did a lot of driving last year I had time to knit four of these shawls.

One went to my mom for Christmas, and she found it very cozy and warm.

Another one I kept for myself, and it has become somewhat of my ‘security blanket’.  It’s warm, it’s soft, and it smacks of comfort in a  “slippers and rocking chair” sort of way.

There were two left, and they just sat in a bag in my office until October of this year. As I was preparing for my first show around mid month, my husband asked me if I was going to bring those two shawls along. I told him I would not because I didn’t think anyone would want to buy them. Also, I would have to charge 40$ for them, and no one goes to craft shows and spends that much on one item. At least not in the area where we live.

He said that I needed a little gimmick, something to attract people to the shawls. For example, the shawl would be just another knitted thing in a sea of other knitted things at the show…unless…unless it was a Guest Room Shawl. Something to put aside for when people come to visit and they find it a little cool.

Yes, he might have something there!

So he wrote up a little ‘Swedish Legend’, and looked up the Swedish word for Guest.  It went something like this:

Gäst Shawl

Legend says that in some Northern

Scandinavian villages, it was

customary to have a shawl available

for guests when they visited, as the

homes were often cold.

The shawl hung near a fireplace

or in a guest room and was

   always returned there when the guest left.

 

I agreed to pin the little legend to each shawl and put them on display.

A star was born!

Those two shawls sold at my first show, and then I went on to make and sell six more throughout the crafting season. People loved them! Actually no one else was selling knitted shawls. The one I made was a type of prayer shawl, very simple and very pretty.

There were different types of people who bought them as well. I had thought that only seniors would be interested. I was wrong.

One woman bought hers because she was going to be 40 soon and the shawl was 40$.

Another person bought one for her mother, whose shawl was old and tattered.

Yet another bought hers because it fit in with her color scheme.

A few women bought them as a gift to present to a friend, relative, or just for themselves.

And one lady bought hers to bring to work because of the air conditioning, and she didn’t want to always wear a sweater.

No one bought a shawl for the guest room, but the little sign with the legend made them stop and look.

I think I’ll knit up a few more of them this year; they were so well received, I may use some for gifts myself.

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