Engaged.


N&B Engagement Photo by Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Nick and I got engaged in August (2015), and I realized a few weeks ago that I never formally announced that here. So, yay! We're engaged! 

We've set a date (in September 2016), and I've bought my dress (you'll have to wait and see!) and most of the big stuff is done. We're both excited, and now that the holidays are done, we can get on with looking into dresses for the bridesmaids and suits for the groomsmen, and all the fun things that come with wedding planning.

In the meantime, I am thrilled to share some of our engagement photos. These were done by the lovely Jenna of Bear and Sparrow Photography. If you're a bride in Southwestern Ontario, I STRONGLY recommend meeting with Jenna. She is wonderful to work with, and is excellent at capturing those candid, un-staged moments that only the best photographers can. 

I hope you enjoy a selection of my favourites!

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
The exact spot where Nick proposed!
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography.

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

N&B Engagement Photo Bear and Sparrow
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Yellow Gold Engagement Ring Bear and Sparrow Photography
Courtesy of Bear and Sparrow Photography

Happy New Year, friends! Hope your 2016 is as awesome as I hope mine will be. :) 


Crocheted.



Crocheted Beanie in graphite with PomPom. 100% Acrylic. $20 CAD (plus shipping if not local). IN STOCK.

Crocheted Beanie in Seafoam with PomPom. 100% Acrylic. $15 CAD (plus shipping if not local). IN STOCK.

Crocheted Scarf. 100% Acrylic. $20 CAD (plus shipping if not local). Made to Order.

Crocheted Scarf. 100% Acrylic. $20 CAD (plus shipping if not local). Made to Order.

Crocheted Blanket. $70 CAD (plus shipping if not local). Made to Order.


Woah man. Suddenly it's December and I'm posting pictures of things I actually crocheted. I cannot believe how quickly time flies. Apparently I am incapable of living life and also blogging about it. There's no excuse, life just got busy. 

In other news, Nick and I have some exciting news since the market days. We got engaged (yay!), and we sold a lot of honey (also yay), and we did some brand redesigning and are now making things available for sale. I'll be doing some work on the Etsy shop in the weeks to come with more accurate shipping costs, and item updates.

We are also working on a line of natural beeswax cleansers, moisturizers, and facial scrubs which will be coming to the shop soon. If you are interested in purchasing, check us out via our FB page while I get things going with the Etsy. 

Any questions? Leave me a message in the comments. 

I promise there will be more posts coming up in the new year - engagement photos, recipes, and possibly some new market related projects. Stay tuned!



DIY Chalkboard Bookcase



As some of you may know, Nick and I have been selling some of our honey at the local farmer's market. Before we got started, though, I knew we needed a display for the products. I've always wanted to try chalkboard painting, and I love bookshelves, so it seemed like the perfect choice.

Chalkboard painting is really easy - even you can do it. If you've never tried this before, here's the easiest tutorial you'll ever read. 

What You'll Need:
- bookshelves  (we purchased ours for $8/piece from a secondhand store, they are cheapies from Walmart, originally.)
- sandpaper
- primer
- chalkboard paint (we bought a small $15 can from Canadian Tire)
- matte paint in antique white (or whatever other colour you like)

Step One - Sanding


This is the most time consuming of all the steps. I don't know about any of you, but I hate sanding. It's hard on your hands, dust gets everywhere, and it makes an awful sound. However, it's vital to sand the WHOLE darn bookshelf if you want the paint to stick. So don't chinse out. Use pressure and make sure you have that whole awful posture board bookcase scratched up. You want to take every ounce of polish off.


Step Two - Priming


As important as sanding, it's a good idea to prime the bookshelf before you paint it. I decided against distressing the edges, so a solid coat of primer went on without worrying about wiping down edges. If you do want to distress the bookshelf, keep a wet cloth handy and take the primer off around the corners and edges to prep for the distressed look.


Step Three - Painting the Base Colour


This step is easy. You use your base colour - in our case, CIL's Antique White - and paint the shelf, and outside of the bookshelf. It's important not to fill the holes where the shelf hooks go, as you'll need those at the end. You'll also want to wait about 15-20 minutes between coats. We were outside, so the warm sun dried the paint quickly. At this point in the game, you also don't need to worry so much about your lines. If you get a bit of paint on the back, no worries - the chalk paint will cover it. I suggest 3 coats total before moving on to your chalk paint.


Step Four - Chalkboard Paint


Now you're going to carefully paint the backing. I chose not to tape around the edges, since I wanted the antique white paint to set properly. Instead, I used a steady hand to keep my interior edges as straight as possible. We did about 4 coats of chalkboard paint and probably could have done another, but the garden was calling. 


Step Five - Add the Shelf


Once your bookshelf is completely dry, add your shelf back on. What an improvement from the original! No more tacky posture board bookshelves for me - I love the look of these. They work so well for our honey display! 


What about you? Is there anything you want to chalkboard paint that you just haven't gotten around to doing? 

If you have chalkboard painted, have you had good experiences? 

I would definitely recommend doing this to any of your cheap laminate furniture. This is pretty much fool-proof for even the most skeptical DIYer. 



Life Everyday // Garden Progress








[1] Onion blossoms
[2] An unexpectedly purple Dahlia
[3] Tomato plants that have outgrown their large sized cages
[4] Spaghetti squash are getting larger by the day
[5] Nick blends in with the tomatoes
[6] Beginning to harvest

Summer is already half over! Where did the time go? It feels like yesterday that Nick and I expanded our garden patch and planted seedlings. Now, our growing season is mid production, and we're beginning to reap the fruits of our (quite literal) labour. 

I've been pleasantly surprised by the beautiful blooms on our second season onions, and the dahlia bulbs we started in early May have finally begun to produce beautiful blooms - the most gorgeous of which is the deep purple blossom in the second picture.

Our tomato plants are absolutely massive, and it's been a challenge to keep them at a manageable and healthy size. This week, Nick pulled off the lower branches, and some middle ones to help with tomato blight prevention. Last year, our entire tomato crop was overtaken by blight, and so we've been really careful to keep the plants monitored and healthy. They were showing early signs this week, but we gave them a dose of aspirin and water, and that seems to have solved some of the problem. We need to make sure there is proper airflow, so that the fungus cannot penetrate the leaves. 

We've also been fortunate enough to not have any squash borers burrow themselves into our very large spaghetti squash plants. I think that's because I have a butternut squash plant in the middle of my zucchini and squash vines. Borers hate butternut squash, and so it seems to be working as a natural deterrent. We did catch one of the moths in the Japanese Beetle trap Nick had set about 100 ft from the garden. It was a male moth (body colour was brighter), and its mate hasn't showed up, so we're hopeful our garden has avoided those pesky (and disgusting) Borers. 

Beans and Snow Peas have really taken off. I'm also going to have a bumper crop of jalepenos this year, so my tomatoes better survive. I want to make salsa before the summer is up, and I would rather not have to purchase a bushel of tomatoes for that.

The whole garden is looking spectacular. The only complaint I have is that my lavender plants seem to be off to a slow start. It's been really wet and rainy this year, so I can understand that it hasn't been the best weather for those subtle violet flowers. 

Thanks for stopping in! How're your gardens doing? Do you have any tricks for garden pests and tomato diseases? I'd love to hear about them. 




We 'Bee' Farming



Nick and I had our first honey harvest in the past few weeks. Those of you who follow along on Instagram may have noticed a rather funny (or slightly concerning, depending on who you are) collection of photos showing off Nick's cheekbone bee sting. We weren't terribly concerned, nor sympathetic, as Nick was not wearing his bee suit, and took the lid off the hive more aggressively than usual. For any of you who missed it, here's a picture of day 3 - and our second time at the hospital. 

The whole week was a bit of a haze. Saturday, Nick and I were at a wedding, and then Sunday we were getting the honey filled frames ready for harvest. Nick wanted to show myself and his sister what the full frames looked like, and he was a little zealous in his attempt to get into the hive. He also wasn't wearing his bee suit. The little bugger when straight for his eye and got him. We pulled the stinger, iced his face, and put some Polysporin on. We continued honey extraction without any hitches and left the honey in a big bucket overnight so that any remaining comb would separate (it's supposed to do this).

The next morning, Nick woke up with a swollen eye. He immediately send me a picture (which I will not post here), and we got some ice on it and pumped him with Benadryl. After about 8 hours of jarring honey, and no relief on the sting front, we trudged on up to the ER where they gave him a shot of Benadryl, and told him to go home. 

On Tuesday, the swelling progressed over his whole face, and his lips and chin were tingling a little, so off we went to the After-Hours clinic, where the Doctor told him to stop taking Benadryl, put him on a steroid to take down the swelling, and Reactine because it's non-drowsy. He also came out with a Doctor's Note prescribing him to be off work for the week since his vision was impaired and he couldn't drive. 

On the whole, there was quite a bit of humorous jokes make on his account, and I felt like I was dating Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre Dame), for a few days. 

(DISCLAIMER: Nick is not allergic, and this was not an allergic reaction. It was, however, localized swelling from a very angry winged female who was not happy to have been disturbed.)



I'm happy to report that Nick's face is back to normal, and there have been no more bee stings. We even got around to printing cute labels and decorating the lids of the honey! We also tried our luck at making candles this weekend. Although the jars for the candles are a different take on the traditional mason jar, I have found that it only burns the wax within a 1 inch radius around the wick. 

We've got twice as many frames that will need to be harvested again within the next few weeks. Our hope is that we'll be able to get everything ready and put up a small stand in our town's Saturday Farmer's Market! Let me know what you think of the finished jars and labels!  


I feel like I am almost fully domesticated now (which I actually say with endearment, and not out of spite), and not in the way you domesticate a horse or a dog, but just capable of producing homemade goods and living sustainably. I love the simplicity and relaxation of making things - bread, jam, candles, honey. I think they are valuable skills to know, and they promote healthier living in the process.

Anyways, have a wonderful week! Thanks for stopping in. 




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