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Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap: Furoshiki

I’m not certain when I first learned about the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, but I have made much use of the versatility of furoshiki. Today, I’m going to share one way of using a square piece of fabric to wrap a simple gift – two jars of honey!

What you’ll need:

  • Square fabric (mine measures ~32″ square)
  • 2 small bottles or jars of similar size

Instructions:

  1. Lay the fabric flat with one of the points close to you.
Flat fabric

2. Place your jars beside each other near the corner of the fabric closest to you.

Jars beside each other
Top view of jars beside each other

3. Tip the jars on the side leaving the footprint of where they were standing open.

Tipped jars

4. Fold the corner of the cloth over the jars.

Corner folded over jars

5. Roll the jars and fabric carefully until you reach the end of the fabric. Try not to move the jars closer or further away from each other.

Roll the jars in the fabric
Jars completely rolled

6. Tip the jars back upright.

Jars upright

7. Tie the long ends of the fabric in a square knot as close to the tops of the jars as possible.

Square knot

8. To create an carrying handle, tie another square knot with the ends of the fabric you just tied.

Top view of second square knot
Front view of wrapped package with carrying handle
Side view of wrapped package with carrying handle

That’s it! Your package is ready for gifting. 

This is not the only way you can wrap a gift using furoshiki. Check out this handy chart if you have a gift of a different shape or size.

Happy eco-wrapping!

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Quick and Easy Rolled Beeswax Pillar Candle

Today we’ll take you through a quick tutorial to make a ~4″ tall beeswax pillar. Have fun!

Gather supplies:
1- ~8.5×16″ beeswax sheet
1 – pair of scissors
1 – knife or pizza cutter
Wick

Measure the halfway point on the short side of the beeswax sheet.

Make a small mark at the halfway point. 

Repeat on the other side of your sheet.

Lining up the markings you just made, use your ruler to cut a straight line across.

Now you should have two pieces. Place the pieces on top of each other to make sure they are the same size. Trim any excess.

Measure the wick against the short edge of the wax. The wick should run the full width of the wax plus extra for lighting (minimum 1/4″).

Once your wick is cut, roll the wax over the wick. This is the trickiest part! It gets easier from here.

Roll the wax tightly while paying attention to the bottom – it should stay flat! 

At the end of your first piece, slightly overlap the second piece. Continue rolling. When the seam appears on the top of the candle, gently press the pieces together.  Keep rolling to the end of the second piece.

At the end of the second piece, gently press along the seam to seal the candle.

Bravo! You have a beautiful handmade rolled beeswax candle.

Looking for supplies? We carry beeswax sheets and wick! Use our handy wick calculator on the wick page to calculate how much you’ll need.

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3 Steps to Encourage Local Pollinators to Visit Your Yard and Stay!

3 Steps to Encourage Pollinators to Visit Your Yard

How familiar are you with your neighbourhood pollinators? Do you know how to attract them to your yard? Here in Canada, we have five main pollinators [1]:

  • Beetles
  • Flies
  • Wasps
  • Butterflies and Moths
  • Bees

This article focuses on bees and in particular native bees. However, many of the ideas will also encourage other pollinators.

Supporting our honeybees and native bees has become quite the rage over the last few years. Last season, native bee houses were extremely popular. I’ve put together a few tips to encourage pollinators to visit your yard. They will also improve your odds of hosting a successful bee house!

1. Attract More Native Bees (and other pollinators)

Supporting native bee species is a bit different than managing honeybees. Beekeepers can place a managed honeybee hive in a convenient location (with some restrictions). The bees are directly introduced into their new home. Native bees, however, need to be enticed. If you have a bee house, you will want to gently encourage them to inhabit the new home you’ve generously provided for them. The first step in this process is to provide a proper habitat to attract them. Good food and water sources can go a long way in attracting pollinators. In turn, it can increase the probability of a busy bee house!

Food

Crocus
Crocus

Bees need both nectar and pollen for survival. Pollen, which consists of small grains and carries the male reproductive cells of the plant, provides a source of protein and fats. Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants to encourage pollination. Foraging bees use this as a source of energy [2]. Honeybees also turn nectar into honey. Some bee species are specialists relying on a single type of flower to survive while others are generalists. Bumblebees, for example, are generalists. They tend to be attracted most to blue or violet flowers although they will visit other flowers as well [3].

In planning your garden with pollinators in mind, it’s important to have food available all season. Crocuses, for example, are an early source of pollen. Echinachea provides pollen and nectar late in the season. Plan your garden to include plants that bloom throughout the season. Colour variety can also entice a variety of pollinators to frequent your yard. Heirloom and native plants have excellent nutritional value for pollinators. Native plants are also well suited to our climate. Some plants you may consider for your garden include:

  • Crabapple (early season)
  • Crocus (early season)
  • Willow (early season)
  • Catnip (mid season)
  • Chives (mid season)
  • Lavender (mid season)
  • Borage (late season)
  • Coneflower (late season)
  • Cosmos (late season) [2]

Water

Bee Waterer
Bee Waterer

It is extremely important for bees to have easy access to water because they do not store it. Bird baths tend to be too large for bees and introduce significant danger of drowning. Bee waterers, however, are easy to make. It’s fun to observe who visits them! These waterers provide landing pads for pollinators as they drink. If they happen to fall into the water, the landing pads are within swimming distance. To make your own bee waterer, follow the steps below:

Materials:

  • Shallow dish
  • Landing pad material (river rocks, marbles, and glass stones work great)

Instructions:

  1. Place your landing pad material in the dish.
  2. Fill dish with water leaving the top of your landing pad material exposed.

Tip: Since the dish is shallow and we live in a dry climate, keep an eye on the water level to ensure there’s enough water to encourage a steady stream of visitors. Last summer, I refilled mine as often as daily on the hottest days. A cat water dish or shallow dish from a second hand store filled with pebbles both work great!

2. Understand Your Bees

Bees on Sunflower
Bees on Sunflower

Depending on the species, bees are considered either social or solitary. Honeybees and bumblebees are two commonly encountered species. Both are social bees. Honeybees are a non-native species originating in Europe or Asia. These are the only species of bee that produce honey harvested for commercial purposes. Bumblebees, on the other hand, are a native bee species. They tend to live in underground hives with populations of 150-200 bees [3]. Honeybee hives can reach a population of over 70 000 bees during peak honey flow. In Alberta, we have over 300 native species of bees, most of which are solitary. If you have a native bee house, these are the bees you will be aiming to attract.

3. Provide a Home

Native Solitary Bee Houses
Native Solitary Bee Houses

Once you’ve attracted more pollinators to your yard, the probability your bee house will be used goes up. Now, where is the best place to put your native bee house? The ideal location provides an environment which is:

  • Low traffic
  • Sheltered
  • In morning sun

Solitary bee species tend to be shy and skittish. Low traffic areas will allow the bees to feel safe. Providing shelter can help them avoid predators such as birds. Early morning sun is helpful to give them an earlier start to the day.

If you can identify the species you have in your yard, do a bit of research on their preferences to figure out an ideal location for your bee house. I’ve provided some resources below to help you get started. For example, mason bees use mud to seal their eggs in, so having moist soil nearby is a must. Sources of pollen and nectar within 300 feet of the house is also helpful for mason bees as that is their greatest foraging distance [4]. A good location for your bee house if you’d like to attract mason bees could be at the back of a flower bed you don’t weed often. Other good locations may include a fairy garden, on a tree, on a building, or on a post. If the bees aren’t moving in after a season and you have a lot of bees in your yard, try somewhere else!

Encouraging pollinators to visit your yard can be an extremely rewarding experience. By implementing the ideas in this article, I’m sure your yard will be buzzing in no time! Good luck!


Resources

References

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Unique Wedding Favours

4 Unique Wedding Favour Ideas

It’s finally happening… You’re getting married! You’ve already taken the first step in the journey to your big day, and a lot will happen between now and then. Whether you’re hiring someone to take care of  some or all of the details for you or you’re doing it all yourself, there are so many choices to be made. From choosing a venue to the guest list to making sure your picky great-aunt is kept happy, the list can seem endless. Today, we’ll share with you some ideas for unique wedding favour ideas. We’re including ready-made options as well as more hands-on projects for the crafty people out there.

Custom favours are a great way to share a bit of your personality with guests. Many artisans are happy to customize their products for your big day. You can often choose fonts, colours, and sizes, so don’t be afraid to ask your favourite artisan if they can do some custom work for you.

Table Settings

Who said favours are just for guests to take home? Get twice the value by using them as place cards for the tables. Customize your favour with the guest’s name. You could even personalize the thank you!

Mason Jar Beeswax Candle Wedding Favours
Mason Jar Beeswax Candle Wedding Favours

 

Centerpieces

Choose favours that can be set up as attractive centerpieces for the table. That way, they will be out of the way while your guests enjoy their meal and there is less for you to clean up later! Just make sure guests know they should take one before leaving at the end of the night.

Martha Stewart Potted Plant Take-Home Centerpiece Idea
Martha Stewart Potted Plant Take-Home Centerpiece Idea

Click here for the tutorial from Martha Stewart. These would be fantastic with bee-friendly plants. Your guests can support local bee populations AND enjoy the lovely blooms long after your wedding.

Something Useful

Think about weddings you’ve been to and what you’ve enjoyed receiving (if they did favours). Consumables tend to go over well as the guests can enjoy them without cluttering up their house. Here are some custom labelled lip balms I made for a wedding:


I think they turned out fantastic!

Just because you are giving something useful doesn’t mean it has to be run-of-the mill. There are many options out there to come up with a creative twist that can still be useful!

Double Heart Beeswax Candle
Natural beeswax double heart shaped candle. Approximately tealight sized. Customization available.

DIY

What better way to show your guests just how much you appreciate them than by making your own favours? Depending on your idea, this approach is not for the faint of heart; however, you can make it easier by enlisting some help. Organize a crafting session with friends or those who may be interested from the wedding party. This is a great opportunity to enjoy friends and family while getting some work done! Take it one step further and organize a potluck or order in pizza and make an afternoon or evening of it.

These tips can help make your crafting session run smoother:

  • Make sure you know what you want the end result to look like. Even better, have some samples for your helpers to reference while they work
  • Prepare as much as you can in advance. Make sure you have enough materials
  • It helps if each person picks only one task (for example, cutting ribbon or tags) and moves on to another only once they are finished. It’s more efficient, and the teamwork is part of the fun!

If you’re interested in making something yourself but aren’t quite sure where to start, look for local places that offer workshops for something you’d like to make for a favour. Contact the organizer to see if they will run a private workshop for your group. They should be able to assist you in making sure you have enough materials and the skills to complete your project. Depending how many favours you need and how many people you can recruit to help, you may not be able to complete everything during the workshop itself, so be sure to find out what support the organizer can give  you post-workshop to ensure everything gets done!

Candle Making Workshop Participant
Showing off some newly made rolled beeswax candles.

Rolled Beeswax Wedding Favour

For more inspiration, check out our wedding Pinterest board. We’re also happy to discuss custom wedding favours or assist you in making your own. Contact us today for more information.

All the best in planning your wedding!

 

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Beeswax Paw Wax

Do you have pets? Have you seen this video on Facebook?

It’s been quite popular. If you’re interested in giving it a try, we have some great resources on where to get the ingredients locally:

Beeswax – we have 1lb blocks and 0.3oz blocks or contact your favourite beekeeper
Coconut oil – try your favourite grocery store. I’ve seen it at Superstore, Costco, Co-op, and more
Calendula oil – try Soap and More or substitute olive oil
Avocado oil – try your favourite grocery store or Soap and More

If DIY isn’t really your thing, let us know and we’ll make some for you!