Saturday, June 13th, 2015
We recently caught up with local jewelry artist Johanna Brierley to learn more about her inspired pieces that grace our jewelry displays. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Johanna’s fascination with jewellery can be traced back to a childhood spent rummaging through her grandmother’s jewellery chest. From an early age, she developed an enthusiasm for found objects and a curiosity about the various ways in which an object worn on a body interacts with the body itself. Whether she’s discovering shiny, unusual shapes of glass and stone along the beach or scouring antique markets for objects with a unique past, Johanna’s work is informed by her passion for collecting and her eye for the exceptional and the unexpected.
Johanna’s designs are becoming recognized as unique and timeless pieces of jewellery inspired by lucky stones.
What are lucky stones, you might ask?
Lucky stones have naturally formed holes and are believed to be symbols of good luck. As a child, Johanna made numerous jewellery pieces incorporating lucky stones only to discover that over time, the real stones would crack and break. It wasn’t until studying Jewellery Arts at George Brown College in Toronto that Johanna was able to solve her dilemma of the breaking lucky stones. After learning the processes of holding and lost wax casting, she now turns her lucky stones into silver and gold, giving the natural shapes strength and durability. Johanna now works at her home-studio in Winnipeg and hopes to share the luck she has found through her pieces of jewellery.
What’s her favorite part about designing jewelry? Having an outlet for her creative thoughts and ideas, meeting people and hearing their stories, and seeing how jewellery can connect people to each other and to themselves. Johanna now creates custom work from making engagement and wedding rings to molding and casting client’s own special lucky stones. www.johannabrierley.com
Saturday, June 6th, 2015
With barbeque and picnic season just around the corner, we’re excited to start using fresh mint from our gardens. Mint is really the perfect place to begin as you build your herb garden. It’s easy to grow and is so versatile, as its flavor compliments both sweet and savoury dishes and drinks. Spearmint is the most common type of mint, though there are more than 20 others, each with its own flavor profile. Peppermint and English Mint have a slightly peppery flavor, while Lemon, Orange, Pineapple and and Mojito Mint are sweeter and are best suited for beverages. There’s no doubt in our minds, mint’s versatility is unrivaled! Here are a few of our favorite uses for mint:
- Add a simple sprig to garnish a dessert or cocktail.
- Frozen into ice cubes.
- Mint-infused water flavored with ginger, cucumber, lemon, lavender, strawberries or watermelon.
- Chopped up into a bowl of fresh garden peas and some butter (delicious!)
- As a compliment to lamb or pork dishes.
- Brewed as a hot tea to soothe indigestion or a sore throat.
- A few leaves brightens up the flavor profile of any salad, especially quinoa or couscous.
What’s not to love about mint?
HOW TO GROW MINT:
- Mint’s roots are called ‘runners’ and are incredibly invasive: they sprout new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful.
- When choosing a location for your mint, find one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade.
- Plant in a container with drainage holes.
- As with all herbs, mint prefers well-draining soil and even moisture.
- When planting the herb in a flower bed, first submerge a pot, leaving the rim above ground level when potted, so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained. Otherwise, the herb will take over your garden and lawn in an annoying weed-like fashion.
- Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
- To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
- Most mint plants are Zone 3 or 4 and can overwinter outdoors in our local climate. However, we do not receive enough daylight hours in the winter to sustain the plants indoors. Harvest and store the leaves in the summer to keep that fresh mint flavor for winter use.