Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

HOW-TO: BOTANICAL GIFT TOPPERS

Amid the rush to ‘get it all done’ before the holidays, it’s easy to forget to take a moment now and again to stop and truly enjoy the season.  The sight of a carefully decorated tree, the smell of fresh greenery in the house — it’s the little things that make the holidays so magical.  And while that to-do list will not magically disappear, we can all carve out a little time to complete our tasks in a mindful and nourishing way. This year, take a moment to slow down and opt for a little botanical inspiration that will dress up any gift, big or small.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper: For the earthy look, go for kraft, simple white or upcycled newspaper.
  • Toppers: The options are endless. Spruce and cedar clippings are easily found at this time of year, or opt for a clipping from a houseplant if you’ll be giving the gift immediately. A sprig of fresh rosemary is a great edible option, and one you can pick up at the grocery store.
  • Little Extras: Twine, butcher string, or jute make great alternatives to store-bought ribbon.

While the final result is elegant, simplicity is the essence of this approach — you can use whatever you have on hand.  The best part? You’ll reap all of the added benefits of working with some plants — the perfect thing to calm a stressful Christmas mind.

Merry Christmas!

Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

Friday, December 9th, 2016

HOW TO: BOTANICAL ICE LANTERNS

Trim the tree, hang the wreath and finish the baking — but then what?  We have just the little project to light up your front steps as guests start to arrive at your front door!  So turn up the Christmas carols while you make these botanical ice lanterns that will bring that little extra sparkle and festivity as we approach the darkest time of year.

ice-lantern-shelmerdine

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

– an ice lantern mold

– water

– foraged finds (try cedar or spruce sprigs, or a clipping or two from an indoor houseplant)

– festive fruits (think cranberries, or sliced oranges or lemons)

– tealights candles (either LED or traditional will do)

HOW TO:

  1. Simply add your choice of botanical elements to the mold and fill with water.  Keep in mind that some of your ‘fillings’ may tend to float in water, which means they’ll end up concentrated at the bottom of your ice candle once frozen. To prevent this, add a few orange slices or cranberries, for example, to the mold and cover with just enough water to freeze in place. Once frozen, you may add yet another layer, or simply finish the lantern by filling with water.
  2. Set outside, or pop in the freezer until frozen solid. To remove the lantern, simply allow the mold to thaw a few minutes, or run under some warm water until it slides out.
  3. Light a candle and carefully place in the center of the mold.

That’s it! The sky’s the limit — the ice mold can be used as a table centrepiece, an ice cooler, even a festive dip chiller for entertaining! Want to change up the color of the ice? Just add a little food coloring to the water. Have fun creating different combinations to light up your walkway and garden this winter.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

RECIPE BOX: HOT MULLED WINE

‘Tis the season for entertaining! Whether you’re searching for the perfect something to spice up a holiday gathering or find yourself hosting unannounced guests, we present to you a positively stress free solution — serve up a batch of Glögg!  This Glögg – the Swedish translation for hot mulled wine – recipe is about as simple as it gets — meaning you will have a crowd-pleasing festive holiday drink ready in just a few minutes.  

shelmerdine-hot-mulled-wine-glogg

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 bottle red wine

– 1/3 cup honey (we used John Russell creamed honey with saskatoons)

– 1 navel or blood orange, sliced into rounds

– 2-3 piece of of each cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom, black peppercorns, or 1 package of Crave Mulling Spices

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Simply combine honey, sliced orange, and spices in a large pot and place over medium heat, adding just a small glug of wine to start (water works just as well here) to create a syrup-like consistency. Bring this spice base to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for a minumum of 4-5 minutes.  The longer you let it mull, the better it tastes!
  2. Add the remainder of the wine and turn the heat down to low, allowing the wine to warm gradually without coming to a boil (and burning off alcohol content).
  3. Ladle Glögg into mugs, garnishing with a cinnamon stick or a slice of fresh orange.
  4. Enjoy!

Tip: The pressure is off here. Use whatever combination of spices you have on hand — and feel free to use ground spices in place of whole. Simple wrap the ground spices in a resuable tea bag or some cheesecloth. Don’t have oranges? Substitute for chopped apples or raisins. Also, you may wish to substitute the hot red wine for apple juice or tea to create a sweet, alcohol-free version of this festive drink.

Cheers to the holidays!

Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

Hours of Inspiration

Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm
Closed Sunday

Closed April 19 & April 21

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
Email: [email protected]