Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Laundry Tarts - SPECIAL EDITION!

The Laundry Tarts wanted to do something special for the Royal Wedding! For the next 2 DAYS ONLY (April 28th & 29th), get a special order of The Laundry Tarts All Natural Detergent in Royal Wedding Cake!!!
Delicious cookies crumbled in decadent dark chocolate cake with whip creme! THIS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE ON THEIR ORDER PAGE! E-mail Tanja at and let them know if you want their NEW (larger) 40z Sample Size or a 4lb Bag of this Royal Treat!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Laundry Tarts - Review & Giveaway

Call me crazy, but I actually like doing laundry.  I like the coziness of hanging towels to dry on a kitchen rack in the winter.  I like the feeling of minor accomplishment when I see a stack of neatly folded clothes. The smell of sunshine and breeze in shirts that have dried outdoors on a line.  The white-noise-hum of the washing machine churning away.

Domestic Goddess I am not.  Since having tried my new favourite detergent, however, I may very well be a Tart!

Created by Jessy Cooke and Michelle Waithe (Toronto, ON),  The Laundry Tarts is a line of eco-friendly, deliciously scented laundry detergent that cleans effectively and lives up to its sassy name.  It is infused with essential oils, blended to create light, sweet scents reminiscent of all your favorite desserts!  The Tarts have ensured that not only is their natural detergent completely biodegradable, the colourful packaging - made with soy inks and recycled bags that can easily be composted - is kind to the earth as well.  In a nutshell, their products are "hypoallergenic, 100% vegan and free of phosphates, EDTA, phthalates, parabens, SLS, SLES, nitrates, sulphites and chlorine".

Upon hearing about The Laundry Tarts (loved the quirky name, loved the vibe of integrity around the product), I was eager to give this detergent a try.  I ordered several samples - key lime pie, caramel popcorn, chocolate mint, lemon meringue pie, caramel apple, and unscented.  There was ample opportunity to test them out - I wash a LOT of linens from my reflexology practice!  Though all were scrumptious, my favorite scents were key lime pie, chocolate mint, and caramel apple.

For years, I have used unscented commercial laundry detergents. The scented ones literally make me wince.  Too potent - they smell like chemicals, no matter how much money they spend to convince me what I'm actually smelling is "vanilla orchid bamboo dew" or "starry twilight musk".  More often than not, they trigger headaches and a stuffed-up nose.  The Laundry Tarts detergent was the first eco-friendly powder detergent I'd tried.  What a refreshing change to find that each of these detergents had a subtle, sweet scent that was a pleasure to be around.  This time, I lingered in the laundry room, sniffing the sample packets, instead of slamming the washer lid shut and bolting for fresh air!

My clothes emerged from the washer without the thin, slippery residue that usually remains when using commercial detergents.  The fabrics felt soft and clean.  A hint of scent lingered, especially on cotton pillow cases and flannel.  The Chocolate Mint scent seemed to linger the longest, followed by the Caramel Apple.  I have since washed all my bed linens with The Laundry Tarts. What a delicious treat to snuggle under fresh, sweet-smelling sheets at the end of long day!

I also discovered that The Laundry Tarts does effectively remove stains.  Inadvertently planting my elbow in honey dijon mustard turned out to be a happy accident, something I could include in my review, though I was far from thrilled when it happened.  I followed the directions for stain removal outlined on the website and also HERE. You'll see that Jessy and Michelle also list the detergent ingredients, explain why they are used, and what they do.  They are all recognizable and natural.  Imagine!  

Do expect
  • A effective, eco-friendly detergent that smells lovely!
  • A product perfect for those with sensitive skin and chemical sensitivities.
  • A detergent that effectively cleans and deodorizes diapers (see A Tart's Guide to Cloth Diapers)
  • Upbeat, prompt customer service
Do not expect 
  • An intense scent
  • Lots of suds in the washer (Fear not - it's still working like a charm!)
Worth Your Attention
  •  The Laundry Tarts will partner with your community groups to provide a unique, eco-friendly fund-raising option.  I love this idea, and think it would be a fantastic alternative to typical campaigns.  We all enjoy supporting our local PTAs, service groups, and other community organizations but it's easy to become overloaded with requests to buy knick-knacks and foodstuffs we neither want nor need.  Contact Tanja Warren - Tart #3! - to Fund-raise with The Laundry Tarts.  Offer your community a fun, useful, and novel product that everyone needs...and will very likely flock to purchase!

To purchase The Laundry Tarts detergent, head to their online store and browse the menu of delicious scents available!  It is also available through various other online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers, listed on their home page

A big thank-you to The Laundry Tarts for generously offering to sponsor this giveaway!

 The Laundry Tarts Giveaway

Prize:  The winner’s choice of a 20 sample variety pack or 1 bag of The Laundry Tarts detergent.

Eligibility: This contest is open to residents of Canada and the USA.

Entry: Single entry.  Please visit The Laundry Tarts and complete the mandatory questions in the form below.  Additional entries can be earned by completing any/all of the bonus questions.

Additional entries  - up to 1/day - can also be earned by leaving a relevant comment below.  Vos commentaires peuvent ĂȘtre en français.   What has been your biggest laundry challenge – or disaster?  What is your favorite part of the The Laundry Tarts website?  Which video on their YouTube Channel is your favourite, and why?  How do you make laundry more eco-friendly in your home?  What scents would you like to see the Tarts add to their “menu”?  What would convince you to switch from commercial laundry detergent to an eco-friendly detergent?  Who did you share this review article with, and why? Please remember to include your email address or username after your comments.

Contest ends Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected using  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be randomly selected.

This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Huguette English of Beaverbrook, NB!  Huguette chose the 20 sample variety pack as her prize.

Thanks to all who participated!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rapid-Fire Faves: Beauty

Soothe & Invigorate  Rocky Mountain Soap Company's Ginger & Lime bath salts combine two of my favourite scents to create a bath experience that is both soothing and invigorating.  This combo produces a warming sensation and improves circulation - perfect to take the chill off during those cold winter days, or to help relieve aches associated with coughs and colds. This is a seasonal product - available during the Fall and Winter - so order soon to avoid disappointment, or find a store near you!

Best Facial Ever    In the mood for some pampering that's good for you, too?  Contact Amber (Absolute Beauty by Nancy Penny, Bayview Ave, Toronto) and delight in some steamy bliss that will leave your skin glowing and your cares but a distant memory.  Friendly, warm, professional in every way.  Don't be daunted by the long climb...your session with Amber will be worth every step!

A Taste of the Tropics   ...literally!  Tropical lip cream by Pure Anada natural cosmetics.  Smooth, weightless, and scented like a light, luscious creamsicle that leaves your lips feeling soft and moisturized even in the harshest winter weather.

Patricia Miller Body Cream   An intensely warm body cream, excellent for improving circulation and targeting cellulite. Cinnamon, ginger.  Reminiscent of Christmas cookies. Makes you want to curl up in front of the fireplace in your coziest flannel nightgown while the cream works its magic on your dimples.  Sold in select spas across Canada and through the Patricia Miller Aromatherapy website. Update: I recently discovered that this heavenly cream is not currently in production!  Keep your eyes peeled for it's return.  It will be well worth the wait.

Lush, indeed...   A luxurious, revitalizing mix of mandarin, lime, and orange essential oils and mango butter, LUSH'S Each Peach (and Two's a Pair) massage bar serves as a massage oil or an after-shower moisturizer.  This is a vegan product that is great to pack for travel - lightweight, and no glass bottles to worry about breaking or leaking.   Find a store near you, or shop online!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Flaunt Greeting Cards (giveaway)

Some women love fashion.  Some spend oodles on jewelry or high-end make-up.  I love good quality, unique stationery.  The kind you find in tiny stationery boutiques and gift shops.  Call me a woman of simple pleasures.  A beautiful greeting card or several sheets of exquisite, hand-made paper is what I'm drawn to if I want to splurge.  Not only do I relish owning them for a while, but there is a special kind of pleasure and satisfaction in having the perfect card for the right person on a given occasion.  A card like this, with a hand-written note, conveys that your thoughts are with that friend or loved-one especially, and can become a treasured keepsake.   

Shannon Barnes, creator of Flaunt greeting cards (Vancouver, BC) creates works of whimsy using torn mulberry paper, a rainbow of fabric glue, ribbon, and glitter.  With these simple components, an attention to detail, and sparkling creativity, a myriad of little creatures spring to life on the cover of Shannon's cards.  Each card is carefully hand-made. Each object and critter she creates jumps off the page with texture and personality, begging to be touched...or in some cases, talked to!  (Don't believe me?  Check out some examples of Shannon's work.)   Some of my favourites include the Hallowe'en owl, the Thanksgiving cornucopia, and the birthday octopus.

Worth noting:
  • Flaunt greeting cards have won several awards and have been featured in various media, including Martha Stewart, InStyle magazine, and Canadian Home & Country magazine.  (Click on each media icon to view the articles featured in each publication).
  • In 2010, Flaunt also had the privilege of contributing to the official swag bags for the 31st Annual News and Documentary Emmys in NYC!
  • With every purchase of a “Hope” bird card (pictured here), a percentage of proceeds goes to help aid breast cancer research. 
In addition to Flaunt's signature greeting cards, a collection of printed note cards and hand-made gift bags featuring some of the most popular card designs are available.
You can purchase Flaunt greeting cards online and at select retail stores and boutiques throughout Canada, the USA, and across Europe.  

Shannon Barnes has generously offered to sponsor this wonderful giveaway!

Flaunt Greeting Card Contest

Prize:  A collection of 6 Flaunt greeting cards (retail value $35.70 CDN)

Eligibility: This contest is open internationally. 

Contest ends Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected using  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.

This contest has now ended. Congratulations to J. Tang of Burnaby, BC!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Cottage Gardener

 The Cottage Gardener....  The name brings to mind an image of a quaint, bonneted woman tending a whimsical English garden by the seaside, does it not?  Elicits feelings of coziness and simple pleasures.  The name alone was the hook that drew me to the website of this business, based near Port Hope, Ontario.  To my delight, my warm feelings about it were well founded!

The Cottage Gardener is owned and operated by Mary & Dan Brittain, who are "dedicated to searching out traditional species, varieties and cultivars that grew in gardens of old, and reintroducing them to you and your gardens."   The seeds come packaged in lovely black and white envelopes with featuring a simple line drawing that really does evoke a feeling of nostalgia, reminding one of kinder, simpler times.  Their annual catalog (request via this page), similar in appearance, is a treasure.  Bits of folklore, traditional uses of herbs, unusual facts, and plant histories are included in the descriptions of the various seeds on offer.  I found myself picking it up whenever I had a spare moment and enjoying it the way I would a book! 

Noteworthy features on the site include articles on medieval gardens and "Garden Writers of Influence", and unique gift seed collections, including The Edible Flower, The Faery Garden, Medieval Flowery Mead, and the Short Season Vegetable collections. Prices range from $7.50 to $75.00.

Gift certificates and a new seed saving kit are now available from The Cottage Gardener.  I have ordered several times from this site.  The customer service is excellent, and everything I have purchased (including Chocolate bell peppers, Hungarian yellow hot peppers, and Martino's Roma tomatoes) has grown like a dream.  This summer, I'll be trying my hand at growing the Plum Lemon tomatoes and Munstead lavender they make available.  Highly recommended!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FireStOrm Wine Stoppers (giveaway)

 I seem to be developing a thing for beautiful lampwork items!

Taralee Weckert of Calgary, Alberta creates one-of-a-kind lampwork beads which she then fashions into colourful pendants, wine stoppers, and bookmarks.  When I happened upon her online Etsy shop recently, the wine stoppers featured caught my attention.  They strike me as both playful and elegant.  An example of this is the Ice Cream Dream wine bottle stopper, pictured here.  Looking for a great "statement" gift?  These wine stoppers would be perfect as a hostess, wedding favour, thank-you, or house warming gift.

Taralee has had a lifelong love of art and glass work in particular.  She studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2001, later establishing a home studio. She has been crafting lampwork beads for three years, and enjoys a growing clientele.

When I contacted her to learn more about her work, I asked her what she loved most about her craft.  She confirmed that glass can be a difficult medium to work with, especially if one is attempting to duplicate results (e.g., make several matching beads for a pendant necklace).  Though a challenging form of art, Taralee enjoys creating each piece, describing the end product as unique, trendy, and simple.

"I love finishing a piece and looking in my kiln in the morning when they are annealed.  The pieces always look so different after they cool.  It is like finding a treasure!"  

Designing pieces with her finished beads is another aspect of her work Taralee finds extremely rewarding.  Wine stoppers are her favorite pieces to make, as the wine stopper beads are large, and a wide variety of coloured glass can be used in creating them.  It is also a product that elicits much positive feedback from her customers!

"Lots of people enjoy wine with friends and family and to have a beautiful wine bottle stop is a great conversation piece.  Especially if it is handmade or locally made."

Taralee takes great pride in producing high quality, handmade Canadian pieces and makes customer service a high priority in her business.  Her best advertising has proven to be word-of-mouth and wearing pendants fashioned from her favorite lampwork beads to showcase her work. Though the pieces she wears are ones she has every intention to keep, she joked that she she has lost a few of her favorite beads to on-the-spot customers this way.  She parts with these pieces knowing they will be treasured, well cared for, and worn often!

Taralee currently sells her pieces listed under the business name FireStOrm (inspired by the critical role the element of fire plays in lampwork) in her Etsy shop  

If requested, the silver plated chains and findings used in Taralee's pieces can be upgraded to silver, and the base metal wine stops can be upgraded to a non-tarnishable stainless steel base for die hard wine enthusiasts.

Taralee Weckert has generously offered to sponsor this wonderful giveaway! 

FireStOrm Etsy Shop Giveaway

Prize: Winner's choice of any piece listed in Taralee's FireStOrm Etsy shop, up to a value of $40.  This contest is open internationally. 

Contest ends Friday, March 11, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected using  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Monday, March 14, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.

This contest has now ended. Congratulations to Amber G. of Chicago, IL USA! 

Thanks for visiting True North Treasures!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salt Spring Seeds - Article & Contest

This week finds us in the midst of a welcome mild spell in Northern BC. I'm pining for green grass, the smell of warm earth, and the chance to play in the dirt. Resisting the urge to pour through the glossy pages of gardening magazines and seed catalogs, preferring to save that for March, when I'm really desperate for signs of Spring. Yearning to turn the compost bins, plant some lemon balm, chocolate peppers and rainbow Swiss chard.  Defy the climate. Attempt once again to grow eggplants in zone 2a.  I am nothing if not optimistic when it comes to my little garden. 

There are dozens of excellent seed companies in Canada, and combined they offer a staggering selection of seeds, bulbs, and plants.  I favor untreated heirloom seeds, which are genetically diverse, open-pollinated, and often have family and community histories attached to their development and growth. Once an heirloom flower, herb, or vegetable of your choice has matured, it is easy to harvest seeds to trade with friends or to save for the next growing season.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be featuring two of my favorite heirloom seed businesses.  Let's start with Salt Spring Seeds.

Salt Spring Seeds (Salt Spring Island, BC) was my first venture into heirloom seeds. Red Belgian peppers - these grew like mad - and Carbon tomatoes - juicy and delicious - were among the first seeds I tried.  Founder Dan Jason offers a wide variety of flowers, vegetables, power foods, and culinary herbs.  There is also an outstanding selection of medicinal herbs.  Check out the Salt Spring Island Emporium section for mushroom extracts, beeswax candles, organic teas, massage oils, herbal medicinals, and seasonings.  To learn more about heirloom seeds, seed saving, and gardening, browse their selections of books and DVDs.  Whether you are an avid green-thumb or simply grow a bit of basil in your kitchen, I encourage you to check out this site.  It is a fantastic resource of articles and video clips that explain how to grow various crops, demonstrate seed saving techniques, and educate re: the politics of seed saving. I have gone through pots of tea and lost hours at a time browsing! 

Two unique aspects of Salt Spring Seeds made it stand out for me from other seed businesses.  The first is their very popular Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit.  As described on the site, it is a kit "for gardeners or groups of gardeners eager to become more self-reliant in food".  It includes 13 packets of grain and vegetable seeds as well as a comprehensive growing and recipe booklet. Note: Unfortunately, the Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit will not be sold this year due to the unavailability of certain seeds typically included in it.  Do mark your calendars and keep your eyes peeled for it in 2012.  This kit sells out quickly, so it's best to place your order early in the season!

Another draw is that it is closely linked with The Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada, also based on Salt Spring Island.  Seed sanctuaries play a critical role in preserving genetic diversity in plants, securing local food supply, and in promoting the importance of keeping unmodified seeds in the public domain, rather than under the control of major corporations. You can support the ongoing development of this vital and unique seed and plant sanctuary by becoming a member or purchasing a gift membership.  Being an active member allows you access to the seeds in the sanctuary, and you may select the 5 varieties from their data banks you wish to grow.  Learn more about this opportunity HERE.

Seed orders can be placed online, or you can order a printed catalog (cost $2.00). Gift certificates have also recently become available for purchase!

Dan Jason has generously offered to sponsor this wonderful giveaway!

Salt Spring Seeds Heirloom Seed Giveaway

Prize: Winner's choice of 10 packets of heirloom seeds (value approx. $35 CAN)

Eligibility: Residents of Canada

Contest ends Sunday, March 6th, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected.  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to T. Kooper of Montreal, Quebec!  Happy gardening!

Thanks to everyone who visited and entered this contest.  I encourage you to bookmark Salt Spring Seeds and keep them in mind the next time you're in the market for heirloom seeds!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living Libations - Review and Contest

Potions.  Elixirs.  Alchemy.  Not just the stuff of fantasy, relegated to fiction and myth.

Nadine Artemis of Living Libations (Ontario) is adept at taking the best Mother Nature has to offer and transforming these elements into the most wondrous concoctions.  Petals, herbs, roots, and other gifts of nature become potent, pure, aromatic, bliss-inducing, skin-enhancing enchantment in a bottle.  This is the real-life magic available from Living Libations, and I have joined the likes of singers/songwriters Alanis Morrisette and Sass Jordan, actor Woody Harrelson, and raw food guru David Wolfe in my admiration of Nadine's talents.

I first learned about Living Libations when watching an interview with Nadine and husband Ron, who were participating in the Longevity Conference in Costa Mesa, California .  Attracted to their unassuming manner and their obvious passion for what they do, I made my way to their YouTube channel to learn more about their products.  From there, onto their business website, where I ordered the following products...

Healthy Gum Drops  *THIS* is what ultimately brought me to Living Libations. It might have a whimsical name, but it is a very effective product.  I received my order of Health Gum Drops in late October, and am so happy I took the chance on something new. My gums look healthier (they are so pink!).  I find I am almost looking for excuses to brush my teeth - it tastes that good. My breath is left cinnamon-y and my lips tingly. It's tempting to carry the bottle in my purse so I can use it as a breath freshener instead of gum and mints. I'm torn between telling my boyfriend about it, and keeping it all to myself! I should have bought the largest bottle. It is liquid gold.

I ordered GingerLily Poetic Pits - an alternative to commercial deodorants - based purely on the positive reviews it had received from others. I was hesitant to risk buying something without being able to give it the "sniff test" first.  To my delight (and frankly, relief), GingerLily has met - exceeded - my expectations. I haven't worn perfumes for years, finding most smell unnatural at best, and chemical-laden at worst. This product is in a class of it's own. It's remarkable how the ingredients are transformed by my body's warmth once it's applied. It is a very potent, feminine scent. Intoxicating!

Do take a moment to review the ingredients contained in each product before ordering if you have allergies or sensitivities. The Poetic Pits line, for example, contains sandalwood oil, an ingredient used for its antibacterial properties.  Some people find sandalwood has a "musky" scent they are sensitive to.  If you have any questions or concerns, do contact customer service before ordering.
There are so many amazing products available at Living Libations!  I recommend you check out the tooth care items and the Essential Kits section.  Thankfully, there is a Wish List option built into their site, so you can browse and then share your Wish List with your wonderfully generous friends and family.  Personally, I am eyeing the "Lavish Abundance Levity" Perfume, the Seabuckthorn "Best Skin Ever", the "Altogether Now Cocao-Clarity" Chocolate Bar, and several of Nadine's essential oils (especially the lime, clove, and peppermint).  I will be saving my pennies and trying more of their products soon.  I'll let you know when I do! ;-) 

Nadine has generously offered to sponsor a contest so you can discover for yourself the sheer bliss of Living Libations!


Prize: a $50 gift certificate to the Living Libations online store!

This contest is open to everyone.

Please note:  If the winner resides in North America, shipment of their order will be included with their prize.  If the winner resides outside of North America, they will be responsible for any shipping fees associated with their order. 
Contest ends Saturday, February 5th at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected.  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Tuesday, February 8th at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.  

*     *     *
This contest has now ended.  Congratulations to Lilac P. of Alberta, Canada!

Many thanks to everyone who dropped by my blog, visited Living Libations, and entered this contest! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mumm's Sprouting Seeds - Contest

We are now well into January, finding our groove in this brand new year, and have, for the most part, settled back into our routines.  The holiday season of 2010 is but a memory.  Unfortunately, the lingering effects of too many Yule Tide treats is anything but a figment of the imagination!  If you're like me, overindulgence in sweets and snacks has left you wanting to shed a few pounds, cleanse your system, and craving clean, green foods.

To that end, I present Mumm's Sprouting Seeds!  I discovered Mumm's Seeds (Shellbrook, Saskatchewan) several Januaries ago, when I was longing to eat more fresh vegetables, yet appalled by the winter produce prices at the grocery store.  The only person in the house who enjoys daily fresh vegetables, I also found the ones I did purchase were spoiling before they were entirely consumed.  Money into the composter.  Sprouting seemed to be the perfect solution.  I could grow as many - or as few - at a time as I wished and would have a constant supply of fresh, nutrient-packed vegetables at my fingertips. It also satisfied my yearning to GROW something in the dead of winter, to have a little "garden" of seedlings sprouting in my kitchen window months before I could actually dig outside in the dirt!

Jim & Maggie Mumm originally started growing organic alfalfa and radish seed for sprouting as a sideline business.  By the mid 90's, the business had flourished to the point where they needed to hire employees to help out!

The Mumm's Seeds website offers a wealth of information about sprouting.  The online store has everything you need to get started, including sprouting jars, hemp bags (my preferred way to sprout), automatic sprouting trays, books about sprouting, and starter kits.  Naturally, a wide variety of seeds are available as well.  My favorites include red clover, black lentil (my favorite to snack on), the crunchy bean mix, the sandwich booster mix, marrowfat peas (great in salads - yum!) and broccoli (these sprouts contain many times the cancer fighting sulforaphanes of mature broccoli).  Sprouts are versatile and in most cases, very easy to grow.  Add them to soups, sandwich wraps, salads, or snack on them "straight up".  Milder sprouts can even be added to smoothies and green drinks for an extra boost of enzymes and chlorophyll. For those interested in emergency preparedness or stocking a long-term pantry, do consider ordering larger quantities of seeds. They are well packaged and store for years. 

The Mumm's Seeds website has both Canadian and American online stores.  I can attest to their excellent customer service and QUICK shipping.  There is free shipping on Canadian orders over $25 and on American orders over $50. Seeds can be exported to Europe and Asia as well.

 The majority (85%) of Mumm's seeds are sourced in Saskatchewan.  Some of the seeds they make available simply do not grow well in the province's climate (or Canada's, for that matter), and those they have to source elsewhere.  All Mumm's seeds are certified organic.

Eager to try sprouting at home?  Here's how!

Learn more about the many health benefits of eating sprouts.

Wondering what the difference is between fenugreek, amaranth, and quinoa? (And how do you use them, anyway?!)  Check out this informative seed summary.

The fine folks at Mumm's have very generously offered to award a $25 gift certificate to the winner of this contest!


Enter to win a $25 gift certificate to Mumm's Seeds online store!

Open to residents of Canada and the United States.

Contest ends Sunday, January 16th at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected.  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Wednesday, January 19th at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected. 

Please note: shipping of the winner's order is free if the winner resides in Canada.  If the winner resides in the USA, they will be responsible for the shipping charges related to their order. 

This contest has now ended.  The winner is D. Criss of Lyons, Indiana.  
Sincere thanks to everyone who dropped by and entered!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let There Be Light

    We usher in a New Year, finding ourselves in the depths of winter's cold and darkness.  For me, it is a period of reflection, a time to relish solitude.  I instinctively seek out a source of light that enhances this period of introspection and makes the long days brighter.  Pure beeswax candles fill the need perfectly, emitting a distinct, almost sacred quality of golden light and a soft, warm scent of honey.  I absolutely love pure beeswax candles.  I cannot imagine passing through the winter months without them in my home. If you'll excuse the pun, no others on the market can hold a candle to them in terms of light quality, scent, health benefits, and burning time.

     One of my favorite producers of pure beeswax candles has to be the Cheeky Bee Candle Company (Warkworth, ON), started in 1999 by owners Perry Melzack and Amanda Gardner.  I even love the name.  Go on...say "Cheeky Bee" three times fast and see if it doesn't leave you smiling! These are the beeswax candles I am most familiar with and receive most often as gifts from family and friends.  They burn evenly, giving off a delicate, sweet scent and last a long time with proper wick maintenance. An all-natural plant fibre wick is used in Cheeky Bee candles - no harmful lead or zinc.  The beeswax used is sourced locally, and Amanda and Perry take pride in the fact that all their candles are completely handcrafted using traditional methods. In a small factory where plugged-in equipment in conspicuously absent, each candle is carefully hand poured, hand dripped, hand dipped, and hand finished.  A variety of styles are produced (e.g., smooth pillars, multi-wicks, votives, tea lights, dripped, tapers) in original, natural gold, and rustic butterscotch colours, as well as a striking naturally filtered ivory.

    The warmth and authenticity of Cheeky Bee candles seem to be a reflection of the same qualities so evident in owners Perry and Amanda. It is clear to me, through our communications, that they love their community, their neighbors, their craft, and each other.  Browse their online catalog and simply call or email to place your order.  You will receive prompt, friendly customer service. You might also wish to visit the lovely Warkworth Gallery Perry & Amanda own that features their candles as well as other beautiful, handcrafted items, including hand carved chairs, heirloom quality dolls, jewelry, and original artwork.