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Wedding gift inspiration
My husband David designs and hand makes beautiful pieces of furniture to commission. He also makes small wooden items for sale through galleries and at craft shows like these gorgeous wooden vases with glass tubes to display individual flowers stems. We call stem vases.
He recently received this email that made me think it would be great inspiration for couples wondering what to do about wedding gifts:
"I purchased one of your 'test tube rack' vases from the Dartington Shop - a wedding present for a couple who have asked for the presents to 'remind them of the person that gave it to them' - as I am a retired science teacher who loves botany, this is the perfect present! Also, I like the fact that it is unique - in fact, I would really like to keep it! Many thanks, Steven T
While most couples these days don't want, or need, conventional wedding gifts like toasters and bed linen and don't feel that a wedding list is relevant to their unique union, wedding guests still love to give a gift to mark the occasion and so its always a good idea to have some way of letting your guests know what it is you would love to receive.
Colours of autumn
Autumn's my favourite time of the year. Gorgeous rich colours of ochres, reds and crimsons. Apples and nuts, squashes and conkers, bonfires and candles. They all give us that warm glow.
If you're thinking of an autumn wedding and wondering how to decorate look no further than new partners' Ochre & Ocre where you can find the richest coloured organic cotton and linens all dyed using the Oeko-tex method to give you the cleanest / greenest materials you can buy. They also sell sweet lavender bags filled with Cotswold Lavender, scented soy wax candles in tins and beeswax pillar candles to warm your heart.
We heard that in the Chinese art of Feng Shui, ochre earth shades give a feeling of stability, serenity and resistance to time, and vibrations from these colours are very beneficial - a great start for newlyweds so put Ochre & Ocre on your wedding gift list today!
Wrapit up differently
As wedding list retailer Wrapit leaves thousands of couples and their guests in the lurch after a long week of uncertainty, we believe its high time to rethink how your guests can safely spend their hard earned money on a meaningful wedding gift for life.
Well here's a beautiful idea - a marital bed made especially for you by a skilled UK designer from English Elm and lovingly crafted to make the most of the wood's natural features. An heirloom in the making.
This unique bed, along with two bedside tables and a bench, which is not shown, was made by furniture designer/maker David Ames at his North Devon studio especially for a client. It's been tailored to fit into their bedroom and designed to the right dimensions for the couple. The elm was sourced locally and every effort has been made to create the most eco friendly bedroom furniture possible.
An alternative to the ubiquitous wedding list is to commission a beautiful piece of furniture, a portrait, some textiles, ceramic tableware, anything that can be hand made. The craftsman or artist will create something unique to you which no one else will have. The beautifully crafted piece will last forever and outlive you, your children and your grandchildren. What could be more sustainable than that?
From little acorns...
The debate continues. How beneficial is carbon offsetting? We're still a teeny bit cynical about the process and are always looking for alternative ways to personalise the activity of carbon offsetting, especially when there's a green wedding involved.
We definitely believe that planting trees is a truly legitimate way of putting something back into our environment since there are more benefits in the life of a tree than just capturing carbon. During its long life a tree will nurture hundreds of living creatures within its own micro habitat. An Oak, for instance, will support the insect life that feeds on its leaves. Butterfly and moth caterpillars, beetles, bugs and green fly and they, in turn, provide food for predatory beasts including birds like chifchafs, long tailed tits and tree creepers and these little birds (sadly) will be food for predatory birds like sparrowhawks. Apart from the obvious, there are numerous gall that grow on the leaves and in the acorns, which are caused by different types of wasps laying their eggs there. There's also fungi that grows on the tree or amongst its roots and the bark hosts numerous epiphytes (plants that live on the outside of another plant like lichens and mosses, liverworts and algae).
tree2mydoor.com, an award winning sustainable gift company offers UK grown tree and wild flower gifts, all beautifully packaged in hessian bags and recycled boxes make perfect eco friendly wedding gifts and favours. The range of trees include rowan, hazel, hawthorn, holly and crab apple - they even offer a whole grove of oak trees with truffles included. Give your guests each a Love in a Bag and sow the seeds of love with red Field Poppies and Corn Cockle.
tree2mydoor.com also offers a unique gift service, Dedicate a Tree, that has been set up to directly support conservation projects in the UK and around the world with 10% of profits going directly towards chosen projects. So you can also choose to support conservation with your purchase as well and reduce your carbon footprint.
I promised three highly creative and talented furniture makers for National Tree Week and last, but not least, is Greig Fensome who produces perfectly formed furniture under the name hiddenink. Working with woods from sustainable sources, Greig designs and handmakes every piece to order. The finished product is a naturally organic work of art and worthy of gracing your home for a lifetime and more. Greig produces these gorgeous boxes, which although are not cheap, would make a perfect Christmas gift for someone with special memories or precious pieces to store.
I know I keep harping on about it, but it's worth considering making your ethical wedding memories more meaningful by asking your guests to contribute to one wonderful, handmade, bespoke, individually designed item of furniture made specially for you, than lots of incidental items which will be forgotten in the passage of time. Commissioning a piece of furniture to mark your ever so eco friendly wedding can be a joyful journey of creative discovery.
Give it a go!
Featuring our second furniture maker for National Tree Week is a real pleasure. Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford works, like David Ames, in Devon, England producing the finest furniture and gifts from sustainable hardwoods. His pieces, although not stocking fillers, will delight the recipient of one of his gorgeous boxes or picture frames. The frames in particular are unique to Tjeerd where he's developed a little swirl that means the frame will cling onto the edge of a mantelpiece or shelf with the greatest of ease.
Contact Tjeerd to see if he has some gift items in stock or he may still be able to get something specially made for Christmas if you hurry. He designs and makes one off pieces of furniture to commission, so plan ahead if you fancy a chair or desk for a unique wedding gift from your guests.
Brighton Craft Fair
The Brighton Craft Fair is back for the second year. The doors open to the public on Friday 23rd November at 10.00am. Once again they have selected one hundred of the best designer-makers in the UK, across all disciplines. These designer-makers are breathing new life into craft and design, taking both traditional and contemporary skills and processes, and letting their imaginations take the work far, far away from the usual.
What you will find at The Brighton Craft Fair is well made, well designed, contemporary work, sometimes with a sense of fun but always with originality. You will be buying hand-made and original work direct from the maker.
Go along to find unique Christmas gifts, but savvy couples will also be scouting for designer makers from whom to commission a beautiful one off piece of work to mark their wedding celebration and become a family heirloom of the future.
Wood glorious wood
National Tree Week continues and recognising that we're on the run up to Christmas we're featuring our favorite furniture makers each day for the rest of the week. Getting a gorgeous gift made by a designer maker is a great experience. Some have small pieces in stock for you to choose from, others will make a gift to order. But whatever the piece, you'll be sure to get a unique one off which has been hand made from sustainable timber.
First up is David Ames who has a selection of affordable small gifts like candle holders, vases and cheese boards made from oak, elm, applewood and ash. Talk to David and he will craft you a wizard piece totally unique to you. I particularly like these cute slab bud vases which make the most of just a few blooms and looks gorgeous too.
Ever thought of commissioning a piece of furniture specially for you? A wooden bed crafted from sustainable local timber, that all your guests can contribute to, would be such a memorable and special wedding gift - it will outlast your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Stumped for ideas for wedding favours or what to gift your special helpers to say thank you for their love and support on your wedding day? Then why not adopt an African tree? Tree-Nation, a dynamic Barcelona-based website committed to planting eight million trees in sub-Saharan Niger, the world's poorest nation, are inviting people to sponsor their tree planting programme.
Their fabulous website encourages social networking for its tree 'parents' and, once you've made your donation, you can track and map its growth via GPS and Google Maps. Working alongside ecologists in Niger and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, Tree-Nation is already nourishing the sprouts of the mighty baobabs, shade giving acacias and other indigenous species in a special nursery before transplanting them in their heart shaped park where 5,000 trees have been planted so far. Although desertification threatens most of the land in Niger, the trees grow in places that receive enough rainfall to support them. Their roots should eventually reach into underground water stores, bringing otherwise untapped water to the surface and improving the soil.
A baobab can survive for up to 2000 years - what better way to leave a lasting legacy of your love...
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