Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bringing Home the Pollen

My bees have done very well this winter, and that is such a relief to me since it is my first year as a beekeeper.  It is especially gratifying because I know many beekeepers who have lost 30-50% of their hives this year.  It is so sad.

The girls have been flying on the warmer days which is normal during the winter.  They won't poop in the hive, so they have to take cleansing flights to relieve themselves.  After all, they are still eating all that honey and pollen they stored up for the winter.  Honey bees can't fly when it is colder than 45 degrees, so there is always a lot of activity on the milder winter days.  And lots of poop flying!

I went out to check on them today, and much to my surprise, they were coming back to the hive with their pollen baskets full!  The juniper and maple trees are putting out pollen and the girls sure are loving it.


It felt like spring, but there is still snow on the ground.

Little ladies hard at work.

More food for the girls.

This little girl didn't want to get off my arm.  She was so sweet!

Yes. Bees can be sweet.  At least I think my bees are.  They have a great temperament and don't get agitated easily.  I was lucky to have gotten such great bees for my first year as a beekeeper.  If they continue to do as well as they have been, I plan on splitting the hive this spring, so I can have two hives.

Now I can't wait for spring.  It is going to be an exciting time in the bee yard!

What signs of spring have you seen around your parts?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lines Love Curves, and Stripes Love Dots

My niece's 18th birthday is coming up next week, and I am trying not to procrastinate so long in getting cards out this year.  So far so good since her big day is one week from today.

This is only a little like the image I had in my mind when I started, but it is such an improvement.  It is always encouraging when my cards turn out better than planned.  : )

I love how the chevron panel looks like a cell phone, and the message could be a text.  That is the part that I didn't plan.  I think an eighteen year old might appreciate that more than flowers and butterflies!

The bling was also an after-thought, but is just what the card was definitely nekkid without it.

Supplies used:
Stamps - PTI Big Birthday Wishes, Chevron Stripes
Paper - PTI white
Ink - Memento black, SU Cool Caribbean (retired)
Accessories - washi tape, SU designer label punch (retired), markers, rhinestones, dimensionals, corner rounder punch

On a side note, just after I posted my "Spring is Just Around the Corner" post, we received over 8" of snow, and it is snowing again today.  It is so beautiful outside, and finally looks like winter around here.  Yippee!  Time to curl up under my afghan with a cup of tea and a good book.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Color

Once I finished my ripple afghan and hearts for my tree, I started right in on my next crochet project.

I decided I needed a pillow (or two) to go with it.  I have always wanted to make a granny square afghan, but since I made a ripple afghan, I decided to make a granny square pillow instead.

So I have been crocheting mini granny squares.

They are a little over an inch big.  (Or should I say small?)

Two hundred of them so far.

They only take a minute or two to make (talk about instant gratification), so it hasn't taken all that long to knock them out.

I laid them out in a planned random pattern.  By planned random, I mean that each row and each column only contain one of any particular color.  Even the edges when placed together won't repeat any colors.  I plan on putting a border around the edges, so the border randomness wasn't necessary unless you are compulsive like me and have to have it that way!

I have started binding them together...something I know nothing about, and am just winging it as I go along.  The work is not bothersome to me because it goes fast, and once again I am instantly gratified as soon as another square gets attached.


All that being said, my tree is begging to be decorated with Easter eggs, so this pillow may have to take a back seat until I get some eggs done.  I'll be sure to post a picture when it is finished.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Or is it?

It has been cold and snowy here this past week, and we are supposed to get more snow this weekend.  We've had such a mild winter this year, and are in a pretty severe drought, so we'll take all the snow we can get.

But that doesn't mean I am not looking forward to spring!

I bought some tulips this week that were not even close to opening.  I like to buy my flowers 'green' so I can enjoy their full bloom.

Two of them started to open up today.  I couldn't have arranged them any better if I would have tried.

I love yellow tulips.

Little rays of sunshine to brighten snowy days.

What is your favorite flower?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good Luck Piggy

I made this card for one of my daughter's teammates who is competing in her first Elite gymnastics meet this weekend.  She loves pigs, and this one is just too cute.

(Sorry about the iPhone picture.  I forgot to take one with my real camera before we left home.)

The big googly eyes are compliments of my daughter.  She loves big eyes on everything! And the tail, too.  When she was going through my 'pink' embellishment drawer, she found the spiral paper clip and thought it would make a good tail.  She was so right!

Supplies used:
Stamps - SU Button Buddies, amuse oval
Paper - PTI white
Ink - Memento
Accessories - glue pad, green flock, googly eyes, button, spiral paper clip, dimensionals

Hope you have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Tree

Here is a fun little project I have been working on this week.  I decided to bring the outside in, and planted jammed some twigs in a pot.  I will be able to decorate them with festive holiday decorations and bring some much needed color into the room.

Colorful hearts just in time for Valentine's Day.

The little hearts are very easy to make, and are a great way to use up scraps of yarn.  They only take a couple minutes each.

I've caught both cats eyeing them, or in this case playing with them.  Every time I walk by my 'tree' I expect to see hearts gone astray, but so far, so good.  Let's hope they continue to behave themselves!

Do you have a 'tree' that you decorate for the holidays/seasons?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Punny Card

Someone very near and dear to me (Hi, Mom!) came down with a nasty case of the shingles a while back.  If you've ever had this, or known anyone who has, you know it is very painful.

I knew she would appreciate a get well card, and I could only think of one thing.


(My thought while driving by Walgreens and reading their sign out front that said "We have shingles shots" was..."Why is Walgreens selling shingles?  Does Home Depot know they are taking over their inventory?")  

I'm such a nerd!

To make the shingles, I rubbed a brown ink pad over soft suede paper to give it a mottled shingle look.  Then I cut it into strips and added more ink to the edges.  Then I put the strips on my ScorPal and used a soft suede marker to make the scored lines.  This gives it a nice texture while defining each 'shingle'.  Each strip was adhered to the card base with a little overlap.

Supplies used:
Stamps - Just Right alphabet
Paper - PTI white, soft suede
Ink - soft suede, real red
Accessories - ScorPal
Techniques - DTP (direct to paper)

I'm happy to report that my Mom has healed from her case of the shingles.  No doubt the laugh from my card helped ease her pain.

Do you like to use puns on your cards, or do you think puns are cheesy?


Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Word for The Year


There are many things about myself that I could 'fix', but one thing that has been eating at me for some time is the lack of color in our home.  So I'm going to fix that first.  My word is COLOR!

I came across Lucy's blog last December, and fell in love with her use of bright colors.  (Take a look at her blog, and you'll quickly see what I mean.)  I decided right then and there that I was going to add color to my life.  And what better way to add it than with yarn!

The great room/kitchen, where I spend most of my time when I'm not in my craft room, is lacking considerably in the color department.  We have a few nick knacks and books that have some color, but all I see is brown.  Brown hardwood floors, brown built in bookshelves/cabinets, brown stone fireplace, brown leather sofa, brown bookshelves and antique furniture, brown (ok, tan) walls, brown kitchen table, brown kitchen cabinets, brown granite counters, brown bar stools and chair pads.  Brown.  Brown.  Brown.  Aaaaagh!  The room has a very 'warm' feel, but the lack of color is making me go insane!

See what I mean?  Dull and boring.

The first way I decided to add color was to make an afghan.  I ordered my yarn right before we left on our Christmas vacation cruise, so it would be here when we got back home.

Aren't the colors beautiful?  I couldn't get a hook in my hand fast enough!  I used Lucy's Neat Ripple Pattern, and started my afghan on Jan 2nd.

In progress and loving the colors already!

I am not one to take my time when I am working on a yarn project - I can hardly wait to get it finished, and it becomes an obsession.  So I worked on my afghan every day and/or every night, sometimes for a little bit, but most days for hours.

I really liked the border on Lucy's afghan, so I put one on mine, too.

And then...

before I knew it, it was finished.  It wasn't made to fit this bed, but I thought it made a pretty picture.  : )

I absolutely love how it turned out.  There were times when I thought I made the wrong random color choices while I was making it, but the next few rows would change it back to a pleasing overall combination.  Looking at it now, I wouldn't change a thing about it.  I think it is perfect.

Just one little afghan draped on the back of the sofa brightens up the whole room.

Hi, Motorboat!  I can tell we are going to be fighting with the cats to see who gets to use the afghan!

Here's the nitty gritty...

Yarn - Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller, Washable Ewe (100% superwash wool)
Skeins - least 2 each (some colors 3), 9 different colors; 100g/183 yds each
Finished size 60" x 82"

Here are some fun facts...

Base row 227 stitches
138 rows
Color changes - 68
Total stitches - approx. 32,800
~25 minutes /row + borders = approx. 65 hours
26 days to complete
Mileage - 1.87 miles of yarn

Cost - priceless

Do you have a lot of color in your home?  How do you accessorize with color?



Friday, February 1, 2013

Big News!



Is anyone there?

(That makes a great answering machine greeting, btw.)

I know, it has been forever since I posted to my blog.  Sorry.  There have been many projects in the works, and some even finished, but I have been lazy.

Very lazy.

Baaaaad blogger.

Well, to keep you enticed, here is a sneak peek of one of my projects.

The kitties love to sit on my lap when I crochet, and sometimes they even get to play with a scrap of yarn!  That one is Moonshine, aka Moonie or Moo-Moo.  Can you tell she loves to knead?  If I could just train her to knead on my back, I'd be all set!    I will be posting about my ripple afghan soon.

Now, for the Big News!  I wanted to let you know about a new blog I am starting.  (For one who can't even keep up with one blog, one thought it would be a good idea to start another!)

I am very passionate about making healthy choices, and I want to share my thoughts and the obstacles we face when trying to make those choices in a culturally unhealthy environment with all with you.  It can be done!  So I created a new blog, Wellness and Health For Life.  I hope you will join me there, and learn how to make healthy choices for a lifetime of wellness.

As always, thanks for stopping by.