Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015: Bee Hotels

 

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“Bee Hotel: a sustainable resting space for solitary pollinator bees.”

Recently, I have seen a number of bee hotels pop up throughout my neighbourhood.  Below are examples using mostly hollow bamboo stakes gathered in cans or boxes.

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The next photos are examples of bee hotels made from natural materials such as logs, twigs and pine cones.  These bee hotels are on display at a Toronto Botanical Gardens pollinator exhibit in First Canadian Place.

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A few years ago, I saw this cedar bee hotel at the Royal Winter Fair.  I snapped a photo of it because I thought it would be easy to replicate the concept using cedar scraps.

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For this year’s Earth Day project, we made our own bee hotel using scraps of 4X4 cedar left over from our deck project.

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The holes are about three inches deep using at long 1/2 inch wide drill bit. The unit is affixed the fence with a small L bracket. It is an easy project and we will likely make more.

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Happy Earth Day and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Outfits for the Home opener

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During the winter months, I found a few yards of baseball fabric (c. 1992) at the thrift shop.

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I used a small amount of the Toronto Blue Jays fabric to stitch up some popover sundresses for the dolls.  The hats are the mini 8 oz.  ice cream / snack bowls.  I punched a tiny hole and added thin elastic so they would be secure.  They look like batting helmets!  The mini bat and ball are from a keychain.  All set to cheer on our favourite team: “Go Jays Go!”

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I have had a few questions about the opening day wreath I posted on Instagram.

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I have seen several variations of these wreaths floating around on Pinterest. I did not have enough baseballs, so I used 7 old softballs from the thrift shop.   I needed to buy an extra long drill bit.   I drilled each ball and threaded through bendable wire (roughly the same thickness as a coat hanger).  I rested each ball on a paint can to drill through it.

IMG_8208 I hot glued one of the mini ice cream bowls and added a ribbon. 

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Here is one of my favourite photos of Hope at the Jays (v. Cincinnati) exhibition game in Montreal  (at the Olympic Stadium) on the Saturday during Easter Weekend. Instead of the grapefruit league, we call the pre-season games in Montreal the poutine league.  She loves to wear her game day jersey. I paid just 2$ at the thrift shop but it is favourite jersey.  She lost a tooth the day before the game.

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Finally, here is a photo from last night’s Home Opener at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.  There was lots of energy in the sold out crowd.  We were sitting high up in the last row behind home plate so we had a good view of the flag during the pre-game ceremony (the Jays ultimately fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1). 

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Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pysanky with natural dyes

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Last evening, I participated in a pysanky workshop hosted by the Kosa Kolektiv using all natural dyes. The dyes were made from tumeric, onion leaves, walnut, red cabbage, and beets.

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The design is created by applying a heated beeswax.  The tool for applying the wax is called a kitsa.   After the design is applied, the eggs is submerged.  Natural dyes take longer to adhere than commercial dyes and the intensity of the dye is far less opaque.

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After the egg is dyed, the beeswax is removed  by rubbing the egg with oil and then heating the surface of the egg with a candle.

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The instructors brought in so many beautiful examples of their pysanky.  Some of the eggs were etched with a vinegar solution – you can see the texture in the egg below.

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I have not mastered applying the beeswax so the design of my eggs was (ahem) simple compared to the inspiration eggs. I definitely need more practice. 

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I recently found the eggs, below, at a thrift shop. They are wooden eggs.  When Michaels was having a sale I picked up at least a dozen unpainted wooden eggs. I think my next pysanky attempt will be using wooden eggs (mistakes can be easily repainted!).

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Thanks for stopping by and for those celebrating, I wish you a joyous Easter and Passover celebrations!