With a grateful heart I celebrate 15 years at this place.
With a grateful heart I celebrate 15 years at this place.
This autumn will sparkle forever like a jewel in my memory. (These photos are better than my words.)
Fencerows Popping With Color
Happy Dogs, Happy Horses
Warning: This project may turn you into a compulsive stamp-saver.
Stamp Box Materials
Simply cut or tear the stamps from the envelopes (leave a little envelope if it’s a pretty one) and then glue them on your selected item. When finished, you can apply a few coats of Mod Podge as a sealant.
I leave this box open in the foyer at Christmastime and add all the cards that arrive each day. Before I store the holiday decorations I spend an afternoon updating my stamp box. I figure I have one or two more years before this box is full and then I’ll do a wooden bowl or box and maybe even incorporate a few pages from some old hymnals onto the new receptacle.
Be sure to send me photos if you do this project!
Lacking any true artistic talent I am forced to borrow heavily from others.
I find myself forever snipping little bits of images here and there and then squirreling them away. Like everyone I can’t resist a beautiful photo but I also find myself drawn to the artwork on packaging. Who knew seed catalogs and hard cider bottles could be such a goldmine? I once framed the cover of an old Garden Botanika catalog. Don’t get me started on cancelled postage stamps. Haven’t you ever saved a card simply because you loved the art?
This snippet hoarding began when I first read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way back in the late 90’s. Again, I’m not an artist but the book is chock full of exercises to awaken one’s slumbering creativity. Week Seven is my favorite because it is Collage Week. Julia makes you rip images from a stack of magazines and then make a collage from them. It is imperative that you not over-think this exercise. These collages are a blast to make and I find I have never been able to break the habit of saving an image that appeals to me.
I find I rarely buy magazines any more in this digital age but that makes me wonder if package art has stepped up its game and filled that void in grabbing one’s attention. (As much as I hate to admit it the St. Pauli Girl people figured out years ago that a little cleavage sells a lot of crappy lager.) I started buying hard cider a few years ago and I am not kidding about the label art sucking you in; go find a bottle of Oliver Winery’s Bean Blossom hard cider. These labels don’t necessarily have beautifully rendered apple paintings but all can easily differentiate from each other on the shelf. My point? I don’t really have one except to illustrate how an inspiring image can come from anywhere. You just need to go with that feeling.
How does one deal with all of this mini-art laying about the house? With this month’s DIY project: collages, of course.
Let’s start with a big one:
How about something a little smaller in scale:
Or perhaps something to adorn your refrigerator door:
There are other magnet collages around here, but I think you get the idea. I love how interchangeable they are since you use magnets instead of glue. It is easy to do a collage for the seasons or hobbies or dinner menus or, yes, even your fave photos.
It’s been a slow season in the apiary as I have only one active hive this year. But you, gentle reader, will be happy to learn that I have used my bee-down-time productively by making enhancements to my entire beekeeping process.
My husband is completely embarrassed by my bee-geekery and never more so than when I hung this bracket up in the kitchen. I used one of those little brackets that security cameras are mounted on and instead put my beloved Bushnell PermaFocus bird binoculars on it. It is mounted next to the window that has a direct view of the apiary.
And what do I see on the 50,000 times a day I check on the bees?
The New Old Watering Hole
What began as a birdbath proved to be a major benefit for bees: a source of fresh water. I attached a clear plastic hose line (I bought it at Lowe’s, cut to fit) from the condensate drain line on my air conditioner and ran it to my bird bath. I attached the hose line to the chain link fence with (what else?) cable ties so that the water from the hose would splash down into the birdbath. The birds, of course, love it. But the bees really flock to it and it is not uncommon to see a dozen at the birdbath in really hot dry weather. The big bonus here is that on the super-hot days when your AC runs all day the birdbath stays filled with fresh clean cool water and everyone — birds, bees, and you — benefits.
Put A Lid On It
This tip is probably only useful for small-scale beekeepers like me who use entrance feeders instead of hive-top feeders. I make up several quart jars of pre-measured sugar but I don’t fill them with water until just before I need them. To keep ants and other unsavory characters out of my bee sugar I put all the jars, measuring cup, and funnel into one of these canning containers called The Jar Box. The lid snaps in place with little locks on either side.
A Place For Everything
Beekeepers have tools that make the job of opening hives and caring for bees easier. The trick is to have all of these tools handy at all of your hives as your attention is most likely divided between 1) an active and very hot smoker, and 2) several thousand honeybees. This is where a standard grooming tote comes in.
“…writers and artists are in the shocking position of having to record the decline of pollinators through our works. Winged is meant to be a record of this moment, a document that artfully honors the relationship, the importance, and the beauty and peril of one of the most vital of all pollinators: the honeybee.”
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Little actions have very big consequences.
It has been over a year since the mass deaths of over 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville, due to an illegal application of Safari to flowering linden trees in a Target parking lot. It was the largest documented die-off of wild pollinators on record.
The event garnered a great deal of media attention, locally and nationally, including this well-researched piece for Al-Jazeera America by renowned science writer Elizabeth Grossman. Unfortunately, such die-offs continue to occur today, with or without media attention. Just two days ago, a die-off in Eugene prompted investigation.
The shameful event in Wilsonville was the impetus for Winged. We ought to be deeply respectful of bumblebees and all pollinators that belong to the complex ecosystem of which we are but one small part. We ought to use sense and caution when legislating poisons, especially neonicotinoids, whose impact we don’t fully understand. We ought to take small steps every…
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If you were to call me a bird nerd I would beam with pride. I have nest boxes tacked up all over the farm. Here’s the proof:
And where do the wrens nest since they aren’t in the expensive boxes I provided for them?
We have had better luck with other boxes.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology sets the standard in citizen science programs involving wild birds. Be sure to check out nestwatch.org where you will be welcomed into a huge family of bird nerds.
This month’s DIY was inspired by a post by The Armchair Sommelier; if you haven’t read her blog you simply must check it out.
several dozen wine labels (more on how to remove them later)
1 bottle of Mod Podge (I used matte)
1 inch sponge applicator(s)
1 damp sponge
display medium (mat board, foam core, stretched canvas, wooden tray…you can be very creative here)
This is not a project to do in a hurry. First of all, there is a lot of wine to drink. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a challenge (or maybe it does…who knows) but it takes a while to accumulate 25 – 30 labels, so this may be a good time to throw a party. Also, you will need a method by which to remove the label and then a method in which to store them.
There are two main ways to remove a label from a wine bottle: the oven method and the soaking method. I much prefer the oven method as the label comes off in one piece, usually pretty easily, and it holds it’s shape better upon reapplication. The soaking method makes the label soft and prone to tearing. Even with Mod Podge a soft tissue-y label is a pain.
I recommend pressing your labels between a couple of books as you accumulate them as this will make them a little easier to work with when it is time to begin gluing.