Monday, June 21, 2010

Bumble Bees

The more I look at the words 'bumble bee' and say it to myself, the funnier it looks and sounds.  I wonder how a bumble bee got it's name.  Because it's so big and awkward, it 'bumbles' around?

Actually, one of the definitions of 'bumble' is to make a humming or droning sound; to buzz.  There is certainly no mistaking when a bumble bee is in the vicinity.

Bumble bees are large, hairy bees that are usually black and yellow with clear wings with black veins. The hind legs of female bumble bees have a wide, cupped area for collecting pollen.

Bumble bees do not have a barbed sting — so they can sting several times if threatened. Yet, not all bumble bees have a stinger. Male bumble bees, called drones, have no stinger at all. 
Bees see in ultraviolet light, so they are attracted to different hues. For example, many studies have shown that the bumble bee is strongly attracted to violet and blue flowers, but they will visit other colored blossoms.

Bumble bee hives are usually found underground in abandoned rodent burrows and are lined with the bees’ secreted wax.

Bumble bees are active in all kinds of weather and are often the first bee out in early spring and last in the fall. They can visit 10 to 18 flowers in a minute.

They are not big honey producers, but create just enough honey to allow the colony to survive through times of food shortage. Their colonies are seasonal and die out when winter comes, with only the queens surviving to spring.

Bumble bees have quite the appeal to artists and crafters alike.  Here is a Scissor's Keeper that I made for Early Bird Christmas Crafting. 

I found the pattern in the book Sew Necessary by Art to Heart

Sew Necessary by Art to Heart

This book is filled with many clever ideas for making your sewing experience more fun!
I admit that I had difficulty following the directions,
but was always delighted with my finished products!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sea Scallops

Sea Scallops
(Placopecten magellanicus)

Sea scallops are called giant scallops in some areas, where they are known as the King of Scallops. They can be found in the eastern North Atlantic from northern Gulf of St. Lawrence and northern Newfoundland to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The sea scallop is a bivalve--it has two valves or shells. Both are round, almost equal in diameter, and held together by a small, straight hinge and the adductor muscle. The lower valve is white or cream in color and the upper is usually reddish. Inside these shells is the "meat" (the adductor muscle), which is the part of the scallop commonly eaten in North America.  It happens to be my most favorite sea food!  They always taste better when someone else cooks them!   (Photo: Wikipedia)
Here in Atlantic Canada, we actually have scallop farms (aquaculture).  I was lucky enough to help a fledgling farm a few years back.  I worked with scallops the size of dimes and nickels,
counting and sorting, and readying them for the next stage of their development.

The shape of the scallop shell has been used by crafters and business for centuries, and I am no exception.  (Photo:

Here is a scrappy snowball quilt that I made for my neighbor as a thank you for his many kindnesses over the years.  I hope it keeps him warm while watching his beloved hockey games
during the coming winter months.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dragonflies in Flight

Dragonflies and Damselflies hold a fascination for me,
not just because they seem so magical and fairylike with their gossamer jeweled wings
or because they come in such varied and brilliant colors,
but because of their behavior and the way
that they are anatomically made.
The manner in which their wings attach to their bodies
allows spectacular aerial abilities like no other insect.

Mostly found in the presence of a wetland,
some of them are very easy to observe.
And some, like the late summer darners,
don't stay still long enough
for you to be able to say anything about them except,
 "I saw a BIG dragonfly!"

There are approximately 435 species of dragonflies and damselflies
in North America, 5,000 worldwide.
Members of the insect order, Odonata, they have inhabited the earth
for more than 250 million years.

Stokes Beginner's Guide to DragonfliesAn excellent source to begin learning about dragonflies is Stoke's Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies, an easy to understand small handbook that you can carry with you in the field or on walks in the park. 

I am so excited. 
I recently purchased this pattern from Joy

and although I wasn't ready to make this particular quilt
at this particular time,
I couldn't help but try to make the dragonflies.

I think they are going to look just swell on the Hourglass Baby quilt I am working on right now.
Thanks, Joy!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sage Counsel

In her 2001 book, RED, Passion and Patience in the Desert, Terry Tempest Williams writes:

Red: Passion and Patience in the DesertThe eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.  They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come.  To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.  Perhaps the wildness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.  Wilderness lives by this same grace.  Wild mercy is in our hands.

I just needed to share.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Splish, Splash, I was Taking a Bath

There are a few, but not many, advantages to incessant rain.

1.  Clean Birds

2. Guilt-free Time to Sew Tea Wallets
(using 2 fat eighths) 
for Early Bird Christmas Crafting
with Judith

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Today's Flowers

Again, an attempt to link my crafts for Early Bird Christmas Crafting
with the nature of my blog (no pun intended).

Today's Flowers are Flower Pincushions

that slip into the hole in a spool of thread
 so that everything you need
when you are doing handwork
is at your fingertips.

A very long time ago, I ws gifted with one and I just love it.  A quilting friend spotted it resting at my sewing spot and asked if I thought I could make her one.  After several attempts, I figured it out.  I thought it would be the perfect project for mini-gifts for Judith's Early Bird Christmas Crafting.


Bald Eagles for Christmas

Bald Eagle
(Haliaeetus leucocephlus)

Before you ask, YES!  I was this close!
However, this is really a story for my Cape Breton blog,
Why, then, am I posting on this blog?
Good question.  And I have a good answer!
Because, I joined Early Bird Christmas Crafting.
(see button on sidebar)

KaHolly, which began as a craft blog 2 years ago,
morphed into a natural history blog instead.
Not entirely comfortable blogging about
my crafts and quilts and materials,
I wanted to be able to link the two together.
for my first Early Bird Christmas Gift,
I made a set of cards using this picture!

I use actual photographs on my cards.
This set has the Charles Dickens quote
 on the inside that reads,
"Nature gives to every time and season
some beauties of its own.",
which is also matted in the same colors.

On the back of the cards I wrote my favorite interesting Eagle fact:

With a visual acuity 4-8 times better than a human's,
the Bald Eagle is a formidable predator. 
An eagle riding a thermal at an altitude of nearly 1,000 feet
uses its binocular and peripheral vision to spot prey
across a distance of nearly 3 square miles.

The complete set of 4 - 6 cards
 will bundled together with a pretty ribbon
and wrapped in plastic.

Yes, I was working on a quilt, everything just pushed to one side
to make room for card making,
so when I took this picture,
I thought it only appropriate to lay it upon
the pile of blocks I was working on.

How's that for coordinating a nature site with my crafting?


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Couldn't Resist

I couldn't resist taking these pictures of
one of my new resident Purple Finches
as he navigates the rock garden?

Our weather hasn't been very cooperative, so don't mind the
appearance of last year's juncus in the foreground
that I've yet to cut away!

I also couldn't resist joining Judith's Early Bird Christmas Crafting fun.
As I am financially challenged and live in a relatively remote area,
I am forced to work with supplies on hand.

That said, and because I covered and gifted my last journal,
I chose to use a notebook for my Early Bird Christmas journal.
It's not fancy, but it will still serve the purpose.
I'm joining a few weeks late, so off I go to
catch up!  Thank you, Judith.  I think it will be fun.