In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, and anything else that happens to pop into my head. Sit back, relax for five minutes of a day, and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Smallish Christmas crafts

Yesterday was freezing cold here in Indiana
 
So I decided to stay inside and be crafty.

I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit....
 guess what....it didn't work!  But I think these gift tags turned out cute.
 I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but after that, only three weeks until Christmas!  Not much time to shop, decorate, craft, and plan.
 I thought this would be a simple craft to use up some of my scrap booking stuff.  Scrap booking supplies are like yarn and material....they multiply when you aren't looking!

 These would make good bookmarks too.
 I like the nature ones the best.
Making gift cards to use up scrap booking supplies is like making scarves for wine glasses to use up a yarn stash!  Not gonna happen!  You'd have to make a trillion of them to use up my stash!
But they're cute!  I think they would make cute hostess or teacher gifts.  You could make several different ones and use them instead of wine charms.  Or if you are giving someone a special wine glass,you could make a different scarf for each holiday throughout the year.  What do you think? 

 Do you have any smallish crafty ideas going on this year?

Cindy Bee

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kokomo Op Shop Tour

So...about the bees and keeping them warm in the winter.  It is the opinion of some, that insulating the hive only makes you feel like you are doing something to help them, but that it doesn't make a difference one way or the other.  The bees have survived our winters for years.  It's true.  And I do feel better for trying.  What kills them are the mites.  Tracheal and varroa mites.  That is also true.  I do know that wrapping the hive is a very delicate situation because if you get the hive too warm, the bees will come out, thinking it's warm when it isn't.  In the winter months, the bees cluster together and vibrate their bodies to keep the area that they are in warm.  I put a piece of insulation in the top of the hive because I put an empty super on the hive, so I would have room for sugar cakes.  Because I do know the bees can starve to death in the winter without enough food.  So there you have one more lesson on bees.  Now on to my blog post.
 

It's been a few weeks ago that I had a couple of young ladies spend a couple of nights here during their fall break.  My sister had a groupon to take a tour through our local Opalescent glass shop (KOG) and she gave it to me to take them.   Although the regular price of the tour is well worth the cost.  
The glass shop has been here since 1888, and it's one amazing place.  I used to live a few blocks from it and I took the boys I watched on a tour way back when.  I highly recommend taking a tour of it as it is very interesting and the tours have changed quite a bit.
Had I posted on it immediately, I would have remembered more but you can go to their website for more details.  The picture above is a furnace that the guys use to heat glass in.  The furnace is over 2000 degrees.

Once the glass in their ladle is ready, they bring it over here and plop it down on this counter top.
Where it is kneaded like bread, only not with your hands!
 
After he rolls it around a few times, he puts it in this box where it goes through a conveyor and gets flattened out.

I thought you might like a look at some of the inside architecture from one of their older buildings.

There are three people there that blow glass and this lady is one of them.  She went to college to learn to blow glass, but if I understood them correctly, you can also learn the trade by being an apprentice.  And you can take classes on glass blowing through KOG.
She is making a shot glass.
Glass rods
Some blown glass by "John" (can't remember last name)  Some of his blown glass is in the Smithsonian.



There are sheets and sheets of stained glass.





A high percentage (I think 40%) of the glass is exported.  Which is great because most everything in our country is imported.
And every piece that leaves the country has a Made in the USA sticker on it!

When we built my potting shed, back in 2000 (at the house we moved from) we used two of these thick pieces of glass and put them up high on the back wall to let light in.
Lots of color....
And this is a piece of counter top.  This size is about $700.00
They also make special order sinks...
I thought this was an interesting fact....everyone that works at the "Op Shop" signs their name in the factory somewhere.  This is the oldest name they have found so far.  In the 1890s.


This lady is making glass beads.  And guess what!   You can take a bead making class for $50.00  Neat Christmas idea!

Embossed glass

This lady made this sign for a new restaurant opening in our town.

Lots of gift ideas...

At the end of the tour the CEO of the company comes out and talks to the group.  He let the girls look through a kaleidoscope.  They even have classes on making kaleidoscopes.
I'm thinking I'd like a light fixture somewhere in our new house made from here.
More hand blown glass for sale in their gift shop.


That's it for my tour.  I highly recommend you take a tour in person, and also visit their website.  They have online shopping, a Facebook page, and great Christmas ideas.

Cindy Bee

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter Prep for Honey Bees

Oh my!  My computer just spent hours down....uploading....downloading...whatev....some new update to Windows that I did not request and every time it asked me to download it, well, I put it off for months.  I guess it's gonna do whatever it wants to do.  If I disappear you'll know why!

So, I have been getting my hives ready for winter.  When I bought all of this sugar, at Aldi's, cheapest place I could find it, the guy in line behind me said, "are you trying to turn into a diabetic or something."  I said, "yeah....that I just love me some sugar."

So, I read two sugar cake recipes for feeding your bees in the winter.  In the past, they have always had enough honey to last them through the winter, and if I wasn't sure I would buy a candy board from a beekeeper.  But I didn't want to pay the price for 9 hives, and I decided I could 'you tube' a recipe, so I did!  One was 15 pounds of sugar a hive, and one was five.  I went with the five pound per hive recipe.  I have nine hives.  That's 45 pounds of sugar just for the candy boards and these are 4 pound bags.
And lucky for me a beekeeper friend of mine had ordered the edible essential oils that were necessary to make this sugar cake recipe.  She made a jar up for me.  Beekeepers are the nicest people.
You use very little liquid...
so it's very hard to stir it all up.
Then you put it in the oven with the oven light on overnight.  It is suppose to harden, which it did, but not enough.  They were still crumbly even after a couple of days. 

I decided before I made nine of these recipes I was going to test them out first.  The bees loved it!  WOOHOO!!!

So, I took styrofoam insulation and cut it the size of each hive.  I wrapped it with a feed sack, put it in the top of the hive.  Put the sugar cakes under the wrapped insulation, but on top of the frames. Easy access for the bees. Then I wrapped the entire thing in saran wrap.   I've never insulated inside the hive before.  It was my beekeeper friends idea and I decided why not.
In the meantime, every day it's above 50 degrees and sunny outside, I make them some sugar water to drink. 

I have been working very hard trying to get my bees ready for winter this year.  I hope we do not have a winter like last year.  But if we do, I know my bees will not starve to death.  I hope they don't freeze to death. Time will tell.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Cindy Bee