adventures in beekeeping

i’ve started in on the beekeeper’s quilt. it’s a completely ideal project for the moment: easy and brainless, portable, and it offers a surging feeling of completion about every half an hour when i’m stitching up a little puff, clipping off the loose ends, and tossing it into a bowl. completion is a feeling i’m glad for these days. loose ends tied seem hard to come by.

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my dad used to keep bees out in the garden, in twin hives just behind the rhubarb patch. i remember his white beekeeping suit, the screen pulled over his handsome face. i’d watch from the window as he walked slowly out across the yard in morningtimes, graceful, steam rising from the smoker in his hands, fog rising from the creek to the east. i remember, once in a great while, a precious, glistening slab of honeycomb waiting at the kitchen table when i sat down to breakfast. i remember quiet voices speaking lessons of restraint and gratitude.

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i’ve been stung by both hornets and wasps, but not once by a bee.

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bees swarm in groups numbering between 1,500 and 30,000. swarming bees are gentle creatures, and the process of swarming is about transitions and growth. in the last seven days i’ve made what seems like 1,500 to 30,000 telephone calls to doctors, social workers, nursing homes, attorneys. i ask question after question. i can talk on the phone and knit at the same time. i can hear answers i don’t want to hear without crying, and that’s no small victory. i accept answers that aren’t even really answers. i count stitches like it’s my job, click click click. did you know that honeybees tap two million flowers in order to gather enough nectar to produce one pound of honey? whatever metaphorical message i was getting at has fallen apart, i’m afraid… something in there about work, and giving, and grieving. i had best be back to the needles. the beekeeper’s quilt could take me a year to make, and it could take me longer, or less, but i think it’ll be my friend for a good long while.



handmade morning

i paid attention to my whimmy desires this morning and did a bit of sewing. i intended to make a fabric bowl sort of thing, but ended up with something more like a baskety tote (pattern based loosely on this tutorial… sized way way up. instructions found on an adorable blog called vlijtig). i pulled some old tea towels/ lacy napkins/ linens from the thrifted pile & sewed them up. i used part of a deconstructed down blanket (leftover from the princess bed) for the interfacing. it’s lined in the softest pinstripe cotton voile, found on super clearance at the depot.

big thanks to my old friends coffee and this american life. and big thanks to whimmy desires… i should listen to you more often.

hoping you’re all enjoying this long weekend, and giving in to the sparks of your fancies!


be my guest.

sunny skies in the pacific northwest, and we’ve got spring! and visitors, too, one after the other!

people i love + flowers in bloom + sunshine… all of this = a very glad me.

spring and summer is the time for the past to come into the present in my backyard. dear old friends are on heavy rotation in the love shack, and will be for the next few months.

they come, they eat, they walk around town. they sit at the table in the backyard and chat it up. they sit around a fire. they laugh. they sleep in a tiny house under warm blankets, between thrifted sheets, surrounded by local art. those are my promises to my dearhearts when they come to town.

a bottle of water, a bar of good chocolate, fresh flowers… those things make my guests feel special. a book or two, chosen with a friend’s tastes in mind, yes. 

how do you show your guests you’re so glad they’ve come?


how we do.

this morning i  heard that hooters is giving free hot wings to moms on mother’s day. i will tell you that no matter how broke i happen to be i will not be taking my mom to hooters for free wings, ever. not that she has a problem with boobs or anything. i love my mom for a million reasons, not the least of which being that she could seriously give a hoot about mother’s day. pun intended.

my mother is not exactly the mommy type. you know the one i’m talking about… the wide lap, the cookies in the oven, the one who says things like, “let’s go get a manicure, just us girls.” nope. she is also not much of a cook (don’t tell her i said that)… but the woman makes a mean salad dressing. when it comes to salad dressing, this is how we do:

two thirds olive oil, the good stuff. (we ran out last night, so the photo you see is rather misleading)
one third vinegar. red wine or balsamic.
salt & pepper.
dijon mustard.
honey & lemon, but just a little bit of each.
fresh garden herbs, minced.

shake it up.

mom’s ideal dinner (mine, too): baguette, cheese, a big fat homegrown tomato, and salt. and that dressing. summer is coming, yes. and before summer, mother’s day. i will tell you some stories about that lady, soon soon. she’s the real deal.

what is the one thing your mama made that just screams pure mom to you?



so close.

the blanket, it is done. not fully done done, but mostly. i still need to block it, and i don’t really know how that will pan out. i mean, how exactly does one block a blanket? i’m thinking on a tarp in the driveway might be a good bet, but the weather isn’t cooperating. not yet. so you’ll have to settle for this sneaky peek process photo, and i’ll have to settle for snuggling up under a mostly-finished-except-for-blocking blanket. which is basically something akin to heaven. it’s warm and heavy and invites a nap, even though i’m not a napper.

a friend asked me how long i spent on this thing, and i wasn’t sure. i sat down to calculate an approximate guess and came up with something in the neighborhood of 250 hours, plus. which is approximately insane. which could explain how i’ve watched more television in the last three months than i have in the last three years combined, including but not limited to: every single episode of say yes to the dress, united states of tara, downton abbey, queer eye, and judge judy on netflix. just so you know how ridiculous my taste is. i am lying about judge judy… she’s not on netflix. but if she were, watch out.

somehow there has been time for some other life around here, too. i’ll produce evidence of that life soon. but for now, maybe a nap. just for once. or, maybe… i’ll head back to knitting. good grief people, have you seen the beekeeper’s quilt yet?! it’s just too much muchy goodness. genius, in fact. even if you are not a knitter, you’ll want to be one after taking a gander. dreamy. if you can think of a better project for an ocd-style maker girl like myself, something rather portable, i am taking suggestions most currently. please do share!

wishing you a very happy weekend, howling under that big moon. xoxo