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I have bees.

Granted, this is not making, baking or sistering. But bees make honey and wax, which can be used for much making and baking, not to mention supplying to sisters.

We have now had a hive for almost a whole week, and are such massive experts that this morning we moved the hive onto a new stand and did not get stung. Apparently we didn’t make the bees cranky! We did confuse the poor little blighters a bit, the ones out foraging kept coming back to the old stand and buzzing around wondering what happened to their home. It was only a few metres away, so they found it soon enough.

We have a second box prepared, hoping to split into hives this season. Here it is, all freshly painted and with some frames and foundation (the wax base for honeycomb) added. All recycled or home-made. Even the foundation was a gift from a retired beekeeper. The box takes 10 frames, but then you wouldn’t be able to see them, so here it has four.

I think the inside of the box is not supposed to be painted. But the inside was painted when I got it, so naturally I sanded it and repainted it… and then read that insides are not painted. Oops. Hope the bees don’t mind!

Had reasons for not knitting any of my ongoing knits. (Really good reasons, like “I don’t feel like thinking that hard”.) So I dug out some camo-girl wool (it’s Malabrigo Worsted in Dusty Olive, if you really care about yarn) and hooked up this hood. Sadly I have a great big enormous head, so on me it fits like a beanie and not like a hood. Which is not good, since I look like a pudgy zombie in a beanie. But anyway, it’s pretty cute and only took about 3 1/2 hours to make.

The pattern is a freebie on ravelry.com and is called Audrea’s Hood.

 

I picked this fabric up in Spotlight – they were having a sale but when I got to the checkout it was actually cheaper than what the shelf had indicated. It annoys me when that happens, because if I knew how much the fabrics really cost I would make different choices! I never have time to go and make the different choices after they’ve put it through the register – which they only do *after* they’ve cut all the fabrics. Do they not want to sell more? Hmm.

Picked the handles up at an op shop, and the pattern came from a Handmade magazine. I got it from a bag compilation mag called Adorable Bags, and the name of the pattern was Swing Bag by Colleen Archbold. You can find it on Craftlovers and buy a download of the pattern if you is really diggin’ it. Oh, the original has two fabrics on each side, seamed on the diagonal… and a bunch of appliqued flowers…

The direction of the pattern was such that I just had enough in my half metre to shift it across a bit so the front and back are slightly different across the flower panel. I would have liked to set the flower panel down a little further on the bag, but I would have needed twice the fabric length so I could cut them out side by side instead of above each other. If I made it again I think I would make the ‘neck’ a little longer.

 

Given the quality of my photography, most would be wondering why I did this rather than how!

Trust me, the outside of this little hardshell purse was worn and tired, but the inside was pristine.

So I pulled the shell sides out of the metal frame, but not completely apart because the inner fabric holds it together as well, and I was keeping that.

Before and after:

It looks better in person. It involves glue on fingertips. One recommends cleaning glue off before touching computer mouse.

Here’s a better view of the tatty outer, neat inner with proof of op-shop cost, and cute french print fabric. Any marks on the metal are glue or photography errors, it’s a lovely shiny dark grey.

I saw these teabag holders online. In fact, I saw patterns for them as well. I saw them in several places so if you want ’em, google ’em. I didn’t use those patterns, because they used four layers of fabric. Four. Do the math… that means where the seam allowances fold back, where the four layers come together… eight layers. Why? Okay, I think it was so they could add extra pockets for sweetener. My teabags are quite laid back, though. They don’t mind sharing their pockets with sweetener, if I felt the need to carry some.

Here’s a pic. I have to improve it with a few modifications mext time around.

Pic of wallet/folder in various stages of unfolding to show 6 teabags

side viewJust thought I’d share this cheesecake I made for a New Year party I went to. It’s simply a cheesecake with blackberry topping. I made a recipe-and-a-half of a regular cheesecake (in this case, 375g philly cheese, 1.5 cans sweetened condensed milk, about 80ml lemon juice, 3/4 cup of thickened cream, and about 10g of gelatin powder dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of hot water.)

Make the cheesecake in a suitable dish, so that you are left with a ‘dam wall’ that will contain your jelly until it sets properly. I used a large fluted pie tin.

The topping: drain a can of Blackberries in Syrup, collecting the syrup and making a jelly from it using a couple of teaspoons of gelatin. Let that cool in a bowl until it is thick but still pourable. Meanwhile, pile the really well drained blackberries in the middle of the cheesecake (or whatever placement tickles your artistic fancy), and then put that in the fridge so the berries are cold when you pour the jelly on. Reason? The cold berries help the jelly set, so you end up with a shiny coating of jelly over the berries instead of it all running off onto the cheesecake.

 

Things I learned:

If I put jelly in the fridge to partially set, I will always forget it. But that’s okay because a quick visit to the microwave makes short work of jelly.

Dissolved gelatine tends to start setting immediately if you add it to a mixture that is cold because you just beat in a large serve of cream straight from the fridge. That means you get little strings of set gelatine through your cheesecake. I know this is common because I ate someone else’s cheesecake at the party, and theirs was the same! I suggest letting the cream sit out for a while. But not long enough to poison you. In fact I intend to try a short burst in the microwave to bring it close to room temperature, but I haven’t tested that yet. Cream is tricky. But this recipe doesn’t call for whipped cream, so it should be okay.

It was good, too.