Friday, May 15, 2009

Custom shoes to match

Anyone here in the mood for some fresh strawberries?
Or would you like to go on a hike to the woods for some mushrooms. Please don't eat the toadstools, though...They look delicious but are only for decoration.

I have been making a lot of doll shoes lately. It is so much fun! Wool felt is such a wonderful material. It is soft and pliable and comes in so many colors. I have quite the collection of colors. I get kind of sad when I run out of a favorite color...

Check out my rainbow of shoes! My hands were quite sore after making them. But wasn't it worth it?
Once the raw shoe is finished they are decorated by needlefelting a design on them. It can be anything from a piece of fruit, piggies, a bunny...I love to match the new Kwaii fabrics in my stash. They are the cutest material on earth. If you want to know more about them, please read my previous blog entry on Japanese fabrics.

Needlefelting is an amazing craft. If you have lots of time on your hand you should try it. The limit is your imagination. Just make sure you have good eye-sight and a magnifying glass, for some of those details will make you blind. =)

I hope you enjoyed my happy shoe rainbow!

Your German Dollmaker

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bees in Our Backyard

On April 19th my husband and I received a beehive as a birthday gift. A friend of us built it from scratch out of wood. The style of hive he built is called a top bar hive. Until I received this gift I did not know much about bees. Frankly, I was a little afraid of them. So were the children as you can see from the very skeptical look on my daughter's face....

From a library book we learned that this type of hive is quite common in Africa. Beekeepers like it because the bees build the honeycomb directly onto a set of slats/bars that lay across the top of the box. See pictures below.
This makes harvesting honey quite easy. You also get a lot more beeswax for making candles that way. I am thrilled by the idea of making candles. I think this would be a great activity to do with children in the cold winter months.

The first set of pictures shows the bees being put in their new home on the day of their arrival in our backyard April 19th.

The second set shows the hive less than a month later. Watching the bees every day, I came to a much better understanding of the phrase "busy as a bee". They are such cool animals. The children are very excited. Every day they run outside and check on the progress of our new pets. 10 000 of them... Contrary to what most people seem to believe, honey bees are very peaceful. Nobody in the family has been stung or bothered by them. They go about their work every day never paying any attention to us watching or even standing close by.

We even got a little lick of honey when we opened the hive. Yummy!
I will keep you posted on the first harvest!