Archive for January, 2011

* mason bee plans

Posted on January 16th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

I got a mason bee house for Christmas.  We had honey bee hives for a while when I was little, and honey bees are actually legal in Seattle.  Seems like a bit too much work for now, so I’m sticking with the low maintenance, native mason bees.  Apparently all I have to do it put the house out in an attractive place and the bees will find it.  We shall see.  The P-patch across the street apparently has them, so maybe a few will find their way over here.  This is the house I got.


I haven’t figured out yet how to clean this one out from season to season, which is one benefit of the paper straw versions.  I suppose I could make paper liners for mine too.  Hmmm.

Local mason bees resources:

Hunter’s Mason Bees, which has some sort of affiliate program where they do everything for you and you act as kind of a mason bee farmer for them

Crown Bees

WSU info sheet (PDF)


* leftover hexagon trivets

Posted on January 15th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I had some hexagons left over from the art project, and Becket suggested I use them to make something for the kitchen since the wall in question is right above the kitchen.  As it happens, a few of the extras were cut from the same fabric as I used for my cork board, which also hangs in my kitchen.

I decided to make trivets since the hexagons are a tad too big for potholders, but a nice generous size for a large pot or dish.  I just sandwiched Insul-Bright (which is admittedly weirdly crinkly stuff, but I’m trying to use up the piece of it that I have) between two of the hexagons, one gingham and one hexagon-print, and machine quilted them all together.  I used the hexagon pattern as a quilting guide, sewing in all the outlines.  After quilting, I trimmed the edges even and then sewed on orange binding with a zigzag stitch.  I was pretty sloppy on the first one, using my standard zigzag-on-and-hope-you-catch-both-sides approach.  Conveniently, later that day I randomly came across a post on how to properly miter corners by Smashed Peas and Carrots, so the second one turned out nicer.  The right way doesn’t even take that much longer than the sloppy way.



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* raccoon tracks

Posted on January 13th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens.

Oh no, the raccoons have found us!  Don’t worry, the chickens are alive and well.  This morning when I went to let them out of the coop, I found these tracks in the snow leading from the sidewalk right up to the fence and then back to the sidewalk.  I guess we’re on the raccoon’s patrol route.  No tracks inside the fence, though.


I consulted my Storey’s Guide for confirmation.  Here’s a nice page that has a good picture.


The tracks leading back to the sidewalk are clearer to see the big back feet, but they were also meltier.


* shopping for the chickens

Posted on January 12th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Home and Garden, Wants.

The chickens have almost eaten/wasted their first 25 pound bag of food.  Between that and the aforementioned leaky waterer, it was time for a restocking trip.  Last time I went to the Grange Supply, out in Issaquah.  This time, we went to Bothell Feed Center, out in, well, Bothell.  It’s closer to where we live, and I wanted to compare.  They had a really nice chicken coop out front, and a great selection of fancy chicken feed.  I just do not care enough to get the organic omega 3 supplemented feed, especially since they’re not even laying yet, but it’s nice to know where to get some just in case I decide to go that route.  I got a 50 pound bag of plain old pellets for pretty cheap, and a sturdy new waterer (metal this time).  They were very helpful and had a surprisingly good music selection playing in the store (Metric and Florence and the Machine are not bands I would first think of in connection with farm supplies).

The next place I want to hit is the Seattle Farm Co-op warehouse.  They look like they’ve got some cool stuff and neat people, and I just joined their mailing list.  We’ll see how long it takes the girls to get through this 50 pound bag first.


Oh, and I started a new Chickens category to keep the Home and Garden category from getting out of hand.  This week’s new chicken trick: they come running when I call them :)  They could probably do this for a while, but I only just today did the experiment.


* gardendex

Posted on January 11th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of keeping track of my gardening activities.  Last year, I tried a garden journal and a planning pad, plus ye olde blog, of course.  Nothing really covers what I’m mainly interested in, though.  I want to keep track of when I started/transplanted/planted each plant, and what the outcome was, so I can easily refer to it next year and compare results.  I sort of have this info since I kept dated notes last year, but it’s difficult to keep everything straight without flipping around to every which month.

At lab today I noticed the vintage Rolodex my sister gave me for Christmas last year, which has been sitting on my desk lonely and unused along with the rest of my small collection of vintage metal office items.  An idea hit: I could have a card for each plant, and on the card record the dates of each activity.  For example, I could make a “peas” card for a particular seed packet, and note the date I plant them.  Then go back and add the date they sprout, first ripe peas, die-off, etc.  Multiple plantings will just have several entries on the card.  Multiple varieties would have multiple cards.  Everything is alphabetically organized and easy to find.  New cards can be added as I need them.  Oh the possibilities.

Here’s card 1, an avocado seed I just planted.


Of course, googling around, I’m not the first person to come up with this idea.  In fact, I’m not even the first person to call it a gardendex (har har).  There’s a brand of garden cards from the 1930s that got there first.  And pokemon, apparently.


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* encaustic class

Posted on January 10th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Art, Wants.

I signed up for an encaustic workshop at Assemble.  I’ve been interested in encaustics since [goes to search archives] 2004!  In fact, Mark even got me a set of wax+colors for Christmas two years ago after we visited Portland and saw some Amy Ruppels in real life at a small gallery.  I got a hot plate thingy at a thrift store and a book and brushes and boards and everything.  I never actually got up the momentum/nerve to try one, however.  Why?  Who knows.  But I bet that having someone show me how to do it is the jumpstart I need.


I’ve been wanting to take a class in something lately anyway.  It was either going to be an art class at Assemble or a jewelry class at Danaca.  I can’t seem to justify sewing-type classes to myself, even though I’m sure I would learn a lot and sew more as a result.


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* obligatory 2011 calendars post

Posted on January 9th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Paper Crafts, Wants.

2011 collection of calendars.  Another good year.

Laptop desktop: DigginFood series by Anne Bryant


Lab computer desktop: a reworked version of my grant planner from last year

Lab: The Paper Thieves screenprint on chipboard, ordered taking advantage of the abundant post holiday sales on Etsy


Craft room: letterpress calendar from ilee, found at a local craft fair.


Also this year I’m still using my perpetual calendar from Krank press for gardening and the Amy Marcella calendar from last year as a birthday calendar.  The days of the week are on the Amy Marcella one, but easily ignored.  I see from last year one of my resolutions was to do better at sending birthday cards and presents on time.  I have the same resolution this year :/  At least I just went through and finally wrote all the birthdays on it; that’s a start, right?


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* Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Posted on January 8th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Crafty Review, Home and Garden.

I got the Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens out from the library last month and have been working my way through it cover to cover.  I’m glad I didn’t start with it as my first book about chickens; it would’ve been overwhelming.  Now that I have at least a little bit of an idea of what I’m doing, and have read enough from other sources to keep up, it’s a great resource.  It’s well written, informative, and hilariously illustrated.


I want this printed on a t-shirt.  There’s also this one of a poor chicken in a sling.


In other chicken news: don’t cheap out and buy the plastic waterer.  It will crack when it ices up, and then it will leak, and then you will have to go back to the Co-op this weekend to get the metal one you should’ve bought instead.  (See also: cheap plastic feeder pinata problem.)


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* curbly

Posted on January 7th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Links.

I used to love the MyDecoFile webclipping feature of the old Domino website.  Despite some success with Evernote, I have been looking for a usable, sharable, sortable, clickable, pretty replacement ever since Domino went under.  I’m messing with curbly right now, which, funny enough, was suggested to me by a commenter back when Domino went under.  I only just recently started reading it regularly and rediscovered this feature, I guess.  I mainly use this type of thing to collate ideas, and my key needs are to capture single images off complex webpages, with source data, and to be able to flip through them quickly by tags.  Curbly has an easy bookmarklet interface that lets you clip a photo from a page and tag it.  Your clips are public, but I don’t think you can syndicate them to another blog, which I’d love to be able to do.  I also haven’t been able to figure out if they disappear if the original gets deleted.  It’s got a pretty nice feature for finding related images too, so that’s a plus.  We’ll see.

Anyway, here are my clippings in case you’re interested, which I’ll also leave over in the links under “likes lately.”  You’ll notice they’re so far very calendar-heavy since I was shopping holiday sales this week (post of my selections coming soon).


* Sunday thrift

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Wants.

Nice scores at the Goodwill this past weekend

Two milky white baking dishs from Glasbake with a pretty green floral design (the pattern might be called Green Daisy, but I couldn’t find anything conclusive).  I’d just been talking to my sister about finding some of these since my mom has a pretty bowl of a different pattern.  I found a shallow square one and then 5 minutes later found its deeper circular match further down the aisle.  Two is a collection, right?  Now I’m on a hunt for more.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until I got home and googled it that I should have also looked for matching lids. (Picture nabbed from a defunct Etsy listing.)


I also found two amazing ugly-awesome flowered drapes that will no doubt make an appearance in a craft project sooner or later, and a funny orange salad spinner.  Mark almost made me put the salad spinner back since it’s some ancient plastic, but I figure the greens will only be in contact with it for a few minutes, and it will make washing veggies from the garden tons easier and more fun.



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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!