Honey Bees are Amazing!

We had a wonderful time watching honey bees collecting pollen from the prettiest of flowers on our hike on Sunday.

They worked tirelessly until their leg sacks were full to bursting and they could hardly fly.

Then we followed them, hoping to find their hive. Over bushes, under trees, around a stream. It was a treasure hunt indeed.

And then, eventually, we spotted them going into a hole in a tree trunk… hundreds of them, the trunk humming with their song.

It couldn’t have been more perfect!

 

Honey Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions BlogHoney Bees : The Magic Onions Blog

 

When we got home, we looked up bees on the computer and learned so many interesting things about them.

Gosh… they sure are important!

Kitty and Teddy agreed that these things stood out the most :

Bees fly up to 6 miles to collect pollen on each trip. We estimated that that is about 3 times what we had just hiked. Wow… the kids agreed that this is far!

They visit about 1500 flowers a day!

1 out of ever 4 bites you eat comes from something that needed bees to pollinate it.

All the worker bees you see collecting pollen are female.

1 out of every 3 honey bee colonies has died in the last 3 years. This is bad!  The reasons for the dying bees are the increased use of pesticides (which we decided to never use, ever, even though we already don’t) and the fact that many of the plants we buy in the garden shops have been modified to produce less pollen and nectar… making life so much more difficult for the bees.

This loss of bees shocked us and made us decide to plant many bee-friendly plants in our garden this spring and be mindful of thanking bees when we see them.

Here are bee-friendly plants.

Let’s all do our part to help bees thrive once more.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Tutorial : Needle Felted Spring Nest

 

Spring has burst forth in full regalia here in Southern California. the trees are so pretty in their pinks and whites and magentas. And the birds have started to busy themselves building nests. 

Spring is full of crafting inspiration and we have been making pretty needle felted spring nests too.

One of the things I love most about needle felting is that it can be a wonderfully quick and easy craft. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful spring nest in your hands in just a few minutes.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

Equipment

 

Needle felting requires three tools :

 

  • wool roving
  • a felting needle
  • a protective foam board.

Wool roving looks a bit like cotton
candy. When the sheep is
sheered, the fleece is washed
and dried and then it is
’carded’ – brushed so that all
the knots and clumps are
brushed out and the fibers of
the wool all run the same way.
It is then dyed… any wonderful
color under the sun. This
roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted with a needle.

The protective foam board is not always necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.

The felting needle is about 3 inches long. It is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. You can see the barbs if you look closely at the tip of your needle. The outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times you can shape the wool into any form you wish.

 

DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

You will need :

  • green and blue wool felt (found online or at a craft store)
  • a needle felting needle (found online or at a craft store)
  • a foam 4cm ball (found at a craft store)

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

 

Step 1

Pull the green wool into a strip about the length of your hand, palm to fingertips, with a width the same as the tip of your thumb. Roll this strip of wool evenly around the bottom half of the foam ball.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

 

Step 2

Carefully stab the needle around the outside of the nest, poking the needle through the wool and into the foam. It is important to stab the needle in and out of the wool at the same angle. Changing the angle as you pull the needle out of the wool will increase your chance of breaking the needle as you work.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

Step 3

Evenly needle felt the inside of the nest.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

Step 4

Remove the foam ball from the nest by pulling it free. The nest will hold it’s shape but it will be very fuzzy. Using the protective foam pad, needle felt the nest, on the inside and the outside. The more you needle felt the nest, the less fuzzy it will become.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

Step 5

Pull the blue wool roving into a strip about the length and thickness of your index finger. Knot it in the center as you would a length of string. Fluff out one end of the knot, smooth it down over the knot and needle felt it evenly, rounding the end of the knot into a ball. Do the same with the other end of the knot to form a needle felted ball.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

Make three Needle felted eggs to put into the your nest.

 

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

Tutorial : Felted Spring Nest : The Magic Onions Blog

 

NOTE : For those of you who want to decorate your home for spring with your own needle felted nests, I have put together a DIY kit to make three spring nests in shades of green, available for purchase for $26 in The Magic Onions Shop : DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest Kit.

My children and I picked a few spring branches to put in a vase (here’s a tutorial for making our rainbow yarn vase). We carefully placed our needle felted nests in the twigs and added some feather butterflies for whimsy.

Beauty is all around us and inside us, all of the time.

Blessings and magic,

Donni

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Spring Blossoms

Spring blossoms abound. The trees are so pretty… they are pink and white and magenta.

It’s amazing how quickly they spring forth. It seems that one day a tree is bare and the next it is dressed all in pink.

 

Spring makes the world a happy place
You see a smile on every face.
Flowers come out and birds arrive,
Oh, isn’t it grand to be alive?

 

Spring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions BlogSpring Blossoms : The Magic Onions Blog

 

 

Has Spring come to your neck of the woods yet?

Blessings and magic,

Donni

A Surprise Visit!

We have had a wonderful surprise at The Sunny House… an unexpected visit from our Granny and Grampa.

It’s so lovely to share our lives with them and take them around to all our special places.

We laugh and play and talk… talk endlessly. There is ever so much to catch up on.

And, of course, we’ve taken them to our best hiking spot. We threw rocks, climbed trees and found all sorts of treasures. It rained, a special treat here in Southern California, washing the countryside clean.

We discovered beautiful wildflowers, sipped leaf rain tea and even found some miners lettuce to nibble on.

 

 

Beauty is all around us, all of the time.

Blessings and magic,

Donni