Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yesterday's Snow

THANK YOU to those who shovelled! (That thar walk was *hand* shovelled!)

Walking through yesterday's snowfall was hard on the knees.

How's the weather where you are?

Feed Me, Seymore!


The other day, I found a ladybug wandering around my apartment. I'm not sure why it came out of hibernation (perhaps it had been in the window AC that's now on my bedroom floor?), but since it wasn't going to last long anyway (no aphids in my apartment), I moved it over to the dirt of my venus fly trap.

Just now I noticed that one of the traps was closed, and a lot plumper looking than a fungus-gnat would explain. I held it up to the light, and, sure enough, I saw the outline of a ladybug centred in the trap. :)

I'm thrilled that I haven't killed my venus fly trap yet. (The one I mail-ordered as a kid arrived dead, and I had been too scared to try again until this one.)

Fly trap observations:
1. Fungus gnats trigger the traps, but are delicate enough that they get squished, and so don't seem to get digested. (The insect needs to squirm to trigger the final closing and digestion process.) That's probably bad for the venus fly trap, but it sure is nice to have fewer fungus gnats.
2. I took the fly trap out of the plastic container, and it has been doing just fine with the apartment humidity. (NC isn't humid all year round, after all.)
3. It's smaller and has fewer traps than it started with, but it is the dormant season. (I'm using my poorly-insulated, north-facing window sill to approximate a NC winter.)
4. If I can get them properly centred in the larger traps, live sow bugs appear to make good fly-trap food. (If they're not centred, the trap doesn't make a good seal.) However, I've only managed to properly centre the sow-bug once.
5. I'm following instructions I found online, and watering with distilled water. Hmmm... I can probably save on the cost of distilled water (not that it's using much) by going out and getting a bucket full of snow to melt... there's certainly enough out there!

Dead fungus gnats:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hoar Frost

The hoar frost was lovely today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Birchbark Canoe

Yes, I'm posting this at 4:30 am.

Some days I wonder about my sanity.

Yes, I laced the seats. (Cotton crochet thread... I'm not nuts enough to use rawhide.)

Can you tell which I did first?
Pretty obvious, isn't it?

Is it perfect? No.
Is it awesome? In my opinion, yes. If my cousin doesn't agree, I sure hope she sends it back.

And now, to bed. Good night!

PS: If you ever need to lace a (miniature) canoe seat, this site is useful.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Birchbark Canoe

I love this canoe, and will miss it when it goes.
It's not perfect, and there are things I plan to do differently next time (I *need* to make one for myself!), but I love it anyway.

The deadline is rapidly approaching (and it actually is approaching, in more ways than one), but thankfully so is its completion.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Birchbark Canoe

I have nicknamed her Titanic, since she spends so much time soaking in buckets.

I discovered last summer that birch bark splits less when wet: it rained a lot last summer, and the bark was wet when I started working with it. The next day, after it had dried overnight, it was much more fragile. So now, whenever I think I'll have time to work on her, I soak her overnight. Once I take her out of the water, I get about an hour where the bark is workable. (Winnipeg air is *dry* in the winter.)

I need to have her done for Saturday, so that my parents can take her to my cousin, who paid me to make her. Tonight I had to stop for three reasons:
1. It was getting late.
2. She was getting dry.
3. Most urgently, I pricked my thumb with the needle, and started leaving pink spots. Whoops! Luckily those came off after she went back in the bucket.

Most of the sewing is done. I also need to add a center crossbar, and seats. I probably won't have time to make paddles, unless I just glue paddle-shaped bits of bark to twigs. (I may do that.) I'm also planning on gluing bits of bark over the insect holes... *after* she no longer needs any soaking, since the glue is water-soluble. ;)

I will miss her when she's gone. I think she's turning out beautifully.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wonderful Wool

I stopped in at an antique shop on the way home yesterday, to buy some replacement fake soapstone Domo figurines for a cousin who had hers stolen. (They may have been free with gas, but they're cute. I had to resist buying a couple more for myself.) I had a look around while I was there anyway, because there were a few more minutes before closing, and I like wandering around that shop. I found a fantastic machine washable wool blanket for $32, marked down to $26!
IMG_4105 IMG_4106
I ran it through the wash and put it on my bed... and finally didn't need to wear a sweater to bed! (I did get the air conditioners out of the windows, but that only warmed the place up by one degree, so it's still rather nippy.) I woke up *warm* this morning. Ahhhh!

It's 70% wool, 20% nylon, and 10% acrylic. I *love* it! Probably the only other way to get a wool blanket these days would be the HBC Point Blanket, and a similar size would be $325 + tax! (I don't know if the point blankets are machine washable, either.)