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Butter(fly) Collage

A very quick little (4 x 4″) canvas (and post!), this one –
Winged things never let me down!  🙂

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Mis-Beehaving

My Mum has a gorgeous garden.  She keeps it looking lovely, but also endeavours to make it as water-saving and bee/bird-friendly as possible.  She has lots of natives combined with more traditional, cottage garden plants.  It’s not easy having a nice garden in WA.  The Summers are so hot and even in the “wetter” months things can dry out. A couple of years ago, Mum got a landscaper in to help her design an eco-friendly (but still beautiful) garden that she could maintain herself and continue to work on.  She’s only a pensioner, my Mum, so it was all done on a strict budget, saving money where possible (the landscaper was brilliant).

What she ended up with is a low-maintenance garden that is pretty all year round and makes the most of every season.  It is also very welcoming to native birds and bees and the odd frog or two.  Mum’s been very keen on attracting the native Blue Banded Bee, a cute little species of bee that lives a solitary life, with the females building their nests in singular burrows, in mud or soft mortar (or you can build them a little house, like THESE).  They don’t create large stores of honey, so they are not suitable for honey production.  BBBs don’t mind having close neighbours, in fact they will often build their nests right next door to another bee, although they still do not behave in a “colony” kind of way.

They are excellent pollinators, using the “buzz” method, which means they grasp the flower and basically give it a good shake, by shivering their flight muscles, or banging their head on the flower (yes, really).  This releases the pollen, which is hidden in tiny capsules.  Many flowers require this type of pollination, so blue banded bees are very necessary to the continuation of several plant species.

While they do have a mild sting, BBBs are not very aggressive.  They move very quickly and can hover, unlike most other bees.  They are a total pain to photograph (ha ha) because they don’t stay still for long, and move at a much faster pace than regular bees, zipping around in a blur that causes the photographer (ie me) to swear a lot and dance around the garden, yelling “Keep still, dammit!”

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If you look VERY closely, you can just see the bee, hovering about, in the centre of the photo.

They are attracted primarily to white or blue flowers (possibly because it is better for camouflage) and are particularly good at pollinating tomatoes, eggplants and kiwifruit apparently.  So much so, there are plans to use them as greenhouse bees for large-scale tomato production.

BBBs are small critters, about 11mm in length, and have bands of iridescent pale blue-almost white on their abdomens.  When they fly, they look like a little flash of blue.
At night, the males cling to  plant stems, like tiny little chickens roosting for the night 🙂

Bees, in general, are so important to the well-being of the planet.  We should look after them and give them happy habitats and clean environments.   I personally love the little critters (probably because I have never been stung!) and enjoy watching them and their behaviour.  I find if you just let them get on with their business, they will stay out of yours.  Blue Banded Bees are really nice to watch and because they are not aggressive, you can get up close and personal with them, plus there is no risk of being attacked by a swarm!

You can find out more info about the Blue Banded Bee HERE

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Finally – a perfect shot!  It took me probably an hour to get this little guy to stay still long enough for me to take his photo.  Look at those amazing antennae and perfect stripes!
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Love and Miracles

Just a short post today… A bit of a stressful weekend just gone, with my elderly Aunt in intensive care at the hospital due to cardiac issues, my friend experiencing relationship dramas, another friend in serious ill-health in another hospital, and life just chucking stuff at everyone left, right and centre.  I just want everybody to be ok 😦

But I did fit in an hour or so of crafting.  I was determined.  Even one card is better than achieving nothing at all.  So I sat and made this one little card, which isn’t fabulous, but it is finished.  And it has a bird, which makes everything better.

I do so want to believe in love and miracles.  Especially at the moment.

x

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Because sometimes you need to put a hat on a bird…

Because sometimes you need to put a hat on a bird…

Happy Sunday!  I have been crafting all day, making a lovely mess and trying not to get too discouraged with the less-than-inspiring work I am producing.  There’s that awesome self-esteem of mine again!  Actually, I am trying to just be content with the fact I made anything today and holding on to that as a small victory (my creative oomph has been rather oomph-less lately).  I am having a small market stall at a local vintage and craft market next month (eek – time is flying by!) and I want to have lots of different things on it to attract different people.  I’ll have jewellery and cards plus some sewn/embroidered items my Mum is providing.  Her stuff always adds a touch of class and professionalism to my amateurish offerings
*slaps wrist for bad self-esteem again*

I have been making cards for the last couple of weeks because I haven’t got a lot in stock at the moment, having sold them all (or used them myself) before Christmas.  I’ve been trying to use up what papers I have, using colours and designs I might not usually go for.  It’s hard – you can easily get stuck in a rut where colour and design are concerned.  I am also a bit obsessed with my speckled eggs, wings and hats.  I always want to put a hat on a bird.  It just seems right to me.  Maybe it makes it more quirky and less serious?  I don’t know.  But sometimes you just need to put a hat on a bird.  Or wings on an egg.  Etc etc.  A bit of whimsy goes a long way I say.  Or it just really annoys people and they walk away poo-poohing your creations.  That’s ok too.

Anyway – here is what I have made today :

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1. A simple, more masculine card with rusty colours and not much fussiness…

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2. Bird with hat.  Need I say more?

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3. Another slightly more masculine card.

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4. Crowns and wings on eggs.  Why not?

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5. Bird and hat and diamantes and braid. Pink and girly and just a bit silly.

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6. I wasn’t at all pleased with this card but I think it’s ok now.  I guess it’s not horrible

So, a few cards made but lots to go.  My house is a complete shambles at the moment – stuff everywhere.  But I do not have time to feel guilty about it just now.  Today I just enjoyed being quiet and busy (but a nice kind of busy) alone with my own thoughts, some music and plenty of tea.  Life has been stressful and complicated just lately and I needed a recharge day, away from everyone and everything.  Back to work tomorrow but I will be wishing for the end of the week to come quickly so I can have another crafty day to myself.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, whatever you are up to 🙂