Tips for Cutting Felt

Tips for Cutting Felt

This week I made some cheerful felt pillows with felt circles and decided to share some tips for cutting felt.

Washable markers work well for tracing patterns onto felt. (First, dip a small corner of the felt in water to make sure it wouldn't bleed. Mine didn't.) They rinse off very easily with water. I used to use permanent markers, which caused me to spend much time cutting off the marked parts. And then I tried pinning the pattern to the felt, but the pattern inevitably moved around while I was cutting, causing very uneven shapes. Finally I discovered the washable marker. Unlike quilting pens, they are very inexpensive ($2.00 for 8 compared to $6.00 for 1), and versatile. And I don't have to worry about my little one coloring on stuff as much.

Here it is, traced onto the felt.

There are almost always jagged edges on felt cut-outs. It helps with the overall appearance to trim off jagged and uneven parts.

Much better.

Then I rinse off the washable marker in a bowl of water and squeeze dry with a paper towel.

Then I lay them all out to dry. This works for me because I usually only have time to do a bit before I am needed again by kiddos.

Here is the finished pillow. I love the cheerful colors. I am still waiting to see how long the hot glue holds the circles on the pillow. . .


Timberframe Project

Timber frame Project by Stan

This winter our yard was full of timber frame. Stan was commissioned to build it for a friend. Here is what it looks like completed. Very nice!
This is the structure of the center joint.

And here is how the side joints fit together.

Fitted together. Now make sure the joints are tight.

Dowels added to hold it in place.
Believe it or not, the hardest part was marking the curve on the arc. After many attempts, Stan used a long beam with a pencil that fit into a drilled hole as a compass. Then he cut the curve with a chainsaw. (I think safe chainsaw skills are really manly and handsome, by the way! How many men do YOU know who could do it?) Then he fine-tuned the curve with hand chisels. Maybe someday I will post the chainsaw video.

The joint hole in the center arched beam took patience because he had to keep cleaning out the drill bit.

He got so frustrated that he finally had to ask Clara for help. She showed him just how to hammer in the pegs, and then saw off the extra ends.

This was C's favorite jungle gym for a while. She loved to walk round and round on these elevated beams.

Here is the finished product (again).


Bee Box Plans

DIY Bee Box Measurements

Detailed measurements to build your own box, bottom board, frames, etc. 

A picture is worth 1,000 words in this case! Here is a detailed schematic of deep Langstroth bee box measurements. Hope this helps you handy men and women who want to build your own boxes. Zoom in for more details.

Wintering Honeybees

The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter

Here are some great article on wintering bees from CAPA (A Beekeeping Association): 

“The biology and management of wintering honey bees” article has some great information about wintering bees! It talks about bee clusters, how much honey and pollen to leave for winter, ways to vent excess moisture, etc. I recommend keeping it in your bee files for reference. 

Note: In Utah, it is not necessary (and can be detrimental) to wrap beehives or store them indoors. This is essential for cold areas like Canada or Minnesota, where temperatures stay below freezing for months at a time. It is not necessary in the West, where we have some warm winter days. On these warm days, bees need to leave the hive for a cleansing flight. 

Here are some hives that wintered with minimum winter preparation. These survived well. 

We have also tried hives insulated from the top for hives destined for California almond pollination.


New Garden Bed

New Garden Bed

Today we planted our cool season vegetables in a different planting bed. First we had to protect it from the chickens, who like to take dust baths in this exact spot. Anyway, we will experiment with planting garlic, onions, and peas right next to the house in the former flower bed.

We started with limbs pruned from various trees, which were pruned earlier this week.

Then we stretched chicken wire across, tying it onto the limbs with baling twine. Homemade fence at its finest.

Ain't she sweet? Our garden helper.
Then we planted. We planted garlic bulbs from the kitchen: last year's crop of a friend, and some garlic shoots leftover from an old garlic patch. There's nothing like looking at someone else's soil, eh!

We planted the onion and garlic rows perpendicular to the house rather than parallel. This is a new idea this year (from Sterling Banks, USU Extension in Summit County). I think it will utilize the space better.

The peas were planted parallel to the house in longer rows.

Here is the bed after planting. Beautiful potential.

And Stan says he will move this pile soon. . . Here is the "Before" shot. He says it is all necessary stuff, and I believe him. I think one is a motorized bee colony dolly. There might be a motorcycle under there too. I am not sure.