Saturday, December 8, 2012

Very busy

I haven't updated in quite some time...

That's because I've been busy working on my family's blog, Many-Hues Acres. My parents asked me to set up a blog that we can post all of our updates for the land on. So all of my beekeeping, all of my fruit trees and building, are all going to be on that blog from now on.

That leads me to my second excuse for not posting, my jewellery blog Blackmaille Jewellery. I fully ment for this to be a knitting blog on which to post my experiments and patterns, so I need to break it up a bit.

I'm really hoping that this will allow anyone who's following my blog for knitting to not be disappointed with my jewellery posts, or my posts on beekeeping and other land concerns. I do want to keep these blogs up so that people have an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and trials, I just want to make sure that my various followers don't have to dig for thier particular interests.

At any rate, thanks for being so understanding.

I'll be posting updates on my knitting as soon as I can, but lately it's been all Christmas presents! I will hopefully have a fantastic new pattern to release before too long, but as it's for a relative that checks in every now and then... It's going to have to wait till after Christmas.

Thanks everyone, I hope my blog(s) will be a little easier to follow from now on!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The last little bits of summer

I've been too busy lately. But here's so photos of what I've been doing:

Appreciation photo from a customer. She wanted Tiffany's Infinity ring, which has been discontinued. This is my version of it.
I attended a beautiful wedding:

Yes, those are knitting needles sticking out of my bag. I have a lot of gifts to finish.
I finalized a gorgeous wedding set

Completely done and polished
With a couple of personal touches

Have to love my mini jackhammer. It just looks so cool.
I got to play with a beautiful Mama barn cat

She's pregnant again, maybe that's why she was so nice to me
And spent a bit of time with Magik Morn's herd

I've never been this close to her horses before. So blessed!
And last, but not least, I've been drooling over this lovely number

This is unspun Lopi, which is from a special breed of sheep in Iceland. You knit using two strands together, which results in a very lightweight but warm sweater. These colours are just so beautiful that it almost makes me cry.

So that's my quick update on my life right now. Can't wait for Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lots of Jewellery

I've been quite busy the past few days. I finished a couple of fun projects:

This will be available on my Etsy right shortly.

And these, you've seen before, but I'm still really proud of them.

So there's my life right now. Gotta get some earrings made and mailed. Whoop!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quick Update

It's been a very busy couple of selling weeks for me. I've sold a bunch of chainmaille pieces, like this lovely:

I also finished two wedding rings:

This is a bride/groom set. The grooms ring says his wife's name, Kari. Her ring has his name, Derek.

And then I finished this Tiffany style infinity band, which started out as:

And is now:

 I think it's beautiful, I really hope the recipient does too.

And now I'm leaving to go camping tomorrow morning. My very first manicure is DESTROYED but the wedding rings are finished.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A busy weekend

It's finally Sunday, and tomorrow I'll be heading back to the city. As for my weekend:

Baby black currants, ready for planting.
Happy in their new home
Dealing with the deadfall
Barely a dent in the work we have to do.
My girls trying to deal with their exposed honeycomb. If you take a good look, you can see them sticking their little tongues out to eat up the exposed honey. This is on the bottom of the inner cover, NOT a place where they should be building comb. We're trying to deal with this.
This is the hive body. Noticed the exposed honey. They're relocating it now that we've broken it open. Again, we're trying to deal with this so that they put it in a better spot!
The girls on top of the inner cover

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Red Pepper Jelly

Is there anything quite as fantastic as red pepper jelly? James and I found peppers in chinatown on sale for 79 cents a pound, so clearly...

Makes about nine 250mL jars

  • 2 1/4 lbs red peppers
  • 1.5 cups cider vinegar
  • 0.5 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp butter
  • one pack (57 gr) Benardin Pectin
  • 7.5 cups sugar
Weigh out your peppers, and clean out the seeds and white membrane. Chop them finely, or do what I do and chuck them in the food processor. I don't puree them, just make sure they're chopped up really fine. I pulsed the food processor until it all looked good.

Put your red peppers, cider vinegar, lemon juice, chili flakes, butter and pectin into a large pot. At this point, I measured out the sugar. Bring your red pepper mix up to a boil over high heat, and add your sugar. Bring back to the boil, and stir continuously for 4 min. At that point, remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 min, stirring every now and then to redistribute the peppers.

Can using your preferred method. I'm a bit old school in this. I sterilize my jars in the oven at the lowest setting, then put the jelly in them and lid them while they're still hot. I don't bother with a hot water bath. I know many people advocate this, and by all means if you're happier with a hot water bath please do it. My family never has, and I'm just sticking with what I'm familiar with.

This recipe results in a jam that's a bit runny, which I prefer to pour over cream cheese. If you want it to be more firm, add more pectin or increase the boiling time.

(the butter just helps the jelly to not foam. If you leave out the butter, you'll have to skim the foam off the jelly before you bottle)


Sunday was a busy day up at Many Hues... Dad and I decided we were going to find the north-east corner of our property. First, we checked on the bees.

This worried me a little bit... But they're all larva stage bees. Once I opened up the hive, I saw that they have TONS of worker brood capped in the hive, so there's lots of baby bees that'll be appearing shortly to make up for the dead larva. The hive is only 2 weeks old, maybe they couldn't quite feed these guys yet. After we checked the bees, Dad and I went hiking:

Dad  asked my to hold his machete sheath. No problem dad!

Original farm fence at the back of the pond...

This would have been  a gate here. You can actually see this gate on Google Earth!

Dad standing in the gate, punishing a tree.

I'm pretty sure this is where I dropped dad's sheath. At least I have a land mark... right?

Success! We found it!

Well, turns out we didn't. Somehow we made a huuuuge arch across the land and ended up just slightly west of the south east corner. This was a surveyers stake that they put in to help mark the property's boundary. Well, at least we found something right?

Oh yeah, I also found this:

Of Harvest and Odd things

Another weekend at home, another Monday of being sore as all get out.

Can't complain about the results though!

My Dad and I had Saturday morning together, as my Mom was busy crafting with her ladies. Originally, I was supposed to make bagels. However, when my mom mentioned that the white currants really needed to be harvested, I decided I wanted to help.

White currants are actually an albino variety of the red currants we're all so familiar with. I find they aren't as sour, and they just look so cool hanging on the bush. My parents planted 2 of these bushes next to the path in the backyard, and they were loaded! I started out with a just picking a colander full..

Which quickly escalated to two bowls full:

Which quickly escalated to me calling Dad for help:

That's 4.5 kg of white currants! It would be worth about 80 bucks in the store, and all off our two backyard bushes. We didn't even fully harvest the second, we were so worn out and it was getting quite hot.

We decided to make jelly. We used equal parts white currants and sugar, and 1.5 times the water. It didn't quite set up properly, so we're thinking we need to either reduce the water, or add pectin. Red currants are very high in pectin, so we assumed that white currants would be as well. Again, we're kinda playing here. Next year, we'll have a better idea what we're doing.

While waiting for these beauties to pop, my dad and I read up on black currants, and found out they make a fantastic cordial... And back out to the garden we went.

We filled up our Mehu-Liisa, added about 4 cups of sugar and 6 tbsps of lemon juice, and let it do its thing. This stuff is FANTASTIC. We tried it mixed with ginger ale later that night, and the next day we poured it into our water bottles to go hike the land. I'm so impressed with it!

So that was Saturday in Orangeville. I haven't even started Sunday! Oh dear...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Buzz Buzz

Saturday was a rough morning.

We headed up bright and early to a beekeeper based in Williamsford, Ontario. We purchased some awesome hives from her two weeks ago:

Which we painted in lots of pretty colours. Saturday, we were heading up to get the bees she'd prepared to send us home with! She was really fantastic, and opened up one of her hives so we could take a look at what we'd be expecting to see. She also let us check out her animals:

We took both of our nucs, which contained 4 frames of bees and thier queen, and headed up to the land. We had two little homes all set up for them:

We were a bit nervous, but the 'unloading' went off without any issues. We'd planned for the worst, and we all had our beesuits on:

But really, we had no trouble at all. This is a really good picture of the comb we got:

All of those capped, light brown cells are baby bees! Very healthy comb here! By the end of the process we were pretty comfortable around the hives. Appleman had NO problem:

They're actually incredibly docile. We could get right up and personal with them, and as long as we didn't make any sudden movements or freak out, we were perfectly fine. Day one, no stings!

Our girls are established, and seemingly quite happy. We'll check up on them in a little bit to see how they're doing.

It's a bumpy ride

I've been very absent from my blog lately. That's because I've been too busy dreaming about this:

This is the visable half of the 25 acres my parents bought in Hockley Valley. It's not so easy to tell from the picture, but the land is full of rolling hills, and wildflowers. I've taken this picture up from the spot we're going to build a deck to pitch our tents on.

I also got to set up these:

Which are our beautiful multi-coloured hives. We just put the bees in thier new home yesterday, and they're doing quite alright!

My dad has a new toy:

That mom is also enjoying:

It's been a very busy month of preperations. So tired.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The flower that blooms last

It's been a busy couple of weeks for my. My biggest conundrum is that my sister's birthday had passed, and I was struggling with the execution of her gift. On a whim, I made this:

Which she told me she really loved. It's a sheet of brass, nickel silver, and hammered copper held together with a sterling silver tulip bulb pin. It's spinny, it's cute... It just needed something to go onto. So I made this:

This part is awesome. It's copper tubing from my local hardware store, which I purchased at $1 a foot. I beat the hell out of it, annealing it whenever I thought it was getting too difficult, and hammering a pattern into the surface. This could also be accomplished using a rolling mill if you have one, with a texturizing plate. I have a couple of ideas that I'm going to use for the next one!

Each piece was polished seperately. Before assembly, I coated each seperate piece in a coat of Renaissance Wax. Theoretically, this should help prevent oxidization and stop it from turning your skin green. Once each piece was coated, dried, and buffed to a shine. Then I put them together:

And it's finished. The sharp outer petals spin, to help prevent any catching or skin slicing. It's a very comfortable fit, and I'm quite proud of the finished result. Thinking about having it on my etsy.

Oh, I finished this too:

Men's wedding band. Now to finish its partner!