Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Ahh... Craft Retreat.  You really can't go wrong.  Perfect weather at Lake Haven Lodge followed by a blazing bonfire.  And, yes, I am still working on this!  I vow to finish that blanket this year!!  It was an unusually long winter and thus the lake hadn't quite melted, but that didn't stop Eliz and I from attempting to break trail in the canoe.

Tale of A Butterfly

An unusually long winter has hindered the Monarch Population.  This year I only just found my first butterfly, when at the same time last year I was already releasing the first generation.  Researching, I've found two particularly helpful/interesting websites, Monarch Watch and Journey North.  Monarch Watch is a blog devoted to education, conservation and research, while Journey North tracks the butterfly migration via volunteers whom upload first sightings of milkweed, butterflies and eggs each season on a map that tracks their progression.  I checked these maps daily in the late Spring in anticipation of our first Minnesota sighting.  And even though the butterflies have officially arrived and been here for weeks, the season is still a disappointment.  Eggs are few and far between and thus far, even with daily and diligent searching, I have only found 30 eggs.  Which seems like a lot until you look back at last year's haul. This year, the milkweed plants are remarkably more pest infested than usual.  When I have happened to find an egg, it has usually been either on the front of the leaf or along the very top inner leaves.  I remain hopeful that things will pick up, despite Monarch Watch's bleak prediction for for another record breaking low Monarch overwintering population come 2014.  Each butterfly I release feels like a step in the right direction.
And of course Butterfly Season wouldn't be the same without a fresh new butterfly journal.  This year, my friend and butterfly enthusiast designed the cover.  

And I can't overlook Beth's gorgeous 2013 calendars.  May was devoted to my butterflies.  Beth was also the fuel and driving force behind 2012 Butterfly Diaries and the 2011 Metamorphosis Log.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A cat bed for Muffin

I've been dreaming about a felt cat bed for Muffin for ages.  For the last 2 years he has snuggled up next to the radiator atop anything that may be lying around.  Finally this Spring I planned a project.  I envisioned a cushy double knit rectangular bed with an awesome chic chevron pattern that would put those awful sherpa lined pet beds, which I refuse to buy, to shame.  I tested a swatch and knit it up to spec.  I eagerly threw it in the wash and lo and behold.... an epic disaster emerged.  Needless to say I was extremely disappointed.  To add salt to the wound, I decided to keep it anyway and let the cats use it.  But the minute Muffin caught sight of his new bed he glanced at me terrified before bolting from the room.  Even Box Spring shows little interest once he realized that it was the least coveted spot of his frenemy, Muffin. The bed has remained empty for months.
Although I consider this project a failure, I learned something from it and the next time around will only see improvement.  And there will be a next time around. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Solstice Birthday Storm

My friend Katie's Birthday happens to fall on Summer Solstice,the longest day of the year.  This year it also happened to land on a Friday!  Woo hoo!  Taking advantage of the first day of summer we planned a gourmet picnic at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.  I crafted a 5 layer chocolate chai ice cream cake.  Emily and Danielle helped to troubleshoot transportation and melting concerns.  Katie arrived at the lake at 7:20 only for the entire park to retreat as the worst thunderstorm of my life swept across Minneapolis.  We sought comfort at the Larson residence and soon after flash floods erupted and the power went out.  Nevertheless we lit up that cake and celebrated.  Once the storm calmed we explored the neighborhood, oogling at all the fallen trees.  Happy Birthday Katie!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Root River Round 4

Emily and I are a sucker for tradition.  Thus we found ourself back at beautiful Cushon's Peak Campground for our 4th Annual Root River Triathalon.  Last year we had record participation.  This year we found it much more relaxing to only cook for two and spent most of our sunny afternoon hand building pottery in the sunshine before a quick hike down by the cool Houston River.  P.S. Like our tees?  We used the same graphic from the Birkie!