Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finger Knitting Fun

Fibre Arts have been a love of mine for many years. Now it is time to share some of this love with the next generation.  Finger Knitting is a wonderful introduction to the world of knitting and is perfect for little hands.

My daughter asked if I could teach her how to knit so we started off with this. Next step will be some corking and then onto knitting.

We have used a variety of yarn, both synthetic and wool. This is a great project to to use up all the leftover yarn you have from previous knitting adventures.

This photo shows an example of finger knitting done with various yarn weights.

From left to right~ 1. Worsted [4] 2. Chunky-acrylic[5] 
3. Chunky- wool [5] 4. Roving or Bulky- wool [6]

It is best to start off with a chunky{5} or bulky{6} yarn as it is easier to work with.

This yarn is a bulky yarn but it has some texture to it. It makes for an interesting result but is harder to work with so should be tried only after you have the basic technique down pat.

Some people have said the best way to save your work for later is to put it on a pencil but we like using a pen with a clip better as you can secure the loops.


Whole Hand

Single Finger

Various Videos


In no time at all you will be left with many, many multicoloured snakes. : )
Once every member of your family, pets included, have a scarf for every day of the week, you can turn to some of these great project ideas.





Thursday, May 24, 2012

Warm Months Birding

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Spring is in full swing and most of the birds have returned to enjoy their Spring and Summer in New Brunswick. Some people choose to bring in their feeders at this time as seeds and insects are plentiful this time of year.  Others, such as myself, feed all year round.  The birds will still enjoy visiting your feeder though not as often. I enjoy seeing the new birds that have returned from their Winter vacations and I get the odd "just passing through" visitor. It is also exciting to watch the new fledgelings learn to fly and taking their first trips to the feeders. The birds will not become lazy if you give them some seeds contrary to the old wives' tale. They normally get only 15-20% of the daily requirements from feeders.  There are some things to keep in mind if you choose to keep feeding~

  • Do not use suet and peanut butter. It is too warm for this type of food and it will go rancid quickly. Also the amount of oil from the products could cause injury to the young chicks if the parents bring it to the nest on their feathers. 
  • No peanuts during the first part of the season.  The pieces are too large and young birds just starting out could choke.  You'd be safe offering some closer towards Fall. 
  • Limit the amount of leftovers that you put out. Things will start too mould quickly in warm weather and could be deadly for birds. We feed a pair of crows who come get our crusts each morning and that's all I put out and they come to get it as soon as I put it out as they are waiting in a big tree for me.  You also want to birds to concentrate on seeds and fruit which are more nutritious. 

Northern Flicker

Spring and Summer Bird Feeding Links

 Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker

A couple of others ways to help out the birds this time of year is to provide adequate nesting materials and to provide a nice water feature such as a bird bath. The following links are filled with great ideas and information.

Nesting Material

(you can also stuff materials into your suet feeders)

Bird Baths

This time of year is the only time the Hummingbirds are here and setting up a feeder for them is a wonderful way to enjoy them close up. There are a variety of feeders out there and you just need to fill them with a simple sugar solution (1cup sugar to 4 cups water). I make a big batch of the syrup and it keeps in the fridge for a few weeks. I let it warm up a little before filling the feeders.  The main thing to keep in mind with these feeders are that you need to keep them very clean as mould can grow in the feeder and the birds will refuse to use a dirty feeder. Also ants can be a nuisance as they enjoy a sugary treat! I use an Ant Moat that I purchased at Lee Valley in Halifax a few years ago.  Since then I have spotted similar items here at Macarthur's Nursery and I recently saw one at the Dollarstore. If you are feeling crafty you can build one yourself.  Here is a diagram of a possible moat or you can make one out of an old cap.


To learn more about hummingbirds, how to feed them and what attracts them to your yard please check out the following links.

You can also attract more birds to your yard by planting shrubs and flowers they love. To find out more about making your yard and garden a feathered haven follow these links.

Happy Birding!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Linky Monday~ Totem Pole Study


Totem Poles are a fascinating part of the West Coast First Nations, telling stories and sharing family history.  


Follow the links below to discover the world of Totem Poles.


Let's Learn All About Totem Poles.

What Are the Symbols on Them?

Totem Pole Photos

Totem Pole Activities 

Here are some examples of home made Totem Poles out of recycled materials.





Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Backyard Birding

Bird watching is a simple way to connect with nature and having a backyard feeder leads to up close viewing and allows us to observe birds without disturbing them.

I went out to feed the birds last week and thought I'd take you on a tour of our feeders.

This first feeder is a hopper feeder on an extended hook in some pine trees. This one is the furthest from the house and under it is where I put any leftover bread crusts for the crows and bluejays. We have this one hanging at the end of a large branch so the raccoons can't reach it from the tree trunks. I think I'll just put my mixed seed in this feeder and let the bigger birds eat here.

The chickadees wait patiently.

The bluejays find their breakfast.

This tree trunk acts as a platform feeder and I also smear some peanut butter on the sides when the days are very cold.

The tops of some posts make a good mini feeder too.
These are good for some of the smaller birds.

We have a suet/peanut butter/pine cone feeder that we got from The Bird Garden at the market. The owner's son made them and the birds love it!

A Downy Woodpecker gets a snack.

This is a small feeder we have on the side of the house by a large cedar tree. It is quite sheltered from the wind and is a favourite of the smaller birds; sparrows, chickadees, redpolls, and finches. I have been putting some mixed seed in there but I am going to use it only for black oil sunflower from now on.

I use this old chair as another platform feeder where I put some peanuts and a fresh buffet. I had seen some robins and hoped they'd try some fruit.

They did come back but rather nibble on the Euonymus seeds.

This is my last feeding station where I have a roofed tray feeder and a suet cage.

A red squirrel does get some seeds from this one and I have found a raccoon sitting right in it!

I don't put a lot of seeds in it, just a handful of two.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

The web is filled with lots of informative sites regarding backyard feeding and beginning birding. Here are some to check out for more information.

Local Birding Info

Birding NB~ great online resource
The Bird Garden~feeders and info (at the Moncton Market)

Great Birding Resources

Bird Sound Recordings

Feeding Info

Types of Feeders

Easy Feeders

Fun Stuff!

Counts and Checklists

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event that engages birdwatchers of all ages across North America. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. Count for as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy – and it helps the birds!
This year’s count runs from Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20. It is not too late to participate, and advance sign-up is not required. It’s as simple as counting birds at a location near you, tallying the highest number of birds of each species seen together at once, and filling out an online checklist on the GBBC website. As the weekend progresses, visit the website regularly to check out results and share photographs. It’s going to be a great weekend for birders in Canada and the United States! (via Bird Studies Canada)

Try it this weekend!!

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