Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to learn how to spin. When I was about 7 my school took a class trip to this pioneer camp, possibly Murphy's Landing, and it was the first time I experienced the world of spinners. I knew instantly that I wanted to be one of those ladies dressed in period garb completely engrossed in their fiber. It looked relaxing and fun at the same time. It wasn't until years later that I learned what those women were actually doing.

So as the story goes, I had big dreams of spinning but no dream of learning to knit or crochet. Mom taught me the basics of crochet when I was around 8 more as a way to keep me from bugging her while she was knitting or crocheting and not because of my desire to learn. As for knitting, that came much later. I broke down and took a class last year; still haven't finished a complete project. Knitting is NOT for perfectionists. It is quite painful to find flaws that can't be corrected without a complete tear out :(

Anyhow, now that I've learned the basics of knitting I decided it was time to spin. I chose the drop spindle as my introduction into the world of fiber and spinning. I wanted to jump right into the wheel but they are expensive and I needed to be sure I enjoyed spinning first. Well, it turns out that I love love love it! It wasn't easy and I'm still fine tuning my skills but I enjoy how relaxing it is. I'm also finding I have a new appreciation for all the fibers I can work with. The only negative is and always will be is the product I waste learning. I've not been happy with my first bunches of yarn and therefore tore it all apart. I keep hoping the perfectionist side of me creates something fantastic and hopefully I'll even knit it into something awesome :) for now it is all practice, practice, practice.

For anyone contemplating learning to spin I say go for it. The spindle is great cuz it can be taken anywhere and I only paid $19 for mine. I like spinning when I go to my sisters house or when I'm waiting in the car to pick up my kids at school; couldn't do any of that with a wheel.

All I need to learn now is how to set the yarn and how in heck I go about incorporating my rabbits fur. Who knows, maybe I'll buy a herd of alpaca some day. So much to experience and so little time. *sigh NOTE: Teresa, we're still going to have that alpaca farm ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012



I'm not ready to give a full review on this yet. I've read it cover to cover but it really isn't that type of book. Inside are all these little tasks that I have yet to do. Each chapter has a set of random questions pertaining to a particular topic that I've not answered yet. Let's just say, it is a process.

I'm trying to regain my creative spark and I thought/think this book might help. Oddly, it does seem to be good for me. Just going over what might have caused some of my "blocks" and being forced to think about it has made a difference.

Right now I'm working on rule #1Artist's Pages and rule #2Artist's Dates. The book says I need to write three pages of free flowing thought every day. I'll be honest...I got a bit lazy on that one. I'm starting over again tomorrow. The Artist's Date is much more of a challenge. The book says I need to take one day a week, about one hour, and devote it to myself. No family, no friends, no anything social. A walk in the park, a bike ride, visit a museum, etc... but nothing that really involves interaction. Well, I like being with my kids and my husband so for me to go anywhere alone is an effort so we'll just call that one a work in progress.

I'm being optimistic though. I'm telling myself that I'll complete the book and magically turn into a fantastic writer with tons of words to fill all the empty pages on my desk.

That was rule #3: Positive Self-Talk :)


(Sorry about the picture quality. The iphone at night in a dim lit kitchen does NOT make for the best photos).

I'm so excited to share that my new soap from Soap Sudsations arrived today and included in the box was something extra. Thank you Monica for the wonderful soap and the extra special frog that made the trip alongside our little green buddy :D

I could barely get our frog out of the package before my 5 year old made off with it. She's running around the house with Mr. Frog right now calling "ribbit, ribbit, ribbit." I chose this particular soap because it goes so well with the kids bathroom. Not that the soap will last very long once little bodies hit the tub but I had great visions of it sitting on the counter for a while next to the frog toothbrush holder and in the midst of the frog shower curtain. Ah well :) The frog soap is being loved and shortly it will be rubbed down to tadpole size.

If you are in the market for some awesome handmade soaps please check out Soap Sudsations. Monica, the owner, is a fabulous soap artist selling numerous fun, creative soaps for children & adults. While you are checking out her soaps don't forget to visit her blog Bubbles in My Head where she talks about her business ventures and other interesting things.

Note: now my 5 year old has taken the soap and is using it to play dolls with her LaLa Loopsy. Who knew, right? lol!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Well, I got carried away with the candle making and made over one dozen little beeswax hive candles so that means instead of one winner there are 6 of you :)

I'll be happy to mail everyone their little candles next week, all I need is your address. I already have an address for Carrie, Teresa and Monica so could carmenpaigee, anonymous and G please email me your info at ....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Congressman Kline, the republican that represents Minnesota's 2nd district, just sent out one of those impersonal form letters telling us all what great work he is doing. I always find these letters to be a bit comical considering I've written Mr. Kline on numerous issues and from what I've said you'd think his staff would be capable of figuring out who they should and shouldn't send their generic letters to.

The latest:

February 1, 2012

Dear Mrs. Valadez:

In his State of the Union address last week, the President called on Congress to advance initiatives to help increase America's energy independence and help the private sector create jobs.

I could not agree more.

That is why it was extremely disappointing when the President recently rejected the Keystone XL energy pipeline which would transport oil from Canada to Texas. Construction of the Keystone pipeline, which was recommended by the President's own Jobs Council, would create tens of thousands of jobs. The initiative would also further develop our vast energy resources and partner our country with North American allies to lessen our dependence on hostile regions of the world.

Gas prices in Minnesota have doubled since January 2009. Lisa, a constituent from Carver County, commutes about 50 miles round-trip each day to work. As gas prices hovered near $4 per gallon record highs last summer, she told me she felt like she was being "sucker punched with no means of self-defense" every time she pulled up to the pump.

Four years ago, I helped champion an all-of-the-above energy policy – a strategy that will help eliminate uncertainty, bring down prices, and position America for greater energy independence now and into the future. We advanced this cause last year when House Republicans launched the "American Energy Initiative," an ongoing effort to stop government policies that are driving up gas prices; expand American energy production to lower costs and create more jobs; and promote an "all of the above" strategy to increase all forms of American energy. Click here to read more.

To receive additional updates on legislative activity and my work in Congress, visit my website at As always, please feel free to contact me on any matter of concern to you.


Member of Congress

I should have pointed out in my response to his staff that I find it interesting that Mr. Klein didn't care about those rising gas prices when George Bush was president but instead I sent the following.

I respectfully request that Mr. Kline not misrepresent facts when sending out informational emails. Mr. Kline has assumed that the average citizen doesn't have the intelligence or inclination to do their own research on current issues.

The only thing the POTUS has done worth commending since he was elected is denying the permits necessary to build the Keystone Pipeline. Not only has such an undertaking not been proven to be environmentally safe but it does not create tens of thousands of jobs. This is clearly something Mr. Klein either hasn't educated himself on or continues to claim when he knows it to be false. TransCanada, the company requesting to build the pipeline, has already stated that little more than 6,000 jobs would be available on a given day and independent research say those numbers are inflated. Aside from the few thousand jobs that would be created, the jobs will be temporary construction, lasting two weeks to about two years. As for being independent of foreign oil. The oil is still foreign, having come from Canada, and aside from that fact, only 5% of the oil is going to remain in the U.S. with 95% being shipped out. The pipeline doesn't bring energy independence nor does it bring long term employment. What it does bring is the possibility of environmental destruction that we would not be able to overcome. So please, in the future, if you want to misrepresent the facts, send the information to someone who doesn't know better.


Clearly, Mr. Republican Kline and Mrs. Centrist Me do not see eye to eye on the issues. No harm no foul. It isn't as if I expect this man to change his view or his tactics because I write him opinionated letters about saving the environment and its inhabitants but at the very least I'd expect him to hire a group of people to review his mail and use their noggin when sending out information on all the "great work" he does. Can't my tax dollars at least go for that? or maybe I should just learn not to click on anything coming from his office.

Monday, January 30, 2012


When I took my beekeeping course two years ago there were a few beekeepers on hand to show us treasures from the hive. One man and his young daughter had a tiny beehive candle that I fell in love with. I asked if they sold the mold, which they did not, but they said I could purchase one from a bee supply company and make my own once my bees started giving me some wax to use.

Well, I've waited ever so patiently for my honeybees to create a surplus of honey and beeswax for me to take but we've gone another year without any extras. Am I sad? Not really. Our bees know what they are doing and why they do it so I just have to make do with other people's extras :D

The other day I drove over to Natures Nectar, our honeybee supplier, and picked up 4.5 lbs of beeswax to make candles with. There is nothing better than beeswax straight from the hive, except, of course, HONEY! Beeswax from a local beekeeper is the best! I have to keep my kids from pawing all over it, wanting just one last sniff because it smells so amazing!

Here is our lovely slab of beeswax:

But... beeswax in slab form doesn't do me any good when I'm about to make candles so I had to break it into chunks.

Once the beeswax was cut up I had to get my mold ready. I purchased this cute little beehive mold from Mann Lake, the same company we buy most of our bee equipment from.

I heated up the wonderful beeswax in a double boiler.

Poured them into molds.

and what did I produce?

The cutest little beehive candle ever :D

Now for the giveaway. I've not been the best "blog giveaway" person but all of that is about to change. I'd like to start 2012 off right by sending one of these cute candles to someone in the blogosphere to say THANK YOU for reading my blog. The only thing you have to do to qualify is post in the comment section on why the survival of the honeybee is important to you.

The winner will be determined by random number generator (online) and announced on this blog February 10 :)