Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Pysanka Workshop!

Last year we held an informal pysanka party at Hollie's house. None of us were experts, but with the help of some research and library books, we were able to have a whole bunch of fun and create some beautiful eggs.

This year the Beehive and Needlework are teaming together with the Kosa Kolektiv ladies of Toronto to host another pysanka party. And you're invited! We're super excited to have the ladies of the Kosa Kolektiv coming to share their knowledge of this practice. Here's a little bit about them:

Kosa Kolektiv is composed of several ladies in and around Toronto that aim to revitalize peasant folklore in an urban context. We do this by singing songs, sewing, cooking, planting, crafting, putting on workshops and sharing ideas over tea and good food. There’s something to be said for the simpler pleasures in life, and Kosa Kolektiv embraces them.

Love! They definitely seem to share the same values and interests that we have. How exciting and inspiring!

So come discover pysanka, the art of decorating eggs in the traditional Ukrainian style! Forty percent of the proceeds will go to the Pysanka Home for orphans in Potelech, Ukraine. Space is limited, and a material fee of $20 is required to attend. If you'd like to join us, please contact Needlework via email (, phone (905-667-5663), or in person so we can sign you up.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Crepe Paper Flowers

Recently, February 18th to be exact, I got married! I decided pretty early on that I wanted to keep everything simple. So, of course I decided to make most of the d├ęcor; the bouquets, the boutonnieres, and the centre pieces.

While never being a huge fan of flowers, despite working in a flower shop, I still wanted to have the traditional bouquets and boutonnieres but made out of something a little different. I scoured the internet looking for ideas. I found bouquets of brooches, of felt flowers and of flowers made from panty hose stretched over wire, but none of them really appealed to me until I saw flowers made out of tissue and crepe paper. Practically all were found on the Martha Stewart Weddings website where I immediately discovered the perfect design was the Tissue Bubble Flower. I altered it to crepe paper instead of tissue because I wanted it to be less delicate.

Crepe Bubble Flowers

Floral wire
Floral tape
Thin cotton yarn or artificial stamens
White glue

Needle nose pliers
Golf ball or other spherical object

Making the Petals

The size of your spherical object determines your petal size. Measure the circumference of your object. Create a cardstock template using that measurement for the length and slightly less than half for the width. For instance I used a golf ball that is 5½” making my width 2½”. This accommodates the stretch of the crepe paper as you shape the petals around the spherical object.

Next cut out 5 pieces of crepe paper per flower with the grain running lengthwise.

Centre the golf ball in the piece of crepe paper and pull paper up the sides of the golf ball slightly stretching it into shape. Then twist up the long ends one at a time much like you would twist up a candy wrapper, but making sure you twist it all the way to the end.

Once both ends are twisted carefully remove the sphere and put a dab of white glue at the base of each twist. This will hold the twist and the shape of the petal once assembled.

Repeat the above steps four more times, you will need 5 petals in total for each flower, and set them aside in a safe place for the glue to dry.

Making the Stems

I made my stamen using 2” lengths of yellow cotton yarn. I needed six lengths that I would divide into pairs and tie small knots into either end. You can use anything that you have on hand like yellow tissue paper or ribbon, let your imagination be your guide.

Cut a length of floral wire the desired length, I cut mine to 10”, and wrap with floral tape. This base of tape helps later on when assembling.

Fold over ½” about 120o from one end of the wire, centre the stamen in the fold and pinch the wire around the stamen. Fold the stamen up and tape around the base to hold them in place.

 Assembling the Flower

Position the first petal with the stamen centered in the petal and secure with floral tape.

Position the second petal so that it is hugging the first petal, so roughly half of the first petal is covered by the second and secure with floral tape.

Continue adding the petals in the same way. The last petal will be over the fourth and under the first. Now that all the petals are in place wrap the base of the flower with floral tape several times to make sure that the petals stay in place.

Clip off the twists at the tops of the petals and gently pull and twist the petals to open the flower.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Collective Buzz at Craft and the New Economy Symposium


The Beehive is big on sharing skills, knowledge, and inspiration. This orientation is a driving force in all of our activities, which are collective endeavours that draw on our individual strengths and backgrounds. We also try to reach out to the community around us to participate in our projects (see Knit Night on the Brain), provide us with space to make stuff (thank you Kieran & The Brain!), and teach us skills that will help us on the path to self-sufficiency.

So when the Ontario Crafts Council approached us about presenting an interactive activity at their upcoming symposium, Craft and the New Economy, we were pretty stoked on this opportunity. We knew we wanted to present a collective making activity, and reflecting on what we had to offer as a group, we decided that we could also share our experience in making a collective.

If you plan to attend the Symposium on March 10, 2012 (which is highly recommended if you are interested in issues in contemporary craft), we invite you to sign up in the morning for Collective Buzz, which will take place at the reception following the Symposium from 6-8pm. Here you'll hear about how the Beehive was formed, how to start a collective in your own community, and we'll provide you with supplies and instructions for making English paper-pieced fabric hexagons. If this is is ringing a bell, Hollie mentioned it in the last post which also hinted enigmatically about the installation proposal we submitted for this year's Supercrawl. Here is another clue about where we are headed with this project: you can hold on to your hexagons made during this session, or you can leave them with us to be included in the installation.

We're excited to share our know-how and learn from Symposium-goers as well. See you there!