Bees, beehives and honey

honey with honey dipper
local blackberry honey – and I love that honey dipper

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project. Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or ‘mood board’ to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

So, a mascot challenge. Since I’d picked House of Bee, I decided to start out with some free association instead of searching Ravelry for bee patterns. The first things I thought of were honey, sweet and beehive. No, I don’t mean the hairstyle a la Amy Winehouse. I mean the real beehive thing, home of the bees and so on. Still, no big mental leaps here. Then I started thinking of the friend who keeps his own bees – hi Thomas! – and the delicious honey we receive from him ever so often. And how I like finding local honeys (haha) and try to support apiarists (if you can’t easily find anyone near you, try local grocery coops). And I don’t mind crystalized honey – actually I like it better than squeezy tubes. Anyway, back to the bees. Another really cool thing about bees – apart from the fact that they make honey, mmm – is that they structure of the beehive is pretty ingenious. The hexagonal shape of the beehive cells is really efficient – they’re stable, and maximize honey storage with minimal wax required. In that sense bees are excellent mathematicians. There are a lot of cool facts out there about bees and bee colonies and yadayada. And now I will stop boring you with bee and honey geekage.

potential bee mascot projects
In clockwise order: Honeybee Stole, Honey Sweater, Bumblebee socks, Beekeeper Quilt and Honey Cowl

I started poking around Ravelry for bee related patterns. As you can see, I considered quite a few patterns. But in the end, it came down to two: Anne Hanson’s Pompa and these really cool socks named Snicket Socks. They were inspired by the movie Lemony Snicket, but I think they look like hexagons. And now you know why I picked those socks.

So, the next question was color. Yellow and gold are the obvious choices. As are yellow and gold stripes. And believe me, if I had some yellow yarn handy, or black and yellow striped, I may have knit one of those other projects above. I’m planning to use Wollmeise in Salamander to make those Bumblebee socks in that collage, the same yarn the designer used. They look like they’d be so much fun. But – no yellow yarn here. That’s what happens when you move and the rest of your stuff hasn’t yet caught up with you…

Yarn colorway Berries & Cream

But I do have this gorgeous skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm yarn here, colorway Berries and Cream. It’s cream with occasional pink, in various degrees of saturation. Really really pretty. It makes me think of summer desserts – I mean, fresh, sun-warmed berries and a bit of cream, so delicious.

How many of us can remember sitting outside in the spring and summer sun, enjoying the rays and devouring an ice cream cone, or some fruit, or cooling off with a nice cold, possibly sweet drink. And then the zzzzzzs start, and you start having to defend – i.e. hide – your food & drinks from curious bee scouts. Worse if it’s a whole gaggle of bees seeking you out. (Of course, it could also be ants)… There are all these Disney cartoons out there about ant and bee invasions of various picnic parties… I remember Pluto being harassed by this rather, well, prickly bee in Bubble Bee. Ah, the memories..

berries & goat cheese with honeyIt’s funny, I just recently did a food photography project involving berries, cream and honey. And mint. Mint was the unifying element. But more on that after Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. However, I did want to share a photograph of my inspiration and so I changed it up a bit, with strawberries instead of raspberries, goat cheese instead of yoghurt/cream, and of course that cute little honey dipper. Btw, it’s very difficult to do an action shot all on your own, especially if you don’t have a remote for your camera. I will be rectifying that asap. And the timer focus didn’t work well enough for my taste – somehow the shallow depth of focus wasn’t quite right…

Why am I not surprised that I managed to work in some food into the post, even though it’s supposed to be all about knitting? So anyway, I will be casting on for this project in the next few days. In fact, if I manage to cast on for it today, then I might have a wip picture for tomorrow’s Yarn Along-esque post. Which I still need to draft. Sigh.

Thank you all for bearing with me, and for following along with my thought processes. I’d love to see your mascot project ideas, so please, leave me a link to your post! And for your enjoyment, here is Bubble Bee:

One Man Star Wars

Given how often I’ve talked about Star Wars on this blog, it’s pretty clear that I would love this: One Man Star Wars. I saw it in DC, at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and it was a blast. Charles Ross does an awesome job – it’s not a straight retelling of the original trilogy – and yes, only the original trilogy – it also has lots of little humorous bits in there. He also does all the sound effects, too.

This one is with R2D2 and C3PO. Love the droid sounds!

There is also a One Man Lord of the Rings version, which I haven’t seen so far. But I will! Yup, I’m a geek. Check out his website for more videos of parts of his performance

Sorry for the video heavy post, but I figured you’d enjoy this.

Mah Na Mah Na

I love Sesame Street. Who doesn’t? I mean, Kermit, and Miss Piggy, Ernie and Bert, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Waldorf and Statler (the two old guys on the balcony), and so on. Jim Henson was a total genius. The Muppets are his most well known creation, but he also created Fraggle Rock, sketches for SNL and helped in the creation of Yoda. The Muppets were first introduced in a commercial for Wilkins Coffee featuring Muppets and a canon. That has to be a winning combination, right? There’s a whole series of Wilkins Coffee commercials that hint at many Sesame Street characters to come, including Rowlf and Kermit.

Jim Henson was the voice of Kermit and other characters and  created Sesame Street. He influenced children’s television, creating programming that was fun while being educational. Even Elmo is educational. Yes, some of the toys like Tickle-Me Elmo are ridiculously annoying when they giggle over and over when you walk to the toy section of a store. But those little videos for kids are made to convey educational information on a children’s level, using various tools that children can really get. For example, teaching ABC via Cookie Monster:

C is for Cookie ice cream

Jim Henson’s passing was a loss to all children, parents, educators and fans. Sesame Street still continues, and it still gets guests that talk about various topics – remember that uproar over the lowcut outfit that Katy Perry wore when she sang Hot N Cold with Elmo on Sesame Street? Google even came up with a special Google Doodle tribute for the anniversary of his birthday. (On a side note, check out this great post with other awesome interactive Google Doodles).

There are two great Sesame Street documentaries that I can really recommend. The first one is called “The World According to Sesame Street.” It shows the work of the Sesame Street people as they try to establish a Sesame Street program in South Africa, Bangladesh and Kosovo. Sesame Street programs work through local co-productions, where the name Sesame Street is adapted to the local language, some characters are transformed to fit local issues, and the topics developed are relevant to that country. The documentary shows the obstacles and the successes in creating local Sesame Street programs. I remember the German Sesame Street program was called Sesamstraße, and we had a few Germany specific characters, including Samson, a huge bear, Finchen a sleepy little snail, Pferd, a horse (which is a redundant name since the translation of Pferd is horse), and Tiffy.

The other documentary is a recent one, and you’ve probably heard of. It is called “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” and is the story of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who brings Elmo to life. It was a 2011 release and people who have seen it really love it – some even thought it should have been nominated for an Oscar. And there are of course the various Sesame Street movies, including the latest one simply called “The Muppets.”

Like everybody, I have a soft spot for certain muppet songs. I love Ernie’s Rubberducky Song, both the German and the English version, and Kermit’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” The classical singer in me especially loves “Danny Boy” or “Ode to Joy” (Beaker!!!!),  although the Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody version is awesome (it includes the Swedish Chef!) There’s a whole playlist of classic Sesame clips on the Sesame YouTube channel. But this one is the favorite around here. We all might just randomly launch into ‘Mah-Na-Mah-Na‘ at random times, with someone then answering ‘Doo Doo Do Do Do.’ Ah, the little things in life that you get joy from.

Btw, there are great ideas out there if you want to throw a Sesame Street party. For example, Sesame Street cake pops! Or you could transform everyday items, like a blue trashcan into cookie monster, or other muppets.

Why isn’t little bunny foo foo eating carrots?

Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head.”
[…]

I have fond memories singing this song with a bunch of friends, crammed into a one of our friends’ two door car. I can’t remember what kind of car it was except that it was maroon, and that it was pretty tight with all of us jammed into the backseat. Being the rather silly kind, we found it pretty hilarious that we crossed a river named Pee Dee. Specifically little Pee Dee river. Imagine a bunch of silly college kids, a river that starts with pee, and it’s gonna set them off, right? Right. We spent a good part of the next hour making up little bunny foo foo versions. We’d already had a great time at South of the Border – I’d never been to it before, and we had a blast. We took many many silly photographs, and I ended up with a neon orange colored shot glass that unfortunately didn’t survive a trip through the dishwasher a few years later. Man, I was sad about that. It was a piece of memory, you know? But I should have known better than stick it into the dishwasher, really. Sigh. But that was a great May. Good times.

Back to that foo foo bunny. First of all, what bunny is named foo foo? What’s wrong with Thumper? It was good enough for Bambi. That was really a genius name. Secondly, why is the song about field mice? Why would a bunny bop field mice? What about carrots? I mean, any self-respecting bunny should be waaaaay more interested in carrots, right? Just ask Bugs Bunny. He wouldn’t bop field mice on the head. He’s too busy making fun of Daffy, thwarting Elmer Fudd and coming up with other forms of mischief. And say “What’s up Doc?”

So a little Google Fu shows that rabbits do indeed like carrots, and that they’re good for their teeth but that they it shouldn’t be their only food – too many calories. Huh. You learn something new every day. But they do still like them (the link is to a ridiculously mini lop rabbit eating a carrot. I think I want a bunny now).

Carrot cake pancakes with a dollop of mascarpone

I think little bunny foo foo should try these awesome carrot cake pancakes. I think it would then be too busy to bop any field mice. It might have to watch out for those calories though if bunnies need to watch their waistlines. I ate these with yoghurt instead of the cream cheese topping. They were just as great, and I saved a few calories. I’m making these again. Vegetables for breakfast, yay!

As you can guess, this was a post full of a lot of silliness. Yes, there is a river named little Pee Dee – it’s a tributary river to the Pee Dee river which is named after the Pee Dee Native American tribe (and it’s a pretty big river). I really do have fond times of Myrtle Beach. We really were a bunch of silly kids, not just at Myrtle Beach. For example, we’d do our own version of MSTK3000 on any random movies we’d find on TV. We dressed up one of our friends as Recycle Man for Halloween, which consisted of an outfit made out of newspaper and staples, newspaper shoes, and a Recycle Man scepter – it was awesome. (I have a picture of that somewhere). We camped out for Star Wars and decided on impromptu Padme Amidala make up. Yeah, we had lots of fun during and after college. And I do love Bugs Bunny, especially What’s Opera, Doc and Rabbit of Seville. It’s classic awesome Warner Brothers animation.

Oh, Han Solo

Who doesn’t like Han Solo? Even if he is a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf herder.” Don’t believe me? Awesome image, right? This one is part of a whole series of behind-the-scenes images released from “The Empire Strikes Back.” Thank you Geektroverted for putting these up! These three are my favorites:

Poor Professor Lupin

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spoiler alert if you haven’t read/watched “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Don’t read any further if you want to find out what’s going to happen on your own. I warned you. Even though I think that there aren’t many people out there who haven’t been exposed to Harry Potter.

Poor Professor Lupin. He just hasn’t had an easy time of it. I mean, who wants to deal with being a werewolf. And I’m not talking about the Teen Wolf kind of werewolf. Btw, I think there’s an MTV version of Teen Wolf nowadays? I have no idea myself, I haven’t kept up with MTV in, oh, forever.

Professor Lupin’s werewolf is the agressive kind, having to stay separate from others during the full moon to avoid endangering others. After having been bitten as a child by Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf, he has had a rather difficult childhood suffering from his werewolvism. After graduating from Hogwarts, he has a hard time finding a job due to his affliction. He always looks a bit shabby. Even though he’s a nice, uhm, guy/raving werewolf. He did a good job as Professor of Defense against the Dark Arts, but still had to hide what he was to avoid upset parents descending on the school. Well, and then Harry, Rob and Hermione figured out what he was…

Are you wondering what my point is? Ha! I do have a point. I was looking for a hat pattern – well, I was looking for a hat pattern in February. It was still cold enough that I needed a hat, especially after working out. Wet hair and cold weather easily make for a cold. I was looking around Ravelry when I found a hat. Well, a hat and a cowl. A cowlhat. Or more precisely, a howlcat. Even though cats meow, rather than howl. Speaking of meowing, this little Spongebob Squarepants video is hilarious (from ‘I was a Teenage Gary‘):

Apart from Spongebob and Professor Lupin, I also kept thinking of the ‘Werewolves of London‘ song by Warren Zevon (click on the link if you want to see him performing the song). Well, this werewolf howls, so maybe he would wear this howlcat. Yes, I know, a werewolf is not a cat, but the howling belongs more in its realm. Speaking of the hat, it’s basically a stockingette tube that transitions into a ribbed tube. So the end of the hat is ‘open’ – you basically close it twisting it into shape. Also, the hat is reversible – you can wear the stockingette or the ribbed side on top. It’s a great beginner project, very easy. You just need to be able to join in the round, and the rest is easy peasy.