The House of the Wild Bee: Handmade Bee Hotels

Recently, I’ve been fascinated by garden structures called “wild bee hotels”. These odd little buildings vary widely in style and construction–some are roughly the same shape as birdhouses, but instead of a single hole in the front, the face is composed many hollow reeds where bees make their homes. Some hotels are simply a series of holes bored into a log or stone, while others most others feature a combination of these styles. Among all the different types of bee hotels, the purpose stays the same: to provide a home for the lesser known solitary bee, also known as the wild bee.

Feature photo: A bamboo Mason Bee House by The Bird on the Tree. Click here to check it out.

A driftwood inspired bee home for your garden from Flotsam and Jetsam crafts

A driftwood inspired bee home for your garden from Flotsam and Jetsam Crafts

About Solitary Bees

Only about 7 of the nearly 20,000 species of bees live in honey-producing hive societies. Most of other species are solitary. This means every female (not just a queen) is fertile and inhabits a nest by herself. Typically these are tunnels in the ground, but often wild bees will inhabit hollow reeds, twigs, or holes in wood.

wudwerks

Quirky Bee Hotel design courtesy of England’s Wudwerx

Why build or buy a wild bee house?

If you already have a garden, bee hotels attract these helpful insects to your backyard. Although they don’t produce honey or beeswax, wild bees still act as pollinators for your garden. Maybe best of all, solitary bees are often stingerless. Even species with stingers– lacking a hive to protect– are non-aggresive and only sting when provoked.

il_570xN.736639153_6p52

A more modern, tear drop-shaped aluminum hotel from Ox + Monkey Home

As you may be aware, the world honey bee population has been in decline in recent years. Many other species of bee are also vanishing due to the loss of habitat and feeding grounds. By providing a nesting place for wild bees, you’re helping preserve creatures essential to the survival of the ecosystem. It’s also a great way to certify your yard as an official wildlife habitat–according to the National Wildlife Foundation. 

spadeandfeather

Unique, no finish design from Toronto’s Spade and Feather

Advertisements

Knit Picks: Your Beanie Collection for the Long Winter

Punxsutawny Phil has spoken, and the verdict isn’t good–the whistle-pig predicts six more weeks of cold. But who needs a cowardly burrowing rodent to tell you it’s been, and probably will continue to be, a very cold winter?

That doesn’t mean your head needs to feel the cold, though. The halls of Etsy are littered with knit and crocheted goods, just waiting for the right head to come along and purchase them. Here’s 3 of our favorite shops that specialize in handmade beanies.  Continue reading

Inspirational Prints for “Resolution Doom Week”

Data gathered from Facebook shows people give up their resolutions right about…now. Here’s what information from the site shows: there’s an initial 50% increase in gym memberships, every December and January. According to the social network, though, come February about 10% of Facebook check-ins to places with “gym” or “fitness” in the name decrease.

Facebook reports that the drop starts right around the 3rd week of January. By the time the drunken promises of January fade into the grinding hangover of February, most folks have gone back to their old bad habits.  Armed with the knowledge that your resolutions are in mortal peril right now, however, you can steel yourself against the late winter slump. As always, we’re here to help with a collection. This time it’s motivational posters to get you out of bed, and to make your rooms look like the office of the hippest high-school counselor of time.

This Is My Year by ColourMoon

thisismyyear

An obvious choice for any New Years resolution. Colour Moon is a European print shop that sells many lovely typographical posters, from the sentimental to motivational. Their posters are all printed on matte paper using high quality inks. Check them out here.

Buy the Ticket… from EscapeModulePrints

buytheticket

This has always been one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors, the late great grandaddy of gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson. For anyone who needs a remind to live more deliberately, this print can be found in the shopfront of Escape Module Studio Prints.

Be Brave by SweetPeonyPress

bebrave

A gentle reminder of something we all need a reminder of sometimes, spelled out in gold letters. Sweet Peony Press is based out of Canada, and their shop features both typographical and illustrated print. “Be Brave” also has companion prints available–“Be You”, “Be Kind”, and “Be True”

The Mountains are Calling…

themountains

“The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go” reads this print from North Carolina store The Art of Type. This print is available for immediate download, so you can print it out and hang it on your wall in the time it takes to read this post. A perfect reminder for anyone who’s resolved to spend more time outside.

Live Fierce by UrbanCurioes

be fierce

If you New Year’s resolution is to be more like a bear, this is the print for you. If it’s not, you should consider setting that goal. Bears are ferocious, sleep for a good chunk of the year, and they get what they want (berries and honey).

This fierce piece of decor comes from another North Carolina print shop, Urban Curioes. If the spirit of the bear is not your style, there’s many other animals to pick from–snakes, wolves, and gators can also remind you to “Live Fierce”.  There’s a kangaroo reminding you to “Live Fun”, a gazelle reminding you to “Live Free“, and a menagerie of other creatures with life lessons to give. 

Be So Good…from TheMotivatedType

theycantignore

Fuel for greatness comes via Steve Martin and London shop The Motivated Type. This print can be ordered from the store for delivery, printed on high quality matte paper with archival inks. It’s also available for download and printing at home.

You could do worse than following advice from Steve Martin, one of the most successful comedians and actors of all time. If you require proof beyond his illustrious career, here’s a video of Steve Martin holding his own alongside late great banjo legend Earl Scruggs.

Terrarium Drunkard: The Best Terrariums on Etsy

While I was doing research for the recent entry on office plants, I came across a huge selection of terrariums. There was more than enough to do an entire entry on. So I did!

Terrariums look great on desk, and contain sustainable ecosystem to ponder while avoiding work. In well lit areas they catch the sun and shine beautifully. Etsy offers a wide selection, varying from tiny wearables to huge pieces that would draw attention in any room.

Note: The title of this entry is an homage to the amazing music blog Aquarium Drunkard, which in turn is a reference to this amazing Wilco song. I listened to it while researching and writing this article, so I recommend listening to it while reading.

Marimo Terrarium from ElecticZenMarimo

terrarium

This double-globed terrarium from EclecticZenMarimo features two Marimo plants. You can also order a few snails from EclecticZenMarimo’s site to slide peacefully back and forth between the two globes. The above picture is a good example of how lovely terrariums can look in the sun.

The Marimo Plant is a rare, living type of algae from Japan. Recently they were declared a Japanese national treasure. They look very green and fuzzy and float on the water current. In Japan they are believed to bring love and good luck if you take care of them. The good news is, they’re super easy to care for. Here’s a youtube link on caring for your new “pet”.

You can learn more about the Marimo plant at the shop’s dot com site, including the myth of how the Marimo became a symbol of love for the Japanese.

Forest Terrarium from PinkSerissa (featured photo)

forest

There’s an entire world in every terrarium, and the Forest Terrarium from PinkSerissa is no exception. This terrarium comes as a DIY kit, with a free-blown glass bubble as the display container. The trees are formed from Ming Aralia, a dwarf shrub native to India. The kit also comes with lichen, moss, soil, and charcoal to create your forest floor.

Air Plant Pyramid 

airplant

Also shipped as a kit, the center piece of this pyramid-shaped piece (also from PinkSerissa) is an air plant. Air plants are beautiful, easy-to-care-for plants, making this a lovely and low-maintenance work of art.

Land & Sea Terrarium Set from MossTwig

landandsea

Can’t choose between a dry or wet terrarium? MossTwig has your back. Their design features a moss terrarium and a marimo aquatic terrarium, attached at the base by solid Oregon myrtlewood. This one also comes as a kit.

Dandelion Seed Terrarium Necklace from ViperCoraraDesigns

dandelion

Not strictly a terrarium, this necklace from ViperCoraraDesigns is still a small wonder. Dandelion seeds are encased inside a glass orb that is sure to draw attention to your collarbones.

Top 5 Mother’s Day Gift for Dog Lovers – ETSY Style

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I thought I would post a few of my favorite gifts for the dog loving mothers out there. All of these are cute and very affordable.

1) Sterling Silver Dachshund Necklace for only $45. Justplainsimple has other little dogs in case your mom is more a Shepard lover.

Image

2) Personalized Burlap Dog Pillow for $37 – HeSheChic will personalize a pillow for featuring your mom’s dog.

Image

3) Personalized Dog Art Work for $22 – DexMex will incorporate your mom’s dog into some really cool wall art.

Image

4) Customized Copper Dog Tag – Thoughtblossoms etys’ store makes great looking rustic dog tag for just $20.  Can’t beat that.

Image

and lastly… My favorite because it combines both a dog and coffee.

5) Pug Coffee Company Art work from geministudio.  Stylish, conversational art piece.

Image

Now be a good kid and get your mother a cool gift.