ABC Bees: An Urban Honey Experience


When my pal Jolene invited me to attend an ABC Bees Home2Hive bee tour with her I said yes right away. I love learning about how things are made, especially if they’re pretty much in my own backyard and who doesn’t love honey!?

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: There are three kinds of bees in a hive: Queen, Worker and Drone.

ABC Bees is an organization dedicated to bringing small scale apiculture to urban spaces in Alberta, Canada. They offer outstanding educational experiences to inform and inspire acts of pollinator stewardship, hands-on beekeeping opportunities for the public as well as building partnerships that will last within the corporate community. Through these partnerships ABC Bees holds over 50 colonies! 

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: The bees use their honeycomb cells to raise their babies in, and to store nectar, honey, pollen and water.


Our tour started on bikes. We met our guides in downtown Calgary, where they revealed to us which one of their partners we would be visiting. That day we would be biking to Rouge Restaurant in Inglewood. The hives are located in their large garden, adjacent to the restaurant where they grow some of the food used in their kitchens!

ABC Bees - An Urban Honey Experience

Even though I don’t have a fear of bees and have only been stung once (knock on wood) there was a teeny tiny part of me that hoped I wouldn’t freak out. I shouldn’t have worried. After our leisurely bike ride we all donned hooded white jackets. At no time did I feel nervous. Our guides were very experienced, knowledgable and with us the entire time.

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: A colony of honey bees in summer has 50-60,000 bees.


It was quite the learning experience! We got to get up close and personal with the bees. Our guides were full of facts and we were able to get all our questions answered. Jolene even had a chance to lift out a frame full of bees and we got a small tasty sample straight from the honeycombs

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: The average life of a honey bee during the working season is about six weeks.

ABC Bees - An Urban Honey Experience

After our hive inspection we removed our jackets and relaxed on a bee-tastic picnic blanket to enjoy a charcuterie board courtesy of Rouge Restaurant and some delicious locally made mead. It was a great way to cap off the evening and we got to know a little more about our guides. Peddling away we couldn’t stop talking about what an enjoyable evening we had.

ABC Bees - An Urban Honey Experience

bee-icon.pngLearn more bee facts at


Learning more about how your food is made gives you a better appreciation for the process. Honey bees are hard workers! If you want to experience a Home2Hive bee tour for yourself sign up today. There are only 2 tours left for this summer!


Men’s Suit Jacket to Vest Refashion


I’ve wanted a longer menswear vest for awhile, so on a recent trip to Goodwill I dug into the men’s section and found a suit jacket I could refashion into a vest. I chose this jacket because it covered my butt, I liked the fabric and it has a lot of pockets. Who doesn’t love a variety of pockets!


Removing the sleeves is a fairly simple job. You could even hand sew it if you don’t have a sewing machine. This tutorial from is a good resource if your not sure where to start. For a more advanced step, once you cut off the arms you can turn the jacket inside out and take it in a little on the seams, which is what I did. I took in about an inch on the centre back seam and on both chest seams. This will make it a little less boxy while still maintaining a menswear look.

Refashioned menswear vest 3

We took these photos in my sister’s studio. Yay art!

Refashioned menswear vest back

Refashioned menswear vest lined

Welt pockets, zippered pockets, patch pocket, and flap pockets!

Refashioned menswear vest shoulder look


I’m pleased with how this vest turned out! I’ll be keeping an eye out at the Goodwill for another jacket I can refashion into a snazzy vest.

Introducing… The Halie Top!

My sister, Halie, is currently part of an exhibition at Untitled Art Society called A Space Ship is Just a Time Machine. The reception was this weekend and she wanted to have an amazing outfit. The pants were already decided on but she wasn’t sure about the top.

Sewing Sister to the rescue! I had seen a photo that week on pinterest I thought would work perfectly with the pants. This pattern drafting was very simple and consists of two squares (for the back and front) and two rectangles (for the sleeves). Happily the muslin looked great.

Since everything came together so well (not always the case, as i’m sure my fellow sewers know) I was able to complete this project, including drafting the pattern, sewing the muslin and the finished top in about 4 hours. I thought this sheer striped fabric would be difficult to work with but I didn’t have any problems.

The Halie top at Untitled Art Society.

I’m very happy with how The Halie top turned out. It looks wonderful from all angles and best of all my sister loves it too! I’m really enjoying how it has structure but is flowy and relaxed at the same time.

The exhibit is on until April 9, so if you’re in Calgary go on down and check it out.


The Halie top at Untitled Art Society.



The Halie top turned out so well i’m thinking of making more. I want a longer version for myself in sweatshirt fabric while Halie wants another in gingham.

Jed’s Blanket: Handmade With Love

Does anyone else find the boys/men in their family are the hardest to buy presents for? I think I’m a pretty awesome present picker-outer but when it came to deciding what to get for my little bro last Christmas I was stumped. I didn’t want to give him a gift card again or money. Was there anything I could make that he would actually use? My sister and I put our heads together and came up with a useful and warm idea!

I love collaborating with my sister. We have different skills and strengths and it’s fun to create something I might not be able to do on my own. For this throw Halie dyed the fabric and I sewed it together. She used indigo dye and potassium permanganate.

Fun Fact: in the water the potassium permanganate dye is a bright fuchsia. It’s only when the fabric is removed from the water that it has a chance to oxidize and achieve it’s true color.

jeds blue blanket victoriadaytoday.comMr jeds blanket

The pattern on the lined fabric is achieved through twisting and pulling. For the circle pattern Halie folded up the fabric and clamped plexiglass circles on each side. This acted as a resist, allowing the dye to penetrate the area around the circles. We bought a fleece blanket for the backing and added a layer of batting in the middle.

I’m very pleased with the outcome and our brother loves it! I have a homemade patchwork quilt, similar to this one, that I received when I was a teen. I still cherish it, and I hope my brother will use and cherish this blanket for many years to come.

jeds handmade blanket victoriadaytoday.comjeds blanket victoriadaytoday.comconclusion

Two heads are better than one. Especially when you’re trying to create a gift for a hard to buy for guy!


A Chair Renewed With Tie dye

I hate to throw anything away. I’d probably be a hoarder but watching all those hoarder shows on TLC has scared me into keeping my house at a light clutter. Which is probably for the best. I’d hate to have Stella go ‘missing’ one day, only to find her years later squashed flat under a pile of boxes. The point is, if something can be saved from the trash heap AND save us from spending money on a new one I’m all in.

A couple years ago my boyfriend had purchased a Poäng armchair with a natural cushion cover from IKEA at an amazingly good price. This has since been his gaming chair. A VERY well used piece of furniture. Lately it’s been looking quite dirty and sad. He suggested buying a new cushion or *gasp* a new chair! I knew there had to be a better, cheaper solution. I’ve had a box of black Rit dye for years and here was the perfect opportunity to use it.

The tie dye process.

Before dye – After dye was applied – Post rinsing and machine washed

With my sister’s help we twisted up the cover of the chair and tied it tight with twine. The cover is cotton so it made a good canvas for dye. I mostly followed the directions on the box, but because I only had one box of dye and didn’t want to wait to get a new one the next day, I used more hot water then was directed to fully soak it all.

A tie dyed chair DIY

Close up of the tie dyed chair

The part that took the longest was rinsing out the dye. We had to use a lot of water to get it all out and did it in the bathtub. If you know of a more environmentally friendly way to dye, please let me know in the comments.

Stella in the chair

Stella in the gaming chair.

This was a fun, quick project. I didn’t have high expectations going in, as this was my first time using Rit dye, but the chair cover turned out better then expected. My boyfriend loves it! Using two boxes of dye, as directed, would probably have resulted in a darker color, but I am still pleased with this last minute project.

sonny on game day


This tie dyed chair is cat tested, gaming boyfriend approved!