Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm Taking a 60-mile Walk

I have decided to take a nice leisurely walk around my neighborhood, and by the way, it is going to be 60 miles long.  No, I haven't gone insane.  I have decided to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. The research focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade. Susan G. Komen for the Cure® works hard to build a future without breast cancer.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day for the Cure!

I'm personally raising $2,300 to help bring us closer to the goal of a future without breast cancer.  I'm walking on Oct 14-16 in Philadelphia so I have 6 months to train and fundraise.  I'm both nervous and excited about all of this.  Here is a link to my personal fundraising page.  Any amount will help me get closer to my goal, so please give!

I also want to come up with some crafty fundraising ideas.  What great ideas do you all have?

I'm walking for my Aunt Cindy, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is very special to me because she taught me how to sew when I was 12 years old and this has been a big part of my life ever since.  In a previous post, I wrote about sewing head scarves for her around the holidays.  Read about that here: Head Scarves and Race for the Cure  My parents have also participated in fundraising for breast cancer research in the South Florida Race for the Cure in Cindy's name.  Read more about that here: South Florida Race for the Cure Update.
Me with my Aunt Cindy in her quilt shop

Instead of feeling helpless while Cindy is going through treatment, I want to be able to do something.  I feel like this walk is an incredible way for me to be able to help her and many other women affected by this disease.  One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That's why I'm walking in the 3-Day. Because everyone deserves a lifetime.

I'll periodically write posts about my training and fundraising progress.  I hope you will help me through this with words of encouragement and of course, donations :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tree Bark Photos #1

Many of my friends know that I love the textures and colors of tree bark.  I have hundreds of bark photos, so here is a first glimpse of some of my favorites.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Honey Bee Package Installation

A few weeks ago, we installed a new package of honey bees into a hive box at Temple.  A "package" consists of 3 pounds, or 3,000 bees, in a box along with a fertile queen and a can of sugar syrup.  Most of the bee packages are raised in Georgia and the sugar syrup feeds them during the long and stressful trip to their new homes... in our case, about 900 miles away in Pennsylvania.

It is fun and a little chaotic getting the bees to go from one to box to another.  First, you have to spray the bees down with sugar water.  This reduces their ability to fly.  Then, you remove the queen who is in her own separate cage called the "queen cage" and the sugar water can.
Queen Cage
Then you vigorously shake the box of 3,000 sticky bees into the new hive boxes which are filled with un-drawn wax foundation.  Then the queen cage is secured to one of the frames.  She isn't released just yet because these bees are not actually her daughters and would immediately kill her due to her foreign pheromones.  The queen cage has a hole plugged with "candy," a sugary substance.  After about 3 days, the bees have eaten through the candy, all the while getting used to the new queen's scent.  By the time they eat their way to her, they have accepted her pheromones and it is one big happy family!
Queen cage secured to the frame
Here are videos of a package installation that I performed last year...

Sometimes, the queen isn't accepted even if the beekeeper follows the rules.  Luckily, our bees accepted their new queen and she is successfully laying eggs and growing her family!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Penn Oak

Penn Oak, Quercus alba
I was looking back through some of my tree photos and I thought this amazing White Oak (Quercus alba) deserved its own post.  Called the Penn Oak, it is located at the Quaker Meetinghouse in London Grove, PA.  The plaque that was secured to the tree in 1932, says that the girth at breast height was 17 feet 1 inch!  It also reads that "This tree was living when William Penn came to Pennsylvania."  It is a truly magnificent tree and I think it is so amazing that it is still standing today.
Plaque mounted to the Penn Oak
The trunk of the Penn Oak was 17 foot 1 inches in diameter in 1932!
Even at the top of the tree, each branch is large enough to be its own full size tree.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cherri House Lecture

"City Play" Quilt by Cherri House
On Friday, Cherri House from Cherry House Quilts lectured to the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild.  Cherri told us touching stories about the great influence that quilts have had on her life.  She encouraged us to not worry about quilting styles of modern, contemporary, or traditional, but rather to make quilts that we personally like and we can enjoy.  This might mean making a modern twist on a traditional pattern, or incorporating traditional techniques into modern patterns.  She reminded us that the backing fabric is a very important piece that should tie in with the rest of the quilt and the importance of the fabric choice shouldn't be overlooked.  Cherri is a champion for solid fabrics.  She stated that all too often, people are afraid of solids, but when used correctly, they can produce a fantastic quilt that makes a bold statement.
"The Tempest" Quilt by Cherri House
The best part of the lecture was, of course, the quilts.  She showed us about a dozen of her quilts, telling us the stories behind each one including the inspiration for the design and any good tidbits she had about the assembly.  She always ended by saying that she really really loved the quilt and more than once, she claimed that it was her "favorite."  I can relate to that.  I'm always so proud that I finished a quilt or sewing project that I feel like they are all my favorites.
"House's House" Quilt by Cherri House
"Baby I Do" Quilt by Cherri House

"City Lights" Quilt by Cherri House
"Sliced Fruit" Quilt by Cherri House
I ended up buying her book, City Quilts, which she was kind enough to sign for me, as well as 2 additional patterns, "The Tempest" and "House's House."  I can't wait to get started on these!
My purchases- a book and 2 patterns

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

This weekend I visited the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.  The blossoms were at their peak and it made the city look amazing!

The original 3,020 cherry trees that make the festival so famous were a gift from the People of Japan to the People of the United States in 1912.  In 1965, the Japanese government donated an additional 3,800 trees, and another 676 trees were funded by private donations in 1982 to replace trees that had died.  Since then, the National Arboretum had been taking cuttings of the trees to preserve their genetic lineage.  A full history of the cherry trees can be found here on the National Park Service Web site.
The White House and Washington Monument lined with blooming cherry trees
At the Washington Monument

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cherri House Event!

The Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild is hosting Cherri House, author of "City Quilts" on Friday, April 8th at 7:30pm in Huntingdon Valley.  She will be showing quilts from her book as well as discussing the use of solids in quilts. Cherri will be bringing copies of her book as well as patterns that will be available for purchase.  

This event is free for all paid members of the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild.  Guests are welcome to attend for $5.  To RSVP, email the guild at

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