Extracting Honey for the First Time

After a difficult start, with lots of rain and cool weather, summer finally kicked in, and it turned out to be a very productive summer for our bees. In the middle of August it’s time to extract the honey. The  chestnut trees have flowered, which leaves the ivy and heather for the bees to collect after we have extracted the honey, and limits the trauma from having taken part of their honey.  Chestnuts trees are abundant in this region of France, and are the source of many specialities from chestnut cream and chestnut flour to chestnut honey.

The objective was to retrieved the supers of the 4 hives that we had installed in mid-June and mid-July (we installed a second super on 3 on the hives since the 1st ones were almost full).

The materials needed: gloves, smoker, a container to enclose the honeycombs once they are removed.

The honeycombs are very full πŸ™‚

Removing the honeycombs.

Once we removed all the honeycombs we took them into our “honey kitchen” (we renovated the bottom floor of one of the houses in our hamlet into a kitchen where we can extract and pot honey, make jams from the fruits in our garden, make beer, and other goodies. I will post an article soon on the renovations in our hamlet πŸ˜‰

To remove the honey from the honey frames one has to uncap the honeycombs. (The bees cap the honeycombs in the hive once the have removed the humidity from the honey in order to stock it).

Once uncapped they are placed in the extractor.

Using the manivelle, you spin the extractor, to extract the honey.  The honey must then be transferred into a soaking container with a strainer on top which filters the debris of wax that may have fallen off the frames during the extraction process.
The honey will stay in the soaking container for about 10 days, during which the remaining debris will rise to the top and then can be removed before putting the honey into jars.

Our bees produced 90kg (198 lbs.) of multi-flower honey !  A great harvest for a first and considering the season was generally not a good one for bees in France and in many other places around the world.

Summer Shorts – Part 2

In my search for the perfect summer shorts pattern, I also came across the Nantucket pattern by Colette Patterns, a beautiful pattern with clear instructions. I made a couple of these. Once again, given the fabrics I chose to use, I had to adjust the pattern for fit by adding darts…I think this is going to be a standard adjustment for me to fit patterns πŸ˜‰

The pattern calls for eyelets and since I didn’t have any I decided to test the buttonhole sewing function on my machine. Apart from an alignment problem, it turned out ok.  

The second pair I made, I decided on a more beachy look, given the fabric I used, and added a waistband and put in eyelets. I just realized I don’t have a pic of these shorts worn…

Summer shorts – Part 1

What’s summer without some pretty shorts.  After searching for a while I came across the chambray shorts with lace trim, a free pattern on Melly Sews.

I wanted to make a pair of prefontaine style shorts with pockets in a green linen I had bought, and since the weight of my fabric was heavier than chambray I had to adjust the pattern a little. Inadjusted the pattern by adding darts in the back, to accommodate my curves πŸ˜‰ Also instead of lace, I used this cute bias tape with pineapple print. The waist is elastic that I sewed using a Craftsy tutorial. 

I think they turned out pretty nice, for a first try πŸ™‚ 

A Kimono Style Summer Dress

I love dresses, especially in the summer, there are so many pretty colorful cotton fabrics to choose from and I wanted to make one.  Nothing complicated because this would be my first dress.  I figured a shirt dress with a drawstring waist would be a good place to start.  I wasn’t ready to make my own pattern, so I purchased the Easy short sleeved Kimono Dress on Pattern Runway, which was the style I wanted, except for the elastic waist, and it was for jersey fabric, but it was going to teach me to adjust a pattern and how to sew interfacing into clothing πŸ™‚

I was using a fine cotton fabric and didn’t want to put in an elastic waist.  I modified the pattern by taping the skirt and top parts of the pattern together once I had cut out my size and adjusting it,  instead of creating 2 separate pieces as indicated in the pattern and sewing together the 2 parts. 

Given the fabric I was using, which was a little more rigid than jersey, I had to adjust the waist and hips so that the fabric would fall right once cinched at the waist. I used a print coral and white fabric, and added a solid coral fabric in the same weight for the hem, and for the drawstring waist. I found this fabric in a great little shop in Lyon, called Le Marchand de Couleurs. 

It’s all in the detail πŸ˜‰

I think the next time around I will lengthen the hem a little. Once I find that perfect pretty jersey fabric I will try the original pattern πŸ™‚