Beetle wing purse, a labor of love – Part 1

I figured I’d dust off this blog to document a new project I’m working on. If you know me, you know that I have a 7 year old daughter that is fascinated by bugs. She is fairly fearless when it comes to them.

We have taken her to the butterfly exhibit at the nature museum, and it was probably one of the best days of her life.

So, now you understand her love of bugs.

Well, by now you should know that I am very into making things, and crafts. Well, I was watching one of my favourite crafters on youtube, and I saw a beetle wing embroidery tutorial. My interests were piqued. So I watched it.

And then I watched it again.

I fell in love with this technique. Quite the coincidence that Sadie was a jewel beetle for halloween last year. So in researching this costume for her, I became familiar with them.

Now as a parent that reads a million bug related books to her aspiring entomologist, I know that the adult jewel beetles in Thailand have a life span of 3-4 weeks on average. The wings are harvested off the dead beetles.

*The “wings” are not really wings btw, they’re called elytra, and they’re the hard outer shell that protects the wings.*

So, I bought 100 beetle wings from a seller in Thailand. Since it was right before Christmas, my Christmas present plans weren’t going to happen. In fact, I only just got them yesterday. So, now my goal is to make her something with these beetle wings for her birthday. Her birthday is in May, so that gives me plenty of time to figure stuff out.

beetle wing

beetle wing. The lighting does not do them justice. I’ll take better photos later, but the inspiration pics show them off better. 

My plan is to make her an embroidered beetle wing purse/clutch with a metal clasp/frame.

I am going with a blue, green and gold colour scheme like Angela did in her video, and I will also do up some similar beetles that she designed because, well, BEETLES!

Here is my rough sketch of what I’ll be doing with the wings.


beetle wing purse sketch 2

with wings placed


I had some child free hours today, so shopped for sequins, beads, and fabric. I’ll be waiting a while for the sequins and beads, but the fabric should arrive soon, and I can at least embroider the outlines for things while waiting for the rest of my supplies. I ordered an ivory and white linen, and it was wayyyyy cheaper online vs my local store.

If anyone is interested, I found a wikipedia article about beetlewing embroidery. Click here

So I’ll leave you for now with some of my inspiration as I wait on supplies to arrive. I should be back to update you all on the next part of this adventure, and maybe other things that are happening around here.

Some of my inspiration:

Angela Claytons design

beetlewing dress



Little tidbits

-Lucas loves to sing. He sings in the car, he sings at home, he sings little songs on the way home from school. The kid just belts it out. Sooo that means we watch what we listen to even more now.

-I overheard Sadie and Lucas working out their problems and talking rationally and calmly about it. It gave me hope that one day their arguments will be less of a battle scene.

-Sadie got her report card back from school. She is indeed a Chatty Cathy. She has a hard time focusing on her own work and would love to turn around and talk to her buddies at the table next to her.

-Lucas is learning to draw more at school, and therefore, he’s more interested in art, and it makes my heart happy. He’s improved drastically. His teacher even had to tell me how much of a difference she noticed in his art work.

-We got on the topic of what kids used to play with in the “olden” days. I brought up the Laura Ingalls Books, and now we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods. Sadie loves it. She was absolutely shocked that the kids only got mittens and a candy cane for Christmas. We’ve had discussions on what headcheese is, and butchering, and not having running water. Its been very eye opening for her.

-Its supposed to snow on Sunday and monday. The kids are thrilled about the prospects of making snowmen again. We’ll see how long it lasts for.

-We are looking forward to doing a road trip in a couple weeks to see Tony’s sister in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

-Brought up some Christmas decorations yesterday. Looked at the kids’ tiny handprints that I did one year on some glass ball ornaments. So TINY!

-Finally cleaned up all the leaves in our back yard. Our yard is like the vortex for swirling leaves to collect, and the snow is about to hit. Too bad we procrastinated until the day before the snow was to begin and it was super windy. Tony spent 5 minutes picking leaves out of my hair.

-Made ornaments with the kids today. I try to make at least a couple every year, and buy a couple every year. Eventually, my tree will look full. Last year I didn’t have my own tree, but still made a couple felt ornaments. This year I’ve made a star, but I plan on making more.

-I’ve been online shopping every once and a while. Trying to get presents bought a little at a time and shipped before the mad rush. So far, so good. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching, and I’ll be hunting for mad deals then.

-That’s all for now, I’ll be back later with more.

Halloween 2016

I’ve gotta say, this year’s Halloween was pretty great. Kids loved being a part of making their own costumes. Lucas wasn’t as involved in the making as much as last year, but he still loved the way his costume worked. He chased his sister and his friends around the yard hissing (as spiders do apparently).


Sadie loved designing the wings of her costume. She wanted super big wings, and was all about them being blue and spotted. I suggested monarch wings, but she would have none of that. The best part was the glitter spray paint we bought for them the day before halloween. She gasped when she saw them fully finished. Then she wore them all afternoon on halloween until dinnertime.


That evening we headed out when we saw our neighbour kids hanging outside. They told us that because our neighbourhood wasn’t as into halloween (older couples)  and that they drove to a relatives neighbourhood to do trick or treating. They invited us and it was really fun. There were 8 kids plus some all racing to houses, while we chatted. Near the end, Lucas bailed hard and rolled his ankle. We said good night to our friends and headed home to do candy inspection. The great thing about halloween with our kids is that when I tell them that we would divide the candy 3 ways, they didn’t bat an eye. They were super happy to share and to have things fairly equal. Also, I’ve never been to a neighbourhood where they give away full chocolate bars, but each of our kids got 2 of them. Whoa.



Today I’m busy setting up the etsy shop again and getting a sugar high while I work. Tootsie pops are my jam.

grief, its been 3 months now

A stressful, chaotic 3 months. So, we’ve moved. *huge sigh of relief*.

That whole process was stressful, but I’m glad its over. We arrived in town on the 15th and got the keys to our house the next morning. That was exciting. Tony and I went straight to work renovating the house while we waited for our stuff to arrive. Priority was the floors, especially while the house was empty. We thought a lot about refinishing the floors, but being that they were very thin and really in rough shape, we decided to go with a really nice laminate flooring.

We are so pleased at the results. We’re also not terribly experienced with power tools and such, but we did it, and it looks good. We did a lot of research, calling Tony’s dad with questions, and watching videos online. That experience has given us courage to look into renovating other small things in the house.

I should probably show you before and after pictures of the living room. ugly living room

The previous owners were all about accent walls. There was this ugly forest green wall in the dining room area, and then really weird tan beige flesh coloured walls everywhere else. The basement also has an accent wall, but those colours aren’t hideous.

new floors

We’re expecting our couch to be delivered on tuesday, and then I shall show an after pictures. Right now our living room is sans couches. There are three sad dining room chairs circling the tv. This does not make for comfortable relaxing or entertaining. Very much looking forward to couch delivery day! Yay!

House Hunting Trip


The kids and I flew out to Kingston last week to go house hunting with Tony. It was their first time on an airplane. They were both excited to fly, but Lucas had a bit of fear about it. He kept telling me he didn’t want to do loop de loops. I kept telling him no, we don’t do that.

His fear of flying became more apparent when we boarded the plane. The kids were following me through the air bridge to the plane, and we get to the door of the plane where theres a gap between the plane and the bridge, he stops, and starts to whimper. I go to take his hand and walk with him beside me, and he bursts into tears. The gap scared him, the whole being on a plane scared him, and I held his hand and pulled him along to our seats while he’s sobbing about being so scared. All the flight attendants smiled at him and reassured him. We got seated and he frantically fought to get his seat belt on, even with me telling him not to worry about that yet (they do this in the car when you turn it on before they are belted in). I got him settled and offered my special “take off candy” in the form of a ring pop. He also very much loved the idea of TV right at his seat. By the time we got going, he was all good to go and didn’t even care that we were up in the air.


This girl loved flying and loved looking out the window. Each kid had a turn flying in the window seat.

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When we were getting off the plane, the stewardess was telling the kids how good they were on their first flight, and the pilot perked right up and was like FIRST FLIGHT!!! COME HERE GUYS AND SEE THE COCKPIT! He was so excited to show them the buttons and things on the plane. Very cool pilot, very cool indeed.

So, we arrived in Ottawa, and Tony was there waiting. The kids were overjoyed to see daddy, and promptly left me to schlep the luggage around while they both fought to hold daddy’s free hand. They ended up both holding one of this hands together, and it was good.


Time change and flying is hard work. 5 minutes from the airport they were passed out.


We went house hunting, looked at many places. More on that later. This pic of sadie and the dandelion was taken by Lucas. The phone was a good distraction for them while we were looking at houses. They loved taking pictures.

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The Works in the downtown part of kingston was delicious. We loved it and its delicious burgers. I got broccoli because I was so sick of french fries by this time.

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They had the best time together. Playing Go Fish, swimming in the pool, and driving around with us.


Also, Screamers! I’ve never had one of these until now. They were delicious and were great for our country drive.

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There are beautiful parts of southern ontario. Next time I’ll bring my big camera and make Tony stop so I can take pictures of things, just like my dad.


On our way back home, we bought strawberries, and they were the best tasting ones I’ve ever had. Whoever told me this was so right.


That was Chilliwack outside the window of our plane, that glimmer of lights.


The night we got home, Lucas had stayed up until 11 pm, and then was awake at 6. I had him sleep with me, but I ended up being evicted because feet, in my face. He slept an hour and a half more before appearing upstairs.

Soooo, I didn’t forget about the part of this trip that was our purpose of going. We did find a house we liked, its half a duplex. We’ve got an accepted offer, and right now we’re waiting on a home inspection and such. That happens this week. So, we’re praying that everything goes well and if it does, we will move mid September. The reason for September is that Tony will be deployed for the month of August and can’t be here to oversee the move.

So, we’re excited, and hopefully things go well with the home inspection.

Garden update!


Look at that pretty feathery dill! Its grown so much. I love it. When I go to the garden, I usually pet it before I head out to the tomatoes.


So, after petting the dill, I prune off the suckers from the tomatoes. They’re all blossoming nicely.


This turkey isn’t supposed to be shimmying across the garden beds, but he was looking at the beans with me. They’re slow this year, but they’re getting there.

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Theres random dill in the middle of the beans.


The beets are looking mighty good over here.


Carrots are happy. We planted a few more where a cat dug them up. Dumb cats.

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So, these are potato plants that were missed last year. They’re just so happy over here.


There are 2 tomatoes of the defiant variety.


Thats my rosemary. Its huge. I am hoping to bring him with me when we move. I think he’s hearty enough to withstand moving.

Trust and Control (or lack thereof) and how things worked out

Are you a go with the flow kind of person? Well, if so, I envy you. I am not one of those people. I am queen of making plans, of lists, of controlling/planning things. I love planning birthday parties, camping trips, family bbq’s, and all that stuff. I love making lists for cleaning, and groceries, I like to meal plan.

This last year has really pushed me outside my comfort zone in that I’ve had to relinquish control of a lot of things. I shall tell you this, you’d think that after a year of learning to be out of control, I’d be used to it. Yes and no. This last year has been hard. The military life has shown me how unpredictable things get, and try as I might, I just cannot plan for every situation that will happen. We were approaching the end of his course, and even though we  didn’t know where we would be posted, we had a few ideas. So, in my infinite wisdom, I tried researching all the places we might be headed.

What schools do they have?

Whats the cost of living?

What can we afford?

Whats transit like?

It started getting overwhelming, but I persisted, because I felt like I needed to contribute to this situation somehow. I felt like it would only be fair to try and help research where we might be headed. I learned the hard way that it was just not worth it. My body started reacting to stress of the overwhelming situation in a way I had not experienced. It was horrible. So, I looked at the situation and realized that I cannot be in control, and I let God back into the drivers seat.

Pretty sure my prayer was this:  I cannot do this, physically or mentally. You know what we need, and you will put us where we need to be. You’ve got this. I will trust in you.

I prayed this a lot, amongst other things.

So, the weeks leading up to his posting were about trying not to stress. I read many books to distract myself, watched mindless tv, prayed and noticed my mental and physical states were improving.

Tony went through stressful exams and graduated his course. The thing he had been working towards for the last year was finished. The whole day I was on pins and needles because he would finally get his posting. It wasn’t until later in the evening for him that he was able to briefly text me one word : Kingston.

My jaw hit the floor. Kingston was an army base, not airforce. It wasn’t on our radar at all. I think it shocked him as much as it shocked me.

I was elated, and I’ll tell you why.

While visiting Tony there in March, I vividly remember driving with him through the city and sighing and tell him I wish it was possible to be posted here because it feels so much like home. It was a weird feeling, because I had been there for less than a week, and I felt so comfortable there.

He told me that he really liked it there too, but that we should focus on places we were likely to be posted to, and Kingston was not ever on our radar.

So, this is why my jaw dropped after reading that text. I almost thought it was a mistake. When he was able to, he called and we talked about his new posting, and it was no mistake. God found us a place where I’d be most at home.

I told Tony what I had been praying for in the last few weeks and he chuckled and jokingly said “So you’re to blame for where we’re going.”

Pretty cool story, eh?