Saturday, 17 January 2009

Swap Joy, even for Bees

My Rubberswap Redux swap package arrived today, hooray! It is from the fabulous Lisa B of Lisabeedesigns. It actually arrived yesterday but the postie had to leave a card through the door. I wasn't sure if it would be ready for collection at the sorting office yet, but I couldn't wait, and it was a lovely, sunny morning (for a change) for the walk so I chanced it, and the knitting gods smiled upon me.

Because it was sunny, with decent light for photography, I decided to open it in the garden with my camera. This was a mistake, as will become clear.

First layer unwrapped - I thoroughly approve of recycling boxes, for both economical and environmental reasons, so you are a girl after my own heart, Lisa. I send most of my packages out in boxes from something else. Hotel Chocolat are, incidentally, an excellent source of useful, small boxes for this type of thing.

Opening the box, I found a lovely note which I read with great excitement.

Unfortunately, as I was doing so, a visitor arrived. A honeybee. Actually, I'm assuming it arrived, rather than being in the box already. This is Lisabeedesigns, after all. I did even joke on the thread in RR that my partner shouldn't send me a boxful of live bees because they are an illegal import at UK Customs because of nasty bee diseases... Surely not? No, I'm pretty sure I saw it land. It wandered over the tissue paper for a bit:

Then disappeared into the depths of the box. Oh dear.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I have a horrible phobia of wasps. I'm slightly more comfortable around honeybees, but I would hardly say I was keen on them. Worse still, by this point a furious buzzing was emanating from the box. I wasn't entirely happy about putting my hand in there. I whacked the box a couple of times with a stick, to try to frighten it out, but no bee emerged. Shit.

Dilemma: leave the box until later, or proceed with opening? I didn't really want to leave it as I wouldn't have known whether or not the bee was still in there. The boyfriend, who used to work with honeybees and therefore has little fear of them, was off climbing so not around to save me, and anyway, how pathetic and girly would that be? Besides, all he would do to remove the bee would be to upend the box and steal my joy of unpacking it. I decided to be brave. I extracted the contents gingerly (ha) using the big scissors I'd had on hand for unwrapping to pick things up.

On the top, a "Ravel Mix" CD burned by Lisa of music she thought I'd like, based on my Amazon wishlist. This is so cool, and shows such thoughtfulness that I really am humbled.

Pretty yarns! There's some yummy Andean Treasure baby alpaca from Knitpicks, always great to receive here in the UK. Then there are some truly gorgeous yarns from Lisa's local Dancing Leaf Farm in Maryland, beautiful! I am guessing from the website that the bigger one is Rhumba organic worsted-weight merino in the Briar Patch colourway, and the smaller one is Salsa DK-weight mohair/wool in Purple Passion. They are really, really nice.

On the food front, Hard Times Chili spice mix (mmm!) from Texas and Lake Champlain Hazelnut Praline dark chocolate (double mmm!) from Vermont. These will go down very well indeed.

Cute little fingerpuppets of a girl and a chicken, lovely bamboo needles with pink balls on the end, and a beautiful notebook with birds on the front. You all know how much I like things with birds on the front.

Having removed most of the stuff, I discovered what the bee was after (crap photo as I was too scared to check the focus):

Gorgeous soap samples from Alchemic Muse, as I'd mentioned on my questionnaire that I'd like inspiration for my own soap-making. The bee had made, er, a bee-line for the Brier Rose-scented one. I think this is very telling on how proper essential oils (like Alchemic Muse use, and so do I) absolutely kick the arses of synthetic fragrance oils. The bee must have thought that summer was here, and it wanted it. Really wanted it. I did feel a bit sorry for the bee - it was quite groggy with the cold and lacking energy from no food all winter, and it must have thought that the wonderful rose scent meant nectar. And it's not as if honeybees are doing very well at the moment. However, this one wasn't going to survive long by waking up in January anyway. I eventually managed to shake it off onto the lawn so that I could get at my soap:

Thank you so much Lisa, it's all bee-rilliant!


lisabeedesigns said...

Glad you're enjoying it!

The Chili mix is actually from a local (Washington DC) chain called Hard Time Cafe. I think everywhere should have a Hard Times cafe, because the chili is oh so good!

I am not sure which yarn the purple is, aside that it's from Dancing Leaf. But I'm pretty sure that it's not the Salsa, and is only alpaca. But whatever. It's pretty!

Have fun, happy knitting, and bee ware of bees!


Ashley said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your bee adventure lol. You lucky duck! What an awesome swap box! The CD was such a good idea!