Bee-lieveably Sweet! A Card, A History, A Poem

Well, fancy meeting you here again!  I am back with my second post of the day to prompt you to play along with us at the CASE Study Challenge, where some delightful designers are working this month from the inspiration of Joni Andaya of Papell With Love .  Please see my first post for the challenge here!  And since it is the beginning of spring for many of us, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, I can think of few better than Joni for some spring inspiration.

Here is this week’s offering from Joni!


Elegant harmony.  That’s what this card is.

In my first take on this card, I wanted to capture that elegance.  However, in the second incarnation, I went whimsical and trendy.  It was the amazing grey and salmon hexagon design and wasabi paper from Amuse Studio that pulled me in that direction.

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The true color of this paper is easier to see here in the second photo.  I absolutely love this color, and when paired with the salmon and pinks, it’s just delectable.  And that hexagon paper?  It came in a pack from Impress stamps, so I don’t know who manufactured it.  It was the only one of its kind, so I was hording it for just the right time.  And this card was just the occasion.  Can you see some of the fine print and detailing?

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I wanted to make sure to leave the sentiments and details of the paper exposed and tried to draw attention to them with placement of subtle embellishments, such as the wood veneer diamonds that I die cut from Simon Says Stamp’s Mod Window.

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The black Swiss dot paper from Bazzill makes an appearance again, this time really grounding the design and making the textured pink bee and wasabi laurel pop!  I used PTI’s tag sale die for this.

The flag is from a Dear Lizzie pack of chipboard embellishments.  I strategically tore my script washi so it would read “I walk on the line of love”– delightful line!

What really ended up bringing the design together for me was the die cut striped washi at the bottom of the card.  This was my ah-ha moment where I knew the card was finished, and how I brought in that captivating stripe of Joni’s card.

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As you can see from the back, the front panel sits up a bit higher, so I was able to capture the full design of the paper on the front.  I like how the back of the cardstock peeks over the top edge and how the design plays with the arrowed washi at the bottom.

Please join us at CASE Study now until Tuesday at midnight to play along with this week’s challenge!

So what is the story of the bee and laurel? 

If you have read any of my other posts, you will have noticed that I love to work thematically in my writing, pulling in historical and cultural references, and providing my readers with interesting facts about the topic at hand.

I enjoy the French country and shabby chic aesthetic.  I am, in many ways (apologies to my British friends), a Francophile at heart.  From the moment I walked into my first French class at the age of 11, I was hooked on the language, culture and history.  Sadly, I don’t use my French as much as I used to since I’ve no occasion to speak it or teach it here in Seattle.  In Upstate New York, so close to Canada and specifically Quebec, French was much more prevalent, and it was a dominant language taught within the schools in the area. Now it comes in handy when I am teaching morphology and etymology to my students, or assisting with Spanish.  Quel domage.

One of my (many) goals is to join a French conversation group so I can brush up!  If you know of any good ones online, or if you would like to correspond in French, let me know.  I am rusty as an old hinge, but passionate nonetheless!

So, the bee and laurel!

You’ve likely seen this regal combination adorning cards, pillows, linens and other home décor.

In France, the bee was representative of French sovereigns and became an emblem of the First Empire under Napoleon I during the 19th century, adorning his coat of arms.

The bee is a “Symbol of immortality and resurrection…chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.” (

A laurel wreath also appears on Napoleon’s coat of arms encircling the N and around which bees and stars dance.

The laurel has long been associated with power and victory, going back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans.  It was Apollo who first donned the wreath in honor of Daphne, who had, in fleeing from his insistent pursuit, been turned into a Laurel tree by the Gods at her imploring.  Not so victorious, hmm, Apollo?

When considered within a contemporary, feminist framework, the tale raises issues about the problematic nature of freedom for women, the struggle for power, and the threat that both society and men pose to the mind and body of women.  I was long ago inspired by the myth and these issues, so I wrote the following poem based on it and the Miles Davis tune “Pharaoh’s Dance.”

I will leave you with that very poem and an embed of the amazing tune if you care to read and listen!

While Listening to Miles Davis’ “Pharaoh’s Dance”

Corner creeping quiet sneaking trumpet
blow the echo and crash in empty black
comet spiral sound keep crashing into light

Stars explode in drum beat burst
shrill silver light streak in sky then silence
and night

haunting rhythm return soft toe

tap tingle around crafty foot
step and louder now                     the squeak                          the squeal
hand around waist where skin screams
at touch and wriggles away

Running faster Daphne from Apollo
perverse pursuit
her hair flow in wind long tail behind
and the phantom at her back
to help          her flight                her final cry
ends here

quiet legs stick in ground
arms outreaching             rhythm slow fall over her
thigh becomes trunk                  small waist circle of wood
breasts knotty knobs and fingers branch to end
with green tipped wonder                     point to the sky


Her pursuer stops                  wants to break
branches                 halo         the leaves around his head
a laurel crown caressing
hurt                             he will watch forever as she withers
and is reborn

the pound                the pulse             the rhythm
faster now in memory                     in memory                     in memory
in memory                             in memory
of the chase

Happy Groundhog Day AND a Challenge

No more winter! No more winter! “Give Me Five” by Miroslav Halama

The sight of the sun on February 2nd is a mixed blessing, according to Punxsutawney Phil and the tradition of Groundhog’s Day. This time of the year is associated with purification, fertility, and light, celebrated in ancient times by Greeks, Romans, and Celts, as well as Christians in later times, with large feasts honoring spirits, saints, and the Virgin Mary. The word February etymologically stems from Februa, meaning purification or expiatory rites.  It is of unknown origin, but perhaps stems from the Sabine, an ancient Italic people (Source).

In the second week of February, the ancient Romans held Lupercalia, a spring purification festival aimed at warding off evil spirits and preparing for spring. Imbolc, a Gaelic celebration, was held on February 1st, the midway point between winter solstice and the vernal equinox, heralding the onset of spring, and including divination of the weather to come. Candlemas on February 2nd, has a layered history and goes by a variety of names in the Christian church, but like the other festivals was a celebration of light (blessing of candles) and purification, specifically in honoring Jesus and Mary.

Additionally, for many cultures throughout history, the day is believed to be an indication of the weather and planting season to come.  The tradition was brought to America by Germans who initially looked to the hedgehog, and subsequently in America the groundhog, to foretell the weather.

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.
”  (Source)

So in honor of these ancient traditions, groundhogs everywhere, my birthday (!), and the CASology challenge “AND”, I decided to put together this little greeting:

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Darling, don’t you think?  I absolutely love this combination of stamps, of which the “groundhog,” logs, and swirl are wood-mounted rubber from Memory Box.  My groundhog is lightly shadowed with Copic E40, and the logs are colored with E13, E15, E19, and E47.

The sentiment’s font should look familiar to many, it being the popular Milo’s Alphabet from Lawn Fawn.  And what do you think of that amazing ampersand from the PTI set, Grand Ampersand?  Perfect little shadow, and complement to the font, isn’t it?

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Since this card was made for a client as a thanks for a birthday gift, the inside has a greeting of gratitude.  But other versions I am working on say “Wishing you a Happy Groundhog’s Day” inside.

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Here is an initial version of the card below:

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At this time of the year, I use Don Freeman’s fabulous book, Gregory’s Shadow with many of my early readers.  It is a delightful story filled with gorgeous illustrations.


Interested in learning more about Groundhog’s Day?  You can check out these sites:

AND last but not least, have you seen the classic, Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray?  Here’s a little clip, if you’ve not, or if it’s been awhile.

Although I love February 2nd, I certainly wouldn’t want to be doomed to repeat it over and over like Bill.  Once a year is quite enough for me, what with that whole getting older aspect… then again, if I were stuck in time, would it mean I wouldn’t age?  Hmmm…..

Here’s hoping your day is delightfully different from the last and that spring makes its way to you soon, if you are in a wintery clime!  My body is already registering the days of longer light, and 6 more weeks of winter or no, I will take all the sun I can get!

Head over to CASology to see what additional fun is happening there over and over and over again!