Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easter Sewing

I have a very Type A personality, which doesn't always mesh so well with my Type B personality. I know, I even confuse myself a little sometimes. I love organization, I crave it, and I'm very good at organizing things and my type A personality strives for organization while my type B personality is a little more messy, or let's say creative. Yeah creative is a nice way of putting it!  :)

I also have a very good memory. I remember details and very rarely need to use a planner to remember appointments, important dates, etc. But, I sometimes remember to remember them at the last minute (usually when I look at my planner!).

So this morning on facebook I had a very nice reminder from my very nice friend Angie reminding everyone about their appointments for the Easter Shoot, which I thought was next weekend, however, is this weekend.

I don't have easter clothes sewn yet. Oh, we've started. If you consider starting meaning I know what I'm going to sew for each kid. Connor will be in a tie in the same material as his sister's dress and Logan will have a onsie with a tie applicaid on it. Em and daddy even picked out the material and I picked up a new onsie for the baby and rick rack for the dress. They even picked out a pattern.

But it's all sitting in a pile. The material is not even washed and the pattern is not in her size and needs to be graded up.

So this morning, I've been reworking the pattern for her dress.

Resizing kids clothes is much easier than adults. Now pesky darts and curves of the body to deal with. This dress calls for a zipper but I added an extension on one of the back pieces so that I can put in snaps or buttons. I also lengthened the pants. Although they show on the picture as below the knee, the pattern is for more short bloomers than long bloomers and I really like how they peek out the bottom of the dress.

This lil' one is more than happy to sit up in his chair on the table and help his momma work this morning. Especially since his sister is at school and his brother is off with daddy and grandma and he gets undivided attention.


Monday, March 28, 2011




Snot (Apparently his mother's name was Booger)

And Cocoa Puff

We bought four bull calves from a local dairy farmer this weekend. Cocoa Puff is 2 weeks old, Melvin and Harvey are 3 weeks old, and Snot is a month old. Cocoa Puff is the only one who is still on a bottle, the other three are drinking from pails. Our daughter thought it was hilarious that daddy was bringing them home in the back of the truck. She told him, "Oh daddy, you're just like mommy bringing home all those animals in your truck, she must be rubbing off." :) So sometimes as a farmer you have to improvise!! 

The last couple of years, I have not kept a running list of how much it costs to raise a bull calf from when we bring them home to when we take them to butcher. This year I've started a spreadsheet. The milk replacer is leftover but we will need another bag but I'm not entirely sure what the current cost is. So currently, we have $100 into four bull calves.

Even the lil' one got in on the action!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A ruffled onsie and a ruffled hat

This is because now I can't seem to put the ruffled fabric down! I whipped this up pretty quick and I don't even have a little girl! I thought about putting it on the baby boy but the man would probably have words about that.  :)

And Emily also got a hat with a flower she wanted on there.

Our day has been full of ruffles. And quick, satisfying projects.  :)


I linked up to this post.

Ruffled Fabric

There's a lot of talk on sewing blogs about ruffled fabric. It really is pretty neat because it's pre-ruffled. Saves a lot of time and energy. You can find it online at Ruffle Fabric.

Yesterday when I started sewing my dress, it was pretty much a disaster from the time I started to cut my material. I finally put it down and walked away. I needed a positive sewing experience before I go back to finishing that project so I decided to play with this material. Very simple tank top using a top I already had as a pattern. I just laid the tank top on the material and cut around it. I turned under the neckline and arms and this is what I ended up with...
I think this can be very versitile. I can see me wearing it with a pair of jeans or capris or even a pencil skirt!!

This is what I learned from working on my dress yesterday (I knew all this beforehand but you know how hindsight is always 20/20!).
  • Directions are made for a reason - read the directions BEFORE buying your material. Apparently it helps to know what you're making before you make it. Here I thought I was making a dress because that's what the picture showed but I choose the option for a tunic but cut out the dress pieces but didn't have enough material. So my dress is now being made into a tunic.
  • Don't sew on material that looks similiar on both sides when your children are awake. I had to pick out four seams because I sewn the wrong sides together instead of the right sides together and I only have the bodice done!
  • Don't try out new presser feet that you've never used before when you're in the middle of a project. A rolled hem presser foot may make life easier but when when you're sewing on viole and you've never used a rolled hem foot before. It would have been another seam I had to pick out but used cut a new sleeve instead.
  • DO NOT leave marking pens on your table where 2 year olds can reach...or if you do...say prayers that fortunately they were disappearing ink marking pens.
Now after my success today, I just may have it in me to have another try at my dress, err tunic. Maybe I'd better have some coffee and chocolate first!


I'm linking to this post.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rainbow pudding

My daughter loves to cook and bake. It's not always that she likes to eat what she makes but she does like to work in the kitchen. I've seen this project in quite a few places around the web...coloring foods in a rainbow colors. One of the websites said to use gel food coloring. I picked up pink and purple in gel colors and used regular food coloring/egg dye for the rest. The gel coloring is expensive and in comparing the outcome, I'd say go the food coloring route.

We have a very, very small kitchen so we use one of the larger
cutting boards over the stove for additional workspace.

This was a good lesson in learning colors and what colors mix together to make a new color. For my 2 year old, it was just plain fun but also practice in coordination (meaning not getting pudding all over the place while trying to stir it).

See the pretty dark purple one at the top of the picture. That was with regular food coloring. See the weird color to the left? That was with the $2 a bottle of gel food coloring. The pale pink on the right side of the took the whole bottle of gel coloring to get that color. The bright pink on the other side of the picture...regular food coloring.

After they were mixed and chilled in the fridge awhile (meaning - mommy had a chance to calm down from being over stimulated while trying to not get food coloring all over the kitchen while supervising a 2 year old and 4 year old), we set everything up on the kitchen table and they created rainbows in new cups.

The baby in a bouncy seat on the table where he could laugh at his siblings (and give them the sink eye when they ignored him).

The proud 4 year old who declared we were going to win a trophy for the bestest rainbow pudding ever.

Do look at your pictures and realize you seriously need to clean certain
areas of your house? Like say, the stove that you didn't think looked
"that" bad or the area that consists of your work area?

This is "my area" which is my little nook under the stairs. It holds the computer and my sewing machine(s). There are two file drawers under the table on which two printers also sit. The pink and green drawers are full of the kids art and crafting supplies. It also becomes a place where clothing that needs to be mended goes, bills, banking, and paperwork get placed and fabric that I have in mind for a project ends up. There's also quite a few started projects that I keep thinking if I see them on a regular basis, I'll get working on them. It's also the place where the kids put their toys and artwork that they don't want their sibling to get ahold of.

*Sigh* This scary sight needs to be dealt with today!


I'm linking up to this post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What happened to spring?

This is the view from my back door this morning.

That is a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow. And it's pretty much raining, snowing, and sleeting at the same time! So to try to get some spring back into my head, I dug into my UFO pile and came out with this skirt.

I cut out two skirts almost 2 years ago. The first one I finished and decided that it's wearable but I just do not like the yoke, it is not very flattering at all. So this one sat and sat and sat. Until this morning when I decided to forego the yoke altogether and use a little foldover elastic at the waist. Now I just need to decide how to finish the hem because I want to add a little bit more length back. The yoke was 4 inches and while it's not at all an inappropriate length, a little longer would probably be a bit more flattering. I'm thinking of maybe some grosgrain ribbon with a little rick rack between the two? Most likely yellow since the skirt already has a lot of pink. But that will have to wait until I get to go shopping which will probably be on Thursday when I have to take my gram to her doctor's appointment.

Our chickens have been loving this warm weather and are producing lots of eggs these days. Emily loves hard boiled eggs so I boiled up another batch this morning. Don't they look just beautiful. I know a lot of people have difficulty peeling farm fresh eggs. I've found that once they are boiled, I place the pan into the sink and start running cold water over them and then I crack each egg and let it sit in the water. They always peel perfectly!

We have quite a few different breeds although most of them are brown egg layers we do have a couple that lay the blue eggs and a couple that are brown speckled egg layers. There is one brown egg buried at the bottom of this pile that is about twice the size of the others.


Monday, March 21, 2011


We took a little trip up to our beehives over the weekend. One colony survived but the other was dead. The colony that survived was very busy with a lot of early spring buzzing going on. The other hive was filled with honey and lots of honeycomb.

My children think honeycomb is candy made by bees. My 2 year old (didn't get a nap yesterday) had a tantrum when he only got two spoonfuls of honeycomb. I thought about throwing a little fit myself because yeah it's that good but you know the whole I'm the parent and should be a good role model thing. Yeah, it sucks sometimes. :)

This is the first year we've seen this much food in the hives in the spring which  means they were either really busy late last fall or very very early this spring. Either way, it's definately a yummy treat!

I'm linking to this post.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ribbon Barrettes

Several weeks ago I was flipping through a craft magazine at Walmart and had a flashback to the 80s. Feeling slightly nostaligic, I picked up some barrettes and ribbon and then they sat on my crafting table for a couple weeks. So tonight after all the kids went to bed, I sat down to watch a little television and figure out how to recreate them (I was too cheap frugal to buy the magazine) and came up with this.

The ones I wore as a little girl always had the little beads attached to the ends so when we swung our head the beads clicked together (I told you I was a little nostalgic).

I'm going to keep playing with them. I think by twisting the ribbon, the colors could alternate down each side.

This is a great little project that is ridiculously cheap and simple to make! My daughter will be so happy with them in the morning because as she always tells me, "You know mommy, pink and purple are my favorite color."

I'm linking up to this post.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spagetti Salad

I know. That doesn't look like spagetti. When I first starting making this salad, I always used spagetti noodles but found the smaller noodles make for easier eating. But if I rename it now nobody would not what it was!

This is probably one of my favorite salads because it's never the same. Basically it's noodles with Italian dressing and whatever vegetables you want or have around to put in it. To really get fancy, I add black olives and pepperonis. In the summer, we make this salad quite often because it is so easy, stores well, tastes even better after a couple of days and is light and fresh tasting. Plus it's an added bonus of just walking out to the garden and picking some vegetables to throw in.

I made this for our spring supper at church tonight. I'm hoping there is some left over so we can have some with lunch tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding Comfort in our daily chores

There are days when I start feeling overwhelmed with everything. The dishes seemed to have multiplied, the laundry pile keeps growing, the floors all of a sudden are dirty (didn't I just clean them yesterday), the outside chores are slacking, one of the kids may have been up all night (usually it's the middle child who can only sleep from 2-4 am lately when he's touching me and only me), the baby wants to nurse or be held constantly and I'm torn between holding him constantly or putting him down to get done what I need to get done around the house. You know, typical mother stuff!! :)

And then I decide to make bread. And I start kneading dough and I can feel stress start to release from my body, my mind starts to slow and I knead bread while looking out the window at the beautiful sunshine. It's moments like these that cause me to pause and start anew.

While my bread was rising, I sat down to read my devotional (I've been doing daily devotional in the morning and lent devotional at night) and today's is "The Extra Mile." We read our daily devotional from a publication called The Upper Room.

"If anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile." Matthew 5:41

Part of the story states, "These kindnesses caused me to think about how Christians obey the Bible's commands to serve. We can bring God pleasure when we don't limit ourselves to simply carrying out our task but also invest love, concern, attention, and diligence. When we apply God's principles in our lives, we allow God's grace to be revealed in and through us. And all over this world, there will be extra smiles; kind words; and unexpected joy, hope, and encouragement."

When I go about my daily chores and routines, I should not just do them out of duty or necessity but out of love as this will spill into our environment affecting it is a more positive way. We can find comfort in our daily chores and routines by the simplicity it brings to our lives and how our daily acts of love and kindness bring joy to ourselves and others.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

So I'm reminding myself to give generously of myself as I go about day, to love and laugh and enjoy everything I'm doing and everyone I'm encountering. I'm reminding myself to enjoy God's gifts and the beauty in life. To enjoy snuggling with my kids (even if it's the middle of the night) and nursing my little baby boy because his time as a baby is bittersweet and he will be my last baby. And Oh yeah, that homemade bread too but then I won't need any reminders to enjoy that when it comes out of the oven all hot and steamy!!  :)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring is starting to sprung!

I keep having the song, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" running through my head but I keep trying to subject to Christmas for spring but it just doesn't have the same ring. Nevertheless, spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. Although that doesn't mean we still can't have one or two or even eight more snowstorms. I took my camera out when I walked down to get my oldest off the bus a few minutes ago and this is what I'm seeing.

Our driveway has become a slippery mudslide. It does every spring. At first we tried to keep it smooth but it just made it worse so we deal with it for a couple of weeks and then take the drag and smooth it out. It does make coming up the driveway fun but once you start up don't stop!! :)

And the last pictures, those are buds starting on the trees. YAY FOR SPRING!!!!

And yes, that is a scarecrow and ghost still in the front yard from last fall. Ahem...I'll take it down finally once the snow melts.  :)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Barnyard Birds

I ordered our birds for this spring and they should be arriving mid-April. We ordered what is called a Frypan special which is 50 heavy breed cockerels. In the past I've always raised Jumbo Cornish Cross but the price on them went up considerably and because of their growth rate they need a high protein feed.  So we decided to try the heavy breeds for our meat birds this year and see how they compare to the Jumbo Cornish Cross in terms of taste and feeding costs. I'm hoping the price of chick starter has not gone up too much. Starter is the only grain besides oyster shells for our egg laying chicks that we buy for our animals. Luckily, we're able to grow the majority of our feed from our little homestead or through the sharecropping we do with friends.

We also are adding to our turkeys this year. We lost several last year to a fox and one who visits occasionally but now lives with the wild turkeys in the area so I've ordered 3 Bourbon Reds and 1 Narragansett. We have had very good luck with these breeds. They are friendly (almost too much so!) and have been good about laying and hatching their eggs.

We decided to bring back ducks and geese. Mainly because they eat bugs and it's barely showing signs of spring and our house is being invaded by these little Asian Beetles.

The years we haven't had ducks and geese, we've sprayed the house. However, that means leaving the house for a day or two because of the pesticide. Does anyone know how to keep these bugs away using a natural remedy? Because right now I'm combating them with the broom and vacuum. The birds will take care of this problem but it will be a couple months before they are roaming the barnyard.

I ordered a barnyard special which consists of 1 pair of geese, 1 pair of ducks, 2 turkeys, 10 pullets, 1 rooster and 10 assorted rare chicks. With this special, we do not get a choice of breeds. Typically in the past the rare chicks have been exotic birds which are not good meat birds and lay smaller eggs but they are fun to have around because they are pretty unique looking (i.e. the kids love them).

We're having a rough go at lambing this spring. I went out to the barn tonight to do chores and one of my sheep had triplets but I found all of them had died. It looks like they just got too cold and got too far away from their mama. I told DH that next year I was going to bring them into the garage when they starting lambing where I know it'll be nice and warm and I won't have a problem getting out to check on them. He didn't disagree with that train of thought...

On the homeside of the homestead, my daughter again gave me the, "You're the greatest mom ever" award today for letting them do this...

They love to paint and painted for almost two hours today!


I'm linking this post.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Car Seat Blanket

I've wanted one of these for quite some time but it's one of those things you never quite get around to doing. But three kids later I'm finally making one! It was very simple and if I hadn't run out of bias tape, would have completed it about 45 minutes after I started it. I seem to have reoccuring issues with not having enough bias tape. I think that would be partly due to trying to figure out what I need for notions for a project I haven't really started or even drafted out while I'm standing in the sewing department of walmart....

I've seen these here and there on different websites and most have rounded corners. I just cut two pieces of fabric (top is flannel and bottom is a quilted cotton) 40 inches long by the width of the fabric and bound them with bias tape. Then for the strapes, I laid the blanket down into the carseat and marked the straps and then basically made two long button holes for the shoulder straps and one large button hole for the strap that comes up between the legs.

I have more material to make a lighter weight one for summer and I'm still working on my new dresses, shirts and pants but I got sidetracked the other day while ironing material by my UFO (unfinished objects) bin and started to do some putzy work on finally getting some of that finished up. I even found a skirt where I cut all of the fabric pieces but don't know what pattern I cut it from so I'm not sure how it goes together. But I think that'll work because if I remember, I have another skirt like that but don't like the yoke so now I can maybe fix the waist line and get rid of the yoke.


Sleepy Mamas and Crafting

This is what happens when you try to sew on 3 1/2 hours of sleep.

Reminder to self: The tape measure gets removed BEFORE cutting the fabric.

Second reminder to self: Buy new tape measure...


Monday, March 7, 2011

Bull Calves, Spring Lambing and Bees

I always call them cows but in reality they are steers. We butchered and sold the last of our cattle right before Christmas so now begins the process of looking for new bull calves. The best way we've found to get cattle at a reasonable (a.k.a. cheap) price is to buy Holstein bull calves from dairy farmers. The last couple of years, farmers have been getting very little for bull calves when they are shipped to market so we've been able to pick them up for between $25-50. Holsteins will not get as big as other types but we've kept them because they are easily found in our area and inexpensive to obtain.

We've waited until after the baby was born because we typically bring them home when they are less then a week old so there is lots of bottle feeding going on. Look at that beautiful green pasture...I can't wait for summer!

We're also waiting for our sheep to start lambing. They are all bagging up quite nicely and I'm hoping for more twins this spring. I have one mother who has a nice history of having twins.

Here's one of the lambs only a couple weeks old. Yes, our lambs and goats have been in the house. I think this day I was taking him into school for my daughter's class and I brought him in the house to brush him up. (Yes, I've also had baby chicks and turkey and other small barn animals in the house.) The man of the house just shakes his head!

We're also adding another hive this summer and order another set of bees because yummy does this look!!

Being a city girl who wouldn't have dared stepped into a barn in fear of messing her manicure or getting her heel stuck someplace that might cause it to look less than stellar and who's diet consisted of whatever could be heated quickly in the microwave, I've progressed quickly in the last 5 years in realizing the difference in taste in things like farm fresh eggs, honey, meat, vegetables, fruit, etc.

I even got rid of the high heels (our puppy ate them all 3 years ago anyways although I do replace my little red flats periodically) and actually said the other day..."Boy I really need a new pair of muck boots."

With all the new activity happening or starting to happen around the farm, it's finally time to be able to look forward to spring! Now I just need to finalize the chicken and turkey order.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making Clothes That Last

When I look at controlling and maintaining the things in our households, there are some items that we accumulate faster than others. In our households, it's books and clothes. Children seem to accumulate clothes as a much faster rate than adults but typically it because they outgrown them so fast. But looking at the pile of clothes for my daughter on the laundry table and in her closet and dresser, it amazes me that she has almost as many clothes as I do. Living in a region that has four distinct and overlapping seasons, it becomes easy to accumulate clothes because each season requires a different type of covering.

There are ways to make girl's clothing last through several seasons and growth spurts. When I first made this dress, it was November and my daughter wore it with tights and a turtleneck and added a sweater for really chilly days.

When spring came, she was able to wear this same dress with a short sleeve shirt and a light sweater and tights. Again, throughout the summer she was able to wear it as a sundress. Last fall, my daughter went through a growth spurt and the dress became too short for modesty for her age. However, she could now wear the dress as a tunic top with a shirt underneath and a pair of leggings or jeans.

We got five very distinct seasons out of this dress. The plus side is that because it is handmade, it has stayed in very good shape. The downside is that she has unfortunately outgrown it. The material is's a Heather Ross double guaze material...heavenly and definately was a splurge.

Now that she has outgrown this as a dress and a tunic, it can easily be turned into an adorable little skirt that can get several more seasons (allowing this mom to enjoy her handiwork and this beautiful fabric even longer!).

I'll post pictures after I reconstruct it!