Buttonholes, collar stand, placards, interfacing, French seams, pleats and top stitching all in one project. If nothing else it was a learning experience. I took my time and read the directions carefully and tried to follow them. After two failed attempts at attaching the collar stand I found an online video tutorial to assist me. After I finally got it on I called my sister and said “I HATE COLLAR STANDS!” She laughed before offering encouraging words. “I don’t cuss often,” I told her “but in my mind I was.”
At last, it’s finished. The fit is decent and from a distance it doesn’t look too bad.
I do like the combination of fabrics.
It will be nice for working around the house or farm or perhaps even sitting around a campfire on a summer evening.
Now that you know my, um, excuses for not blogging much this year (the dog ate my blog –Blame It on the Dog) let me catch you up on some of the things that I’ve been up to in 2022.
Daily Yoga – The day after Christmas I began doing yoga. I have never done yoga before but have been told about its benefits and encouraged to try it by two of my sisters and one of my daughters. Since I was no longer experiencing as much pain form the pinched nerve, I decided that it was time to start trying to heal this condition. In order to do so I figured some type of exercise is necessary. I decided to start this 30-day yoga journey entitled breath because for the past two years I have been practicing deep breathing and encouraging others to “breathe deep” as well.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. I am nowhere near good at this. I am not graceful. I am awkward at best. I am getting better but it’s not pretty. (That is why I only do it when I am home alone.)
I have been feeling and seeing some of the benefits. I can tell that I am getting stronger and increasing my balance. I also feel good physically and I seem to have more focus after doing it. Once I finished the first 30-day program I started over again and I’m about to finish it a second time. I plan on repeating it again in March.
If you’ve ever considered learning yoga I would encourage you to do it. I would also recommend this program as a starting point.
Sewing Projects– I have completed two sewing projects. The first was this sweatshirt dress made with plush fleece. I did adjust the pattern to make it a turtleneck. This top is so comfortable and warm; I wear it quite often.
(I’m no model so this is what I do when my husband tells me to pose. LOL)
The second is this sweater. I’m not sure what the fabric would be called, but it is a soft knit with silvery threads intertwined to give it the shimmery look.
I have a third project started but it’s way different from anything I have done before. I am learning to work with interfacing and make buttonholes, so this is taking a while.
Garden Planning – We are really looking forward to spring. We have ordered and received all of our seeds for this year’s garden. I found it interesting that we did not receive tons of seed catalogues in the mail this year. (I think we received one.) I wonder if we have been removed from the mailing lists because we hadn’t ordered for several years, or are companies no longer using catalogues as a means of marketing? Maybe some of both?
After last year’s gardening disaster (too much rain) we decided we need to do something different this year. We will be adding some raised beds. We are in the planning stage, and I’ll write more about it once we begin working on them.
Bees – We lost both hives again this year and just can’t explain why. There were just a few dead bees in the bottom of both hives. The rest were just gone. This is an unexplained phenomenon referred to as colony collapse disorder. We did harvest about 30 lbs. of honey that was left in the hives so at least it wasn’t a total loss.
We have ordered three bee packages for this year. They are scheduled to arrive on April 15. The bees we are getting this year are a different breed than the ones we have had in the past, so that gives us a little more hope for their survival.
Chicks and Chickens – Sunday as I looked at the weather forecast, I realized that the weather this week would be right for tapping maple trees. With above freezing daytime temps and below freezing nighttime temps that sap should begin to flow. We are not tapping trees this year, but I reminded my husband that in past years it seemed like at the same time we tapped maple trees the chickens began to lay more eggs. Monday my husband collected 6 eggs and Tuesday five. For about the past two months we had been averaging only between two and three eggs a day. An interesting correlation between sap season and egg laying.
We are going to add about 12 chicks to our flock this year. I will share chick pictures when we get them. 🙂
New Chair – Last week we finally went shopping for a new desk chair. this is the one I selected.
While it doesn’t actually have bells and whistles, it does have lumbar support, height adjustment, arm rests that adjust up and down and forward and backward, and the seat back reclines. This makes sitting at my desk much more comfortable. It is called a gaming chair so as I like to say, “game on!”
Once again I’ve fallen behind in blogging. In this post I am sharing some of my activities from the week of November 1st – 7th. I plan to get another post, highlighting November 8th – 14th, up early next week. If all goes as planned I will be caught up. 🙂
Monday Nov 1 – I rendered beef suet into tallow. Suet is raw hard fat found around the loins and kidneys of the cow. For the last few years we have been buying our beef from a local farmer. we purchase a quarter of a cow at a time. Once the cow goes to the butcher or processor I have to call them and give them instructions for cutting and wrapping the meat. At this time I ask to have the suet included in our order. Most people who buy their meat this way to not want the suet so I always have to ask.
Rendering is the process of cleaning the suet. To do this I cut the suet into small pieces. It’s easiest to cut when cold or partially frozen. I then put it in my crock pot on high until it is completely melted.
Tuesday, Nov 2 – The suet was still in the melting process Monday when I was ready to go to bed so I just unplugged the crock pot and would finish it on Tuesday. After reheating it I strained the hot fat through 2 or 3 layers of paper towel. When the hot fat (tallow) cools it solidifies and becomes white. (picture above)
Tallow can be used for cooking. (The original McDonald’s french fries were cooked in tallow), candle making and is commonly used for soap making. If you read the ingredients on your store bought bar of soap you won’t see tallow as an ingredient but it is there. It is listed as sodium tallowate which is the result of combining sodium hydroxide (lye) with tallow.
Any solid that are left after rendering the suet are called cracklings. While some people eat these I never have. I decided to feed them to the chickens but my husband said next time don’t bother. When I asked if the chickens did not like them he told me that the chickens would have loved them but instead they were forced to stand by, dining only on bread crusts, as Ranger gobbled up the cracklings.
Wednesday, Nov 3 – I made soap. I wanted to use some of the tallow that I just rendered. The recipe I made was an oil combination of 40% coconut oil, 40% tallow and 20% olive oil. This is the first time I used this particular combination so I’ll try to remember to report how it turns out. It will be about 6 weeks before it is ready. I also added aloe to this batch.
Thursday Nov 4 – I did my dad’s grocery shopping. He orders his groceries online then I picked them up from the store. I then went to the dollar store and picked up a few things that he prefers to get from there. I delivered the groceries to dad and helped him with a few chores.
Friday Nov 5 – I took the boys out for their morning walk at the farm.
It was a beautiful fall morning. When we went out, around 10:00 A.M., the sun had melted the heavy frost that had blanket the area in the early morning hours. Our feet/shoes got wet as we tromped though the grass.
The breeze, if any, was gentle.
I observed moments when a single, random, tree would suddenly drop a shower of leaves.
It was and interesting phenomenon as the trees seemed to be taking turns.
Many leaves were still holding on. Fall is not over yet. 🙂
Saturday November 6 – My sister visited.
I still have one sister who lives near-by and we have been trying to block off some time, at least once a month, to spend together.
Last month when I visited her house I returned two bags of books that she had given me earlier this year. They had been passed onto her by our other sister and most she had not read yet. As I packed the books to return to her I stuck slips of paper into some, labeling them “must read” or “good read” so she will know where to start when she digs into this stack of books.
We also looked at different sewing patterns and she showed me some fabrics that she had purchased but wasn’t sure what she would make with them. “Take what you want” she said. There was one flowered print that caught my eye. We agreed that it was beautiful and needed to be made into something but neither of us could decide what. Even though I didn’t have a plan for it I decided to take that piece of fabric.
That fabric nagged at me for a couple of weeks. Because it was a large print I kept thinking that it needed to be turned into a large item of clothing. I searched for patterns for full length skirts and found a few simple ones but I don’t wear skirts very often and I don’t really know anyone who does.
Seemingly out of the blue I remembered the bathrobe pattern that I had. This fabric would make a lovely bathrobe. I bought a contrasting fabric for the trim and decided to make a bathrobe for my sister.
As I was making the robe I would try it on for size and in doing so discovered that as beautiful as this print is it looks horrible on me. Thankfully when my sister put it on it looked gorgeous – elegant, like I had imagined. ” I don’t know if I love it so much that I won’t want to wear it” she said, “or if I love it so much that I will wear it all the time”.
“Wear it all the time!” I told her. That would be the ultimate compliment.
In addition to giving her the robe, I showed her the projects I have planned to make as Christmas gifts. And we solved a few of the world’s problems over lunch. LOL!
Sunday Nov 7 – It was a perfect fall day for being outdoors and I started out by raking leaves.
The maple tree just off our deck had shed most of it’s leaves.
It took about an hour and eight trips with the wheelbarrow to remove the leaves from the front yard.
The maple that stands in front of our house was still holding many of her leaves.
As were many of the trees in the woods behind our home. The work is not finished yet.
After lunch I headed to the farm with my husband and the boys (dogs) to plant garlic. Normally we plant garlic around the middle of October. This year the ground has been too wet and muddy to plant, so we have been waiting for things to dry out a bit. We had decided earlier this year that growing garlic to sell is not in our future, so we were only going to grow enough for us and to be able to share some with family. We were able to get about 250 cloves planted, mulched and fenced (so the chickens couldn’t go digging them up). This is the smallest amount we have planted since we began growing garlic in 2013 and it was a breeze compared to years past. Now we can only pray that the weather stays warm enough for the garlic to get a start before the ground freezes. It will be spring before we know if this crop will survive.
When my husband told me that our son-in-law would be stopping by the farm to winterize his bee hive I decided to take along the gifts I made for Jackson and Addy. I had a hoped that the kids would be with him, but even if they weren’t he could take the gifts home for them – just in time for Addy’s (4th) birthday on Monday.
I hadn’t taken pictures of the super hero capes I made for the kids so my husband hung them from a plant hook and held them so I could get some photos.
Addy loves unicorns so one side of her cape was made from this unicorn fabric.
The capes are reversible so the other side of Addy’s was made with this brilliant yellow, orange and white tie-dye fabric.
I wasn’t sure what Jackson’s favorite thing is currently so I selected this superhero(ish) fabric for one side of his cape.
and this outer space type fabric for the other.
I wasn’t able to give the kids their gifts in person but I received a message from my son-in-law that the kids love the capes and that Addy was pretty insistent on wearing hers to bed. 🙂
If I made you a super hero cape what would you want on it?
I’m trying to develop my sewing skills and the only way I know to do that is to practice. Over the summer I made a few projects. Take a look.
The first was this red crossover tank top. It was a fairly easy project and I am pleased with the way it turned out.
This grey cardigan was a fairly easy project as well. I love the knit fabric it is made out of, as it was easy to work with and is comfortable to wear.
The red tank top even pairs well with the grey cardigan.
When I wore this striped hooded pullover at our family picnic three of my daughters decided I should make it for them. They told me what colors they would like and I told them “Christmas is coming”.
This beautiful black with yellow flowers has a cowl neck (it’s hard to tell in the photo). I’ve always liked wearing a cowl neckline. I have to give my sister credit for making most of this though. Recently while visiting I was visiting her we were looking through fabrics and patterns. She then showed me this shirt that she had mostly finished but given up on because she didn’t like the way it fit her. When I tried it on I loved the way it fit. I also loved the print.
I brought it home and finished sewing the second cuff on and hemmed the bottom. I now have some new fall attire and a list of things I need to make before Christmas. 🙂
It’s been a couple weeks since I finished my second big winter project. I have just been negligent in blogging about it. This project is a rag quilt that I made for our bed.
This quilt was more involved than the t-shirt quilt I made for my daughter because for her quilt she supplied the t-shirts and selected the flannel that it would be backed with. Also our bed is queen size so this quilt is larger than the one I made for her.
For our quilt I started with selecting the materials. It took several trips to the fabric shop before I had all that I would need. Our bedroom is done in blues and browns so I decided to stick with (mostly)those colors.
One of the reasons it took so many trips to the fabric store is because I didn’t really have a plan. So I took so measurements then drew it out on graph paper.
I decided to do an on-point design (the squares line up on a diagonal) and to use 12 inch squares. Once I knew how many squares I would need, 72 squares for each layer, I finished buying fabric. The quilt would be three layers but for the middle layer I planned on using an old flannel sheet set that I had so I only needed to buy enough fabric for the top layer and underside.
It wasn’t until I had purchased all of my fabric that I added the colors to this chart determining the actual pattern. This project actually involved a lot of math. You’ll notice some of the squares have different colors in them, these were changes that I made in the design and the inner most color was the correct one.
This chart was my road map throughout the cutting and sewing process. I would have been lost without it.
When cutting the fabric I layered the three fabrics together then made my cuts.
After I had all 72 squares (x three layers) cut it was time to start sewing. I sewed the layers together by stitching and X across each square.
Then I began piecing and sewing the rows together according to my chart.
In the above photo I was almost at the halfway point.
When the sewing was finished (above) it was time to start clipping the edges as in the photo below.
Clipping the edges was probably the longest part of the project with most of the edges having six layers of fabric to clip through (the outside edges had three layers) but the task was made a bit easier by using these small snip-type scissors that I purchased on one of my trips to the fabric store.
Once all of the clipping was finished it was time to wash and dry. This causes the edges to ruffle. While the quilt was drying I stopped the dryer every 15 minutes to empty the lint filter. The first few times it definitely needed to be emptied. There was less lint the last couple of times I emptied it but still enough to clean it out.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out and my husband was wowed. He has commented several times on how much he likes it and how warm it is. 🙂
I like the design on the underside as well so reversing the quilt is always an option.