Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Handmade Yule

It wasn't really a goal or a formal challenge for myself, but I have managed to put together a handmade Yule.
It feels quite nice to know that none of the presents I'll give out this year were made in China, none were bought at Walmart, and all were made by me.
I made a few different bags, I made some funky fleece hats for the horde of nieces/nephews, some herbs from this summer, and some lounge pants. Nothing terribly hard, thankfully :-) and all went without hiccup. I even had time to make my new family some stockings. :-D
To complete the victory I decided yesterday that I couldn't stand the thought of wrapping all that warm fuzziness in cold eco-not-friendly wrapping paper. So I made gift bags out of cheap holiday fabrics from Jo-Anns. I got a few different fabrics and I made a few different sizes of bags, ending up with 10 bags.Right now they are just closed with elastic in a casing. But, I left the casing open, and I made it larger than needed for elastic. Hopefully next year I can add ribbons or cording to the closing and make them prettier.

And, just to be an overachiever, I got the rest of the diaper covers completed. Yay!
Gift tags and cards still need to be made out of my paper crafting stock. :-)
I'm hoping everything gets done. :-D

Happy Yule,
Blessed be this longest night;
And Goddess Bless with morn's first light.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Did the Federal Gov't just call me fat?

So, brand new changes to the WIC program have rolled out here in Iowa.
For the most part, I really like them. They've replaced some of the juice with 10$ towards fresh veggies and fruit. And we get a loaf of whole wheat bread.
The only part I don't care for is now they require that milk being drunk only by a mom be 1% or skim. So, since my baby is still breastfed and only a little into baby foods, I fall into that category. I HATE 1% and skim. Blegh. And according to my husband, I'm wasting away. :-P So, I guess I wish they would lay off that restriction. But, to get around it, I get a gallon of their free 1% and I get a half gallon of the nice organic whole milk, then I mix them . :-D I know, not ground breaking, but tasty.
It's nice to see the checks fall more in line with WIC's mission. For too long the juices were too much of the check's value, even though all of the WIC merchandise preached fresh fruits and veggies. We did used to get carrots on the WIC checks, due to some (from what I hear) lobbying done by the carrot lobbyists. But I really enjoy the small mountain of fruits/veggies that I bring home now with that 10$ voucher.
This summer I even got checks that worked at the local farmers markets. That was even more awesome! Supporting local farmers with my food assistance dollars. It's nice to see programs like that in place. Government programs done right. Tax dollars being used to help families who need food and the local farmers that grow the food.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Changing of the Guard

A weekend full of sewing has produced a new set of diapers for Rowen. 4 fitted diapers with 6 lay in soaker pads. These will replace the smaller fitted diapers that my mother and I made this spring.

For those of you tuning in who might be interested in such details, here they are. This is the MamaBird pattern, (free off the internet) slightly modified and in a size "Big." I used bamboo velour for the body of the diaper with 3/8" elastic for the legs and back. I used Touch Tape hook and loop for closures, box stitching them on for more strength, and adding laundry tabs. The lay-in soakers are another free pattern found online. I used microfleece for the outer layer and organic hemp terry cloth inside. The microfleece is a wicking cloth, moisture gets pulled down into the terry cloth, leaving a dry feeling for baby's bum. I went with the lay-in soakers because my only complaint about the initial batch of diapers was how long they took to dry. This way the body dries separately from the soakers and everything should dry much quicker.

The first couple of diapers have been tried with much success. Dave did say that he found it hard to deal with the lay-ins while Rowen is squirmy. :-P Of course now with these in rotation I desperately need to finish more medium diaper covers. C'est la vie.
Here's Rowen helping me put away the laundry. He's crawling on two of his wetbags, two of his medium covers are behind him and a stack of momma pads are in front of him. That makes everything in the picture made by me. hahaha

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Well winter weather has blown in with a vengeance this week. We had 6 inches of snow fall last night, so everyone is taking a snow day. Bitterly cold and windy, drifts of up to a couple of feet are expected for the rest of this week. All this means my gardening season is officially over for the year. Below is a picture I snapped in November, the arugula to the left, and the kale on the right.

I harvested the kale patch this weekend, probably a couple pounds of kale. It had been through some pretty hard freezes so I don't think it'll be good to dry, I'm going to have to cook it. Probably either a soup or just as sauteed greens.

That last harvest puts me technically at the 10 month mark for produce production. :-) (My first harvest was spinach in March) That's a personal best for me. We have a lot of produce stored and preserved, either dried or canned. I hope to get an inventory this week so I have a good idea of just how much we have of everything.

Some interesting ideas I stumbled across about window farming in urban areas:

The next time I'm living somewhere with windows, I'm totally going to try this out. I could grow herbs, lettuces, peas and maybe sprouts. Looks fun in any case. :-)