Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

I got a lot of sewing done this past weekend. Show and tell time!
I finished up a cute new pillow case for me. It's all cheerful birds and bright colors. I think the winter blahs have set in.  I saw the fabric in my local quilt store, and I HAD TO HAVE SOME.  I was tired of my old maroon Walmart pillow case, and I knew bright cheerful birds would be a vast improvement.
No word on whether Dave wants a matching one for his pillow. :-D :-D

I also got some new diaper covers done for Rowen.  Some of his current size have met their grungy end. They are stained and faded and some are even ripped.  These new ones should help, until he potty trains, and then they'll be around for boy #2.  The frog one is made like all the rest, with one layer of solid colored PUL material and an outer layer of cute cotton fabric, joined with the fold-over elastic.   The owl cover is a new method, using just one layer of PUL material, with the cute pattern printed on the non-laminated side.  It was a lot faster for me to make that one, and I'm curious to see how it holds up in comparison.They both use velcro for fastening. Bonus, the frog one was a WIP that had been sitting around my sewing room since I sewed up the first batch over a year ago.  Yay for getting one more WIP out of the way!

I also got some curtains sewn together for the boys' room.  They are jungle themed, which should go well with the ducks and monkeys and zoo animals that are already abundant. I still need to get the jungle animals appliqued on, then I'll snap some pictures and show them off.   I made progress on the blue and yellow quilt for Rowen's bed, and progress on the mini-quilt that I'm making for the mini-quilt challenge at Ellison Lane.

And now, for fun, here's some belly shots of me and baby this weekend, 3rd trimester gigantic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Independence Days - 2/17

Well, like a lot of places, we are bizarrely warm here in NW Iowa.
I've got my seeds in from Seed Savers, but there are still seeds I haven't cleaned from last fall. Namely basil because I couldn't stand to be around it, and some lettuce because I just haven't got to it yet.

Plant something: I haven't actually planted anything yet.  The plan this weekend is to get my little cold frame squared up, weeded and seeded with something cold hardy. Perhaps spinach or chard.

Harvest something: Freakishly warm, it may be. Harvest season it is not. Nothing to harvest. I am still curious if I could get edible syrup from what I think is a Crimson Maple in our yard.  Now would definitely be the time to do that.

Preserve something: Again, not much preserving going on. Although, I have some apples on their last legs that may get sauced this weekend.

Waste not: I rescued the worm bin from death. I added in some fresh organic waste and a new layer of shredded paper. We used the compost pile a lot longer this year, where normally we would have switched to the worm bin sooner, and I almost let them die of starvation.
I made some cute valentine bookmarks out of trash cardboard and scrap fabrics.

Want Not: I bought a bulk package of pork and froze about 3/4's of it. Not local or organic, but the price was right.
We bought a bag from an Army surplus store to make into a BOB for Rowen. He's about to transition out of a diaper bag and into something more suited to his status as child instead of toddler. It's small, but will be able to hold a change of clothes, a couple small toys, and some food and water.

Eat the Food: We tried a couple of new recipes this week.  Dave made some tasty biscuits and brownies from scratch, as well as some Potato and leek soup. We've been eating the pears and green beans and corn that are in storage.  We're running a race against time trying to eat the potatoes that are sprouting. I'm down to my last 2 heads of garlic. (Lots of dried left though.)

Build community food systems: See, this is why I like this challenge. I've been slacking off, and weekly reminders are good.  I haven't even started organizing a seed swap for this year, and if it's going to happen, I have to get a move on.

Skill up: Round two of lounge pants for Dave (or am I on round three now) is going much better.  They fit nicer and look nicer than the previous attempt.  I think he'll like them.  The quilt I'm working on is going much faster too.  Yay for practice! 

A slow start to the season, but it's nice to be thinking about growing and preserving.  What have you done this week?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Independence Days!

The Independence Days challenge is back! Yay!  This is one of my favorite challenges, hosted by Sharon of The Chatelalaine's Keys and Casaubon's Book.

The whole idea is to get the positive sense of your accomplishments – it is easy to think we haven’t done anything to move forward, but in fact, we all do, almost every day.  We just think of accomplishment as a big thing – a whole day spent putting up applesauce or a hundred tomato plants.  The Independence Day project makes us count our little accomplishments and see that we are moving forward.  So for each week, tell us what you have done in the following categories:
Plant something: A lot of us were trained to think of planting as done once a year, but if you start seeds, do season extension and succession plant, you’ll get much, much more out of your garden, so I try and plant something every day from February into September.
Harvest something: Everything counts – from the milk and eggs you get from your animals to the first dandelions from your yard to 50 bushels of tomatoes – it all counts.
Preserve something: Again, I find preserving is most productive if I try and do a little every day that there is anything, from the first dried raspberry leaves and jarred rhubarb to the last squashes at the end of the season.
Waste not: Reducing food waste, composting everything or feeding it to animals, reducing your use of disposables and creation of garbage, reusing things that would otherwise go to waste, making sure your preserved and stored foods are kept in good shape – all of these count.
Want Not: Adding to your food storage or stash of goods for emergencies, building up resources that will be useful in the long term.
Eat the Food: Making full and good use of what you have, making sure that you are getting everything you can from your food, trying new recipes and new cooking ideas, eating out of your storage!
Build community food systems: What have you done to help other people have better food access or to make your local food system more resilient?
And a new one: Skill up:  What did you learn this week that will help you in the future – could be as simple as fixing the faucet or as hard as building a shed, as simple as a new way of keeping records or as complicated as making shoes.  Whatever you are learning, you get a merit badge for it – this is important stuff.

I really need the reminders right now of all the things I do that don't feel worthless wastes of time, so I intend to participate.  Y'all might get bored with the Friday updates, but at least they'll be a bit more cheerful than my doomer posts. :-D  Join in if you feel like it.