Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Warm Weather Wrap for Baby

Although summer is almost over, this is a good project to make ahead for next year.  A baby needs a little wrap for sleep time whenever the air conditioner is on, and a blanket seems too fuzzy and hot for covering during summer months.  This warm weather wrap is made from a fabric with crinkle; we always called it "plisse" and it was used a lot for summer pajamas or gowns.  I like it because it can be washed time and time again without needing to be ironed, and stays soft and cuddly.



I buy about two yards of fabric if I want a 36 inch square cover, two and one half yards if I want the cover to be 40 inches square, and enough eyelet to go around the entire wrap.  This allows me to double the fabric, enclosing the eyelet around the edges.  I baste the eyelet to the right side of one square, raw edges even, with the eyelet turned to the inside so it is caught inside the seam when the second square is placed, right sides together, onto the first square.  I sew around the square, following the basting threads, and leave a few inches open for turning right side out, then sew the opening.  Rounded corners make for an easier finish.

 
This wrap is made from double fabric and the edges are enclosed with bias tape.  Both of these just happen to be prints suitable for a baby boy.
 
These make nice shower gifts for a mother-to-be who appreciates home made items.
 
Hope my instructions made sense; pictures of each step would have been helpful I know.
 
Charlotte

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Something Else New to Try

Well, here I am again, diving headlong into a new craft, one I know very little about in fact: making a doll with a sculpted head.  I'm the kind of person who learns best by "hands on" instruction, so even though I've watched a lot of tutorials and received good advice from an accomplished doll maker, there's just still something lacking in my attempts.

This doll has been in the making for over a year; she sat in the cupboard a long time, waiting to be finished, and now here is Ify (pronounced E-fee), with her chubby, lumpy face and her big eyes and funny mouth:

She has a cloth body, just like an ordinary cloth doll, but her head is a mixture of sorts; first I tried paper clay, but wasn't satisfied.  Next I made a mixture of paper mache clay, using lint as a filler; that's when she got the lumps!  I was never able to sand the surface of her face down to a smooth texture.  Several times I threatened to remove the arms and legs and start over ~ maybe I should have, but she had become Ify by then.



I wanted her to have a good profile and was fairly pleased with it.


Her hair is made from crochet thread glued in place with a paper mache paste.  I fixed a little place in the back so she could wear a ribbon.  I learned this technique of making hair from Mary @ColonyMountainStitcheries, who makes the most beautiful dolls!


So, there you have it!  She'll go sit with the other dolls in the old rocker and soon we'll become close friends and I'll overlook her blemishes because I'm not beautiful either.  I almost didn't write about her, but hey, you gotta start somewhere; I may try again after learning a bit more about the process.  By the way, the dress she is wearing was one for my dolls, about sixty years ago.

Feeling very shy,
Charlotte


Friday, August 17, 2012

It's So Easy ~~ It's Simplicity

Most of my days go like this: breakfast, housework, chicken work, snack time, fix lunch, etc., then in the afternoons I try to find a little time to work in the sewing room, either quilting or doing a little machine work, before starting the evening chores of feeding and watering.

I love to make aprons; don't like to wear them, just make them.  Recently I bought this pattern,


ordered this fabric from Connecting Threads (www.connectingthreads.com),


and this week I made the misses' size apron.


It's called an "adjustable" apron because the neck strap and the ties are all one continuous piece, allowing the neck strap to be adjusted to fit the person wearing it.


The ties go through a facing on the sides of the bib.

It's a big apron with plenty to cover the sides of your clothing and there are two large pockets on the skirt.  It was easy to make.

I'm sorry not to model it for you; I look hideous in an apron :(

Have a wonderful weekend!
Charlotte





Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thirty years ago I saw this quote in the neurosurgeon's office:

"When you've come to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."

The knot has been tied.

Charlotte

Edited at 5:13 p.m., Thursday
It's RAINING, nice sheets of rain!
God heard your prayers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dealing With Water Shortage


The old pond reached an all-time low: only a circle of green, stagnate muck.  We had never seen it this low.


So it was time to bring in the big equipment to clean out the soil which had settled in the pond over the years.  It is going to be very deep and will hold a lot of water, but it frightens me.


It's unbelievable that all this was cleaned out of the pond.  Now the inside of the pond is being packed down with good red clay soil; then we'll wait for rain.  It will be about a year before all the dirt which was cleaned out can be worked and smoothed out.


We're hauling water to another pasture where the cattle depended on creek water and pond water to drink.  I can only imagine how good the fresh water must be for the cattle.

At least the temperatures are lower, which will help us get through the last week with this flock of chickens. 

Charlotte



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finding Ways to Feed in This Drought

Some of you may be tired of reading about the drought we're having this summer, and unless you've lived it, I know it's difficult for you to understand just how serious this situation is for farmers, ranchers, and grain producers.  Our cattle have had almost no green grass to eat since early spring, and we've only had one cutting of hay, whereas we usually cut at least three times.  With no grass for them to eat, means we've had to feed hay all summer, and the supply meant for winter keeps going down.  Sometimes I go to bed in the evening, and get up in the morning, almost in a panic, wondering how we will make it through the winter.  Not just the thought that there might not be enough for them to eat, but also all the extra work and stress it will mean for us, two older people.

But we're not in this alone; our neighbors are facing the same problems.  If you see the dark red spot in the middle of the country, indicating severe dry conditions, that's us.  So, we're trying to find a way to make the hay go farther to feed now and in the winter to come, and it ain't cheap!!



We bought a grinder-mixer to make a feed for the cattle.  Then we bought eleven bags of various ground grains to mix with the hay.


The hay is put into the grinder,


the grains added and mixed,


then it's augured out into troughs.


This was all done before noon while the cows were still in the shade.  By the middle of the afternoon they had found their new feed, and some were eating while others were going back to the shade; after all, it's been up to l04* today.   Next problem: drinking water shortages.

During all this summer I kept remembering the old bumper stickers which read,
"Don't cuss the farmer with you mouth full."  We'll all be seeing higher prices on food products, but rest assured the person working the fields and the farmer and rancher aren't the ones taking in the extra profits.

Charlotte







Thursday, August 2, 2012

August ~~ Little Quilt








After a brief rain shower this morning, Teddy is doing a little day dreaming, wondering what it would be like to live in a wonky little house in a neighborhood surrounded by fields of lovely sunflowers.  "Maybe next spring," he says aloud, "I will plant sunflowers and pretend I live in a wonky house."


The little quilt for August: paper pieced, three inch house blocks; total size 17" x 17".

Charlotte




Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fixing a Place for the Calves to Eat

Yesterday morning we got out early to get some farm work done before the 110* temps we had later in the day.  We've been feeding grain to the cattle in the corral now for quite some time, but the calves were crowded out by the larger cows, so we worked on setting up a space just for the calves.

We have a post driver attachment for the BobCat, otherwise it would have been impossible to set the posts in the hard, dry dirt.  Popa put me on the BobCat to drive while he measured distances for the posts and held them in place for me to drive up to them.  Of course there were those "hand signals" !  I don't mind helping, just always aware that farm accidents can happen so quickly.


With the posts all set, two Little Creepers were put inside and panels brought to enclose the area.


Since we were working close to the corral, the cows heard us and came, thinking they might get fed.  The last part of the pen, a wooden entrance, with spaces only big enough for the calves to go through, was put in place.


Now the feeding pen is finished and Popa put feed in the creepers.  It will take a while for the calves to start going inside, but as curious as they are, one day a calf will go in and eat and others will follow.  This should help them grow; most of them have never had much green grass because the pastures are dried up for lack of rain.

Charlotte