Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Day in the Handmade Life

Ok, I know I talk about wanting to post more than I do.  But today I realized something about this phenomenon:  I always wait to post until I have finished some big project (or lately I've been doing it at the end of the week after not finishing big projects to blog about) to make some fantastic tutorial post about (I LOVE tutorial blog posts, I've learned so much!).  So I was reflecting on what blogs actually are, online journals that you share with everyone, granted as they have evolved they've taken on more specific characteristics, but in it's core this blog especially is just supposed to be about my life and sharing with distant family and friends where we don't have as much time to keep up as I wish we did.  So today's post will just be about today. 

I did take some pics throughout the day to make this a little more interesting:

This is "T" (below).  He actually has a different name that I don't like, so we'll just call him "T." I don't know if he was featured in the introductions way back when this blog was created, but he's the current resident peacock (accompanied by two peahens and preceeded by Lyle).   From about mid-April to July he does this all day, every day.  I don't know if you have ever seen a peacock display but he doesn't just launch his tail feathers into the air, he vibrates them, occasionally calls and shows off his fluffy underpants (not pictured).

These little babies are growing up!  It's hard to see how big they've gotten in the pic, but here are some of our 2012 batch of new birds.  These guys are Bramas (very cold hardy, combination egg and meat birds with intact brooding instincts and feathered legs), sunning themselves during th approximate 2 hrs of sun we had today.

Above: Meat bird (or Meat Monster as we um, affectionately call them) compared with one of my little silkies.  These birds are exactly the same age.

As a way of teaching Chobe about the seasons we look at the fruit trees in front of the house throughout the year. They're one of the best examples of decidious trees around especially because their cycle is so clear from bare to buds to flowers to fruits. When we looked yesterday  Chobe was happy to learn about the "baby flowers" inside the buds.  Then he proceede to point out all the dandelions as other "baby flowers" in the yard.

Lunch. Kale salad with puple cabbage, carrots, apples, feta, and pecans.

I finally made bread today!  I have been wanting to do this for weeks.  We have been paying 3-5 dollars a loaf for organical hippy bread.  This cost me maybe $2 to make and only because I used raw goat milk, which is pricey.  I wouldn't mind doing this with pasteurized milk since it gets baked anyway, so the cost might really be around $.82 or so.  This is my first loaf since a failed sourdough attempt last fall.  I used the Joy of Cooking "milk bread" recipe and substituted about 2/3 of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour and used honey instead of sugar to make this more hippy friendly.  It's pretty good, but I'm excited to try out some different recipes and see which one we like best.  Chobe was soooo excited to eat the bread when it came out of the oven last night.  It was still cooling when we went to bed so he'll have to wait until morning for the taste test.

This is one of the infamous baby legwarmers in progress.  I got a couple inches done today.  I'm secretly wanting to get these done by the end of this week, even though I swore off making that goal because it's already failed two or three times.  I guess if I keep making it though it's bound to be successful at some point.  Yes, maybe this week.

 Today was a good day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Handmade Baby Goods part I: Belly Bands

My sisters (especially my cousin :) and I have always looked at things for sale and been like "oh, I could make that!" So it's pretty much built into my thinking that I should never buy anything that I could make more easily or cheaply than what's being offered in stores. (Nevermind that I rarely actually get around to making the actual stuff most of the time). Usually, I'm pretty hesitant to go clothes shopping or get a lot of new stuff for myself without thinking it over for an unnessarily long amount of time and hunting for the best deal. So likewise with the whole pregnancy/maternity/newborn thing I've been thinking of how I can make the stuff that I want. In fact, most of my planned pregnancy projects are exactly that: things I can make for myself inspired by the stuff I'm too cheap to pay for.

So the first item has been the belly band, which retails from about $16.99 according to The whole point of this garment is to cover the gap between your shirt and pants or skirt. So it's basically a tube of fabric. I thought, "I can make a tube of fabric." Then I googled homemade belly band to see and realized I was not the first to have this idea (of course) and that my closet was full of already made tubes of fabric in the form of old tank tops/camisoles that haven't had the tops cut off first. I looked at a website that said to just cut the top off and wear. Two steps. Easy. I was skeptical though and thought I would certainly want to add a hem or some elastic or something. But first I decided to just try it so I went to my closet for the first sacrificial victim and it worked fabulously. The cotton spandex fabric I used just rolls up at the bottom (from the cut off side) and I use the original bottom side (of the tank top) at the top so there's a little bit more of a grab around the top of my belly. From there I set aside a couple more existing tank tops for a total of 3 free belly bands and then got a couple more tank tops on my next thrifting mission (of which I mostly got the half off tag color and otherwise refused to pay more than 3 dollars for) so now I have a variety of bands in different colors at my disposal for well under the cost of a single new purchase band.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Week in Review

So here we are again. It's been another week and the tiny legwarmers are still in progress... My biggest achievement this week (well aside from processing through some serious emotional issues that came up mid-week in three day crisis style, which have been effectively purged leading to a major release of about three years of built up tensions in the midback and shoulders and an enormously enhanced sense of wellbeing anyway ;) ) was FINALLY geetting a truckload of stuff out of the house and off to the goodwill. I was really hoping to have those legwarmers finished to show off by the end of the week. Maybe next week...
So most of the good action that I have to show off for this week (since I didn't take any pictures of the goodwill trip, tee hee hee) is our little Easter celebration.
Here's the Basket, it has some colored eggs, a handmade easter rabbit that I made from a pattern out of the book Creative Play For Your Toddler, and some homemade ribbon dancers that were also inspired by the book but I used my own made up pattern since theirs used ribbons tied to wooden rings and I didn't have any of those. What I used instead as a wooden dowel (actually a wooden arrow shaft of which my dear husband has MANY lying around) cut into three pieces to make the three different ribbon dancers. One of them has two colors (yellow and blue) and the others are just single color. The ribbons are glued onto the sticks then secured with rubber bands to dry. After mine were dried I took the bands off and it held ok but I decided they were probably a critical part of the structural integrity of the project since a two-and-a-half-year-old would be playing with them.
But back to the bunny...I LOVE that pattern because its soooo easy. It's just made from a knitted square and two knitted ears, which is much more simple than how I have made crocheted animals before. Then the eyes and nose are embroidered with a standard pom-pom tail.
And our easter egg hunt.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Eggs and other News

I have really been wanting to do some kind of posting lately, but with the impending move, all the cool homesteady, crafty type projects I like to post about are on hold, or progressing at a slugs pace. I'm working on a tiny pair of legwarmers for the new little one because, I do love Ergos, but they make the poor tyke's pants ride up and chill the little leggies every time! Naturally leg warmers are the perfect solution, fashionable (at least according to my version of this seasons' hottest items...well no, legwarmers are acutally perineals) and functional. Unfortunately I selected tiny yarn and tiny needles (sock weight) so this project is coming along about as quickly as if I were knitting a full sweater with your average sized yarn.
Chobe just dyed easter egss for the first time. I was surprised that he stayed interested for a good amount of time and got quite a few eggs done. As usual when the camera came out for photodocumentation, it was all down hill from there (camera is ALWAYS more interesting). He seemed to find it interesting enough. I LOVED it!
Grandma and Chobie:
Mama and chobie:
Because we haven't really celebrated easter before, we don't watch TV, we don't have any books about it, and we generally don't spend a lot of time in stores (or in the parts of stores) with a lot of holiday hype (interestingly the natural foods section is somehow always spared...) Chobe doesn't have much of a point of reference for Easter. So I've been drawing pictures for him about it. I really like drawing pictures and telling him about them as I draw as a way to introduce him to new things or prepare him for big events and transitions that are coming up. I'm pretty sure its a Waldorf-inspired concept to use a lot of adult drawn pictures to faciliate learning (I think it's Waldorf, hard to keep track with all of different alternative/holistic development and education philosophies I studied...) except I think with Waldorf the pictures are more for elementary aged kids and are more whimsical and less practical than what I do. Anyway, what I like about it so much is that he always asks me to draw pictures over again. Repitition is so important for his age so I feel like it's getting through to him way more than just telling him about it since it's much more rare for him to ask me to repeat the things I say.
And finally, in the pregnancy news department....I think it's safe to say that my nausea has completely vanished! HOORAY! HUZZAH! WOOO HOOOO! *And* I think I'm starting to feel little tiny baby kicks. This time its a lot more like the "fluttering" sensation I hear people talking about than the tumbling movements that chobe was doing. Ahhh...its so sweet. I have yet to take my first pregnancy photo and I'm still debating about if I want to put them on the blog...I probably will because then I'll have a good excuse to post things since the only really consistent thing I'm doing lately is growing a new baby. :)