Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wear Your Chicken Pride CC Post

Have a wedding or an elegant event to attend this summer? There's no reason why chickens can't be elegant, dress up your outfit with these chicken themed accessories! For him and her.

Wear Your Chicken Pride

Friday, July 8, 2016

Crochet Baby Afghan, Bonnet and Booties

My cousins brought home their first little girl a few weeks ago. I couldn't be happier for them. I'm also happy because our little girl due in October and theirs will be close in age. The girls will surely play together at family parties and event.

I decided I wanted to make the new baby something and finally decided on this afghan/throw. The pattern can be found at Jayda In Stitches Crochet Baby Blanket- Easy Fan Stitch Pattern. The stitch pattern was very easy and alternated a 5 double crochet fan stitch with a double crochet "V" stitch.

I did alter the pattern where the border is concerned and changed the size. I started with more stitches in my initial chain because I was going to use a finer yarn and hook. The pattern calls for a starting chain divisible by 8 then add 5. So I started with 101 stitch chain.

8 x 12 = 96
96 + 5 = 101

I used 100% acrylic Bernat Baby Sport Yarn 350g skein in the color Baby Pink
and a size G/6 4.25mm crochet hook.

This was enough yarn for the entire blanket, the booties and the bonnet. I have a small ball left over.

The finished blanket was 70 rows. This gave me a nice size rectangle. The finished blanket is about 3ft. by 4 ft.

Once the blanket was done, I decided I wanted to weave a 1/4 " white satin ribbon through the pink blanket. So for the border I did a row of double crochet stitches all the way around. About 3 double crochet fit nicely in the half fan ends, and about two fit in the "V" stitch end. So I kept this going. For the corners I chose the stitch closest to the exact corner and did three double crochet, chain 1, three double crochet to turn the edge.

After the double crochet round, I did a round of 5 double crochet fan stitches. Skipping three stitches between sets. This gives the blanket a scalloped edge which is super feminine, and a place to weave the ribbon.

The ribbon is woven through every two stitches.

I had a ton of yarn left over so I decided to make a pair of these ballet slipper booties by Wooly Wonders Crochet. I added ribbon again to cinch up the decorative treble crochet detail in the front.

Then I made this little bonnet with a similar fan stitch look. I used the white ribbon again around the neck, and added a decorative bow on each side. The pattern can be found at Bag-O-Day Crochet and More. 

I also found this beautiful box at Michael's Craft Store to "wrap" it. She might find a use for it to store baby items.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Lavender Harvest, Growing and Drying

Lavender is my favorite herb. I fell in love with its scent in my early teens and have yet to grow tired of it. I have tons of lavender scented bath and body products, room sprays, candles even fabric softener around our home. But I'm particular...it has to be true lavender, that sort of musky, herb scent. I love lavender so much that our down stairs bathroom is lavender themed. I have lavender towels, lavender art and many bouquets, swags and wreaths of dried lavender.

Right now I have 11 lavender plants growing around the yard. I hope to increase this number over the years. Lavender is supposed to be a bi-annual in our area, but I have no problem keeping the same plant from year to year. In fact, one plant (which I've divided many times) I transplanted from our other house is seven or eight years old and is still thriving.

I compost my lavender in the spring with composted goat manure and I mulch heavily in the fall. I also cut the entire plant back by a third to stop woodiness and shrub-like tendencies. When a plant gets about 18 inches wide, I divide it.

I simply dig up the root ball and cut the roots it in half with a serrated kitchen knife. Then replant the two halves.

The two varieties of lavender that I grow are Munstead (the lighter, bluer shade on left ) and Hidcote (The darker more purple-y shade on right)

I pick lavender with scissors, grabbing a handful of stems and chopping just above the bushy-leafy part of the plant. It reminds me of giving the plant a haircut.

To dry the lavender I cut 5 inch lengths of thin elastic. You can also use rubber bands or hair ties. Anything with an elastic property works well because as the lavender dries, the stems shrink. The elastic will cinch up as the stems become smaller. I've tried tying the stems with twine or string and as the bunches shrink, the stems slip out of the loop and fall on the ground.

After they were tied, I strung a bit of yarn across a corner on our front porch and used clothespins to hang the bunches. Ideally, a less window-y spot would be best, but we don't really have a room like that in our house. These windows aren't really sunny because of the large Hickory and Maple trees we have on the front lawn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dealing With Goat Scours

Check out my new post over at Manna Pro for tips on treating and preventing scours in your goat herd. Click below.

Dealing With Goat Scours

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pretzels and Backsmithing

A couple weekend's ago our friends Nate and Stacey came over for the day. We spent the morning in the garden. Stacey was helping me weed and plant things as I'm having a hard time bending and squatting for long periods of time being over 5 months pregnant. I told myself that this pregnancy wasn't going to slow me down. That I was strong and I'd keep bustling like I always do. And I was WRONG! 

But that's ok. We are just thankful for our new little blessing to come. Everything else can wait. 

After gardening, Stacey and I headed to the kitchen to make homemade soft pretzels while the boys made their way to the shop to spend the afternoon blacksmithing. 

Stacey received a delicious gourmet pretzel mustard dip as a gift from a co-worker and she wanted to make soft pretzels to dip in the sauce. 

The recipe we used is from Alton Brown Alton Brown Soft Pretzels.

Traditionally pretzels are dipped in a diluted lye solution, which is extremely alkaline and give pretzels their pretzel-y flavor. However, lye can be a bit intimidating to cook with so we appriciated that this recipe used baking soda as a substitute. 

 The most fun was rolling and shaping the dough!

 They turned out DELICIOUS! And Stacey's mustard dip was a perfect accompaniment!

 The guys spent the day making large hooks. Nate will use his for his boat and Zach will use his to connect chain to the tractor to haul things.

 I finally remembered to give Stacey her birthday present. A silly little crochet potholder that I made to match her chicken-themed kitchen. The pattern can be found over at Bag-O-Day Crochet and More. 

We finished the day with cool drinks and pretzels at the picnic table.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Spare Bedroom Remodel

I've been meaning to share these photos with you for over two years now. I keep waiting because there always seems like there's something else I'd like to add/finish before the room is complete and I could unveil the final look.

But seeing that we're expecting our first little girl this October, and this will be her room, I thought I should share what the room looks like now before we end up changing it again for her arrival.

First I'll share the before photos:

Here's a shot from each of the four corners. My mom moved in with us for a while after my dad passed away, so for the longest time, the room served as a spill over storage room for a lot of her stuff that we didn't want ruined in our musty basement.

When we bought the house, the upstairs, including this room was carpeted in a light teal carpeting. When we tore it out, we found old wide plank floors that were too cool to carpet over. However there was a lot of damage and what looked like spilled burgundy paint. Our room also had these floors, but they were too damaged and we decided to re-carpet.

The ceiling was covered in a ceiling tile network, which we tore out, revealing a very damaged ceiling. We cut out large areas of the plaster and repaired much of the ceiling.

We also unveiled a second attic access.
The room was also covered in paneling, which we wanted to remove because the plan was to put bead-board in this room to give it a farmhouse/cottage feel. But bead-board paneling on top of regular paneling would have looked odd so we decided to take out the paneling.

Once we started removing the paneling, we discovered that it was hiding a multitude of plaster and drywall problems. We then had a decision to make, the best thing would have gutted everything down to the studs and start over, but the way our small upstairs is configured, this would have extended the project out to the hall, down the stairs and into our bedroom.

This would have tripled the cost and work involved with the "small bedroom remodel". So we improvised and mudded all the indent lines in the plaster. We sanded and mudded, sanded and mudded until the paneling looked like drywall. It turned out great and you honestly can't tell.
Once the room was prepped we began painting, putting up beadboard, wainscotting, crown molding, and new molding around the windows and door.

We also had to drop the split closets down now that the ceiling was higher without the tiles, and to leave space for molding. The windows also needed to be re-framed.

To give the ciling uniformity we used a textured paper that reminds me of the metal apothecary tiles. I think we may also do this in our kitchen. I LOVE the way it turned out.

 And we painted the floor white.

These old brown dressers goat a face lift via some white and grey paint, and some stenciling.

I also found some antique switchblade covers and an old turn-of-the century light fixture that we painted white to match.

And here's the final room!

I found a pack of stencils which prompted a subtle bluebird theme throughout the room.

Some drawings I did for the room.

I also made a rag rug.
To learn how to make this rug or the white pillow on the bed visit the links below.

Rag Rug
Eyelet Pillow

For now, I use the room as a sort of dressing room, but it will soon be transformed into our little girl's room. We're lucky that we're having a girl, as the room has an ultra feminine feel to it. Not much will change, of course the twin bed will be traded for a crib and we'll paint to match the crib bedding. But as she gets older, the twin bed can be moved back in. This bed is actually my bed as a child. It can turn into a canopy which I really enjoyed and think any little girl will think is cool. I plan on turning the long dresser into a changing table, as the small room doesn't have a lot of space for extra furniture. I also have a wicker rocking chair from my bedroom as a girl that will be added.

I'll update as we turn the room into a nursery