birthdays, Chickens, children, home life, Homesteading, Spring

Assessing Growth (I spelled ass)

Thursday we celebrated Settimio’s 12th birthday. Sometimes it is hard to believe he is almost a man. He is nearly as tall as I am. I do think he will surpass me in height this coming year.
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Settimio chose banana pancakes for his special dinner. We also made 3 lbs of bacon!
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I have never been a fan of bacon but lately I’ve been enjoying it if it is cooked very crispy, almost burnt. He decided on a chocolate and peanutbutter ice cream cake so I picked one of those up from Dairy Queen, as well. Overall I think he had a nice birthday. Spring break started the next day so they got to stay up late watching a movie. Friday, was a reserved make up snow day, but since the kids had no snow days this year in our very mild Pacific North West winter they got the day off. Though, we did have to get up nice and early for a dentist appointment. Such a nice mom I am to schedule their dentist appointment on their first day of spring break! Ahhh.. they finally get to sleep in.. Nope! Gotta get up to be to the dentist at 9 am! Oh well, at least it’s done and over with for 6 more months.

Today is Saturday, day two of Spring Break 2016(!! Said like a stupid mtv announcer!!) and Fiammetta has a birthday party to go to in a little while. We have already been up for about 5 hours. Well, the 4 youngest kids and I have. The eldest 2 are still snug in bed, as they usually are on the weekend mornings (afternoons and eveings as well if I let them!). The littles have all eaten breakfast, made messes, cleaned up, gotten hurt, climbed trees,
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ran around inside and outside screaming, climbed the railings,
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etc.. etc.., and now are calmly watching a bit of television while I nurse the baby in bed. It is always very lively at our house. After vacuuming this morning I decided to go outside and assess (heh heh I spelled assess, I’m pronouncing it asses in my head) the growth of our garden and weeds. So many dang horsetails are coming up. I really dislike those things!

The other day when I was outside I tied a some disposable water bottles to a couple branches of one of our cherry trees.
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I need to do more branches so they grow downward instead of upward. Makes for easier picking in the future.
image I actually need to tie water bottles to all the fruit trees to train their branches downward. Must remember to pick up some more next time we head to costco!

I planted the fruit trees the first or second year we lived here, as well as a plethora of other plants. I planted a total of 2 different kinds of cherry trees, (here is our other cherry)
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a pear tree with different varieties grafted on, (the next 2 shots are the pear, it’s hard to see all the flowers in front of the other big flowering tree/bush behind it. Not sure what that one is called but it smells beautiful!)
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(The pear from a different angle, you can really see how vertical the branches are)
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and 3 grafted espalier apple trees. The apple trees really need a good pruning. They are not looking very espalier at the moment! I also planted a variety of other plants including a lilac bush/tree,
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a climbing hydrangea, 4 currant bushes, a spirea, (the spirea is in the foreground, the climbing hydrangea behind it)
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and some hostas.
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I don’t remember the variety of this one but it is the only one that survived. I love its variegated leaves!

The kids and the chickens followed me around the yard wanting their photos taken too. Every time I turned around there was a chicken! This is Goldie.
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I also got a couple of our cats Ginger
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(she looks like such a stuck up b**ch, she can be fiesty but she’s a sweetie)
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and Arya.
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Arya likes hanging out on the roof. She is all black but in the sun her coat looks red too, it’s very pretty. She also has extra toes on all her paws, and she doesn’t smell very good. I don’t know if it’s her breath or her butt, but it grosses me out a bit. 🙂 haha!

The Phlox I planted grows back thicker each year.
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When it flowers it looks so pretty and smells so sweet. This particular one has white flowers.

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This shot is going up the side of our house from our back yard up to the front. The first cherry tree I showed you is right up there just past the stone steps. The second cherry tree is right behind me. I used to have a whole bunch of creeping jenny, a ground cover type plant, planted along the side of the house. The creeping jenny was spreading so far it had almost covered the entire pathway. My sweet chickens have torn it all up and now use that area for dust baths. I need to move the tiny fencing, now it just looks weird! I would love to put more ferns or hostas toward the right side near the fence. We had over 100 – 150 strawberry plants in various places through out the garden but it looks as though the chickens have torn up and eaten them as well.

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Sal is so cute 🙂 we cut his hair the other day. He wanted me to but then wasn’t pleased with the results. At least it grows back quickly.
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A view from under our deck. To the left is the huge hydrangea that was here when we moved in. I’ve trimmed it down low multiple times since we’ve lived here. I wonder how large it would be now if I hadn’t! One tier down from where the shovel is are a few blueberry bushes our landlord dropped off 2 summers ago. They have a blueberry farm and were thinning out their crop so I asked for a few bushes. All back outside of our fence is a large field and blackberry brambles. To the right of this picture is our chicken coop.
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Stays snug and dry in the rain.
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This is going from our front door up to the road where we park. To the right is the garage. On the side of the garage is various plants including a fuschia. It’s very pretty in the summer. On the left is a citrusy smelling, yellow orange peony bush. It is just starting to bud.
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It smells so wonderful in the late spring/early summer.

I am hoping I will be able to stay more on top of weed pulling this year in the garden. Last summer was very unpleasant with the high temperatures while being pregnant and still trying to do the Farmer’s Market. This year I won’t be doing market because it has been extremely hard to get anything done with the new baby in arms minus a husband to occasionally help out around the house. I am keeping my etsy open and hoping to be back at market for the summer of 2017.

I need to get out in the garden soon with out the baby and get the horse tails pulled up before it gets out of control! Although I prefer the introspective, colder months I do find myself looking forward to the season of growth. I’m hoping to get a few more pots for the deck and expanding our herbs and tomatoes.

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Mishapocolypse 2017 that is for Ophelia 🙂 xo

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sewing

Starting but not finishing the girls Regency Dresses and other things

So I started this post in mid June.. but I never got around to finishing the dress/es so here this post sits along with the almost done dress for Persephone and the cut out pieces for Fifi’s dress.  Though, I didn’t finish these I have been busy!  I would say a big part of the reason these sat unfinished is because for 2 weeks we had out of town family visiting from Texas and Denmark.  So I spent a lot of time with them.. doing family things.. taking a trip to Mt. Baker and Nooksack Falls.. having lots of bbq’s.. It was over 4th of July.. Oh yeah.. my cousin, his wife and their dog came up from Portland as well!  It was really nice to see everyone again and have my 2 uncles get to meet my youngest children.  Next time they come around we will have our new little one too..

Well, I got this big giant pattern sheet put together.  That was a little time consuming but not as bad as I always imagined printing out pdf patterns to be.. After printing I trace all the pattern pieces onto interfacing to make cutting out the fabric a bit easier.. It’s easier to work with one smaller piece rather than a whole giant sheet!  Also, the interfacing is much more flexible and it’s just nicer to have one piece rather than a few sheets of paper taped together..

Tracing patterns onto interfacing

Tracing patterns onto interfacing

more interfacing/pattern tracing

more interfacing/pattern tracing

using a sharpie to trace onto interfacing all the markings on the pattern

using a sharpie to trace onto interfacing all the markings on the pattern

Got all my pattern pieces traced onto interfacing and cut!

Got all my pattern pieces traced onto interfacing and cut!

When I finally started to get the pieces sewn together I was so happy with how those cute little sleeves turned out!  I could totally picture my little biscuit wearing this dress.  I ended up lining the whole thing but I think for Fifi’s dress I will only line the bodice as both the fabrics together make the finished dress a bit thicker.. for the summer it would nice for it to be a bit more flowy.. It has been so hot here this year.. Not very pacific north west-y at all!  I miss the rain!

Getting the sleeves attached to the bodice.  I love how puffy they are!

Getting the sleeves attached to the bodice. I love how puffy they are!

I still have to hem the sleeves in and add buttons to the back.. I also wanted to make a white sash for her to wear around her waist.. I made her a size 2 but I probably should have made the size 1.  she seems to be swimming in the top without a sash tied around.. In the photos I just used a piece of scrap fabric I had lying around just to see what it would look like when I actually did get the sash done..  When I make her a smaller bodice I will probably keep the length of the size 2 because I do like that quite a bit!  I really want to get my 2 youngest girls a dress made for xmas this year.. I was going to use these as practice to see how easily they came together before I went and bought the silk for their xmas dresses..  I think I may have mentioned before there is a website http://www.silkbaron.com that sells so many beautiful colors of silk for around $15 a yard, which is an excellent price!  So, I think that is where I will be buying silk for their xmas dresses!

I only came across one problem when making the dress.. I was pretty confused at the bit when sewing the bodice to the skirt part.. and I ended up attaching them wrong.  I was supposed to keep the lining of the bodice free, sew the skirt on to the outside fabric of the bodice then hand sew the bodice lining to the skirt to cover up all the raw edges, but I was really not understanding the instructions so I ended up just sewing it all together at once then zig zag stiching the raw edges.  After completed the dress I realized what the instructions were saying so Fifi’s dress and the subsequent dresses will be done up the correct way!  I have also learned out to use my serger since then so if I have any more raw edges I will be sure to use my serger!  (Thanks cousin Ty for showing me how to use it!!)

I have taken about 4 weeks off from the Farmer’s Market.. yesterday was my first one back.. and although it is a huge pain in the butt to wake up so early.. lug all my stuff up the stairs to the van.. out of the garage into the van… load the van and set up at the Market.. then tear it all down and bring it back into the house.. it is very nice to be out there..  It was so hot yesterday though!  I woke up a bit later than I wanted so I wasn’t quite as prepared as I should have been.. I forgot to bring water!  I think it’s so cool when I get people returning telling me how much they love something I’ve made.. how often they wear it 🙂  or mama’s with little babies who come back and say that an older sibling (of their baby) had this and that of something I made.. There are lots of new people who come stop by and there are quite a few returning people.. it’s always nice to see them and get to talk for a minute or two.. It’s funny I feel that way because I always have been pretty shy and even now sometimes I find it hard to say hi… being at the market has pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone.. but I like it!

I will be doing a few more markets then have a couple weeks off, go back for Labor Day, then I am done for the season.  Percy’s 2nd birthday is mid September so I wanted to take time off before hand to get the house cleaned up nicely for her birthday party.. Then we have Fifi’s in the beginning of October and the new little baby is due in the end of October..  So hopefully I will have enough time to get stuff done around the house before all this happens!  During my couple weeks off in August I’m hoping to drive down to Oregon to visit some family and my close friend.  It’s a very long drive though, 8+ hours, with 5 kids in a cramped hot van does not seem like such a wonderful time!  So I really have to psyche myself up a bit for that!

I got in some fabric recently and made the 2 little girls red riding hood capes.  They turned out super cute!  I used a red linen blend for the outer fabric and a navy blue polka dot for the lining.. Both fabrics are kaufman.

the finished cape

the finished cape

The lining of the red riding hood cape

The lining of the red riding hood cape

I used the pattern from Oliver & S Little Things to Sew.  I made Fifi a cape out of a pink and grey wool last year (or two) when I first bought the book.  She has worn that thing so much!  I had always wanted to make her a red one, so I finally did!  And one for little Percy too.  They took a lot longer to make than I remembered!  I had all the pieces traced out and ready to go one night.. The next day I cut out all the pieces and sewed it all together.. but it took pretty much the whole day to make 2 capes.. I don’t know why it took so dang long!

I’m getting some more fabric in the mail tomorrow to make Salvatore a Robin Hood cape.. this pattern comes from Growing Up Sew Liberated.  I’m going to be using the kaufman linen blend again, this time in an olive green like color and a brown color for the lining.. but his cape will be reversible.  The girls capes are, too, but I sewed my labels on the inside so unless I want to take those out they will only be wearing their cape one way!  😉  I doubt Salvatore’s will get used for anything but play but I’m hoping Miss Fiammetta will want to wear this one to school this year!  She still wears the pink wool one around and she has already gotten a lot of use out of the red one too (when it isn’t too hot!)  The cape pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated looks way simpler than the one from Little Things to Sew.  So, I don’t think this one will take me quite as long to finish!  I will be making 4 though, 2 to sell at the Farmer’s Market/Etsy, one for Sally, and one to stash away for Christmas for my brothers new girlfriends son.

And this is a long one.. so I think I will end it here!  I want to try to finish up two more Red Riding hood capes today, for the Market/Etsy, and get two paintings done that I have an order for.. so I think it will be a busy day!

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