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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’


Of goodbyes. Really. Usually, I’m not. There have been a few times when ‘goodbye’ meant ‘good riddance,’ but those episodes are few and far between.

Sometimes, goodbyes come suddenly; unexpectedly. Sometimes, they come after a long period of languishing; dragging feet to delay the inevitable.

This episode falls into the latter category. *sigh*

I really, really did not want to have to. And I’m sure there’s a part of me that will always remember that sadness lingering, as it does today.

Ya know, another thing in this category is change. Change is not always good. I don’t mind change when I know about it; when I can plan for the variables. Sometimes, though, things change in the blink of an eye and there’s not a darn thing a person can do about it.

This episode falls somewhere in between those two poles. *sigh*

The thing that gets me, though, is when that change means saying goodbye, especially when you’re not ready for it. I’m not a fan of that. At. All.

We’ve been through a lot together in the last 17/18 years. I’ve shown my love; I’ve done my fair share of cursing. I’ve stayed up all night, making things right.

And last week, I had no choice but to sadly, say goodbye. 😥

My sewing machine died.  😦   😥

A few years ago, I began having problems with bird-nesting on light-weight cotton fabrics. I cleaned. I oiled. I changed needles. I diddled with tensions. I read and researched until I was cross-eyed. And then I put it away out of frustration.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll no doubt remember that I’ve sewed some curtains since we’ve been here, and I thought my sewing issue had pretty much disappeared. So much so that I made plans to make curtains for every window in the house, and got the fabric for the living room.

Well.

Ahem.

Last Saturday, I got my machine out because desperate measures needed to be taken, and in a hurry. You can image my frustration when not only was I bird-nesting again, but then my bobbin casing popped out and refused to stay in once reinserted.

After several hours of cussing and praying, it was apparent the inevitable had arrived. And I was not ready.

Looking at my machine, I remember all the things I’ve made- pillow cases, throw pillows, bed sheets, other bedding, curtains, more curtains, and still more curtains, and baby clothes, etc. *sigh* And I was not ready to let it go. I have plans, after all!

I briefly thought about getting it repaired. As I learned, anything over ten years old is technically considered vintage, and not only are many parts not made anymore, but if replacement are found, they are usually salvages, which means at some point, they are going to wear out because they already have some of the life used.

Plus, I really didn’t have time to wait. No, really. My chickens needed clothes, and they needed them NOW! 😆

Ok, really, it’s only the girls that needed something.

Ok, well, not really ‘something’ in general- something in particular. My girls needed saddles!

If you’ve ever done an internet search for ‘hen saddles,’ despite the feathery ones, I can tell you, those are not the right ones. Besides being for fly fishing, they are much too small. 😀

While I personally prefer to call them “aprons” or “capes,” saddles is more appropriate. As in,

“Move ’em out, head ’em up,
Head ’em up, move ’em on.
Move ’em out, head ’em up:
Rawhide.
Cut ’em out, ride ’em in,
Ride ’em in, cut ’em out,
Cut ’em out, ride ’em in:
Rawhide!”

Ya. That kind of saddle. :/

Have I mentioned I have 12 crowing boys? Yep, I do. The suggested ratio is 1  male per every 10/12 females. This is not to prevent the boys from fighting. It’s to prevent the girls from getting worn out.

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Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte cockerel

My head roo-in-in-waiting (he’s not quite a year yet, so he’s not “officially” a roo), Jumbo, is a gentleman. He is very gentle with the girls, and they adore him. He does his morning ‘hello,’ his evening ‘goodnight’ and in-between ‘just so you don’t forget me’s.

One of my silkie girls is terribly smitten with him, snuggling with him on the roost when she’s not broody. 😆 And he, bless his heart, tries to be accommodating to satisfy her loving desires. So far, he hasn’t killed her, but it is hilarious to watch, if not a bit concerning. 😆

Sparkles is another handsome cockerel, but he’s really nice, like Jumbo.

Sparkles, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte

Sparkles, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte

They often hang together, and can be found tag-teaming the girls during the day. We have no run, which means unless they are in bed for the night, they are free-ranging.  Together, they take the large groups of the girls out and about, which is fantastic to watch.

I think one of the real culprits, though, is Snowy, our Easter Egger cockerel.

Snowy, Easter Egger cockerel

Snowy, Easter Egger cockerel

You may remember the Mayhem in the Coop many months ago, which left both he and one of my Cuckoo Marans with cross beaks.

While his cross-beak is not as severe as Betty’s, it does interfere with his extracurricular activities, because he can’t hang on with his beak very well. This means he uses his feet *a lot* more, which is rough on the girls. And, he likes loves them allllllllllll. 😆

In addition to our three large fowl boys, we also have a plethora of bantam boys; 9 more, if we’re counting.  The worst culprits are my pair of black Cochin bantams, Bob and Snickers.

Black Bantam Cochins Bob and Snickers; Birchen Cochin Bantam, Coconut

Black Bantam Cochins Bob and Snickers; Birchen Cochin Bantam, Coconut

Despite having mostly large fowl girlies, I can say without reservation that these boys are successfully fertilizing the big girls, because my newest hatchlings have feathery feet and 4 toes, which means it’s most likely that one of these boys made it to home base. 😆 And yes, while the mama is a Silver Spangled Hamburg  {same breed as Sparkles; aka “The Polka Dotted Chickens”}, she is a large fowl bird, even though she’s the smallest large fowl breed we have. Make sense?

So anyhow.

My girls are getting too much love, and are starting to look a bit rough. The problem is that once those feathers are gone, there is no protection from toenails or spurs, and numerous hens have been laid open by super-duper amorous boys.

The fix is to provide them with some protection, a la hen saddles. I prefer to call them ‘aprons,’ myself. There are gazillions of patterns out there; most of them are free. Of course, there are lots of folks selling completed aprons, too, but because I know how to sew and had all the required materials on hand, I figured I’d give it a shot.

In a pinch, I had tied a scrap of fabric shaped like a bandana around one of my girls, but obviously, that’s not ideal. I wanted to find an easy pattern that wasn’t labor-intensive, because I had a lot to make.

In my wanderings, I found a thread on the BackYard Chickens forum that had a pattern. The poster originally found it on http://www.homesteadingtoday.com, from “Wisconsin Ann”.

It looked easy enough.

Hen apron or saddle pattern

Hen apron or saddle pattern

But when I got started, not only did I start bird-nesting, but then the bobbin case came flying out and refused to let me seat it back in, despite unscrewing the lever to keep it in place and then tightening it down again. The icing on the cake, though, was when my hand wheel got jammed.

Since you know I research everything, I asked on Facebook 😆 , knowing all my sewy friends would help me out. In the meantime, I researched, and narrowed down what features I wanted.

I like a top drop in bobbin as opposed to a front loading bobbin. Computerized machines just leave more for me to break, with my magnetic personality and all. 😆 That meant mechanical for me. I also like stitches, because even though I don’t use many, I like to have the option. It goes without saying I wanted the one-step buttonholing, because I do actually use that.

I found a brand that came highly recommended, but the nearest retailer was 70 some miles away. 😦 Then, because even though we’re in a much more populated area, it seems there are not a lot of sewing/crafty stores here. That left me with big-box stores like Wally World, Target, etc. The following day was Sunday, so I knew Hobby Lobby wouldn’t be open.

And, since I don’t really want to buy a sewing machine from Wal-Mart, despite the large selection (including Singer, Brother, and Janome), JoAnn Fabrics had one of the models I had settled on; at least online.

Thrilled to find it open on Sunday, I did a quick looky-loo at Wal-Mart before heading there. I was surprised to find a single brand in-stock; the others had to be ordered online. The one I wanted was in-stock, and even on sale! So home I went, with more fancy stuff than I really needed, and a DVD to boot.

It took me a few days, and we had some rain, so the chickie kids weren’t as active, which meant I didn’t get to it until yesterday. I made my template from a cereal box, and got to work.

This pattern called for heavier fabric, but I wanted to use cotton. I thought, though, I would try a few other things first before using the pattern. Using the general shape, I did a single layer. I also made the elastic a lot longer, because it just didn’t look like it would fit

FAIL! The general shape was ok, but too short, and a single layer was not going to work because a breeze would flip the fabric right up.

Several other patterns I had seen called for doubling the pattern; folding, and then sewing. I gave that a try and tweaked the elastic length.

In the end, I made another template from the other side of the cereal box, kind of sort of using the original dimensions. I lengthened the end-to-end length by about an inch, and added about 1/2 an inch to the side lengths. I made 4 of those, tweaking it as I went, and adjusting the elastic to fit some of the smaller, large fowl birds, like my Lakenvelders.

The biggest difference was that I doubled the pattern; folding it over on the neck line. This made the fabric heavy enough to defy the wind; but not so heavy as to be hot. We are in the South, after all. 😀

My total was 16; 15 are on birds now; another we’ll have to do in the morning. Initially, I read it would take about 30 minutes to make one. Yesterday, while I was still diddling with the fit, I was cutting and then sewing each one. This time might be about right.

Today, I  traced and cut out all the fabric ahead of time. Once I got to sewing, it took me about 10 minutes per apron. I will say, though- this are not professional grade. 😆 Had this been for people, I would have taken more care to carefully watch my seams, etc. I knew I had to get them done and on my girls, so I was blowing and going. 😀

The fabric I had on hand was last used making baby dresses for my oldest daughter. 🙂 I knew there was a reason I had saved it all these years!

aprons1

On that neckline, be SURE not to sew the elastic stationary. When you put the wings in, you’ll want to slide the neck piece to the side; particularly on the second wing.

The elastic piece was 10 inches for my big birds; 9 3/4 for the Lakenvelders. I think it probably would have been ok, but I didn’t want it too loose on them. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking, “There’s NO WAY that is long enough!” but I promise you, it is. 🙂

One of the first girls to get one yesterday was one of my Silver Laced Wyandotte ladies. pink1

pink2

Snowy in hot pursuit!

Snowy in hot pursuit!

pinkginham1

flowers1

purple1

yellow1

yellow2

I wasn’t planning on a fashion show, but there you have it. :mrgreen:

While I don’t like saying “goodbye” most of the time and this was no exception, saying “hello” to my new sewing machine got me back on track, and got my girlies covered before they got scabby backs. Totally worth it, in my opinion!

Because life is a soundtrack, I’m going to leave you with two songs that are stuck in my head. {Ya, can you hear that mash-up? 😆 }

Not quite the Frankie Laine original, but I love me some Clint!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShOiHPrwtHk%5D

And, because I can’t part with the old sewing machine….. {don’t laugh, you know you do it too! 😆 } and of course, it goes without saying I love me some Jon BonJovi, too!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifm00JEjSeo%5D

 

:mrgreen:

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Yep. I am. Now I’ve said it out loud and you know.

I really didn’t intend to end up like this. I’m hoping I don’t stay this way for long, either.

I have entirely too much do and I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of painting to be done. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of blood spatter in this house. Seriously. {Kids, this is a prime example of why not to do drugs- you’ll lose your house and the new owners will be totally grossed out when they clean and paint it to make it livable……..}

I haven’t really run since we left. I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure that I can’t allow myself to indulge in when I have so much other stuff that needs to get done.

Honestly, I’d be happy to stay curled up with a book and look out the windows……

I did, however, make my son some curtains. He was tired of having to change his clothes in the closet because he didn’t have curtains. At some point, I’ll take pictures of the whole room, once I get the last set of curtains made and he’s gotten it painted. In the meantime, here they are:

curtains3

curtains2

curtains1

You may remember me complaining about the bird nesting happening when I was making my girls their sundresses last spring. I’m glad I didn’t pitch my machine. It worked just fine. Hmmph. I’ll have to diddle with it some more when I get back to the dresses.

Once we get things painted, I am not sure how much time I’ll have to be online. Life is changing, and in a really good way.

Have you ever been somewhere where you know that’s where you were meant to be? Like deep down in your soul you knew you were where God wanted you to be?

Ya. It’s like that here. If I have to be buried somewhere, I’m changing my mind. I’ll forgo Tin Cup, Co, for being buried on the farm here somewhere. {Which is legal here, too- one of these days, I’ll write about that, because it’s fascinating!}

Anyhow. What’s taking up my time? Life is taking up my time; mostly in the form of creatures.

We had been here for about a week before we realized that the 5 horses in our front yard were only being fed by neighbors, sporadically. And they had no water.  th_rant

You can see where I’m going with this…… not only are we feeding them, we’re rehabing the mama horse that was near death from starvation. Turns out, she’s a champion barrel horse. As in, big $$$$$. Out of the 5, she’s the only one saddle broke{n}, so we’re starting with her.

She’s an {American} Quarter Horse. There’s another out there that we know he paid $10,000 for and never broke. Ya. She’s an American Saddlebred- you know, the high-stepping show horses? Ya. 😯 Her son is a Saddlebred as well, and then the foal {colt} and the filly are both a Quarter Horse/Saddlebred mix. Boo.

One of these days, I’ll write the whole thing up, with pictures. Mama is now as happy as a clam out there, with her blanket on and in a separate pen so she can eat undisturbed. Baby is eating solids and is weaning, so that’s good.

Besides the painting (seriously, I have gotten two bathrooms finished, and that’s it- while 12 ft ceilings with crown molding is beautiful, it’s a pain to paint…..), we’ve got chickens to set up for, in addition to our own horses {yes, you’re reading that right} and still get things unpacked.

Kitchen appliances came. Turns out, the ovens are too tall, so the cabinet guy needs to come back out. I didn’t get any Christmas baking done. I’m hoping he can come and get that done so I can get some of my breads made soon.

There are SO many loose ends at this point. I lose an entire day going into town for shopping. So far, I haven’t been able to not make two trips in every week, because there is always something urgently needed. Yesterday, it was horse food. Today, it’s groceries, since the big winter storm blew through and it was pouring rain so I just got horse food and came back home before the worst of it hit.

There’s a schedule to keep to, too. Horses are fed at 8 am and 5pm; mama gets lunch as well until she’s gained the last 300 lbs; and most days, I take the girls to feed over at our “neighbors” house in exchange for their weekly riding lessons.

And then, there is the steady stream of visitors. I’ve decided that I’m going to give it another month, and then after that point, we’re going to start handing out paint rollers to visitors. 😀 We absolutely LOVE the company, but it’s not conducive to me getting the painting done.

On top of all of this, we’ve got a new puppy. That means someone needs to supervise her until we can count on her to go to the door every time she needs out. I had no plans for more pets, of course, but when a friend posted a picture on FB of a purebred border collie pup who was being given away because as the runt, she was going to be too small to work with cattle, I couldn’t say no. 😀

Big dog, you may recall, is a{blonde/red merle} border collie as well, so we are very familiar with the breed. Had this been any other breed, I would have passed, because we don’t have time right now to deal with stubborn doggies {like little dog, for example, who we LOVE to bits and pieces, but is really quite stubborn :lol:}.

But, having lost out kitty a month ago, and seeing her cuteness, I couldn’t resist. So, here is our little Oreo.  oreo1

When I can get out of my slacker mode and get more painting done, I’ll be back to write some more. In the meantime, don’t forget me! 😀

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