Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Milking: Two at a Time

I have started milking for the year! Up until now the babies have kept the mamas pretty well milked out, so I haven't had to worry about it. (Except to check the udders daily to make sure the babies have been nursing each side evenly. I can't have any lopsided udders!)

 Now that the babies are getting older and eating more grain though, they are nursing much less! So, in order to keep milk production up, I have started milking once a day. (In another month or so it will have to be twice a day)
When they first kidded I trained the first time mamas to stand still on the milk stand for me, so they have that all figured out. Run out the gate. Jump up on stand. Eat as much grain as possible while getting milked. What they don't have figured out is the fact they should do this one at a time.

That's right. They're all trying to come out the gate at once. The best I can do when that happens is only let 2 out. Thankfully they have figured out how to share the milk stand. So, I don't particularly mind, as long as they stand still while I milk!

 And they have no problem standing still as long as they have plenty of grain! It will be interesting to see how long they keep coming up two at a time, before they decide to take turns like they're "supposed to". Meanwhile I'm just happy to have goat milk again!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Aprons Galore!

Over the past week I only finished one thing, well actually 8 things, aprons. Why? Well last Friday my little sister wore this adorable outfit. One of my old historical dresses and a pinafore.

The pinafore I made her a couple months ago, just for fun. I thought it would be really cute with her historical dresses, and it is! It also does what a pinafore is supposed to do. It keeps her dresses clean, but goodness does it get dirty! After spending the morning out in the goat pen that pretty white pinafore had turned green, brown, and grey. I decided she need some printed pinafores that wouldn't show dirt as easily. So she picked out a couple of fabrics from my stash and we got to work.

The first thing I had to do was figure out a pattern. When I made the white pinafore I used a princess seam bodice pattern. I changed it a lot to get the look I was going for. Well, this time I didn't want to reinvent the wheel.

So I laid the original pinafore out on white paper and traced each piece. I then added seam allowances and we were good to go! By that evening my little sister had two new pinafores, that she had helped make! 

Both pinafores have already gotten plenty of use!
 (and they keep her dresses clean while hiding the dirt!)

Once those were done I decided to get started on another apron project I've been needing to do.
At our last meeting about the mission trip to Guatemala, those of us who will be working with kids decided we needed aprons. Brightly colored aprons with big pockets to be exact. Why? So that we would be easily distinguishable as leaders and have a handy place to carry craft supplies and such. We needed 6 aprons of different colors, one for each of us. Once this was figured out I, of course, volunteered to make these aprons. So last Saturday I got started. 

First I made a pattern out of newspaper. I then cut all 6 aprons out. For the straps I cut bias strips about 3 inches wide. 

I cut the on the bias so I could also bind the curved edges of the aprons with them.

Much easier than making a curved hem! (especially since I would have had to make 12 curved hems, 2 per apron. Yuck!)

The aprons went together really easily! First I hemmed all the straight edges, then sewed on the pockets, and finally the straps. I'm very pleased with how they came out and I hope the rest of the team likes them too!

Now on to the next big project, my sewing room. I need to get it done! I've been putting it off because I have sewing projects I want to work on instead, but at this rate it will never get done. So this week I'm putting all sewing projects on hold so that I can hopefully have a sewing room. Today I wrote down all my plans for it.

Now time to implement these plans!



Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Springy Sundress

I love spring! The just right temperatures, the bright green grass, the pretty flowers that are everywhere, and of course baby goats!

Back in February, when it was freezing cold and snowy, I found these fabrics on sale. Dreaming of spring and sundress weather, I bought them.

As soon as i saw these two fabrics together I had the sundress designed in my mind! I knew I wanted elements from each of these two patterns, the bodice from the one on the left and the skirt from the one on the right.

Well, now that it is finally spring and warm enough to wear a sundress, I made it!

To draw attention to the lines of this dress I piped most of the seams with the leftover piping from my Easter dress. I'm really pleased with the overall effect.

I love the bright colors and full skirt this dress has. Plus, it has hidden pockets!

This dress is perfect for wearing on a spring walk with my little sister.

The lilacs are in full bloom and gorgeous.

The goats enjoy playing king of the mountain out in the pasture.

And a very pregnant Sombrita has been hanging out up near the sheds a lot recently. She is due to kid any day now. I'm really looking forward to seeing her kids, and getting to show her this summer!

Yep, I love spring. It's full of beauty and hope!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dress forms and creep feeds

Last week was my best friend's birthday. A couple weeks ago I asked her what she wanted and she said a sundress. One out of this pattern to be exact.

No problem I  thought, I'd used the pattern a couple times before and figured I could get the dress made in one evening. Not so. Ever had one of those projects that should have been easy but issues kept coming up, making the project take twice as long as it should have? That was this dress. I altered the neckline last time I made the dress so that the straps weren't criss-crossed in the front, thus I hadn't attempted the straps as they are pictured on the pattern. Well, the criss-crossed strap pieces just didn't want to behave! I sewed them all together, no problems, until I glanced at the pattern directions and realized I'd sewn them all wrong! So out came the seam ripper, and a little while later the straps were fixed and ready to to be sewn on to the bodice. I started to pin them on, then realized they didn't fit on like they were supposed too! By this point i was rather frustrated (and tired, apparently sewing while tired isn't a great idea). I was ready to just give up, but my friend wanted this dress, so gosh dangit, i was going to make her this dress! I worked with the fabric some more and still couldn't get the pieces to match up. Then suddenly a wonderful thought hit me. I could put the bodice and straps on my dress form to figure out what was wrong! After all that's why I got a dress form, so I could work on my projects on a 3D surface rather than a flat one. So onto my dress form the whole mess went.

And suddenly it wasn't a mess any more and I could see what I needed to do to make everything fit together. I needed to lengthen the part of the strap that was supposed to attach to the bodice. By pinning a piece of paper under the fabric I was able to figure out how much longer the strap pieces needed to be and make a pattern piece for the extra length.

So I lengthened the straps. Then finally I got them sewn to the bodice! The rest of the dress went together with no issues. Those straps were definitely a learning experience, but the dress turned out nice, and my friend loves it!

What I learned making this dress is that dress forms are extremely useful, and I should remember to use mine more often. Also, always pay close attention to the pattern directions if you are at all unfamiliar with an element of your project. I typically ignore the pattern directions unless I get stuck somewhere in the construction process. If I'd looked at them when I first started this dress I could have saved myself time and frustration! 

Thankfully my next project wound up being easier than I thought it would be. On Saturday I built a creep feed for my baby goats. A creep feed is a set up that allows the babies to eat as much grain as they need, while keeping the big goats, who don't need too much grain, away from it. I have needed to build one for a while now as the babies need more grain then just what they get when I feed the big goats, but I just couldnt figure out what to build it from. Finally last week it hit me, I could build a creep feed from pallets!

After gathering up my supplies, which consisted of 4 pallets, 4 steel posts, bailing wire, and a feed trough (made of pvc pipe), I got to work. I drove the steel posts into the ground then put up the pallets. Rather than just tying the pallets to the posts with wire I slid one end of the pallet over the post. This way the fence staying up isn't reliant on wires that could easily break if they get too rusty!
My plan was to wire the pallets together, but ,when we were ready to attach the pallets to each other, I came up with a better idea. We could screw the pallets together! So that's what my brother and I did. We then put up the feed trough and the creep feed was done!

We made a hole in the fence so that the babies could get into the creep feed and now they are enjoying eating all they want without interruption from the big goats!

The big goats aren't as pleased with this set up. They want extra feed too!

This creep feed was so easy to build! It took us less than an hour to put in all together, and it's very sturdy. In the future I may build my kidding pens out of pallets because I just love how this turned out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What I will do for a sewing room. . .

I'm in desperate need of a sewing room. Currently I have taken over one end of the dining room as my sewing area, and that's not ideal. As time goes on I'm slowly taking over more and more of the dining room. My mom doesn't appreciate it. She wants her dining room back. So finally after pondering a few different not so ideal solutions, we came up with one I'm really excited about!
We had this empty room next to the kitchen.

It's supposed to be the laundry room, but when we moved into the house the washer and dryer got put in the basement, and that's where they've stayed. 
Now this room is way too small for a sewing room, but it's just big enough to fit my bed and dresser in. So I turned it into my bedroom. Now I can turn my old bedroom into my sewing room!
My new room is small, but functional and pretty! First we painted it.

I was planning on painting it green (my favorite color), but I grabbed the wrong paint can from the basement and didn't realize until the room was mostly painted, so now I have a sky-blue room.
Next, in the little alcove (you can see part of it on the far right in the pictures), I had my dad help me hang closet shelves. So now the room has a little bitty closet, just big enough for most of my shirts and dresses.

I decorated the room by hanging up this awesome goat wall hanging my grandma made me a couple years ago.

Isn't it great? She specifically made the goat black and white to resemble sombrita!
Along with the wall hanging I also had this rag rug to put on the floor.

I made it over a year ago, using a method called twining,  to match the colors in the wall hanging. 

Finally I got around to moving stuff in!

The room is definitely small, but it's very cozy. (and I can see my goats from the window!)

Now that that's done, I'm ready to organize my sewing room. I'm really looking forward to that being done!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Dresses - same fabric, 3 different style outfits

On our trip in February, my mom, sister, and I went Joann's. My mom and sister found these fabrics, fell in love with them, and decided to get some to make my sister a dress from.


Once this decision was made, my mom decided she wanted a shirt from this fabric too. Simplicity patterns just happened to be on sale so we each sat down with a pattern book and before long my mom found several shirt patterns  that she liked (It's just as dangerous for my mom and sister to go into a fabric store as it is for me, no matter what we always leave with more than we went in for.) and we picked one to use the blue fabrics for. So it was decided, my mom and sister would have Easter outfits made from the same blue fabrics. Last weekend I realised Easter had snuck up on me and was just a week away so I pulled out the fabric and patterns to make the outfits. As I went about cutting the fabrics I realized how much I liked them and that I too wanted an Easter dress made from them. Surprisingly there was enough fabric! So, by last Sunday night I had all 3 Easter outfits completed. All out of the same fabric, but each very different.

First, my sister's. I made her a similar dress back in January out of flannel. She loved it and wanted another one like it. That was what we originally picked the blue fabric for. So her Easter dress was made in the same style as this one.

She loved the double layer skirt and I loved the little details, like the sleeve appliqués. So for her Easter dress I once again added sleeve appliqués, and some gold lace I found in my stash. 


I also trimmed the bottom of the over skirt with the gold lace.
The dress was perfect for Easter egg hunting!


Another pretty detail is the gold and white heart shaped buttons on the back. They finished the dress off perfectly! 


My little sister loves her dress and says it feels royal!

Next, my mom's outfit. She wanted a shirt rather than a dress, so that she could wear it often. So I made her shirt using this pattern. 


And then matching pants from this one (that we also got on our trip)


On the pants near the hem I added an appliqué like the ones on my sister's dress.
Her outfit wound up looking somewhat oriental, but very comfortable, and she got lots of compliments at Church!


And now my favorite of the 3, my own dress!

I used this pattern and altered it a little bit to use both my favorite elements,                                 

the off the shoulder neckline and the criss-crossed ribbons on the back.

To make the criss-crosses I first sewed the ribbon on to a piece a tissue paper in the pattern I needed.

I then sewed the ribbon, attached to the tissue paper, to the side back pieces.

Next I tore off the tissue paper.

Finally I added a modesty panel and the back was done!

Now for the bodice I used the striped fabric, but for the skirt I wanted to use blue fabric with the all over gold pattern. I didn't want the transition between the skirt and bodice to be too abrupt however. So I cut 3 of the wide stripes from the striped fabric to sew onto the front if the skirt, centering one on each pleat.

The center stripe on the skirt matched up with the wide stripe on the center of the bodice, nicely tying together the different fabrics.

There is one other element to my dress that I love, pockets!

The hidden side seam pockets were easy to add and very convenient for carrying my phone and multitool. I wish I remembered to add pockets to every dress I make. The pockets and gorgeous fabric made this dress so much fun to wear!

And it was certainly fun to match my mom and sister in an obvious way while still maintaining our individuality! Easter is such a fun Holiday to make dresses for.

We have had a great Easter, spent with Church family and extend family, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!