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Posts Tagged ‘modern homestead’

It has taken some time, but we FINALLY have the garden in.  This year we got it up to about 1/4 acre.  with a lot of effort, the trenches were dug, fences raised, irrigation put in and many many plants and seeds planted.

This spring was not very conducive to getting plants in the ground and going.  And, well, we’ve been a bit behind the 8-ball this year – again.  But, despite all the excuses and justifiable delays, we got it in and things are actually doing amazing well.

We have two full rows of tomatoes, a total of 28 tomato plants, a row of chard, beets, carrots and kale, a row of turnips, parsnips and rutabagas.  A row of onions.  A row of potatoes.  A row of winter squash.  A row of eggplant, cucumber, and cauliflower. A row of tomatillos.  A row of peppers.  A row of beans, strawberries, dill and cilantro.  A row of beans and carrots.  A row of pumpkin, winter squash and summer squash.

We still have melon and gourds to get into the ground, which should happen this week.  The biggest challenge was getting the row covers up in time.  Just over a lunch break today, the birds got their sneaky beaks onto several of our freshly sprouted beans.  Last year, our biggest nemises was birds and ants.  This year, it still appears to be quail and ants.  Row covers and bird netting will take care of the birds.  Ants…well, today they got cornmeal to hopefully start taking care of the problem.  We’ll get the buggers under control eventually.

We also planted four artichoke in spare tires.  Finally found some places that they can be planted without having to be moved in future years.

We still have about 6 fruit trees and several berry bushes that need to be planted.  Hopefully this week.  But, we’re making steps.  Now, I pray the garden produces.  I can’t wait for harvest and canning season.

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Okay, so Saturday I spent some time sewing dresses. I had stumbled across patterns from Tenderfeet Stitches on Etsy a while back (have I ever mentioned how many hours I can waste browsing Etsy and wish I could buy everything I fall in love with).  Anyway, several weeks ago I made a couple dresses for Rebeka from the Bubble Ruffle Dress pattern.

I was inspired by the camo pattern Amanda with Tenderfeet Stitches used and I made this dress for Rebeka.

I LOVE the dress.  It is so stink’n cute.  And after it got washed (i.e. reversing the stretching from sewing), it is even more adorable.  that same day I also made this dress for Rebeka.

Same pattern, just different color scheme.  And, yes, I need to work with Rebeka to be a better model.  She truly has a mind of her own and is very independent, which makes her extraordinarily resistant to posing like a sweet little girl for pictures.  Hahah!

For me, sewing has become a source of relaxation and stress relief.  I have truly been enjoying seeing creations come to life through the joining of fabric with needle and thread.  I honestly just love it.

So, with that first pattern, I feel in love with Amanda’s patterns.  She has an awesome way of just making incredibly cute item very easy to sew with very basic instructions.

I began following Amanda on Facebook, and imagine my excitement when she offered one of her patterns to her “fans” for testing.  I had the opportunity to test her new Classic Crossed Bodice Sundress pattern this past weekend.  And, it was awesome.  Here’s the final product of the dresses I made for Rebeka:

And, here is the back of the dress.

After suffering through absolute brain damage while making Rebeka’s dress (ended up ripping out the hem and waist seems three times), ultimately, it turned out amazing.  It way my incompetence, not the pattern, that caused my problems.

Next, I moved on an made a similar dress for my friend Char’s granddaughter.  I had hope to make a couple more dresses, but only had enough fabric for one more that day.  This time I used some pink tule which I added to the skirt.

The dress pattern has been deemed an absolute hit here at the house.  Chet loved it, I loved it, Rebeka loved it, and Char’s granddaughter loved it.  This weekend I’m going to test another pattern for Amanda, I can’t wait.

I’ll give a comprehensive update on Gabriel tomorrow.  In a nutshell, we’re finally getting out heads above water.  These past couple weeks have been so emotionally trying for Chet and I, and I’ve been struggling to avoid a pity party and I just didn’t feel comfortable bearing all the struggles we’ve been feeling just yet.  I guess, I just didn’t feel like whining.  Honestly, so far in this journey, I’ve truly felt blessed and optimistic with all that we are facing.  However, these past couple weeks, my optimism just wasn’t there.

But, we’re doing well.  Gabe has turned some major corners these past couple days, and things are progressing.  We’re officially 3 years from the end of his treatment (okay, 3 years and a couple weeks).  But, we’ve got an end in sight and come hell or high water, we’re going to be having one heck of a party at the end of May, 2014 – mark your calendars.

Oooh, and I almost forgot – Amanda at Tenderfeet Stitches is amazing in so many different ways.  When she learned of our journey with Gabriel, she placed this dress for auction and is going to donate the proceeds to Operation Leukemia Elimination.  How amazing is that?  We are so blessed, blessed beyond words.

Photo from Tenderfeet Stitches.

If you’re interested in bidding on this beautiful dress, you can do so HERE.

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I started this blog post a few months ago and never got it completed, until tonight.  There’s a Gabriel update at the bottom, but when there’s not a lot of really juicy things to report on Gabriel, I figure I might as well keep up with some of the other aspects of our life.

So, one thing Chet always wanted and I readily agreed to, was a wood fired cook stove.  The idea is so incredibly practical – the power can go out, you can loose natural gas, and you still have a source of heat and a stove to cook your meals.

After much searching, Chet found an Amish made cook stove with a glass door on the fire box.  And, we ordered it.  About three months later our custom Margin stove arrived and with the help of a couple friends a lot of grunting, it was moved into place.

So, we’ve had it and while it took a little getting used to, we have started to learn to use it and it is wonderful!

Is it not beautiful?  I think so.

Our house did not have a wood stove in the living room when we purchased it .  So, the process of preparing a space began.  Chet started by tearing out the wall that went between the living room and kitchen.  Unfortunately, I was out of town that whole weekend, so there are no photos to document his progress.

We decided that we’re aiming for a late 1800’s mining camp feel for the new house, so with that in mind, Chet conceptualized rusted metal panels for the back of the wall and we eventually decided of slate for the hearth.  I think it turned out nicely.

The process was a bit of work.  Chet cut out the wood floor where the hearth was to go (after taking out the wall).  We then installed the cement board and then did the tile work using 12×12 slate tiles.

The stove heats the house beautifully, and when we’ve got it cranking it will easily get the house up to 80 degrees.  Oooh, how I love to be able to walk around the house in a t-shirt and no socks in the middle of winter entirely warm and comfortable.

We’re still learning to cook on it and in it.  Once things settle down again that is one of my priorities – I can’t wait to bake bread in the oven.  But, until then we’ve cooked pies and various other things in it with good success.  And, well, there just isn’t anything like a pot of beans cooked on the stove top.

As for Gabriel, he has his next chemo treatment tomorrow here in Reno.  This will be his last chemo treatment in the induction phase.  This also means we are on the count down of prednisone and to his last bone marrow aspiration before moving into the consolidation phase of his treatment.  It will be interesting meeting a new team of doctors tomorrow, and it’s absolutely awesome to be able to do the treatment locally.

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Okay, so I’m really enjoying sewing.  Maybe it’s because my career is so left brain oriented that having a right brain outlet is really fun.  And, it’s rather practical.  I’m looking forward to making items for the kids.  The Halloween costumes were a dive into the deep end and it’s a good thing.

Anyway, I was inspired by JJ Heller’s Blog post to make a dress for Rebeka.  My mom had handed down a polo shirt a while back – she said if I didn’t want it to pass it on to someone else.  Well, I didn’t want it, so it’s been hanging in my closet for a few months.  Well, after the inspiration from JJ Heller, I decided I could use that shirt to try to make something for Beka.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the shirt ahead of time.  I really need to get better about that.  Anyway, the shirt looked something like this.

Photo from Tommy Hilfiger; Wide Stripe Polo Shirt can be found here.

So I got busy and within an hour and half (with distractions) I ended up with an adorable dress for Beka.

(Please excuse the kitchen under construction in the background.)

(Excuse the not so great pictures, it was with my phone as I didn’t know where the other camera was)

Not too bad for my first foray into just throwing something together. I used the sleeves from the shirt to make the sleeves on the dress – as I saw it, it was less hemming that I would be required to do. I also need to get a better picture of the front (sans sippy cup) because I used the buttoned front and incorporated it into the neckline.

And, really, I have to say, it is fun.  I’ll make changes in future designs, but I can’t wait to hit the thrift store and look for some more shirts to use for different outfits now.

This morning I put Beka in the dress for school and realized she needed some bottoms (they have a good modesty policy at her preschool).   And I remembered that Chet’s aunt Rachel gave us this ADORABLE diaper cover when she was born.  So digging into the drawers I went searching, and VOILA!  I found it!

However at this point in time Beka was over having her picture taken.  So, that’s the best I could do.

So, I owe JJ Heller a big thanks for inspiring me to craft something for Beka and to Jessica from Happy Together for providing the basis to do put this together.

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