Friday, September 26, 2008

Another diaper.


All those growing tired of cloth diapering posts, say "I". :)
I made this one last night - another free Darling Diaper Newborn. This one was turned and topstitched (now that my serger is dead), and I actually prefer the look of a turned-and-topstitched diaper! Go figure. :) There were still a few mistakes in this one - I don't think I stretched the leg elastic tight enough for T&T, as the leg holes seem a little big. And I forgot to move out a little when I was topstitching around the elastic, which would have reduced the stretchiness as well. Also, I left my opening for turning at the back, and didn't like how it looked when I slip stitched it closed, because of the elastic there. I might leave my opening elsewhere next time. And I'm still unsure if I'm supposed to add seam allowance to this pattern or not - there were no directions with it! I only used 1/4 inch seam allowance, but it seemed like my stitching was awfully close to the snaps, and then when I was top stitching I had to carefully turn the hand wheel to get around the snaps, as they were so close to the edge. So I might add seam allowance next time and see if that makes it any better. From cutting out to finishing this diaper took me just under 2 hours. I'm still getting used to applying the snaps, so I'm sure once I do a few more I'll get a little speedier. Here are a few more pics:




























Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bliss...

What could be better than this on a crisp fall morning? :) Makes me want to go bake some muffins and have some hot apple cider.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting Ready for Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en always creeps up on me, so this year I'm not letting it catch me by surprise. :) I've already been planning the kids' costumes, I have the yardage all calculated, and now I just have to wait for fleece to come on sale at the end of the month!

This is the pattern I'm using - I've actually gotten some use out of it already. When Norah was just over a year old I made her the ladybug costume. And this year she's insisting on being a duck. And she would like Owen to be a pumpkin. So duck and pumpkin it is. I would have preferred coordinating costumes. Last year I made her a bunny, and Owen was a carrot. He wasn't walking yet so I just plunked him in the stroller - it was hilarious! We got lots of great comments. But I couldn't think of anything that went with a duck. A loaf of bread? Nah. Besides, I think he'd make a cute pumpkin.

What are your Hallowe'en plans this year?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homesteading















My husband and I watched a great documentary on CBC Newsworld last night, entitled "Oil: Apocolypse Now?". It was, of course, about Peak Oil. Here is a link with a brief synopsis: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyemonday/2008/oilnow/

While there are mixed opinions about WHEN Peak Oil is going to take place, there is no doubt that it IS going to happen. It was mostly the big oil corporations that were hyper-optimistic that new technology was going to allow them to dig deeper and further into the oceans to get at oil stores that are currently out of our reach. But even they acknowledge that this will merely temporarily delay Peak Oil, but will most certainly not stop it. The fact is, our abundant, easily accessible supply of oil has been depleted. The best estimate of when Peak is likely to occur is 2010. Once we reach Peak, it is difficult to predict the series of events that will occur. I'm certainly no expert on economics, but it seems our entire economic system depends on having a cheap, abundant supply of oil. Surely economic demise is the only certain outcome. Some predict a depression as bad as the 1930s. Our governments do not seem to be acknowledging this fact, and certainly do not appear to be doing anything about it. Watching this documentary was a good reminder that it's time to start building my homesteading skills, and preparing for a worst-case scenario. Even if we pretend that Peak Oil isn't happening, homesteading skills are still an important means of defending ourselves against economic uncertainty, including basic things like job loss or under-employment.

There are so many homesteading skills that I would like to/need to learn, that it's difficult to know where to even begin! I've been slowly collecting books on different homesteading skills I would like to learn, such as knitting, crochet, quilting, etc. I bought a book about living off-grid, and how to convert your home to alternate energy sources. I know next to nothing about growing and preserving food, so I need to find some books about that, and get started putting it into practice. I would like to learn more about herbal/natural health remedies, not only in case we no longer have a medical system to access, but because it's something that interests me anyway. I know all of this information is readily available on the internet, but there is something about holding a book in my hands that I really like. Plus, in a worst-case Peak Oil scenario, internet access will be a joke, so I think I'd rather have the books! We're working at paying down our debts as aggressively as possible, because at the rate that costs are rising, we will need to have our full income available to cover current living expenses, not servicing debts. Ideally we would like to own our home outright as soon as possible. I believe owning your own home is the best source of security. If you don't have a roof over your head, you have nothing. We are also trying to build a savings cushion of 6 months to 1 year's worth of income. We are already using wood to heat our home, which I LOVE. :) There is nothing cozier than the heat and light of fire. Our woodburning insert has a cook-top on it, so if we have a power outage, not only does our home stay warm, but we can cook as well! And it's comforting to know we have enough wood in our yard to heat our home for an entire winter, and all for about $600.00. If we were heating with oil, that $600.00 wouldn't even last a month! This winter we're planning to complete insulating our 85-year old home, and put in new, energy-efficient windows. Even though we're heating with wood, energy efficiency is still important. I'm trying to get better at using the clothesline, and just being less dependent on energy in general.

I'm not a doom-and-gloom person. I much prefer optimism. But I am a realist. I believe we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. If we prepare for the worst, and nothing happens - well, we'll be debt-free, have some money in the bank, and be self-sufficient enough that my husband will be able to take early retirement, and we won't miss the income because we'll be able to take care of ourselves. If the worst happens, we'll be prepared. If it falls somewhere in the middle, hopefully we'll barely feel the pinch. The nice part about it is that I'm interested in learning all of these skills anyway! They're fun to learn, they will save us money, and they're almost-lost-skills that hopefully I will be able to pass down to my children. What could be better than that?

So, what's on your homesteading to-do list?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, my Sweet Girl. :)

Yesterday was my daughter's fourth birthday. I can't believe how quickly four years has flown by! It seems like only yesterday I gave birth to her and fell madly in love. I'm so blessed and thankful to be with her each and every day, to see her grow and flourish into a sweet young lady.

I'm not really into big birthday parties for kids - I think it's too overwhelming for them, not to mention completely unnecessary. We usually keep it small, and just family. After all, the purpose is to celebrate their birth and life, and those are the people who truly care. I also try to avoid consumerism to the greatest extent possible, and whenever I take my kids to a big birthday party, I can't help but think it feels like a big gift grab. I look at the huge table full of gifts, and wonder, does that kid really NEED all that stuff? When my kids get a little older and head off to school and start making good friends, I would be more than happy to let them invite a couple of close friends to their birthday celebration, but not the dozens that I see invited to most birthday parties!

So here are some pictures of our quaint little celebration yesterday.

Here's Owen excitedly helping Norah open her gift from her grandparents:














And we decided to get her her first real bike. She sure was excited! And Owen was equally excited for her. :)















And a close-up of the cake I baked, and my husband decorated. Isn't he amazing??














Our little family:














And the kids with their grandparents:














What an enjoyable day. :) Happy fourth birthday, my sweet little girl.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sewing Night with the Girls. :)

Tonight is my sewing night with a couple of ladies that my husband works with. We try for a weekly sewing night, but it usually ends up being every 2 or 3 weeks. They're both just learning to sew, so I spend much of my time helping rather than sewing, but I don't mind - it's still fun! We're each working on an apron. At the rate we're going, it's going to take a year before we finish the darned things - but I promise to post pictures when we finish! I already made a little version for my daughter, so I'm making myself a matching one. She's quite excited for us to have matching aprons, and asks pretty regularly if I've finished it yet!

I think sewing (or doing any kind of project!) with others is a great way to stay motivated. Even if it takes us all year, it's fun to know we will come out of it with a finished project - and had fun in the meantime!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My First Etsy Listing!

Well I bit the bullet and listed something on Etsy today! I think I'll just get over the fact that I don't really think my stuff is good enough to sell. I'm just going to go ahead and do it and see how it goes. I have a few more things ready to list, but my husband accidentally took the camera to work with him! I already had pictures of this pad, so I went ahead and listed it, and I'll have to add the others later.

Here's the link! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15029386

All feedback is welcome. :) I honestly have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, so I'd especially love to hear from anybody who has done Etsy before.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Serger Update

So I decided to take my serger in to my local sewing maching repair shop and have them take a look at it. I actually had it in for an overhaul at the end of June, and told him about the issues I was having, and he had supposedly fixed them. But since we were away for all of July, I didn't really get to put it to the test until August, and found that the issues hadn't been resolved at all! The machine was still skipping stitches like crazy. So I took it back to him on Thursday and asked him to look at it again. He serged a couple of pieces of woven cotton, and they came out beautifully - not a skipped stitch to be found! But then I handed him a piece of knit. And lo and behold, the serger hated it. It was not only skipping stitches, but the loopers were a mess! (Look here if you need a visual!) After close to an hour of adjusting various things, he seemed to have corrected it. Ecstatic, I took it back home, and plugged it in to show my husband. Look, honey - no more skipped stitches!! Wrong. It was right back to doing what it was doing before. I almost cried. I think I just need to accept the fact that my machine is past its prime. I've had it for about 13 years, and put it through its fair share of abuse. I think, for the time being, it will still work adequately for finishing seams on woven fabrics. But the real reason I bought a serger was for sewing knits! For those of you who have never used one, a serger can both sew and finish seams on knits at the same time - and give a beautiful, stretchy seam. Sewing knits on a sewing machine is just not nearly as nice. But I guess it will have to do for now until I can raise enough money for a new one. So I am officially saving up for a new serger! I have a few cloth menstrual pads that I have sewn up and ready to list on Etsy, so I think I'll start there. Any fundraising ideas would be welcome! :)