Thursday, November 21, 2013

Slow Stitching

I enjoyed Kathy's post this past Sunday and was inspired to get out some of my own Slow Stitching. I've been hand sewing these blocks for a while.  It's easy work, but does require that you sit down and relax and stitch.  Sometimes I forget how nice simple sewing is.  Thanks for reminding me Kathy!

playing with the setting and a white-based
background fabric

After stitching a while, I played with the setting.  My daughter got excited and thinks this should be a quilt for a baby girl.  Which led to the question--"Who is expecting a baby girl?"  She didn't know, but says there's always someone at church having a baby.  Good point.

I had kind of thought this might grow larger than a baby quilt.  Time will tell.  I'll keep stitching these as the spirit moves me.  When I grow tired, I'll likely call it big enough!  I sew a lot without a definite plan in mind.

maybe gray?

Hope you are enjoying the sweet rhythm of this day.

many blessings,

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness.
                 Lamentations 3:22-23

Linked to Kathy's Slow Stitching.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Itty Bitty

First 2 stars.
These finish to 2 inches!!

I'm sewing up stars per the mystery directions at Temecula Quilts.
I knew the cutting sizes seemed small, but chose to take the path of denial even though I was cutting little 1" squares!

I've never worked this small before.  It's not easy, but strangely fun.  It makes no sense from a practical standpoint, but I have to giggle at these tiny blocks.  This is a serious stretch to my sewing skills, but I think I can still make these girls go together.

2 inch Stars next to 6 inch 9-patch block!

Hope you are having a fabulous day!


May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
                 Psalm 19:14

Monday, November 4, 2013

Remember the Animals Work for YOU!

Boots busy at work entertaining her Humans!

You know how sometimes a phrase will really stick in your head?  This post is about one of those phrases....Something said to me that most likely the speaker had no idea the impact of his words.

This goes back to March 2012 when we bought our family milk cow, Bambi.  We purchased Bambi from a dear farming family.  We had been buying a veggie CSA and also sides of grassfed beef from the Vaughn family of Rocky Glade Farm for many years.  They were our farmers and also our friends.  Buying a milk cow from them was the next natural step for us. 

When Bambi became available we were not quite ready.  (Are you ever completely prepared for a full-grown member of the bovine family to arrive?!!) 

On my quest to be as ready as possible, I started asking Jim Vaughn (farmer extraordinaire!) many questions.  He patiently answered me.  Thank goodness he didn't point out what a compete dodo brain I was because I would most certainly have lost my nerve. 

One thing I asked Jim about was Bambi's schedule.  You know I wanted to do this right, so I was planning to adjust my world to whatever was needed to care for Bambi. 

Jim's words were priceless.

"You don't work for the animals. 
The animals work for you."

Total light-bulb moment for me! 

In my heart, I still really wanted to know Bambi's schedule, but Jim (in great wisdom) never told me.  He wanted us to adapt Bambi to our family, not the other way around. 

As a homesteader, I am forever grateful for Jim's words of wisdom.  Applying this truth has led to many wonderful discoveries.

Becky receives a thorough cleaning from Bambi.

I'll use Bambi as an example of this. 
** Did you know that you don't have to milk a cow twice a day? 
You need to adjust their milking schedule and production to fit your needs!

** Did you know that there's no rule saying you have to milk in the morning? 
Mornings aren't good for my schedule right now, so I milk in the afternoon!

** Did you know that with some planning, you can even skip days of milking altogether?! 
Planning is the key.

** Did you know that it's absolutely fine to leave the calf with her mama to raise and skip all the complications of separating the two and feeding with a bottle? 
That's what we do!  We aren't a commercial dairy farm--there's no reason for us to act like one unless that's what fits our needs.

Bambi delivered her calf in September.  I knew that we did not have a use for 1-2 gallons of milk per day.  I have milked Bambi enough to keep her from getting mastitis, but not so much that her milk production increased. 

Just because we have a milk cow does not mean that we have to push her to full capacity with regards to milk production.  If we don't need that much milk, it's really a waste of time and resources to obtain so much.  It takes nutritional energy for Bambi to produce milk.  I would prefer she use that energy to keep her own body in good condition and prepare for her next pregnancy.  Having more milk than we can use takes up my time and energy, too.  Having a fridge full of milk is a blessing if you can use it.  If you can't, it becomes exhausting trying to find uses for an overabundance of the white stuff! (remember, more is arriving every day!)

Udder Check--back teats look a little tight--will milk just
a bit to relieve the pressure.

About 2 weeks ago, I decreased our daily milking to every other day.  I was able to do this because the calf has grown and is able to handle more of Bambi's milk production for her own growing body.  I still monitor Bambi every day.  If one of the teats is engorged (typically one of the back teats since they aren't as easy for the calf to nurse from), I milk just a bit out of it.  "Just a bit" is key here.  I'm just wanting to relieve the pressure, not stimulate increased production.

In the near future, we will need to separate Bambi and her calf the night before I want to milk her.  They will be next to each other, just not close enough for the calf to nurse. 

All of this is a natural progression as the calf grows and consumes more milk.  Don't worry about stealing milk from the calf.  The calf is already eating grass and drinking water just fine.  Having mama's milk is a bonus for her health and nutrition.  She'll still get plenty of milk even on the days that I milk Bambi.

I hope this encourages you to Let the Animals Work for You!  (Thanks Jim!)

many blessings,

But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.     Matthew 6:33-34

Linked to Homestead Barn Hop!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Fun!

Scrappy String Quilt
I  love the little hands holding the quilt!
And if you look closely, you'll notice our sock collection
which is quite handy because you never really know when
when your feet will get cold and you might want a sock!

Hooray!!  I have a finish!  A finished top, at least (celebrate every victory, I say!)  Remember my post about playing first?  Well, guess what?  When you sew a little every day, you actually get things done!  Funny how those things go together!!

This quilt is made entirely from my stash.  I found a box with the scrappy string blocks with the purple centers and decided to play with sashings and cornerstones.  The outer purple border was chosen because I had enough of it (I know you were hoping to hear of my genius and creativity, but no...sometimes a fabric makes the cut simply based on yardage on hand!)

I am actually thinking of having this machine quilted by a friend with a longarm!  GASP!  This is a major step towards creative happiness for me.  You see I've always felt that I had to complete all of my quilts for them to be mine.  I love finishing my own quilts, but this is so freeing to dump my rigid rules and allow myself the freedom to choose to send my top for quilting. 

Wednesday Night Quilt Ministry
Sarah C. is standing near the center--in the white shirt

I am so blessed to get to sew and fellowship with dear friends every week!!  I took these pictures at our weekly quilt ministry gathering.  Sarah calls it our Sweat Shop!  There is so much going on in this room every week.  I think of it as organized chaos. 

Another view of our  precious group. 
God is so good to us!

Sewing with friends has blessed my life beyond measure.  I am so thankful that I get to be a part of this quilt ministry. 


Last night I saw a Christmas sewing project that made my heart skip a beat.  It's actually a mystery type thing, I think.  I'm new to this way of playing.  Anyway, I got all jazzed up (I finished that top, so of course I should start another project to keep the solar system equilibrium in order!) and cut nearly all the pieces and will be ready to sew when they post the first step. 

This is even more fun because I pulled all the fabric right out of my stash.  I'm not against buying fabric (oh no, not me!), but I get a special thrill from using what I already have. 

So tell us what fun thing you are doing today!!

may your day be blessed beyond measure!

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
              Psalm 118:24
Linked to Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday!
Also linked to Crazy Mom Quilts!