Busy weekend!

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We woke up and knew that this was going to be a kick butt weekend!  Our friend Justin was coming over to help on Saturday and the temperatures were super nice…  high 40s with a touch of sunshine.  We’ve been busy most of the week with holiday orders and just stuff going on and it was going to be nice to just tackle a huge laundry list of little projects around the homestead.

We had to get ready as well for Monday, since the Community Action folks were coming out to start winterizing our old home!   How grateful we are, oh my gosh…   Just amazed.   I know it will be amazing once they start working on the underbelly of our house and making her weather tight and so much more efficient.  And one thing was that we had to find all the registers for them and make sure they had clear and easy access to them all.

That was a slight problem in the office.   My old lovely drafting table had become a sort of catchall and was cluttered up and full of stuff.   And in my office, things were just not right.   As you can see in the above picture, I had a sort of hodgepodge of little desks, tables and even my sewing machine in there…  just not working right.  My goal was to eliminate some of the tables and just get my drafting table and desk in there…   create a nice simple open workspace.   So I got started.

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The finished project only took about an hour or so, and I cleaned well as I went along…  amazing how dusty stuff gets so fast!   With my little to scale layout I was able to make sure everything would fit nicely and it did!   Now I have two nice big work spaces, a bunch of clutter is gone and I can’t wait to be able to sit in there and do my client work and other tasks for our companies!   It’s perfect…  and best of all, we got that area over a vent all tidy, too, in the process.

I like those kind of deals…

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Justin and Maggie set to work on number one goal…  get heat for Maggie in her workshop!!!  

Poor child…  she’s been working and working towards this goal and we get close but then so far.  They managed to get the wall thimble cut out and in place and the heat board up and a few other things but then they got stuck when they discovered they needed a coupler piece of pipe to make the transition outside.  Darn it.   Close but no fire.  They did light a small smokey cardboard fire in the stove to see where they might have any leaks and they had a couple.   So, armed with a can of high temperature caulk, they sealed it up and waited for the piece.  

Close, but not quite done.  Still, the nice weather did let her spend a few hours in there working and she made some beautiful hand shaped weaving shuttles for sale later on!   I just can’t wait to see what she can accomplish once she can be in there for hours and hours, warm and toasty!  

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The non-breeding gang took advantage of the open fence while they were working on the stove pipe!   YUM….   fresh grass in the front pasture that was UNTOUCHED….  since Harley had left his pasture to join the ladies in the back, this little front ram pasture had grown up and was actually pretty lovely and green.  The goats and few sheep didn’t waste one minute with a salad bar scarf up!  

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Just about there….  getting there… soon!   First of the week for certain!  

I had to laugh…  I love how she repurposed an old silverware chest that our friend Mary gave her!  It’s now holding her new screwdrivers and pliers that she bought for herself.   So cool!

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Next up?  Our new vanity install.   Last week we got a new toilet to put in…  and it’s working fantastically!  Well, our other big effort in the bathroom is this pedestal sink.  It’s nice and all, but unfortunately , it started to crack and sprung a bad leak.  Behind the bowl.  We think it was installed back in the 80’s when this bathroom addition was added to the whole house.  It’s served well, but was time to go.  

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Removing these things is not as hard as installing them, so we are finding!  Once removed, Justin found things to be in pretty good shape behind…  it was just the pedestal sink that was leaking and bad.  That was great!  He cleared away all the stuff, and got it all ready for our new little vanity.  

We found this cute little vanitey and sink as a floor model at Menards.  Super within our budget.   $119 if I must say.   Considering that you could spend a near fortune on these things, we looked, I thought this was very nice and very reasonable.   We got a cute faucet set to match our sort of farm house dream theme and we were set!  

Jessy was so busy with holiday rock orders that she pretty much was off the chore list for the day.  But the plumber child within brought her into the bathroom often to watch and observe for future projects!   She is my plumbing kid and I think she was just a little worried that things might go astray without her!   

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Dixie Kitty was the official supervisor for the project.   You know, we need feline supervisors for all DIY projects around the homestead.  

And ta da!   Isn’t it adorable?   It matches our pretty mirror/medicine cabinet so nicely and I like the idea of a little additional storage.   It seems to fit the space a little more and we love the look.   So cute!  The next step in there is to paint the walls with a little richer color….   a sort of parchment soft brown, light, but a bit more than this sort of blah beige look.   And new curtains!   I have the material that I bought a few months ago…  just gotta get my head in the game and make the new curtains up!  

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After the bathroom vaniety…  we set about removing this way too big and too low hanging light in our small little dining room.  I love the fixture, have had it for years…  but it was just not right for this room.   It was free handing, not over a table or anything and way too many people were bumping into it, even cranked up as high as we could get it!   It had to get pulled down.  It will have a new home in our big studio out front…   and I think it will be delightful out there!  

In the meanwhile, we had to replace the tile with the big hole and all with a new one and ah…  hmmm….   one of these things is not like the others!   Ugh!   Well, we had planned to paint the ceiling so I guess this means, we really need to paint the ceiling.   You just can’t clean those darn tiles very well, can you???  DSC_0456 DSC_0458

 

 

It’s easy to see that some drywall repair will be on our list soon…   Maggie removed an old baseboard heater in the bathroom and the wall plug as well.   It had died and was just an eyesore…   gone away!   I think we could probably spring for a few new switch plates…  yeah….  

As you can see, Ratchet was hard at work on his weekend to do list.

I’m happy to report that he got everything done on his list.   Nap, nap, eat, drink, nap, go outside and ah, nap.   Yeah…   he’s very helpful and supportive of DIY weekends.

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Well, another project was to paint the milking stand!   It’s nice and all, being just rustic plywood and all, but I had a quart of lovely purple hued mis-tinted paint and I sure wanted to gussy it up a bit.   Duke seemed to not mind too much…   it is his favorite lookout spot in the screen porch, but he approved of the job at hand.  DSC_0482 DSC_0484

I think it turned out rather nice.   

Buttercup approved.   She really wanted to come in and check it out but she wanted to jump right up and it was still damp!   Had to wait a day so it would harden up nicely.  

There is so much we want to do outside, painting, fixing up, just making it nice and ours.   But it just has to take place here and there.   Sometimes I wish everything was done and just like we want it.  But then, it would take away some of the thrill of just doing things one at a time and enjoying the process.  It just spreads out the fun!   And protects the budget!!!  

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This is a springtime project in the dreaming.   This is the concrete pathway out back from our screen porch and it will just so rough.   It’s too low, so it floods ALL the time…   And with the pump right there, it just becomes a muddy mess every time we do anything there.  Most of the concrete is cracked and rough.  I think we will be replacing this walkway and raising it up a good deal.   Maybe even six inches or so.  With drainage slits through it and a rough surface so it’s safe in the winter and when wet.  We haven’t done much concrete work, so it will be fun to learn!   I see a cute mosaic edge to it, don’t you?  Something with a little whimsy and some garage sale shopping involved…  perhaps old china?   Hmmm….   

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It’s not pristine, but I am so excited to report that our mudroom has stayed pretty darn organized for now six months!   Yeah!   I think we are finally on to something here.  Everyone is following the rules and the plan and replacing things and making sure it doesn’t just clutter up!  Apparently our sorting worked out good and our placement for various tools and such works, because it is staying relatively neat and tidy.  I love it!   Come spring, I’m sure it will need a little refresher, but it won’t be bad.  Just a few more months away!!!   Can’t wait…  

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We all accomplished quite a bit this weekend, even more than I managed to take a shot or two from…   (I do help, it’s just that I love to photo document our efforts and make everyone groan…)

Jessy really was just hard at work with her rock and mineral kits for kids.  Breaking up rocks and getting things ready to bag and sort.   She stayed at it all weekend…   busy as she could be!  We helped as well, here and there, when we wanted a little sit down break.   She managed to get a ton of orders ready for Monday’s mail!   It will die off soon…  really by around the 18th, we won’t see too many more holiday orders and will get a little break!  Yeah!  

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Well, overall, we just got our to do list whittled way down!   Cleaned up things, took out trash, got rid of a bunch of boxes and such, just tackled the to do list with vigor!

We still have a pretty good list of things we want to do inside the house, but as long as we had some decent temperatures outside, we wanted to get as much done out there as possible.   We don’t often see 50 degrees in December!   You gotta believe, we took advantage of it!

We have about 30 more things we want to try and get done by the new year.   That’s about 3 a day…   I think we’ll get close!   We already have 5 things scratched off…   kinda simple ones from Monday and Tuesday, but hey, it’s getting there!   It will feel nice to start the new year off with a little bang and a few things fixed and nicer!   Feels good after a pretty rough year for us!!!

 

 

 

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Weaving Kitty…

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I usually discourage the kitties from sleeping and sitting on the looms.  They leave little indentations on the work!

But Lilly was so sweet this morning, sitting there, in the sunshine…   I had to take a few pictures of her before I shushed her off.  I can see her perplexed thoughts as she watched me snap a few shots.

“I wonder why the food lady is letting me sit here?  Hmmmm…..”

I didn’t leave her to ponder too long.

I shushed her off after my photo shoot.

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My Honeybee is Here!

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If you’ve been reading along with the blog or on our Facebook page, then you know that I have caught the spinning bug and that I have tried and tried to adapt my old antique Craigslist spinning wheel find to no avail.  I’ve even had to go to other people’s house and use their wheels for a spinning fix!   It’s bad.   Kinda goes hand in hand with my fiber addiction…  hence the sheep, goats, rabbits and weaving and all that!

I have been saving and waiting and saving and with a little help from my Daddy from my birthday, I finally was able to buy my own real spinning wheel with a warranty!   Thanks Dad!!!

I did a ton of research, knowing my budget was small and my needs were a bit commercial in mind.   When you have a herd of fiber animals, you want something that is going to be durable and help you create some really good stuff!

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I did a ton of research and finally decided on a double treadle, upright wheel.  I thought I wanted an Ashford Kiwi wheel…  but then friends told me about the Bluebonnet Honeybee wheels.  Handmade, with solid wood instead of laminated boards like the Kiwi and half the price!  And though there only a couple hundred of the wheels so far, the reviews have been fantastic and that just pretty much sealed it for me.   I love supporting a small craftsman getting going!

However, waiting just about killed me!  (haha)  Actually, it wasn’t bad.  About two weeks and then the wheel was here at our homestead!  And of course, it was a box full of parts!   Agh!   But thankfully, there was a nice DVD with instructions and once I got everything out of the box, it wasn’t too bad looking.  In fact, I did it all myself!  (With Maggie standing by just in case!)

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She is unfinished…  you can pay extra and have it finished in Danish oil if you like, but I have this kid that loves to do stuff like that and I think I’m going to have to do it in a pretty purple and green combo of stains!  But right now, she is put together and I am struggling to perfect my skills on her.

I decided to call her Queenie.   As you know, we love to give our beloved work tools and mechanical beasts a name and Queenie is the one that came to me.   Of course, there is the bee reference, hence the Queen Bee…   however, I loved a character named Queenie in the BBC series Larkrise to Candleford and so it was a perfect fit.

We had a lot of things going on the day it was delivered, so after I snuck a bit of time to put it together, I just didn’t feel ready to try and spin on it.   So, I set her aside until later that evening.  Spinning is something that I find just delightful, however, at first, it’s been a hard skill for me to master.  I love doing crafts and most come pretty easily.   Not spinning.   If anything was close to causing me to have a stroke, it would be a cranky spinning wheel and nasty roving.  And top it off with me in a excited and hesitant mood.  Spinning, at least for the first bit of time, is something that you need to have lots of good positive situations in place.   Everything in your favor if you can set it up that way.   Comfortable chair, perfect roving, practice in on treadling…

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Well, it only took me about an hour of panic and worry until I finally got the Scotch tension all nice and the roving nice.  And I spun my own sheep fleece on my very own wheel.  I spun a whole nice big ball of roving, about an ounce or so.  And contentment is in the air!!!

I have about three pounds of sheep fleece that has been washed and carded.  I have over twelve pounds that is going off to a mill on Monday to be made into professional lovely roving but it won’t be back for a few months.   The mill is ONLY twelve weeks behind at this point.   If I wait any longer then I probably won’t have fiber until Summer, once everyone starts to send in their shearing for this year, starting around February!  So I better get to it.  I figure that the three pounds will be enough for me to practice and practice on with the wheel.  I need to really get good at treadling my own wheel, and learn to stop and stop it and make it rotate in the direction that I want, not what Queenie wants.   That is huge.  And when I get my gang sheared at the beginning of March, hopefully by then I will have back my 12 pounds from the mill, and I can work with that until my spring shearing comes back in the early Summer.   There sure is a timing to all of this!

I might start to wash and card my own fleece…  we shall see.   It’s not something that I enjoy as much as everything else fibery, but to be able to have the stuff in less than 4 months?   Might be worth it!  I would like to make a skirting and picking table this spring, something we can set up in the spring sunshine and use.  It will also be good if I decide to wash and then dry my fleeces as well.  I’ve seen a few pretty cool ones that use PVC pipes across a wooden frame so the fleece will roll around on top and loosen a lot of dirt and nasty bits to fall through.   But also a good chicken wire frame will work good too!   So many options for such an ancient art!

However, one old skill at a time.   I’m going to be spinning away for a few weeks for sure!   Just can’t wait.   It’s the missing link in my dream to have fiber animals and in the end, make yarn and woven materials from it all.   How cool is that???

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