Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spanish Rice

The other day I made Spanish Rice for dinner.  This is a quick and easy one pot meal that is tasty and hearty.  Slide on over to the What's Cookin page to get the recipe and more pictures!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travel Bag Day 6 - Finished Product!

Ok - it only took me six days to make this bag.  Is it perfect - it straight and does not have any seam holes - yes!  I call it a success.

This day I made the lining the same way the exterior was made.  First attached the top long pieces, then add the bottom piece to make a loop.

Then add each main panel.

I went ahead and made the false bottom next while I pondered the lining installation instructions.

The directions say to put the lining in the bag and reach in and tack it to the exterior.  That was too hard in my book so I turned the bag inside out and the lining inside out.  I placed the exterior inside the lining and rolled down the lining to tack it in place along the bottom and edges.

I also did not hand stitch the whole zipper length on both sides.  I pinned it in place and ran it through the sewing machine as far as it would reach.  I only had to hand sew a few inches on both ends.

Over all it turned out well.  I had enough left over fabric and gumption to make a luggage tag to go along with it.  That turned out a bit wonky so there is no pictures of that!!  Here are the final pictures:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Travel Bag Day 5

This day was most challenging.  I attached the main panels to the top and bottom loop.  I will admit that it took me two tries to attach the first side.  For some reason the whole thing shifted and skewed....not good.  I ripped it all out and tried again.  The second attempt went much better.

Pins will not work for the thickness of all the layers so the directions say to use binder clips.  The binder clips work pretty well actually.

Sewing the second panel on was pretty interesting, frustrating, and I do believe I cursed a few times too many while trying to get the bottom corners and flat sewed together.  I was just about to give up and just hand sew it when I took a little break to tend the chickens and came back to try it one more time.  I finally got it attached correctly.

Now that the exterior of the bag is complete I can finish up this bag by making the lining and attaching it.  There is a fair amount of hand sewing in attaching the lining so we shall see how that goes.  I am also running out if thread!  Since the lining sewing is not going to be seen I may just finish it off with a lighter yellow thread and no one will be the wiser....except you and me.  You won't tell will you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Travel Bag Day 4

I had really hoped to get this finished this day, but that did not happen.  Today involved a lot of pressing...pressing interface over and over.  It also involved installing a zipper in a way I had never done before.  I have done zippers very successfully but this way was a bit different for me and took some thinking.

This day I started by pressing 3 layers of interface to each of the long top pieces.

Installing the zipper.  Seemed the hard way to me but I have seen this way demonstrated before to create a hidden zipper.  It worked just fine.  You just have to go slow and pin in place flip it over and re-pin from the top.  Remove the bottom side pins and sew it in place.  I have read where lots of folks get confused on this step.  Read and re-read it until you understand what you are to do.  Pin the long straight sides right sides facing.  Mark each side in 6".  The space in the middle between the marks is where the zipper will go.  I bought a 30" zipper but the space seemed a bit too big so I adjusted the marks in some.  Now sew a regular stitch 1" seam to the first 6" mark.  Then sew another 1" seam regular stitch to the other side's 6" mark on the other end.  Now baste stitch with a 1" seam in between the two other sew lines.  It will kinda look like this:   ----- - - - - - - - - - - ------  Press the seams open  Lay the zipper face down on the seam.  Pin in place flip over to the right side - repin and remove the under side pins.  Sew the zipper in place and using your seam ripper rip out the baste stitches you did in the middle to expose the zipper.

Then I went on to press more interface to the outside pockets.

Here I deviated some from the instructions and added some left over piping to the side pockets.   I had just enough to do both pockets.  I found that if I used my zipper foot on my machine and also adjusted the needle to the left a notch or two (stitch width dial) I could successfully crowd the piping to get a nice snug seam.

Next I basted the outside pockets to the top long piece.

I deviated once again to add feet to the bottom of the bag.  I cut two 2 1/2"x 8 1/2" strips from the leftover exterior fabric.  I pressed in 1/2" on each long side and cut a piece of Peltex to fit inside for each strip.  I measured and poked a hole using my seam ripper and installed the feet adding one more small scrap piece of Peltex for each foot as protection.

 I then sewed these strips to the bottom piece.

Following the directions I added the interface to the bottom piece and sewed the bottom piece to each end of the long top.

This is where I stopped for the day.  Hopefully I can pick back up and maybe get this finished tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Travel Bag Day 3

Day 3 was pretty productive.  I am just over half way done with this bag.  My back was aching and my fingers were sore but this bag is progressing nicely.  Day 3's activities consisted of Ironing the fusible interface to each of the large pockets to seal in the Peltex interface.  The Peltex is what gives the bag it's body and stiffness.  What the directions did not directly state when cutting out the pattern pieces, but implies in the sewing directions is that the Peltex is cut slightly smaller than the actual pattern pieces.  The sewing directions state to 'center the Peltex on the exterior large pocket piece, then seal it in place with the fusible interface. '  So I cut about between an eighth and quarter inch  from all sides of the Peltex pieces.

Next I had to sew the piping in place and then attach the lining to the large outside pockets.  I did not sew the piping then the lining.  I did it all in one step.  This is the first time I have ever done piping and it could have been tighter but it is ok.

Top stitch the top edge of the large pockets, baste all the way around to hold the lining in place, and set aside for now.

On to the carry handles.  Here I did a slight modification.  The directions state to cut the handles out of the lining fabric.  I am using just quilting cotton fabric for my lining and was afraid that the fabric would not be sturdy enough.  I decided to make my handles two toned and use both the outer fabric and the lining.  I cut 2 inch strips of each fabric and sewed them together down the long edge (scant 1/2" seam allowance), giving me a strip 3" wide as is called for in the directions.  Pressed the seam open, and picked back up with the regular directions.  Pressed under 1/2" on each long side, slip in the 7/8" Peltex

Fold in half and top stitch down each long edge.  Set aside.

Now for the main sides.  Sandwich the Peltex between the Exterior fabric and the fusible interface.

Attach the handles.  Here I also did a little modification.  I added more stitching to the handles - the box with the X in it for more stability.

Attach the large outer pockets to each main side, and attach the piping all the way around each side.

At this point I was pretty sore and tired.  I did not want to continue and make sloppy mistakes.  This is a good stoping point as well.  Just a few more steps to do and it is finished!  However these steps are long and detailed.  So far everything has worked very nicely.  The directions are wordy and helpful - good for a beginner.  My sewing machine boasted that it is a workhorse of sewing machines and can sew through 11 layers of denim with easy (It does  - I have put it to the test!), so I have complete confidence that as I get to the end here and have to be sewing through lots and lots of layers, I will not have a problem.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Travel Bag Day 2

Working along....slow but sure.  I have managed to get all the pieces cut out of everything.  Lots of pieces - main fabric, lining, fusible interface, heavy weight interface, and the piping.  That took a very long time to get it all cut out.  I followed the directions but I did not have enough of the fusible interface so back to the store I went with coupon in hand to get more.

I also got all 5 yards of the piping cord covered in the green fabric.  This will be a cute decorative trim around the bag.  I followed the hints that found on the web and used Stitch Witchery to glue the piping fabric instead of sewing the casing closed.  This will make it easier to sew to the bag later as I will not have to deal with trying to conceal the stitch line.

I just remember that I need to cut out a few extra pieces for the extras.  I want to add feet to the bottom so I will need some reinforcement strips.  I also want to add an inside zipper pocket in the lining.  I have zippers in my stash I will have to dig through to fine one that will match.  I will also have to cut out the fabric for the pouch as well.

So far so good.  I will be be getting into the real construction this weekend.  I just found out I may have to travel next month for my day job so now I have a deadline to get this bag made.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Latest Sewing Project

Over the next few days I will be showcasing my progress on a challenging new project:  Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag.  I love the shape and size of this bag.  I have seen this travel bag on several different web sites and everyone stated how difficult it was to make.  Anyone who know me in real life knows, I am not one to back down from a challenge.  It may take me a while but I will tackle it head on eventually. Since my new position at work might require me to travel, I though it best to get going on this so I have a cute travel bag to use.

I bought this pattern a month or so ago and have been reading and re-reading the directions.  I have also been slowly buying up the materials needed to make this bag.  I refuse to pay full price for fabric and notions so, I get things here and there on sale or, with a handy dandy coupon.  At full cost for everything this bag would be very expensive to make.  I have not sat down and added it all up but I would say I have cut the cost in half with buying things on sale and with the coupons.  It is still going to turn out to be an expensive bag but, I would consider it compareable to other designer bags out there...and this one is custom made by me.  :o)  

So far I have the pattern pieces copied off onto my pattern paper, and cut out.  I have also purchaced everything I need for this bag.  I already know of a few modification I want to make right off the bat.  I am not chaning the pattern or dimentions, just adding a few things that I want for my bag.

Stay tuned as I work my way through this pattern.  Hopefully, I will end up with a nice beautiful travel bag and keep my sanity...well what is left of it.  I also hope to get it done over the weekend....we shall see!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pasty Butt

Sometimes small peeps can develop what is called Pasty Butt.  This is very important to be aware of if you plan on raising chickens.  I have had 3 different flocks of peeps and I have always had to deal with this with a few peeps of each flock, this flock included.  Of the 25 peeps we have now 4 of them developed pasty butt.  Basically paste butt is when the excrement from the peep does not fall free from the body and it gets stuck in their butt feathers, dries, and crusts up.  This build of waste will eventually block the vent hole all together and can cause death.  At the least it causes irration, redness, attention, and pecking from the other peeps.  It is easy enough to remedy.  All you need is a quick hand to catch the peep, a dish of hot water, an old tooth brush (preferable one that is no longer in use!), and some olive oil. 

Since I have had peeps before, I was on the look out for pasty butt to get it cleared up and nip it in the bud before their little hiney's got all irratated and pecked.  With the help of my boys, I managed to catch all of the ones that were showing signs of pasty butt.  I put these peeps in the box that they were shipped in - since I still had it laying around.  Working quickly so they did not get chilled, I donned some purple gloves and handled each peep individually.  I turned them over so I had good view of their rear and commenced to wash their butt with the hot water and tooth brush to dissolve away the crusted poop.  You have to be very gentle here as you do not want to scrub their delecate vent hole or their skin.  It does not take very long to clean them up.  I pat their butt dry with paper towels and then apply a smearing of olive oil to prevent poop from sticking again.  I turn the poor traumatized peep right side back up and talk gently to her, as she shivvers in my hand and protests loudly.  I put them back in the brooder under the lights to warm up again. They run and dive under the rest of the peeps cowering in the corner as they all think they will be next.  One by one I clean them up and put them back in the brooder to join the rest.  Just part of chicken ownership.  As I was placing the last peep in the brooder I overheard one of the first peeps recounting her traumatic experience and telling the others how brave she was to escape and return to the flock.  The other peeps were mesmerized by her tale and were wide eyed and bobbing thier heads up and down in agreement. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Peeps See How They Grow

We had received a mail order box of live peeps April 4th.  In that box there were 27 day old peeps.  They are now 2 weeks old and my how they grow.  They are so fun to watch every day.  We have only lost 2 peeps - those died in the first 3 day we had them.  Over all that is not too bad considering these girls were shipped from Iowa to Pennsylvania in early April.

Here are some daily pictures.  It is amazing how fast they grow and feather out.

The white peep in the picture below is one of the mystery chicks.  They sent us two of these peeps.  We can't tell of they are male or female yet.  I have no clue what breed they are either. They are said to be rare and or exotic breeds from the farm.  I do know they are big birds.  They should do fine with the harsh winters we get here.....provided they are hens.  If they are roos I will have to get rid of them.

The feathering out process has got to itch!  The peeps preen themselves all the time and flap their newly grown wings.  They run/fly around the brooder from one end to the other.  We will soon have to take the  divider out of the brooder to give them more room.

They are starting to try to fly so we had to put the last lid piece on the brooder.  That is all I need, is to go down to the basement and have baby chickens running amuck!

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Peeps!

My new peeps finally arrived!  We ordered these cuties came from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa, a few months ago.  They were scheduled to be delivered the week of April 4th.  We did not expect them on a Monday!  The post office called my husband at 830 this morning to tell up we have a chirping box waiting for us.  He called me and I wrapped things up at work and scrambled home to get to the post office.  I know that you have to keep the peeps warm, so I had the heat set to inferno in my car.  I was so hot when I pulled into the post office parking lot an hour later!

I opened the box at the post office to make sure they all made it and did a quick head count.  I ordered 25 and they were to send 1 extra exotic rare breed as a bonus.  I counted 26 bobbing little heads and made sure they were all alive.  I thanked the post master and skipped out of the post office totally giddy with these cute little critters chirping loudly in the box in my arms.

At home Hubby was busy mixing up the medicated water that we have to give them as a preventive measure.  We only give it to the peeps for the first week and then they are unmedicated for the rest of their lives.  He also turned on the lights and did the finishing touches on the brooder.  He made sure the basement brooder was nice and warm when I got home with the peeps.

We got home safe and sound and went to the basement.  There I pulled out each peep out and dipped their beak into the water to make them drink.  I was also counting them as I was doing this and ended up with a total of 27 peeps.

We ordered 10 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 5 Black Astralorps, 10 Araucana (Easter Eggers - they lay green/blue eggs), and we ended up with 2 bonus "Rare Exotic Chicks". I don't know what those are yet. All I know is that they are plain white/yellow peeps. Who knows. We will hopefully figure them out when they feather out. We picked these breeds because they are winter hearty and friendly birds.  These cuties will come up to you and investigate your hand and fingers.  They don't run to the other side of the brooder screaming bloody murder that a monster is after them.  

We watched them for a while and we finally pulled ourselves away from them to try to get some work done.  I have been down to visit with them, talk to them and of course take pictures of them.  I will try to take daily pictures to document how fast they feather out.  It is amazing how fast they grow.  

The peeps are very fragile at this stage of their lives.  They are only a few days old and look for everything to be taken care of for them.  When they get exhausted they just kinds fall over asleep where they are.  They drift off to sleep and fall over or collapse and sleep for a few minutes or until another peep runs them over.  They have no regard for each other and will just plow each over over in their activity.

The brooder is 8x8 and we have sectioned it off in half.  They are too small right now to need all that space.  The brooder is made out of OBS board cut in half and held together with zip ties.  We make it so we can tear it down and store it until we need it again.  There is a big tarp on the floor and pine shavings over the tarp.  We have wire lids what will keep them in when they get bigger and try to fly/hop out.  There is 4 lights with 100 watt bulbs and a heat bulb to give them heat.

Here are just some more random pictures of them all:

I hope you enjoyed reading about these cuties!  More to come later!  Stay tuned.