Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Dress Giveaway!

I'm kicking off my first giveaway of the New Year a little early. I really debated about what to do with this dress and finally decided it should find a new home where it would get worn. It was started for Abby, but by the time I finished it she had grown too big for it. It is about a size 2/3, has a pleated skirt of 80"-84", piped bateau neckline, hand hemmed (sleeves and skirt), bodice length of 7.5", and waist 21".
It is made of 1850's reproduction fabric and is unlined. Perfect for the miniature reenactress or history lovin' little girl! If you'd like to enter please leave a comment and mention it on your blog, if you don't have a blog but would still like to enter please drop me a line at: yankeeingenuity1860@yahoo.com

Good luck!

Monday, December 21, 2009

1830's Dress

I finally finished my 1820's/30's gown this weekend and I'm so pleased with it! That in itself is a pretty big deal for me as I generally hate the way I look in anything I sew. It's either too long waisted or the waistband hangs wonky or the sleeves look stupid or any one of a hundred things that make me disappointed and disillusioned with sewing for myself. However, this dress behaved itself and turned out well! I used the Past Patterns 1830's dress pattern as a base and modified it to suit what I had in mind. I shored up the neckline quite a bit because I don't wear it with period underpinnings, but rather modern ones and they would show in a lower neckline. I had in mind something along the lines of this painting below for the sleeves.
So, the dress is completed and I'm all excited to blog about it and I have to be confounded by owning the junkiest camera on the planet and being the most unphotogenic person alive. :-/ So bear with the stupid faces and lame camera. :-)
The neckline and armscyes are piped, the next time I make a dress with this pattern I want to make actual cuffs and pipe them. There is a dress in the Victoria and Albert Museum that has sleeves like that and I really love the look. The pattern calls for a skirt width of 100" which seemed really skimpy to me so I made mine around 130", it has a nice amount of "swoosh" but doesn't seem overly wide. I debated about what closures to use and finally opted for hooks and thread loops. I've never made thread loops before but they were easy and really look nice and seem "oh so period", I'm so happy that I chose to go that route! I darted the bodice which I think looks better, I can't make a gathered front look well on me, it always looks like I'm wearing something way too big for me. I left the skirt fairly long for this era, but it is cosier for Winter this way and since it is an "everyday" dress that seemed best. I really need a wool flannel petticoat now or even just another regular petticoat or two, multiple petticoats were the standard for this era and I don't have enough to really make the skirt look as it should.

I think this style looks good for modern use and (to me at least) doesn't seem "costumey". I want to tear apart my gathered front gown that I could not make hang right and refashion it into another gown like this one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christ tide

Preparations are in full swing here for the coming holiday, there's excitement in the air that's irresistible! I really love Christmas, I feel sorry for those who find it any other way than a time of rest and reflection and joy. I think the running and shopping and commercialism really wear people out and it's so sad. We aren't out much and most of the stores that we do go to aren't playing canned music anyway, so I don't tire of the sounds of the season. There are sleigh bells on our door and I love the sound that they make when rung, it's such a festive noise!
I have always wanted to have the gifts wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine and this year I'm actually doing it! Ah, so much to make my heart glad! We have "real" ornaments for the tree and some years we use them, however some years we make gingerbread ornaments and string popcorn and that's what we're doing this year. When we're ready to undecorate we will remove the angel and then take the tree out, edible ornaments and all for a celebration in the barnyard. The turkeys and chickens and ducks will enjoy their treat!

Aleks brought home the Christmas goose this afternoon so plans were quickly changed in order to prepare the bird for the table. We will have ham in addition to goose, also on the table will be homemade cranberry sauce. To make this delectable side dish you place one 12 ounce bag of cranberries in a pot with 1 can of white grape juice and 1 cup sugar, add 3 shredded baking apples and cook on medium heat until berries explode and sauce thickens. Place in pretty glass dish and allow to cool. It is tart and sweet and very different from the canned variety. Also will be homemade pumpkin pie, to make this you bake a pie pumpkin in the oven until flesh is soft, remove flesh (about 2-2.5 cups) and combine with 1.5 cups of cream, 3 eggs, 1-2 cups sugar (preferably brown), 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon, one eighth teaspoon cloves, .5 teaspoon nutmeg, .5 teaspoon ginger and three fourths teaspoon salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 and then 45 minutes on 350.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Trio of New Dresses

I've been keeping busy lately with holiday plans and checking items off of my "Sewing To Do" list. Katie and I worked together on Elisabethe and Abigail's matching "sister dresses", I wanted them done in time for Thanksgiving and they were, barely! I finished up the final hem late on Wednesday evening and these pictures were taken Thanksgiving Day.

I got this trim idea from Heidi Hollister, a gal from the Sewing Academy. The gown she sewed was a lot more elaborate, but I'm happy with how the trim turned out on these. Interestingly, the fabric isn't blue at all. It took me a while to realize it but the checks are purple and green, however, your eye reads them as blue. Abby is looking somewhat dazed in this picture, holidays are tiring for children. :-)
Next on the list was a gown for Asa. I saw this gown in Godey's from an 1861 issue. It is a "Plain Morning Slip", what that translates as is a loose gown worn in the morning before donning the more fitted gowns that were fashionable. What it translates for me is: a loose gown that looks comfortable and that he won't easily outgrow!

The gown has 10 one inch tucks across the front and 6 one inch tucks in the back, they are eight inches long and release just above his tummy. I debated using the same style trim on his gown as I had on the girls' dresses but Mr. G liked this trim idea better. It seems so martial!
The fabric is a design from the Colonial Williamsburg Delft collection that I've had for a little while. The skirt is 60" at the hem and buttons up the back with 3 china buttons.

One last picture. He finds everything just hilarious, his smile makes him quite the Lady's Man! :-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving is 6 months in the making

Hello to all of you, I hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving. Our day was relaxing and enjoyable, as well it should be after the months of preparation that go into it! Plans begin in May when we plant the garden and decide which varieties of squash and pumpkins to plant, the very ones that will grace our table come the holiday season. We had Delicata squash this year, and oh! what a delicious tasty variety it turned out to be! This is a variety that dates from the 1880's or 90's and will definitely be something that we will plant next year. The pumpkins were a variety called Connecticut Field Pumpkin, a very old variety that dates back a few hundred years. They make the best pies, a process that begins the day before Thanksgiving when the pumpkin is quartered and baked. The cooked pulp is then scooped out, seasoned, mixed with fresh cream and baked to perfect doneness. A real homemade pumpkin pie beats any other kind! Whilst Katie and I were in the kitchen on Wednesday, the men and littler girls were outside butchering the Thanksgiving turkey. It was one that had been raised on our farm, outside in the fresh air and sunshine. We raise Narragansett turkeys, another old, heritage breed that is no longer commercially grown due to their slow growth. Your typical store bought turkey was a confinement raised "broad breasted white" hybrid monstrosity. They reach market weight in less than 6 months, whereas Narragansetts take a year or more. Slow is good. :-) The whole butchering business goes quickly, so quickly that I didn't get pictures and I really did mean to. The ambiance of country life, eh Ken? :-) However, I will describe how we go about it. A lot of folks have a killing cone but we don't, so we use the good, old fashioned chopping block. A piece of twine is tied loosely around the turkey's neck to keep its head stretched out so that it can be killed in one quick chop, I abhor the thought of torturing anything. Aleks sights the spot where he wants the ax to fall and thwack! its head is off. I've only ever seen a bird *run* after its head was cut off once, usually they just flop around which is what this one did. They also butchered 3 chickens that day and one of them flopped around so wildly that it ended up in the corn field, much to the amusement of the children. Then the bird is hung by its feet to bleed out, after that it is dunked in the cast iron cauldron of boiling water to loosen the feathers which are then pulled out. After the bird is plucked then it is gutted and immediately thereafter put in a tub of ice water to cool down. And that's it! About 12 hours later it was in the oven to slowly bake to perfect yumminess!

Later that evening we played tableaux vivants. This is an old form of entertainment where people in costume, with or without props, put on a scene. They don't move (so it's unlike charades) or speak and then we guessed what it was they were. For example our first tableaux of the night featured Asa, Abigail and Elisabethe sitting in the cast iron baby tub. Elisabethe held a knife, Abby had a rolling pin and Asa held a pewter candle stick. Can you guess what they were? Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub, and who do you think they be? A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, throw them out, knaves all three! Other children did scenes from fairy tales, the pilgrims landing, a scene from Of Mice and Men, a scene from Fiddler on the Roof , and even one scene from Bugs Bunny, lol. We had such a good time and already everybody is planning what they will do for New Years. We finished off the evening by listening to records on the phonograph player. I have a treasure trove of 78's that we play, including a lot of Bing Crosby Christmas carols. There are waltzes that we love and even some FDR speeches if the mood strikes us. The younger set like to wind the handle before placing the needle on the record and they like to discover a new favorite from the box of records that we haven't yet listened to. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Asa update

I'm shamefully overdue with getting the baby's measurements posted. Anyway, we took him for a check up at 6 weeks where he weighed 13 lbs 5 oz. That's a 4.5 lb gain in 6 weeks, the doctor said he was indeed obese. :-) He was off the growth chart that she showed us, however I found the WHO's growth chart specifically for boys and height and weight wise he was in the 85-95% both at birth and at 6 weeks. His infant chemises fit him until 7 weeks (barely) and then they were *tight* on his tummy and arms and so we put them away. Another milestone passed, that's bittersweet, isn't it?
This week he is 9 weeks old and though I don't have a weight for him he now has a 19.5" waist and is 25" long with a head circumference of 16". His blue homespun gown and his 1870's gown still fit, along with his 3 nightgowns, but that's all that he currently has. :-/ I have several of Sarah Jane's baby gowns and I tried a precious little wool one on him for Thanksgiving. It looked so sweet on him but I couldn't hook and eye it up most of the way down the back. He needs another few gowns but so do several of the girls, so I'll have to sew what I can, when I can.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A New Barn

Our current barn where the cows are kept and milked is really little more than a tumble-down shack, it features holes in the roof and a rotted out floor. It is the epitome of the "rustic and informal look" as Micah likes to say. :-) There is no way it will make it through another winter and so Mr. G has endeavored to build a new shelter before the snow flies. The new barn will be large enough to store some hay in, as well as put the fanning mill and plow etc. in.

Someday I would like to live in a house with post and beam construction, whether we'll buy an old house or build one that way is still uncertain, but there's no teacher like experience! Mr. G is framing the barn using mortise and tenon construction, so although it's not "post and beam", it's a close cousin. Things are still occasionally built this way, but not very often. Because it's time intensive it has fallen out of common usage in favor of faster methods.
In the pictures he is using a mallet and chisel to square up the hole that he previously drilled out using a bit and brace. We will all be glad to see the cows in a snug barn, no one more so than the men who do the early morning chores, at times it's so gusty out there that the lantern doesn't want to stay lit. Milking in the pitch dark quickly loses its charm I'm told.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Family Portrait at Zoar

In other family news, we went to Zoar on Saturday to take advantage of the 70+ degree weather where we enjoyed spending some time together hiking on the towpath trail. Zoar is so beautiful, it's one place where I'd actually consider living in town. The above picture was taken on the trail of the 8 oldest: Aleks, Katie, Levi, Micah, Tabitha, Rebekah, Elisabethe, and Abigail. A certain small person, who shall remain nameless, wouldn't behave for the picture. :-)

However, Katie took this picture of Asa the day before. It really shows how cute his lopsided grin is. I love that face! :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Heart's Desire

Katie has been diligently laboring over her new gown and finally completed it last evening! It is the Past Patterns darted bodice pattern, but she made it with a gathered bodice instead as cottons weren't generally darted in the 1860's. Since this is an "every day" dress and because we don't wear hoops around the house, she models it over petticoats as that's how it will actually be worn. Her next project is sewing a few more petticoats, both plain and tucked, which will give the skirt more loft. I can't begin to say how impressed I am with her sewing ability, she has really come into her own over the past year! She has such a positive attitude about sewing and takes correction so patiently with a willingness to rip things out and redo them until they're just right. I couldn't be more pleased or proud!

The collar is one of mine and the cuffs she made herself, they are basted in so that they can easily be removed and laundered. The blue silk ribbon is more of a young person's style, it wouldn't be something that I would wear, for instance.

I wanted her to get my bonnet out and try it on, it gets so little use. I think it frames her face just beautifully. Bonnets really need to come back in fashion, don't you think? They are just so lovely and feminine.

If you remember a couple of posts ago how I was mentioning about the bad attitudes of people toward their children and especially teenage girls, you will understand the title of this post. My heart's desire is that my children will listen to their inner light and follow what God would have them to do, I pray that they will be diligent, hard working, humble, practice self denial, and strive for holiness. I have 2 teenagers that have exceeded my expectations and make me so proud as well as set a wonderful example for the younger 7 to follow

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1870's Baby Gown

Since the baby keeps growing by leaps and bounds I thought that I would try a different style gown that would afford more tummy room. The 1870's isn't an era that I generally sew from but I researched a little bit and found some very easy and flattering baby styles to give me inspiration. The impetus for this is seen in the first picture below. Yes indeedy, that's an 18" waist. :-/

The gown is called a "tent style" gown in the period, but I think of it more as just a basic "A" line shape. There is no fitting done at the waist, it just falls straight to the feet. It closes with one button in the back like the originals do that I found. The main difference is the overall length, baby dresses covered the feet, but that could be by a little or a lot. On all of Asa's gowns I have opted for about 4"-6" of skirt to cover his feet, this seems like a reasonable amount that doesn't gobble up too much fabric. However, if I were making this gown again, I would make the skirts longer because I'd like them to be somewhat wider across the middle. He has wiggle room but not as much as I'd wish. Then again he will probably have outgrown it by the day after tomorrow anyway. :-)

Here is a close-up of the bodice detail, it is basically just bias strips ironed into shape and applied. However, it does give the illusion of a waistline and makes the gown somewhat more interesting than an untrimmed one.

This original gown is from the Wisconsin Historical Society and is dated 1860-1869. It would seem to be a less popular choice at the beginning of that decade but as time passed it is seen more frequently in images and surviving originals. It is basically a chemise style gown but is left uncontrolled at the waist, by contrast most 1860's gowns have a definite fitted waistline.

This image is from Godey's magazine and was published in 1871, I'm sorry that I don't have the exact month. It shows a baby in a gown very similar to the original pictured above.

This baby shoe pattern from January 1870 was found in Peterson's magazine and would be the perfect compliment to Asa's new gown. They look so easy to sew up that I'm really tempted to make him a pair!

The last image is also from Peterson's magazine, November 1870. It shows how gored the skirts could be as pictured on the little girl's dress on the top right. It also displays the sizeable bustles that were fashionable. The fashions of the 1860's with the voluminous skirts and supporting hoops give such a different silhouette than fashions a scant decade later. By the 1870's most skirts had the fullness pulled to the back creating a flat panel down the center front with the fullness taken up in bustles that would continue to increase in size. I think they are beautiful in their own way but not a practical fashion for a Country Wife.

All in all I enjoyed sewing this new style but I certainly wouldn't want to limit my wardrobe to strictly 1870's fashions. Until the baby stops growing in such great strides though I may have to make up a few more to help flesh out his wardrobe.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Seasonal observations

We have been gathering apples again for cider and butter and some for drying as well. Later apples make better/sweeter cider than do early apples and I enjoy the taste so much more. Mr. G patched the holes in the woodstove so it is ready for another winter of service and then he blacked it this past weekend. A blacked stove looks so much more presentable than an unblacked one does, everything looks better with a fresh face, right? And speaking of stoves, did you know that you can tell if the barometric pressure is rising or falling by watching what the smoke does as it comes out of the chimney? Smoke that falls straight to the ground indicates an oncoming storm as does a chimney that won't draw.
Autumn is my favorite season but this year's display has been pretty subdued, the trees seem to be sulking by not putting on their bright colors. Actually, the colors are related to the weather. When the Autumn days are warm and bright and the nights are cool but not freezing then the colors in the trees will feature more reds. We have hardly any reds this year but this would be due to the unseasonably cold temperatures we've had during the day in addition to the fact that we've had several killing frosts already. Also, too much Autumnal rain will lower the intensity of the colors and an early frost causes the leaves to turn brown and fall off prematurely. So this year the hills are far and away orange and yellow since those colors are steady from year to year.
At night when I first get into bed if I look out the window I can see Cassiopeia. It is one of the few constellations that I can easily recognize; to find it look in the Northern sky for 5 stars that form a "W". I was thinking and pondering about this lately after Jenny P wrote about being able to see the stars now that they are in their new home. It's amazing to realize that some people don't get to enjoy this simplest of pleasures. I think it must be much harder to meditate on God if one can't see His handiwork, He reveals Himself in the wonders of the created world.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Blue Homespun Gown

I completed the first of Asa's new gowns this past weekend. I did it in blue homespun basically because it's what I had on hand. I have a hard time getting him to lay anywhere without me and not cry so Katie took these pictures whilst I held him. He is such a Mama's boy!
I lengthened the bodice by an inch and widened it by 2 inches, so it now has a 21 inch long waistband. I don't *think* he'll outgrow this one in 3 weeks. I cut the front bodice on the bias to give it a little "interest" and lined it so it would lay neatly. I have yet to do the buttons and buttonholes. It looks huge just hanging there, almost like Abby could wear it. :-/

A final picture just because he looks like a little Sumo Wrestler. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Historic Baby

I wanted to record as much for myself as anyone else what garments Asa wore at what ages. Memory just doesn't serve to keep the dates straight. So I'll call this set of posts "Historic Baby" and it will be the chronicle of clothing our baby in his old fashioned garments.

First we begin with his chemise and cotton socks. Thankfully the chemises still fit him, they are one of the best things that I made, he wears them every day. He has cotton socks on today but also has wool ones if the weather worsens. He has cloth diapers but the only "period correct" wool soaker that I have doesn't fit him, he pretty much just skipped most newborn sized things. So, it's a disposable diaper for today.

We add his petticoat now, this particular one is cotton but he has a wool one for inclement weather. It should tie in the back but tying in the front goes smoother. :-)
Next we add his "daily cap", this particular one is my favorite. It's made out of a double thickness of flannel and keeps his ears so warm! The gown he's wearing no longer fits but I wanted a final picture of it; his waist is 16" and makes his gowns too tight to be comfortable.

And, the final layer for cold weather wear, his wool sacque and bonnet. These are the only garments, other than his chemises, that aren't already too small. :-/ The sleeves are long and the bonnet is plenty big even with his daily cap underneath. These layers paired with a wool shawl/blanket keep him toasty warm in any weather.

This is how he is dressed every day, we've not varied from it yet but I have to make him more gowns immediately. As it is he spends a lot of days wearing one of his nightgowns. The "A" line of them afford more tummy room than his gowns do. I wasn't sure if I would like this clothing experiment, maybe the novelty would wear off and it would become a hassle or a chore and I'd long to dress him in sleepers. But, I'm happy to say that I really enjoy dressing him this way! I don't find it to be unpleasant and it keeps him so much warmer than sleepers ever did. And, I definitely don't miss onesies, I always detested pulling them over a baby's head and with his garments now nothing has to be pulled over his head. Happy baby, happy mama!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

and THIS little piggy.....

I had a check-up yesterday with my midwife, whilst there we wanted to get an approximate weight for the little man. I knew that he was gaining but I never expected that he'd be well over 10 pounds! That's over a pound, more like a pound and a quarter in 13 days; I think they recommend that babies gain back their birth weight by 2 weeks to a month, ! So, I guess he's getting enough to eat, huh? :-) That's a picture of him taken this evening in the 3rd nightgown that Katie made him, it's flannel lined and *cosy*!
We are starting to can pumpkin and squash now, it will make an easy addition to quicky meal preparation. I'd like to can dry beans as well like we did last year, but I don't know if I'll get to it or not. We pressed cider for the first time last Thursday and got 20 some gallons, they were so busy, we waited hours to get our turn. I'd like our own cider press, maybe some day! Senna is now weaned and so we've been having a massive influx of milk. We make a lot of ricotta but really how much ricotta can one family eat? I've made some harder cheeses a few times but I'm no expert, a lot of people make yogurt but I'm not really a fan of anything that feels like snot in your mouth...... So, what to do? All the animals would drink the excess of course, but I'd rather the children benefitted from it. We still have chickens to butcher, a turkey for Thanksgiving, and several pigs to do this Fall.
In other mundane news, I washed the baby's clothes this evening. I hand wash all of his clothes, he doesn't do well with standard detergents so I wash his in Charlies. Have I mentioned Charlies lately? I *love* the stuff, it's not harsh on clothes and is completely unscented as well. His clothes just smell clean, not perfumey. I add the recommended 1 tablespoon of soap to a washtub of straight hot water and all of his white clothes (gowns, chemises, socks, caps, petticoats etc) and let it set until I can comfortably put my hands in it. Then I rub the clothes between my hands any place where they seem soiled. Squeeze water out and place in rinse tub. I rinse twice and that's it! Hang and they're dry by morning! To the wash water I then add the hot rinse water and his pastels and repeat. After that the water is pretty cool and I wash his few darks. It uses a lot less water, is much easier on his clothes, and most importantly I like to do it.
I have a number of sewing projects lined up for the coming weeks that I'm excited to get to! First is a dress for me! I'll be so pleased when I can wear it, I almost never find time to sew for myself, but I'm *making* time. I've been inspired anew but several dear friends who are sewing lovely historical gowns for themselves. Thanks to all of you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What a mess

I want to interrupt my babymoon to share some of the thoughts and discussions we've had around here this past week and a half. It has been a very special time for us as a family getting to know this new little person, moving and adjusting to fit him into our family. He has been held almost constantly by someone, what more could he want really, but to be fed and held and loved by his very own family? I've questioned several times what would happen to him if he were headed to daycare in another four and a half weeks? He wouldn't be the center of anybody's universe anymore, certainly wouldn't be, couldn't be, held like he is now. I'm not disparaging anybody who cares for other's children, as a matter of fact my sister was a daycare provider for years. The children in her care were well taken care of and really got attached to her. But the point I'm trying to make is that nobody will ever love your children like you should, I'm not sure that comes completely by instinct though. Paul directs the older women to teach the younger women to "....love their children". I'm afraid that our society screams something quite different to women and families today, something that sounds a lot like "being a full time Mother is a waste of your time and talents, you were made for higher things, you just aren't cut out to be a stay at home Mother, I love my children but..." And, more unfortunate still, the "Church" is affirming the message; witness the church run daycare centers. What message does that send? The reasoning goes: they're going to put them in daycare anyway, it's better that the children are here where we can teach them about Jesus. Um, okay, so where does thinking lead? People will abuse their children anyway, better to be abused in "Church"? Men are going to cheat on their wives, it's better that the "Church" helps them cheat in a good environment? Pornography is a fact of life, it's better if the "Church" supplies it and can then control it?

I'm not sure that I qualify as one of the older women but I'd like to encourage you to delve into the Word and see what God says about children. After all, it matters little what I say if it doesn't line up with what God says. Families are being made a shipwreck, the Church is rendered ineffective, and society crumbles when we don't take God's plan seriously enough to apply it. I don't believe anything supersedes God's directive for Mother's to mother their children, not any career, not any "ministry", not anything. There is no higher calling for a women but to be allowed the privilege of training and discipling the children God has given you.

While in the hospital I had lots of conversations with the nurses and the midwife about many topics but I was astounded by the amount of anti-child comments that were made to me. Unloving and ungracious comments to even think much less to voice to someone who was in effect a complete stranger. They were speaking of their own children (teenage daughters were really singled out though) as a hassle, a trial, the ultimate low point in parenting. How would you feel if that's how you were viewed? And we wonder why they grow up and seem to be drifting, anchorless, confused and angry. I'd question a lot too. If we don't view the "least of these" as He does, we can't start claiming promises and expect everything to turn out like we want it to. It has to worth the effort to us to get the reward. Kelly has some thought provoking things to say on this same topic, I also recommend A Full Quiver by Rick Hess.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome Little Stranger

Asa Bedford Graham

September 22, 2009

6:28 A.M.

8 lbs 12 oz 21" long
Long looked for, come at last! We decided to get the show on the road a little early this time. We knew he was going to be big (albeit, not that big!) so we opted to have him by my due date as normally I go at least a week and sometimes 2 weeks over my due date. I am so glad that we did as he easily could have topped 10 lbs! He has a 14.5" head which is my biggest ever (no problems though with that, thankfully!) but I wouldn't have wanted him any bigger, as it is he can't wear the smallest baby caps that we made. :-/

And the gowns........... well, instead of wearing them for 3-4 months as I'd hoped, I think I'll be doing well to get 6 weeks use out of them. Oh well, I like to sew, right? :-) They fit perfectly right now.

I came home yesterday afternoon, I hate being away, that's the hardest part. We did manage to keep him with us the entire time and in addition to everything we knew we were going to refuse (antibiotic eye drops, PKU test, Vitamin K shot, Hep B shot) there was a ton of proceedures that we hadn't anticipated. They wanted to heel stick him to blood type him, heel stick him to check his blood sugar levels, heel stick him to check his bilirubin levels, give him a hearing test, give me a rubella shot...... anyway, we escaped unscathed! They were really nice about everything though, I couldn't have asked for better. Still, there's no place like home! We are so thankful to be able to enjoy the blessings of a baby in the house again! :-)
Thanks for all of your well wishes and prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

All finished!

It is with great satisfaction that I can write "my sewing's all done!", great relief as well as I was nervous that I wouldn't have it completed and then what would I do? I finished the final little gown at the end of last week, it is a really beautiful terra cotta color and not pink like the photo seems. I put calico buttons on it, I don't know if that's a no-no or not but white china gets boring.

Following are photos of the baby sacque and bonnet that I finished a while ago. I know a lot of you have already seen it but my family hasn't. The outside is light blue tropical weight wool, the lining is champagne colored silk poplin and the embellishment is peach silk embroidery

Katie has been sewing more little caps and if I feel like it I'd like to make a fancier cap from Batiste. I guess that I just can't knock it off with the sewing!
The boys gathered about 60# of apples today. We will eat a lot, dry some and make apple butter for the year. Early apples don't make good cider so we'll wait to press until October, I think. This weekend we did another 15-18 dozen ears of corn and we are *hopefully* done with corn now!
I am 39 weeks on Wednesday but since I go late I could actually have close to 3 weeks left. I am so eager to meet our "little stranger"!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Corn and a nightgown

Katie finished the baby's nightgown yesterday. It is flannel on the inside and smooth on the outside (I'm sure there's some technical term for that). We drafted the pattern ourselves and I'm pretty pleased with how it looks. It was Katie's first try at a placket and I think she's really glad that it's over, lol. She did offer to sew another though, so maybe it wasn't a horrible experience after all!

We're big fans of composting and adding manure to the garden in the autumn, it has really increased our soil fertility. Our neighbor who is a conventional farmer has soil that's pretty well dead, his yields are about half of ours. Here are some examples of healthy soil and what it will produce. Below is the first of our corn harvest. We grow open pollinated corn and grind it for cornmeal; this was not by any means the largest ear, merely the first to ripen!

Aleks also trained the pole beans to climb the corn stalks. The problem now is that the corn stalks are 10-12 feet high and the beans dangle high overhead. :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Day

I have been eagerly awaiting a package this week and today it came! My dear, sweet friend Sarah Jane had inquired about making a baby gift for us and so I had her make a few baby petticoats, however, she also wanted to sew something for me. That was such a treat! I had her make a wrapper so that I would have something comfortable to wear now and afterward. I put it on and it was *perfect*, she is a very talented seamstress to do such an impressive job on a garment she's never sewn before, for a person she's never made anything else for! So, I endeavored to get some pictures of it for you to see.

We were doing tomatoes today and Katie took this while I was watching the little girls run around.

This is the quintessential "belly shot". I look like I swallowed a medicine ball. :-/

And these are the adorable, tiny little petticoats. They are made with a yoke and snug right up under the baby's arms for added body warmth. The one on the left is cotton and the one on the right is wool. They tie in the back for the greatest possible adjustability, I love to look at them, they're so sweet!