Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teaching My Son To Sew

If you sew a button on his shirt, he can wear it another day. If you teach him how to sew a button on his don't have to do it anymore. All 3 of my sons can sew buttons on their shirts and sew a straight seam in order to mend a tear. The older ones prefer to leave these things to their wives. Except for hockey gear. They can mend their own hockey gear. Possibly because the girls won't go near the smell. 

Yak is taking it a step further. Having spent so much of his life with me in my workshop, he has pestered me for years to let him sew on the machine. Yak started out with a needle and thread when he was about 5 years old. He had his own sewing kit, in a matchbox, with several colors of thread wrapped around old bobbins, a paper with a couple needles stuck in it, and a safety scissors. He would sew meandering seams on scraps of fabric and call it done. Later, I showed him how to sew on a button and mend a small tear. Finally, this year I set him up with my grandma's old factory model Pfaff.  This is the machine I use for sewing leather, heavy canvas and anything that might damage the Janome.

Historically men were the sewists anyway. Tentmakers, tailors, dressmakers, most were men. Yak has developed an enthusiasm for designing his own patterns and I want to nurture that enthusiasm quickly before it goes away. First he watched studiously as I sewed the drapes for his dad's RV. He noted the working of the foot pedal, the hand wheel and how to guide the heavy fabric under the needle. Next, I let him take a turn. First he sewed on some cotton scraps to get the feel for the machine and foot pedal. He sewed up a number of bean bags, which he sold out of at the Farmer's Market where we worked for several weekends. His next project was hand bags. I think the simple design, along with the sturdy upholstery fabric looks great. He ran into difficulty attaching the straps, so the project is on hold for now. Maybe this is a good time to encourage use of the seam ripper...

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Outfitting the RV - DIY Mattresses and Drapes

Our 1989 28 foot Georgie Boy Cruise Air II came to us in top notch condition. All that needed fixing was some worn out plumbing. The microwave burned out after the first use, so we replaced it. The kitchen is easy to cook in, and the sitting area is very comfortable. All that was needed here were 2 twin mattresses for the bedroom bunks and drapes for the bedroom windows. 

We happened to have an old full-size futon mattress laying around so we recycled it. We cut it in half, I pieced fabric strips onto the covers so they would fit again, and sewed them closed. I also had a bolt of upholstery material in the workshop, so I measured, cut, ironed and sewed drapes for the bedroom and a long panel for a bedroom "door".

Mr. D is now happily ensconced in his new digs, enjoying the use of his electrical gadgets, powered by the solar panels he installed, along with several heavy duty deep cell batteries. He has already started on the first leg of our road trip, to snow country, where he will be wintering, taking care of his parents. 

We will be joining him soon. Now to get my trailer ready - that's a project! Thanks for stopping by.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

End of the Garden

Our bountiful harvest
We didn't have much of a garden this year, but what we did have did pretty good once it started raining.Those pumpkins were enormous! I think one was somewhere around 70 pounds! The other 3 about 20-40 pounds. We got about a dozen watermelons, about the same on cantaloupes. There was only one row of beets and one of onions, but that was enough to keep us well fed for a couple months, as well as several cans of beets for the pantry. A neighbor supplied us with zucchini and chard, another with cucumbers, so in addition to eating fresh and fried squash and greens, I was able to put up a couple dozen quarts of pickles. I am not really a pickle person as far as store-bought goes, but I love my homemade pickles. I love to open a jar of pickled cucumbers or other veggies midwinter, to add some variety to our staples of rice, potatoes, carrots, onions and beans. 
Zucchini, cucumbers and onions ready for the pickling brine
As for the pumpkin, well, the largest went to our local library so they could use it for a fund raiser. If you're near Ash Fork, stop in and guess the weight for 25 cents a guess - the winner gets to keep the pumpkin and the library gets a boost to its budget. This little fellow grew right into the fence. We had to pick him before he got any more attached, but he seems to have ripened just fine.

A creepy halloween mutant
After giving away several more pumpkins, the last few will be eaten for the next few weeks and canned for later pies, breads and cookies. Sadly, we didn't plant any tomatoes. I can always use lots of jars of tomato sauce. Maybe next year...speaking of which, we will be on the road next year, looking for fresh, local produce and experimenting with our homesteading practices in a 28 foot RV and a 14 foot trailer. Should be very interesting. 

Thanks for stopping by.

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