Friday, December 31, 2010

Playing Around

A few weeks ago I made a few Christmas greenery decorations. The wreath I made wasn't exactly worthy of hanging on a door, so I took it out to the animals to have a little fun. I wanted to try to get a few pictures of them on the animals.

The goats loved the wreath. They loved it a little too much and wanted to eat it.

June is reaching over her shoulder trying to eat it

Then I tried the sheep. They were a little more tolerant of the wreath. I just had to chase the goats away to take pictures.

Eventually the sheep tried sampling the wreath too.

But at least I got a few good shots. My favorite one is my banner picture.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Gift of Warmth

Both my sister and I have heat pumps as our main source of heat in our houses. Heat pumps aren't exactly known for their ability to get a house really cozy and warm. Plus, both my sister and I are pretty frugal and leave our thermostats set a little low to save on energy use.

I figured I'd make each of the kids their own little microwaveable heating pad! I sewed simple rectangles and filled them with plain rice. It was fun looking for the perfect fabric for each kid. Kylee got the purple Tinker Bell fabric, Devin got Cars, Evan got the trucks, and Charlotte got The Little Mermaid.

I made each one with an inner pouch with rice, and sewed each pouch in half to divide the rice in half. I used double seams just in case they're a little rough with them.

And then I made a liner pouch to go on the outside. The liners velcro together at the top. This way the pouches can be pulled off before microwaving, or they can be pulled off to wash if they get dirty.

Stick these babies in the microwave for about a minute or a minute and a half and they provide nice heat to snuggle up with at night! They're great for cold toes or you can do what Devin does and use it as a pillow. :-)

These are also a really great gift for tight budgets. Total cost was $15 for all 4 ($9 for the fabric and $6 for the large bag of rice).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Knitted Gifts

I love being able to knit gifts, so I was excited to make these as gifts for the kids.

These two rockets are for my nephew, Evan. The pattern was the Little Rocket pattern by Megan Kelly, found on Ravelry. It's a great project for small bits of leftover yarn.

I made Kylee and Charlotte (my neice) a crown each. The purple one is Kylee's and the pink one is for Charlotte. I also found the pattern on Ravelry. It's the Child's Play Crown pattern by Julie Hunter.

These were both easy projects I was able to knit with yarn I already had, and the patterns were totally free. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Slippers for Lisa

Every year our family does a gift exchange instead of everyone buying each person a gift. We each draw names (or we are assigned names) and we buy (or make) gifts for that one person, and everyone gives to the kids.

This year I got Lisa's name in the exchange. I wanted to make her a pair of slippers I'd seen in a knitting calendar I have. I'd been wanting to make them, and I finally had an "excuse". The pattern is the Felted Slipper by Patons. I used Paton's Classic Wool in Bright Red for the main color, and the white for the cuff color. The slippers were pretty easy to knit up, especially the second one once I had the pattern memorized.

This is the finished product, after felting. They fit very nicely and are very warm!

But here's the before picture! Since you have to felt them, you actually knit them way larger than the foot size. These are sitting on my washing machine and they almost take up the whole door.

I really love these slippers and I'm getting ready to cast on for a pair of my own! The only think I might change is the sole. I think I'll try to find some thin suede to sew on as a sole. We have lots of pets and hard floors, so I think it will help keep the pet hair out (you can only sweep or vacuum so many times a day!) and make them more durable.

And the good news is Lisa liked them!

Monday, December 27, 2010

What's Worse?

Lots of snow and no wind, or not much snow and a ton of wind? I'll pick lots of snow and no wind, thank you.

We were forecasted to get 8-12" of snow yesterday, but luckily we only got a few inches. I can't tell for sure how much we actually got because the wind is blowing like crazy. I looked out the window this afternoon and saw this.

What was left of the hay shed...

I sent a picture to David on his cell phone and he said he thought he could bend it back. Yeah, I'm not sure. Another reason I'm sick of the snow and wind is because David's new job requires him to be in the shop while it's snowing and while trucks are out plowing. The plowing is being negated by the wind blowing the snow back across the road. Poor David has been at work since 5 AM yesterday morning. He said he'll be lucky to get home by midnight tonight.

And the darn shed snapped a post too.

Plus, one section of Ondura roofing on the chicken coop blew off. It looks like it ripped right in half. That stuff is pretty heavy duty and I'm surprised it didn't hold up. At least there is still particle board covering the roof.

Ok wind, you can stop now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lots of Veggies

A few days ago a tractor trailer carrying produce rolled sideways in the median strip of the highway near here. David's coworkers were on the scene to shut down the road. The produce that had spilled out of the trailer had to be disposed of, and much of it was loaded in dumpsters. Luckily for us, some of the guys loaded up some crates and took them back to work! David brought home a crate of green beans, lettuce, beets, and a box of papayas!!

The lettuce was fairly tough and bitter, so it went as treats for the sheep and June. They loved it. I've never had papayas before, but I dried one and used one for a smoothie (which was delicious!). I have quite a few more to do something with soon. I blanched and froze some beet greens yesterday. We also roasted some beets. I'm not crazy about beets....because they taste like dirt....but I may keep trying them different ways to see if I can use them all up.

I was so excited about the green beans since my beans in the garden didn't exactly produce a bumper crop this year. Yesterday (Christmas day) David and I worked together to blanch and freeze most of the beans. We got 9 good size bags in the freezer, plus we gave some away to friends and family.

But someone else loved the green beans too...

Buford figured out on his own that they were pretty darn tasty!

In fact, I finally had to shut the lid to the crate because he was eating so many!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Santa Claus comes tonight! We're ready!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free Decorations

One of my favorite decorations around the holidays is greenery. Wreaths, swags, and roping are so pretty but can be fairly pricey. I decided to make my own greenery this year. I went "shopping" in the yard and found some holly, cedar, and yew. Unfortunately we don't have any pines, so I stopped at the Christmas tree lot down the street from my work. They said I could take as many trimmed branches as I wanted!

I used a few tools we already had-floral wire, pruning shears, and wire cutters. I made a wreath (the one on Purl in my banner picture), but I didn't have any wreath forms and it was a pain in the butt more work than I wanted to do, so I decided to just make swags.

I made 3 plain holly swags for the garage windows.

Then I made three large swags for the barn door and the front porch posts. I also made 2 smaller swags for the front and side doors. I found some red bows I bought last year for next to nothing (after Christmas sales!) and attached them.

I think they look nice.

And they used stuff we already had on hand, so they were free!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Theo's New Digs

When I got Theo, I planned on keeping him until he bred June and then I thought I'd sell him. I don't have the space to keep a buck year 'round, and if I keep a buck I have to keep a friend for a buck. I just don't have the space to keep 2 boys. So, I placed an ad for Theo and waited and waited. Turns out since hardly anyone has Oberhaslis around here, it's pretty hard to sell a buck.

A few weeks after I placed the ad for Theo, I got an email from the woman who bought the two doe kids from me earlier this year. She saw the ad and came up with an idea. I'd keep ownership of Theo, and she would keep him at her farm and take care of him. We'd both be able to breed him to our does. Perfect!

So we drove Theo down to his new home.

He has 2 roommates, Boer buck kids just a few months younger than he is. Theo didn't quite understand how to greet other bucks...

Look at the buck on the right. I'm amazed at how meaty and thick he is! I'm used to seeing dairy goats, which are much thinner than meat breeds.

Theo has lots of new friends. The herd is so pretty to look at, with all of the different colors and patterns!

I really like the big red girl.

And I also got to see the doe kids! This is Beatrice on the right with one of her friends.

This picture of Beatrice reminds me of the one of June's grin.

And here's Mamie. They're both so big and they look great.

Mamie again.

I was pretty sad to sell the girls this spring, but I couldn't ask for a better home for them! Seeing that big herd of goats made me want more. Hopefully one day I'll have enough land to have more. :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Annual Cookie Day

Three years ago I invited a few of my girlfriends over to bake cookies and watch cheesy Christmas movies. We had a great time and I decided it would be fun to do it every year! Well, last year it snowed a bit which then turned into about 2 feet of snow so needless to say Cookie Day was cancelled last year!

Luckily this year it did not snow, so all the gals made it.

We had lots of food...

And we all made different kinds of cookies!

We had peanutbutter blossoms, brownie cookies, butterscotch oatmeal...

Italian wedding cookies (I think that's what they are)

And Christmas Cherries. I made those, so that's the only recipe I can post or link to. :-)

I have to say I was very skeptical about the green cherries. They're just odd. I tasted one right out of the container and hated them. Luckily, once they baked in the cookies they were much better. I'll probably make these again just because they're cute and colorful.

After the baking was over we divided the cookies between us so we each got several different kinds. We had a great time!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Baby

My coworker had a baby boy in mid November so I knitted a little hat and mitten set for the little guy. I'm not quite sure if she knows about my blog, so hopefully it'll still be a surprise when she gets them in the mail in the next day or so.

The hat is the Very Basic Beanie pattern, slightly modified. I did the decreases much faster than the pattern called for because I was worried the hat would be too big for the baby. I used the Fast Baby Mitten pattern for the mittens (obviously, hehe). The yarn is Caron Simply Soft, which I really like a lot.

It's a little nerve wracking knitting baby things without a baby to try them on for size. The mittens look slightly long to me, but they also look very cute with the cuffs rolled up. I hope she likes them, and I hope they fit!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breakfast with Santa

Yesterday morning we went to the kids' school for Breakfast with Santa. They had some neat activities, including Santa's Workshop and a cookie walk. The kids shopped in Santa's workshop for presents for their mom and dad, and they got one each wrapped by a volunteer.

It was a little crowded, so we said we could handle wrapping the other presents at home.

Then the kids each got to visit with Santa and get their picture taken. We had to wait in line, so we entertained ourselves while we waited.

Then it was time to see the big man himself! Kylee went first...

And then Devin. He told us on the way there that he was going to ask Santa for an automatic room cleaner, but then chickened out when he got to see Santa.

On our way out, David and Devin stopped for a friendly game of hoops.

Kylee was more interested in her candy cane. I don't blame her!
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