Monday, May 27, 2019

tomatoplants, chicken coop and quilting

It´s been a while since I last wrote to you. The winter months have changed to the busy springtime. After a dry april month it´s now almost perfect, alternaty some rain and then some sunshine. Although the month started very cold with most of the nights below zero. I kept my tomatoplants already in the polytunnel and with some cardboard and frostblankets they survived the frost. Until that last night, on the 14th of may, a final frost came and they al where flaggy and I susposed dead. It was very sad indeed. To cover the lost I sowed the same day 16 new tomatoesseed, I know it was a bit late but you can always try, don´t you? The next couple of days I was occupied with other projects on the homestead and paid not attation on the polytunnel exept for watering the seeds. But then, when I had time to trough the frozen tomatoplants away, I spotted on almost every plant new very small baby leafs! They were not dead at all! Since then, I have taken particulary care for them and the hopes for a tomato harvest have returned! Some of you may already have noticed, that exept from the resurrected plants I have now 16 more lovely seedlings to take care of. I hope they will all fit in in the poly tunnel....

Beside working in the garden we also fininshed a chicken coop. I think it is the most lovely chicken house ever. Made on the axle from a very old farmwagon, it´s easy to wheel. Our chickens have a great time in it and every day we drive it on a new bit of grass.

After more than 40hours of handquilting, which did take several months, I finished my first patchwork quilt for on our bed. Made from only scratchpieces I had on hand. The patchwork I made the winter before, entirely handsown, and after I get a quiltingframe as a christmas gift, I started in Janari on the quilting.

Now this one is done, I will soon start on making a second one. I have chosen for the bethlehem star pattern, which was a very popular pattern in the eightteen hunderds.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

First day in the garden and considering off grid living

Today the sun was shining, the birds were singing and my lovely hens were picking in the just turned soil, it felt like springtime had arrived.

After the long dark winter I had longed to be outside in the garden again and finally that time has come. With the spade I turn the rich black soil up. My hens are just in front of my spade to snatch the worms that come up, the hen that gets the worm runs away followed by a very hungry troop, sometimes it´s looks almost like a rugby match. I love just watching the hens, they are so intelligent and clever and it´s very interesting to see how the pecking order works. 
With February almost passed away I need to hurry to decide which crops I want to plants this year. It will not vary much from year to year, but the quantities change over the years and I try every year some new plants or verities.
 Our cats are also loving the warmer weather, hunting and clambring everywhere, even on our car :)

Despite of the dryness of last year we have still food left. It´s now a race against the clock to eat the last potatoes before they sprout, and there is still some fresh kale and brussels sprouts in the garden. In the pantry have we jams and canned tomatoes, berries and pears and some jars with pickles. When we run out off fresh food we can still eat from the dried beans and dried corn and maybe by then the first nettles have grown.  

 We have been cogitating for years about to go off grid in the future. All pros and cons must be weighted. Although we use only 125 kWh on a year, it´s something we are used to. Will it be functional to produce electricity for the computer and the phone with solar power? What will it cost? What will we spare by being off grid. This will be the main question's to seek out this year. It would be a big step in the right direction if we could produce our own electricity.

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Victorian winter paletot

I finished my new winter coat! 100% wool both in the outer fabric, which makes it waterproof, as wool in the lining and I quilted an interlining to the lining. This makes the coat really warm.

I found a free pattern from the Godey’s ladies magazine from 1858 for a fall paletot. I did enlarge the pattern and made a muslin, although it fitted it was not what I had expected. But I used this muslin to draft a completely new pattern. After some hours of refitting, I had made my final pattern.

 the orginal drawing in the magazine

quilting the lining

 the pattern pieces drawn on the fabric

 sewing on my singer treadle sewing machine

Made of brown wool felt with a detachable cape

The coat is closed with 8 metal buttons

and 2 button closed pockets.

Bound buttonholes and the blue-grey wool lining

Princes seams on the back

I realy like how it turned out and I love to wear it!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Redecorating the living room

Last weeks I have made some new curtains for the living room. That was the last step for the makeover in there. Except from cleaning and removing the old floor, we had done nothing to it after we moved in. The old windows were in great need for paint and repairing. One of the window glasses was broken when we bought the house. The rain had blown in trough there and did some damage to the window frames. 

After days of scraping off the old paint and sanding it then, I could finally apply the new paint. Now with the windows weathertight was it even worth that the floor received a new layer of paint.  The wallpaper did we not change. It is probably from the 50´s when they (the former owners) did redecorate the living room. Although it is discolored here and there and has some water damage underneath the windows and besides the chimney, I love the design and the color.

The house has old single-pane windows with handblown glasses which makes that there is often a cold draw when you sit in front of it. To make it more comfortable I took the decision to make floor length velour curtains. Because I don´t like when you see the stitching’s on the right-side, I sew all the seams by hand using a blind hem stich.  It took a bit longer than expected men after a while it was done! Still there are some things to do. 

I must buy some nice tie back ropes and when I order something in the shop where I bought the velour, I will buy some extra velour to make some nice curtain drapes, pleated onto the wooden frame. That looks nice and this will hide the curtain rods.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

painting christmas cards

On the long autumn evenings I´m painting Homestead christmas cards. 

They will be availalbe soon :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New dress

Nearly November. The days turn shorter again, certainly now after turning the clock. We worked with our little pony this afternoon but 5 o´clock it became to dark to do anything further. Speaking about the pony, he does it really well! We work him 3, 4 times a week and he is really steady. Drawing nicely and listing well to the commands. We both love to work with him.

Last summer made me realize that I´m badly prepared for hot sunny days.  All my dresses are dark blue, brown and black checked. Not really suitable colors when you’re doing the hay harvest in the sun with 35.  So now I have changed it and will be better prepared for next year! 

I made a lightweight and light-colored dress. Using a pattern this time. I like the dropping shoulder seams, but I never got clear how to make them nicely. Using the “laughing moon #111, Ladies early 1860´s day dress” pattern made it very easy to understand. The pattern came with 3 different sleeve patterns. I choose the coat sleeve, which is the most practical on the homestead. The dress itself is made of a lightweight checked cotton and I lined it with an unbleached cotton fabric.  

The skirt has knife pleats on the front, box pleats on the sides and cartridge pleats on the back, which gives it a very nice shape.  

The bodice is boned on the front and closed with buttons.

the linning and hemming of the skirt
 Of course, are the buttonholes handsewn, like most of the dress.  I like the shape of the skirt both over my starched petticoats, which I use most at home, and over my crinoline.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

winter is on his way

Like in almost the whole of Europe, it was very hot here in Sweden the whole summer. After the 4th of May, it was almost every day above 20℃ and we did have only a few days with rain. But despite that, we had a great harvest on the garden. I didn´t give any water to the garden, only the tomatoes in the polytunnel got about 10 liters a day. Everything did grow more slowly now but I neither needed to weed so often.

July was the month for the hay harvest. The grass had grown more slowly but after cutting it, it dried also much faster. Not only because the sun and the wind dried it out but there was also less moisture left in the grass. It was much more difficult to cut with the scythe. It´s always very important to have a sharp scythe but now it was even more important than ever. Otherwise it won´t cut anything. Other years the grass was always a little wet in the mornings from the dew which makes it also easier to cut the grass, now the grass is bone dry even in the early mornings. But after a month hard work it was done! The hayloft is full of wonderful smelling hay!

The last 2 months we were without water in the well but yesterday we did see a little, little water on the bottom, so hopefully it will be full of water soon. It is much easier to have water at home than that we must go and take water from a nearby town.

We made some progress with our little work pony also. After some training with the long reins we have now started to use him to pull timber. He is doing really well. Doing the job with confidence. After a few times he did know the routine. We got a nice little wagon last spring so hopefully he can pull it next year with the hay harvest. We only need to fix proper shafts.

Last morning it was -2℃ and hoarfrost had turned everything sparkly white. A briskly northly breeze make it feel quite cold. Winter is on his way again. We have prepared the most already. The pantry is filled with loads of canned food. Lots of potatoes and carrots. The fall garden filled with kale, sprouts and other winter hardy plants.  So now we can pull back into the house. Read a book in the warmth of the stove, take a hot cup of tea and nestle in my favorite chair and enjoy the new season.