March 27, 2012

Clausing drill press back together (~5 years later!)

A decent drill press is a great thing to have in your shop. It might even be the one stationary machine I would choose to get first. Over the last 10 years, I've had two Clausing drill presses which I attempted to fix up and swap parts enough to realize my ideal drill press. I don't think I ended up with that, but at least I have a working machine now.

March 26, 2012

Violet's second piece of embroidery done, #3 begun

Becky has been teaching Violet simple embroidery stitches these last six months or so. Her first project was three circles of different colors on a piece of muslin, done with big satin stitches. She was very pleased with this, and it hung on the wall of the kitchen for some time. Next, she wanted to get more ambitious, so she designed a scene with a flower.

March 19, 2012

Sleep sack for Buster

Buster has been sleeping in a sleep sack we bought in the fall, but he is almost too big for it. Becky suggested making him a bigger one, so we rounded up some old baby blankets and got to work.

Response to NYT Magazine Article: How to Be a Pioneer Woman Without Ever Leaving the Couch

My sister Annesly sent me a link this morning to a very funny article by Heather Havrilesky in the New York Times Magazine about reading her 3 and 5 year old kids the Little House books. We are coincidentally also in the midst of reading these books to our 3 and 5 year old daughters (we just started book 6, Little Town on the Prairie), and it has also prompted us to do some reflection on ourselves and modern life, so the article really resonated in many ways. I have some fundamental issues with where the author ends up philosophically though.

March 15, 2012

Am I seriously going to use this thing to shave my face?

I've been using an electric razor more or less exclusively for my whole shaving life, about 20 years. It stinks, and I want better.

March 14, 2012

Finished racking 2011 cider

Last weekend I racked the last two carboys of 2011 cider into kegs. This means all 100+ liters of my 2011 hard cider is now in stainless. The combination of holiday season feasts and all the company we had to help with Becky's broken ankle in January helped us tap out the 2010 cider toward the end of February. I racked the first three carboys of 2011 a few weeks ago and have started drinking that.

The 2011 is shaping up nicely with a good balance of flavors. I think its quite tasty for a 5 month old cider, and it should improve further with age.

March 13, 2012

First handmade button hole

Last Sunday, Violet dug out a yellow dress from her closet which has a single strap on top that fastens around the neck and buttons in back. It used to have a freehanging button loop made of lightweight cord, but this broke some time back. We had mulled the idea of making a buttonhole on the strap itself as a repair, instead of recreating the free loop. So on Sunday, Violet was really pushing the buttonhole repair and asking if we could get out the electric sewing machine out to make a buttonhole.

As you may know, I am trying to not use the electric sewing machine this year. I considered breaking the resolution; its just one teeny button hole right? I have a buttonholer for the Necchi, but that machine is not able to be treadled at the moment. I had been thinking of doing hand buttonholes, and have greatly admired the ones I've seen on Jeffrey Diduch's blog. This actually seemed like the perfect chance to try it out. Only one needed, its not that visible a location, and the customer is not too demanding.

Last week's bread

A few months ago we received a tin of fancy olive oil from Italy. One of Becky's friends got it as a holiday gift from some relatives of hers who run an olive oil operation in Italy. She has kids who are very allergic to a variety of things though, so she can't eat stuff like this due to the possibility of cross contamination by other food items. So she kindly gave it to us.

Violet said she wanted to eat some of the "old" bread I used to make with the fancy oil and salt. So last week I baked some extra bread in addition to the two sandwich loaves for the week.

Homegrown Shiitake Mushrooms

My mom sent us a Shiitake Mushroom Patch from Fungi Perfecti for xmas.

March 6, 2012

New England Model Engineering Show - 2012

The whole family went to this show, at the Charles River Museum of Industry. This museum is small, but pretty cool. I had taken the girls there last fall to attend a festival listed on their website, but when we showed up we found out it was cancelled. The place was empty of visitors though, so the kids had fun running around checking stuff out, and we even got a demo of the excellent line shaft driven machine shop they have there. Though they probably had more fun balancing on the rock wall outside next to the dam and waterfall on the river.

This time though, there were so many people there you could barely move.

Lined Wool Cloak

Finished this on the Wheeler & Wilson the other night. Outer layer is wool (melton perhaps?), lining is sand colored medium weight rayon, both pulled out of my fabric stash. Satin ribbon trim and strap, wool felt applique, stainless snap closure.