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Strike While the Iron is Hot

Aunt Toby realizes that anyone looking at my postings would not exactly find a really rigid organization functioning here. The blog really functions the way most of our households do – gotta keep it flexible within certain immutable facts; gotta take advantage of things as they come along. Strike while the iron is hot and all that.

There are certain times of the year when I can do and demo certain activities in more efficient ways. It’s not that I can’t demo canning in the middle of winter, but it’s a lot easier at the height of the summer when I have a lot of veggies available. But there are certain rhythms to the year so for readers who might have an interest (or who might want to ask for something specific), here is what I’m planning over the next couple of weeks:

Gardening: I’m going to have to transplant all the seedlings in a major sort of way and move them to our unheated greenhouse. I’ll probably be starting more seeds. I also am thinking about cleaning off one of the beds out in the garden and setting up my own mini hoop house out there, to see how fast the soil warms up and how quickly I can get things into the garden this year.

Chickens: We’ve got a broody hen. Between about Feb. 19 and the 25th, either we’re going to have chicks…or not. So I will be covering that. But in the meantime, we have to move them out of the room where she is nesting with the other much larger chickens. The nest needs to be closer to the ground and we need to have them acclimated to that and the heat lamp and so on.

Cooking: With all of these storms and power outages, I have offered that using a backyard grill to cook on is a definite option. I’d like to offer some experiments to show what we can do. Any specific suggestions for what people would like to see: pizza, baking bread or cookies, soup/chili/stew, pasta? Testing regular kitchen cookware vs cast iron? Just let me know.

Sewing: I have the rest of a wardrobe all planned out (green wool jersey dress et al.), but one thing I have never done with a home sewing machine is work with leather. I have a simple handbag pattern and some scrap leather and want to experiment with how this will work.

Anything else? We’re open to all sorts of questions and ideas. We’re here to serve you guys – anything that will complete the following sentence is up for grabs:

“You know, I’ve always wanted to learn how to …………………..”

Go for it! Leave your ideas and questions in the comments or send me an email at:

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  1. fuzzarelly says:

    Here’s a tip for sewing with leather, from back in my costume making days: apply a piece of masking tape to the underside of the foot. It will make the food slide across the leather more easily.

  2. WolfSong says:

    On the leather front…I would add that a glover needle for your machine, while not necessary, will make things go so much smoother. I have found them at the local wal-mart, though fabric shops are a better source.

  3. Karen says:

    I’ve done a lot of leather sewing, and other than using a leather needle, I’ve really not had to invest in anything else. For flattening seams, you can use glue (leather or sometimes craft glue it dries flexibly). You can also sometimes use steam-a-seam or similar products. Leather can take more heat than you’d imagine, just use as heavier press cloth and don’t panic if some of the pigment comes off on the cloth.

    I’ve noticed that older machines have an easier time with leather – my cheapy 10 year old Singer does a better job than my Juki, and the old trashpicked table-model Singer in my dining room will do an even better job once I clean it up. Go slow and use a larger stitch size – stitching close together can act as perforation, and then BAD things happen. Ask me how I know.

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