Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicks of Paradise- Backyard Chickens

We made the plunge into chicken raising! 

Remember this too was on my 2011, To Do List. 
I sadly thought it wasn't going to actually happen <I know it's only March and there's lots of time left in the year for accomplishing my list, however I was worried about the creatures that might begin frequenting my yard with the addition of chicken-Eh, we'll cross that road when we have to!> And then one gray day last week, Friday to be exact, Kurt and I had a productive day planned, with lots that needed to get done. Thanks to the wine and soaking pool at McMenamins the night before the priorities changed a bit! I asked Kurt if we could get chickens, meanwhile I had a little list made of what we had and what we needed, along with research on what breed we ought to get. He didn't even hesitate-- "Sure I'm going to finish making breakfast and get showered then let's go over there, in about an hour?" Uh what I didn't even have to convince him! I knew I loved him!!

So we headed to Naomi's Organic Feed Store near Sellwood. Lots and lots of chicks! Not the one's I had researched so ummm....what do we pick? There were meat chickens and layers and fancy, rare chickens. They showed us a book we could look through and we decided on 4 different layer breeds- 4 different color eggs. The Red Stars wouldn't be in until later that day between 12 and 1 so we bought our supplies and headed to get ready.

1 Waterer
1 Feeder
1 Heat Lamp
1 bag of organic food
1 bag of grit- Chickens use this to help their digestive tract
1 ginormous bag of pine saw dust
1 little thermometer
1 roll of chicken wire

At home we set everything up in a rubbermaid storage bin, turned on the heat and waited. It had to be 95 degrees in there to be perfect for the chicks. It was like waiting for water to boil while staring at the pot. Meanwhile we also stared at the phone waiting for the call to come pick up the chicks! What seemed like hours passed <Can you tell we were excited!> so we gave up on waiting on them! Took Coop to the dog park to wear him out and then to the feed store we went. The lady smiled and said, "I didn't even call you." I know we were too excited {impatient} to wait!

Drumroll please meet:

{from Left to Right}
Buffett, Mango, Marley, Coconut, and Coral          -->The Chicks of Paradise!

I love the constant chirping when they're awake, it makes the house feel like a spring morning all the time! The chicks have to be under the light in the house for 6-8 weeks while they "feather out". We've had them for 5 days now so they range in age from 1 week to 2 weeks old. They're trying to fly in the brooder and make a big mess of their food and water dishes. Last night we took them out and let them explore a bit. 

Marley Meeting Cooper-Their Brother

Too much for Mango-She's out, standing up, per her usual!

We crated Cooper for the chicks to be out, but today I trusted him more. I took each of them out one at a time, made him sit or lay down and put the chick between he and I or held her up to his nose. He did very well! Hopefully each day we make progress and gain trust on everyone's side :) Integration will be crucial. Stay tuned for stories and pics. 

OH and of course stay tuned for the Chicks of Paradise Hen House we are building! The base is an old cabinet..... Re-Create project...MY FAV!


If you have any thoughts or ideas, please comment by clicking "0 comments" and that will lead you to the comment section! Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

From Long and Dull to Short and Fun-A tutorial of Sorts

Let's face it. I'm not tall.

Those long dresses that "tall girls" can pull off just don't do anything for me--Even though I really want them to!

Before our trip to Mexico mom and I were at Target <I love Target> Earlier in the day mom had spotted a fun black cover up at fun, pricey Swim Suit store--Oh we'll think on it, she decided. it really was cute! But Target, like it does every time, came to the rescue. She found a black cover up that she now wants in every color! Sorry Mom I couldn't find it online! :(

During this Target adventure I came across a floor length simple knit dress $20. It had small white and gray horizontal stripes and a scoop neck, no details. I thought yes! I can re-create this into something much more fun!! Which I said all day while shopping or I would whisper to mom "Eh, I bet we can make this for a fraction of the cost." Oops I'm becoming that girl to shop with, Sorry Mom!

Anyhow I bought the dress! Brought it home, put it on Merlot, {Meet Merlot my NEW dress form, Merlot meet everyone!} and ta-da went to work!
I cut it to the desired length. Just above my knee.
 I took the fabric I cut from the bottom and cut it into strips about an inch wide. I also cut some strips from some scrap fabric I had from an apron project.

 I started bunching it here and there and pinning in place. I mixed the scraps in on the side. I didn't do it all the way around because I didn't want it to look like wreath around my neck. This would have been much more difficult without Merlot's help! {I didn't poke the pins into Merlot because then I wouldn't have been able to easily remove the dress for sewing.} I brought the ruffles down to a deep V for some added drama.

 I did the ruffling around the back of the dress too, but only along the neck line.

After some research as to whether or not I could take this project on the airplane with me I gathered the necessary supplies and loaded up my carry on! You can take pins and needles on the plane, as well as scissors less than 4 inches! PERFECT! I spent the first leg of my trip sewing the ruffles in place with transparent thread, delicately tacking only where the pins were to keep the texture to the ruffles.

The dress is comfy and a hit! Note: I will probably iron in a piece of interfacing to hold my stitches in place in the wash and make it less prickly to wear :)

Happy Creating!


Go Somewhere Warm!

Returned from Mexico last weekend. We made it a dual purpose trip.

Celebrated a wedding with Matt and Lisa O'Connor--> Thank you for a fantastic evening.

Started with a boat ride to Las Calletas in Puerto Vallarta. A wedding celebration with our toes in the sand. Dinner with new friends. Dancing on the beach with smore's and a bonfire. Guest appearance from fire dancers. Return by boat.

Some Photos:

Next half of the trip: Family reunion! We rented a house North of Puerto Vallarta in Sayulita. My first trip to Sayulita was 4 years ago, apparently we told too many people about it because its erupted into a bustling town with a palm tree lined road in. Thankfully it still has the small town feel.

View from our House

My fantastic Grandparents and Cousin Savannah

We did a taco crawl one night. A taco at each taco stand! Yummy!!

A little adventure hike

Grandparents and their girls--Missed you Jenn!

The whole crew-A once and a lifetime trip! Missed Michael, Jenn, Morgan and Jack!!

Being Silly

Some photo fun!
We had a fantastic time! Plan your next vacation now!


Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Goal number 10 on the list was to Recreate ie. Shop Less.

Kurt and I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert not too long ago. We love pretending it hasn't rained 23 out of the last 24 days of March and blasting some Jimmy Buffett for a teleport to the Bahama's!

Instead of my normal "AH! I have nothing tropical to wear to a concert I better go shopping" kind of attitude, I said, "I'll make a shirt for this concert!"

It was hours until we needed to leave for the concert and I stood in between rows of fun fabric at JoAnns. Thank goodness for a patient mother and my camera phone! Together 190 miles apart mom and I found some tropical fabric.

Inspired by OhSoHappyTogether 
I went to work.... 
Hoping my end product 
would look somewhat like hers 

After a few hours and lots of trips to the mirror in and out of my current sewing top into my new Margaritaville top mine turned out like this!

I did a few tweaks of my own mostly: STRAPS! If you know me you know strapless anything is not my favorite. Why fight with your outfit all night long?! 

To make the straps I took a long piece of fabric folded it in half sewed down the edge and turned it inside out. Repeat for the other strap. Choose your strap placement. I did this with the top on standing in front of the mirror or if you have a dressform pin them where you like.  I pinned them to the top and then started messing with options for the back. <I am super indecisive so thank you to Cait and Ali for being ready for photo texts! We decided on this twisted back> Simply take your straps twist them around each other twice, {Or whatever look suits your fancy!} and pin in place. Sew it up! 

A few changes I would make to this when I make it again. Make the tie at the waist longer. <I didn't have enough length on my fabric to do it seamlessly since I made that cut last> That way I'd have some pretty ties down the back. I got several compliments on this top before and during the concert. 

Total Cost: 3 hours and $5



Too Long!

It's time to return to blogging. We are mostly settled in the new house and I have returned from Mexico. Laura's wedding was a blast! Now I have no more excuses....right. Well I will keep telling myself that!

The blog updates to follow will be considered your update to my 2011 goal list. Come along!