Apple Time




We usually get our apples from the local orchard this time of year. But I was able to get them even closer to home this time. When I brought over the guineas I’d hatched for our neighbors, they gave us two big bags of apples, straight off their trees! They’re pretty tart — perfect for baking — but M likes eating them just as they are. We peeled and sliced two gallon bags’ worth for the freezer. And I made some (very pink!) applesauce out of the crab-size apples we got.

We did the apples yesterday, and then I made tomato sauce today. That’s about as productive as I’ve been lately! We did start preschool-homeschool last week, which M is loving. I’m looking forward to this last third of the year. Apples, classes starting (early childhood class and gymnastics for M), and all those end-of-the-year holidays. Not looking forward to cold and flu season, though. Both girls are just getting over some junk they caught the week before last. M made it to 9mos before she ever caught a cold — F barely hit 3mos. That’s what happens when you’re a little sister, I guess!

Surprise Chicks


Broody Aster just wouldn’t give up her dream of hatching some eggs, so my neighbors brought over nine guinea eggs for her to sit on. But two of them hatched a week early — because they’re chicks! Chicken eggs incubate for twenty-one days, and guineas go for twenty-eight. A hen will get off her nest a couple of days after the first chicks hatch — she has to take care of those chicks and leave the rest of the eggs. I couldn’t stomach the idea of just letting the remaining seven guinea eggs die, so I’ve brought the chicks in. (And Aster is still sitting on the others, whew.)

M is thrilled! She loves chickens, especially the little fuzzy ones. It’ll be interesting to see what they look like as their feathers grow in. The first little wing feathers look the same as our Buff Orpingtons, but I know the neighbors don’t have any BOs. The eggs were pretty small, just a little bigger than the guinea eggs — maybe bantams? But one of their roosters is a huge Barred Rock (I think). The plan is for all the chicks/keets to go back to the neighbors once they’re old enough, but a Barred Rock cross would be an interesting addition to our flock. Maybe they won’t notice if I swap it with a larger BO-mutt!



There may or may not be new chicks in another two-ish weeks! I’m letting broody Rita sit on some eggs she’s claimed — we’ll see what happens!

Zipper Tutorial

Once upon a time, somebody asked how I do my zippers. Because I like to share knowledge, I decided I’d write up a little tutorial for my method (and probably the method of others, too). Because I am lazy busy, it’s taken me a long time, but I finally got round to it.
Some things: This is a tutorial for a zipped pouch, but you can use the same method on larger projects. If you put little ‘end caps’ on the ends of the zipper before sewing it into your project, you can have a zip that doesn’t go all the way across, as with this purse. Doing that can take some jiggery pokery to get it to work, but it’s not so difficult, really.
[Just a note: I’ve had to close the comments on this post, because it was starting to get pretty heavily spammed. Thank you to everybody who has used and enjoyed this tutorial!]
Right! With one piece of your lining fabric right-side-up, place the zipper, also right-side-up, like so:

Take one piece of your outer fabric and lay it down on top, right-side-down, creating a delicious zipper sandwich. Baste or pin everything together if you like, but I live on the edge and just go for it! Don’t be afraid — what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll repeatedly mess up and tear out the stitches until you’re left with a threadbare pile of scraps that you have to throw away? Pshaw! . . .Okay, maybe you should pin it.
Anyway, now that your pieces are laid out like the photo below, sew them all together. Go down the left edge (to the left of the zipper teeth) using a zipper foot. You really do need a zipper foot. Find one, use one, and then you’ll say, ‘No wonder I had so much trouble before!’

With your sewn zipper sandwich, fold back the two pieces of fabric so the wrong sides are together, like so:

Again, you can pin your pieces together or iron it flat, but I just can’t be bothered. Flatten everything out and topstitch about 1/8″ from the edge, where the fabric meets the zipper. You should catch all three layers (outside, ziper, lining) and squash everything right down. It will look like this (you may need to click to see the detail):

Repeat for the other side of the zipper, and you’ll wind up with something like the photo below. At this point, I took a moment to square everything up again — not pinning can take its toll! I’m not afraid.

Flip some fabric around until you’ve got both pieces of outer fabric on one side of the zipper and both pieces of lining fabric on the other. It’ll look like this:

Carefully line up the top edges of the outer fabric as in the photo below. Note how the zipper goes toward the lining. Now’s a good time for pinning.

Starting at the seam where everything meets (see below), sew straight down to the bottom. Flip the pouch over and repeat for the other side of outer fabric. With both sides sewn up, reach in through the bottom and unzip the zipper. Oooh, you’ll be so mad if you forget that part!

Line up the edges of the lining and sew down the sides, as you did with the outer fabric. Now you should be catching the ends of the zipper in the first few stitches.

Once you’ve finished both sides, you’ll have something resembling the photo below. I left the bottom of the lining completely open, because my outer fabric has interfacing on it (it makes it stiffer and more difficult to turn). If you’re using a lighter, friendlier fabric, you can sew up part of the bottom, leaving a smaller hole to turn the piece through.

Snip the excess fabric from the corners of the outer fabric. Then go ahead and turn the whole thing right-side-out. Turn under about 1/2″ of the bottom of the lining, press it flat, and sew it closed. No more raw edges!

Tuck the lining into the pouch, and it’s practically finished!

All you have to do is iron out any wrinkles and then admire your lovely new pouch with its perfect zip. Hooray!