Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby Layette and the Chicken Yard

This is the finished baby layette for Ben's brother's new baby. My sister in law, Missy, is pregnant right now, so I don't know if we'll have a new nephew or a new niece. I have a long standing tradition with my nephews and niece that I've always given them Christmas presents even before they were born, so I wanted to have something for "New Baby James" at the Christmas party.

Now I'll tell you a secret about my make-do attitude. When I started this set, it was going to be completely solid white, but I ran out of yarn. I knew there wasn't enough to finish, but I was using Caron Simply Soft (great for baby items, btw. It's so so so soft and it stays pretty nice looking and it's machine washable and dryable.) and that's a no dye lot yarn, so I figured that I could buy more when the time came. But Michaels carries only the dye lot white, and Wal-mart only had Soft White (made from recycle bottles and other plastic waste... it's called Simply Soft Eco, which I thought was really cool... it's sad how not yarn shopping has really put me out of the loop.) Anyway, since I couldn't match the white, I had to finish the blanket in yellow from my stash. I did four rows on each end of the blanket so it would be large enough and look like I'd planned it to be two colors, and then I added the yellow trims to the rest of the set so they'd match.

I really should have thought to do it like that in the first place instead of running to two different stores looking for the white yarn. I always say that consumerism isn't an answer and people should try more to use what they have instead of buy. So I'm glad that I couldn't find the right yarn to buy, since it challenged and stretched my creativity a tiny bit more.

So, I've been working on Christmas projects this week, and I'm trying to turn out the finished projects at a fast clip, so I'll be ready to go to Michigan without having to worry about trying to finish gifts while I'm visiting and traveling. I've got my list going, but sadly it seems like I end up adding two things for every one I get to cross off! But I really do enjoy all this crafting.

I actually didn't get to do much crafting yesterday. I baked Ben a "congratulations" cake because yesterday was the first day that was completely his new job. He's finally transitioned to his promotion now, I think. Anyway, I baked a half-sized cake for a treat of dessert this week, and I made some muffins for breakfasts, but what took up a lot of my day was trying to fix up the chicken yard for my poor cold chickies.

We have them in their pen and it's parked in one place for the winter, in the corner of the deck and the house, to offer them the southern exposure and give them some protection from the wind. But the pen is long enough, that a lot of the yard sticks out past the house, and so it was really open and unprotected. I used straw bales to build a little low wall all the way around, which I think helped a lot, and I spread some more staw in the yard to cover the waste that was gathering. In the spring I'm going to till all the straw and chicken yard waste right in and have a big bed of cutting flowers. I'm hoping that it'll work well, because otherwise, we'll have quite the unsightly dead patch right next to the deck. So I spread them new bedding in the coop because they pushed all the straw out and were sleeping on the bare board (they do have perches, but they never used them, and just slept all in the bedding, so I took them down and hung a light instead to add some warmth in the evenings). I think things are warmer and more cozy for them now.

But the water heat quit working! So I've been refilling their waterer a few times a day with hot water, but I'm going to try to rig something better up this week. The heater we had cost quite a bit, $40, I think, and it actually wasn't an outdoor one. Well, the box said outdoor but the instructions said indoor, so we figured what harm could it do. I guess it really couldn't handle being outside in the rain and snow, and it quit on us. So this time, I've got a completely different plan, involving a big enamel pot, a mason block and a heat lamp. I'll be sure to post if it works out okay.

So there's a chicken update for anyone who was worried about how they're fairing now that it's so cold out. And I'd better go chain myself to my sewing machine before I waste anymore time on the computer!

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Mrs. Mordecai said...

Wow, that layette is stunning! And I'm glad you chickens are getting warmer. You do so much good work.

Bethany said...

Thank you so much, I'm glad you think it's cute. I was afraid at first that it would look odd with the second color just added in, but I think it all turned out pretty well.

Blue Castle said...

Your layette is beautiful! What a lovely, thoughtful gift. I really like the yellow, too. It looks great.

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