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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to Sew&Tell Saturday!
Thank you to all of you bloggers who have stopped by and participated in the past. I appreciate you coming by here and posting your projects.


Post your sewing and creative or homespun projects here and please visit some of the other creative bloggers who are here. That's what it's all about!
Have a lovely weekend!

Here are the featured projects from last week:

Check out this tutorial for making your own chevron pattern skirt from strips of fabric at You and Mie. This is ingenious!
Sertyan gave modern pattern New Look 6978 a super retro feel for the Mad Men Challenge she was participating in on her blog Sertyan's Sewing Corner. I love the red buttons!
Jamie from Scattered Thought Of a Stay At Home Mom consistently posts great sewing tutorials. This cute sundress tutorial would be cute to make for adults too!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Chickens 101: Building your chicken coop

My speaking engagement at the Craftcation Conference in Ventura this past weekend went well!
 I attended some good workshops like making mozzarella cheese in half an hour and the history of the DIY movement. I met sewing celebrities Christine Haynes the author of Chic and Simple Sewing and Jenny Hart, the author of Sublime Stitching! There were lots of fun and crafty workshops, especially for the beginning seamstress.
In speaking to the attendees at my workshop, a lot of crafty types are getting into raising chickens right now.
Chickens are hip!
I think raising chickens, sewing, growing your own food and doing homemade crafts with your kids are all ways to live a more simple and crafty life.
So why am I blogging about chickens on a sewing blog?
Because I think you should try it!
Welcome to the second installment of my homespun living series, Chickens 101
Click here to read part one: 
Getting your Coop Ready

Before you buy your chickens you need to have your coop in place.
As mentioned before chickens are social so plan on starting with at least two hens. 
You can have a coop only and let your chickens pasture freely in your backyard
or have a coop with an attached and fenced run to protect your garden. Chickens can make a mess of the yard!
I let my chickens roam freely but I do have a fence around my vegetable garden.
You do need a yard to have chickens, even if only a very small one. They need dirt.
If you choose not to have a run, make sure you shut up your hens securely in their coop  at night.Raccoons and coyotes and large owls strike even in urban environments!
You can convert an outbuilding in your yard or you can buy a small portable flowerless coop on wheels that can be moved around your yard called a chicken tractor.

Essentials for a chicken coop

The truth is people have been raising chickens for thousands of years without all of the requirements I am about descibe!
But if you want to avoid a stinky backyard and chicken disease this is good advice to take.
You will need a coop for sure and an attached run, and area where the chickens can roam outside that is fenced is good too.
Proper Fencing and latched gates for your coop are essential and your run should also have one.
You can have normal gate fencing around your run but line the bottom with wire mesh to keep out snakes.

A well ventilated coop
Ammonia buildup and heat problems in the summer can be deadly in a hot, unventilated coop.
Mesh walls on three sides of the coop are ideal.
Choose strong wire mesh.
Predators can break through chicken wire!
You need plenty of light because the chickens' laying instinct is triggered by light so if your coop is very dark you might consider installing a lightbulb to turn on during the day.
But make sure your nesting boxes are in a darker part of your coop because although light triggers hens to lay they like a dark spot when they actually sit down to lay an egg.

Nesting boxes

You need nesting boxes for your hens to lay their eggs in.
3 hens can share one box.
You can buy nesting boxes at feed stores or you can improvise your own from old crates or even cardboard boxes.
You can build your own from lumber and can find lots of tutorials online.

Roosting poles

Hens are birds and like to sleep on a perch.
Your roosting pole should be about 2 inches in diameter.
Don't use metal pole or PVC piping because chickens need a rough texture for their feet to grip on.
You can use.

  • Wooden dowels
  • 2 inch wide wooden Closet poles
  • Tree branches
Place your poles about 2 feet off the ground or you can use a staggered ladder type perch so they are abocve and behind each other and each gets their own little perch.
I have an antique ladder with rounded rungs that I have propped against the wall.

Droppings tray. 
Place an old board under the roosting poles.
Chickens poop a lot in their sleep and it will drop down
You can take the board out and scrape them into compost pile.


I recommend the deep litter method:
Here is  how:
Start with a clean henhouse.
Throw about a 5 inch layer of straw or wood shavings on the floor.
If you have a run outside you can cover that with hay or shavings too. It will break down naturally and you wont need to remove it.
When you check the coop you can scoop out droppings with a small shovel. 
Then rake the hay a little and add more hay or shavings on top weekly.
Once the bedding is about a foot high, remove it with a rake and replace it with new hay, about every few months.
Once a year in spring,remove all the bedding and scrub down your coop.
Don't forget to compost all the old bedding.
The rich nitrogen is very good for the compost.
Deep litter bedding keeps chickens warm in winter and the smells will be minimal with this method.
If you do smell  a strong smell of ammonia you will know it is time to  replace the bedding.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Farmhouse Bedroom...

It was a rainy day and I was feeling down.
My grandmother once said, if you are feeling depressed clean out a closet.
So i cleaned my room instead.
And I felt better!
Everything in my room is secondhand or handmade.
My 9 year old found this calendar for me in a box at a yard sale.

A friend made me this painting when my marriage was going through a rough patch.

The bedspread was found at the same yard sale. Would you believe I paid only five dollars for it?
The bed I painted.

I also painted this dresser.

We have a big old oak tree outside our window. It's three hundred years old.
It has seen a lot.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring sewing inspirations: Sailor and French linen

This spring I'm doing something new. Instead of just making pieces willy nilly from fabric I love but that doesn't necessarily match with anything else for my Gigi and Lily, I'm putting together a little collection. I went through my fabric stash and designed the collection based on what I could find that matched.
I came up with some navy fabric, seersucker, natural linen, chambray, navy stripes, and I bought one yard of red & white striped cotton lycra at Fabric Fairy as well as some wooden anchor buttons on Etsy.
My first project is almost finished, a little sailor dress from a 1941 sewing pattern.
I have been really inspired by a mix of nautical themes and also the natural linen  French linens and trying to figure out how to marry the two influences.

From Olive Juice

French Farmhouse Style
From Etsy
I absolutely love this look from the April issue of Burdastyle.

As a part time costume designer I am always fascinated with the history of the clothing we wear. Back when we spent our summers in France I fell in love with the Breton sailor sweaters that are so easy to find there. They descended from the sailors of Brittany and look like this.

Saint James Meridian  


Antique French linen bubble suit
Boys skeleton suit circa 1790
This J Crew dress combines the earthy linen look with the sailor look beautifully! It has a vintage feel yet is very simple and modern at the same time. I love chambray.

Researching this me to wondering: What is the history of the sailor suit and how has that style been interpreted in everyday clothing over the years?
Stay tuned!
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Sewing For Spring:A Birdy Top, McCall's 5576

McCall's 5576
Do you recognize this fabric?
It's up on my header!
I love this fabric so much and made Gigi a little outfit from it last year. It was perfect for a new spring top. I trimmed the yoke with brown piping and the edges of the sleeves. I have several of these boxy tunic patterns bought at the 1.99$ sales at Joann's on impulse. They actually work great as tops if you cut them shorter.
I sewed view A and cut it into a top.
If you make this pattern you should cut it in a size smaller because it runs really big!
The fabric is by the designer Lila Tueller.

Gigi's dress from last summer.

So did you watch the premiere of Mad Men last night?
I sure did and was waiting 17 months for it!
Did it deliver?
Lots of angst with a new sixties set. Jump forward to 1968 and minidresses and caftans! Something tells me we are going to be seeing a lot of bloggers getting into late sixties styles!
I don't think Don and and his new wife have much chemistry.
I'm still deciding.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seam Allowance Guide Giveaway and Sew & Tell Saturday

First off, we have a winner for the Emmaline Bags PDF pattern!

Lily drew numbers and it was 
Andrea, you are an awesome seamstress. I know you will make a great bag and I hope you post it on Sew & Tell Saturday!
I will be contacting you.

This week I have a new giveaway for you!
It's a  newly invented gadget sent to me by Hollie, the creator. 
It's called
The Seam Allowance Guide 
 It's a handy little magnet thingy that attaches to your scissors so you can cut seam allowances along the edge of a pattern without having to add them with a ruler. Two are included, one for straight shears and one for angled shears. Cool, isn't it?
Use it for: 
Burda patterns
Marfy patterns
Japanese pattern books
Copying your own clothes
 Altering patterns
It easily cuts out a seam allowance on patterns that don't have one.

I tried it on a Burdastyle handbook pattern last week and it worked great!
If you don't want to wait for the giveaway resultswant to order one visit Hollies' website. She offers free worldwide shipping.

To enter the giveaway to win a free shipped seam allowance guide:
 Leave a comment saying what you would use your seam allowance guide for to be entered in the giveaway.

For extra votes:

Like Sew Country Chick on FB or GFC and you can get an extra vote for each !

On to Sew & Tell Saturday!
Since I have been talking purses here are some featured purses from last week from the following talented bloggers!

Featured from last week:
What a cute coin purse made by Malaika  Hand Me Down Designs

A  fun patchwork  purse by Sew Very.

A tutorial for making this clutch at Sherri Loves..

lets' see what you have been working on....

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