Sunday, 31 August 2014

Globe Thistles at The new Old Homestead Project

Part 4
As I was wandering around the old homestead I came across these wonderful Blueish-Siver Globe Thistles. I had never grown this flower or even seen them before. I had to look them up to identify them.  I do remember seeing the tall thistle stalks earlier in the season and I thought they were Scotch Thistle.  
Oh but the Globe Thistle has far more presence.  They are magical the way they interact with the light.... they are gorgeous really!   4-5 feet tall...  and irresistible not to go to them and cup your hands around them, a visual delight and a touch sensation....  and quite inviting to the insects as well.

But luckily they are Deer resistant.. and I have found that to be true because with as many deer that come on the property every single day ~ they do not touch them. So I am also guessing that most plants that persist here must also be deer resistant. Yes!
Note: in the above picture, John has framed up and inserted the new patio door and is putting the front back together of the little old house.

The distinctive slightly hairy, prickly thistle leaves of the Globe Thistle... that the deer don't care for.

 This on the other hand was not quite so gorgeous... the rear cellar access hole that goes under a crawl space...  a mess... no door... just junk and crap and  pure outdoors on the other side.

 John took the same approach that he took when He did the cellar window ... first he had to clear away a fair amount of rubble... then he built it up with bricks, mortar and stones...made a frame from pressure treated wood and added foam and gasket around the edges... He did a really good job.
 It took a few days.
He has the beams all repaired now too.... that took quite some time as well.

 This is the door he made to insert into the opening... the interior is rigid foam insulation.

 These pics are when he was fitting the door... the side is now fitted with foam to close it up.  That ought to keep a few wild animals out.

 Still very much a work in progress.  Many of the new beams can be seen in this pic.

The old Homestead now has its Bathroom sink.  I found this vintage porcelain sink at the Habitat for Humanity "ReStore" in Saint John. 
 I really love the little backsplash, the wide flat sides and clean lines... I'm thinking it's possibly '50's or '60's.
   Not bad for $10. wouldn't you say. It was 1/2 price day.
I am thinking we will make a black steel frame and legs for it.  This little frugal house will only have 1 bathroom.
... that means only 1 bathroom sink and 1 toilet to clean... Thumbs up, sounds good to me.

Back at the Globe Thistles adrift in the hayfield.  They were so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures of them. 
What a wonderful surprise they were!   I love them.

*info on Globe Thistles: Here and Here

Gwen Buchanan and John Ackerson at Desideratum and The new Old Homestead Project.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Making a Groovy Kind of Shirt

 I love sewing and I had this length of fabric in the stash cupboard.
I wanted to make my son Max a shirt but I didn't have a pattern.  I took one of his shirts that fit him comfortably, checked YouTube and got the basics of making a tissue paper pattern.  
You just  lay out the shirt you already have on tissue paper on a pinable surface, carefully isolating each section of the shirt.. the sleeves, cuff, yoke, front, back and facings on tissue paper...then use pins to map it out around the seams... then draw along the dots around the whole shape... pay attention to the straight of the grain...  add seam allowances (5/8") and voila you have a pattern.  Well it wasn't quite as fast as "Voila" but just stay with it and you will get a pattern. and once you have it you can make as many shirts as you want from it.  I made two ... here's the first one.. the groovy one.
 I forgot to take a picture of the actual process of making the paper pattern but here are the pieces pinned onto the fabric and cut out.

Here the pieces are turned over...  
Max and I thought it would be cool to combine several colors and patterns in the same shirt... so why not have a little fun. The fabrics were quite fine and slippery, so the shirt will be very lightweight. The red and black print was a remnant from the fabric store. The black print is recycled fabric...  so is the gray print used in the cuffs. 

This is a 1977 Kenmore Convertible Freearm, model 158.19471, all mechanical,  that I recently brought home (second hand... super good deal or I wouldn't have got it)...and  after oiling and lint removing, it works amazingly.   I highly recommend this model.
 I wish I aged this well since 1977!

***I will do a post soon on my vintage sewing machine collection that sort of just happened over the last year. It's a long story... but I will post pictures of all the "girls" one of these days soon. Old sewing machines are the best!

 This is the inside of the back, which was cut on the fold. It is a fitted shirt so there are two darts in the back to give it shape, kind of hard to see for the busyness of the pattern. 
We made the yoke of the black print fabric on the inside...

 and the same color fabric on the outside of the yoke. I love lined yokes and they finish a shirt well and make the shoulder stronger.... and since the whole shirt is hanging from the shoulder, you want it strong.
 That is the collar at the top of the picture.

 I like clothing that is finished on the inside as cleanly as it is on the outside so I made Flat Fell Seams on all the seams.  It makes sewing clothing by hand that much more worthwhile.  I LOVE flat-fell seams.  They take a little longer to do but you will never regret the durability, strength and feel they add to a garment.... and they look nice.
 The above pic is a close up of top stitching the back/yoke seam. If the shirt was on inside-out you would never know except for the buttons.

 Here it is finished with the buttonholes and buttons.

Here is Max giving it a model.   It fit great and he really liked it.

 Since this shirt turned out, we found another length of fabric and cut out another one.

This time the contrasting color will just be on the inside.
This time I made the front button facing in a contrasting color and so a glimpse of it is seen when the collar folds down.
The fabric has a sheen so it was difficult to get the same lighting in each shot when I took the pictures.  I'm marking for the buttonholes in the bottom right pic.
 The upper left shot is the cut made for the sleeve placket.. then the finished sleeve with attached cuff. The machine does pretty good buttonholes. I was pleased with it.  There is a button on the placket of the sleeve too.
 Doing the buttonholes always makes me nervous as they run right up the front of the garment and if I wreck this last feature I have wrecked the whole shirt, so I always go carefully and slowly on this.. and sew with my fingers crossed and my teeth clenched a bit.
...using tailors chalk to mark the Buttonholes... it wipes right off with no staining.
All Done. I like it.

and incidentally, the second shirt went much quicker.  I started it one afternoon and finished it the next... so it doesn't take long to sew a shirt.

I am going to look for more fabric in the cupboard... John needs a couple shirts too.

***Note:  Flat-Fell Seams  (as it would take a while to describe a flat fell seam I have linked to this bloggers step by step... great pics of the method).
Thanks for visiting!

Gwen Buchanan at Desideratum Art Studio in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Putting in a Real Cellar Window the new old Homestead

Part 3
 In the beginning... that is what the window hole looked like.
Kind of scary.

 Everything including old rags, dirt and rotten wood were haphazardly stuffed into the window opening.. It was awful.

 That is the sad excuse for a window just to the lower right of the broken patio door that's sitting on the rotten sill beam. In the last update John was  replacing that sill beam.. well after further inspection he deemed it necessary to replace the entire sill beam across the whole front of the house. a lot of work and time.... and that is all done now.
This picture only shows the first section on the replaced beam.... and that is the window there. it was 4 narrow pieces of wood hammered into a frame affair with a piece of old plastic nailed to it. It was barely sitting in the opening.

 Underneath it was this stack of bricks just sitting beside each other with some sand on them.. the mortar had long ago dissolved  with the outside water running into it and then onto the cellar floor.
John removed them but he saved and cleaned them, just incase he needed them.

Here he is beginning to re-mortar the stone wall. This side faces full south and it was scorching hot working there.

 We found this old discarded porcelain sink in the woods... it had seen better days but it served the purpose to mix mortar in.
For remortaring stones, you use quite a dry mix and pack it in... that is, after all the loose mortar, debris and any loose stones are removed. The stones are saved and placed back in their spots.

After solidifying the stones with extra mortar he started arranging the fit for the new window.
He never did stone mortaring before but he used his experience in related projects... and YouTube of course... to pull together info to get going...  and once you get going you see for yourself how it all works.  Hands-on really makes one understand a subject.

The stone walls were still pretty solid but they really needed some mortar touch-ups.

The mortar is still wet here, the color tones down when it dries... or maybe because it gets splashed with mud during the rainstorms... 
 a window well filled with lots of gravel for drainage will be installed as the ground in front of the window is below grade.

 There were a lot of showers during the whole process so John made up a tent to keep his work dry as he went along.
More siding had to be removed when he replaced the remaining sill beams and all the bottom plates sitting on it, and where the moisture and rot had migrated up the bottom of the wall studs.
The more he ripped apart, the more nastiness he discovered, but we are both glad he found it, cut out the old wood and took the time and energy to figure out and rebuild it.  It ate up much more time than he/we wished but it is all for the good... and our peace of mind.

 Yay!! an actual real glass insulated operating window!!

 One more thing checked off the list.... only about a million to go.
A new patio door will be going into that large opening..

 We keep assuring ourselves that someday this project will be done...
 but seems the more that we get done, the more there seems that we still need to do.  
But we are going forward... yes, progress has been made.
Gwen and John at Desideratum at The new Old Homestead Project.