Friday, January 29, 2021

Urban Farm, Homestead, or Farmstead? Wonderful Tiny Farm (WTF)

We have such a great opportunity to start our little farm from scratch and build it out just how we want - but what do we want? I'm really thinking a lot about garden design, irrigation, greenhouses, soil health (no till and cover crops) and lastly - how can I leverage technology to assist and scale those solutions within my community. I work for Microsoft and I'm particularly interested in how I leverage Azure and AI technologies to my advantage? 

There's plenty of corporations pledged to reduce carbon footprint and they are doing an amazing job. I see it everyday at Microsoft and also the customers I work with. I can't help think about the little guy? What about you and me? How can each one of us contribute in our own way? What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?

wonderful tiny farm, urban farm, homestead, farmstead

Let's define some terms shall we? 

Homestead: The term used to reference a free government land program but today it means a home that is self sufficient.

Urban Farm: Farm or garden within a city or urban setting.

Farmstead: Usually refers to a farm (making a living at growing food) and it's buildings.

I mean .... any one of these terms could refer to our plans for our little part of the world and you will probably see or hear me do that.

We finally agreed on a name for our farm - Wonderful Tiny Farm or WTF. Pretty catchy yea?

So what does a farm of the future look like that you can do at a small scale? We have 10 acres on our little homestead which is more than your average land size. Can you make money doing this? What is the business model that works? Do you sell meat like chickens, goats, cows, etc? Can I eat an animal I grew? What about eggs, market garden vegetables and microgreens?

This is our next adventure and new journey with my awesome husband of 25 years, Burke - to answer these questions. Then to share with you our lessons learned and findings. Burke and I inevitably will disagree on most everything but at the end of the day, we made this decision to do this together AND with a little effort, we'll come out on top. 

We've talked about YouTube and video recording our journeys and what that might look like, so we will take a stab at that as well - so look forward to more content.

I'm looking forward to this content, excited about the journey, expecting a lot of disagreements from my husband, failing and hopefully - ultimately succeeding.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

DIY kids animal face masks

Every year for Christmas my Mom comes to visit and together we make something for the kids in our family - both Burke's and mine. This year was no different, although there was a lot different about this year - but we still wanted to do something for the kids. I traveled down and picked Mom who lives in Dayton and we got busy. 

I started thinking about Christmas masks - maybe a Santa face or reindeer, but settled on fun animal masks that the kids could continue to wear after Christmas.

Walking around outside as winter is nearing in Michigan, I noticed how nice my mask actually helped to keep my face warm, so I prototyped a couple different mask fabric and settled on a fleece front with a cotton back. Nice winter - heading to the car from the house type of mask, not good for all day use.

I looked at what some other's were doing with regards to mask construction and really settled on a 3D Mask because it gave me a flat service to put the embroidered animal face on it.

I'm not going to focus on the pattern and construction, you can find all that here with Red Poppy - How to sew a 3D mask. She did an amazing job and the instructions and pattern were easy to follow.

This post will focus on the embroidery. I've included the embroidery files here for you to download - free of choice. I have a Brother embroidery machine - so the file format is .pes.

The masks consist of a 5x7 rectangle that fit my stabilizer, cotton cut with the pattern, 12" pieces of elastic, couple of adjustable beads, cotton lining for the carbon and a nose piece.

I got the hoop and file loaded ready to go. The first stitching outline has occurred.

Now time to add the tongue. I cut the tongue out of pink felt in this shape and folded it with an overlap. Hopefully you see it - it's pretty much a pleat.

I pinned it here but that was only for the demonstration.

You could pin it to the outline stitch, but I just used a little dab of tape to hold it in place.

While the second outline is stitched.

Because I put the tape back further, you can't see it.

I took out the hoop and cut it down to the stitching line.

And then ran the finishing satin stitches.

This one is the cute little doggy face.

I positioned the pattern over the doggy face and cut. I found it helpful to fold the pattern in half so I could better position it over the embroidery.

Then I constructed the mask according to Red Poppy.

I think they turned out pretty cute and I hope the kids really enjoy wearing them - keeping their little faces warm and safe.

As promised here are the pes files that I created.

Piggie face

Dog face (freckles)

Kitty face (whiskers)

Snowman face

Merry Christmas everyone!