Thursday, October 6, 2016

Farmhouse Ell Reveal

We have lived in our home just over 6 years! It is amazing how fast time flies by.  When we were house hunting we knew that we wanted land but beyond that we weren't sure what else would spark our interest.  Driving by this home by accident we fell immediately in love, envisioning the our future children would play in the back yard and in the woods (and this part is definitely true... they love being outside).

Once we settled into the space it was clear that although the home was a great space (especially with the barn connected) the kitchen ell was in need of repair.  The more we lived in the house the more the floor wiggled. Stomping across the floor shook everything in the room and when we had family gatherings we did worry that at some point we would all fall through the floor! (which didn't happen!).  I wanted to save the ell but Mr. Meanie wanted to tear it down.  Obviously he won that argument and we started a 2 year long project that would change our home and our family (since during that time we also welcomed baby #2). (for background check out: Timberframe 1, My Valentine,  Sill,  It Has Begun!, Raising the Frame,   And although it is very close to completion we have found that all of the smaller interior/exterior projects are harder to complete. I know that Mr. Meanie is experiencing a little burn out from this venture and all of the finishing work is easy to ignore since we are very happy with what has already been completed. 

I did my best at showing a comparison of what we had and what we now have.  It wasn't easy since the interior is completely different. Our sink now faces the backyard and in the old kitchen it faced a side wall.  The space is a little wider since we no longer have a closed in sun porch on the front. And, of course, I have a sewing room. I use to have my sewing room in the "formal dining room" area but since it was in the middle of our home activity Audrey would always get into my stuff.  We still have a lot of idea on how to better organize my sewing space since I have A LOT of fabric and notions in totes and bags everywhere...But more on my sewing room later!! 

We were going for open, airy, and light. I think we were successful especially with the larger windows, glass front cabinetry and the vaulted timberframe ceiling. As you remember, Mr. Meanie harvested Spruce from our property, Alaska Chain Saw milled it in the back yard during many a' blizzard (and flu), hand chiseled all the notches and grooves in the beams, and we had a large party of friends and family help us erect the beams 2 summers ago.  Phew! And that was just the beginning of the work and we were very fortunate to find a few awesome helpers to finish it up with us. Perhaps to some it seemed like a hassle to help out but we hope that many had a good experience raising a timberframe.  Structures are not built like this now-a-days so it is likely that many will never do it again. We were happy that everyone was able to share in the experience with us.  

We added a hallway to the barn and along that hallway are doors to the tiny bathroom, my sewing room, and the basement.  I love our tiny bathroom... so cute! Before we had a larger bathroom off the kitchen (which was located near the kitchen table... a little awkward).

A few months ago Mr. Meanie built the back deck, pulled out the ash tree stumps and leveled and spread loam on the backyard.  We will add a fence to the backyard to contain the children and keep the chickens out. I am also moving my garden over to raised beds within this fenced in area so I can better manage it with the kids running around, keep the chickens out, and add to the overall ambience of the backyard. As mentioned before, we still have a lot of finishing work to complete, most of it interior so we'll tackle it this winter.  We also still need to lay the floor but kind of like the ruggedness of the subfloor for now. With kids, there is really no point in having anything nice!!  And once this part is complete we'll likely move on and renovate the rest of the house. No rush, though.  We would really like to recycle renovate the rest of the house, using existing features, windows, etc. and just open up the floor plan and add some paint.

Have a great day!

shelby g

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Catching Frogs

Little Miss Meanie LOVES catching frogs. While it did start out with the tadpoles we attempted to raise in the kitchen, it really took off when Mr. Meanie bush hogged the field a few weeks ago. He saw a TON of frogs (and snakes) and would fly off the tractor to catch them for her.  The most were concentrated around a drainage stream and this is where we still find them although I am sure they wished they lived somewhere else.

So every day, often two or three times, we go out and catch frogs.  While Dad prefers using his hands and relying on stealth; Mom prefers a net (especially when balancing JPel in the other arm).  I think my way is better since one day we were able to find 7 frogs while Mr. Meanie only found 5... but alas, it is not a competition.

And today I whipped up this Brindille & Twig t-shirt dress for our frog catching adventure.  Since I only ordered fat halves and had used some of the fabric to make undies, I had to pieces together the frog dress but it still looks great! Audrey was very happy to wear it. It is sized at 4T so a little big on her but I am confident that she will fit well in it by next spring when we go out and catch frog eggs.

have a great day!

shelby g

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Greenstyle Endurance Sport Bra Pattern Release

This lovely pattern by Greenstyle Creations is finally available for purchase!!  The Endurance Sports Bra Pattern has been released in bands 28" to 33" (this is your rib cage measurement) and cups B - H.  (and now released in larger band sizes!) I measured in pretty true-to-size.  I started testing the pattern in the beginning of July and it was a long process since everyone is their own shape/size... I am still amazing that store-bought clothing can actually look good on people without any alterations (don't worry, I wear store bought clothing so I'm just making a statement!).

I have never made myself a bra before and have been meaning to get into it. It is surprisingly easy for an intermediate sewist and for best fit I recommend making your own bra.  I actually feel like a woman in this bra rather than a pre-teen (shelf bras squish!).  I look forward to making many more and am patiently waiting for my foam to come in along!  For supplies I used swim knit (sorry, kitties is sold out in Dark Matter Fabric Shop), bra foam, fold over elastic, and sports zippers (which I got at joanns but I am sure there is a site for zippers!).

Right now the pattern is on sale and if you purchase you will be entered to win a free pattern from the site (contest closed). Yay!  So if you wanna try it out, don't wait!!

happy thursday!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

7 Year Itch

Sometimes it is fun to play dress up.  Seven years ago, in May (on a much cooler day), Mr. Meanie and I said "I do!". And since then our lives have been a whirlwind of travel, jobs, apartments, new friends, old friends, creating home, babies, Carlie, kitties, and chickens!  Relatives and people we knew passed away and on the flip side almost ever child we know (niece, nephew, friend) was born during this time.  In our own little world everything seems pretty perfect although the national and global climate is a wreck and while all of that stuff doesn't exactly effect us RIGHT NOW, it will soon enough.

For now, though, we will play dress up in our backyard and enjoy the last of summer.  This particular day was hot and humid. I realize a little now why my wedding dress was hanging in the closet for the last 7 years.  It is practically a snowsuit with 3 layers of heavy fabric and tulle.  But it sure is pretty! My mother took the photographs as she is very skillful with the camera and always up for a occasional eccentric photo shoot.  She took over 150 photos of us and edited the best of the best (thank you!). The kids dressed up in momma-made creations and Mr. Meanie caught a few frogs and toads to entertain Audrey.  We grabbed our loveliest Golden Laced Cochin pullet and dragged her (reluctantly) into the shoot. We often talk about how fantastic it would be to have our wedding again, on our terms, here at the farm... Ten years is right around the corner; perhaps we'll pull together a celebration.

have a great tuesday!

shelby g

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Roasted Chicken Dinner

August is proving to be as busy as July; which is great! We are managing to soak up every last bit of summer fun before the cold hits.  Remember all those meatbirds we had processed a month back?  Well we finally got around to cooking up the first one and it was DELICIOUS! We harvested an entire dinner of homegrown food, sides of tender carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic, onion, and parsley, beautiful beets and finished out the meal with blackberry pie, berries harvested from the hill.  My father is a "localvore" and will only eat meat if it is locally grown so we invited my parents down to partake in this delicious meal.  What a treat!

Last night we finished off the chicken by making pot pie and now I need to cook up some chicken broth/stock.  I have never done this before but I am pretty sure it is simple!  But the harvest continues, this week I will pull up the onions and beets. I think I will winter most of the carrots and parsnips since it does seem that the flavor improves the longer they sit.

Happy Sunday,

shelby g

(oh! follow my shop on instagram: TheMeanieGreene. I will have a giveaway when I hit 100 followers... halfway there now :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

July Round Up


Let's see... July was a crazy busy month!  I forget each year how busy summer can get and this summer, with the two kids and fantastically warm weather, we have been traveling to the lake often and also driving to visit cousins and friends.

:1: This handsome fellow is almost 10 months old. Yahoo! The real reason for this picture is the meat birds!  They have been successfully processed at Tide Mill farm and we now have a chest freezer FULL of chicken ranging in weight from 4.5lbs all the way up to 8lbs!  Absolutely amazing. These Freedom Rangers had a fantastic (short) life here and free ranged for the last 8 weeks with the laying hens. The roosters in the group started to get a little rowdy near the end so we were happy to see them off and now even happier to have over 90 meals worth of chicken. We started with 30 birds but lost a few along the way and processed 27. I actually had to cull one of them myself when it became too injured to make a recovery. (that was a stressful moment!)

:2: This garden picture was taken a while ago... it looks way cooler now. This is really a picture of the back of the house where Mr. Meanie started shingling. He also built a medium sized back deck and while the mosquitoes have kept us from enjoying it too much I am looking forward to fall weather and morning coffee on the back deck.

:3: Harvest time! We have eaten veggies from the garden daily and they are so yummy!  I just pulled up the garlic yesterday and it is BEAUTIFUL.  Friends and family beware: we have so much garlic that we will likely put it in everything.

:4: Remember this dress? Momma's night out was a success. My SIL and I went to a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Portland, had a couple of margaritas and then enjoyed the comedic delights of Jim Gaffigan. He was hilarious until he decided to talk about hot pockets for the last 20 minutes of his show... which are not nearly as funny as he thinks they are. I honestly don't even know anyone who eats hot pockets!  Anywho, the next day we visited Boothbay Botanical Gardens (a must summer visit; so beautiful and they have a fantastic kid's garden area) and we also saw a friend who is working in Boothbay for the summer.

:5: Off to a tidal island with my childhood friend, her husband and their children.  Amazingly enough we don't often explore the ocean although we live about 10 minutes from it. So we had a great time just chilling out.

:6: We swam at the local lake 3 times a week when the afternoon heat became too much for us. Audrey is becoming a fisherwoman and enjoyed trying to catch the sunfish around the dock. And Johnny loves the water.  In this picture both kids are wearing swim suits that are momma-made.

:7: I ran with a FANTASTIC relay team from Ellsworth to Eastport (over 102 miles). My running legs were the last two, over 14 miles, in the sun/heat. It was tough but so much fun and I look forward to next year.  I also made my running outfit and am currently a pattern tester for Green Style Creations and have so far worked on 3 different version of the same zip up sports bra.  The one in the picture proved to chafe way too much (and I have scars to prove it :( ) I will blog about this more in the future.

:8: Moosehead Lake 2016.  Our 9th year traveling up to Moosehead Lake to enjoy family and good food. The weather was gorgeous and we had fun swimming and canoeing.  The kids were pretty good too and Johnny was the very first boy allowed to go! Yay!  I made everyone t-shirt dress and Johnny a few rompers.

:9: Lastly, Boston Trip!  We were invited by one of Mr. Meanie's co-workers to the Pearl Jam concert in Boston.  I have never met anyone that Mr. Meanie works with so it was a fun experience to hear the guys discuss the shipping industry together. We went to the Pearl Jam concert at Fenway, Samuel Adams Brewery Tour (where I met someone who recognized the dress pattern I made my dress from... what fun!), and then out on the town for dinner in the harbor.  This outfit was made from the P4P Siren Swim Suit top and Pencil Skirt for the bottom.

:10: Not picture, Audrey's Dance Class.  She had a little difficulty listening but overall the class went well. We made an afternoon of it, visiting a local park/splash pad, eating snack, running errands, and attending dance.  It was nice to see how well (or not well) Audrey interacted with other adults and children.  A little stressful but overall she is off to a good start.  

And for the next week I need to sew! I have a booth at the Blueberry Festival and desperately need to make diapers and clothing to sell.  My goal was 30 diapers this week... lol. I have made ZERO. Need to get my butt in gear!

have a great day!

shelby g

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Around the Farm

July is a busy month around the farm... generally us Mainers feel like summer is quickly coming to a close when the 4th of July hits... which is absurd but that's how I've felt this summer.  We had a lovely weekend with family around the farm and at the lake; turns out I have 2 children who LOVE the water... Johnny sat on the shoreline and just splashed while Audrey played with cousins, swam with Dad, and started her career as a game fisher-woman by catching sunfish with her uncle and grandfather. 

At the homestead, though, Mr. Meanie is working his tail off finishing up the cedar shingle siding and building the back deck.  We are still up-in-the-air about what to do with the back deck; I would love to enclose the area with a fence to keep the humans in and the chickens out (boy, they sure love to poop).  I imagine this area to have some landscaping, a kitchen garden, and maybe some natural playthings for the kids... but we'll see.

The garden is growing! After some much needed rain last weekend everything is growing... weeds included!  I've pulled piles of weeds out of the garden and while some seeds didn't germinate (basil?) everything is looking great. I've set a goal to eat ALL OF THE LETTUCE from the garden, so we have had salads every night and I've just harvested all of the scapes to make pesto.  There's a huge pile of them so I will freeze them for winter, too, and think I can make a yummy scape butter to use on bread and when roasting chicken.

I am busy sewing... I am so close to finishing all of the customs from my shop. Just one more, very detailed custom left and then I will be free to sew for the Blueberry Festival where I will be a vendor.  I've sewn up a few dance outfits for Audrey too and while she looks quite fashionable I am not sure if she likes dance. Whenever I say, let's go to dance! she replies "NO DANCE!"... hmmm. We'll give it one more week and hopefully she'll fall in love or at least enjoy it a little.

I also made myself a "momma's night out"-fit" that I will wear for dinner and a show with a friend. We are both surprising ourselves with new outfits, I mashed up this pattern with this one, bought the fabric from here and here, and this literally took 30 minutes to sew. I will create an entire post about this later on.

And lastly we had Audrey's cousins down for the weekend. Aurelia turns 6 in a few days which is so hard to believe, but true!  We had a small birthday party for her and I made a cake, from scratch, which no one ate since it turns out that cake is passe... Oh well, they still had fun and I found out that I could eat an entire 2 layer cake in 5 days. The last day was difficult but I managed.  Anyway, we had a great time with the girls, they are all growing up so fast. And the kids had a fun time picking out fabric and I made them shirt dresses and leggings.

Happy Wednesday!

shelby g