Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kwik Sew 3315


Who knew that being at home would make one so busy?  One of the things I've noticed was that my entire wardrobe was mostly made up of work clothes and I had little in the way of casual clothing.  And, without the extra $$$ to just go buy more clothing (and of course, more time to sew) I decided that it was time to sew myself some jeans.

I pulled out my Kwik Sew jeans pattern and some denim and went to work.  I used non-stretch 8 oz. denim that I had in my stash and it worked out just fine even though this is a pattern specifically for stretch.  Frankly, I think the pattern will work with just about any fabric.  I cut the bootcut version.

I had my husband snap these pictures this morning before he ran off to work.

I hate this picture of my rear end but such is life.  We get old, don't we?  Anyways, I didn't do much of a detail on the pockets mainly because as I got to that detail, I simply didn't know what to stitch.  I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine just to see what it looked like but I always wear my shirts untucked so half of the pockets are covered anyways.

This is a close up of the pocket detail.  I had a heck of a time getting the button closure on that I completely omitted the rivets.  I just didn't want to deal with them.  It give the jeans a nice, clean look and I honestly don't miss having rivets. 

These jeans were such a joy to make and I'm so pleased with the way they fit that my white 10 oz. bull denim is in its second wash and dry for my next pair.  I'm going to cut the straight leg version this time to see how that looks.  The bootcut tends to look and feel a little big, even though it really isn't. 

I'm so in love with this pattern and the way it fits that I just might make several pairs with different fabrics to see how they do and to give me more casual, weekend clothes.  I could even make shorts with this pattern.

Oh, the endless possibilities...

So, I was wondering, have any of you found a pattern that you loved so much that you made it over and over again? 

Have a great day, everybody!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Landscape Ideas

One of the things we wanted to do when we moved to this house was to landscape the property somewhat.  As I've said before, we couldn't plant acres of crops.  On the contrary, we needed start small and build our way up, get to know the property and condition the soil.   So, as we made our raised beds, we also kept in mind what we wanted to plant around the house so as to encourage bee propagation and bird watch  (yes, I love to watch birds!)

This was how the house looked when we moved in:

It was very barren and the ground was covered with landscape pebbles.
We knew we wanted to embellish the property somewhat and create some shade as there weren't any trees around to help with natural cooling during the warm So Cal summers.  So, we gathered ideas keeping in mind that we had lots of hills, lots of rocks and extreme temperatures.  We therefore, needed plants that were not only hardy but were dual purpose as herbs and attractive to bees and other useful bugs.  Color was very, very important to me and we wanted to add a deck to the front of the house to make it more welcoming.

Don't you just love Better Homes and Gardens?
Along the front of the house, we wanted to be able to utilize the landscape pebbles that were so prominent on the property so we gathered pictures like this one that showed the type of pebbles we have.  This was a look we both really liked and it was do-able for us considering that we have limited landscaping experience.

Because our property has so many hills, we knew we needed to plant on them to help with erosion.  This was, and still is my favorite picture of landscaping on a hill and try as I might, I'm just not able to nail this particular look or even come close.  The problem is not only getting the watering system to work properly but the rodents have demolished just about everything I have planted.  The only thing they didn't eat was the ice plant (that actually seems to be growing quite nicely).  I didn't necessarily want our hill covered in ice plant.  I find that a little dull. But, I will try and try again to get something going.  I've planted more lavender and a few other rabbit resistant plants.  *keeping fingers crossed*

Here is how the front is looking today. Not near as lovely as the above pictures but a good start.   Once the plants get larger I think it will be a good show.

The bird feeders and sundial right in front of the kitchen window.

The lavender is growing like crazy as are the grasses and rose bushes.  The roses are cut back for the winter but you can see they're already beginning to sprout again.


I planted some grasses for texture along with lavender (which, unfortunately, isn't blooming right now - not enough sun).  I love the bamboo in winter.  It turns this lovely red and although I planted a few of them, this one is the only one that's completely red.  Interestingly enough, it's redder than my Japanese Maple!  There are also rose bushes in between that I cut back for the winter.  This spring, the front of the house should look pretty spectacular!


Monday, February 3, 2014

My Morning

At last we had a bit of rain and some cooler temperatures.  I went outside with my dogs this morning and saw frost on the ground. 

The girls seemed to like it. 

It wasn't much but it was a glorious morning.  Just look...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Summer in California

While most of the country is suffering from extreme winter storms, So Cal has seen warm temperatures and people are walking around in shorts and sandals.  Normally, I would have enjoyed the warmer weather and taken advantage of the sunny days and higher temperatures. 

However, now that I'm trying to grow my own food, the weather has become a concern not only from the dry winter and lack of rainfall (we are on well water and no rain = no water from my faucet!) but from the fact that my fruit trees haven't had enough hours of cold temperatures to produce this coming season.  In fact, all my trees and berry bushes have begun sprouting new leaves and flowers.



The sun is nice but lack of rainfall isn't.   We are going to be in for a tough year.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Our Story

Like so many others, my husband and I longed to get back to Mother Earth and live a simpler, cleaner life in the country with our dog, cat, chickens and maybe a few goats.  But, time and money did not allow for such a venture and Phoenix is not the most hospitable climate to farm in with it's limited  water reserves.  So, we put our dream on the back burner for a while and did what little backyard vegetable gardening we could do.  The homestead dream faded with time.

A few years and new son later, G (my husband) and I decided that we were done with Arizona and wanted to move back to our home state of California.  I put in for a transfer and in February of 2012 we packed up and moved to Temecula which is the Napa Valley of So Cal.  I had lived here before my move to Arizona and I loved the area.  In addition, it was far cheaper to live in Temecula than in other areas of So Cal.  G loved the area, too, so it was a good fit.


Almost immediately, we began looking for a house.  Our realtor began to show us homes in housing tracks, one after the other, but we really didn't see anything that spoke to us.  We really didn't like any of it.

Then one day, G was surfing the Internet real estate sites and found a property in Wine Country that was being auctioned.  It was a manufactured home on 2 acres and it was going for $79k!!!  In So Cal, that price is unheard of.  We went to look at the property and fell in love. 

Well, we didn't get that property BUT it crystalized our dream of a homestead once again and what we wanted.  We realized that we'd been looking at the wrong properties all along!  Duh!  So, we began looking in the more rural areas with acreage and wells and septic tanks. 

It was not all that easy, though.  In 2012 the area was pretty depressed and the real estate prices were a steal!  Everyone, and I mean everyone, was looking to get into a house and the market was hot, hot, hot.   We were forever outbid, too late, or the property was sold before we even got a chance to see it.  At one point, we had made an offer on a short sale property but the bank dragged its feet (we think because they wanted to sell it for more than they had accepted our offer for) but we got tired of waiting and began looking again.

Then, one day G was once again searching for properties online and he found one that had fallen out of escrow and was put back on the market that very day.  I called my agent and we went to see it that very evening.  I made the offer that night and we got it!  3.88 acres with a view of the entire Temecula Valley!

Most of the acreage is unusable, as you can see from the picture, above.  Most of it consists of granite boulders so we won't be planting acres of crops.  On the bright side, we can go rock climbing in our own backyard.

The sunsets are the best part of this property.

And many mornings we wake up to hot air balloons on the horizon.  We are truly fortunate to have found this lovely place.  Over the next few months, I will share some of the challenges and beauty of Deerhaven.  I hope you join me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


This blog is about Deerhaven Farm - my home.  It is intended to document our journey from living in the city to living in the country and all the joys and hardships that go along with it.
We plan on making a success of this farm but I'm sure there's a learning curve and we will also be making lots of mistakes.
Along the way there will be gardening tips, cooking and recipes, crafts and sewing, discussions on self-sufficiency and off-the-grid living and all the fun and adventure of living in the country.
I hope you come along and share the fun with us.