Sunday, March 28, 2010


To market, to market, to buy a fat pig
Home again, home again, jiggedy jig.
And then a new litter bring forth in the spring
Shalt she, the new mother of sweet little things!

Bit of self-disclosure now: my absolute favorite animal
is the pig. There is something innately charming about
their geometrically simple body shape and piggish snout.
(Wearily) Yes, thank you for pointing out that they are pink,
but how many animals do you know that can be caricatured
by a circle? Eh? Round is supreme. Shape trumps color.
And if you've ever watched Babe (or read Dick King-Smith's
The Sheep Pig, from which the movie was adapted), you'll
know that pigs are smart. They roll in brown mud to cover
their pinkness. Haven't you heard? Brown is the new black.
Even pigs know that.

But back to the farm thing.

Meet our sow!

She has a new litter of piglets who look just like her

Seven* of them

including the spunky little runt.

She gave birth to them in the spring by C-section

and already their appetites are insatiable.

They drive her crazy,

but she's a mom, so she puts up with it,
because it's what moms do.

More than twenty years ago, my brother made me a
present of a perfectly round orange pig, with a zipper
in its belly, enclosing little round miniature piglets.
I think it was then that I remembered how to be a child
again. I still have that pig today - her name is Pig -
and she was my inspiration for this sow (although Pig
wasn't a nurser). I thought that, since I'd done those
oviparous chickens, I should do a viviparous pig.
And throw in lactating as well.
Might as well give the kids the full story.

Kate turns two this week, so BigPig and
her family were her birthday gift.

Kate immediately sat on her (of course)
and called her Humpty Dumpty.

We also plan to use her as an ottoman sometime.

*There are only six piglets in the photos

Because one of them is going to a new home!

So many of you were on the right track in your guesses,
and a few of you came really close to the full picture!
So I picked the commenter who said it first -
congratulations to Angie (commenter #15 on Day #2),
who wrote:

okay, so those do have to be little b***** n****** and it
does have to be a pig to go with your chicken. this
zipper is it's backside where the little baby piglets
are born from and i bet they will have little velcro-y
snouts to stick to their mommy's n******. oh, i do hope
it's a pig! i grew up next door to my grandpa and
his pig farm and i helped him with the pigs every day...
i love pigs (especially the sweet little piglets) and
have always had a hard time eating pork. :)

Angie: I love pigs so completely that I eat them
on a regular basis. And chickens, too. And cows.
Shoot me an email with your name and postal
address and I'll ship Piglet to you!

Thank you all for playing along - you are such good
sports! I've gotta say, though, that some of your guesses
made me blush! Those little fleece circles with velcro centers
were piglet snouts.



More livestock coming up, but not quite so soon.

'Guess the Giveaway' Giveaway - Clue 2

Here is Clue #2:

If you've just joined us, we're playing this game.

Update: The giveaway is closed. We have a winner!

"Guess The Giveaway" Giveaway - Clue I

Working on something right now that I thought I'd have some fun with. I'll show you a photo each day for the next three days, and you try and guess what it is. The winner will win part of the thing I'm making.

It's so vague! I love it!

To enter, leave a comment in any of the three posts, telling me what you think it is that I'm making.
  • Be as detailed as you like.
  • Submit as many tries (comments) as you like.
  • Make sure you have an email address connected to your comment at which you can be contacted.
  • Anonymous comments will be instantly disqualified.
To give everyone a fair chance at privacy, I will only publish the day's comments at the end of each day. In other words, it will look as if Blogger threw your comments into a black hole, but in actuality they will all appear (listed in the order they were submitted) at the end of the day.

When the three days are over, I'll pick the first comment that most fully/closely/accurately guesses what I'm working on. If after three days no one has come anywhere close to the right answer, I'll pick whichever comment is the funniest/cleverest/I enjoyed the most. I'll also confess publicly what I've been making, and show you the thing that's being given away.

Ready to play?

Here is Clue #1:

P.S. If it turns out to be so laughably easy that everyone guesses it on Day #1, I might end the giveaway prematurely and just pick the first commenter, OK?

Update: The giveaway is closed. We have a winner!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It is hard to get back in the swing of things, after being
away for two and a half weeks! No, I don't mean the sewing -
I just refer to my mental list of Things To Make, and I get
weak-kneed at how far I'm falling behind.
That's always er... motivating.

It's the crafting I mean. Specifically, crafting with the kids.
They've moved beyond Let's Print Out A Coloring Sheet
and Apply Markers. And they've moved beyond craft kits
(drats). Some days I'm up to the challenge of ploughing
a path through our vast collection of cardboard boxes.
Some days I just want to sit and drink tea and read old Enid Blytons.

But the kids finally wore me down this morning, so we
made these very simple sock bunnies from a craft idea in
a recent issue of Family Fun magazine. It was a very good
way to repurpose those fashionable non-skid socks from
the maternity hospital, I thought! AND, most usefully, even
Kate (almost 2) made her own bunny, all by herself (although
Mom was the Glue and Knot Administrator)!

What we used:

  • Old sock
  • Rice
  • Stuffing
  • String
  • Ribbon
  • Scrap felt
  • Pom pom
  • Scissors and Glue

Step 1

  • Fill sock with about a half cup of rice/beans. The Family Fun version recommended filling the whole thing with lentils, but we wanted softer, cuddly bunnies.
  • Fill sock half way with stuffing.
  • Tie (not too tightly) a neck with string.

Step 2
  • Stuff above the neck with stuffing, to make a head.
  • Tie above the head, tightly.

Step 3
  • Tie ribbon around neck.
  • Cut the cuff off the sock.
  • Slit down the middle of the sock above the head and trim into ear shapes.

Step 4
  • Cut rabbit facial features out of felt and glue on.

Step 5

  • Glue on pom pom. It doesn't have to be lurid neon, of course, but that's what we had in the house. Matched the weird brown sock with rubbery criss-cross non-slid markings perfectly.

Step 6
  • Haul around the house by the ears, hollering, "Leave my vegetables alone!"

Not very Easter-y, I know. The original Family Fun version
is much more Easter-y and less garden-variety-ish (lierally),
possibly because they
didn't use the brown souvenir socks
from their last hospital stay.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Hickety pickety my fine hen
She lays eggs for gentlemen -
Some pastel, some purple, some cheerful and gay
Some spotty, some silly, our fine hens doth lay!

Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to finally share with you -


A whole coop of Chickens, in fact.

Meet Tilly- our Buff Orpington

Edwina, our not-so-Barred-Rock Plymouth
and Snowball, our Leghorn,
so named by the girls after reading this book.

All fat and comfortable-looking,

with that ain't-no-one-gonna-ruffle-our -feathers look.

The idea came from the girls when we were reading
The Children of Willow Farm last year.

When Emily and Jenna are not being princesses,
fairies or Narnians, they like to play farm. Specifically,
they did a lot of egg-gathering after reading the
Willow Farm book. And I thought, well, they need
some real chickens. Life-size ones, that they
could tuck under their arms and carry about
like pretend-real farmers.
Chickens that look like chickens
and lay eggs
of the plastic dollar-store variety
(we have a ton of those from past Easters)
as well as the more outrageous wooden kind.
The girls and I painted these last fall. Jenna and Kate,
especially, love the feel and sound of the wooden eggs
knocking together in their little hands, but they are,
after all, only decorative (and luridly so!)

Unlike the plain, pastel, plastic kind
that, if sat on long enough,
might just hatch out somethings teeny and peepy.

Ah yes, an altogether happy brood.
This must be what Chicken Playdates look like:

Are you guffawing yet? Oh if you could have seen
when I finished Tilly last October (yes, the kids
have been
playing Chicken Farm for what, five
months now) and
popped out egg after egg in my
sewing room all by my
giddy self, so relieved was I
to finally get her out of my
head. And heard me laugh
out loud because she was
by far the funniest,
funniest, funniest thing I'd ever made.
The girls
couldn't believe their eyes when they
saw her
lay an egg.

Wish I'd gotten their reaction on video.

I love being a mom of little kids!

I am so glad that you finally got to
meet our Chickens (aren't they silly?)!
And just in time for Spring, too, when the
farmyard welcomes its animal babies.

Want your own egg-laying Chicken?

Here's the pattern

containing the templates and instructions to make both Chicken

and her Chick (plastic egg not included).

They were so easy to make that we hatched
enough to run Chicken Daycare while their
moms were out Doing Hen Stuff.

The pattern is an instant pdf download with 8 pages
of instructions and 4 pages of templates.
The Chickens lay eggs when they are squeezed
(they are popped in through an opening in their backs)
and it took Emily and Jenna only a little practice to
begin coaxing eggs out of Tilly, Snowball and Edwina!

Given that Chicken was inspired by a farm book,
and a person can't have a fun farm with only chickens,
there might just be more livestock appearing here soon!