2019 Year-End Homestead Review

Looking back over the previous year on the homestead is an excellent practice because it helps us see what worked, what didn’t, and helps us plan for the future.  It is also always very encouraging to me because even when I feel like we didn’t have a very productive year, seeing it all written out shows me all that we accomplished.  Our homestead has had to take a backseat to other parts of our life over the last few years due to our baby’s serious medical issues.  This year more than ever.  But despite that, we still are able to do some homesteading and it brings us stability and joy.  I continue to hope to do better record-keeping, but as each year has been harder and harder with Mr. Smiles, each year has thus been harder and harder to do good record keeping.  I am amazed I kept records at all this year!  But here’s what we have.

To read previous Year-End Reviews Click the following links:

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Statistics

Chickens:

  • Started year with 28 hens, 1 chick, and 1 rooster
  • Purchased 7 cockerel chicks and 3 pullet chicks, all 10 survived
  • Did 1 incubation with 75 eggs.  65 were fertile,  35 chicks hatched and 34 survived
  • 1 broody hen set and quit, we finished the incubation in the incubator.  10 set, 8 fertile, 7 hatched, and 7 survived
  • At the height of the season we had 28 adult chickens and 52 chicks – 80 total – by far the most chickens we have ever had at one time before.  Too many for our farm.  Need to plan more carefully.
  • 1 broody hen set 7 eggs with a total of 3 chicks surviving, then she set again with 8 eggs and 6 survived
  • Butchered 28 birds
  • Sold 2 silky hens, six 1-year-old hens, and 15 pullets
  • 1 silky hen died from egg-bound, one chick died at week 5 for unknown reasons, 1 hen died from being bullied by the flock, 1 hen killed by a golden eagle
  • Ended year with  21 hens, 3 pullets, 3 cockerels (almost ready for butcher), and 1 rooster.  Plus 23 eggs in the incubator to hatch mid-January.
  • Approximately 3,700 eggs laid

Farm Dogs:

  • Anya, our 3.5-year-old Anatolian Shepherd, had her ups and downs.  At times she was an excellent guard dog, but she struggled a little with her first year of lambs.  When they were little, she left them alone because the mamas wouldn’t let her near them, but as they grew and the mamas weren’t so protective, she tried to wrestle and play with them and was too rambunctious.  She also had a couple times getting too rambunctious with chickens, but didn’t kill any.  So a few times she had to live in a separate pen from the flocks while we continued training with her.

Sheep:

  • Started year with 2 ewes and 1 ram.
  • Bred early in January
  • 2 ram lambs and 1 ewe lamb born, all survived
  • 3 Fleece shorn, for a total of 8.5 lbs raw, skirted wool
  • 800 yds (1.5 lbs) 3-ply worsted yarn from Fiona, 1500 yds (3 lbs) 4-ply worsted yarn from Fergus, and didn’t finish processing Rose’s yarn yet
  • Sold 1 ewe lamb, 2 ram lambs, and 1 ewe
  • Purchased 1 dairy ewe, 3 dairy ewe lambs, and 1 dairy ram lamb
  • Breeding season brought difficulties and aggression from our 2.5 year-old wool ram, ended up having to butcher him
  • 22 lbs of ground meat, 4 lbs of roasts, soup bones, and some dog food
  • Finished year with 1 wool ewe, 4 dairy ewes, and 1 dairy ram
  • Bred them all in November/December. 4 ewes pregnant, due in April/May.

Goats:

  • Started the year without any goats.
  • Mid-March added a Nubian doe to the farm.  We finally had fresh milk again!
  • 43 gal of milk for our family use between March and October
  • Dried her off (stopped milking) in November at breeding time for convenience and to give her a chance to regain her body condition.
  • Pregnant and due to kid in April

Garden:

  • The stresses of life this summer did not make it possible to weigh the produce this year.  A very cold spring gave us less than average on some things, but others gave us more than average.
  • We started building a second vegetable garden that will more than double our produce production.

Heritage Arts:

  • I completed the 19 knit projects: 9 pairs of socks, a Hoodie for Mr. Smiles, a sock yarn scrap afghan, a lace shawl, a hat, a textured shawl, 4 dishcloths, and a cabled cardigan.
  • I made a new bag for a standing knitting bag frame and 4 pairs of flannel PJ pants.  Plus innumerable amounts of mending and patching of clothes.
  • The girls did countless projects, each of them finishing more projects than I did.

Kitchen:

  • Canned quite a bit of food, not as much as last year.  Early fall stresses prevented me from keeping track of how many exactly of what we canned.
  • Made several different soft cheeses with goat’s milk.
  • Made a couple aged cheeses with store-bought cow’s milk to practice for next spring.

Year Summary

January rotated between warm sunny days in the 40sF, where we would get outside as much as possible, to bitterly cold snowy days below 0F that kept us by the fires and working to keep the livestock cared for and warm.  We spent a lot of time dealing with our son’s medical issues, with many doctor’s appointments.  We got our Livestock Record Book updated and ready for the new year, and got our school curriculum planning done as well as starting on our garden planning.  The sheep bred, giving us hopes for lambs in May/June.  The girls and I knit, crocheted, and worked on the hexagon quilt.  And we did several small fix-up projects around the farm and home, including building a new hay rack in the sheep stall and improving the gravity feeder in the lower chicken coop.  At the end of the month we collected eggs for a big incubation.

February started with us getting 75 eggs into the incubators for a hatch.  We struggled with illnesses and another hospitalization for Mr. Smiles.  We did a lot of knitting, cross stitching, and crochet by the warm fire while the bitter cold and wind settled in outside.  34 of our incubator eggs hatched and survived, and then we bought a few more chicks to add to the brooder so that we would have some new genetics for next year’s breeding program.  We also extended the hay loft in the barn to give us more hay storage space.

March was cold and wet.  We got a lot of snow and dealt with trying to keep animals dry and warm.  We finished remodeling our basement, which had been torn out after the massive floods of 2013 damaged it.  We added a new member to the farm – a Nubian milk doe named Pansy.  She was fresh and we were excited to have raw milk right from our own homestead again.  We had a hen decide to set eggs and then quit at 2 weeks, we put the eggs in the incubator and were surprised that they hatched, despite having been chilled from her abandonment.  We ended the month by finishing our dining room remodel project and I finished the scrap sock yarn afghan I had been working on for a year.

In April we started with shearing the sheep.  We also built up another section of the garden beds to be deeper for better growth of the plants and we hauled a bunch of compost from the barnyard and filled all the garden boxes with it.  Our 3-year-old had his 10th surgery and was pronounced healed from his very-rare bile duct/liver disorder that just a year ago we had been told would be fatal.  The weather continued to be cold and wet, setting our garden back more and more.  As we hit the 6-week out from lambing mark, we noticed that Rose seemed to be showing symptoms early and wondered if she was potentially due before we thought.  We changed the ewes’ diets in preparation for lambing.

In May things continued to be cold and wet.  We tried to work on the garden and get things going, but the weather continued to hamper our efforts.  We had several big snow storms.  Our 3-year-old has his first eye surgery, 11th surgery overall, and it was unsuccessful.  Eve hatched out 3 chicks, and the juggling of pens for all the many different chicks and chickens began to get complicated as they all grew.  We separated the ewes from the ram, goat, and Anya (the LGD) since it was Anya’s first lambing season and we didn’t want her to accidentally kill a newborn lamb.  Mtn Man finished spinning up the yarn from Fergus and Fiona’s 2019 fleece, and I tried my hand at dyeing Fiona’s yarn for the first time ever.  My parents moved in, with my Dad in his last few months of life.  My sister and I helped my mom care for him.  We ended the month with Fiona giving birth to her ram lamb on the 31st.

June started with Rose giving birth to huge twin lambs on June 1st.  It was a complicated delivery that I had to help with because both lambs were mal-positioned, and then their first week of life was touch and go because the ram lamb got pneumonia and Rose’s milk didn’t come in very quickly so we were supplementing them with bottles.  By three weeks of age both the ewe lamb and the ram lamb were thriving and doing well.  We continued to have cold weather, including two frosts over night that ended up killing some of our vegetable garden.  Anya integrated herself in with the lambs by breaking through the fence because she was so interested in being with the mamas and lambs.  She did great and was very safe with the lambs.  We did a lot more shuffling around of chickens, sold some pullets & hens, and butchered a lot of cockerels.  We realized the goat was copper deficient and we bolused her with a slow release copper capsule.  We found out, unfortunately, that our son’s rare bile duct/liver disorder had not been fixed back in April as we had been told and it reared it’s ugly head again, landing us back with tests, doctor appointments, and hospitals.

In July we were busy with visitors and medical appointments.  We headed in for yet another emergency surgery for Mr. Smiles, which was his 12th surgery overall and his 4th this year – but who’s counting?  The homestead brought us comfort through the hard times though, and sitting out enjoying the livestock and working in the garden is always good emotional therapy.  We still managed to be productive around the farm, butchering some more chickens, getting the chickens sorted into new pens and organized for future breeding plans, making goat cheese, braiding a wool rug, and getting out my spinning wheel for the first time in 4 years.  We saw results from the goat copper bolus, as Pansy began to gain weight and her coat condition improved immensely.   The garden continued to progress, though still behind about 3 weeks from usual due to the cold spring weather.  As the lambs grew and their moms were less protective, Anya struggled with being too rambunctious with them in play and had to be moved to the back pen with the ram.

August brought the start of school and the start of harvest.  We sold 4 sheep and purchased our first dairy sheep.  We sold our large floor loom and purchased a smaller one that fit nicely in our living room.  Mr. Smiles had his 13th surgery, the most major surgery he has had to date at 7.5 hours long, and my father, who was living with us, passed away that same day.  The surgery was an immense success and the recovery was much better than anyone had expected.  It looks like his bile duct/liver issue is now fixed (as of December 31), and though he might have more complications farther down the road, for the meantime he should be stable.

September was hard.  We were busy with Mr. Smiles’ recovery, grieving my father’s death, and planning, preparing, and hosting his funeral.  We were also trying to continue with our homestead plans and projects.  We added 4 more dairy sheep to the flock, and our best broody hen, Eve, set another clutch and hatched out 6 adorable chicks.

October was full of “normal” fall homestead work for us, which was so wonderful after such an “abnormal” and difficult summer season.  We built about 2/3 of the raised bed boxes for our second veggie garden.  We moved the kids playhouse out of the back yard and turned it into a gardening shed, and then built a retaining wall in the area where the playhouse used to be that will be Mr. Smiles new safe, flat, outdoor play area next summer.  We hauled and chopped a lot of firewood, and canned quite a bit of produce from our own property, and some purchased as well.  I began the adventure of learning how to weave, and also finished several knitting projects.  We got our first snow of 6 inches and a huge drop in temperatures.  Our old barn cat, Jerry, retired in the house and became our indoor kitty.  We found out that the eye surgery that was done in conjunction with Mr. Smiles’ bile duct/liver surgery back in August was not successful and decided to wait until spring to do another eye surgery because our family desperately needed a break from surgery and hospitalization, as did Mr. Smiles.  The bile duct/liver part of the surgery was still looking very good and successful.

In November we took our milk goat, Pansy, to the breeder and left her there to get bred.  We also started our first-ever sheep breeding season with two rams.  We separated the ewes up with the two rams and were excited to see how it went.  Unfortunately, our older ram, Fergus, had trouble with the new situation and also was coming into full maturity and thus started having aggressive behavior with humans and the ewes.  We struggled into December trying to keep everyone safe, get the ewes bred, and decide what to do with Fergus.  I continued to enjoy weaving and finished more weaving projects.  Sunshine and I did a massive go-through and clean-out of the house.  We did a lot more chopping and stacking firewood for the winter, and had quite a bit of snow and cold weather.  The weather pushed us to indoor projects and we tore out the master bathroom shower.

December brought Christmas candy making, Advent, and more work, but also relaxation and fun family time together.  We continued to struggle with the ram aggression issue and it all came to a head in one crazy dangerous interaction.  We ended up butchering our wool ram, Fergus because of his aggression.  It was hard, but the peacefulness of the barnyard afterwards re-affirmed our decision.  We used our trap nests to figure out which hens were laying and which weren’t, and did our last chicken butchering of the year.  Little Miss and I started trying our hand at learning the art of making aged cheeses and we used an old fridge to make a cheese cave.  We made huge batches of ketchup and BBQ sauce and canned them for our family use.  We continued to dig ourselves out of the snow that kept falling throughout the month.  Lastly, we finished the remodel of the master bathroom shower.

Looking back on this year is kind of hard for us.  Between Mr. Smiles having 5 surgeries this year, my father living with us for the last 3 months of his life and passing away, plus many other challenges that I didn’t share on the blog, it was by far the hardest year of our lives.  But we can also see SO many blessings, gifts, and miracles laced through it all.  God really carried us through, and leaning on Him was the only possible way I could handle it.  The homestead continued to be one of the blessings as it brought us emotional therapy and kept us busy so we didn’t have too much time to sit and stew over all the stresses.  And despite all the crazy life things we were going through separate from the homestead, we still had a pretty darn productive year providing food for our family.  For that we are very grateful.

Sunday Homestead Update

We have had a very productive week around the homestead.

Outdoor Project Day

Throughout the winter we occasionally get days that are 45+F and sunny.  These are good opportunities for us to work on projects outdoors while we can, and we take advantage of them as much as possible.  We had one this week and were able to get some things done.

Our lumber was finished early, so we picked it up and used it on the projects.  This lumber is from several trees we had to cut down last year and we took it to the local mill to have it made into 4×4, 2×6, and 1x lumber.

We split up into three groups, working close to each other, but on separate projects.  Young Man and Sunshine built the onion patch retaining wall.  It backs up to the main garden, but is on the outside of the fence since wildlife don’t bother the onions.  Here is the before picture from the onion patch side:

And the after picture:

And here it is from the garden side, before and after:

Braveheart worked on our mantle log.  It is a large aspen log…

…that needs to be stripped and sanded so it can become our mantle.

Mtn Man and I ripped logs, with Little Miss helping gather the wood scraps for the kindling pile, and Mr. Smiles in his stroller watching us all.  The bark slabs from the outside of the trees are cut off as they make it into lumber.  We find these slabs very useful for our version of a privacy fence – a Rocky Mountain solid fence.  The slabs are all different widths and have uneven edges.

We run them through the table saw to get the edges mostly even so they fit nicely together.  It is not a perfectionist thing…we want it to have some character, but still fit pretty well.  Depending on the fence, we are more particular or less particular.

We used it to build the 3 foot garden fence many years ago.

But this week we were using it to attach to a section of the barnyard fence.  We first hooked up a big canvas tarp along the fence, and then put the slabs over it.  This will make for a nice windbreak for the upper corner of the barnyard.

Most of our fencing is not solid, but when we do want some that is I really like this look because it blends in with the area well.  I don’t like buildings and fences in the woods that stand out from everything.

Chickens

We started our incubation!  We are using both of our incubators this time because we wanted to set a large amount of eggs.  Hatching at high-altitude is complicated, especially when the birds laying the eggs didn’t themselves hatch at high altitude.  Although studies show that hens laying at high-altitude lay eggs with less pores to make up for some of the challenges caused by the altitude.  But we have found that our first generation of birds always have very low hatch rates, and our hatch rates go up as we get into the next few generations of birds that have been selected and hatched at altitude themselves.  Because we had to cut our flock way back due to our son’s medical issues, we are now starting back at square one so-to-speak with our breeding and hatching program, so most of the breeding birds come from lower elevations and are our first generation.  In the years to come our hatching success should increase with the second and third generations of high-altitude birds.  Because of all that, we will likely have a low hatch rate.  Thus we wanted to set as many eggs as possible to make up for the lower hatch rate.

We were able to fit 75 eggs in the two incubators.  We have a Hovabator 1588 and a Top Hatch TH130.  We prefer the Hovabator, but they both perform pretty well.  And when we want to set a lot of eggs it is nice to have them both.

We will candle for fertility later this week and see how our roo is doing at his part of the job.

English Paper Piecing Quilt

The EPP hexagon quilt has come out to be worked on again.  I talked about how special this quilt is and what it is about in this post last year.  Because the pieces are so tiny, and it is completely hand stitched, the girls and I only work on it for a few weeks at a time and then put it away and bring it back out later.  It has been almost a year since we worked on it though!  How time flies around here.  But Little Miss was in the mood for it so she dug it out and the two of us have started working on it again.  We will see how much progress we make this time before our hands get tired of all that tiny stitching.

How to Do Hand-Stitched English Paper Piecing

As I posted last week, my grandmother taught me how to do hand-stitched English Paper piecing quilts when I was a teenager.  She shared with me a box of diamonds made from hexagons that she and my great-grandmother had made for years from clothing scrap fabric.  My daughters and I are now using those pieces, along with new ones we are making from our scrap fabric, to make a quilt.

There are a few different ways to do paper piecing, I am sharing how I was taught by my grandmother, which is how she was taught by her mother.  There are many different shapes you can use, and sizes of shapes.  The hexagons we are making are very small – only an inch across.  I would suggest starting with something bigger – while these look really great, it is quite a tedious and time-consuming project to complete a quilt made with tiny hexagons.  I have previously made a Christmas tree skirt with 4-inch hexagons and it was a much faster and easier project.

First, how to make the hexagons.

You will need hexagons made from sturdy paper, and fabric cut into circles big enough to wrap the hexagon in.  When my grandmother taught me, she was hand-cutting each paper hexagon using a cardboard pattern.  It was tedious and man it is tough to get a hexagon just exactly even!  I was very excited when I found that you can get die-cut paper pieces online.  I happily bought a package of hexagons that are each the same and I don’t have to do any cutting.  My personal favorite is the store Paper Pieces.

You take the fabric circle and carefully start wrapping it around the hexagon, one side at a time, being sure you are getting it tight along the straight edge and keeping the corners nice.

Then, using some cheap thread, you baste the fabric onto the paper hexagon with a few stitches.  You want it held firmly, but you will remove these later so you want them big and easy to get out.

Now it is time to hook the hexagons together.  You can obviously do this in any number of patterns using different fabrics etc.  My grandmother and great-grandmother made diamonds out of 9 hexagons, making the center hexagon a solid complimenting color.

I decided to hook them together with white hexagons in between as a border for a simple vintage look.

To hook them together, you place two hexagons right-sides together and whip stitch along the straight edge, being careful to grab a little of each fabric but not the paper that is inside of each piece.  I occasionally grab a tiny bit of the paper, it is bound to happen, just try to not stitch to far onto the paper and not too often.

When you are finished, do not tie off or cut your thread.  As you see when you open it up one side is now attached.

Turn the pieces right sides together with the next side that needs to be attached and continue your whip stitching along that side.  Repeat for as many sides as need to be attached for that piece.

In this example I am attaching the white border pieces to my already in-process quilt.  As you can see, I keep attaching white borders along the edge of the colorful diamond.

Once they are in place I attach another diamond set.

It is done like the single hexagons, one edge at a time, working my way around all the edges.

Then I add more white and so forth and so on, building the quilt up a little at a time.

It is important not to remove any of the paper until a piece is sewn on all edges, because the paper holds the shape for you.  As you can see here, I have removed all the basting stitches and paper from all the interior pieces, but the border pieces that are not surrounded fully yet still have their basting stitches and papers.

To remove the paper you just clip the basting stitches, turn to the back, gently open the fabric and pull out the piece.

Some methods of putting the fabric on the paper leaves a lot less fabric on the back than this method.  However, I am trying to copy the method used to make all the diamonds, so I am doing it this way.  I think it will add some nice bulk to the quilt and make it warmer too.

That’s all there is to it -the basics of how to do hand-stitched English Paper Piecing Quilts.  I find them very enjoyable, and I love that they are a craft that is mobile – in that I can take it places to work on it or work on it in a recliner, as opposed to being at a sewing machine.  Try it out yourself!

Sunday Homestead Update

We have been doing some pretty typical mid-winter activities lately, and some not-so-typical as well.

Preparing for Spring!

We placed our garden seed order, which is a very exciting part of winter around here.  We have ordered exclusively from Seeds Trust the last few years because they have heirloom varieties that are specifically bred to do well at high altitude in the Rockies.  We have had great success with them.  Because we save our own seeds as well the order isn’t typically very big.  This year is our biggest order in awhile because I didn’t save as many seeds last year.  The planning for a garden is such a hope-filled activity.  Dreaming of what could be this year….I love it!

We also decided to order some chicks!  As you know, we have had to temporarily down-size our farm because of our 2-year-old’s ongoing serious health issues.  So we are currently only raising chickens.  And the older kids took over the care of the barn and barnyard (chickens, LGD, and barn cats) to free up Mtn Man and I since we are often gone to specialists and hospitals hours away.  Because they have totally taken over the care of the chickens, I thought it only right that they could decide what to do with them this year as far as production, breeding, selling, etc.  They are already selling the extra eggs we don’t use.

So they all discussed it and decided that just because we had to downsize doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue being as productive as possible towards feeding ourselves from our farm, which is the main goal of our homestead – to feed our family as much as we can from our little plot of land.  They discussed different breeding options, incubating vs. broody hens, buying chicks, etc.  They decided that they will let any broody hen hatch that wants to.  Those chicks will be used for meat, and replacement laying hens.  But since they are only using broodies and not the incubator, that wouldn’t be very much meat (maybe 15-20 birds depending on how many sets the hens are willing to do), so then they decided it was high-time we tried meat birds.  We have discussed it every year but never get around to it.  So they have ordered 40 Red Ranger Broilers.  They discussed potentially getting frankenbirds (Cornish cross), but decided they wanted to be more natural than that and didn’t want to deal with the health issues involved with those.  The Red Rangers are able to free range and are at butcher weight by 9-11 weeks.

Then they decided that since they will be brooding chicks anyway, they wanted to add some Silkies to the mix because we only have one and she is our best broody hen.  They want more broody hens, so they added a straight run of 10 Silkies to the order, hoping to get 5 or so more silky hens, of which hopefully 3 will be good broody girls.  We are looking forward to having chicks arrive in March!

Heritage Arts

I have continued to try to finish some of my Works-in-Progress (WIPs).  This week it was a crosstitch:

The pattern said “Market Carrots” but I changed it to “Prize Carrots” to commemorate the fact that Sunshine and I grew the first and second place carrots in our entire county fair.

We have also been working on the English Paper Piecing quilt.  I will be sharing more about how to do English Paper Piecing later this week.

Firewood

We normally do our wood gathering, splitting, and stacking in the fall.  But this fall was all catiwompus around here, so nothing normal seemed to get done.  This means that we are splitting wood and stacking it several times throughout the winter to be able to keep our house warm.  Thankfully, we have had a mild winter so far, which means that #1 we are not going through as much wood, and #2 it is nicer weather for stacking and splitting.  This last week we saw that a snow storm was inbound so we spent time getting ready for it.  This is the wood rack for ONE of our two woodstoves.  That should last us a few weeks.  Feels good to have it all filled up.

 

English Paper Piecing

When I was a teenager my grandmother taught me how to do English Paper Piecing quilts.

It was a very special time.  She pulled out a box and as she showed me its contents, she told me about it.  It was full of paper pieced diamonds, made from 1-inch hexagons.

She told me that all these diamonds were made by my great-grandmother (her mother) and herself out of scraps of fabric from dresses, shirts, and aprons they had made for their families.  She held up one for me to see, “this was my dress when I was a little girl.”  She held up another, “I remember my mother cooking in this apron.”  And another “This was from a little pinafore I made for your mother when she was three.”  And another, “This is from a shirt I made my husband before he shipped out with the Navy.”  Oh, such memories! And what a treasure that box held.  That is not a thing you can buy in a store.

After sharing with me the special memories the box held, she began to teach me how to make the hexagon paper pieces, how to hook the hexagons together into diamonds, and then how to put those diamonds into a quilt or wall hanging.  We worked together to make a family tree wall hanging for her house.  She used the diamonds that included fabric from clothing from each person to put together the tree.  Some people she didn’t have pieces made from their clothing, so she picked fabric that represented them.  Like something with anchors on it for my great-grandfather who worked on a ship, etc.  It was such a special and fun time for both of us and I cherish those memories now that she is gone.

Before she died she gave me the box with all the many, many pieces left after we had used some to make the wall hanging.  I was SO excited to be the receiver of such a special gift.  At first it just set in the top of a closet as I was busy juggling many little children, a home, farm, etc.  But in the last year or so my daughters and I have been bringing it out and working on it.  Because it is all hand stitched, and the hexagons are so small, we work on it for a few weeks, then go on to some other craft, and bring it out again in a few months to work on it again.  I am sure it will take us years to finish, but what memories we are making along the way!

As we work it is amazing to me to realize I am holding in my hand a piece that was hand-stitched by my great-grandmother about 100 years ago!

Not only have we been using the pieces made by my great-grandmother and my grandmother, but we have also made our own pieces from fabric from our own homemade dresses, aprons, etc.  We recently made a piece with the scraps from those bibs I made last fall for Mr. Smiles.

So when it is done the quilt will be a 5-generation memory quilt.  So special!

Next week, I will share a post on how to do English Paper Piecing quilts so you can give it a try yourself if you are interested.