Year: 2020

  • Crafting and Sewing Leather Items for Sale at a Farmer’s Market

    The farmers market can be a minefield for anyone who has the right items to sell. Sewing and crafting leather can give you fantastic products. You can make wallets, jackets, pouches, belts, aprons, among others. So, what do you need to know about crafting and sewing leather?

    Understanding Leatherwork

    Leather is a versatile material, and you can create so many items to sell at the farmer's market. The process of sewing and crafting leather is not as difficult as one can imagine. All you need are the right tools and instructions to come up with amazing products.

    So what do you need to know?

    Choose the Right Type of Leather

    You have many options with regard to the type of leather you can buy. When buying, ensure it has undergone a tanning process so that it does not decompose. Finished leather gives you variety with regards to color. It allows you to come up with more exciting products for your booth at the farmers market.

    Determine what items you want to sell and then follow the steps below:-

    • Measuring and Marking

    Do not cut your leather before you measure and mark it. You get to avoid costly mistakes and will achieve better results. There are online tutorials you can use to draw patterns. Alternatively, you can buy the patterns; it will make your work so much easier.

    Use chalk for the markings because it rubs off easily. Pencils can leave marking, so if you must use them, be light on the hand.

    If you are not using an outline, you will need a measuring tape or ruler to measure and mark the shape.

    • Cutting

    Always remember to leave an allowance of about a quarter or half an inch. It gives you room to maneuver, and all you need to do is trim off the excess when you finish.

    The blade you use should be sharp so that you get a smooth edge. Utility knives, replaceable blades, or rotary cutters work well. You can also find specialty knives for cutting leather.

    Scissors or shears are fantastic for cutting shapes or removing excess bits. Just make sure they're sharp enough to handle the job.

    • Sewing

    Glue the pieces together before you sew them. Some tools you can use include:-

    • A groover to mark the sewing path
    • Stitching spacer, stitching wheel or diamond chisels if you are using a punch or awl to make holes
    • One crucial step is to make the leather a bit damp so that it becomes more malleable.
    • Use tape instead of pins so that you do not leave permanent holes.

    While you can hand-sew, sewing machines are more convenient and faster, see She Likes to Sew. You produce more leather products in a shorter time.

    It is possible to use your home sewing machine with a few modifications. You will need to change the presser foot to a roller or Teflon foot.

    You also need heavy duty needles and polyester or nylon thread for durability.

    Sewing and crafting leather is easy if you take the time to learn how to do it well. You will get tons of products to sell at the farmer's market.

  • Growing Sweet Cherry Tomatoes: 101

    As a beekeeper, you know I have a sweet tooth and like to have something sweet on hand at all times, especially after a long hot day at the farm, or grooming my lovely horses at the stalls. But, however much I crave sweets, I try to eat organically as much as I can. I have an abundant source of locally grown produce from my own garden, and of course, there’s the honey from my bees, so it’s not that hard at all. In fact, having fresh produce at the tip of my fingertips is the main reason I own a farm, but everyone has their weakness, and I guess mine is having a sweet tooth!

    I’ve always liked tomatoes and I’m always baffled when someone says they don’t like them. The craziest thing is when they also say they don’t eat tomatoes, but love ketchup - have you ever heard that? My five-year-old niece often says that. I’ve rarely heard anyone ever say they don’t like cherry tomatoes, though - even people who say they don’t like them usually won’t refuse a cherry tomato bruschetta.

    Actually, my niece is a big fan of this dish, but due to the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes I think she hasn’t figured out that it’s made out of a different kind of tomato. Well, at least she likes this, because she sure hates tomato soup. She threw it in the toilet once without saying anything and that’s when we knew she won’t be asking for seconds, haha! It was a brand-new toilet and we had to call in the plumber, but luckily there wasn’t any serious damage. We didn’t need to go toilet shopping or the like.

    Ok, back to the point. You need a sunny spot if you're gonna grow cherry tomatoes. If you live here in North Carolina this won’t be such a problem, but if you live in colder places, it’s best to wait for the warmer days of spring. But, don’t worry, cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow from the seed!

    For starters, you need to choose your cherry tomato seeds, there are so many juicy varieties, you can’t go wrong with either of them, be it the Sweet Million, the Sun Gold, the Black Pearl or the Sun Sugar, whatever floats your boat!

    Next, you’ll need potting mix, tomato plant food and wooden stakes. You need the stakes so the vines have a climbing path, this is integral in the process. When you plant the tomatoes in your garden, make sure the wooden stakes are approximately at an equal distance from each other.

    Ideally, you should plant the cherry tomatoes when the weather is around 70F. As I said before, they need warm and sunny weather to thrive, so picking a sunny spot where they’ll get plenty of sunlight during the day - they should receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight during the day, especially in the beginning - otherwise your effort will be fruitless (literally)!

    And finally: always make sure you test the pH of the soil beforehand, water your plants regularly, and, of course, soil fertilizers are your best friend!

    Happy planting, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your sweet cherry tomatoes with gusto, and satisfy that sweet tooth with your own home-grown fresh produce.