Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoppy Easter!!


This week I discovered I have the biggest refrigerator, the biggest oven, and apparently the biggest mouth here in our marina because for today's Easter get together I'm in charge of cooking the 12 pound ham.


Maybe I should have mentioned with that big mouth that I've never cooked a ham in my life.


That little heart sticker on Wilbur's head signifies he was a good boy and took his heart worm medicine.



Wilbur thinks I'm a fabulous cook and has volunteered to be the official taste tester. As long as it's covered in whipped creme, he says, life is good.





Sunday, April 13, 2014

The search for the ever elusive scant 1/4 inch continues



We pick up this story with my continued quest of trying to find out how to accurately sew quilt pieces together.

After sewing my pre-cut jelly roll strips together I was looking forward to cutting them into 12 inch squares. That is until I realized the new blade I'd put in my rotary cutter a couple of months ago was rusty. I would have had better luck running a dull butter knife up and down my fabric it was that bad. This is what comes from living on the water in Florida; if things don't get moldy they get rusty.

So off I ventured to my favorite fabric store, and for the first time they didn't have something I needed. I have a Fiskars Cutter and they don't carry them. I couldn't get to JoAnn's because I didn't have the vehicle that day so I had to wait until yesterday to drive there. Luckily I had a 40% off coupon and bought some titanium blades (I have no idea if they'll stay nice or not and I need to come up with a better storing solution). But then I remembered they sell Janome Sewing Machines at this store and I asked one of the employees who was sitting at a machine if they happened to carry a quarter inch quilting foot and by golly they do! I then asked her if she'd heard the term 'scant' quarter inch and she gave me a baffled look and shook her head. So I went into my long winded explanation of why I wanted one and she said she's made many quilts using a simple quarter inch seam allowance and never had a problem.

That's when I decided enough was enough and to quit making such a big deal out of this and just suck it up. I ended up buying the foot they had in stock and it also came with 2 guides; one for the 1/4 inch seam and one for sewing in the ditch (actually the guide runs in the ditch and allows you to sew very close to it).

This is the foot with the 1/4 inch guide attached. The other guide is off to the left.


I did not have my reading glasses with me and I didn't see this until I got home. Is that not just too funny?

So the search for the scant quarter inch foot and guide is now over.

The sad part about this is when my quilt ends up with wonky seams I won't have anyone to blame but myself.


No sewing this weekend as Hans and I cast off our dock lines yesterday and anchored in the bay for the night. This little racer zipped past our stern with about 6 'scant' inches to spare.

I crack myself up!



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Some small steps on my baby quilt.

First of all, let me express my thanks to those who welcomed me back from my bloggy absence. It really surprised me and also made my day. Oh, you are so going to wish you'd never encouraged me!
So I started sewing the baby quilt I mentioned yesterday. I sorted out the strips and then sewed them together in groups of 6. Each group of strips will then be cut into three 12 inch squares.
But here's my dilemma; Is it just assumed that everyone knows the secret of the 'scant' quarter inch seam allowance? I'm not a quilter but I do have a couple of quilting books and I've also read and watched a lot of tutorials, yet not one of them mentioned this term. I can't remember when I first heard about it but I did know upon starting this quilt that I should follow the rule. I know you can buy a special foot for your machine but apparently it isn't always accurate. Then I heard that the line spacing on index cards is measured at pretty much a 'scant' quarter inch. So of course I bought a batch of them at my local Winn-Dixie.
It would appear that my teflon foot is the closest thing to what I need (yet still not quite right), so I measured as best I could from the needle and taped a hunk of memo pad to the bed of my machine as a guide. This much I know; 6 strips of sewn together fabric should measure 12 1/2 inches across. Mine are pretty close yet not necessarily exact and that pisses me off. And the individual strips after having been sewn should come in at 2 inches (except for the two outside pieces that still have unsewn seam allowances). I'm sewing as carefully as I can but I can't help but wonder if the fact that the quality of some of the fabrics is different from the others might be the problem. The lighter colored fabrics are much lighter in weight than the darker ones.
I swear, only I can find a way to make something so simple, so complicated. But regardless of these minuscule discrepancies, I'm going to continue to charge forth. After all, this is for a baby whom I expect will puke, poop, and do God knows what else to it, so who cares if it's not perfect.

One set of strips. Remember these came pre-cut and some of the prints aren't exactly centered.

Three sets hanging on my clothes line (Wilbur's retractable leash).

Now that Wilbur's an adolescent, I don't dare leave my camera lying around. Here he tweets yet one more selfie.


The weather these last few days has been wonderfully cool and perfect for sewing. Tomorrow I plan on cutting these strips into squares and then trying to come up with a good layout.

I also need to find a way to keep my iron from spitting rusty stains up all over everything.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm still living and sewing on our boat.


I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. We're still down here on the Gulf Coast of Florida and while I've sewn a number of things, I don't have access to a lot of the pictures as my computer died and I'm slowly moving them from another hard drive to my iPad.

We've been in the same marina now for nearly three years.


This past weekend I took down our dodger (located toward the front of the boat, the dodger contains the plastic windshield) and reinforced the seams that were coming apart thanks to our brutal Florida sun. BTW, I forgot to put sunscreen on my upper exposed back neck area and, yes, I got a sun burn. Big surprise!

Since sewing (even with air conditioning) on our boat during the summer is nearly impossible, I had hoped to do some fun sewing this past winter. I did manage to get some projects completed but they leaned more toward functional boat stuff as opposed to fun creative stuff. And then we received news that the stork is due to make a delivery within the next few months to a cousin in the family and I got a bug up my butt and decided I really want to make a quilt. However, the only quilt I've ever made was for me and it was beyond amateurish and I wouldn't even gift it to a homeless person.
I then happened across a YouTube video from the Missouri Quilt Company that utilized a pre-cut jelly roll. Now, in the past I'd heard the term jelly roll, layer cake, blah blah blah, and actually, I found them to be kind of weird. But weird or not, pre-cut fabrics are just what the doctor ordered since I have very little cutting room here on the boat. I actually want to make two quilts so I order two jelly rolls for the tops and yardage for the backs. I can't tell you how excited I was yesterday when my fabric arrived and I was able to run my hands over 80 pre-cut 2 1/2 in wide strips. Yaaaay!

This print is called Bartholo-meow's reef. Too, too cute!

Look at all those bright prints.

It doesn't smell like a jelly roll!

Today is rainy and overcast which makes it perfect for me to get started.

If you have time you should check out the Missouri Quilt Company link I hi-lighted above and read about how they got started and what they've accomplished. What a great group of people.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stuck here on our boat during Tropical Storm Andrea.

I guess Mother Nature has a calender and discovered that Hurricane Season is officially here.  No Sooner had June 1st rolled around than she started churning up trouble in the Gulf and we're now getting hammered with wind, rain, and high tides. Just like last year during 'Debby', Andrea forgot to turn off the faucet and our marina has overflowed. 

Normally the water is about 3 feet below our docks. I took this picture before the dock ended up covered in about 6 inches of water. Not as bad as I thought it would be.
Another version of the dress I blogged about in my previous post. This one is LOUD and I love it.

The back with ties.

The back of the panties and I just now realized I should have added a bow!!

And what I really love; matching dog collars (and of course a head band).
 I've been busy making and selling dog collars and baby items.  These are things that are manageable to work with while living on our boat and besides that I really enjoy sewing them.

Hurricane Season???? NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Wilbur is doing well but he does not like having rain and wind whistle up his butt when he's supposed to be going potty so he tends to hold it until he's ready to explode. Luckily the rain stopped for a while and the tide dropped enough for me to get him off the boat for a quick break. We both hope this isn't the beginning of an extra stormy summer.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Still living and sewing on our boat

I can't believe how quickly time passes by.

As I previously posted, we spent Thanksgiving at anchor and I don't think any other holiday will ever measure up to how much I enjoyed that one.

Christmas rolled around and we flew north for a few days in order to visit family and friends.  We ended up renting a Mustang Convertible because that's all that was available and Hans refused to drive with the top down just because the temps were in the low 30's along with freezing rain. 

Back in Florida, we spent New Year's Eve at anchor (with no snow or winter coats necessary) while rafted up with another couple from our marina. And since I got Hans a keyboard for Christmas we ended up having a jam session in our cockpit the next day.  In addition to the keyboard, our friends brought guitars and a drum machine.  Then their friends came by with another guitar and tons of food. I don't know what we sounded like but we had a great time. 

Back to reality.  Hans flew to Boston on business and my hopes of having a week long sewing marathon (without having to put everything away every day) went out the window when I experienced my first cold in over a year and a half.  Living here in constant fresh air had me spoiled but that cold knocked me on my ass. One day I was actually in my pajamas by 4 PM. 

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine became a grandmother when her son and his wife had a baby girl.  

And, oh my!  Who doesn't love sewing for baby girls?

My version of Baby Girl Mary Janes.
A view of the front.
The back with a view of the very ruffled panties.
Are these cute or what??

The inside of these are fully lined.
All that's left to make is a bonnet.  But tomorrow I have to drive Hans to work, get groceries, blah blah blah... and we hope to anchor out for the weekend so I won't get to the bonnet until next week.  That's okay though since I'm pretty sure this won't fit the little lady until well into this summer.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small time sewing

Hans finally earned a full week of vacation so we cast off our dock lines and sailed (actually the wind was in the wrong direction so we motored) away for Thanksgiving.  We ended up anchoring for the holiday and I'm happy to report we enjoyed a roasted turkey breast, real mashed potatoes, and stuffing for dinner, and homemade apple pie for dessert.
I love our stove!

I have to admit though that I'm still not used to these warm winter months and I have difficulty comprehending that Christmas isn't that far away.  I just need to bite the bullet and get what little shopping I do out of the way.  But I also have to keep in mind that anything I buy will need to fit into a carry on bag since we'll be flying home for the holidays.

I've been itching to sew now that the weather has cooled to the point where I can use my iron without fear of sweating to death.  However, it's now too late to make anything of real consequence, like maybe flannel quilty things for my kids and I've found myself involved in a wallet making marathon.  

Monopoly money, Poochies , Pet paw prints, and a Life ring

The Life ring one is mine!

All opened up
Still mine
So, who am I supposed to give these wallets to anyway?  I think I'll give them to our friends at Wilbur's Dog Park, except we have more friends there than wallets so I better get busy making more.

I love taking Wilbur to the park and I make sure to go at the same time every day.  I started this habit hoping that if the same people saw my wild pit bull on a daily basis they'd get used to him and not see him as a potential killing machine (really).  Well, after a year, Wilbur has worked his way into many hearts (he's truly known as the kissing bandit) and when newcomers to the park arrive and Wilbur does his usual zoomy greeting at the gate (you can literally see the alarm on some people's faces),  I rarely have to say a thing because someone else usually pipes up and informs these newbies that Wilbur is quite harmless.

The Killing Machine after a day of playing at the park

And I have to tell you I love this wallet; even though it only has two credit card slots you can cram a lot more than that into them; there's room for paper money, and it also has a velcro coin pocket.

I just remembered, one of the cute little cashiers at my local Winn-Dixie thinks my wallet is adorable so I really want to make one for her and I should probably make sure her co-workers don't feel left out.

This is what I call therapy sewing.

It keeps me off the streets.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yet One More Pot Holder

Tomorrow is Departure Day for a couple we've become friends with here at our marina. They decided a year or so ago to sell everything and move onto a boat and the fact that they had no sailing experience didn't stop them.  They now live on a 43' monohull with their calico cat and with a lot of sailing lessons behind them they are heading for the Bahamas and then who knows where.

And imagine how fun it was for me to discover that Sally also sews. Actually she sews a lot and her work is really very nice. She's made Sunbrella covers for nearly everything on the boat including their anchor! Her husband is always coming up with something he thinks she should sew and I warned him if he doesn't stop she'll probably be glad to make a body bag for him  She also made all their cockpit cushions (something I would never attempt) and they are very professional looking.  They lucked into a couple of old sails and Sally's made some really great bags out of them like the ones you see for more than a hundred dollars in catalogs.

But anyway they are leaving (insert very sad face here) and Hans told me I should make something for them. I told him no because Sally can already make anything they need and since her work is so neat and precise I'd be embarrassed to have her see my stuff up close. I decided on a bottle of champagne until last week when we were enjoying cocktail hour(s) in their cockpit they mentioned they've been given at least 3 bottles of the stuff along with the bottle their son gave them back for their 25th wedding anniversary (they just celebrated their 32nd and I'm impressed with how much fun they still have together as a couple).
With that idea out the window I threw caution to the wind and went ahead and made a couple of pot holders  with a nautical theme (from this tutorial).


No this is not a pot holder
The weather here seemed to go from hellishly hot to wonderful just like that! We now have very cool evenings and mornings and poor Wilbur is puzzled. After I dropped Hans off at work today and came home, I was met by a trembling pit bull. Honestly, he trembles when he gets cold and apparently 60 degrees doesn't feel good on his tender pitty flesh. I had to cover him with a blanket.

There will be no sled dog races in this pooch's future!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Boat Sewing and a Good Citizenship Award.

First of all I want everyone to know that I'm doing my very best to be a good U.S. citizen (and NO! I don't mean I'm leaving the country so there will be one less idiot running around).

Today I voted.
And last week I had jury duty.

My voting experience went quite smoothly although for some reason there's a notation in the records that I 'need assistance'(?). This same thing happened to me last year when I voted in the primaries and I thought the situation had been resolved. So I filled out the necessary paperwork again and please note; one must leave one's sense of humor at home when voting. My, "Well, I'm a blond" response as a reason for needing assistance was met with stony silence.
They probably threw out my ballot.

Jury duty was a tiny bit more entertaining.  After watching a video and learning the rules of how to be a good juror we were given a small break before court commenced. Of course there was an immediate line outside the ladies room and at the head of it was a very large woman sitting importantly on her little rascal scooter. Turning to us she announced that she was going to check out the availability of stalls.  We all watched as she dismounted and on the tiniest feet (encased in little elfin slippers) I've ever seen on an adult she tottered to the door, opened it, took a gander and then boomed back to us, "STANDING ROOM ONLY! STANDING ROOM ONLY!"  Once she was re-seated she took her role as Potty Police to heart. While leaning dangerously far from her perch in order to get a better look, she yelled "CLOSE THE DOOR!" towards the men's room.
Potential jurors continued milling about and she scared the living daylights out of one gentleman when she shouted at him, "DO YOU NEED TO USE THE RESTROOM? SIR! I SAID DO YOU NEED TO USE THE RESTROOM?  I CAN SEE AN EMPTY SPOT IN THERE!"   "Um, no?" was his timid response. "WELL YOU LOOKED LIKE YOU NEEDED TO" she harrumphed. "CLOSE THE DOOR!" she demanded again as she swiveled around.
By now I and the lady in front of me were shaking from trying not to laugh. "Oh God, I know she'll end up on my panel." she groaned. "And guess who'll be the foreman." I answered.
Just then a lady exiting the bathroom informed us via raised eyebrows and a look of confusion that there were many stalls available.
Shortly thereafter my number was called and as I left the room I had to pass by the Potty Police.  She was busy scanning the room and clutched in her hands were a # 2 pencil (I haven't seen one of those in a long time) and a pad of paper.
No doubt keeping detailed accounts of our indiscretion's and toilet habits.

Here in Florida only 6 jurors are needed per trial and needless to say as one of the twenty two chosen to start, I was not picked or my day would have been a whole lot more interesting.

Anyway, on to some sewing. Two years ago I made slip covers for our settee.  I made them out of old king sized sheets left over from Hans' dad's estate.  They served their purpose quite well but were really getting worn out so I decided to make new ones.
I ended up getting some upholstery fabric on sale for a total cost of around $35.00.  I also recovered Wilbur's pillow in a blue and white stripe.  Of course it was only after I finished his pillow that I noticed a note in the selvage 'Dry Cleaning Recommended'.
Yes, I made a doggy pillow out of Dry Clean Only fabric.
Good news though, I washed it already and hung it up to dry and it's just fine.

 I will admit something here. The fabric on the  long cushions are only fitted on the top and sides. I actually have it pinned to the cushion in the back and on the bottom. Luckily it's working.

I'm glad I covered these starting way back when because you wouldn't believe how discolored they became from sweat and body oil, and of course the dog. The original cushions are still in good condition.

I would like these new covers to stay clean as I don't think I should be washing them all the time so I found this quilt at Home Goods for $29.00!! It's actually pretty nice and I don't mind if it gets dirty. I can throw it over my new covers on days that we are extra hot and sweaty which is basically all the time.  However, I do have to admit that someone threw a switch around the beginning of the month and we are now enjoying wonderful weather.

Oink Oink

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bloggers meet yet once again!

Last week Hans had to go to New Orleans on business so I paid a visit to my youngest daughter who now lives in Kentucky.

I had a really nice time mostly due to the fact that I didn't sweat 24 hours a day in the Florida heat, witnessed the beauty of fall foliage and not the endless monotony of palm trees, and was able to take a hot bubble bath every stinking night that I was there.
Only those who've lived in Florida, on a boat with awful air conditioning, during the summer, can truly appreciate this.

I also got to meet up with Cyndi from Cut-Up and Sew again.  The first time I met Cyndi was when I moved my daughter to Indiana. We got together again when Cyndi was visiting her family here in Florida this summer, and believe it or not, my daughter's new home in Kentucky is only a half hour or so away from her, so of course I was thrilled when we were able to hook up. Remember, she made Hans and me a beautiful quilt for our wedding and I still can't believe it's all mine!!!

 During my visit with Cyndi I had so much fun and I have a feeling that even if we were to spend a solid week together we'd never stop talking!  Cyndi is a fabulous host and her home is so welcoming and comfortable. I absolutely love her sewing room and I have to admit that that's the one thing I really miss about living on a boat.  Anyway, the only regret I have is that even though we mentioned it a couple of times, we didn't get around to seeing her finished Mickey Mouse quilt top. 

 So anyway, while I was there I got to meet Noah the Basset/Beagle Mix (who was quite happy to socialize) and Wilson the Cat (not quite so happy to socialize and who viewed me at a safe distance from under the bed).
I have to stop here for a moment to tell you first of all, I love animals (just in case you never guessed that).
Second of all, animals are like people in that they have their own distinct personalities. Some just happen to be blessed a bit more than others, and let me tell you Noah is one of them.

Needless to say, I was missing my Wilbur, and Noah was kind enough to entertain me.  Actually, I was a little surprised (actually a lot surprised) to find that Noah is just as gifted if not more so than Wilbur when it comes to the surgery department.  Wilbur loves to perform squeakerectomis on his stuffies before he gives them liposuction but Noah has a couple of years on Wilbur and he has his surgeries down to a science.

Cyndi had informed me that Noah has a habit of  removing the eyes from his patients/victims before he commences to disembowel them and then she gave Noah a brand new juicy purple Easter bunny (new to him anyway, it actually came from a thrift shop).  He happily mouthed it for a spell while we gabbed away and then all of a sudden he jumped up and with his new friend held firmly in his mouth we heard him bounce down the steps to the family room.

Me:  Where's Noah going?

Cyndi (quite calmly):   Oh he's probably going downstairs to rip the bunny's eyes out.

Me (clutching my chest): Oh my God!  Really?

Cyndi:  I can't tell you how many times I've gone down to the family room and found eye balls all over the floor.

Apparently Noah likes to perform his surgeries in secret and I had this vision of a mafia like setting (blackened windows and guards at the door) where stuffies get  'the treatment'.

Noah soon came bounding back up the steps and still clutching his purple bunny, he happily hopped back into his chair.  He gave me a benign smile and continued to maul his bunny as if he'd never left the room.  I watched him for a minute or two and then I couldn't resist it; I had to take a closer look.

Noah sets his bunny aside and politely asks me if I'd like a cup of tea.

The bunny says something that apparently irritates Noah.

There's nothing more wonderful than burying your head into your prey.
Saving the world from purple bunnies is exhausting.

Noah proudly let me take his victim from him and I gasped in horror when instead of looking into the prettily embroidered eyes of the purple bunny I instead stared into empty sockets full of fiberfill (cue in the music from Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'!).  Needless to say, the fiberfill didn't last long either and very soon afterward the floor was thick with it.
I felt very much at home.

And then my visit up north was over before I knew it and we were back home to reality once again.
Hans missed his flight home and instead of arriving at 1PM he got here at 2AM and still had to be at work the next morning.
Wilbur had a blast at Doggy Camp and slept for 16 hours without ever going potty.

I got to do the laundry.

But fall really seems to finally be arriving here at our marina and I'm feeling ever so energized to get back to some sewing.