Thursday, May 28, 2009

A mixed bag of goods!

Hans and I are headed to the boat in Annapolis this weekend, along with three of Hans' hockey buddies who soooo want to sail.

And I told myself that I had no right, absolutely no right, to not have a proper shower bag!

We have two full heads on the boat but when we're at dock we figure that since we're paying a huge slip fee maybe we should use the club's shower facilities.

And you wouldn't believe how many times at this club, that I've jumped into a shower (usually the only one with no hot water and only a small spit of water!) and realized that I left some very important item on the boat (ie: shaving creme, razors, or God forbid: shampoo!) and swear that someday I'll make THE PERFECT BAG FOR THIS STUFF!!!!!!!!

Well, this isn't the perfect bag but it's a start.

As usual I will not make a first bag out of good fabric so I dug out a blue jean curtain panel that I found at the Good Will for $2.00 and even though it was huge I still had to find some co-ordinating fabric and wouldn't you know, it happened to be a cat print!

Can you see that Chlorox, my Knotty Cat, felt the need to be involved.

(Read: Very Needy)

The panel was something like 45 inches by about 70 inches.

But it wasn't enough.

I cut out most of the bag, which was Simplicity, but don't ask me which one (bourbon, you know!) and had to dig into my quilt fabric stash and found the cat stuff for the lining. Thank God I had enough.

Here are the entrails of the curtain.

I ended up using the 70" side seams for the handles on the bag. I agonized about going to our local JoAnn's for webbing, which would have meant about a two hour round trip during rush hour (it's only about 10 miles away too) and said the hell with it!!

It took more time to lay out this pattern than it did to sew it.

I kid you not!

This seemed like a good place to hang my bag. It's Hans' mother's clock.

See all the pockets? Can you see these being used for shampoo, soap, makeup (not that I need it!), curling irons etc...

Kitty Cat lining.

No snaps.

No Velcro.

Because I didn't want to!!!!

Sitting on my ironing board.

Just another view.

This will be made again, only the next time it will be to my specifications!!

But for now it will work.


I need to get a job.

A real job.

Sewing is really only fun when you have to fit it into your day.

Believe me on this.

And anyway there are these things called 'bills' that need to be paid.

No kidding.

Last month I contacted a GREEN house keeping company here in the Big City and expressed my interest in working for them.

Didn't hear from them.

Contacted a dog walking service a couple of days ago.

Didn't hear from them.

Well tonight I got an email asking if I still wanted a job.

But it was only after I set up an interview with them that I realized it was the house keeping people and not the dog walking people!

Aren't you glad I didn't answer the ad for the brain surgeon?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A twist on Nicole's Day Bag

I'm calling it the Bill Board Bag.
Because I'm shamelessly using it for advertising.
Actually I doubt that it would result in any real sales for the company that it represents, but I thought that it would be a fun gift for a friend, whose husband has had huge success with his new business.
A friend of Hans' invented an all cloth C-Pap mask that's designed for people with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing in small bursts throughout the night. Heavy snoring is one of the many signs of sleep apnea, along with day time exhaustion etc.... (My ex-husband snored so loudly that the entire house shook but believe me, if anyone would have suggested a sleep study it wouldn't have been very well received!!).
Sleep apnea can cause severe health issues because during these small 'non breathing' bursts throughout the night, blood pressure greatly increases which can result in strokes, and heart attacks.
The answer to this problem (after an easy diagnosis by sleep study) is to use a C-Pap mask that's attached to a machine that 'forces' the nasal passages open and allows the patient to breathe all night long. However almost all masks are made of hard plastic or nasal tubes that can be very uncomfortable for the patient, and most women do not like waking up in the morning with 'dents' in their face and after a while both men and women quit using them.
Anyway this "all cloth mask" is taking off like you wouldn't believe and Hans' friend who has worked endless hours with the design, and patent, and distribution, and the unbelievable myriad of nonsense that it takes to get a business up and going, is finding his dream coming true. It still means that he and his wife (who also have three busy children) are putting in grueling 18 hour workdays!
I kid you not!
So I thought that the flap of the Day Bag would make a great surface for my idea and I like the way it turned out.
What a fun way to brag about a great accomplishment.
Don't you think?

Sally Stitch has been complaining these days about being ignored. Every now and then, in an effort to show her displeasure, she shoulder checks Hans when he goes into the kitchen.
She likes the Day Bag.

The inside zipper pocket.
The zipper gusset that really makes this bag.

I love purse feet!!!!!

A close up of the flap where I've incorporated all the important points of the C-Pap mask.

The Day Bag is a very roomy bag. I took mine with me to Europe a couple of years ago and it worked very well!

A close up of the strap.
That's all folks!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Memorial Day Worth Remembering

Hans remarked to me that I haven't posted on my blog lately. I realize that I haven't and in some ways I have a lot to say and in some ways I don't! I'm certainly still sewing, but a lot of it is repetitious and not really of interest to anybody.

But we did go back to my little swamp town for a picnic at my parent's today as my sister and her husband and their daughter came from out of town (four hours, compared to our one and a half) and since we missed a couple of these get togethers last year I didn't want to miss this year.

Today was nice, I didn't have to leave early to get to a waitressing job so I could just relax and enjoy myself. A couple, who are really good friends of my parent's, was there (my dad, and the husband half of that couple, when combined, become the male equivalent of Lucy and Ethel! I kid you not), and it became every man for himself in the conversation department.

My brother in law loves auctions, and auctions that involve guns are even better because if there is anything that Lucy and Ethel (Dad and Friend) love; that would be auctions and guns.

My sister is into genealogy like nobody's business and was late for the picnic because she'd been to the local Hysterical (family humor) Society digging up more family history.

And she never comes back empty handed.

So while Sister read excerpts from articles she'd made copies of at the Hysterical Society, my mother espoused her views on the Apocalypse (her favorite subject), and Baby Girl relayed news about her latest sports related broken bones, my dad remarked that he was pretty sure that the Amish had probably sold a lot of homemade pies at the auction he, Ethel, and Brother In Law had attended.

I should have been suspicious of his comment, but right about then I started rooting through the refrigerator for one of the beers that Hans and I brought with us.

We ate (and ate) and I told everyone that I'd discovered that Vet Tech Girl (who was working and couldn't come to the picnic) has at least two rabbits. Remember, she lives below us in our duplex, and one day Hans spotted these precious creatures getting an airing on her small back deck. When I asked her about it, she was very nonchalant about the whole thing and announced that their names were Arthur and Mabel.

My dad then commented that he was positive that there hadn't been one Amish pie left over at the auction.

I eyed him suspiciously and went on with my story. Oh yes I told them, in addition to the two rabbits, there are at least four cats, and Duncan the Pit-Bull in Vet Tech Girl's apartment.

That's when Baby Girl piped up and said that a rumour was floating about involving Vet Tech Girl and a Hedge Hog.

I nearly choked but before I could reply, my dad said to no one in particular that he wouldn't be surprised if people were complaining because the Amish had run out of pies too early on at the auction.

I knew something was up because my dad is a man of few words and he was dwelling on this Amish pie thing for far too long. But before I could nail him on it, my mother stated that she hoped that Vet Tech Girl wasn't going to turn into one of those weird animal people which is like the pot calling the kettle black as my mother (for a hefty yearly fee) has a blood supply kept on sight for her hemophiliac doberman at the vet clinic (a clinic that I'm sure she's single handedly paid for by the way!) and she hoped for God's sake that those damned rabbits were fixed.

I told her not to worry and that just about every creature that goes into Vet Tech Girl's apartment comes out fixed. Everyone laughed and when my mother told Hans that he'd better be careful, he didn't get it, because he'd tuned my family out as soon as we got there and was working on a five star Soduko (I've told you he's smart) and absently replied "Oh, she doesn't let any one in her apartment."

Anyway I told everyone that Vet Tech Girl had once confided to me that neutering males is really very easy and it had occurred to her that with the proper instruments she could easily undertake this procedure in her apartment.
I instantly envisioned black out curtains at her windows and quiet midnight knocks at her door. After a quick exchange of money a hapless male would be lead to her newspaper covered kitchen table and before you knew it....

Thank God she was smart enough to know that this could get her into a bit of trouble and as far as I know, the neighborhood Toms are still safe.

Everyone laughed and my dad said that boy oh boy those Amish pies at the auction had sold like hot cakes.

I'm sure Dad was thrilled when Mom, who never listens to him anyway, and was ready to launch into a story about how the Chinese are going to knock the world off of its axis if they continue to build that damned wall, stopped short and suspiciously asked, "What pies?" Because even contemplating a pie made by anyone other than her (she is a fabulous baker) is tantamount to cheating.

"The pies at the sale", my dad announced very innocently. But I saw the same gleam in his eye that he had when he played board games with me and my sister when we were little and he cheated.

"You didn't buy some God Damned pie at that stupid auction, did you?" My mother asked. Buying a gun was one thing but buying a pie made by another woman was dangerous ground indeed.

"They were store bought weren't they?" I shouted triumphantly and I felt very smug because I knew I was right. Years ago a friend of mine had tried to impress some out of town company by taking them to Amish country for a very expensive, home made Amish meal and she'd been angry and embarrassed to discover that they had served grocery store pies. She knew this because this particular group of Amish were stupid enough to leave the plastic pie containers from the store right out in the open.

Dad took off his glasses and wiped his eyes, a sure fire sign that he was having a blast."I didn't buy any pies," he answered all innocent like. "Why would I do that?"

We all waited for him to continue.

Good old Lucy asked Ethel and my brother in law, "Did you two need to use the bathroom at the auction today?"

Both shook their heads no.

"I did." he announced with glee.

Now he had a captive audience.

"You know they still use outhouses don't you?" He stated the obvious because the Amish don't have flushing toilets as they don't use electric (except for their sheds which do have electric so they can use cell phones but don't get me started on that right now).

"Well, the outhouse at the auction was a big cement block building and there's a shelf that's created where the roof meets the blocks." At this point Dad's body was shaking with laughter. "I couldn't help but notice that the whole shelf around the entire building was lined with pies that the Amish ladies had left to cool."

We just stared.

"Inside the outhouse!" Dad shouted with laughter. "They put their pies inside the outhouse to cool!" Dad has the strangest sense of humor and he was almost in tears.

"You should have seen the flies!" He was laughing so hard he was almost lying across the kitchen table.

"You're kidding!" I was horrified, but I couldn't help laughing.

"No I'm not kidding, there were flies everywhere, and after I spent the day telling everyone they just had to buy one of those wonderful Amish pies, I know everyone of them got sold!"

"That's disgusting!" my mother said as she pushed Smoky (their transgender cat) who'd been napping, off of the kitchen table.

"It's true!" Dad gasped. "You should have seen people scrambling to buy them!"

My sister was still at her computer where she was busily tapping away and adding her latest finds from the Society. "Did you know," she asked my mother (and I have to assume she missed the whole outhouse commentary), "that I found your dad's (our grandfather's) wedding announcement in the Jamestown, New York papers, and it was made by the bride to be's grandmother and not her own parents?"

"Oh, Jesus Christ!" my mother exclaimed, "I'm not surprised! My mother's mother was a piece of work! My parents never should have gotten married and the fact that they did it on April Fool's Day was certainly an omen! Grandma (grandpa's mother) was furious at the announcement and she hated my mother's mother because she used to stick her tongue out at Grandma when they were little girls. It's no wonder we're all so screwed up. I remember the time..."

And so it goes.

Here is Smoky the transgender cat along with Kissy Pooh the cowardly doberman. Both are enjoying an afternoon nap in the sunporch.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

...won't you be my neighbor?

Remember Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood? As a child I just loved that show, I really did. And even though Mr. Rogers actually lived in My Big City I don't think he lived in the same neighborhood as me, I really don't.

(This is directly across the street from us.)

Hang in here and you'll see where I'm going with this.

Last night Hans and I had Alaskan King Crab Legs for dinner.

And no it didn't break our bank.

Get this, I bought them for $5.99 a pound at our grocery store. And since they were so cheap I figured there must be something wrong with them so I only bought one package.

Needless to say, I'm going back today and I hope no one else in the neighborhood has figured out what a great bargain this is and that some are still remaining because they were fantastic!

And since Hans and I don't have a stove, I cooked them in the microwave. Just wrap them in wet paper towels and nuke on high for about 4 minutes. That's it. Of course I dipped mine in melted butter and then since I absolutely ruined any good that my afternoon run may have had, I figured what the hell, and ate a dish of full fat ice cream with strawberries (in sugar of course!).

No we don't have a stove, and just in case you think we live in a swanky love nest or in a trendy apartment let me clear that up for you.

The two lane street in front of our apartment in this low income, working class neighborhood, has been discovered to be the shortest distance between two very popular points of The Big City. And since the only thing that separates our building from the street is a sidewalk we get to hear every vehicle (sirens, cars with stereo bass systems that were never intended for the human ear...) that passes by.

But that's a piece of cake because you see we don't have a back yard, we have railroad tracks. There is a law that trains have to blow their whistle when approaching any opening to traffic and we're lucky enough to have a factory right beside us that has such an opening. We've learned to stop mid sentence when talking and then just take up conversation again once the SCREAMING whistle has stopped. At least we can hear over the shaking and vibrating of the train itself and believe it or not we sleep right through the night. The first time our Beast came to stay with Vet Tech Girl who lives below us and a train came through, that poor cat nearly turned inside out and tried to hide under the couch but she was too fat to fit.

Our laundry room is in the basement of our duplex and even though it's a short walk to the back of the building to access it, we lock our apartment door when we go there.

Vet Tech Girl, who lives below us, gets to hear the street level noises each night which usually involves loud drunks, fighting lovers, or loud fighting lovers who are drunk.

And because I need a cement base in order to pound grommets into my bags and purses, unfortunately the sidewalk in front of our apartment is my only choice. So while I squat, all bent over, on the front steps everyone who drives by can watch me. Sometimes people honk their horns but since I don't know anyone here in The Big City I don't look up. One day after an unusual amount of honking it wasn't until I was done hammering that I realized my low cut tee-shirt was gaping open and the whole world had been treated to the sight of my Frederick's of Hollywood Bra (cheap on line purchase). The honking was probably protesting the fact that I will obviously never be a Frederick's of Hollywood model.

Another time one of our neighbors angrily paced on his sidewalk and multi tasked by puffing wildly on his cigarette and screaming into his cell phone at the same time, so while I pounded on my grommets I got to hear this, "What the fut! What you talkin' about, ho?! What the fut! Who tell you that!? Man, you is full of shit! I astin you, who tell you that!?"

I wanted to tell him not to look at me, I didn't tell anyone anything, and besides that I have a hammer in one hand and a pit-bull in the apartment. But I just kept pounding my grommets.

So that's my life in the Big City. No stove, no more unlocked doors, and I have to drive to a trail for my daily run.

But I don't have to mow a yard and with our free improvisational street shows, and the added bonus of cheap crab legs, this is even better than dinner theater!

Our back yard.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The good news and the bad news

We picked the wrong week for a sailing vacation. Hans ended up having to work off of his computer more than someone on vacation should have to. We had rain, rain, rain, and then more rain! One of our nights at anchor ended up being a bit dicey when we had massive thunder storms and a lot of gusting winds. But our solid little catamaran dug in her hooks and held on tight all night long.
She's a good girl.

The bad news: we didn't get to sail very much this week.
The good news: it didn't rain all week, and we did get out for a couple of days.

The bad news: I dropped my sunglasses in the toilet.
The good news: it happened before I used it!

The bad news: I lost my little circular plastic cutting board.
The good news: I found it.
The bad news: it was stuck to the bottom of a frying pan and caught on fire when I decided to reheat some leftovers.
The good news: we were able to put out the fire out before I burned the boat down!

This was a pretty spot to drop anchor and Hans grilled steaks for us.
A jelly fish performed a lovely floor (water?) show for us and I did take a short video of it but with my connection it takes a bit of time to download.
I do think it's interesting and I'll post it later.
Here I am in the salon checking on emails and blogs etc...which I only did a couple of times this week.
Of course next weeks weather looks like sunny skies and warm temperatures but we won't be here to enjoy them.
Maybe next time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Vacation Mode

Hans is taking a well deserved vacation so we've headed down to our boat for a week.
Here is Hans checking things out on our girl. We just had her hauled out, scraped, and repainted. Kind of like her own version of going to the gynecologist.
My Etsy site is also on vacation. That means it disappears. Just like that!
I started adding some things to Etsy in the middle of April and nearly fainted when one of my wine totes sold. I mean there are thousands of vendors out there!

In the meantime I've brought a couple of books, both by Olivia Goldsmith. She writes great chick lit! Normally I'm not a fan but like Jane Green, this woman can write.
I finished Katie Alender's book, 'Bad Girls Don't Die', and I loved it. It gave me goose bumps and I almost cried at the end. My daughter, The Vet Tech, saw it on our coffee table and asked me about it. As soon as I described it she scooped it up and it went out the door with her. She better bring it back.

This should be an interesting week as nothing but rain has been forecasted (big surprise!) and we are here to sail.
Anyway right now Hans is itching for me to get off the computer so he can challenge me to a game of Scrabble. He's feeling pretty smug because for some reason (I'm sure he cheated and it couldn't have had anything to do with my PMS) he beat me two times in a row the last time we were down here!
PMS not withstanding, I intend to kick his butt!!!