Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still sailing along.

We had little wind yesterday but at least it was blowing in our favor so we put up the gennaker and sailed all day to our anchorage. It took us about 6 hours to go 5 miles. I don't think we had to worry about breaking any speed limits (or the sound barrier) but at least we were sailing!

I tried to get a picture of last night's setting sun and this morning's sunrise. Last night we ended up in Crab Alley (MD), where we anchored for the night. It was warm and calm and we spent a good part of the evening sitting on the foredeck pad. The night before in Rhodes River (off of the West River) there were 2 other boats at anchor with us but last night we were the only boat in Crab Alley. When we got up this morning we saw crab boats all over the place; coming in and going out, hence the name Crab Alley I guess!

The first picture is our sunrise from this morning.

Then we have last night's sunset. We had a lot of clouds and this was the best picture I could get before the sun totally disappeared.

This is the first trip that we had to resort to using fly strips (as seen above) and before you waste your money and go running out to buy some, don't! Besides the fact that you feel like a trashy red neck (and I'm uncomfortably close enough to that description already), they just plain old don't work! And I fear that flies are smarter than me too because while they blithely evaded these sticky strips, I kept getting caught in them. Yuck!!!

Nothing works better than a trusty old fly swatter and I'm glad we were so isolated because I've no doubt I looked like a crazy woman in my bra (too hot for anything else) and shorts, wildly swinging, swatting, and yelling "You little bastards!"
I guess you can take the girl out of the little swamp town but you can't take the red neck out of the girl!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A little bit of everything

You can see the chaos that we create for ourselves when we go on a sailing trip. We buy everything ahead of time because for one thing it's a lot cheaper than buying our supplies in Annapolis.

Here is Hans with our little black and white TV (no cable). We watched the Democratic Convention and I can't think of a better place to watch than right on our little boat.

This little bag of fun and good times arrived just as I was leaving for the Big City. I've already read the instructions and can't wait to get started on them. They are Nicolle Mallalieu's Puff and Teardrop kits.
I took this picture of these Ospreys just as our starboard Engine developed a severe case of diarrhea and gas. Yes, we've lost our starboard engine but Thank God we do have a port engine. A quick call to the Engine Doctor resulted and we have an appointment with him on Monday. I'm sure this sudden engine problem has nothing to do with me!

We are happy to have had a lot of wind today and managed to sail most of the way to the West River where we will anchor tonight.

To those in the good old USA, have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!!

The start of a looooong weekend

Here he is, Duncan (Donut), in the flesh. All 9 weeks of him.

This is Vet Tech Girl's latest rescue and I swear he's doubled in size since I saw him 2 weeks ago.
I asked (begged) Vet Tech Girl to please watch Chlorox and The Beast while Hans and I sail this Labor Day Weekend. I know that Chlorox will hide under the bed the whole time and that The Beast will try to take over but at least they won't be lonely.

I can't find our cat carrier, so I improvised by shoving and taping 2 milk crates together. I left one side untaped and the other side acted like a hinge allowing me to shove a very reluctant Chlorox inside. I taped it completely shut after I got her in. She was so happy.

Believe me, I was dreading the hour and a half to two hour drive to the Big City with this kitty.

She never stops screaming!


And it's beyond nerve wracking.

However, she did surprise me this time and more than once, I caught her dozing off between screams of agony. I think it's because the milk crates are so open and airy and I could scratch her head whenever she got to be too loud.

The Beast got stuffed into a huge cardboard box with holes cut into it for ventilation and I never heard a peep out of her the whole trip.

The real fun in this whole ordeal is that come Tuesday morning at around 6 AM I have to box everyone up for the trip home and unload them at my house before getting to my desk by 8.
Aren't vacations supposed to be relaxing?
Chlorox is indeed hiding under the bed and The Beast has taken to hissing at everything
including the couch, and poor Duncan's welcoming advances have been rudely scorned.

You call this first class?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A couple of blasts from the past

Time is so limited these days! On the nights that I waitress at the inn, I get nothing done at home, and the nights that I'm home I have a tremendous amount of things to get caught up on! And I try to make a point of running on the nights that I don't work, and that takes yet another chunk of time.
I want to put my house up for sale in a couple of months and in all of the cleaning and sorting I've been finding all kinds of things. This first picture is a pumpkin sleeper that I made years ago. I used to sell baby sleepers with all kinds of themes way back in the old days. I made pumpkins, tuxedos, clowns...I can't even remember all of them. This was before the Internet and I sold these at a little boutique where you had to pay rent for your space and by the time all was said and done, you made a profit but not a very big one.

The watermelon shorts outfit was one that I made for Baby Girl (who will turn 2o on Thursday!) and I just can't get rid of it. I made the 'seeds' from a decorative stitch on my Janome New Home Machine that was the top of the when I bought it eons ago. They are still fantastic machines and the new ones do far more than mine does. But don't worry I still love mine.

We celebrated Baby Girl's birthday at my parent's house this weekend and my mom mentioned that one of her friends had given her a bunch of zippers that she'd picked up at a garage sale.

Yes zippers, and I was given a chance to dig through them and take what I wanted.

You could tell some had already been used because there were thread remnants stuck in the stitching areas, so someone else out there is as cheap as me (I buy purses at the Good Will and rip out their zippers and d-rings etc... because it's cheaper than buying them new!). And there were some metal Talon zippers. Remember Talon? Years ago they were a huge employer here in my area. Actually the zipper was invented here by Gideon Sundback and they were called hookless fasteners before they became known as zippers.


Chlorox showing her excitement at having so many zippers to play with.

I won't get any sewing done this Labor Day Weekend because Hans and I will be going down to the boat (we have a sailboat in Annapolis MD and if you're interested in reading about our adventures, I have them listed as travel, and sailing, in my sidebar).

This time Hans has made sure that we will have internet access via his cell phone. The last time we went down (4th of July) he had cancelled it and I suffered from major 'lack of internet' withdrawl. So I will post sailing adventures this weekend as opposed to sewing adventures, and believe me there's always something happening when you're on a boat!

On the sewing front, I've ordered Nicole Mallalieu's Teardrop, and Puff purse patterns and they should be arriving shortly so I'll have something to look forward to upon our return!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I have a mouse in my house...

...bats in my belfry, and I would advise (from personal experience) that you don't attempt to set mouse traps at 11 PM after having consumed one or two (or maybe five) beverages.

How do mice know which homes on the block are inhabited by single women? Why didn't I have mouse issues when I was married and someone else could take care of these nasty little problems?

I well remember my first encounter with one of these little buggers eleven years ago, shortly after I'd moved into my new house. Chlorox (a pretty, yet fierce, mouser) was bouncing off the walls like a maniac and then kept prowling around my antique table in the living room.

Like an idiot I went to investigate.

I had a crocheted table cloth that I inherited from my great-grandmother on this table and it hung to the floor. I peered through it to see if I could figure out what Chlorox was all het up about. I couldn't see anything but she was having a fit so I got closer, and closer, and that's when I realized the table cloth was swaying slightly and there appeared to be something hanging from it. I had to back up (yes I was that close) to get a better look.

What the...

A mouse! And I had almost touched it with my nose! I thought maybe the kids had played a joke on me (like the fake puke, and dog poop kind of fun!) and had stuck a fake mouse on the crocheted lace.

But fake mice don't twitch their little ears and that's what this one did.

Twitch, twitch.

That's when I started screaming, and running around the room, and Chlorox gave me that 'see, I told you so look.'

Oh God! What to do? What to do? And I knew I couldn't kill it.

I emptied a paint can that was full of nail polish bottles that belonged to Vet Tech girl (this was back when she was Irritating Adolescent girl), grabbed a wooden spoon, and armed for battle marched into the living room. The little bugger was still swaying and twitching, and Chlorox was still frantically trying to find it but was too stupid to look up.

Taking a deep breath I stuck the can under the mouse and bonked it on the head with my wooden spoon.

Plunk, it hit the bottom of the can and screaming hysterically (me not the mouse) I slammed the lid over the top.

Chlorox was baffled.

I ran out my back door and into the yard. There, I opened the can, shook out the mouse, and ran (still screaming) back into my house.

This is only one escapade among many over the years, that I'm sure has had the neighborhood wondering if there wasn't some sort of zoning law they could have used to keep me out.

Since then, Chlorox has seen fit to gift me many times with her prone, slightly damp prizes. I've watched them run in crazy zig zag lines through my kitchen (2 nights ago), and I've been awakened by tiny, ice cold, mouse feet running across my face. I kid you not!

I even slept with one once.

No, that's not some kind of kinky confession. One morning after waking up, I finally let the cats in my room because they'd been meowing and scratching at the door all night and I was ready to kill them. So I went to make my bed, and there it was. The reason for all the restless activity. A dead mouse, all tucked into the covers where one of the little stinkers (Chlorox, I'm sure) had left it the night before.

And I'd slept with it there all night long.

Well like I mentioned before, the other night I had a mouse (who by the way was having a bad hair day) go zinging through my kitchen at around 11:00 PM where it immediately hid behind my buffet. When I tried to move the buffet a book fell by my foot, scaring the living daylights out of me, and I let out the most awful gut wrenching screams imaginable. Now this is what bothers me; all my windows were open, it was late at night, I'm sure my screams carried for miles, and yet no one came to check on me! No neighbors came running or even called to see if I was ok. I have a funny feeling that more than a few started dreaming about a for sale sign in my yard.

So I set a peanut butter loaded mouse trap (again, it's best to be sober for this) on each end of the buffet and then smugly went to bed (after checking the covers thoroughly).

I woke up the next morning to no mouse behind the buffet, and two still full, unsprung mouse traps.

But have no fear. When I got up this morning and turned on the Today show to watch Meredith Vieira my new BFF (only she doesn't know it), I wondered why my gray shag carpeting (hey, it came with the house, and will stay with the house!) was all fuzzy in one spot. Just as I went to kick it, I realized what it was.

A slightly damp, dead mouse.

That Chlorox is a good girl!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Sewing Sunday

Here is the result of my Day of Sunday Sewing!

Remember, Hans (the big stinker!!) deserted me this weekend and went down to the boat with his friends, so I had no idea what to do with my day.

I know what I should have been doing; tons of household things to prepare my house for sale this winter, but I don't want to think about that right now.

So, I got home from breakfast this morning and got down to business. I pulled out my Betty Boop fabric that I got on-line a couple of months ago. I bought it so I could make a purse for a women I know who really reminds me of Betty Boop. I then had to make a decision as to what purse to make. I considered the Belle Bag, knew that a Beach Bag wasn't right, the Slouch just wasn't what I was looking for and then thought, AH HA! A variation of the Day Bag! It has the same concept as the Belle Bag; you yank in the sides with magnetic straps.

One of the problems I experienced was matching the red in the Betty Boop fabric to a lining fabric because it was a funky pinkish red. I wanted a red or black fabric with white polka dots but that just didn't happen. Then I found this white with black polka dots in my stash and decided to use it.

Now when I sew, I like to have a TV show on in the background. Today, there was absolutely nothing on that appealed to me. I love old movies but I'm not a huge Gene Kelly fan and that's all that was on TCM, the Olympics were on but women's wrestling just isn't my thing and then I remembered that I have some Andy Griffith DVD's, so I stuck them in my computer and listened to Andy and Barney all day and sewed my heart out! It doesn't take a lot to make me happy!

Here's the inside of the bag. One picture shows the straps connected across the middle and I used a simple patch pocket because I didn't have a zipper that matched.

Once again I used the hard bottom tutorial from Nicole Mallalieu; it's such a neat concept.

Joan, I'm going to have to admit to a dumbass moment this weekend. I bought a new iron and I like it except that apparently it doesn't have an automatic shut off like my old one, therefor I think the damn thing was on all weekend!! I don't even want to know what my electric bill will be because irons use up a lot of juice!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The good, the bad, and the not so ugly...

The good:

I finished my Purse-O-Nality Bag.

The Bad:

I spent an hour before going to work at the Inn tonight posting pictures with a whole critique of this bag, Blogger refused to save it, and all was lost!

The not so ugly:

It's not a bad bag but it needs some serious tweeking.

The first picture is the bag with the handles rotated so that you can carry it like a back pack. There are 2 D rings and two clasps on opposing sides of the bag that allow for this.

The second picture is the inside of the bag, and BTW there are NO illustrations or pictures of the inside, so I wasn't sure how the hell it was going to turn out! There are two gathered pockets and those things on the inside on each side are 'bottle carriers'. These are part of the diaper bag design. I stuck magazines in these and they are higher than the bag, therefor the bag can't zip across the top, so there is no need for these if you use it for a computer bag.

The third picture shows a manila folder stuck in one of the outside pockets. I purposely omitted the middle vertical stitching on this side of the bag so that I would have one big pocket instead of 2 smaller ones. The pattern has you stitch vertical seams down the centers on both sides, giving you a total of 6 small outside pockets. Who needs that many small outside pockets?

I stuck a magazine in one of the side pockets so you can get an idea of the size.

Here is a photo of the front of the bag with the zipper pocket on the body of the bag.

My thoughts.
First of all, this is an interesting bag, but I didn't have a lot of fun making it.

Is there perhaps some sort of purse feng shui that I'm unaware of??

Changes that I will make on a future bag:

1/2" not 1/4" seam allowances (SA). With so many thicknesses at some points you lose total control with 1/4" SA's.

My computer just fits so I will make this bag a couple of inches higher and one inch wider than the pattern calls for.

The zipper is at the very top of the bag and I like my zippers recessed (with a facing) about an inch or so into the bag. Nicole Mallalieu does just this with her bags!! The way this one is designed, my computer comes right up to the zipper and it actually almost bulges out of the top of the bag so I will use Nicole's technique on my next one.

I will use different pockets for the inside, either the elastice ones the pattern calls for or zippered pockets, etc... You can use your imagination.

I want a hard bottom and once again Nicole comes to the rescue with her tutorial.

I'm surprised that this pattern doesn't have any illustrations or pictures. I mean none! I will admit that the directions are well written but for a novice or an idiot (me) the more information the better! Nicole's patterns are very well written which is so smart; don't you want people to enjoy the sewing process and come back for more?

I'm just not sure. I thought I was going to love this bag but all in all I don't think it will hold as much as I thought it would. I'm going to give it a spin and perhaps enlarge it over all. But that may ruin it, I just don't know.
I'll keep you informed.

I would like to go to sleep except I have the hiccups!!??

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!

What a busy week!

I had my garage sale last Sunday and netted a whole $48.00 for my efforts. Of course one of my co-workers had a garage sale and made $480.00! But she was selling her dad's tools and they went for a lot more than my bunch of junk!

(Yes, The Beast wore her pearls to the garage sale! )

I had to work at the inn on Monday and Wednesday nights and I went to the Big City to see Hans on Tuesday night. I would have loved to get some sewing done tonight except the litter boxes needed to be emptied and I boxed up left over garage sale items that need to be taken to the Salvation Army.

Vet Tech girl has been busy too and the following activities all happened in a one week span.

She was so excited last week because she'd managed to get interviewed for a position with an Emergency Pet Clinic. Actually she called me after her third interview and said she'd know within the week as to whether she would get the job or not. Apparently this is a hard place to get into and they interviewed a lot of vet techs, including one of her co-workers at her current job.

She then sent me an email to tell me that she had 'rescued' a Malamute and that it was in her apartment and that I shouldn't tell Hans (who lives above her) as he ... 'doesn't love animals the way you and I do."

I emailed back that as long as her cats, Boogey and Gimpy didn't mind being appetizers I didn't think Hans cared what she had in her apartment.

Then I got the hysterical phone call that she had been hired at the Emergency Hospital. I was very excited because she does love animals, is very smart, very dedicated, and I think they'll be glad that they hired her.

Almost immediately I got an email that Boogey, her old male cat (yet one more rescue) had died in his sleep. She had him cremated and expects to get his ashes back this week. I have no idea what she's going to do with them and if she continues in this fashion I hate to think what her living area will look like when she's my age. How many urns can a house hold?

I emailed back that I was very sorry and asked how the Malamute was doing in her tiny apartment.

Oh, she no longer has the Malamute because she found it a home but by golly she now has a 6 week old Pit Bull Puppy that suffers from a stage 6 hear murmur. He was one of 7 in a litter and the only one with this heart problem. The owners gave him to her and asked that she keep them informed of his situation. He is a pure bred, complete with papers but she doesn't care about that, she just loves him.

"He could die at any minute!" she informed me breathlessly as she tossed him in the air and tickled him. This was Tuesday night when I went into the Big City to visit Hans.

I kept begging her to be careful with him and she informed me that she knows exactly what she's doing.

His name is Duncan and her co-workers say he's so sweet that his middle name has to be Donut.

He is a brindle with coppery coloring and muted black stripes and a black Mohawk down his back. He has that huge bull frog head with widely spaced moss green eyes. We hope they stay that color; they are so striking and I'm so mad that I didn't take my camera with me!

I received many puppy breath kisses and he then spent the remainder of the time chewing on Vet Tech girl's chin.

When you hold him across his chest you can feel his heart whoosh instead of beat and it will be a couple of weeks before they can do a sonogram and decide whether surgery will help him or not.

All I know is he lucked out when Vet Tech girl took him in and he goes to work with her every day.

I do plan on getting some sewing done this weekend. Hans is going down to the boat this weekend and I'm not going! He has some friends he plays hockey and skis with who would love to go for a sail and I think perhaps a couple of them have never sailed, so they might be in for some fun. I could have arranged my work schedule to go but I think they'll do just fine without me tagging along. Anyway we're going down for Labor Day Weekend, just the two of us, and I like that better!

I do have to work a wedding at the inn on Saturday and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong. Weddings are Hell!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Will I ever learn?

Well, here goes again!

I'm having another garage sale tomorrow!

Not only that, but Hans (YES YOU, HANS!) is playing poker tonight in the Big City and isn't coming up to my house until tomorrow, AFTER my garage sale is well underway.

But of course The Beast will be there all ready to greet her public so I guess at least someone will have fun.

What ever doesn't get sold tomorrow is going to end up at the Salvation Army because I don't see myself doing this again any time soon.

I would much rather be working on my Purse-O-Nality bag which is almost finished and I really like it. Unfortunately I showed it to Baby Girl who had a fit and said "no way" to my making one for her. Actually maybe it was a good thing because now I won't waste my time on one that she wouldn't like. Before you think she's a brat; she's not! Actually she's a really good kid and I guess I understand that someone her age might not like the same thing I do!

Here's some good news; Nicolle Mallalieu has just released her Teardrop Purse and it is adorable!

Of course.

Will I be getting one?

Of course.

I get a ton of compliments on my Snap Purse and I still have a frame to make another one, I just haven't decided on what kind of fabric to use.

If I survive my day tomorrow, I'll get back to some sewing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

OK, so I lied!

I don't have a completed picture of my purse.

But you can see some of it in progress.

Pieces and Parts.

The picture to the right is is one of the 8 'pieced' together messes that I had to fix. It doesn't look too bad and actually on the purse itself it looks like it belongs.

My pretty little helper. She's not so innocent though! I caught her chewing on the zipper a couple of times.

I did get a new iron last night. Before my old one died, it had quit shooting steam and I didn't realize how much I love hitting that button! You can bet I pushed it a lot last night and since it sounds like a hissing cat you can imagine the reaction from my two cats. They were like 2 little Mexican Jumping Beans.

The strangest things amuse me!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stupid is as stupid does!

I always like reading about other peoples blunders but I hate it when I do something STUPID!!

I found a very interesting Purse Pattern from Purse-O-Nality. It can serve as a variety of bags but what caught my eye was the fact that it can be a computer bag and the straps can be switched to back pack style.

Baby Girl has a Mac and it's kind of heavy and she complains that carrying it around hurts her back (just wait until she's my age!). So I was very excited when my pattern arrived and I immediately went out and bought some pretty sailboat fabric.

Yes I'm a terrible mother! I bought the sailboat fabric for me! That girl is sooo not a sailboat fan, actually she doesn't even like the water as she always sinks like a stone whenever she attempts to swim!

I just decided that no matter how the bag turns out, if it's fabric I like, it will get used. If it's a success I will then make one for her!

It's a good thing this one was for me.

Because I screwed up!

This pattern does not contain all the pattern pieces. No big deal because the pieces they didn't print are just rectangular and all you do is make your own with the provided measurements.

However, the front and back bag pattern requires that you tape the pieces given to you together at the 'join' lines.

I cannot believe that I cut out 2 sets of fronts and backs (4 pieces) using up almost all of the fabric before I noticed that I had forgotten to tape the side pattern extensions on!!!

I had a big Oh sh*t moment right about the time the last cut was made!!! (And I wasn't even drinking!).

What to do?

Go buy more fabric?

No, I'm too cheap.

Start piecing the little bastard together?


But! Remember, once it's been cut you can't just lay it back down on the fabric and cut the rest out. Because now it has to be stitched together and with new seam allowances the 'new' additions won't match.

Like matching plaids.

Which I do not do.

I now have 8 extensions to fiddle with and cut out. 8! Because there are 2 per piece!

Oh God!

I turned under about 1/8' on each purse panel and then placed these on the left over scraps of fabric and tried to find a mate. This took way too long and it was hot and I was sweating and I was not happy at all!!!!

I didn't care about the inside 4 because they don't show, but I was only able to match 3 of the outer pieces.

If anyone notices this and has the nerve to remark upon it, he/she will be very sorry.

I used stitch witchery, fused things together and then top stitched in place.

I could have had the stupid thing done in the time it took me to do all of this.

AND I forgot to buy zippers so I have to go back tonight and get them.

Good old stitch witchery.

Can you see the mutilated fabric lying above the pattern?

Can you see the pattern's unattached side extension off to the left?

Can you believe anyone could be so stupid?

Here is an update:

I did get my zippers and at least they're a good match, and last night I actually did get some sewing done even though my iron has decided to expire on me!!

Also, this really is a neat pattern but be advised that there are no illustrations; just instructions along with one pattern piece (the main body). If you've never sewn a purse before, it might be a little confusing.

I fully intend to post pictures of a completed purse sometime tonight (if Blogger cooperates and if it knows what's good for it, it will!).

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm just a tad upset

I've been working on a new purse...








Sunday, August 3, 2008

Where the hell is my crystal ball?

Where did the week go!?

I did get to the Big City on Thursday for Hans' birthday. We had a bottle of wine, and steaks off the grill (nothing like making the birthday boy cook his own dinner!). Of course we had a nice time but it also means that I had to get up at 5:30 AM in order to be at my desk by 8. But the same holds for Hans when he's at my house.

So Friday evening, I'd been up since 5:30 and was hoping for an easy night at the inn but we got our asses kicked. Not that we don't like to be busy but there were only 4 of us on the floor and I watched in horror as groups of 6 and 8 and then couples were being seated everywhere and of course none of them had made reservations! And all of them rolled in at the same time as a reservation for 40 and another for 13.
We also do not have sections and the owner seats people willy nilly all over the place and then none of us know who's been taken and who hasn't! At the height of all the insanity, I might have tables clear across the room, a couple of tables in the middle and then someone asks can I please pick up those people at yet the opposite end.

Does it make sense? No! Will it ever change? No!

The group of 40 were dressed in period attire from I'd say the mid 1800's. And while they were lovely, it required a lot of contortions on our part to not step on their voluminous skirts! They were also very disappointed to find that there was no piano player as they had been told that one would be called in.

Apparently they had planned on dancing during dinner!

How anyone thought that would have been possible is beyond me!! I could barely walk through the tables, and they expected to dance around them?

So I was in the middle of taking orders from my share of the group of 40 (and watching the dam break at the door as all the walk-ins flooded the room), and since the inn allows separate checks on huge functions (grrrr!), I was trying to figure out who was on who's check when one lady asked, "Who's taking care of Claire?"
Like I know who Clair is!!!

"I'm sorry?" I very politely said, "But who is Claire?"

"Hmmmmf." Huffed the lady. "Our medium!" she said in a 'boy are you stupid tone'. (Dear God, why tonight?).

Claire the Medium! Claire the Clairvoyant!

I kid you not.

Well since I don't have ESP, I made her point Claire out to me, and rearranged my paperwork to include the seer's tab with hers.

When they were done eating and looking to me for their checks (which have to be figured out one at a time, with tax, and gratuity added on, and we all fight over the one adding machine that we have!) Claire the Clairvoyant asked, "May I please have my check?"

She was totally surprised when I told her that the next table over had already taken care of it.


So Clair is Clairvoyant, huh?

I think not!