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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It took a whole stinking summer to get this done

Once upon a time I lived in a house.
In the northeastern part of the United States.
If I wanted to sew all I had to do was walk into my temperature controlled spare bedroom.
I had fans in the summer, heat in the winter, and a sewing machine (complete with a thousand notions) that didn't have to be put away (as if in shame) every stinking time I used it.
I now live on a boat in Florida.
If I want to sew I have to dig through our guest berth (the garage) for any and all sewing notions including my sewing machine. This requires several trips, and no, we do not have air conditioning on that side of the boat and by the time everything has been hauled up to the salon/sewing area I'm saturated in sweat. And then there's the ton of fun I have trying to find a flat space bigger than 2 feet by 3 feet to cut out something bigger than a handkerchief.
Yes, we have an air conditioner hanging in our salon hatch but I may as well hire someone to breathe across a pile of ice on me for all the good it does. 
As for firing up an iron? Well, if you like lounging about in a sauna, come visit me.
I will never, ever get used to living in Florida (and I have no intention of doing so!).

Anyway, enough of my whining.

Awhile back (like at the beginning of the year) a young cruising couple had a baby girl and I really wanted to make something for them.  However, life and then weather got in my way and I only recently finished my project. I actually had a lot of other things I intended to make but she could very well be ready to enter college by the time I finish everything so I'm stopping now.

Excuse the order of my pictures but I have no patience with Blogger these days and I don't feel like spending umpteen hours trying to rearrange my photos.

This is a close up of a covered button that adorns the front of the little pinafore I made.
Butterick 5625

And here is the pinafore complete with hat and panties.

A view of the pinafore's inside contrast fabric.


Hat (I lined it)

Outside of the hat with a covered button on top.

These are fingertip towels I made into easy, slip on bibs.


This sleeve saver bib pattern is F854 from Sew Baby.  
The only thing I don't care for is that it requires bias tape which I hate!
I made my own bias tape but I'm not sure how many of these I may make it the future.Perhaps if I have grandchildren?
Sleeve Saver Bib

I butchered a pattern for boys in order to make these nautical booty sandals for a girl.

Since this baby will eventually become a toddler while living on a boat I made her a place mat sized chalk board (from chalkboard fabric which luckily a local fabric store carries).
And just try to find chalk these days. Not even ToysRUs carries it!!! I found mine at WalMart.

Tic Tac Toe anyone??

By the way, the beautiful fabric I used for the pinafore set came from Cyndi of Cut-Up and Sew.  She gave me a stack of fabric when we hooked up over Memorial Day Weekend and it's all to die for!! I would have loved to make a purse or tote bag from it but all of a sudden I realized it would make such a  cute baby outfit.

And it did.

I'm very much ready for the heat to break which should hopefully be soon. I have a couple of projects in mind that I'd like to get done before we either head back out to sea or summer sets in again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Still afloat

defrosting the fridge 
We're still sweating away here in Florida.  Not a lot of sewing gets done though as just plugging the iron in is too much for our air conditioner.

And then there are boat duties that take up time too. Our refrigerator broke but luckily a neighbor helped  us get it running again. Our head quit working and after spending days trying to clean out the exhaust hose we ended up replacing it.  I've been up the mast a couple of times to replace bulbs etc... and I'm going to have to go up again (even though I'm afraid of heights).

a very pampered pooch
Tropical Storm Debby
Wilbur goes to the doggy park during the week and you should hear him scream when we pull into the parking lot. I wish I'd had my camera with me last week when during a doggy birthday party he left his party hat on for at least a half hour and he ate his ice cream cup in a very gentlemanly way.

We were caught off guard by Tropical Storm Debby but we were very prepared for Hurricane Isaac who didn't even bother to show up.

Hans ended up tripping over a stern line when he tried to get on the boat and after landing smack on his butt he rolled all over the place in the water that had overflowed our dock. I tried not to laugh but c'mon!!!

Up the mast

Poor Wilbur got stuck modeling a baby hat I made.

Cyndi from Cut-Up and Sew made Hans and me a quilt for our wedding and it's absolutely beautiful. Her pictures are much better than mine and you can see it here too. Needless to say I'm not going to let Wilbur near it and I'm keeping it in our guest berth. I've never owned a 'real' quilt in my life and I love it.

check out the couple in the canoe

Like I said, Cyndi's pictures are better than mine but I don't want to take it outside because it could get dirty.
I know I should post more often but I just don't seem to have the incentive for it these days. However I still enjoy reading everyone else's blogs so keep posting!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Married at sea


Last month Hans and I finally got hitched. On our boat. At sea.This has been a hectic, sad, and crazy year so it was nice to finally have something good happen. And my son and daughter were able to attend which was really great. And I made my dress from silk that I bought in Paris years ago. After I realized I had 3 yards and not just 1 1/2, I dug out my McCall's (Hilary Duff) 5880 pattern and got to work. And if you've ever worked with real silk you'll know what I mean when I say "work"! Instead of putting in a few hours, I ended up spending days working with this very simple pattern. Because of that damn silk! What I did was:
  1. Hand wash the silk in cold water and then air dry (of course I'd no sooner hung it out to dry on our stern when our 'neighbor' started up his diesel engines thus spewing stinky fumes all over it).
  2. Trace the entire pattern onto freezer paper (ink on the paper side).
  3. Press the shiny side of the freezer paper pattern (with a dry iron) onto the 'wrong' side of the silk. I placed my silk fabric on top of an old bed sheet so it wouldn't 'shift' like a batch of mercury!
  4. Cut it out and then sewed it with the paper still attached (this helped keep the fabric from puckering and getting yanked down into the feed dogs) This pattern was simple enough that it actually worked. I still used a metallic (sharp) needle. Removed the paper which was painstaking yet worth it. After the paper was removed, I double stitched my seams.
  5. I did not use a back zipper (it's not needed,) and I didn't attach a neck band; I made casings and strung a cord through them and tie it at the back.
  6. It took an entire day to hem!!! I ran Q-Tips drenched in liquid starch all along the hem line and then hit it with a dry iron (silk setting). I straight stitched an eighth of an inch from the edge, turned the fabric up on the stitched line and top stitched. Doesn't sound like much but there was the lining too.
  7. A wide piece of grosgrain ribbon was used to cover the elastic on the empire waist. Hook and eyes hold it in place at a side seam.
We will be heading north next month for the wedding of a friend's daughter and I intend to wear my dress again. I bought some fabric today so I can make a matching purse. If it's successful I'll post pictures.

I've been having tons of computer and camera problems which I hope will be resolved soon. This post is a huge experiment with my iPad and a newly downloaded Blogsy App. Unfortunately I have a huge learning curve so it may be awhile.


Friday, February 17, 2012

A sad start to a new year.

I didn't post about a lot of things that were going on in my personal life last year, and I sincerely hoped that this year would see some improvements.

But then in January Hans was involved in a very serious car accident, and we're fortunate that he wasn't killed. He was unlucky enough to get caught in the middle of a high speed police chase involving four police cruisers and a purse snatcher. The purse snatcher was killed, an innocent man in the truck in front of Hans sustained a broken neck, our 17 year old immaculately maintained vehicle was totaled, and Hans now suffers from chronic neck pain which makes his life difficult as he tries to juggle doctor's visits into his busy working days.

And then two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I received news that my middle child, Vet Tech Girl, had died. She was a beautiful girl in both heart and spirit. This much I believe; in the overall scheme of things, we are on this earth for a very short time. Rachel's time was a bit shorter than most and I myself have already lived more years than I have remaining. Therefore I don't have a hugely long time left before I hopefully see her again.

In the meantime I have two other children who need me and I will not become the kind of parent they dread to call because they can't stand having to listen to a weeping mess of a mother. We have no guarantee of the duration of time or the quality of our life at our birth and I choose to live my life one day at a time. I've been very blessed during my time here and even though I've lost a child I know I haven't suffered nearly as much as so many others have.

Rachel's pit bull Duncan is now living with her dad. Her dad helped take care of Duncan this past year and he became very attached to him. I've no doubt Duncan is quite happy and enjoying life with a big deck, a back yard, and a willing tug o' war participant.

Rachel was a huge force to be reckoned with and she will sorely be missed.