Practicing with a new machine

I have been using my Brother PE500 Embroidery machine since I won it in 2013. I’ve learned a lot about machine embroidery and decided if I had the opportunity I would “move on up” to a hoop size bigger than 4″ x 4″.

20170302_170820

All of my friends who embroider know I have been suffering from “hoop envy”.  You see…that sweet FREE Brother could only do 4×4″ projects, and I was seeing all my friends upgrade to 5×7 hoop machines. I just haven’t used my machine enough to warrant an expensive investment.  Attending the Embroidery Club once a month has gotten me motivated to do more machine embroidery projects.

This past January a friend of mine was selling a Janome 11000 quilting sewing embroidery machine. I thought it was a great value and the increase in “hoop size” was exciting. This meant a new maximum embroidery size: 8″ x 11″  with the Macro Hoop, and other hoop sizes -5″x 4″ and 8″x 8″.

Well, when I looked at the machine being sold, and saw the capability and did research with one of my Embroidery Club friends…I knew I had to buy the used machine. Even though it was considered by some to be an “older” machine, it had all the bells (really) and whistles. It had a USB port; and a card slot. That means new technology and old technology. There were so many hoops included which made the purchase price a real value.  The original price on the machine new was over $6000, and I valued it on E-bay before buying. Today on E-Bay there is a new machine selling for $5495, and used prices run the range of $1100 to $3400.  I didn’t nearly  that  much,  just  a  bit  more  than  a  new  Brother  770. 

Fast forward to this fall, and I have finally had time to sit down and learn how to operate this machine.  From the “sewing” side of things, it has as almost as large a throat and capability as my Janome 8900 which I purchased in 2013. Certainly as many stitches.  The screen that is on the machine is fantastic- color-and huge, with lots of “help” videos.

First time I tried to use the automatic needle threader, I just watched the helpful video on the screen and was able to follow along with success.  Then, I discovered, even with a huge bag full of hoops and gadgets, that there were some “missing parts”.

I wasn’t worried about not having some of the sewing feet, but I was missing the embroidery foot; and my friend at Embroidery club gave me an extra she happened to have.  What was worrisome is there was a part missing that was critical to the operation of the embroidery hoops.  It was just a little “filler piece” but without it in place the hoops were not supported and all kinds of jamming up was happening.  I was distressed and finally gave up and took the machine in locally for service. The technician was able to locate the part and clean and test run the machine. I was happy to learn that the replacement part was under $5.

When I got the machine back home, I decided I needed to keep my eyes open for a table that would work well for the machine, and not be in the way of all the other stuff I have in my sewing room.  I picked up this cute little table on Facebook Marketplace for just $35. It has a thick top (with a little worm wood showing) and is set on this fabulous treadle base…and guess what….The treadle moves!   I used a layer of “rubberized shelf lining” under the machine to help reduce vibration.  There is plenty of room behind the machine for the hoops to move on the mounting arm.  I got out the command trips and starting hanging more hooks on the wall to get those various hoops out of the boxes and hanging up in a convenient spot.  Boxes are now safely stored, and all the parts like foot pedal and fabric guide are stored away nearby in a basket.

New table for Janome 11000

I got it all set up, and put it to work!  I set up and stitched out in the big hoop a label for my Spiral Out Quilt I just finished.

First project on Janome 1100

What I liked about this stitch out is I could stitch a temporary “frame” and know my alignment was here I wanted it.  If you zoom in on the above photo you can see that “frame”.  It was easy to remove after the final stitching was completed.

Spiral Out label

I had one “flub” on the date “2019”, but otherwise, I learned to set out and space the lines and to even bring in patterns as part of the process.  I worked my way through the the screens and options and was pleased with the results. My flub was a lack of “awareness” and a good learning time. A lesson learnt, and mostly a satisfying stitch out.

handstitching a label

A little hand stitching and the label was secured.  Note about labels — When I make a label, I take a piece of a fusible product, lightweight pellon etc, and stitch it to the label.  I stitch completely around, with the fusible side facing the pretty side of the label.  Then, I cut a slit in the fusible product and “turn” the label so it has a nice smooth edge.  I use my fingers and roll that seam flat, then IRON my label onto my project.  This does two things….ensures my label is “hard” to remove, and gives the edge of the label a nice finish.  I do hand stitch around the edges as well, and don’t need to battle with pins or shifting while I stitch.

I’ve had fun making a little “teddy” yesterday with my granddaughter.   It is available as a free pattern from Kreative Kiwi

Fun Bear

Of course, when you hop over to look at the free pattern you will see him in a cute little sleeping bag.  I couldn’t resist so I purchased the pattern for the bag and stitched it out last night!

sleeping bag

The bear went home with the granddaughter after we made it, but the sleeping bag is going to be a surprise. Poor bear spent a cold night, but he will snuggle into this bag as soon as I can deliver!

I’ve got other projects in mind for Christmas and am heading out to play in the sewing room !

By the way – we got a dusting of snow yesterday in Delaware…the first for the season!

First snow Nov 12, 2019

Just a little frosting on the roof and cold temperatures!

Hope you are staying warm where ever you are and having fun in your sewing room!

 

When Time Runs Away

I realized it has been TWO months since I wrote a blog post!  Time has certainly run away from me.  When I travel for any length of time, I always feel like I have so much to catch up on when I get home.  My trip to Alaska was fabulous.  In fact, it was so great, that another opportunity has arisen and I will be making a similar trip NEXT August.

My wonderful sister-in-law; Carolyn, known to many as the One Block Wonder Woman   suggested a QUILTING CRUISE !  She has suggested this before, but I always said no, because the cruise lines were not Princess Cruise Lines.  I’ve been busy building loyalty status on Princess, and was edging my way to the top level and didn’t want to miss out on those loyalty perks. Well, she picked up a flyer at a quilt show recently and low and behold, the quilting cruise will be on a Princess ship.  So; we are doing a 10 day trip out of San Francisco next August to Alaska and taking advantage of the 4 days at sea to learn and sew with like-minded people. This trip will include Sitka and Haines Alaska, which are new ports to me.  Of course, booking this trip and looking ahead at which class(es) to take etc has kept me busy. The big details are worked out; and in the coming months I need to figure out air & hotels; but for now, I am sliding the trip into the recesses of my mind and getting back to my current projects.

Would you believe I have a UFO finish?  It only took me 25 months…..Back in Sept of 2017 I took a class with Sandi Blackwell and used her method called Square-Agonals to make this –

Square-agonals BEFORE the cut

After some “slicing and dicing” of the block –

Spiral Out workshop

I reconstructed according to the SPIRAL OUT pattern, and ended up with this great project –

Square-agonals project

I brought it home from the class; did some quilting and then set it aside…..for 2 years.  Well, I had a 3 day Sit & Sew Camp at the end of October and got busy and finished up quilting.  I can’t believe I let it sit for 2 years when just the borders needed quilting.  I got the quilting done on the first day of sit & sew camp, and started making the binding. On day two, I finished making the binding and made a hanging sleeve too.

Spiral Out

Of course, I used my favorite binding method “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  (If you follow me on a regular basis, you KNOW that this is the only way I do binding anymore. All by machine!!  LINK to the method at the bottom of this post.)

Binding went on and the project was completed….sorta….It still needed a label.  More about the label in my next blog post! (SOON….really……)

Before I show you the back…I have to confess I was lazy when I quilted this back in 2017.  I used my Janome 8900 and let the machine do a locking stitch instead of being good and pulling my bobbin thread to the top.  While it looks ‘ok’ on the front, the back looks like a lot of “thread throw-up”.  You know, chunks where the top thread and the bottom thread get all yucky.  Since this photo I have used my micro tweezers and gotten a lot of it cleaned up, but it is NOT show worthy, and certainly not “judge” worthy.  Lesson to myself.

The other lesson is about “details”.  When I pulled this out to “finish” I could not remember what thread I had used to do the quilting. WHY didn’t I just pin a note to it..??????  Hindsight being 20-20, I won’t do that again.  When I did the quilting on the last two borders (the cream and gold border and the green), I ended up using a different thread.  I see it; but maybe others won’t.  The original thread was a silver variegated Superior Fantastico thread.  The thread for the last two borders was silver Bottom Line thread from Superior. It is slightly different, since the Fantastico is 50 weight and the darker silver runs through it.  The Bottom line is much finer at 60 weight and all but disappears.  (Wish I had used it on the entire project in hindsight).

So; here is the back…..and on the outer borders you can see how the thread is almost invisible.  And yes, I pulled my bobbin thread to the top and tied off…so it is a little cleaner all around the borders.

Back of Spiral out

So, here we are, nearly the middle of November and in two months I have one project finished…..at least to talk about.  I have a Christmas project underway that I can’t share until Dec 26th.  I will “write” and “photograph” along the way, and just save that post to publish after the item is gifted.

I’ve had lots of other activities going on, and will save them for future posts!  I won’t wait quite so long for the next blog!

Go hug a Veteran and thank them for their service!

 

Link to Susie’s Magic Binding

 

Sailing through Endicott (not Tracy) Arm

EDIT –  There is a link at the bottom of the post to a Google Photo album full of pictures of Endicott Arm.

I spent the most luxurious day of the cruise sailing in/through Tracy Endicott Arm Alaska. When I boarded the Grand Princess in San Francisco almost a full week ago, I booked a day in the sanctuary for the day we sailed to Tracy Arm.For a modest $60 fee, I had access to the Sanctuary for the day. I was up before 5am and on deck in the 45 degree, windy weather and ready to see the ice and glaciers. I made a quick return to my cabin for the windbreaker that goes with my fleece jacket.

Now; before I continue, I have to address one small matter….you see….we were scheduled to sail in Tracy Arm.  In fact; we did not.

I must quote from the “Captain’s log” to tell the story properly. 30 Aug 2019 – Endicott Arm – During the night Grand Princess sailed through Stephens Passage, towards Tracy Arm.  In the morning, at 05:00 am; Grand Princess aborted attempt to enter Tracy Arm due to a large piece of ice in the middle of the bar, and entered Endicott Arm.  After many alterations of coursxe and speed to ensure a safe transit the Grand Princess was in position to Dawes Glacier at 08:30.  Grand Princess then retraced her track through the Fjord and exited the Arm at 11:35.  The two pilots which provided guidance throughout our cruise were disembarked at 14:08 at Cornwallis pilot station and after we proceeded on a South Easterly course towards our next port, Victoia; entering Canadian waters at 22:15.  Noon position 57degress41.3’N; 133degrees 44.4’W. 

I’m sure there was an announcement somewhere along the way as to the change of course etc….but you will certainly understand after reading the following why I was just slightly confused!

Back to the story & photos….

By 6 am I was settled in the assigned lounge chair, sipping champagne between cups of coffee.The angled glass windows helped break the worst of the cold wind. Located one deck above the bridge it was a great view. Watching the people on top of the bridge in the wind reinforced my decision to book the sanctuary.

In the photo below; you might notice the goats and hats etc on the guests….everyone except the lovely bride!!!  This photo was taken about 8:30 am; right in front of the glacier.  Up that close to the Dawes Glacier; the wind was not howling like it was in the preceding hours.

Taking pictures required me to get up and move to another area, but it was a great place to spend the day!!

With the red check fleece blanket (s) tucked around my legs, I enjoyed the ear warmer headband provided. Not to long went by and we were served fresh warm cinnamon flop donuts, followed by made to order breakfast omelettes.It was so good I forget to get the picture until the end.  Cold air makes you hungry and I ate while it was HOT!

The endless cup of coffee and glass of. Champagne.  (Did I mention they greeted us with champagne and the glass was not empty all day?) The travel mug was a complimentary gift, along with all that nice champagne.

After the eggs came the tray of pastry….and more coffee and champagne.

The best pastry on the ship!  (Yes…that is chocolate inside) As we progressed up the Arm to the glacier we were seeing ice in the water.

The lovely hostess in The Sanctuary was kind to take a photo of the glacier with me in the shot.About 9:30 am we turned and took the same route back out of the arm. Along the way I managed a little bit of a nap before lunch was offered and served.I chose grilled shrimp and white bean salad with tomato. It was a lovely lunch, followed by more champagne. Naps were taking place all over the place. I managed to sneak in about an hour or so.

Yes, still covered up with the plaid blanket while the day progresses.  Supposedly the air temp was 54 degrees at the high point…but that was after we left the arm and were sitting out in the sun out of the wind.  (I think it was about 38 starting out with the wind gusting!)  (That 54 degrees was a fantasy in my opinion….)

Tea time on the ship means fantastic service in the Sanctuary too.

Small sandwiches being served to each guest while we sail towards Victoria BC.

Loved the egg salad and the soft roll.

I had to skip the round of fancy cookies that came next! And the fancy pastries. I held out for the raisin scones, jam and “clotted cream”.The day ended for me at 5 in the Sanctuary, which was dinner time. I ate very light!!

If you are sailing on Princess to Alaska I highly recommend the scenic day package in the Sanctuary.

Watch for more posts on my 10 day cruise to Alaska in coming installments!

UPDATE – here is the link to the photos –View of Dawes Glacier and Tracy Arm Photos

Time to CRUISE!

I just printed my boarding passes.  I embark on this journey near 4 am on Friday from a tiny airport in Salisbury Maryland and make my way to Philadelphia and then on to San Francisco CA.  I am looking forward to escaping the hazy hot and humid August weather in the mid-Atlantic.

I thought I would share with you a short list of things I look forward to on every cruise.

  • Sail Away – drink in hand; wind in my hair; watching the ship pull away from the dock, out into the channel/bay and then through the breakers into the ocean. Many places I have been you wave to the people who sit out on their apartment balconies; or are fishing along the channel etc. My most memorable sail away was in the Azores; where the shore was lined with local people; children running and waving.
  • Pub Lunch on a sea day (hoping for 2 on this sailing) – It is styled after a British Pub lunch with bangers and mash; ploughmans lunch ( Just in case you wonder what that is; look at this article ) and fish and chips.  I always order the fish and chips which are served with “mushy peas”. Princess Cruise Lines has it figured out and my British friend enjoyed the lunches as much as I do. One cruise I was on recently also offered fried shrimp in the basket with chips. That was a surprise and I enjoyed it as well.  People who KNOW line up by 11 am to be among the first seated.  These lunches are held usually in one of the large cocktail lounges instead of the dining room.
  • Knitters and Knatters (Where people who do needlework/fiber art get together and stitch and chat). This is usually a 9am gathering in a quiet cocktail lounge on the ship; and even though I don’t knit, I do take along my English Paper Piecing projects.
  • Platinum & Elite evening cocktails  – this is a “special cocktail hour” for people who have cruised at least 8 times with Princess (earning Platinum status). Discounted drinks and lovely horderves before dinner.
  • Sunsets observed from onboard the ship  (I gave up on sunrise 15 cruises ago).  Yes; I still take pictures of them; every trip.
  • That rocking motion that will sooth you to sleep
  • Dressing for dinner in the Main Dining Room and deciding what wonderful food to have each night for dinner.

And of course for this trip there is an entirely unique list

  • Sail Away under the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Cycling in Alaska
  • watching for wildlife and the overall beauty and wonder and scale of Alaska
  • cooler temperatures during a very hot summer

I think this is my 21st cruise, and 17th on Princess Cruise Lines.  I’ve sailed with Orient Lines; Carnival; Celebrity and Oceania as well.  Loyalty does pay off; as I have learned. Princess has lots of “extra’s” for returning passengers, in their “Captains Circle Program“.  I enjoy the free internet; laundry, mini-bar most of all.

My travel companions over the years varied.  My first cruise was a 7 day Carnival cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was a “one and only” with my first husband less than a year before he died. It was one of those “someday we will” trips. After that trip; I was invited by my dear aunt to take an extended trip; transatlantic with her. We flew together to Athens and sailed all the way back to Baltimore MD.  She hooked me on long lazy days at sea; and really helped me to relax during a very stressful time.

Two months after my husband passed she called me up one day and said “Let’s go” and I booked another trip; from Rome to Venice; a 12 day trip; where we were joined by 2 ladies we had met on the Athens to Baltimore trip.

My lovely aunt and I sailed together several more times; going to Hawaii, and into the Panama Canal; and on a big family trip to Mexico.  I also traveled with a couple of friends on European and Mediterranean cruises.

My “new” husband got a “trial” cruise to Alaska to see if he passed the test!  He failed the inside cabin test; so when I go with him, I get a balcony or a mini-suite. Happy hubby means happy life!  I book a cruise for “just the two of us” every 3 or 4 years and force him to go and have fun.  We do like taking a trip to warmer climates in the middle of a cold winter!

Lately I have been traveling with my younger sister.  She and I are embarking on cruise # 3 for the year!  Since she retired she is really enjoying traveling and how can I say no when she calls!

Often times I have another cruise on my mind before the current one even sails; and ALWAYS keep a future cruise deposit in at Princess.  So; sailing to Alaska this weekend and thinking ahead to the Southern Caribbean for February or March.

Do you enjoy travel and planning?  Do tell……………..

Traveling sewing kit

I am leaving in less than 36 hours for a trip to California, and a cruise to Alaska. My bags are packed, twice now…and I think I have the essentials.

One thing I enjoy while traveling is working on English Paper Piecing. Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville.blogspot.com, does this when she travels to teaching locations around the world. I started the year I went to Nevada when my Lil sister was recovering from knee surgery. The only time I sit and hand stitch is when I travel. (🐈 in lap at home preventing hand stitching).

Anyway, I sorted out my never ending Double Diamonds project, and got things kitted and organized and all set to travel…..or so I thought. Today I attended a lovely gathering of the Material Girls Quilt bee, and Irene, our hostess, shared a hand sewing kit given to her as a gift by a dear friend.

Her friend used some wonderful Tula Link fabric.

There is a place to keep needles stored on the green wool, pockets for scissors and the awesome Vivilux light, and even a zip pocket and a holder for her Aurifil thread. I loved the idea and got permission to to get a couple of pictures.

After dinner tonight I decided to go PLAY for a bit in my sewing room. I got out 2 fat quarters and a scrap of contrasting fabric and some batting and got busy cutting, sewing, quilting and creating.

I made my travel sewing kit with 3 pockets, and also used a bit of wool for the needles and pins.

Travel fabric for the outside.

Transportation (blue) fabric inside. I fussy cut the fabric for the pockets.

Wide open it is about 8″x 20″.

On the left I have a spool of thread being held on with a tab and a button with elastic. Below is a pocket with 3 sections. In the center is the wool pin holder (with a bit of batting behind it). Below the pins is a larger pocket. On the right is another pocket with the opening on the side towards the center.

I managed to load an Altoid tin with bobbins (for lots of thread variety), another spool of Aurifil thread and my new lighted Needle threader in the pocket sections.

The center pocket has those clover clips that are like spare hands, my Vivilux LED light and a floss container. ( I fly with this, and use the cutter on the floss for my thread.)

This side opening pocket has my Double Diamonds directions along with a 1qt zip bag full of pieces and parts for 1 Double Diamond EPP block.

Now I am really packed and ready to go! Thanks Irene for sharing your kit and inspiring me to make one for myself.

Hot August Days and packing for Alaska

What can I say – it is just HOT !!  Summer in Delaware and that is to be expected.   We are in the “dog days” of August with Hazy; hot; HUMID; hot; thunderstorm weather. 3 out of 5 afternoons we have those drenching downpours.  This is typical of our weather radar this month!

 

Time for thunderstorms

So; in between storms we have had lots of pool time, and lots of time hiding in the house with the air conditioning.  Not much time spent in the sewing room, as over the garage it is challenging to keep it regulated to “comfortable” for any length of time.

Some evenings have been pretty pleasant after the string of storms cooled things off. We went to listen to our son in law play with his band, Lincoln City at a local restaurant, on the rooftop.

Lincoln City playing at the Counting House

His group is quite good; and it is fun to see him switch back and forth on his various guitars.

We also got an evening out at Abbotts Mill Nature Center for music.   It was nice to see so many families out for the evening.

Music at the Mill

And of course, in between times there is a little time for chillen’ on the porch!  I just loved these wine goblets that were a gift at retirement.

Chillen' on the porch

Don’t you know, as luck would have it, the day after this photo; I dropped a chilled goblet, with the stainless steel freezer balls; and cracked it! One down; one to go!  I like the plastic for by the pool and the porch (HINT FOR CHRISTMAS FAMILY….) and I like the stem!

We got lucky with the weather for the GLOW RIDE which was held in a neighboring town, sponsored by #LifecycleDE.

Getting the bikes ready

Over 80 people rode the circuit through Seaford Delaware including 2 Seaford Police Officers in the new “bike” unit.

Seaford Police riding the Glow ride

The last 2 weeks have been busy with quilt guild Community Sewing day; and board meetings; getting a newsletter article written; and sewing with my ladies at the assisted living. I sat at the kitchen counter and sorted donated squares for a solid week, where it was cooler than my room above the garage.

Sorting stacks of 5" squares

My co-chair for 2nd Time Around spent a couple of hours hanging out in the garage on a cooler day; bringing up the donations that we have accumulated over the summer and sorting them out and staging them for September work. We have LOTS ready for our September meeting to sell and even though I have been “staging the ready stuff” at the church where we meet, I still have lots to bring to that meeting!

The ladies who sew at the assisted living facility COMPLETED 15 placemats for donating to  Serendipity Quilt Shop, Dagsboro DE) for the MEALS ON WHEELS  project.

Brandywine Ladies with their placemats

They decided they needed a field trip; so instead of sewing this past week, we arranged for them to go shopping.  Five ladies along with the activities director arrived by the facility bus at the quilt shop. It was a great chance to encourage the purchase of needle threaders and top stitch needles with big eyes and flower head pins along with fabric and patterns and books. Three of the ladies are my die-hard regulars and they had an absolute ball looking at all the fabric and notions. One of the ladies is also a garment sewer; and she has made a dress to wear to a wedding in a lovely turquoise linen, and wanted a jacket made out of batik.  She had her batik picked out but I got to help her pick the piping fabric.  We were able to get a picture of them quickly in the shop with the placemats before I handed them off to the coordinator.

I’ve spent some time this month “pre-planning” my next great adventure. My sister invited me on another cruise, this time to Alaska. I fly to San Francisco next week so there is lots to get ready. Last weekend I did most of my packing; unpacking some after weighing the suitcase and repacking. I had to “pair down” a bit!  Just how many hats and mittens and gloves should I take?

ALASKA packing

I eliminated most of them!

Packing decisions for Alaska

I have a friend who is on a cruise at the same time leaving from another port and we have exchanged packing lists of “must haves”. Packing for an Alaska cruise is so different from a European or Caribbean / Mexico cruise.  I really had to think through what to take.

Before I get to that list, let me tell you about what I  have in the “must have” for any cruise.  I “must have” the following in my suitcase (in fact….I store most of it in my suitcase between cruises with the exception of the shoes) . This is my 21st cruise, and I think I have got the essentials without overdoing things.

  • USB/multi outlet Power block  (There is a picture of it in the photo with the hats and gloves)
  • Wine bottle opener / stopper
  • vinyl luggage tag (like these on Amazon – ) for cruise specific tag
  • laundry bag
  • magnet with hook (cruise ship walls are metal)
  • clothes pins
  • laundry soap pods/dryer sheets
  • Sandals, sneakers, dress shoes (1 pair each)

Purchased new for this cruise specifically

  •  “DAY PACK” (like this one on Amazon  )
  • Pop up style hamper to replace the laundry bag (tripped over one at Walgreens for $2.99 yesterday) (My sister had one I admired, easy to take to the laundry room which can be a long hike to the other end of the ship
  • a rain poncho  (like this one on Amazon  )

Those new items will stay “in the suitcase for future cruises.

I’ve cruised to Alaska once – in 2005 and know that the weather is constantly changing and subject to being hot / cold / raining.

Because I usually cruise in the winter to WARM climates, it is hard not to grab the tank tops, shorts and sundress, etc!   I did pack 1 sleeveless blouse & capri’s “just in case”. I will probably fly home in them!

A necessity is a jacket/raincoat on an Alaskan cruise. Since wet & rainy weather is the expectation; I made certain my Columbia Ski jacket with the zip out fleece lining was sprayed with water-repellant.  What I like about this jacket is it can be worn as a unit or as separate  pieces depending on the weather.  I sprayed the sneakers and walking shoes too; and let them sit out in the sunshine to dry really well before packing them.

Waterproofing the shoes

I recently picked up a lovely poncho by Rain Caper (see the link for the rain poncho).  The one I bought is black on one side and has a tan & black print on the reverse. Not as arty as the one in the link, but I think it will be more functional.   I liked the feel of it and the style; reversible etc. It has little magnets in the corners to keep you from “flopping” in the breeze!  I tried several over the years and decided this one is a winner. It is short enough that I can cycle with it on without being a hazard, long enough to cover the “backside”.   I like that it has a zip pouch that I can tuck in my bag too.  I hate those plastic rain ponchos you buy at the dollar store. They have their purpose but they lack a lot of style !

Here is a look at my packing list for this trip (a 10 day cruise with 3 travel days before/after the cruise).  This is all beyond the normal dress dinner wear & shoes,  undergarments, pajamas, sandals and sneakers, swim suit and sunscreen, wine opener & stopper and refillable water bottle/coffee cup.

  • Fleece hat;
  • 1 pair mittens; 1 pair lined gloves;
  • binoculars
  • warm socks & sneaker socks
  • 5 long sleeve tee shirts
  • 5 pair pants (nylon/zip off legs) water resistant fabric
  • 3 pair leggings/tights
  • 4 short sleeve tee-shirts (2 performance wear for cycling / exercise)
  • lightweight zip front hoodie style sweater
  • sturdy walking shoes
  • bug spray
  • Columbia Ski Jacket with zip out fleece layer.
  • Rain Caper poncho
  • ball cap (to keep rain off my glasses)
  • Tilly sun hat

Yes, all this is in a large suitcase. I use those plastic zip-style compression bags to ensure it all “fits” and nothing gets wet when the suitcase sits on the tarmac at the airport or in the rain while loading.  (Happen just about every trip….)  I weighed the suitcase and it comes in at 43 pounds. Gives me some options for tossing in things like my English paper piecing project bag and other odds and ends I can’t quite live without.

I really liked the day pack I ordered; and it may replace the much heavier one I usually carry on the plane. My husband laughed when it arrived because he said I would “never” get it re-zipped into it’s own pocket. So, I decided to video as I “unzipped” it out of it’s pocket to keep as a reminder of how it should be “rezipped” later.

Zomak 30L day pack

Hey, when you get old, you sometimes have to have little memory triggers, right?

Our trip starts in San Francisco on Saturday; followed by two sea days sailing the Pacific coastline. We dock on Tuesday in Ketchikan Alaska. My sister and I are scheduled to go to the “Lumberjack show” in the morning; and sail at 2 pm. That should give us a little time to wander about town.  The next day we are in Juneau, where I have signed up for a “Bike & Brew Glacier View” excursion. The bike ride finishes at a brew pub at 5 pm; and we are in port until 9 pm; so there is plenty of time to wander around Juneau. The next day we will be in Skagway and I have schedule a “rain forest bicycle tour”.  It finishes up before lunch time and again, there is plenty of sightseeing time before we sail at 8:30 pm. We spend Friday sailing though Tracy Arm, looking at the glaciers and wildlife.  We have another sea day on Saturday, and dock in Victoria BC on Sept 1st.  I haven’t figured out yet what I want to do in Victoria. Sunday is a tough time to visit on your own (without going on a tour). Our time is port is from 7 am to 2 pm; so if you have a recommendation; tell me.  Our cruise finishes up with another sea day going South along the Pacific coastline and dock back in San Francisco on Tuesday.

I think I am fairly prepared and 99% packed for this trip. At least I won’t need the warm jacket at home this week or any of those long sleeve shirts!!  Fingers crossed that we have lovely 70 degree weather for the 10 days; but my expectation is wet and rainy at low 50’s.  Watch for a travel update when I return.

What are you doing for fun this month?

 

 

Up-cycling a sofa cover

Strange title for a post but I have a funny upcycling story.  My daughter had a sofa cover that was due for replacement and she saved the old one.  Together she and I made a “big” draft dodger for her front door in her home in Texas.  That was several years ago.  For some reason I cut up the rest of the fabric and brought a large chunk of it home. It is heavy durable twill; not the prettiest green I have ever seen but sturdy stuff.  I have used bits of it repairing a dog bed for my other daughter.  Last week, in a moment of tidying up (aka searching for something in the sewing room); I came across the fabric.  I also came across an insulated grocery bag that had a zipper problem.

Well, once I found the thing I was searching for (that delightful orange fabric for the bike bag) and got it made, I decided to take that insulated grocery bag off the bottom shelf and see about fixing it. I quickly determined it was NOT repairable.  It was made of that cheap open weave fabric that felt almost like paper and it littered my sewing room floor with little bits of stuff as I carried it to the sewing machine. It was disintegrating in my hands.  SO…..I thought about the bag; and what I could do to make a replacement.  (These 90 degree days make you think insulated bag to get the butter home from the store!).

I decided that sofa cover fabric was sturdy enough to make a shopping bag from.  I made a “test run” and immediately decided it was too SMALL.  (I forgot to account for the inches in height you lose when you box the corners. ) So, that one got set aside and I decided on new measurements and cut out a much larger bag. I cut the lining out of a bolt of muslin that I had and then I disassembled the OLD bag and harvested the insulation.  I had some Insul-Bright that you use in pot holders, but not enough for a whole bag. I cobbled together enough pieces of the old stuff and the new stuff to cut out pieces for a new bag.  I also cobbled together batting scraps to add additional insulation to the bag. (I call it franken-batting…..because it is reminds me of Frankenstein).   I used some 505 spray basting to hold the batting; the insulation and the front of the bag together before stitching the side seams.  It worked pretty well.  Putting those seams together with 6 layers total required a heavy duty needle and my walking foot!  (The lining in muslin was a breeze).

I designed as I went and my biggest challenge was the lid.  I added a “hinged” flap and 2 sections of velcro to keep it closed.

It finished at 20″ long by 9″ wide and 11 1/2 ” high.  Hubby said the handle was long enough and sturdy enough. It is NOT pretty; but it IS functional and I love that I was able to recycle a bunch of odds and ends and come up with a durable bag.

Maiden voyage of insulated grocery bag

We usually do a big shopping trip at BJ’s Warehouse once a month. Hubby throws a cooler in the back of the SUV and a couple huge totes to contain all the small stuff.  The cooler is never big enough.  So; the bag DID come in handy to get frozen food home on a sweltering hot evening.  It held a couple of boxes of ice cream bars; a container of lunch meat and a few other bulky items that were frozen.  The only thing is it wasn’t tall enough for the pizza box.  Since we “pack from the cart into the car” it was easy for him to load it full.

The test run indicated that the top needs something at the sides to ensure it stays closed; and I think I will add 2 small tabs with velcro.

Of course; it had a 2nd test last night……Smokey decided it made a really nice bed on the kitchen table….and the hubby caught him !  He is only climbing down because he got scolded!  Hubby said he was snuggled in and settled for the night~~!~~

Apparently the cat liked it too

Hindsight …If I make another bag I will use the “inner form” foam to give the bag a little shape.  And I will remember to hang it on the hook to keep the cat from making it into a bed!

Fun to up-cycle stuff and make it usable as something different.  And nice to get that old bag off the shelf in the sewing room.

What are you working on?