Another small project done

I decided to replace a very worn out small handbag that I have been using daily for at least 3 years. The bag is tattered on the corners, and has gone through the washer and dryer many times. I bought it for travel use at the local Eddie Bauer Outlet, on a whim, for less than $10. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it for certain.

With a trip coming up this weekend, I decided I could “MAKE” a new bag, but make it slightly LONGER than the original bag. One thing about the original I love was the outside pocket on the back that my big fat cell phone could slide into. I loved the 3 zipper pockets, but I know my sewing talents don’t go that far, and I am thrilled I got one zipper in, and made it work.

I’ve made quite a few things like this, only smaller, in the embroidery hoop. I’m limited on the length though, so I took the skills I learned from machine embroidery and came up with this bag.

New bag
front of the bag

I finally used one of those lace zippers I had on hand. (More than a year ago, my friend Nancy & I split an Amazon order). The zipper goes across the top. I made the bag substantially longer so my bigger wallet would fit in. I bought the wallet, handmade, from one of the ladies at the Assisted living facility where I used to volunteer and I just love it. I was always jamming it in the old bag.

Again, while making this project, I dug into the “leftover half square triangles” that I have sitting in a basket.

I decided that the pocket on the back of this bag could be divided, and my phone will fit on either side, and still have room for a pen or a mask or my ear buds.

pockets on the back

I ended up using the same woven strap from the old bag, as it is in pretty good shape. I can always make a fabric strap later if I choose. With so much white on the bag, I imagine it will be in the washer on a regular basis. The rings are “key ring overlap” style, so taking off the strap and replacing it should be easy.

When I was working on this, I was thinking “proto-type” for a bag done using some wonderful vinyl that I have. It looks and feels like suede, but I wanted to be sure I had worked out the process…when to attach the zipper, where to leave the opening for turning, how to attach the bits for the handle, how I wanted the pocket to work etc.

Overall, without a pattern I am quite pleased with the outcome.

I used Pellon 973 Fusible fleece on the back side of the main fabric, nothing on the back of the lining.

fusible fleece for the bag

Turning the bag thru the opening on the side of the lining was fairly easy, as the Pellon fleece is very soft and easy to work with. There are no “raw edges” on the bag to be bothersome. I quilted thru the outside bag fabric using one of the special stitches on my Janome 8900, and I think that helps give it some character too. It will certainly keep the fleece from shifting when it gets washed. (All the white means it will need washing on a regular basis!!)

close up of the quilting
Close up of the stitching

I still want to make another bag using the wonderful vinyl product, and have to “think through” the process of adding all those extra zipper pockets etc. But for now, my new purse kind of matches my sister’s bag I made yesterday.

The picture below is my old bag on top of the new one, and you can see how much bigger I made it.

Replacing the old bag

So, there you have it, a one day project! (Really just an afternoon of creating and having fun!)

What are you working on this week?? Any suggestions for adding multiple zippers in outside pockets?? I’m sure I can figure it out, but will spend my evening hunting through videos on you-tube looking at suggestions!

Another finish!!

I spent my afternoon on Sunday finishing up the bag for my sister. Yesterday’s post was about using the scraps. I have to report that this one used scraps in the finish too.

Where yesterday’s post left off, the outer part of the bag was quilted. Adding the boxed corners, using a 2″ square felt right. It makes the bag “wider” and will accommodate more than just her tablet. Not knowing the size of her device, I went for bigger.

2" box corner
Before the lining goes in.

I made nice wide handles and used the same Bosal In-R-Form in them.

Handles attached
handles attached

I like using the Bosal In-R-Form for bags as they have good shape.

I decided to put two pockets inside with the lining, one of which is divided. It is big enough to hold my cell phone and the other pockets might be useful for cords, power devices etc. I also added magnetic closure at the top as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Inside pockets Anne's bag
Pockets are so important

The bag came together fairly easily, and I wish now that I had made MY bag in this fashion!!

Finished bag

It turns out to be a very room bag. I put my tablet down inside and there is plenty of room to toss in a paperback book or a deck of cards, along with your wallet and other necessities. If she decides it is “too big” for her tablet, then she can use it as a tote bag or a big purse.

Plenty of room
Plenty of room for chargers and your wallet and other girly stuff.

This was fun to make for my sister and I told her if she doesn’t find it useful, then to pass it on to someone else!

The only yardage use in this project was 1/2 yard from my stash for the handles and the lining. Everything else was from the scrap storage. (The pocket fabric was leftover from my bag lining from yesterday!)

Do you enjoy sewing bags?? I learn something every time I make them. Yesterday’s lessons were to slow down and think the plan through. It was a good lesson for today, as it all came together nicely.

Using up some scraps

Last week I posted about my class project, the To the Nines pattern, where I had a “fat seam allowance”. Those discarded blocks have been turned into something useful! I decided to use them as the basis for my new “tablet sleeve” for my upcoming cruise. Hubby thinks the cover / added keyboard give it protection, but I wanted to make a cover / sleeve for the device.

Since I only had 4 orphan/discarded blocks, I knew I would have to make a few more. The tablet is about 8 x 12 and I was using 2.5″ squares. I ended up with 8 squares x 5 squares for the front of the bag, and the same for the back. I quilted it using Bosal In-R-Form for the batting.

Here is the result –

leftover 9 patches

I used a light fabric for the lining.

Snug fit

It is a fairly snug fit with my tablet. It isn’t going to fall out. There is some extra space along the top. Originally I was going to roll the top edge down to make a cuff, but then I decided the cord needed to go in too.

My husband suggested I add a velcro closure and handles, which I did AFTER the sleeve was made. Now, I guess it is a bag not a sleeve!

Handles added

Boy adding the velcro and handles after the bag / sleeve was already made was a pain in the neck!! Lesson to self….think the project all the way through before rushing through the creative process. I probably should have unstitched the top edge of the bag where the lining joins the outside and opened up the side seam….but that would have been too easy. Instead I fought with the narrow opening and my open arm on the sewing machine. I got it done…but I should have thought that through better.

Anyway, I think the colors of the bag go nicely with my lavender tablet.

new tablet
Lavender Tablet with keyboard

I showed my sister the bag I was making and it reminded her of the bag I made for her Kindle years ago. She gave the kindle away to one of the grandkids but still has the little bag. She has a tablet she will be bringing on our trip in a week, and I asked her if it had a sleeve or a bag. It does not, so I offered to make her one. When she sent me a photo of it, it looks like it is the same one I have and similar size. She asked for it to open on the long side like the Kindle bag. She also liked the short handles.

I went to work on her bag, last night after dinner, and pulled some left over half square triangles, and this is what the front panel of the bag will look like.

starting another sleeve

Those half square triangles were the abundance from Addison’s Quilt I made 5 years ago ! (I could have made two quilts with all those leftover blocks!)

I decided to “start bigger” with this bag, box the corners, and add a pocket inside for the charging cables and other “stuff” she might want to carry with it. Her device has the same detachable keyboard, but without having exact measurements, I am erring on the side of caution for size. My bag/sleeve could have been a bit bigger in hindsight.

I started by making two panels for the front and back of the project then stitched them together at what will be the bottom of the bag, then quilted it onto the Bosal In-R-Form. I used the same serpentine stitch with my walking foot for both bags. At the center bottom seam, I did straight stitch in the ditch and 1/4″ on either side of the seam.

my sister's tablet case in progress

When the sides are stitched together it will look something like this —

another tablet case

Of course, there will be handles, and lining and the bottom will be boxed . I think I will add a magnet purse style closure on the bag. It seems that magnetics and electronics aren’t a problem anymore, as the keyboard to my tablet attaches “magnetically”. (My husband loves that connection concept).

I hope to finish this second bag up today. I’ve picked out a print turquoise to go inside for the lining and the handles. She doesn’t want long handles, just something to slip over her arm, not her shoulder.

95% percent scraps used for both bags, just a little additional fabric from the stash for silly things like straps and pockets and lining. Between them both I only used one package of the In-R-Form that I had on hand. Very convenient.

I will take the bag for her tablet with me on my flight to California next Sunday. There simply is not enough time to mail it and ensure she has it before she travels to the port.

Tablet vs phone
Size matters!

I took a picture of my phone next to the tablet to show her how it would be so much easier to see.

Honestly she had forgotten she had it, so yesterday she charged it up and her daughter helped her get some things connected and running. I’m really glad she is bringing her tablet, and my mission is to help her learn to use it, to use her phone as a hot spot, and get all her a favorite websites loaded. She has a serious vision issue due to her stroke last year, and the size of the screen on the phone has been making things challenging for her this year. I hope using it daily on the cruise will reinforce the simplicity of using it when she is at home.

That’s it for today! Are you working with scraps? Have you ever gone full steam ahead like me, only to realize later how you “should have” done something differently?

Linking up to Oh Scrap – Quilting is More fun than housework!

Meeting a fellow blogger

This week I had the pleasure to meet in person a fellow blogger – Carole Carter, who writes the blog called From My Carolina Home. If you have followed me for long you know that I love her projects and often share links to what is happening on Carole’s blog.

Carole agreed to be a speaker at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes Delaware and to teach a class. Normally she doesn’t travel this far, but she was able to tie it in with some other activities, so she made the exception.

Her presentation at the guild was delightful, inspiring and interesting. She made lots of sense in her methods for storing scraps, or what she calls “Scrap Dancing”. She really is a dynamic speaker and if your guild is looking for speakers, I would highly recommend Carole. Her personality bubbles, and her projects are so much fun. To help cut down on how much she had to pack, several of us brought projects that we had made using Carole’s patterns. It was fun to see them on the stage along with her projects.

Carole at the guild
During the guild meeting

We had the joy of going out to dinner with Carole and her husband on Monday night, and were joined by fellow blogger Pat and her husband. Pat’s blog is called Sunlight Through My Windows . I hope we didn’t bore the men while we talked blogging and quilting and other hobbies. It was fun getting to know the husbands. Pat & I are moderators for Carole on her facebook group, so we had lots to talk about.

On Tuesday, Carole taught a class for the guild, which I signed up for. It was a joy to be back “in a quilting class” after so long. Carole provided her pattern called “TO THE NINES” to the students, along with a special tool from Studio 180 for marking 1/4″ lines. We used it when we were making those flying geese. We also received several brands of batting samples in very nice booklets that we can refer back to the next time we are shopping or ordering.

We learned lots of techniques in the class, a speedy way to make flying geese, some fast methods for piecing 9 patches called webbing. Of course, only those speedy sewers and those that don’t talk in class get everything done, so I did come home with some unfinished sewing. Truth is, my 1/4 inch seam allowance got fat, and rather than ‘rip’ out seams, I decided to just make a bunch more at home so I could assemble my project. I was using my featherweight and my magnetic seam guide and I were not getting along. I finished up my sewing today. My first block looked pretty darn good!

Stars block
To The Nines pattern 36x36

These blocks went together pretty quickly using Carole’s methods for chain piecing and webbing. The top at this point is 36×36. A small inner border and a bit wider boarder will finish it off nicely. All the fabrics except the background came out of my scrap storage system. I have the sizes this pattern uses already cut and on hand, so once I decided on a focus fabric, I pulled things that I thought would blend prettily. My focus fabric had purple, lavender, and multiple shades of blue and greens.

This was pretty fun to do, and I needed a day where my brain could just focus on sewing and nothing else for a few hours.

Have you had a chance to take a class from a quilter you follow on line? What do you suppose I will do with those “9 patches” that came up just a little “short” ?? I think they are perfect size for pot holders!!!

Busy week wrap up

It HAS been a most busy week or two. I don’t feel like I have gotten much done but I have had my hands in the middle of a lot of “stuff”. Hubby had a train sale for his club and we spent several days getting things ready to go. We had to put cello sleeves on the boxes with small parts and he had to figure out pricing on every single item. I can “stick stickers” but didn’t have a clue about value without his explanation. They had a very large collection of HO trains that had been donated this year to DelMarVa Model Railroad Club.

pricing trains for sale

We had to be up early last Saturday morning and at the show by 7:30 to set up all the merchandise.

Train sale

Because we had all our items prices and sorted by types it was fairly easy to set up. The only problem was, not enough room on the table, and NOT enough customers. The sale was poorly attended and as a “vendor” highly disappointing. We had enough merchandise to fill 8 tables, but only had 2 reserved. In hindsight that was probably best. Attendance was dismal at best. We can only guess why….beautiful weather, advertising or people still afraid to spend a dime or go out out in public?

Anyway…I did have some fun this past week in spite of the weekend full of work. I had a gathering of the Queen Bees and we got to meet again at the local library for a day of sewing. FIRST time in 18 months that we could sit and sew together. We were a small but mighty group in a large space and just to hear the hum of the machines and the chatter was wonderful. It felt like old times.

For the bee, I took my squares to work on the blocks that Carole Carter requested for the SAFELIGHT QUILTS. I got a few blocks made to go along with the ones I already have finished. I think I should have enough done to stitch a top together fairly soon and get it in the mail to her. From Carole’s blog post – “This project is going to be ongoing for at least a few months, so if you have time to send a few blocks between now and December, we can use them. If you haven’t seen this project until now, my local guild area is making 60×84″ quilts for the beds at the Safelight Domestic Violence Shelter. We have just a dozen or so quilters, and we need 700 blocks. If you can help with making a few blocks, here’s a pdf of what we need for you to download – Safelight Quilt Blocks. ” The block I am making was originally called the Perkiomen Valley, and I have been making some of these off and on in the last few months. I tripped over a pile of half square triangles, already made, that will go in this block after they are trimmed. The rest is simple squares, and it does go together quickly. I cut the background neutral squares I needed when I was cutting a similar size for the class Carole is teaching at my guild on Tuesday. Having everything cut and in a basket, ready to sew means I can knock a few out at a time with out having to do a lot of planning. Our bee used this pattern a couple of years ago when Carole was collecting quilts for hurricane victims.

At the bee, one of our members was working on the cutest pattern from APQS. I have to say I was so enamored, I looked the pattern up on my phone and saved it right then! I can’t wait to see how hers turns out!

Free pattern

This free pattern is available at the APQS website.

I loved it so much that I got busy the next day and cut out all the applique pieces.

Wash your hands

My hubby and I debated about that faucet and I found some sparkly fabric to overlay on the faucet. Once everything was fused down on the background, I layered the piece with a bit of warm and natural batting and started the top stitching.

blanket stitching

It took a while to get around all those curvy hands but I had a great time doing it.

I managed to get around 3 hands before I gave up for the night. Doing the rest of the stitching took a bit of time on Friday afternoon. I find this a very fun project!

Now that I am finished with the top stitching around the fusible applique, I need to figure out a backing, do a bit of quilting to anchor everything and figure out a plan for hanging it. Considering using few hanging loops for a different look, or maybe put a rod pocket on the back. Not quite sure if I am giving it away or keeping it, but it is fun to make! I’m calling it the “reminder” banner.

Do you ever just see a project you jump into making? The only yardage used on this one is the 1/2 yard for the background. All the other pieces came out of my drawers of scraps. What the heck, I needed another project!!

Coming up this weekend is another Wings and Wheels airplane/car show. This time, the show is in our own community. My hubby has been waxing and polishing his shiny truck to enter in the car show, and I was asked again to help with the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation booth. We will be up bright and early for that, but no airplane ride for me this time. They asked me to consider to consider becoming a long term volunteer. They are such nice people and I had lots of fun when I flew in Panchito to the show in Hagerstown Maryland earlier in the month. I’ll be interested in seeing what their schedule is for next year and how it fits around my cruise schedule. I know this year they still have 2 other fall shows to do, and my cruise schedule conflicts. But, I am available on Saturday and was already planning to be at the airfield. This show is familiar to me as we have gone several times. Watch for some pictures (from the ground) next week!

Any fall festivals or community events in your area this weekend? Happy October!

Autumn Jubilee 2021 has begun

My all time favorite blogger, Carole Carter, has done Autumn Jubilee for at least six years. I told her recently that when she announces Autumn Jubilee, I feel like It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Her blog, From My Carolina Home is so much fun to read. Beyond quilting, she is an avid gardener and cook, and enjoys several other types of crafts. And of course, she is a wonderful writer, and an avid reader, with book reviews monthly. She writes for a national blog, and she has had patterns published on some of my favorite shop websites. There is so much more to tell you, but I think you might have more fun exploring her blog on your own.

I want to encourage you to participate in Autumn Jubilee 2021. She has a wide range of projects planned and I am certain you will find something you enjoy. There is a button on the side of my blog near the bottom to link back to her blog as well.

Even more exciting for me, Carole is coming next Monday to Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, Delaware to do a program and teach a class! It will be so nice to finally meet her in person after so many years of following her blog, and working on her mystery quilts and Autumn Jubilee projects. Since she is driving up from North Carolina, and has limited space to bring things, several of us are sharing “our versions” of her projects during the guild meeting. It was fun pulling them out, and making sure we had a good variety to bring for next Monday. (Now, many of you know that my Scrap Dance series are “just tops” and still need quilted…)

If you read today’s post on Carole’s page, you will see she gave cutting instructions for her Autumn Jubilee 2021 quilt along, which is table topper size. Time for me to go get into my Autumn Jubilee bin of fabrics that I save for these projects every year!

Here are a couple of projects I have done over the years with Carole’s Autumn Jubilee patterns –

Autumn Jubilee Tablescape
First Autumn Jubilee runner
20170121_151026
4 finished Autumn Jubilee 2016 placemats
IMG_20201020_172120283
IMG_20210429_183519136_HDR

Edit – I forgot to ask – What is your favorite time of the year?

#AutumnJubilee2021

Travel planning and changes

Oh, it wasn’t so long ago I wrote a blog post about planning for a fall cruise to Hawaii. In this time of uncertainty, things have changed. Hawaii was making it difficult for the cruise lines to resume operations in the Islands with the rise of the Delta variant. Early in September, my cruise line cancelled all the voyages through the end of the year to Hawaii. You must know how disappointed my sister and I were, as this would have been our FIRST cruise following the restart of cruising this year. Of course, with the cancellation of the cruise came all the “other” cancellations…flights, hotel, airport to hotel shuttle etc. That took me a couple of hours to work out. And the details of refunds, and air miles being refunded etc.

A few days after the cancellation, we had the opportunity to rebook for the same ship, but different dates. That meant rebooking flights, rebooking hotels, and airport shuttle. *note to self….don’t forget that shuttle*.

We are now sailing in mid October instead of November, and are getting an extra 3 days on board. We booked a series of 5 day and 4 day cruises, commonly known as ‘back to back‘. 18 days instead of 15, which is a nice bonus.

We board in San Pedro, California and go to Cabo San Lucas Mexico, for the 5 day segment, then return to San Pedro. The 4 day segment sails to Ensenada Mexico and San Diego California. Then there is another 5 day and another 4 day segment. We were able to stay in one cabin for 3 out of 4 segments. We only switch once, after the first 5 days. Those packing cubes will be very handy for that I think and I am thinking my “carry on” will be the only thing I unpack at the beginning of the cruise.

In August I mentioned I had purchased packing compression cubes. This is a change of packing for me, as I normally use “SPACE BAGS”. You may have seen these photos in a previous post.

When I packed these last month, I was figuring on 3 formal nights and 9 sea days. I pulled everything out of the suitcase, and removed several formal night items, but pretty well left in what I originally packed. I removed my snorkeling equipment, as I don’t like to snorkel around Cabo. I added dress shoes, two pairs of sandals (one for water side), and will wear my sneakers on the flight.

Along with all the packing decisions, I had to decide “what” I was going to do in San Diego, Ensenada, and Cabo. I like to take ship excursions, because I have onboard credits to spend and this is a great way to use them up.

In San Diego I chose an excursion to a couple of wineries in Temecula California…tasting included. The description reads – Vitagliano Vineyards A family owned and operated establishment, Vitagliano’s ten-acres boast the finest super Tuscan varietals in Southern California. Descend the steps to a small lake with grass lawns and stone architecture flanked by tall trees for a boxed lunch and a tasting of six wines. Mount Palomar WinerySitting in the shadow of the Palomar Mountain range, the award-winning 55-acre winery specializing in Bordeaux style and Italian style wines offers sweeping views of the vineyards and tiered hillsides. Soak up your surroundings while indulging in six tastings. Save a little time to ascend the grand staircase to the plateau above the facility for a grand view of Temecula landscape with grapevines to your right and left. PHOTO OPPORTUNITY- Savor the rural landscape just miles from the hustle and bustle of San Diego. WHAT YOU SEE ALONG THE WAY- Located about an hour from San Diego, you’ll drive through the hills and mountains known as the Peninsular Ranges, whose peaks help create the hot days and cool nights needed for growing all but the more delicate varietals.

In Cabo San Lucas Mexico, I picked an excursion that was VERY different. It was listed as “Camel and Mexican Outback”, and was described like this- “Baja-Style Ranch in Tierra Sagrada —
Ride in air-conditioned comfort from the pier to the coastal town of Tierra Sagrada, where you will climb aboard a 4×4 off-road vehicle to a typical Baja-style ranch. During your short journey, a guide will share the local customs of this traditional town. You will be greeted by your local host once you reach the ranch, and you’ll experience a traditional Baja meal. Participate in a tortilla-making presentation, learning how to create this Mexican culinary staple, and then savor a tequila tasting. There is also an optional twenty minute two-person camel ride along the secluded beach at the ranch. At the conclusion of your visit, climb aboard your 4×4 off-road vehicle for the short return to the ranch entrance. An air-conditioned van will be waiting to take you back to Cabo San Lucas. Once at the pier area, you’ll walk back to your ship.”
(That last sentence amuses me…as the ship is anchored and you have to tender….no walking on water for me!)

Now, doesn’t that sound like an adventure???? But wait, there’s more! Our ship stays overnight anchored in Cabo, and we are going there twice. So, for the second trip, I booked this – Electric Bike Beach Adventure —Fun for the whole family, this is a great way to get off the beaten path and discover hidden gems not easily accessible on other tours. You’ll leave the harbor for a short motorcoach ride to a private ocean side ranch where you’ll meet your expert team and get familiar with your electric bike. Different from a motorbike, it’s basically a bicycle that delivers extra power on demand and the extra wide wheels make it ideal for traversing rugged terrain. If you pedal hard, very little battery is used, but when you just feel like coasting at a slow pace, the electrical assistance offers a boost to keep you moving. Your guide will be on hand to assist you along the way. Explore sandy trails and natural rivers beds, alongside the Pacific Ocean, enjoying the fresh sea breeze and stunning views. Then feel the adrenaline and excitement as you ride over a beautiful, soft-sand beach beside the glistening Pacific Ocean. LUNCH included! Feast on a delicious a Mexican buffet lunch at Tierra Sagrada restaurant while soaking up the incredible ocean views followed by a fun and entertaining tequila tasting class”.

I love an excursion that includes a meal and even better when it includes wine and tequila. There was a ZIP LINE adventure, but I really struggled with risk management on that! Yesterday my daughter said “WHY NOT”….so I looked today at it, but can’t work it in the schedule. Our ship is in “port” from noon-noon, and some excursions are only available in the afternoon. So, this time around it will be camels and bikes for my alternative transportations, and no high wire flying for me.

I haven’t chosen any thing for Ensenada for either stop or the 2nd stop in San Diego. I will probably head for “fish tacos” in Ensenada the first time, and maybe the “blow hole” at the beach. Our 2nd stop in San Diego is mid-week, and I plan to book the excursion to the San Diego zoo. I haven’t been to that zoo since I was a child and I look forward to visiting again.

You might remember from a cruise several years ago that my sister and I took the “seal boats” tour in San Diego. That was an exciting adventure. You can use that link to look back at that trip. I really had to talk my sister into that seal boat tour, but I recall she had a lot of fun.

I really enjoy revisiting places I have been to over the years. My sister has some favorite memories of Cabo, from 2008 when we went whale watching on yellow banana boats! I don’t think her back would manage that bouncing today, but it is fun to remember. She and I have gone to “Hotel California” on an excursion once, and I’m sure she will find her adventures on this trip. We move at “different speeds”, so we often choose our own adventures and excursions in a port, then meet up at dinner and swap stories.

Cruising in 2021 is an adventure in itself. If you are not willing to play by the current rules, save your money and wait a year or two to travel. The current restrictions/requirements have changed every few days based on CDC changes. Princess Cruise Lines is taking health and safety very seriously, and are strictly following CDC guidelines.

As of this blog publication, this is the current information. Don’t rely on it, it will change twice or thrice before we sail in less than 25 days. If you are cruising, check your cruise line website DAILY!!!

Princess Cruise Lines is currently booking 100% vaccinated adult guests through December 2021. (Unvaccinated children is another whole adventure and you must read your cruise line rules!)

In addition, we have to wear a mask in public spaces indoors the terminal, gangway, and on board indoors and in elevators. Masks can come off when outdoors and socially distant. We are allowed to schedule in the main dining room for a shared table, and won’t be “stuck” at a table for 2. Buffets are open, but staff will serve you.

Lastly, a COVID test must be taken 2 days before sailing, and results must be shown at the terminal prior to boarding, along with your vaccination card and passport. Be sure to read your cruise lines specifications about TYPE of test you require.

Finding a 2 day turnaround on a COVID test was an adventure. The cruise lines are allowing an “at home/proctored test” and have links on their websites to where you can order one. These tests were Binax/Abbott Labs and are proctored by E-Med and are quite simple to use. I follow several cruise “vloggers” who have successfully used these tests and filmed the entire process. Thankfully, you can sit at home, do the test in front of the computer / phone and have results in 15 minutes. The fee for these tests is fairly low, compared to what you might pay going to a private lab or at some airports for a test for travel. Getting a “free test” at your local health agency doesn’t guarantee a quick test and you must arrive with results in hand at the port. If you want more info on the “at home/proctored test”, make a comment and I will give you a link to the test order site or to the VLOGGERS who have done videos about the testing.

Are you planning any travel adventures this fall?


B25 Mitchell – the Panchito experience

Incredible experience with the Georgetown Aviation Museum volunteers and flying on the B25 Mitchell aircraft they maintain, named PANCHITO. For all the official details, check out their terrific website – https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/b-25.html

The original Panchito according to the above website – ” The B-25J, serial number 43-28147, was assigned to Captain Don Seiler of the 396th Bomb Squadron.  Capt. Seiler named his new plane “Panchito” after the feisty Mexican rooster from the 1943 animated musical “The Three Caballeros”.

Below are just a few pictures outside & inside the aircraft.

Below is some fun “flight information” about our flight from Georgetown, Delaware (GED) to Hagerstown Maryland (HGR) . Our “show time” was 0600 on Saturday morning, Sept 11, 2021. We helped with moving the B-25 out of the hanger, acting as spotters, and putting the other planes that are stored in front of it back into the hanger. My hubby went along and assisted too, but he didn’t go on the flight. By 7 am we were onboard and getting ready for take off.

Stats from FLIGHTAWARE.COM – 50 minute flight GED-HGR 7:06-7:56 , 151 miles, max altitude 5900

Once we landed, we got straight to work! We unloaded all the “gear” for the day from the aircraft. (Thankfully that stuff was loaded on Friday). There were 2 tables, 2 coolers, multiple bins of “retail sales items” and chairs, 2 EZ-UP tents, and lots of aircraft maintenance gear. We had just under an hour to get the tents set up and be ready to deal with passengers booked for the first flights of the day.

My main job was to check in the passengers and get the forms all signed, and to sell merchandise to people at the show. My friend Pete did the safety briefings and took them to the aircraft, and between flights he also worked at the tent selling things.

The B25 flights were scheduled, and sold in advance of the show, 6 passengers per flight. There were a total of 5 flights in Hagerstown.

After the passengers went out to the B25 for the last flight, we started packing up the “briefing tent”. Once it was airborne, we started packing up as much as we could, so when it landed, we could be ready for loading. One of the volunteers came from Pennsylvania, and had a pick up, so it made for much easier transport back over to the aircraft. We got a good workout handing up the equipment to one of the crew members once they landed and the passengers were all off the aircraft.

We were scheduled to “block out” of the spot at 4:45 and needed to be back over the DelMarVa Pennisula by 6 pm.

We got a nice tailwind flying back, and had to spend some extra time with low level flights while we waiting on our designated time for 3 fly-overs. We had to be over Mardela Springs at 6 pm, and Georgetown at 6:15 pm, then one more flyover on the south side of the Indian River Inlet.

STATS FROM FLIGHT AWARE – 1hr 31 minutes home with 3 fly overs HGR – GED dept 4:52 landing 6:23pm, max altitude 7240

My husband was “on the ground” at the 20th anniversary of 9/11 program in Georgetown, and he was monitoring our path on FlightAware.com . While we were “getting close” I was able to send him a text message and tell him our “actual” ETA, which he shared with the MC. He knew we had these other fly-by’s, but wondered what we were doing looping around. 3 of the “loops” in the above picture were of fly-by’s, and the rest we were just “killing time and looking at the countryside”.

To see our return flight on Flight Aware .com, click link below and then hit the REPLAY button at the bottom- https://flightaware.com/live/flight/map/N9079Z/history/20210911/2115Z/KHGR/KGED

All of my photos and videos are in an album you can see in my Panchito Flight Experience album here – https://photos.app.goo.gl/N8D3dsjn3anonSA16

I would like to say, this was an incredible flight adventure for me. I think my last flight on board a military aircraft was in 1979, on board a C-141, flying from Incirlik Air Base Turkey to Athens AB, Greece. I was a “very new” Staff Sergeant at the time. In all the years between then and now, I worked at military bases, and spent 26 of those years at Dover AFB, and never got another military aircraft flight again. I spent a lot of time on the ground on the various planes, from KC-135, KC-10, C141, C130, C17 and C5, along with DC8, DC10, 747, and an Anotov 124, along with many planes belonging to our international partners. It was an incredible way to honor the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, and makes me think about all the military people I have known since then, that have done their duty for this great country.

I would like to thank my friend Pete, who asked me to help for the day, and the incredible people from the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation who maintain and operate the B-25 Mitchell Panchito. The pilots, Sabrina and Calvin do so much more than just “fly”. Sabrina was there on Friday, working on reinstalling panels on the aircraft until after 8 pm. Calvin did all the arrangements for the bookings for the flights, loading the gear for the outbound flight, taking lunch orders and even towing the aircraft out of the hanger. A very young crew member was Connor, and he was handling every odd job sent his way, including assisting with fueling. On the ground in Hagerstown I got to meet Bill, aka The Janitor. He was a secondary crew member handling passengers in the back of the aircraft.

If you have an interest in flying on this WWII era aircraft, look at the events tab on the museum website – https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/events.html and pre-book and pre-pay. The “money shot seat” is the jump seat. It takes a good bit of effort to climb on board and maneuver into any of those seats. (My quads are telling me that today!!) The next event locally is at the Wings and Wheels Air Show, October 2, Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown Delaware. If you want to fly in this aircraft, I recommend you get yourself booked in advance! I usually go to this event with my hubby, as he likes to take his truck and show it at the “car show”. This year, you may find me at the B-25 tent or out and about the area. I often run into friends showing their vehicle or looking at some of the other great aircraft on display. Over the years I have shared photo’s, and the last time I went, my grandchildren really got to enjoy the planes, the cars, and of course, all the variety of vendors.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos in the album, and in those videos, appreciate the “sound” of freedom that military aircraft make.

Have you ever done an “experience” flight such as this? Do tell….love your comments!

UPDATE — I’ve been advised that the “stats” in FLIGHT AWARE are not always “spot on”, so take what you see on that website with a “grain of salt”. The pilot informed me “ FlightAware’s altitude reporting is not accurate. We have proved that with flights we know and recorded our actual altitude against what FlightAware shows.” Our minimum altitude was above 1000 feet during the flyby’s.

Volunteer for the day and a ride

I was asked by a good friend if I could help out on Saturday, at the Hagerstown MD Wings and Wheels event. It is a bit of a drive from home ( over 3 hours ), and my friend advised, no problem….transportation provided. Great!! I just have to buzz over to the local airport 5 minutes from home, and hop on board Panchito, a B-25 Mitchell bomber for the flight from Delaware to Hagerstown.

My “volunteer job” for the day, once we arrive at Hagerstown, will be giving safety briefings to folks who have pre-registered and paid for their own 45 minute “flight experience”. There is also “merchandise” to sell, and I will help staff the table for that activity. Once the airshow is over, we will “load the gear we brought” back up, and fly home to Delaware, doing a “fly by” in Georgetown of a 9-11 event about 6 pm.

This is a World War II aircraft that is maintained at the Delaware Aviation Museum – (https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/b-25.html )

I am excited to have something very different to look forward to and will try to take some decent photo’s while the day progresses. The photo above was taken at the NY Air show in 2021.

Small Town Charm project completed

NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.

I wanted to share my completed Small Town Charm project with you. The blocks I have shared in previous posts have been incorporated into a tote bag for my friend June. The bag was made with short straps to go over her walker handles, and buttons to hold them in place. It also has ties on the side to keep the bag from swinging while the walker is in ‘motion’.

Before I made this project I took a look at her existing bag and measured it.

Those measurements were important as I created the new bag, since I didn’t have a walker handy to test the fit.

I had fun figuring out which fabrics I wanted to use for the bag, making my choices from that one box of fabric I had dumped out and sorted. I really wanted to make the bag for June using her OWN fabric. My hope is the fabrics will be ones she remembers having. While they don’t have the same elegance as the beautiful blues and golds in the bag picture above, they do remind me of things she likes. And, when I agreed to make the new bag, June didn’t make any color requests. Well…you know that I like things scrappy!

sorting options
Trying out possibilities

I played around with lots of color combinations, and thought about how I wanted to “construct” the bag. Once the decisions were made, the extra bits of fabric came down off the wall, and the construction was pretty simple.

After the front and back of the bag was made, I layered it with Pellon 973F (Fusible Fleece) and did some quilting. I made the straps, and put the bag together.

SMT Tote bag
Waiting for lining

Once the outside of the bag was made, I chose one of those pretty pink fabrics and made the lining. I added pockets for both sides of the lining. I used the fusible fleece in the pockets too, so it has some body.

Construction is similar to lining any tote bag. Once your lining is ready, you slide the main bag inside the lining, with pretty sides (right sides touching). You have to make sure you leave an opening for turning. My opening was on the side, just above the edge of the pockets.

STC Lining
Right sides together

Those little clips are great for holding the edges of the bag together and keeping everything lined up during the sewing process. You can see the stitching of the pockets on the back side of that lining in the photo above.

Below, is the inside of the bag showing the pockets.

INSIDE STC lots of pockets

Once the bag was pulled through the opening and turned “right side out, a quick press along that top seam, and of the lining before top stitching around the upper edges. I use my clips then as well to make sure there is no shifting.

Button holes in the straps for two closing positions, and some bright shiny buttons on the Flower Shop side of the bag.

STC Tote bag
Small town charm bag

The blue bag she had previously had a bit of velcro tab to keep the bag closed. I added a 3″ strip of velcro near the top edge of the new bag, skipping the tab. I also added two pockets on the sides of the bag, where she can keep a packet of tissues if she likes. The ties for the walker on the bottom are made from June’s stash of bias tape binding.

The bag has a “scrappy quilter” look to it I think. My husband, who knows her so well, thinks she is going to “LOVE” the new bag. I had fun making the Small Town Charm embroidery blocks, and building a bag that will be functional for her. I’m glad I have had a little experience making bags in the past few years, or I would never have tackled this without a specific pattern in hand.

If I was making this into a tote / purse for myself, I would not have used the dimensional awning on the flower shop, but I knew the bag would be stationary once attached to the walker, and I think the flower shop will face out, so it won’t get mashed during use. For myself, I would use a magnetic closure, and put a couple of key ring loops inside the bag to have a spot for hooking my car keys. (Hate hunting in the bottom of a bag for keys!) Because of where / how June lives, she really doesn’t use keys.

Do you enjoy bag making? Any tips? Do you have a favorite pattern that you make frequently?

EDIT — bag delivered and installed!

Tote bag installed

#DimeSewAlong