Creating again – Scissor fobs

Last week, some of the Queen Bees got together and we made “scissor fobs” for the 2nd Time Around booth to sell at our April Quilt Show.  That was a LOT of fun!  Suzanne taught us how to do the beading, and 5 of us got together and made 28 scissor fobs!

working on Scissor Fobs

Each one has a lobster clip on one end and some sort of cute charm on the other end. The idea is to distinguish your scissors from someone else’s, and to help you find your scissors on your table or crafting area. Those little scissors tend to “hide” and this should make it easier to find them if you have set them down someplace.

Scissor fobs

The variety is so interesting.  We each had fun choosing stones and beads to use for making the projects.

Packing up for the show

Those of us who got together each had a supply of beads and stones, and all we needed to purchase were the lobster clasps and the crimp beads.  We had a good time creating different settings, and I think these will be a nice addition to our little “Second Time Around” booth at the Ocean Waves Quilt Show in April.  More details on the show here – https://www.oceanwavesquiltguild.org/quilt-show

What are you working on?

Advertisements

The end of the journey – Cozumel and home – back to reality

The third and final segment of the travel adventures – Warning….lots of photos

During my recent cruise on the Regal Princess, we had our last port of call in Cozumel Mexico.  I’ve been there twice before and this time was looking for a different type of adventure.  I selected a snorkeling trip and beach day.

Cozumel Excursion

My excursion was for the afternoon, and was worthwhile.  The FURY company that operated the excursion did a fantastic job.  There were about 8 crew members for the 45 or so passengers on the catamaran.  Lots of seating in the shade!  Decent equipment.  The snorkeling location was about 100 yards from where our ship was docked.  That was a surprise.  We had crystal clear water, and a guide in the water with us as we swam about.  Following the snorkeling, we reboarded the catamaran using “stairs”, not a ladder which was awesome.

Steps on the back of the Fury

The bar opened as we turned in our gear and set sail for our beach time.  Arriving at the beach we went down those stairs again into shallow water and walked up onto the beach. When we arrived, there were 3 or 4 other Fury boats there, and ours was last in and last out.

Fury Private Beach

There was lunch available ($11.50 for a hamburger platter) along with the open bar.  The water was filled with various play toys, and there were plenty of items to use in the water for floating around.  The private “FURY” beach had plenty of loungers and lots of people having a very good time.  We stayed for about an hour & 1/2.  I took this photo below using the “panoramic setting” so it gives the photo a bit of a “curve”, but gives you a WIDE look at this great beach.

Panoramic view of the Fury beach

It was a “perfect beach weather day” – and I was teasing my husband who was at home contending with snow by sending him pictures like this!

Perfect beach weather

Sunny day in Cozumel

I enjoyed my time in the sun, and in the brilliant clear water in Cozumel.  The sand was like sugar and I would recommend this trip to anyone!  As it happens, the late afternoon brought in some clouds, but they were welcome after a day in the sun!

Beautiful water

We did enjoy the open bar on the catamaran as we proceeded under full sail back to the port.  I met up with my sister once we docked!  She had a fun time exploring around the port area, finding lots of places to try new beers and foods.

Catching up with my sister

We took advantage of one of those pedal cabs for the trip back to our ship!  Since there were so many ships in port, the pier was quite crowded.

LONG piers in Cozumel

That is a very long pier.  Cozumel was a winner!!  We enjoyed our day in port!

Our last day was a “sea day” which was a great way to relax and finish out the trip.  After such a port heavy trip, it is nice to have some sea days.  Of course, there is the packing to be done, setting suitcases out before dinner, and trying to get in all those activities you don’t want to miss out on!

Docking on Sunday morning and traveling to the airport went pretty well.  My flight was uneventful going to Philadelphia and the connector got me home on schedule. The layover in Philadelphia was long enough to easily switch terminals and get a late lunch/early supper at Chipotle!  Hubby picked me up “on time” in Salisbury for the quick drive home.

I was up “early” Monday morning for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting!  I came home that afternoon and finished unpacking and “repacking” for the “next” cruise at the end of March. Once the laundry was finished and caught up, I pretty well have everything ready to go, either in or on top of the suitcase!

I’m ready to go for the next trip!!  I’m just now starting to think about the places our next cruise will take us to, and the excursions I will choose.  My lesson from my stop in Grand Cayman (Yesterday’s post) is to be more mindful of what is happening at a given island because so many tourists are coming there.

Do you have any winter travel plans??

More soon….

 

Travel Fun (Part 2) Falmouth Jamaica and Grand Cayman

FAIR WARNING – LOTS of photos!  Travelogue of my recent cruise on the Regal Princess- Western Caribbean Jan 27-Feb 3 2019.

My recent travel adventures included a visit to Falmouth Jamaica.  I’ve been to Ochos Rios a couple of times, and the ship offered many tours that took you from the port in Falmouth to the numerous tourist sites in Ochos Rios.  I could not decide on what to do, as I did not want to wander about independently and I had no desire to spend an hour or more on a bus headed to Ochos Rios.  So, my been there done that attitude kept me at the ship.  I wandered off with another passenger and my sister and explored the huge port area, full of shops, bars, and restaurants.  Rain was in the forecast, and threatening to let loose at any moment.  We ventured into Margaritaville for lunch and an adult beverage.

Margaritaville Falmouth Jamaica

That is quite the set up in this port, complete with a pool and swim up bar. We opted for a table under “cover” because of the impending rain, not wanting to be caught with a table full of food when the skies opened up. I enjoyed a platter with Jerk Chicken, rice and beans and  a delicious banana margarita. My lunch, with 16.5% sales tax and a 20 % tip ran $40. YIKES!  The tip was good because the service was great.

Selfie with Princess the waitress

( Side note – travel brings fun experiences and great memories.  When I started to work on this post, my nearly 11 year old grandson was very interested in the picture below, with the various countries currency.  He immediately used the calculator to convert his US Dollars monthly allowance into Jamaican Dollars! It was great fun watching him figure out the calculation necessary. He was impressed by the result of the  large number that the allowance would be in Jamaican dollars. Grandma didn’t delve into the relative “value” of the various currencies…he figured it out on his own  )

The bill for lunch

Our waitress Princess was fantastic and made sure she got her photo taken with mine! #MVILLECARIBBEAN  She really was attentive and earned that tip !  My sister was NOT a big fan of the LIGHT Red Stripe beer.  She ordered a “regular” Red Stripe and liked it a bit better.  There were all kinds of kiosks and shops with everything you could imagine buying just outside the door of Margaritaville.  In fact, you had to go through the obligatory gift shop to exit to the dock area. In my typical fashion, I wandered along with my sister while she shopped here and there.  I came home with memories but no stuff.

Just as we got back on the ship the weather gave us what it promised and the drizzle turned to steady rain.  The temperatures dropped and we spent the rest of the day on board the ship in the comforts it offered.

Rain over the resort in Falmouth Jamaica

I did some checking on the “next day” forecast and it looked MUCH better –

planning ahead for Grand Cayman

My excursion plans in Grand Cayman had been set for 3 or more months!  The weather forecast was perfect!!

Plan for Grand Cayman

I started my day like this –

Perfect start to the morning in Grand Cayman

From the balcony, I had a view of the dawn over George Town Grand Cayman –

Morning light in Grand Cayman

And I could watch all the lifeboat “tender activity” as well –

Regal Princess Tenders

You can see we were NOT the only ship in town. This meant busy docks, busy tours, busy shops.  My tour was fairly early, so I was off the ship right after breakfast. Once I tendered over to the dock, I could see 4 ships from that location!

4 ships in Grand Cayman

I often wonder if Grand Cayman will ever invest in docks suitable for cruise ships!  The tour group quickly gathered, and in minutes we were off on a mini-bus to the West Bay.  We arrived quickly and selected our bikes, and set off with our leader –

Bike tour guide

We had “single speed beach cruisers” , not mountain bikes as advertised in the tour description.

Bike ride equipment

I had to remember how to use coaster brakes.  But, all was good and we road a fair distance for the tour. About 3 miles into our ride, we made a stop at the Cayman Turtle Centre where we had an opportunity to hear about the breeding program and to see the very large turtles in the breeding pond.  It was a good stop for some water, restrooms and sightseeing.

Breeding turtles

The photo doesn’t show the size of these turtles.  They were 3-4 feet across.

Cayman Turtle Farm breeding pool

As I was editing photos for this post, I “googled” the Cayman Turtle Center and came across a very disturbing story from National Geographic about this turtle center and the crowding.  My photo below shows that crowding –

crowded in the breeding pool

While touring, I did not realise that this crowding together was problematic until later when I read that article linked above.  The “handling” indicated in the article was done also.  I always chose not to “touch” the animals, as I think it is stressful regardless of the environment.  I remember scuba diving in Hawaii in 2008 and being told “don’t touch” the green turtle, when he swam near us. All of the visitors were offered an opportunity to “hold” a young turtle for a “selfie shot”, and I did take lots of their photos!

Holding turtles for selfie shots

Again, I don’t think those of us on the tour had any idea of the article in National Geographic and the stress these turtles were put under.  It was a “fun activity” at the time, but in hindsight, it makes me a little sad that this was being promoted by cruise lines.  80% of the visitors at the turtle center come from cruise ships. I selected this tour because I thought I was doing a healthy “good” activity.  Well….back on the bike ride, we went straight from there to HELL !  Literally…..

Of course, the path to Hell is paved with Rum Cake and we did stop by for a sample on the way there!  The view on the way to HELL was pretty nice!

Rum cake stop

That stop took place at a “tourist shop” where you could taste the cake and buy your souvenirs too! I had my bite of rum cake but went back out to enjoy the view!

Nicky's tour stop

Like I said — next stop was

Just a stop over

looking at the dead coral in Hell

I found this sign on the viewing platform –

The story behind the name

For an easier to “read” description – check out the wikipedia version https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Grand_Cayman

I did get my passport stamped in the general “store/gift shop”; spent my money on postcards and quickly wrote notes to loved ones in the event I never returned.  I DID return home, but the post cards are still making their way through the international postal systems of the Cayman Islands and the US Mail.  No one has received theirs yet.  😦

While standing on the viewing platform, I noticed a vine flowering and I thought the contrast between limestone looking quite dead and the new life of the vine was interesting –

flowering near the dead coral in Hell, Cayman Islands

It made me think that even amidst the bleak, dead limestone God gives new life.

We were soon back on our bikes and completed our circuit of the West Bay.  We rode a total of 6.83 miles on the tour with very little elevation change. It was a nice pace, of 7.6 mph according to my “STRAVA” app.  

We had a few minutes to have a nice drink at the Commodore Restaurant and Bar while we looked out at the bay and cooled off from our ride.  A cold beer was just the ticket after all that exercise!  Our ride back to the ship was a rather hair-raising ride with a driver who was “in a hurry” to make another pick up. No tip for him!  I did a few videos while I was on that wild ride in the bus and hoped they would be in my “google cloud” if I ended up dead!  We arrived safely back to the docks and I tendered back to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at the pool!

Pool time in Grand Cayman

It was a perfect end to the day!  This is one of my favorite parts of cruising!  Have an adventure, then come back to the ship for some relaxation!

More later……..

 

Travel fun, delays and challenges Part 1

PHOTO INTENSE…..fair warning…… (this is a multi-part post)….

I’m back from a week of travel with my sister.  Travel can be fun, but not always!  Some parts of it are just a pain in the neck!!

It was a GOOD week to be away from Delaware where the temperatures were in the single digits during the night and a flurry of snow turned into 3 inches!  The Saturday morning I departed from home “in the dark” and was at the airport only a few minutes when the morning light caught my eye.

Waiting for sunrise in SBY

Those quiet dawn moments on the flightline are one of the few things I miss about going to work.  Then I remember it was the ONLY good thing about working the midnight shift, and that dawn’s early light meant the shift was going to be over soon.

Hubby always teases me about getting to the airport so early. I had an 8:30 am flight, which according to TSA rules meant a 6:30 arrival.  Well, I guess I can tell you that our little airport knows how to handle the big crowds! I got comfortable and put my feet up watching the folks check in !

All checked in

Then of course, once TSA opened the security line for the flight, I breezed right through….only to find myself at odds, waiting on a 4 hour delay. Seems the flight crew didn’t want to fly, and we had to wait on ANOTHER crew to arrive from Charlotte to take our aircraft out.    I kept myself entertained while I waited patiently.  I wrote out  16 invitations to the upcoming Cruise Critic Meet & Greet for the officers onboard the Regal Princess.

4 hour delay

Then, I studied the ship map….again….just to make sure I knew where everything was once I boarded the following day.

Ship map Regal Princess

Finally at 12:05 we were out on the runway, ready to depart!!

Time to go

What a way to start a vacation~!!~  It was a lovely day for flying and taking photos from the airplane window.

heading to Philadelphia

Our 29 minute flight from Salisbury Maryland (SBY) to Philadelphia PA (PHL) takes you along coastal Delaware before crossing the Delaware Bay and flying over New Jersey as you approach the Philadelphia Airport.

homes on the beach Delaware

The funny part of this story is, by car, we live 30 minutes or so from the Salisbury Airport, and 2 hours from the Philadelphia Airport.  I often take the flights out of Salisbury to avoid that 2 hour drive!  It really didn’t pay off on this occasion. My “next” trip in March will be out of Philadelphia!! (Really, those reservations were made months ago, it was just a better deal!  But, that means the dear husband will be driving  me to the airport and home again, and overall that is 8 hours for him in the car for my trip, which I hate to do!)

Anyway, when I finally arrive in Philadelphia, my “new connection” required another wait once I arrived.  So, I stopped for lunch and a well deserved adult beverage!  I enjoyed an Angry Orchard cider with my “Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich” while I relaxed and waited 2 hours for the “new connection”.

Waiting on flight in Philadelphia

I had a view of a cruise ship leaving Port Everglades as our flight approached Ft Lauderdale!

Approaching Ft Lauderdale

This day of travel was a good reminder of why I always, always, always, fly in the DAY before the ship sails.   I am glad that was not the Regal Princess !  That would not have been a good finish to the day.

I finally arrive in Fort Lauderdale, much later than I had originally planned. Rain greeted me while I waited for the shuttle to the airport hotel.  My sister had arrived from Nevada a few hours earlier, had the room, and had dinner ordered from a local place that delivered.  I dropped my luggage in the room, opened the suitcase to “dry out”, and relaxed for the evening.  Note – I always always always pack my clothing in Space Bags (available on line or in your local big box stores).  This is NOT the first time my suitcases has gotten wet in transit! It was easy to take out the space bags, wipe them with a towel and let the suitcase air dry in the hotel, then reload them in the morning. The suitcase dried easily overnight in the hotel room, set near the air conditioning vents.  If it had not been dry, I would have used the hotel hair dryer!

The morning view from the hotel room window was nice, but there was a bit of drizzle to start the day.

Rain threatening to spoil the day

I used the hotel shuttle to make a quick trip to K-Mart near the hotel and picked up a few necessities (2 bottles of wine for the ship).  It was too drizzly to make the walk to the store and I wanted to make sure I had the essentials for the cruise.  Later in the morning the sky cleared up nicely and I was able to take a nice walk before it was time to board the shuttle to the ship.  My sister and I planned for one of the latest shuttles (Noon), to avoid some of the crowds at the hotel and at Port Everglades.

Shuttle to the cruise

Our hotel uses a service for that transportation which was quite efficient. We were READY to go.  Streamlined boarding was wonderful. A good tip to the porters at the port got our luggage taken care of quickly, and having our Cruise Medallions already made it the fastest check in ever. No waiting. We walked up with our boarding pass, our Medallion, were given our cruise cards, and we were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the port.

It took no time at all to settle into our “Deluxe Balcony Cabin # R509 ” on the Regal Princess.   A big improvement from the original inside cabin we had booked, and the upgrade was well appreciated.

Deluxe Balcony R509 Regal Princess

This cabin had a love seat and a significantly smaller bathroom than our mini-suite on the Regal in December. But the extra space was nice in the cabin and we enjoyed having the balcony.

Our pre-ordered water, and my cup for the “soda” package was already in the room.  (In December when Hubby & I cruised on the same ship, they had a shortage of the cups for the “soda” package, and compensated us with multiple large bottles of water in lieu of the cups.  We never use the cups on the ship, we just bring them home, so it was not a big loss).  I do like the new design!  Much heavier tumbler than “last spring”.

New Soda package cups

I just had to add the wine to the fridge. A call later in the afternoon for room service to deliver the “liquor & beer” and we were ready to sail!  We made plans to attend the Platinum and Elite pre-dinner cocktail party every night.  I liked the new drinks being offered daily. These were “specially priced” for the cocktail party and we were tempted with many of them.

Exclusive Elite Lounge specials

As we wandered around the ship, we enjoyed looking at all the other ships and the activities as they all prepared to depart.

Departing Port Everglades

As we sailed out of the channel, the Regal Princess played the LOVE BOAT theme with the ships horns.  I’m sure the residents hate it, but I loved it!!

Our itinerary was to take us to Princess Cays, Bahamas, a tender port for Monday.  The dawn was beautiful.

First sunrise

Sadly, there was just too much wind and choppy seas for us to safely tender and the Captain chose to skip the port.  Later in the day we had to endure the rain that accompanied that wind, and it made for a soggy sea day. The crew was quick to arrange new “onboard activities” in the Piazza, the center of the ship; and in other public spaces. I enjoyed my time “under cover” on the Lido Deck.

Deck 16 Regal Princess

I worked on my “never ending hexi project” for an hour or two, out in the fresh air with a nice drink in hand.

working on hexi's during the rain

Over the course of the cruise, I met most mornings with the “Knitters and Knatters” and did a little hand stitching. I met a nice group of “stitchers”, and am glad that the ship offers the gathering every cruise.

Monday rounded out with cocktails, dinner and a comedian, Steve Caouette, in the Princess Theater.

Tuesday was a scheduled sea day as we sailed towards Falmouth Jamaica.  It was also the day for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which I had coordinated before we sailed.  I had my fingers crossed that everyone would “show up”.  I was delighted to see the number of people who attended along with the ships officers.  One member came with his fancy camera and took a group photo and some random snaps of people mingling with the officers.

The manager of the Medallion department presented each attendee with a little “clip on” device to hold our medallions in.  The clip was nice and a real benefit for attending the Meet & Greet.  If you like to cruise, check out the “roll calls” on CruiseCritic.com

The weather on Tuesday was perfect for an afternoon spent by the pool.  I enjoyed using the Adults only pool area on Deck 17, were there were loungers and shade. It was a beautiful place to spend a few hours, have a nap, read etc.

pool area deck 17 Regal Princess

As you can see, the weather improved dramatically. Blue skies, blue water, sunshine and warm temperatures are what make for a perfect day at sea!

Part II coming soon…………………..

 

Feeling a little Crafty

January has been a fun month doing lots of activities with family and friends.  Typically, I am NOT a “crafty” person.  I’m a quilter.  Now, that said…it’s been a crafty kind of week!

I took a trip over to Alexandria VA last weekend to participate in the “MAKER’S MILE” in Old Town Alexandria.  This event was sponsored by Fibre Space, Penny Post, Stitch Sew Shop, Red Barn Mercantile and A/R Workshop.  For a modest fee, we attended “maker’s workshops” at each shop, and made a small project.

We started at Penny Post, which is a delightful stationary shop.  Our project was to “decorate” a small notebook.  Materials were all provided and we had fun trying out new stamps, fun pens, washi tape etc.

Penny Post project

Our next stop was Red Barn Mercantile, where we created cute little beaded necklaces.  This project was fun until the end, when pliers were needed.  After a lengthy search for them, the clerks finally appeared with a set. Couldn’t have finished without them to put the last bead on!

Red Barn Mercantile  project

We followed that project up with a nice lunch at a rather historical location – Gadsby’ Tavern Restaurant.

Lunch stop in Old Town Alexandria

Gadsby's Tavern

Hey – George really did eat here….there was a picture of him…on the way down the stairs to the toilets……

George ate here

We walked off our lunch by heading to A/R Workshop.  There we selected our “inspiration word for 2019” and did a little painting. This shop was a little more “hands on” helping with the project.

Inspiration word at A/R Workshop

Heading back to the other end of the Maker’s Mile, we road the free trolly through Old Town.  We hopped off and walked a few blocks to Fibre Space, a lovely shop full of yard and patterns and nice people. There certainly a lot of knitters working on projects in the store and the knitter I was with went shopping while I attended the workshop and 3 youngsters. Everyone got their pom-pom key ring made, and it was probably the most “hands on” of the projects thus far.

Fibre Space project

Last stop was Stitch Sew Shop – where the task was a counted cross stitch item.  We were given a kit, told to select to contrasting colors of embroidery floss, then left to our own devices to get the needle threaded etc.  (I gave up after 3 tries…no needle threader, 6 strands of floss and standing to work on the project.)  Into my bag it went, and I intend to try it at another time. I was startled to find no needle threader available on the notions wall in a sewing store. The shop was very crowded, as we arrived in the first hour they offered the activity. I watched a “sewer” working diligently on a project bag while there were 25 people crowded around the table next to her. KUDOS to her for her concentration.

Stitch Sew Shop project

Is it a UFO if you never started???   I’ll take it on my trip tomorrow and see if I can do something with it!

At home this week, I had a Bee on Tuesday, Second Time Around on Wednesday, and today, after packing for my trip tomorrow, I took some time to do a test run of a project I have planned for February.  I made a wreath for my sewing room wall.  I started with a wire frame from Dollar Tree, then wrapped it in pale pink lace.

Sewing room wreath project

I got out the hot glue gun and all those old wooden spools of thread from the bins of “unsold stuff” at Second Time Around.  I trimmed and glued and and kept piling on things until I was satisfied with the results.

Sewing room wreath

I think it worked out pretty well, and I can’t wait to hang it on the wall in my sewing room.  But first, I am going to use it as a sample when my Queen Bee friends come over and they work on their own wreaths.  Plus, I am going to “borrow” their back, and use it as a display during our quilt show.  I think I am going to assemble some “KITS  to make your own wreaths” and sell them at the quilt show. in the Second Time Around Booth.  We have an ABUNDANCE of supplies, like old buttons, notions, thread etc, and this seems like the perfect solution.  (My daughter said to me recently that if I had a “sample of a craft” they could get inspired! Here’s my sample.

So, that’s all the crafty stuff for now.  No sewing, but a lot of fun.

I’ll be off on a trip for the next week, but I am taking my English Paper Piecing hexies with me and that counted cross stitch project too.    What’s happening in your crafty world?

Embroidery machine Fun and Frustrations

November and December were busy months with my Brother PE500 Embroidery machine. I had a great time working with the “in the hoop” ornaments, and decided to try some Free Standing Lace.

I have a “larger hoop” that I was given to try.  It is re-positionable on my machine. Using it, I can hoop a larger piece of stabilizer and then “shift” the hoop, and get multiple 4×4 designs stitched out, without re-hooping.  It is from Embroidex and was purchased on Amazon.

It is perfect for saving on stabilizer when working with Free Standing Lace (FSL).  At our Embroidery Club, one of the ladies also showed how she cut a “larger” piece of stabilizer than needed, and “re-hooped” it to maximize the number of designs she was able to stitch out.  4 of my friends had made hundreds of FSL ornaments for a Christmas Tree for a Hospice Charity fundraiser, so I took their advice.

Multiple hoopings of stabilizer in the expanded hoop

The photo above shows how the “re-hooping” worked out.  I certainly saved stabilizer.  This hooping has VILENE (water soluble) on the bottom, and water soluble clear on top.

Many of my free standing lace designs are 10,000 stitches or more for a 4×4 piece.  I was  working on a bell, and snapped a picture of the screen.

Lots of stitches for 1 ornament

8 ornaments done

I was really pleased with these ornaments and I loved doing them in gold thread.  It is hard to tell the back from the front with most of these.  They were “drying” after removing the water soluble stabilizer.

I thought I would switch threads for a bit and changed to a metallic.  What a disaster. Thread breaks and jams! My own fault for doing it without a thread stand and a metallic embroidery needle.   My machine has never jammed to this degree.  I was convinced it was ruined.  I honestly thought I had broken something “inside”, and the nearest repair shop is almost 100 miles away, and it costs $150 just to walk in the door.  I wasn’t willing to spend that for a machine that I won, that is worth less than $500 and have used for 5 years.  So, my dear husband said he would “try to fix it”.  (He is an electronics and mechanical genius, so I had nothing to lose).

Investigating the inner workings

It took him about 3 minutes to figure out where all the screws come out and all the “plastic snap clips” were to get the entire outer cover off of the machine.  Then, of course, he had to study the inner workings.  At this point, I was having a little anxiety about the whole “disassembly”.

Looking for the Jam

The wheel on the side of the machine was totally jammed, so he started looking for that jam and what needed to get “unstuck”.  While he was deep into the machine, he had NO idea I snapped a few photos.  He said the machine was “surprisingly clean” for one that has never been serviced. I think that is the nature of embroidery only machines…not collecting lint from the feed dogs, because they don’t have any.

Digging out the jammed thread

Lots of pulling and tugging on bits of thread to get the jam out.  Shocking amount of thread stuck inside the machine.

Working on the problem

What a gift my dear husband is.  He is a man of many talents and is fearless about taking things apart.  Of course, I watched and handed screwdrivers and tweezers (even my really good ones) to him while he worked on my machine. And I know how he works…screws everywhere, so I gave him a screw storage facility!

 

The tangled web

All that thread was caught up in the take up lever area, stuck around a place it should not be.  Now, some of it may have been there a while (the red thread), but that big blob of gold …that was all the metallic thread.  I was certain I had “stripped” those stupid plastic gears inside of the machine, but once it was all back together again, we did some testing and once “I” got the needle in properly (not the first try…..blood pressure boiling…..) it stitched out a test letter!!  SUCCESS!!!  (He teases me because he thinks I don’t trust his mechanical skills!!)

Imagine, he did this for me on Christmas Eve, while the rest of the family was out at a party and I was working to finish up 3 gifts.  It really was a gift to me that he was able to fix it.  I have mentioned many times that I have “hoop envy” and want a “bigger machine” but honestly, I wasn’t quite ready to BUY one.  So; I am very please it is back together.

Once all the family gatherings were over, and the holiday excitement wound down, I gave the machine a “real test”.  I stitched a couple of towels for a gift and the machine worked as anticipated!

First run after the repair

The cute designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies –  Farm hen design on white towel and  Farm Rooster design on the black towel .   I added the chicken wire fabric at the bottom of the towel and for a loop.  I use “vilene” in the hoop, float the towel and pin it on top of the vilene and run a basting stitch to secure in place.  I use a water soluble topper (clear) on top.  I stitched the farm rooster TWICE because I think with the black towel, it needed more thread laid down.  I love the way they turned out.  I’ve been saving the chicken wire fabric for months to use with these designs and towels.  (My friends voted NO ruffle, so I made a band of fabric).  Getting ready to “gift them” this week.

So; all in all a great time with the Brother PE500 embroidery machine.  Frustrations and learning curve are part of the process.  My level of trust in the hubby’s mechanical skills went up again!  My friends that were over last week were calling him a superhero for fixing that machine!! HE IS !!!

 

Airplanes and Ships

December was a busy month for us with hobbies, family and travel. The month just “flew by”.  This has turned into a “multi-modal” post!  Having been retired for over 6 years from the “transportation industry”, I love using those old “work phrases”….

Between Train club weekends, I had 2 workshops for 2nd Time Around, played host with my Queen Bees and worked on the final assembly of the Carolina Hurricane Quilt, got a 10 1/2 mile bike ride in with my daughter & granddaughter.

I started the month of December at the Train Club with the 2nd weekend of the open house season, and followed it up with a trip to the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting for the annual holiday luncheon, and another gathering of the Queen Bees for our Christmas luncheon and fun gift exchange.  Sadly in between, I was squeezing in trips to see a dear friend in her last days of hospice care, and got there as often as I was able.  No regrets, I did the best I could and hoped it brought her some cheer. I was blessed to be asked to help contact my pastor for the family, and my friend as well.  Somewhere in between all this, we managed to get the Christmas tree out of the closet and assembled, and some of the lights put on.

Hubby and I were at Philadelphia Int’l Airport waiting on our flight to Florida when we saw Air Force One land. Here is a quick video I shot – Air Force One at Philadelphia .  No matter which President is in office, seeing that plane land is always an awesome sight!  (And I worked in an industry where I saw giant cargo planes land all the time, and had Air Force One on our ramp on many occasions). I just think it is a beautiful sight.  The President was in Philadelphia for the Army – Navy game.  We made sure to arrive at the airport early, so we would not get caught up in the predicted traffic snarl that accompanies any US President when he travels to a city.

Heading to Ft Lauderdale to go on a cruise in December was a lot of fun (but a crazy idea given our calendar, but a much needed respite).  We arrived on Saturday, December 8, and sailed on the lovely Regal Princess on Sunday Dec 9. We had a beautiful mini-suite on board this ship.

Princess Cruise Ship - Regal Caribe 330

Regal Princess C330

The welcome aboard glass of champagne is always a pleasant greeting!

Welcome aboard

Of course, I have a full album of photos of the trip, and you are welcome to browse through them. Regal Princess Cruise photos .  I won’t bore you with them here, but suffice to say, I took a lot of photos.  Our week on the ship was lovely, and this ship is one of the ships using the new Medallion instead of the cruise card. It was an interesting, relaxing week.   I certainly enjoyed just being at sea, taking great walks on the ship, eating endless amounts of food and desserts! We finished out the week with an airboat ride in the Florida everglades before we flew home.  Like I said, multi- modal kind of week.

We got home 1 week and a day before Christmas, and ran thru the house getting the tree decorated, the other decorations up, and the lights out on the porch before the grandchildren arrived. We got home Sunday, and they arrived on Friday and let me tell you, we were zooming around getting ready, along with unpacking and a weeks worth of washing to do!

There is lots more to the December story, but I am out of time today!  Stay tuned….I have 20 minutes to get ready for another Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting before I race out the door.  Happy New Year.