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.

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.

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?

 

 

A week of finishes and fun

I’ve had a fairly busy week.  Mid-week I was going to post something and then FLICKR had an outage while they did a platform migration; so I had to patiently wait…..in order to share my photos on the blog post. The downtime was much longer than I anticipated!

Wrapping up the never ending placemat project  — The final batch of batik placemats has binding on them!  Happy to get them finished!  Now; what to do with them????  (Started these last summer, and they turned out to be a fun project for free motion quilting practice) Time to put the basket of batik strips away for a while. Total made – 18.

Finally finished

I attended a “sit & sew” on Thursday and Friday and got something “finished” during that dedicated sewing time.  Funny thing is; I honestly didn’t know what I was going to work on until it came time to load the car on Thursday morning to leave. I walked into my sewing room; saw my 2 unfinished Cardinal blocks on the design wall and made a fast decision.  Another started these LAST year….had 1 completed and 2 unfinished.

My 3rd bird is not finished; but I have big plans for it on Tuesday at my Queen Bees gathering!

Two Cardinals

The bird on the right is “last year’s” model.  The one on the left is the one I finished on Thursday.

When I was leaving to go to the sit & sew, I forgot to grab the finished one to bring as a “reminder” of how I did the quilting etc. I also failed to bring all the thread colors I might need.  I was “saved by my friend Cheryl” who had an array of choices and shared!

It wasn’t until I sat these 2 together to take this photo that I realised what I had done differently to the bird.  Bird on the right (Bird 1) is really standing out.  He has an extra layer of wool batting JUST under the bird portion and bird on the right is just one layer of batting.  Other than “fabric choices” for borders; bird on the right also has more quilting surrounding him and in the borders.  Bird on the right was quilted on my Janome 8900; bird on the left (Bird #2) on my Singer Featherweight.  Bird # 3 is also being quilted with the Singer Featherweight. When I started to quilt Bird #3, I had Bird 1 & 2 nearby so I could “remember” what I was supposed to do.

Bird # 3 will fly into the blog after Queen Bees!  The quilting is about half complete and then I need to put it together into an envelope style pillow. These take about an 18″ pillow form with the borders I added.    The pattern I used came from Mom and Pop Quilt Shop

I am headed over to the assisted living facility where my friend June lives this morning. This will be my 3rd trip in a week. She has been inspired to begin sewing again; and I have been “on call” for sewing assistance.

Hubby did some “tension” adjustments and general maintenance to one of her machines this week, repairing some broken latches on the bobbin access door and getting it “sewing right”. He inserted a nice LED bayonet style bulb that I had ordered, and it “lights up” the sewing area so much better than the old bulb. (Another back story….June’s machine was having serious tension trouble and I spent 3 hours trying to get things right last Saturday. Her hubby tried too; and in the processes the light bulb went out and removing it was a mess!  Those old bulbs rust in their housings and break between the brass and the bulb when you try to remove them. So; ordering new LED bulbs from E-bay was an absolute necessity. I got great price and service and from http://singer-featherweights-revived.com/index.html.  The store name on EBAY is “old times sew in stuff”.  The machine is not a featherweight but takes the same size bayonet  bulb. ) Thank goodness she had a 2nd machine to sew on, so I could bring the other one home to get fixed.

Anyway; June is making some gifts for her daughter in law and is on “deadline” for an anniversary mid June, and so I am providing “tech/sewing” support.   😉  She is finally feeling well enough to WANT to sew; and that is good news and makes me want to help her get going. She saw a pattern in a magazine for a sunflower mug rug 2 months ago. After she first showed it to me,  I assembled a container of her fabrics from my sewing room.

Well, like sewers and quilters everywhere, she has “grown the project” into something more and now she is making 4 placemats!  (Sound familiar??) I am taking “more” background fabric and batting today so she has enough!  (Originally I took her enough supplies for the “one” mug rug).

Helping June with a project

When I left her on Tuesday, this is how far we had gotten. One placemat ready to turn, and one sunflower ready to stitch down. Since then; she decided that the sunflower needs to be “removable” ; so I picked up some “sew on velcro” and will add it to the placemat and the flower. Will certainly make it “easier to wash”. And like anyone who has sewn, she has “re-invented the sunflower” as she progressed. Needless to say; it is FUN watching her making sewing and design decisions again!  She has been “out of the game” for nearly 2 years and I am ready and willing to get her busy again.  She needs a lot more help these days; but who doesn’t at their mid 80’s?  I just love that she is inspired again!

Last weekend, after I spent time with June, I convinced the hubby to take a bike ride. We have such beautiful state parks; and there is one nearby with great tree covered trails and bridges where you can stop and enjoy the water view too.

Hubby rides

I might have not told him “exactly” how far it was to make the whole loop!

Nice ride at the State park

I did treat him to a nice dinner later, at the beach!

Reward for the ride

It was nice to get to the beach “one last time” before the start of the summer season. Memorial Day is the official start and the roads and beaches will be jammed.  We enjoyed a quiet evening before the crowds take over.

Full moon on the rise

                       Summer season has begun in Rehoboth Beach!  

We buzzed the neighborhood across the road once during the week together on our bikes,  so he could make more bike adjustments.  (And to help work off the tacos….wasn’t enough exercise….)

Short ride after dinner

On  Wednesday night I rode with the #LIFECYCLE Community Bike Ride.

Wednesday night Community ride with Lifecycle

This month, in spite of that “road rash back on May 7th”; I have gotten 42 miles in.

Last night there was a “glow ride” in Milford. This was sponsored by #LIFECYCLE .

What is a glow ride?  Check out the story about the glow ride from the local news  and see what the “glow” is all about !!!) – https://youtu.be/PjzY_6Ya-uw

I did one glow ride last year, but I didn’t want to fight the holiday weekend beach traffic to get home afterwards.  Instead, we made a short trip to pick up some new “glow lights” for my bike and hubby installed them after dinner. They look so cool! And I am ready for the next Wednesday evening ride!

Adding wheel lights

The “still” photo below gives you a general idea –

Wheel lights

It is hard to explain how cool they look, so I have linked a video I filmed in our driveway – Wheel lights in motion

I think when I suggested these lights he thought I was nuts; but after he took a spin around the driveway; he saw how much FUN it was.  Next week is a rather long ride and I now need to work on getting the “right” combination of headlights on the bike!  More about that later.

Go out and have some fun!

After dinner update — Look what we accomplished today – I think they look pretty darn good!

Sunflower placemats

She needs to “quilt” or “top stitch” the place mats and  tack the backing on the sunflowers.  The sunflowers will be removable from the place mat for washing.