My latest build request to Monte was a thread-spool rack for my work closet. My projects continue to expand, and my thread inventory has become an unmanageable pile of spools. I also want to be able to store each bobbin with its corresponding spool of thread, since it’s hard to tell the difference between V-69 and V-92 thread sizes; and navy blue, black and dark green start to look the same to my old eyes. So, the top of each dowel is tapered so bobbins can be stored with each spool. I can also use it to store my growing collection of binding tape, basting tape, cord, and webbing. Voila!
Today was the day to re-raise the mast on Julie & Ryan’s boat. New windex, new lights, new halyards, new topping lift, new flag halyard, new sheaves, new wiring, new switches, refurbished outboard motor, replaced bulkhead mid-ships in the salon, chain plates reinforced, and some much-mended sails and boat canvas. I can’t wait to get out on the lake with these sailors. Next up: installing the boom, mainsail, and jib. Then we’ll take her for a sail!
I have entered the “bag” phase of my maker existence. I decided to try to make a bag styled like the classic LL Bean Boat and Tote. We were gifted a pair of them as a wedding gift, and have been using them hard and constantly for almost 2 decades. And they still have much life left in them.
The LL Bean totes are made with 24 oz cotton duck. I already had some 15 oz, so I used that for my first bag prototype. I also used some 8.8 oz navy cotton duck for the bottom and straps. Duck cloth is supposed to shrink anywhere from 5-10%. So, I’ll have to see how my design holds up over time.
The finished dimensions of this bag are 17″ W x 14.5″ H x 7″ D, which is pretty close to the Large-sized LL Bean Boat and Tote. The ones we already own are the Medium and X-Large sizes, so this will be a nice addition.
If you’re interested in trying to make one yourself, here are my notes:
I used V-92 polyester thread, and a #18 needle. My Sailrite LSZ-1 cuts through all those layers like butter.
I may try making one with Sunbrella material for the bottom and handles, instead of the 8.8 oz duck cloth, as I see that marine Sunbrella is 9 oz, so fairly close. Though Sunbrella is much more pricey than duckcloth…
Next challenge: making bags out of a used mainsail that friends gifted me. Stay tuned.
Julie and Ryan recently acquired a new-to-them sailboat. It’s an older Catalina 25. It needs some work, so we are helping them get things fixed up. Clever Monte got the outboard motor working. Now he is helping Ryan repair the electrics on-board. Julie brought over the sails, which need some mending. Their mainsail will be my next sail project. It’s in pretty good shape, except where sun damage caused some tears and deterioration where the previous owner left parts of the sail exposed.
At the beginning of the year, I introduced myself to essential oils. I was curious about them and the purported benefits of aromatherapy. Until then, my only exposure to them was during visits to the day spa. Right before COVID was a thing, a neighbor invited me to attend an introductory session at her house, as she had just signed up to sell for one of the major essential oil multi-level marketing (MLM) companies. I learned the basics of essential oils during that session, and wanted to try some, but I’m not really a multi-level marketing kinda girl. Instead, I found Revive for my first purchase, an on-line retailer of high quality, 100% pure essential oils. No MLM-strings attached, with free shipping, too.
After 6 months of using them, I am a fan! Years ago, Monte made me a wooden box out of mahogany boat scraps. It would be a perfect storage box for my essential oils, as they need to be stored in a dry, dark place to maximize their shelf-life. I drilled out cylindrical voids in a few pieces of wood to create two tiered rows inside the box to hold the bottles of my essential oils. I’m in love with this storage box. It smells amazing every time I open it.
I have found various ways to enjoy my essential oils. I haven’t become a fan of ingesting them. But, I use a diffuser to disperse the oils in the air, especially when I am doing yoga, a workout, or just working in my office/studio at home. Sometimes I use a single oil, sometimes I blend a few together. Revive has their own blend called “Sleep” that I really enjoy diffusing around bedtime.
Please remember that 100% pure essential oils should not be applied to skin undiluted. They should be mixed with a carrier oil or other liquid.
Dabbling with essential oils (pardon the pun) has expanded my repertoire of DIY projects with these that each incorporate several drops of oil:
Yoga-mat de-funking spray
small spray bottle (mine holds about 4 ounces)
3 parts distilled H2O
1 part witch hazel
5 drops tea tree oil (note, tea-tree oil may not be pet-friendly, eucalyptus is another option)
5 drops lavender oil
Mix all together in a spray bottle. Just spray on your sweaty yoga mat and wipe off with a dry, clean towel.
foaming soap dispenser (Note, make sure it is for foaming soap, which is different than a regular liquid soap dispenser.)
3/4 cup distilled H2O (Put this in the foaming soap dispenser first to cut down on creating foam inside the bottle while mixing.)
2 1/2 Tbsp pure-castile liquid soap
1/2 Tbsp fractionated coconut oil
5-7 drops of your favorite essential oil
My foaming soap dispenser holds 8.5 ounces and the above amounts work for that size dispenser. If yours is a different size, adjust quantities accordingly, but make sure to allow enough room for the foaming mechanism on the spray insert to fit without causing the contents of the bottle to overflow.
Hand-sanitizer (or hand-cleaner, whatever)
2 parts rubbing alcohol (99%)
1 part aloe vera gel
Mix together in dispenser of your choice.
1 part fractionated coconut oil
1 part corn starch
4-5 drops essential oil of your choosing
I find this helps alleviate chafing on my skin when working out. You may want to tweak the amount of corn starch to create a consistency you prefer. I keep mine in an old face cream jar and rub a little on my arms or my legs if things are experiencing a bit of friction.
Monte asked me to make him a mask, since the ones he’s been using are either too small or uncomfortable. So I finally knocked out my first homemade COVID mask, custom made to his specifications. 🙂
I then asked him to make me a frame for a piece of art that our niece, Laura, drew and sent to me. He knocked it out, custom made to my specifications. 🙂 I just LOVE this drawing. Laura requested people to send her photos of their quarantine workspaces, which she then drew in watercolors. I sent her a picture of my craft space in my office, which is where I sat to make Monte’s mask.
Monte and I have enjoyed joining his sister’s family zoom sessions. Her adult kids and young grandkids live in 3 different cities. They all join. We join when we can. It’s special.
Last week my great-niece, Adelle, showed everyone one her latest project, making bracelets out of colorful rubber bands. We all asked for one of our own, and little Adelle delivered! They arrived in the mail today. I picked Seahawks colors, and I absolutely love it!
We cut the cord a few years back, and have been watching TV since then using over-the-air (OTA) antennas, which can pick up a number of local HD television broadcasts. That, in addition to a few online streaming sources, works well for us.
We aren’t big TV watchers. But, we do have a large TV in our game room. And I have a small one in my office over the treadmill. Last year Monte found a design online showing how to make an antenna that might give better reception than ones we’ve tried. He made one for the big TV and christened it the HD3000. It works great, much better than any of the others we’ve bought over the years, and it nearly doubled the local channels picked up. I’ve been waiting patiently for mine, and this week Monte made one for my office TV. We installed it up in the attic right next to the first one. We simply screwed the coax cable from each antenna into the existing coax cable that was already run through the attic into the room of the TV to be connected. It works great! Now I can reliably tune in KXAN to watch the weather alerts during severe weather, which we’ve had much of, lately. Yay!
If you’d like to know how many (and which) channels you can receive where you live, check out this website: antennaweb.org.
I ordered a paint-by-number kit a month ago to help me pass the time in self-imposed quarantine. It took a while but arrived today. Perhaps I should have picked something smaller… No matter, I will start tonight and take my time. Wish me luck! 🙂