Battening Down the Hatches

Washed and waxed

Ever so slowly — and reluctantly — I am getting the Casita ready for her long winter sleep.  Between rains, we got her washed and waxed.

I’m vacuuming, cleaning and organizing the interior.  I had planned to take everything out, but have decided to leave some things in it in the event of severe weather warnings or other disaster.

All the dishes we need, and none we don't need. 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 cups, coffee press, plastic bowl for leftovers and two drinking glasses. When we are camping, we add disposable plates, bowls and cups and a couple more leftover containers.

Mainly I am taking out things that would be damaged by freezing, and leaving essential clothes, underwear, dishes and towels, etc. in it.  That way if we needed to evacuate, we could just grab food and toiletries and run.

Also I’m working on implementing a few New Year’s resolutions.  One is to work two vegan meals a week into our dinner menus, and the other is to do one hour of physical activity each day that elevates my pulse and makes me sweat.

We use hand towels to dry off after showers, as there's no room for full size towels. I usually carry 10 hand towels and 10 wash cloths.

So far I’m doing okay on the physical activity.

I fixed black beans with garlic, onion and shredded carrots over Himalayan rice last night.  We enjoyed it.  But later I sneaked back into the kitchen for a snack of crackers and cheese, so that resolution needs a little fine tuning.  🙂

I got my partially finished doily out to work on this week and realized that I don’t like doilies and I don’t want to waste the time finishing it… at least for now.

The type of tatting I enjoy are small motifs that I can finish in an evening or two.  I love decorating hand made greeting cards with them.  One of my blog readers, Kathy N., has a little 4′ Christmas tree decorated with tatted ornaments and lights.  That idea really appeals to me, so along with the small tatted gifts and cards I make this year, I will plan to do some Christmas ornaments, too.

Monday night it’s supposed to get down to 20 F here, so I will have to have the Casita winterizing finished by then.


Tatting Christmas Cards

A tatted Christmas card

I’ve been working on various tatted motifs and trim that would look Christmassy done in red, green and white.

This evening I went to Hobby Lobby looking for shiny little sequins, bells, beads and ribbons to make the cards look more festive.  But when I got home and started arranging the motifs and edging on cards, I realized that, at least to my eyes, the plain tatting is more beautiful.  Adding shiny things to it seems to detract from rather than enhance it.

Pictured is one motif and edging that I especially like.  I’ve done others that I’m not as pleased with.  So I will probably do more of this design, then do some Christmas tree patterns.

It was 100 degrees again today.  Summer isn’t giving up easily.  Making Christmas cards in an air conditioned house helps put me in a delicious crisp weather frame of mind!  🙂


Restrung the Ukulele

Lately, as I’ve been working on combining melody with chords, the high g string on my concert ukulele has been irritating me more and more.  So last night I moved the strings around (C to G, E to C, G to E and left A as it is) to give my ukulele low G tuning.

The difference in sound almost takes my breath away.  The Mainland has a beautiful sound anyway, but now it has a richness and depth that just blows me away.  I would never have dreamed a little ukulele could sound so good.

I’m so glad I started with a decent one.  If I’d bought a plinky one, I probably would have abandoned it already.  As it is, I feel compelled to pick it up and play it as often as I can.

The temperatures are still scorching.  Today it got up to 99.

Not being able to use the camper has me battling with minor depression now and then.  But hopefully we can get a nice used one by spring of next year.

I’ve been so involved with the ukulele that I’ve neglected my tatting.  But my unfinished doily waits patiently for me to get back to it.


On edit:  I really am missing my Dad this Father’s Day.  🙂

Not Tiny Tim and a Doily

My Mainland concert ukulele should be here tomorrow.  I can’t remember when I’ve been so excited.

I’m getting a hilarious reaction from my family…. like DON’T play the ukulele around us!  But I am excited enough about the musical possibilities that I will love disappearing into my own little world of music.

In case you associate ukuleles with Tiny Tim, take a look at these two Youtube videos.  This beautiful style is what I am most interested in learning.

Also, I’m working on tatting my first doily.  It’s Mary Konior’s Flowerpiece from Visual Patterns.  It’s a bit ruffly around the edges right now.  Hope it flattens out when I put the last round of flowers on it.

Picot Overkill

Giant picot overkill?

I love picots.  Big picots.  Giant picots!

But I think I finally overdid it with this tatted motif.  The huge picots detract from the design and it just looks a bit messy.

Lyn Morton would be horrified to see what I did to her beautiful pattern!  🙂

I made several mistakes, missed a couple of joins, and experienced two disasters while tatting it.  The “Tips and Tricks” in Mary Konior’s Visual Patterns book came to my rescue.  (If you are a new tatter, her “Tips and Tricks” alone are worth the price of the book.)

Using her instructions, I was able to open a ring easily and untat my mistakes as simply as untatting a chain.  And I used her weaver’s knot to rescue a broken thread that only had about 1/3″ tail remaining.

So it was a learning experience on several levels…. one of which is be careful when you change the length of the chains in the center because it definitely impacts how the rest of the pattern fits together!

Tatted Rose Motif

Tatted purple rose

I am delighted with the way this little rose motif turned out.

The original pattern (in Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns by Monica Hahn)  surrounded the rose with plain rings connected by chain loops, and it just didn’t seem worthy of the beautiful rose center.  So I tatted green clovers to encircle it instead.

I think it’s the prettiest motif I’ve done so far!

I’m including a photo of the original pattern so you can see the difference.

I still have to do a couple more motifs to finish the framed wall  tatting display that I am working on.

Photo of the original pattern

Staying One More Day

The rain is here as predicted, so we’re staying at Indian Springs State Park another night  instead of trying to drive home in bad weather.

Needless to say, we aren’t enjoying outdoor activities today, although Ron has gone to town to pick up a few more groceries.  We do a lot of recreational eating in bad weather.  🙂

I am snuggled down in the trailer, surfing right now, listening to the rain pounding on the roof.   It’s a cozy feeling.  I had to close the vent fan because rain was coming in.  But there are enough air gaps on the sides where the A frame sides fold up under the roof ledge that we still have adequate ventilation.

Will probably work on a tatting project this evening if I can find a decent pattern. I didn’t bring along a very good selection.

I have put the complicated snow flake pattern on hold until I feel like a challenge.

Added at 4:37 p.m.:

The rain has continued all day, and we have been cooped up together in a 6 x 12′ box.  We are still contented and are entertaining ourselves.  We surf, read, and I am tatting a pretty rose pattern in variegated shades of mauve.  Sunny has slept most of the day.

I think that is a pretty good indication that we could full time — or at least travel extensively — in a very small RV without driving each other bananas.

Our longest trip so far in the Aliner has been two months, and although it did get a little small at times, we enjoyed the trip.  So I think that a Scamp 5th wheel would be plenty big for us when we eventually upgrade.  Especially if we added an awning and a screen room.

As you can see, I am also daydreaming this rainy day away.  🙂

Bees, Blossoms and 80 degrees in February

Wasp pollinating fruit tree blossoms

Although honey bees have virtually disappeared from this area, I was very happy to see that the apple, pear and plum tree blossoms were being pollinated by swarms of small wasps, mason bees and a few small bumblebees.    I tried to get photos of them, but they are so small and move so quickly that this fuzzy little guy was the only one I could capture on camera.  So we might not have honey, but at least we will have fruit!

The weather here in north Florida is unbelievable.  It was 80 degrees on my mother’s back porch in the shade today.  It was really hot in the sun!  But ice and snow and cold are still too fresh in my memory for me to complain.

Mom's house

But if it’s this hot now, I wonder what kind of summer we are in for.

Today we visited Daddy’s grave and Mom put new flowers on it.  I forgot to take my camera.  I hope that Dad is aware of how much we love and miss him.

This little tatted star flower needs blocking to straighten out its points.

Our usual camping spot under the big live oak at Mom's place

I’ve done a bit of tatting in the evenings, but not as much as I expected.  I completed Monica Hahn’s star flower pattern from her Christmas Angels book.   I’ve also started over several times on a flowery snowflake pattern that I don’t quite understand.  Maybe I’ll get it on my next attempt.  🙂

Yesterday Ron discovered that the floor under the water heater is even softer than the floor under the shower.  So apparently my original floor fix with the PC Petrifier was worthless, as I obviously didn’t get the leaks fixed.  So when I get back home, I’ll start the job of replacing the floor.

I thought of using marine plywood, but it is so frightfully expensive.  I think I’ll just use regular plywood, but soak it with clear penetrating epoxy sealer.  That should last for years, I hope.


Happy Tatted Valentine’s Day!

Tatted valentine heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We have decided to leave for Florida Wednesday.  That way we can take our time cleaning the camper and getting it packed, bathe the dog,  and spiff up the house so we come back to a clean home.

Tatting on the Wall

This is a bookmark that I made displayed as a picture.

I’ve been tatting flowers and motifs and putting them in picture frames.  Some of them don’t look great.  So far the flower garden bookmark looks the best.

I’ll keep replacing the ones that don’t look so great until I have a nice wall grouping.

The frames aren’t black… they just came out looking that way in the photo.

I’m still not smoking, and feeling better every day.  My chronic cough is gone.  One symptom of quitting that I didn’t expect was depression.  It was pretty severe.  But I’ve apparently turned the corner on that, too, because I feel good this morning.

It is so cold, but it is supposed to warm up this weekend.  So I’ll probably take the tarp off the camper Saturday and start cleaning and packing.  Then probably Tuesday or Wednesday we’ll head home to Florida.

I am so ready to get on the road!