Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas passed

I have been reading my regular blogs today, and I couldn't help but notice that many of you are already putting away your beautiful Christmas decorations. I am beginning to think that my resistance to pack up the holiday spirit may be a bit abnormal. I don't have ANY intentions of taking down my Christmas tree yet! I Just said to monkey the other night after getting a deep pine-scented breath that I was going to be very disappointed when the tree was finally past it's prime. I absolutely ADORE the smell of my live tree. There is just no replacement for the warm homey feeling it gives us. We usually try to take the decorations on the outside of the house around new years, but we don't really have a set date. We get to it when we get to it really, but I have to know, how long do you leave up your decorations? How long is too long in your eyes?

Image courtesy of Country Living

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The real story of the birth of Christ from the Bible

New International Version (NIV)

Luke 1
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.
37 For nothing is impossible with God."
38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
40 where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Matthew 1:
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Luke 2:
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord" ),
24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

Matthew 2:
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 "`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.´"
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Monday, December 22, 2008


OK, I have a dark little secret. My entire life has been crafty. (no that is not my secret) If I were to try to count on my fingers and toes how many times my mother and I looked at some poorly made doo-dad while we were out shopping and she (or I in my later years) said "Oh! we can make that! Better too, we can add this and that, and change it so that this is like that! It will be so much nicer than this overpriced piece of junk" I am afraid I would come up very very short. I never needed anyone to give me inspiration, or come up with a great idea. I never even wanted one. But then there was this woman. A VERY famous, (to some notorious woman). Her crafts, and recipes, and home decor items are pretty much everywhere. Ask anyone form eight to eighty, and they will know exactly who you are talking about. Well, to be honest, I never much liked her. She was always too perfect, too bossy, too formal, too much of everything. All of my family knows what I think of her....Or at least they think they do. The truth is, I like her, her ideas, her home, her recipes, her website design, even the damn packaging she designed for the many things she sells. I was able to get a free subscription to her magazine with some frequent flier miles I had saved up from all the trips I've had lately. When monkey saw her magazine in the mailbox he said "who sent you this crap, everyone knows you cant stand ______" I finally had to admit that I like her. All he could do was laugh. I think he may have known all along I liked her. So I guess the secret is out. I cannot believe I am going to actually admit this, but,


She's waaaaayyy cool.

(now no one start picking on me about it OK?!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself..

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

My beautiful amazing sister Angie passed away last Sunday. I could never write enough words to express what an exceptional woman she was in every way. She was far more than a sister to me, and I am trying my best to be strong as I know she would not want us to brew in our sorrow. She was tired, we all were. She did not want to suffer any longer. The memories we all have of her are each precious and beautiful. It was her greatest wish not to become a tragedy, and I fully intend to ensure that never happens. She never once felt pity for herself, and did not want others to feel sorry for her either. She wrote a poem about paper cranes I made when I was visiting her, and how though she could not fold the paper to make cranes, she could fold the words upon the paper to make beautiful cranes of her own. She would want me to make more cranes, and someday I will, just for her. May God bring us all peace.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy holidays!!!

I know it has been quite a while since I have blogged, but there is an Elephant in my family's livingroom, and I am not yet prepared to deal with him. However, I do want to wish everyone a warm and happy holidays. I was lovingly gifted a live tree this year, and I took the opportunity to decorate it as I have always dreamed to decorate a tree. I have always wanted to do a tree in one or two colors, and since I had already hung my tradional ornaments on my windows, I decided to go for it with my tree. I am so happy with the result, and there is just nothing like coming home to the beautiful sight and smell of a live tree. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A new friend!

While having my afternoon walk with Charlie-dog tonight. (I only walk one dog at a time, Tuesday is Charlie's turn) I found a little scaled friend basking at the end of the driveway. I ran back inside calling for Monkey to introduce them. Why I would call Monkey who has a distinct dislike for snakes beats me, but I thought they should get to know one another. I later heard monkey on the phone with his friend Andy....."She comes calling me outside, and didn't tell me why. Then I find her at the end of the driveway pointing at a snake. What is the first thing my wife does? Yes of course, she picked it up, what else would she have done. Only my wife sees a snake and decides to make pals with it. What woman do you know actually likes snakes?" It's true, I can't think of more than 2 or 3 women that the first thing they would do to a snake is to pick it up. Most of them would have frozen in fear, and gone running and screaming the other direction. What can I say, I love snakes, I think they are a wonder of God's creation. They way they move is absolutely beautiful, and I love holding them and feeling the strength of their muscles pulsating. Snakes really get a bad name for no reason. They are fantastic for pest control, and a sign of a healthy garden. Poor snakes, ended up with a bad rap just because of a social stigma. Look at this creature, and tell me she isn't beautiful! I walked around with her for an hour or so, and then let her go safely in the backyard near my pond. I thought the pond was a much better place to call home than the end of the driveway to get smooshed!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Yes, I am blogging about soap. Not ordinary soap, organic soap. WHY? Well, I have battled for a good many years with an extremely irritated scalp. I have been plagued by a constant stream of very irritated little bumps all over my head. These bumps would get so bad that I would often wake in the morning with open sores on my poor little noggin that both took ages to heal, and hurt like the dickens. Think open wound meets hairbrush, and shampoo. Shampoo in an open wound burns. It burns a lot. I got into a terrible cycle. I would wash my hair, and attempt to skip a day in between, then my hair would get so oily Exxon would call the house. I then had to go to washing every day. The only problem with that was that the more I washed, the more irritated my scalp would become. I went to a dermatologist who told me that what I had was seborrheic dermatitis
which is essentially dandruff. Now mind you, I didn't have "dandruff" no flaky skin, just a very irritated, bumpy, red, hot scalp. The Dr's treatment for this involved 5 different medicated shampoos that I would alternate daily. Not only was this expensive, it didn't work. All 5 shampoos just managed to irritate my head more. I decided that I was not going to foot the bill for something that just made it worse, so I went back to regular shampoo for many years, and just learned to deal with the pains. Until now. I have discovered the answer to my prayers. Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet shampoo. The key to my miracle shampoo? No parabens, and more importantly no Sodium laurel (or laureth) sulfate. SLS is usually the second ingredient in most normal shampoos and this chemical is what makes soap lather up. It can also be very very irritating to a small percentage of people. I also suffer from a fairly rare skin hypersensitivity, which in layman's terms means that my skin gets abnormally irritated at the slightest of things. If I were to take a Popsicle stick and lightly write hello on my arm or chest I would greet the world with a deep red howdy in about 2 minutes. I am now fairly certain that the two are related. I cannot recommend Burt's bees products more highly. They are about as pure as products from large commercial chains can get. I am certain I am not the only one plagued with such sensitive skin, and after having such a hard time discovering something that completely cleared up every last bump and hot spot on my scalp I felt it was only right to share the wealth. Try out their products, you just might be amazed!

( On a side note, you MUST use conditioner with this type of soap. When you put it in your hair, and lather up, your hair will feel quite sticky. That is totally normal. As soon as you rinse it out, and put on your conditioner that feeling will go away, and leave you with amazingly soft shiny hair. I promise!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

just a few quick picture updates......there's paint!

Just thought I would show off a few of pictures of my living room remodel after we painted and finished the curtains. The curtains were actually a set of sheets I got at home goods, and re-worked, along with two solid white curtain panels I cut in half. I don't think I could have found a better pattern to match the retro feel of my room! I Have to apologize for the awful quality of my pictures, but I just can't seem to make my stupid camera take any decent pictures, unless they are macro closeups! I need a new camera!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I finally started making some definite decisions about the design in my living room, and after seeing this room. I am totally excited about my prospects!

So here is the layout for my room, I realize just looking at the pictures it was hard to tell what was where. This is where I started.

And this is where I am now!

Here is the room in color!

I went to Wal-mart to pick up a some ink for my printer, which by the way is still not working, and I found the cubes I wanted to use for a coffee table! Not to mention at $19 each, they were a real steal! They are just the right height for the sofa, and you can pull the tops off them and store stuff inside. Storage is always a plus for our poor cramped house! I haven't yet decided if I will paint or sew an accent on them yet, but they make a great coffee table, foot rest, chair, and storage area! There has been a bit of discussion about buying a third one, as I thought they weren't quite long enough to go with the ginormous couch we have.

My head is just spinning with ideas, I will post some more pictures as things develop! I have TONS in store, that is yet to come.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My giant decorating leap.....

So I have decided to be brave, and actually decorate my living room...Monkey and I found this great static cling poster from the 2007 Sarasota film fest. We were bargain shopping, and got the biggest bargain of all...freebie! Man I love finding good trash!!! We decided to put the picture in a shadow box frame and light it from behind. I got some great help from my great friend Michele, about how to pull the room together with a great trendy retro feel....So, here's the room before,

And here is my inspiration.

I realise that the light in this room is terrible, and I fully intend on getting some true white bulbs, I really don't like that yellowy hue they give off.

I am going to take the rugs, and cut them up, then sew them back together into a sort of color blocked area rug. That was another super idea from Michele. Plus we were lucky enough to find the rugs on clearance at Wal-mart.

Now for some painting, and building of cube storage ottomans, and sewing of pillows....OOOOO I am so excited!!

Please please if you have any input let me know!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I see a rainbow!!!

Whew! What a week!!! All things are definitely looking much happier now. Rainbows only happen after the biggest rainstorms! My sister, thank God is home, and happy and did quite well in the hospital. I am so thankful that God has answered my prayers for her, and she was well cared for! Mom is doing quite a bit better in the rehab facility, and is already getting stronger. All her swelling has almost gone away, and the awful bruises she had are disappearing as well. Man oh man my family never does anything halfway!!!

On a lighter note, I was lucky enough to meet the guys from the boat The Wizard from Deadliest Catch!!!!!! They were at the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix, which was over the holiday weekend, and though I didn't get their autograph, it was totally awesome to meet them, I am such a junkie for those shows!!! Monkey decided it was high time I went somewhere other than the hospital, and the house, and demanded that we go out and see the boats. (I think he just wanted to get to go see all the big racing boats!)

Saturday night we went to see a local band Bukshot. The lead singer, Josh is a friend of ours. That was probably as much fun or more than looking at big boats, and meeting the Wizard's crew. We went with another couple who had been having a rough week, and the two of us girls had a riot, and probably a little too much to drink. =)

All in all, I just have to say, have faith. When things are tough, and you are doing all you can, and there is still things out of your control, just have faith, and pray, and things may look up sooner than you think. Have a great week, and take it easy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hello God, I really need an angel

And I thought Monday was bad........

It is most certainly not like me to post about my family struggles, but I am just hoping the power of prayer can help us just a little. Both my mother, and sister are in the hospital. My mother broke her tibial plateau very badly on Thursday while trying to pass her motor-scooter license test. She stopped too hard, and the scooter landed on her leg just below her knee. She had surgery Friday night and they inserted plates and screws to repair it. She is now in a rehab facility, and will require a lot of time to heal, and physical therapy. With time, she will recover. My sister, being the private person she is I would rather not elaborate on, but she needs prayer as well. Any well wishes, prayers, and good vibes in our direction will be greatly appreciated. Oh yes, and a word to the wise, NEVER take everyday life for granted, you never know when your world may get pretty rocky, bad stuff can happen in the blink of an eye, so thank God for all the blessings in your life.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Melancholy Monday

I have not known what to post for days now....I am just not feeling like myself. My patience is beyond worn thin, and I have been exhausted. We have had a lot of progress on the boat, though the thing has still not seen it's maiden voyage. I would bet that is part of the reason I am feeling especially melancholy today. I had my little heart set on being out on the water Saturday and Sunday, but alas that was just not to be. We still have a few things that have to get finished before our vessel is water worthy. My most talented mother put in a lot of work to help me get the bench seats completed, and without her help I am sure the vinyl would still be on it's roll untouched. The deck of the boat is finished, the carpet is in, and the gas tank has been re-installed. Just some minor re-wiring, and engine tuning and we should be ready to set sail......I hope hope hope it will be ready by this weekend, we are both rapidly growing tired of tinkering with our little ship and not getting to sail in it. It was also quite sad to hear that the great George Carlin, and Scott Kalitta both died this weekend. They will both be greatly missed. I will try to get a few pictures posted in the next few days of the boat, and the goings-on around the house. (mom had a great idea for some boat accessories...) Hope for a better tomorrow, and have a great week!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Two Dads

I have two dads to thank for molding me into the woman I have become.

I was in the fourth grade when my birth father died. Robert Lawrence Truesdale, led me in life with a very stern, disciplined hand. I did get spanked, and I know I deserved it, but I cannot actually remember ever getting a spanking. I do however, remember what I got a spanking for. Talking back, throwing a fit, being snotty to my mother. I also remember some of my happiest times with him. I think he loved nothing more in the world than going fishing. We would go out into Robert's Bay, and I would catch the biggest fish of anyone, and then I would lie down and take a nap, while everyone else pulled minnows out of the water all day. He taught me to be strong, and to be respectful of everyone. He also showed me the bonds of a family, and the unbelievable strength my mother possessed. He stayed home until his last breaths, he was not the kind of person who wanted to waste away alone in a hospital. My mother, and her mother cared for him until he passed, and I still to this day cannot fathom the strength it took to see him that way, and care for his most basic needs until the end. I look forward to a day in heaven when I may walk with him, and hear all the stories he didn't have time to tell me.

A number of years later Michael Joseph Rigato entered my life. It was not until I moved out that I was able to really see eye to eye with him, and understand and repair the breakdowns in our relationship. Mike may be small, but he takes crap from no one, and he loves, and takes care of my mom like no other. The disrespect that I showed her in my teen years infuriated him, and like any teenager, I could not understand that I was being a brat, and that I, in reality, did not know everything. It can take a while to understand him, as he can come off as a bit harsh, and he is the kind of person who is always right, but he has taught me to stand up for myself, and to be passionate about what you believe in.

All I can say, is that a fathers love is like no other, and it does not matter if you share blood, as long as you share the bond of love. No one can take away the memories, and love a father gives you, and I am immeasurably thankful for the experiences my two dads have given me in life, that have made me who I am.

Without my dads, I am nothing. Thanks dad...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Much progress

We had quite a successful day with the boat today!

This morning Monkey was able to remove all of the remaining support beam that was rotted out. We did not think there was any way that it was going to come out without harming the integrity of the hull. I guess Poseidon was looking down on us, and decided to give us a bit of luck.

Here he is just being his silly old self, I swear I cannot get him to smile like a normal person for a picture. (he is holding up a piece of old fiberglass that he accidentally broke by the way. At least I wasn't the only one to hurt our poor vessel)

This is what remained of the main beam after he pulled it out. The thinnest part of that beam should have been about 6 inches, and as you can see it was rotten down to about 2 inches.

Monkey spent a good part of the afternoon fine-tuning the new beam....

Monkey's childhood friend Andy came by after work, and was nice enough to crawl up into the hull and clear out the last remaining bits of wet rotten wood...

That is true friendship, when you are the skinniest person, and you volunteer to crawl up into a cramped space to clean out wood that looks like poop!

I decided to write a blessing on our new center support. I sure wish I had beautiful handwriting like my dear sister Mrs. Fox

And here is our new beam, installed and ready to be fiber glassed in. We even had enough time to get some resin poured around the beam before the afternoon showers started up.

Tomorrow Andy is off work, and has offered his services so that we can get the floor put in. Hopefully by tomorrow we will have repaired all the water damage, and be ready for carpet, and seats! That means I am going to be very very busy soon, as Monkey is not willing to just settle for plain seats, he wants decoration. Lucky me.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ships Ahoy!

I know, I know it has been a bit too long since I last posted, but in my defense monkey and I are on vacation and we have been very busy.

On Sunday we bought a 1974 Tahiti jet boat with a 455 Oldsmobile engine in it. (YES a car engine, great for monkey to work on) The boat was delivered to the house on Tuesday, and we have been busting out butts ever since. These first two pictures are from right after we bought the boat, before we got into fixing her up

Monkey decided to pull out the deck boards on either side of the engine, as they were quite worn, and soaked with engine oil and battery acid. The previous owner had a battery explode in the compartment, so the wood was a bit of a mess. Upon further inspection though, we discovered that the entire deck of the boat was completely rotted through, including the center support down the middle of the hull. What a nasty disgusting mess. Rotten wood has the texture and look of dog doodie. DISGUSTING!

So, after pulling the carpet up, we got to the painful and messy job of cutting through ¼ to ½ inches worth of old fiberglass. Mind you , just because fiberglass is full of resin, that doesn't mean that once you take a saw to it, that the fine white snow that is covering every inch of you and everything around you doesn't react the same way as the un-resined stuff. Can I say OUCH. I have fiberglass in my arms, legs, and neck. I tried exfoliating every inch of my body in the shower, but I still have many parts that are quite itchy still. Not to mention that that stuff is terribly drying to the skin.

But we did manage to get almost all of the rotten wood and old fiberglass out of the boat. I did accidentally cut a hole in the hull in the process, but monkey swears that it is no big deal, and he will have it fixed in a jiffy. I was very very upset that I put a hole in our boat especially as I was being so careful.

Tomorrow we will just need to grind down the beam in the center of the boat, and then lay new supports, and marine grade plywood for the decking. We are going to fill the empty space with expandable foam also, so that there will be no way that water will be able to get in again, and rot the wood. The previous owner had re-done the deck, but did not bother to use marine plywood, and just used the regular stuff which definitely didn't help the cause any.

Other than our decking problems though, the boat is in great shape, even though the pictures don't really look that way. Monkey just needs to get a bigger carburetor, and re-do some wiring, and I need to get busy upholstering the deck seats. Then we will be out on the water cruising along! We really hope to get the boat done by the end of the month so we can go out to the water and watch the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix that comes to town every year.

I am off to go mock up some seat pattern ideas, so monkey can let me know what he wants me to do with the new deck seats. I will post again soon when we have some more finished!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Of government and weather vanes

While at Target tonight buying cat food, Monkey and I went past the garden center in our stroll around the store, I got a glimpse of this beautiful weather vane. Of course the first thing he said was "what in the heck do you need that for?" why decoration of course! We are, after all re-landscaping the front of the house. I think it would be nice in the front somewhere. I just have to decide if I want to spend $40 on a yard decoration. It would probably be coming out of my stimulus check, which I am feeling very frugal and stingy with. I guess I will sleep on it and see. Plus I have to wait until Friday when the check is supposed to arrive. Maybe by then I'll be able to make a decision.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We can make that....

I took my dear sister's advice about the fairy sleeves on my apron project, and went with this one. It was so much like the other apron that I decided that it would be easier to just add pockets to it, rather than try to change the straps on the other one. Granted, my uber-talented mother could have changed it in a jiffy, but if that much work isn't needed, why do it?

I was so blessed to be born into this family of mavericks!

My mother is a very accomplished seamstress, painter, and beader. She also makes the coolest sand casted candles I have ever seen in my life.

My dear sister, Mrs Fox can write, paint, and decorate like no other. She also makes the finest Derby hats I've ever seen (or worn).

My Aunt does great things with lampworking, bead design, and can sew pretty well herself.

My namesake, and grandma was also very good with the needle and thread. She made us ornaments each year for Christmas that I am still in awe of! Not to mention she was the most organized woman I have ever seen. (this lady cataloged her kitchen cabinets) Too bad those great organization skills didn't rub off on me...

I can never remember a time when we went somewhere with mom and saw some great crafty idea or item for sale that we wanted when she didn't say "we can make that!" My mother made wedding gowns for both my sister and I. Not to mention countless formal dresses for our proms and homecoming dances that were made, and modified a few times.
I will never forget my sister's painted couch, growing up our family had somehow inherited this god-awful yellow atrocity of a sofa, and when my sister moved out she was so lucky to get to take it with her....The next time I saw that thing, she had started covering every last inch of that giant ugly banana seat with acrylic paint in all kinds of patterns. Granted, when acrylic paint dries on fabric, it is about as soft as asphalt, but by god that was the coolest couch I have seen to this day. I wonder what happened to it?

I have to agree with Liz though that being raised in a clan of the most talented women does have some downsides. You settle for nothing less than the best quality in stitching. Shopping for art is nearly impossible. Buying jewelry doesn't make sense unless it's handmade, and you know who made it. Not to mention, gift giving, is the most time-consuming endeavor I have ever experienced. Nothing is ever good enough to give someone you know could make it better! I have spent countless hours mulling over what to give my sister and mother for birthdays and Christmas. I think the best Christmas we ever had was when we all decided that we were not allowed to buy our gifts, but they all had to be something we made. Even Mr Fox joined in. He made me the coolest cigar box purse I've seen yet! and yes, I still have it, tucked safely in my hope-chest with all my important keepsakes inside. I can only hope Monkey and I have at least one little girl that my family can corrupt. So long as I can keep mom from teaching her that a table is a chair and a chair is a table (but that's another story...)=

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I need an apron for all this cooking!

I have narrowed down my apron choices to three. I definitly wanted a pattern that was super retro. I was looking for something that reminded me of the old pictures of women happy in their kitchens cooking for their families. I think I will be using either pink and brown fabrics, or some sort of great chicken print, as my kitchen is decorated with chickens of every size and shape. I will only do chickens if i can find some cute pattern, since it will be something i intend on wearing often, and I want it to be something I am really happy with. I am absolutly in love with the whole pink and brown/ teal and brown combo right now also, so if there are no good chickens to be found I wont have any trouble finding my second chice. So, what is YOUR favorite pattern......

Number one....

I really like the sleeves and piping in this one, I am totally into the super cute ruffles. I wish it had the scalloped bottom like the second and third one though.

Number 2........ I like the piping on this one, the nice scaloped edge on the bottom, and the cute angled pockets, but I like the ruffled sleeves better on the first one.

Number 3...........

Tis one is quite different from the others except for the piping and ruffles, but I think it has a great quilted homespun kind of feel to it. I like the contrast of the fabrics against eachother, and the piping. I like that the neck band is quie thick also, I would be irritated at a thinner string trying to hold it up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Suzi strikes again!

Well it looks as though there was some sort of infectious bug on my mixer that has bitten me. After last night's adventure with the wheat bread I decided to try my hand at Banana nut bread, (sans the bananas at monkeys request). It was in my plan to make a chocolate cake, but I still feel a bit at his mercy, and I didn't think I was really up to the task of baking a cake after working all day, and then having to make icing and prep a layer cake. Not to mention I absolutely LOVE bananas, and it seemed a good follow up to the bread from last night. Plus I already had most of the ingredients. (always a winning factor)
So, I Suzi'd up and got to baking! This was by far a great deal easier than last nights adventure, and took nearly half as much time. But the lack in prep time definitely did not correlate to the end product.
I am quite proud of this loaf of bread,
it came out nearly perfect. I say nearly because I think despite adding about 20 minutes to the cook time it still is a bit soft in the middle. That was probably because I decided to try out my grandmothers old flour sifter, and in turn probably did not add as much flour as one usually would. I do not really mind the soft center, as I have always preferred a soft middle to my baked goods. I was never one to like a "crispy" cookie, I always wanted the ones that were gooey and barely cooked in the middle. One thing I must point out though, is that this recipe makes a HEAVY bread. Not heavy in the taste sense, but this baby weighs a TON!
I also have to agree with my sister, in that an apron would make baking a much neater experience. I now have two pairs of pants and shirts that are now coated in flour, and other baking ingredients. Maybe this weekend I will get busy and make myself one. I must find a great retro styled pattern tho......

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Christening

I decided to let monkey choose what my first baked good to come of the new mixer was. Much to my amazement he was set on cracked wheat bread. My mind was spinning all day... Cracked wheat bread? Why on earth would a man who only eats white wonder bread decide that he wants to make me, who has never made a loaf of bread in my life, bake him cracked wheat bread?! Has he gone nutty?!

I set out to find a recipe, and that by far was the easy part. The next step was trying to figure out how to procure cracked wheat. Not terribly hard, but it still involved going a bit out of my way home from work to stop at a whole foods market. The nearest, and most convenient being the Granary. I gathered my cracked wheat, and decided that if I was there I had might as well get organic flour and do the whole thing the natural way. I walked out quite excited at that point to be making my first loaf of bread.......

I followed the recipe precisely, adding all the ingredients as directed, started up my great new toy, and waited for dough to happen. Dough did not happen.....the stickiest, gooiest, mess i have ever dealt with happened. I should have gotten pictures, but I was so concerned that I had ruined my precious creation, that photos were the furthest thing from my mind. So what did I do? I called the only person in the world who can fix anything,............MOMMY!!!!!! Mom pretty much told me what I already knew, "add a little flour, be patient and don't panic, it's only bread you know." So I did add little flour (OK maybe a lot of flour) and a little patience and faith in my new mixer, and I had, well, a sticky gooey mess. ARGH! I then decided that I was too far into this to give up, at which point I pulled out the trusty olive oil (thanks to Mrs fox's faith in the substance) and I slathered up my hands and my rising bowl and POOF! no more icky sticky.

My next fear, is this stuff really going to rise? If it was that sticky and messy did I fudge the recipe somehow? So I waited, and resisted the insatiable urge to peek under the towel for an entire hour. The timer going off on that oven caused me to erupt from the couch and bolt into the kitchen with such speed the dogs went haywire. Then fear took over, I did not want to lift that towel and find a flat pile of goo. Please Please don't let there be flat bread goo in there!!!! But, alas! There was not goo! There was dough! Real dough, risen and everything. By now my confidence was up, and I knew we were in the home stretch. Only another 40 minutes of rising and 30 minutes of baking, and I would have bread! 70 looonnnnnggg minutes later, I had this.....

Let me tell you, this was probably the most time consuming item I have ever decided to make, but holy crap was it worth it. I cannot remember when I have ever had bread that tasted so divine. The smell that was coming out of my oven was unbelievable! I don't think I have ever felt more at home in the 3 years we have lived at this house until now. There is just something about baking that makes you feel so at home. The two loaves have only been out of the oven for maybe an hour, and we are already down a half a loaf. one or the other of us keeps running in the kitchen to butter another piece of this divine creation of kitchenaid mixer mastery. At this rate I will be baking bread again by Thursday.

I have to say my thanks go out to my dearest sister Mrs Fox for teaching me that ANYTHING is possible with a bit of olive oil. My Mother for always knowing what to say, and lastly, my dear Grease monkey for deciding he wanted cracked wheat bread for the first trial run of the mixer. (though I am still at a loss as to how someone who won't eat honey wheat bread would want anything containing cracked wheat.) As I will be going to bed tonight with a happy tummy full of tasty warm fresh homemade bread.