Hobie Cat Lift (Guest Post)

Lloyd’s dad is back with another guest post.

Alice and I live in NC on Lake Auman in the Sandhills region. We have beautiful sand bottom lakes in the area are fortunate to live on one. One of our favorite pastimes is sailing on our Hobie Cat when the wind is up.

All the lakes are man-made so they are bulkheaded to keep them in their boundaries. We kept the Hobie on land to save the wear and tear on the rigging as the lake gets a good deal of chop. We had a serviceable solution with a crank belt connected to a pine tree. This required me to lift the lip above the bulkhead and then for Alice to crank as I lifted and pulled the boat up. Not too bad; the lift was about two feet and the total boat weight is about 250 lbs. The biggest problem was that it was awkward lifting and getting up the bulkhead at the same time.

I was going to make a crack pun but that would make jasmine winch.

I was going to make a crank pun but that would make Jasmine winch.

They lowered the lake to do some dam maintenance, giving me a higher lift and I am not getting any younger. It was time for a different solution. This winter, when we were in Seattle visiting Jasmine and Lloyd, I talked about getting a block and tackle with two steel pipes and lifting with those. We have twin docks and I could run it between them. Lloyd suggested cargo straps instead; he felt it would give a better hold and be easier to build [ed. also straps don’t rust].

I found a cheaper solution to the block and tackle in a modified carabiner with a locking friction clamp addition. I figured at 250 lbs, I could just muscle it up. My first try was a fail. I got 12’ strapping and, with the stretch, it was too long and I could not get enough lift. I reordered 10’ strapping and we were off to the races, totally out of the water.

High and dry dock.

High and dry dock.

I added a cleat to each rope so that, even if there was a failure of the locking carabiner, it would still hold somewhat.

Strapped in without a hitch.

Strapped in without a hitch.

You still need to muscle up each side, but it is not nearly as awkward. Plus, I could take out and put the boat away by myself. No real wind yet, but a couple of boats passed close and no wobble at all.

Hat Trimming

Lloyd and I had several conversations about hats this past week. It got me thinking about the hat I modified last year to have a removable band. The idea was to be able to change out the band to make it match multiple outfits or just give it a different look. Then the weather got cold and I got distracted and never made any additional bands.

But now that it’s hat season again, I pulled out my nice straw cloche and dug through my fabric bins to find something fun.

The starting materials. I used this fabric for a skirt a couple of years ago and really like it.

The starting materials. I used this fabric for a skirt a couple of years ago and really like it.

I wanted to keep things simple so I sewed a fabric tube with a single angled side and pinned it together. I’m very happy with the result and looking forward to wearing it soon!

The finished hat. I think Grandma's pin makes this look a lot more finished.

The finished hat. I think Grandma’s pin makes this look a lot more finished.

West Seattle to Seattle Ferry

Hola, we are back at it again after a slight hiatus. Life just happened to get a hold of us for a while.

But we have been getting good use out of our new location in West Seattle and our proximity to ferries. While the Fauntleroy ferry is right next door, there is an additional ferry we can walk to that goes from West Seattle into the city proper. Its is a bit of a walk (6 miles), but it is mostly through suburban streets and parks so it makes for a pleasant walk.

When we ended up in Seattle, we just bummed around at coffee shops, parks, and restaurants. 100% would do again.

Generic West Seattle suburb

Generic West Seattle suburb.

Jack Block Park is a jem of a park surrounded by industrial port of Seattle in west seattle. 100% nicest park I have been to bordered by a RV storage and scaffolding rentals.

Jack Block Park is a jem of a park surrounded by the industrial port of Seattle in West Seattle. 100% nicest park I have been to bordered by RV storage and scaffolding rentals.

Jasmine is quite sharp.

Jasmine is quite sharp.

Best selfie is boat window reflection selfie.

Best selfie is boat window reflection selfie.

Generic Seattle post-modernism.

Generic Seattle post-modernism.

Mt. Rainer (Mowich Lake)

As it starts to warm up and get sunny everyday here in the Pacific Northwest, one thing is clear – Mt. Rainer dominates the skyline. To get into the season, we decided to go out to the mountain for a hike. Since it is only early May, a lot of the access roads are still closed so we picked a major road, Route 165, and drove as far as we could to Mowich Lake, stopping at the farthest open trail head.

So we got to do an awesome, and rather quiet, hike down to a river and up the hill to Mowich Lake, then back the “road” to the car. The one big bummer was that while I brought my nice camera, I forgot the SD card at home…. so I hope you all like cell phone pics. Overall, quite happy with the hike, but we will probably never do it again as there are just so many cool hikes to do around Rainer and this one doesn’t really stand out as awesome as it was.

The hike started as it should - a log bridge over a cascading creek.

The hike started as it should – a log bridge over a cascading creek.

Sometimes the shitty sensor of a cell phone camera makes a photo artsy?

Sometimes the shitty sensor of a cell phone camera makes a photo artsy?

Now with Rainer views!

Now with Rainier views!

Mowich lake was still very frozen. It almost comes across in the picture but the lake was a haunting pale blue, probably the highlight of the trip.

Mowich Lake was still very frozen. It almost comes across in the picture, but the lake was a haunting, pale blue – probably the highlight of the trip.

The 5 mile hike back in 3 to 12 feet of sort of melting snow left something to be desired, unless you desired post holing every step.

The 5 mile hike back in 3 to 12 feet of sort-of-melting snow left something to be desired, unless you desired post-holing every step.

Olympic Peninsula (Dungeness Pt.)

We only stayed on the Olympic Peninsula for two days and one night so we decided to splurge and stay at a nice B&B in Dungeness. It was quite pleasant and a bit different than our usual hotel or hired house experience. Major upsides include: B&B was a converted barn, nice in-bloom flower garden, and an magnificent sunset over the beach.

On day 2 we decided to check out the water rather than the mountains. There is a large spit out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca called the Dungeness Spit that is both a wildlife refuge for waterfowl and a long hike on the beach. We had a very pleasant hike, but I suppose it was a bit nondescript, just a long sandy walk with gorgeous views.

Overall, it was a fun trip and we will certainly go out to the Olympics again. Next time, maybe even go deep into the rain forest.

As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.

As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.

Garden views.

Garden views.

This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around...

This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around…

My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.

My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.

We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!

We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!

Mini Fitted Sheet

Some friends with children came out for a visit last month so we needed to find a way to make a toddler bed. Fortunately, we have a collection of floor cushions that make a very comfortable bed. To make them more bed-like we decided to make a fitted sheet. It was a pretty easy process as I already had the measurements from the covers. I took the cover pattern (minus the bottom face) and added elastic to the corners.

Measuring the fabric.

Measuring the fabric.

The flat fitted sheet.

The flat fitted sheet.

The finished sheet on a floor cushion.

The finished sheet on a floor cushion.

A Jasmine for scale.

A Jasmine for scale.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out – especially since it made a pretty comfortable toddler bed. If I were to do it again, I’d use more elastic. This seems to be how store-bought fitted sheets are made.

Olympic National Park (Lake Crescent)

We decided to go for a nice weekend trip since the weather looked like it was going to hold out for the weekend and were rewarded with a beautiful weekend on the Olympic peninsula. We hadn’t really gone out much previously but, as we now live next to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, we have no excuse not to go out more frequently.

On day one, we drove and ferried over to Olympic National Park and went for a hike to some waterfalls and around Lake Crescent. It was pretty in the standard Pacific Northwest way with the moderately dense cedar forests, cascading cascades, and obscenely clear blue lakes. As always, we were highly amused by the trails full of people up to the first picturesque site listed on the map and then clear of anyone afterward. As a general spoiler, we consider the walk its own reward.

Step one - drive 0.5 miles to the ferry. We live in a weird place.

Step one – drive 0.5 miles to the ferry. We live in a weird place.

The lake was a pleasant little walk since the main trail was under construction :(

The lake was a pleasant little walk since the main trail was under construction :(

Wasterfall! Not even called bridal falls for a change of pace.

Waterfall! Not even called bridal falls for a change of pace.

This was a singe tree bridge that was around 150 ft long, that is like 30 meters!

This was a singe tree bridge that was around 150 ft long. That is like 30 meters!

Now with thinking ahead pictures of Jasmine and Lloyd.

Now with thinking ahead pictures of Jasmine and Lloyd.

Ballet Slipper Redux

A little over a year ago, I knit myself a pair of ballet slippers. Unfortunately, the slippers were not made to be worn every night for over a year and soon wore out.

Just a couple of small holes.

Just a couple of small holes.

I really liked these slippers and still had plenty of yarn left over, so I decided to knit myself a new pair. This time with felt soles.

Ballet shoe style soles.

Ballet shoe style soles.

I also changed up how I did the lacing in an effort to keep them in place on my feet a little better.

The new lacing method. More like actual ballet shoes.

The new lacing method. More like actual ballet shoes.

I’m very glad I have a new pair of slippers. Hopefully this pair will last longer than the last as I’ll have to buy a new skein of yarn for the next pair!

My new favorite (and only) pair of slippers.

My new favorite (and only) pair of slippers.

Christmas Party Dress

For the past two years, I’ve used Lloyd’s company Christmas party as an excuse to make myself a fancy new dress. This past year, I finally decided to give print at home pdf patterns a shot. I have to say that I’m not a fan of this pattern distribution method. Yes, I can get the pattern right now and, yes, the selection is really very good, but they’re really a lot of work. First of all, like many millennials, I don’t own a printer so the first hurdle is finding a way to print my pattern. Then I have to assemble it myself, make a muslin of the garment (something I’d do with any type of pattern), and then draft a new pattern piece to match the changes. My taped together pieces of computer paper just don’t hold up under modifications.

Once I got my pattern set up and resized properly, I was very happy with it. Since my favorite fabric store in the Seattle area went out of business, I’ve been ordering my fabric from Mood. I got a light green silk for this project and the dress turned out really well! As a bonus, it’s also one of the most comfortable formal dresses I own. I’m very happy with this one.

The finished dress. I thought the lighter color would work at any time of year.

The finished dress. I thought the lighter color would work at any time of year – not that I’m looking for a reason to wear it again… :)

Dress from the First Floor of Britex!

Since I first went in to Britex 10 years ago, I’ve wanted to make a fancy dress from the fabric they sell on the first floor. For those of you not familiar with this particular fabric store, the first floor is where they keep all the expensive fabrics like silks and wools. As a grad student, that wasn’t going to happen. So when we went back to SF to visit friends last spring I knew what I wanted to do: shop on the first floor of Britex!

I’d already done my homework and knew, generally speaking, what style of dress I wanted to make, what materials I wanted to use, and how much fabric to buy. However, one of the advantages of Britex is that the staff is always excited about offering advice on fabric selections. I was introduced to a silk/silicone blend that had an interesting shimmery tone. I really liked it, but thought it was a bit much, so I got a geometric print sheer silk fabric to use as an overlay to tone it down. For the skirt, I got a lavender wool crepe. I’ve always wanted to work with this fabric and, now that I have, will definitely be buying more wool crepe next time I go to SF.

I was very happy with how this dress turned out and have already been able to wear it to two events. Shopping on the first floor was definitely a fun experience and something I’d like to do again – though I probably won’t go all out again unless I have a particular reason. I don’t need that many fancy dresses!

The dress from the front.

The dress from the front.

The back view of the dress. You can tell it's late in summer from my very visible tan lines. :)

The back view of the dress. You can tell it’s late in summer from my very visible tan lines. :)