Thursday, January 31, 2019

Free Sewing & Crafting Projects

Looking for free sewing and craft projects? Need directions, supply lists, or templates? How about how-to videos to accompany each project? Every single one of these has a video tutorial to go along with it!

While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!



While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tutorial Tuesday - Fabric Valentine Cards

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 


In the spirit of simplicity I've started 2019 by sharing some of my simple projects from the past years. Next week we'll be into February and I'll have all new videos for you. But since it is still my simple January and Valentine's Day is coming up in a couple weeks it might be a good time to reshare this video.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

I have to confess.

Sewing for Good Sundays are turning into Sewing for Good Sundays and Mondays and Tuesdays and even Sewing for Good Wednesdays. Once I get started I just can't stop sewing!

Today I finished piecing together three more quilts tops for the Quilts for Kids organization.

Add those to these others I put together this month:

And I now have eight quilt tops done. And I'm not finished yet. I used up some of the scraps to make scrappy blocks:
I'm also working on some other blocks (not pictured). Whew. I just might be sorry I'm doing so many tops at once. While I can just zip through putting them together, once I hit the cutting batting and backing stage and then the quilting stage things will slow way down. And I'll probably feel more like the turtle than the rabbit. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Disembarking a Cruise Ship

While you’ve been able to spend several days with no responsibilities there’s nothing like directions on how to disembark the ship to bring you back to reality. A day or so before the end of the cruise you will receive information about the disembarkation process.
It encompasses a multitude of end-of-cruise details:
Settling of Accounts
All accounts must be settled before leaving the ship. If a credit card has been left on file there is no need to check out as you would in a hotel. Cash or check accounts may require a visit to the passenger services desk the evening before departure to settle up. In some cases any beverage purchases on that last morning will have to be paid in cash because the account has already been closed out. On other ships cruise cards may be used for purchases up until the moment you are scanned off the ship.
Times for Vacating Cabin and Departing Ship
The same day you are getting off the ship the next set of passengers will be getting on. Before anyone can leave, the ship has to wait for clearance from local authorities and customs officials. Sometimes customs are ahead of schedule and sometimes they are behind. Be ready to be flexible. Because getting everyone off the ship at the same time is as impossible as boarding everyone at the same time, passengers are assigned disembarkation times. The assigned time is dependent on flights, post-cruise tours, and whether the cruise line will be delivering your luggage to the cruise terminal or if you are carrying off your own bags.
The cabin stewards start prepping cabins for the new passengers right away. Most likely you will be required to leave the cabin earlier than the time you are scheduled to leave the ship. For example, you may be asked to be out of the cabin by 8:00 a.m. yet not scheduled to leave the ship until 9:45 a.m.
Meeting Location
You may be assigned a meeting place to wait at until your disembarkation time. We prefer to wait in a quiet spot, usually by the pool, and then go to the assigned lounge a few minutes before our scheduled time. Why rush, having your mind already racing back home when you can sit in the warm sunshine on a lounge chair, squeezing in another hour of vacation time?
Breakfast Hours
Usually room service isn’t available the last morning and the buffet can be super-busy with everyone eating at about the same time. There have been occasions when we ordered cereal and fruit from room service the day before and saved the food to eat on that last morning. Beats the craziness found in the breakfast locations on disembarkation day.
Luggage tags
The procedure for getting your luggage off the ship is different than any you may have experienced before. You are assigned color-coded luggage tags that control the flow of passengers off the ship and assist you in finding your luggage within the cruise terminal. Attach the provided luggage tags to your bags and place the bags outside the cabin door on the last evening  of the cruise. Crew collect luggage from hallways all throughout the night and organize it based on the tag's color. You will not see your bags again until the next morning in the terminal. Keep your carry-on with you. Be sure to have the obvious items like medications and passports in the carry-on, but don't forget the clothes you'll be wearing the next day. Don’t be caught in pjs because you forgot to pack clothes to wear off the ship! Take everything out of the safe and leave it open. Hold onto your cruise card because you will need it for one last scanning off the ship.
When you collect your luggage in the terminal it usually will not be on a carousel like at the airport but placed side by side grouped by the luggage tag color. There may be several hundred bags in your luggage tag group so double check the bag carefully before leaving with it. There are porters available in the area for passengers needing luggage assistance.
If you can manage all your luggage on your own you may have the option to take it off the ship yourself. For those driving home from the port or with an early morning flight this walk-off disembarkation can usually get you on your way earlier. But if you plan on carrying all your luggage off the ship, think very carefully about the logistics of it. Multiple large suitcases and carry-ons being dragged down a carpeted hall. Fitting into super-busy elevators. Finding a place to keep suitcases during breakfast. Rolling those suitcases up or down the gangway. Down another even busier and slower elevator in the terminal. Are you nimble and fit and patient enough? Are your travel companions?
Customs and Border Protection
When returning to the United States passengers report to Customs and Border Protection in the cruise terminal where passports are presented to officials. As border security regulations fluctuate other screenings may be instituted. If disembarking in another country additional requirements may exist.
Comment Card/Survey Information
Comment cards and online surveys are frequently used by cruise lines to assess the service received. Positive comments are a way for personnel to receive raises and promotions. If someone went out of their way for you, use the comment card to let the cruise line know. Comment cards can be filled out at any time during the cruise with online surveys typically happening post-cruise.
Arrangements for Passengers with Disabilities
Passengers needing wheelchair assistance may be asked to be at the meeting location a few minutes before the assigned departure time. If you think you need this service, use it. Staff will wheel you off the ship, through customs, and to your transportation. My husband frequently uses this service and has been pleased with the attentiveness of staff and speed of the process.
Disembarkation Tips
The morning you leave the ship can be hectic. Remember to:
·Pack your patience along with your carry-on.
·Keep medications and documentation with you.
·Remove items from the safe.
·Be out of the cabin when requested.
·Enjoy the last of the cruise ship meals.
·Wait in a nice location before going to the assigned lounge.
·Have your cruise card ready for scanning.
·Collect your luggage in the terminal.
·Have passports ready for customs.
·Be on time for arranged transportation and allow plenty of time to get to the airport.


Take one last look at the ship.
Think about the trip.
Are you in for another one? If so, maybe I’ll see you there.

Excerpt from CRUISING WITH CONFIDENCE: HOW TO BE A FIRST-TIME CRUISER WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE ONE 

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Friday 15

I love that our library checks out eBooks. I don't even have to go into the library. I can just sit at home and check out the book and read it on my iPad. Easy peasy. This month I've been reading a new book called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. (Actually the full title is The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store but I went with, well, less.) Reading books like this one provides motivation to keep going.

Motivation to keep purchases to a minimum.

Motivation to keep donating/discarding 15 items each week.

This week's pile is a hodgepodge of things. Mostly they are things I had stuck in the bottom drawer of my nightstand. Basically another pile of junk I don't need.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tutorial Tuesday Flashback

In the spirit of simplicity, for the month of January I am re-sharing some of my most popular YouTube videos. Today we have a quick and easy potholder tutorial from seven years ago, almost to the exact day. It's also the tutorial where our kitty thought she needed to provide her own commentary at the two minute mark.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 
Click here to see all my tutorials!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

I just don't get it. How can I love two things that are so completely opposite of each other both so very much? So much I would never be able to choose between the two.

Cruising and crafting are my loves.

When I'm cruising I love each and every day. I love sea days. I love port days. I love visiting new ports and I love visiting some of the same old ports. When I'm on a ship I want to stay there and never come home. (I guess that's why we sometimes are away for months at a time.)

But when I'm home I love the time I spend sewing and crafting. I love cutting fabrics. I love the machine humming as I chain piece fabrics with a straight stitch. I love the calming meandering stitching I do when I'm quilting the top. (I guess that's why some days I can be found at the sewing and cutting table for hours and hours and hours.)

But when I'm cruising I sometimes have a pang of homesickness. Not for my home itself or my bed, but for my sewing machine and fabrics. But then when I'm home I sometimes have a pang of homesickness for the ship. Maybe because the ship is like our second home. Actually, now that I think about it, the ship IS our second home.

So how does that play out for me each week? Let's take these last couple days as an example. I spent yesterday trying to find a way to get back on a ship in the next couple months. It's always exciting when you start putting a trip together! Then that planning went on the back burner for today's sewing for good projects.

Just look at all the quilt tops for the Quilts for Kids organization that are now complete:
  
 And this one from last week:

That gives me five quilt tops made for charity just this month. Yahoo! I still need to cut backings, batting, and baste them together. Then they will be ready for me to quilt. Or I may make a few more tops and then quilt them all at the same time.

And guess what? After getting everything done today I ended the day without caring about cruising. Plop me in front of this machine every day for the rest of the winter and I'll be good.

But tomorrow I'll probably be back to planning a cruise. Ugh. Why can't I just pick one and go with it???

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Why to Take a Magnet on a Cruise Ship


It's Cruise Ship Saturday! Today we're talking about why you should take a magnet with you on your cruise.

When traveling we subscribe to the belief of packing half as many clothes and twice as much money as we think we’ll need. When we cruise I add one more thing to our packing list. 

A magnet. 

Did you know the walls on the cruise ship are magnetic? A magnetic clip (even a big magnetic chip clip) can be placed on the wall and used as a bulletin board area. The clip can be a good place to put all the papers that are delivered to the cabin each day. The daily paper, the invitations to the art auction and health seminar, the ads for the boutiques and spa specials. 

Here's what we received on just the first day of a cruise.

Multiply that by seven days and yep, you'll get A LOT of papers. 

Grab a magnet with a clip, stack the papers together, and put them on the wall. Instant bulletin board!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Friday 15

The other day I was going all KonMari on my daughter as I was helping her organize and tidy her den. (So proud of kiddo - six big garbage bags of things left their home!) As I was working with her as she culled her books, it occurred to me I had forgotten about some books at my own home.

Just a couple weeks ago I bragged about going from all these books and bookshelves:
down to just these few books:

But I forgot about all my kids books and teaching materials. When I left the classroom years ago I got rid of hundreds and hundreds of books. But I kept a couple containers of books and materials. Things I thought would come in handy someday when I had grandkids. 

Well, no grandkids yet. And a realization that even if and when grandkids arrive, I really didn't need everything I had kept. So the other night after hubby had gone to bed I went through the closet and the containers. I did keep a few things (can't get rid of that set of Dr. Seuss books - that's an order from my daughter), but I can happily report today's Friday 15 is actually a Friday 101. Yep, 101 books and materials that had been important to me over the last 30 years will no longer be mine. 

I just noticed something about the picture. Since less stuff = simpler life = more free time it seems pretty ironic that the last book I put in the stack was Teacher Tested Timesavers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tutorial Tuesday Flashback

In the spirit of simplicity I'm continuing to offer up some of my simple crafting projects from the past. Today's video is from my first official Tutorial Tuesday on August 2, 2011. Back then I could never have predicted that more than 36,000 people would be interested in this project.


Geez, that was forever ago.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

First up, I did NOT mistake WD-40 for compressed air like I did last Sunday. Woo hoo. Second of all, I neglected to mention an important piece of information last week. The quilts I am working on will be going to the Quilts for Kids organization. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming fabrics into patchwork quilts to comfort children facing serious illness, injury or trauma.

Let's see what I got whipped up for Quilts for Kids since last Sunday's Sewing for Good day.

Last week I finished this quilt top:
 And put together these blocks.
I still have more work to do with them, but right now those purple blocks are resembling a quilt top looking like this:
I also cut and did some stitching of these three fabrics:
 And they too now resemble a quilt top looking like this:
 I also sewed some kitty cat fabrics and white fabrics into strips. I think I'll be adding some white strips to the top and bottoms of them.
 And I also put together these two fabrics:
To make even more blocks:
Which I think I will use with this panel:
 It appears I now have five quilt tops in various stages of completion. It might be time to start to get the completion completed!