Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Traveling the USA


more coming soon...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Make Bunny Rabbit Candy Pouches - Tutorial Tuesday

Today's tutorial combines fabric and candy and Easter. What could be better?

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

Along with your regular sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
  • two pieces of plain fabric measuring 9 ½”x 12” (I’m using muslin)
  • one piece of freezer paper measuring 9 ½”x 12” 
  • ribbon. I cut four pieces measuring 12” each
  • Printer
  • Tape
  • Scissors or pinking shears
  • A piece of cardstock or plain paper
  • Template from HERE
You can find the video directions here:

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!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

Choose fabrics for charity quilt tops. Check.
Sew blocks from those fabrics. Check.
Piece together 12 quilt tops for the Quilts for Kids organization. Check.
Choose backing fabrics for those 12 quilt tops. Check.
Cut backing fabrics to size. Check.
Cut batting for 12 quilts. Check.
Productive Sewing for Good Sundays. Check.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

5 Things to Know about Muster Drill


1. It's required.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires all passengers attend a muster drill within 24 hours of sailing. Most ships hold these drills, where you learn about what to do in case of an emergency, before the ship leaves port. Like practicing a fire drill in school, a muster drill is a practice for an emergency. All passengers are required to attend. No matter how busy you think you are or how young your children are. No matter whether you are in a wheelchair or walk with a cane or dislike crowds. No matter how many times you’ve worn a life jacket in your life. No matter how many cruises you’ve been on before you must attend the muster drill.

2. If you try and skip it you will be caught.
Cabin stewards are responsible for checking each cabin. Don’t hide (or dawdle) in your cabin during the drill. When entering the muster station cruise cards are scanned by muster personnel. Scanning of cards by the electronic system assists crew in determining the attendance of passengers. So if you miss it, guess who will be found out and be required to attend a make up drill?

3. The siren to call you to the drill is loud.
An emergency broadcast alarm is sounded to call passengers to the muster stations for the drill and for a real emergency. It's a piercing alarm consists of seven short blasts followed by one long blast on the ship’s whistle. No matter where you are on the ship, you will most definitely hear it.

4. You may have to stand by your assigned lifeboat. Or you might not.
Each cruise line has its own way of gathering passengers for muster. Some cruise lines provide an area inside the ship away from the elements. Other cruise lines have passengers reporting to muster directly on deck near the assigned lifeboat. Be familiar with the muster drill procedure on your specific ship by reading details in the first day's paper and listening to the directions of ship personnel.

5. Elevators cannot be used during the muster drill or during a real emergency.
You will be directed down or up the stairs by stairway guides and muster personnel. If a disability prevents you from using the stairs, let them know. Better yet, go to your muster drill early when the elevators are still in service. If you know assistance will be needed in a real emergency let your cabin steward or the passenger services desk know so arrangements can be made. Special personnel are designated to assist passengers needing additional help.


It is in your best interest to take the muster drill seriously. What would you do if the captain came on the loudspeaker and told passengers there was a fire in the galley and ordered all muster crew personnel to the muster stations? Would you know to get back to your cabin and dress warmly and pack a small bag with your medications like we did? Would you then know where to go to evacuate the ship? Would you know how to put on your life vest?  Every cruise we see people talking to others, texting, taking pictures, and even sleeping during muster. Don’t be one of them.


Friday, February 22, 2019

The Friday 15

Why oh why do we keep things we don't need?

Do I need a binder I've had in the kitchen since we've moved into this house? Full of dividers and inserts and menus from a city we don't even live in anymore? With daily menu plans from a lifetime ago? I even had a dried up pen and dry erase marker in there. Do I need those? Heck no.

Do I need the curtain valances I made for the bedroom when we first moved into this house? Nope.

What about a USB wall charger cube we bought at the Fisherman's Wharf CVS in San Francisco years ago? No, because it took forever to charge on that trip. And besides, now I have a wall charger I always keep in our travel things so we don't ever forget one again.

What about all those bobbin boxes? Yes, I like my bobbins neat and organized but I don't need all those boxes.

So adios to 15 more!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Roll Up Colored Pencils Holder Sewing Project - Tutorial Tuesday

For today's Tutorial Tuesday we are making a holder for colored pencils. Or in my daughter's case, a  holder for her gel pens, too.

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


Along with your regular sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
*Main fabric 11” x 18” (I’m using a heavier weight fabric. More of a canvas-type fabric.)
*Lining fabric 11” x 18”
*Fusible fleece 10 ½” x 17 ½”
*Elastic, 27” by 1” wide
*Hair tie or elastic for the loop
*Button (Make sure it’s a button with a shank.)

You can find the video instructions here:

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!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

Backings have been chosen!
Next up, cut enough batting for 12 quilts. Thank goodness I buy it by the huge roll.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

5 Things to Know about Embarkation Day


1. The same day you are embarking is the same day the previous cruise’s passengers are disembarking.
This turnaround day is a busy one for personnel working on the ship and off the ship. A lot has to happen in a few short hours. The ship must be cleared of every single passenger before new ones are allowed to board. It's amazing that personnel can process 2,000+ people leaving and the other 2,000+ coming all within a span of a few hours. They will also be loading supplies, offloading garbage, and bunkering fuel during that time. 
Mattresses may even be loaded on turnaround day.
2. You must have proper documentation.
If you don’t have a passport apply for one long before the date of departure. You will be turned away without proper documentation. While some itineraries may allow a birth certificate as documentation, the best choice is a passport. Emergencies happen when traveling. If for some reason you need to depart the ship early from a foreign country, a passport is needed. Already have a passport? Double check the expiration date to see if it is valid beyond your travel date, just in case. Some cruise lines even require your passport to be valid an additional six months past your sail date. Then keep that passport and cruise documents with you during the embarkation process - don't put it them your checked luggage. 

3. There will be a line to stand in somewhere. 
A delay in the ship’s arrival, in customs, or in passengers not disembarking when advised can change the timing of when you can board. Bring your patience. Whether arriving earlier or later, there is usually a line.  
Lines can be long. Very long. Thousands of other excited people will be checking in within the same few hours. Sometimes you will be able to check in and go straight to the ship but other times you may be directed to a waiting area to sit until being called to board. Many times there is a backup somewhere, whether at the security line or at the check-in desk or in the waiting area. While being in line behind hundreds of other people might be enough to make you decide never to take another cruise don’t let it. The process may not appear smooth and it may not be fast and it may not seem efficient but it works.

4. Your luggage will magically appear at your cabin - but maybe not until the evening. 
One of the first things happening at the port when you pull up will be the handoff of your luggage to one of the numerous porters. Be sure you placed the cruise ship tags on them! (Keep the carry-on with you. Don’t hand over anything containing medications, passports, or cruise documents.) The porters will load your luggage onto a cart. The carts are then transferred into the terminal where it's scanned to check for weapons, alcohol, and other prohibited items. The bags will arrive at your cabin sometime in the afternoon or evening. 

5. You must attend the muster drill. 
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires all passengers attend a muster drill within 24 hours of sailing. Most ships hold these drills before the ship sails. Like practicing a fire drill in school, a muster drill is a practice for an emergency. All passengers are required to attend. No matter how busy you think you are or how young your children are. No matter whether you are in a wheelchair or walk with a cane or dislike crowds. No matter how many times you’ve worn a life jacket in your life. No matter how many cruises you’ve been on before you must attend the muster drill. Since your cruise card is scanned by muster personnel to determine attendance, you will be caught if you try and skip it. Do not even attempt to get out of the muster drill. We have had real-life emergency situations happen on cruise ships. In case of evacuation it is crucial for you to know where to go and what to do. It is in your best interest to take the muster drill seriously.
Green signs around the ship indicate the way to muster stations.

Then, once the muster drill is over, your cruise has officially begun!

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Friday 15

There are times when I'm getting rid of things when I get a little tinge of sadness in my heart. Today's items would be a good example.

Sheets, fabric, some comic book boards and a magazine? Don't care.

But the cookbooks I've had for years? With everything online now it's time for those last two well-used cookbooks to leave. (I would have passed them onto our daughter but she doesn't need them either.)

The colorful napkins and plastic cutlery I bought at Target years and years ago remind me of the prospect of a life with people over and picnics and BBQs. Events that never happened and now never will. Time to let them go.

But the hardest of the bunch to let go was the Christmas tree ornaments with the year 1997 written on the backs of them. A mommy, daddy, and little girl gingerbread family. They remind me of a lifetime of Christmases with our little girl who is long since grown up.  I can't see these ornaments needing to be part of my life in the future. (And kiddo didn't want them either. Ugh. Now that's sad.)

Off they all go. 15 more items be gone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sew Valentine Heart Coasters from Fabric Scraps - Tutorial Tuesday

It's Tutorial Tuesday and today we are going to use up some fabric scraps and strips to make these Valentine-themed coasters.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 


Along with your regular sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
  • One piece of backing fabric measuring 9 ½” x 9 ½”
  • One piece of foundation fabric measuring the same – 9 ½ x 9 ½. (I’m using a piece of muslin but you can use any kind of cotton fabric you might have around.)
  • One piece of cotton batting, 9 ½” by 9 ½”
  • Fabric strips. Mine range from 1” to 1 ½” wide. 
  • Four red fabric scraps measuring at least 4” x 4”. If you’d prefer all your hearts to be made from the same fabric, just use a bigger piece of fabric. (That's what I did.)
  • Something to use as a template for the heart (I’m using a cookie cutter) 
  • Pinking shears, optional
  • Glue stick. (I like this purple disappearing glue.)
  • Basting spray (I like this brand here.)

You can find the video directions here:

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!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

Okay, okay, I know, I know. It's time to transition.

I finished two more quilt tops today for the Quilts for Kids Organization.

I then counted my stack. 12.

12 quilt tops pieced since the first Sewing for Good Sunday on January 6!

Yep, it's time to transition out of the piecing stage and onto the picking out the backing and cutting the batting and basting the quilt together stages. I have to be honest, these upcoming steps are probably the ones I dislike the most.

Let's see how many I get basted next Sunday. Ugh.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

5 Things to Know about Cruise Ship Cabins

If you're planning for your first cruise you might be surprised that not all cruise ship cabins are created equal. The size, bed configuration, and the location on the ship can be important. Here are five things you should know about cruise ship cabins.

1. Location can matter. While in a hotel you might request a higher or lower floor or something near or far from the elevator, on a cruise ship you might want to consider other factors. If you're a light sleeper you won’t want to be underneath the nightclub or have a cabin over the theater. Maybe you want something in the middle of the ship so you don't have to walk so far to get to everything. Remember, ships are big. On a regular day of very little walking from activity to activity you can get a couple miles in. If you are prone to seasickness you'll also want one of those midship cabins on a lower deck as that is where the least amount of movement is felt.

2. Cabins are assigned letter and number combinations to designate the different categories, which in turn determines the pricing. An IA (Interior A) cabin is considered a better cabin than an IF (Interior F) cabin. A BB cabin (Balcony B) is considered better than a BE (Balcony E) cabin. 
The difference in the cabins? Location. Cabins in the middle of the ship are more centrally located, more desirable, where the least amount of movement is felt, and therefore are more expensive. 

3. Cabins can be small. An interior cabin, a windowless cabin on the ship, can be an inexpensive option but might be only 100 square feet. Once all lights are off it is dark. Very dark. It's perfect for a restful and relaxing vacation with lots of naps and plenty of opportunities to sleep in but might not be the best choice for those needing natural light. Going with a balcony cabin? You'll get the light and fresh air but your cabin still is only going run in the 200ish square foot range.

4. Most cabins have twin beds. If you'd rather sleep in the same bed with your significant other your cabin steward can put those twins together to create a larger queen/king size bed.
Traveling in the same cabin with another couple? A cabin holding up to four passengers has upper berths attached to the ceiling or wall. The beds fold down to create bunk beds. Adults or kids, it doesn't matter. Someone is going to have to take the top bunk.
5. Cabins can be noisy. No matter what type of cabin chosen or where it is located strange sounds will appear day and night. Vibrations and creaking and grinding noises are completely normal. So is hearing empty clothes hangers rattling their way down the rod at night. Yeah, that's a real thing.

If looking for a particular place on the ship or particular type of cabin, the earlier the booking the better. Think about what you want and be sure to pick that special cabin long before the sail date.

Did you know I'm now a travel agent specializing in cruises?  I am also a Princess Commodore, the highest level of Princess Cruises expert there is in the travel agent world, and an official Princess Alaska Expert. Let me help you put together a cruise package suited just for you - at no additional cost to you.  (I can also book flights, hotels, vacation packages, rental cars, tours and more.) Click here to let me know what you're looking for. I look forward to working with you!