Friday, March 20, 2020

Day 2 - Another Use for the Ocean Medallion Box

Back for Day 2 of Deb's Pic a Day Part II. Whew, that's a mouthful! Today I found a new use for the Ocean Medallion Boxes I've had sitting around. Typically I would have tossed them but they are nice, sturdy boxes and I knew I'd eventually come up with a way to use them. 

Anytime I have a spool of fabric getting close to being finished, I use it to fill a sewing machine bobbin. Have a spool of thread smaller or larger than the rest in my collection? It goes into bobbins. Thread I've had around for a while and want to use up? It goes into a bobbin. It works great because no matter what project I'm working on, I already have plenty of bobbins ready to go. But bobbin storage can be problematic.

I've been looking for a new way to store my bobbins after I got rid of my storage boxes on one of The Friday 15 days last year. I tried:
  • having several little containers, each with their own bobbin color. I found it to be too messy for my taste. 
  • a big divided plastic container but didn't like having to open and close it each time I needed a bobbin. 
  • cutting cardboard strips and placing them in a drawer to divide the colors. Every time I bumped the drawer, the bobbins jumped the cardboard strips and made another mess. 

I've now found a new option. I took some of my Ocean Medallion boxes from last year and cut off the lids.
Turned the lids upside down, and filled them with the bobbins.
Perfect fit.
Glue sticks are residing in the bottom of one of the boxes. The other two bottoms are empty, waiting for my next idea. Ready, set, GO!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Back to the Beginning - Day 1

It's time to get back to basics.

I started this blog as a personal diary nine years ago during a rough patch in life. Out of work, in pain, without much hopefulness or thankfulness in my system. I knew then I needed something to get out of my rut so I set a goal. A picture goal. A take-a-picture-every-day-to-see-that-you-have-lived kind of goal. My intent was to take a picture each and every day for a year. In the end I wound up with 1000 straight days of pictures and stories. (You can read about the project here.)

Over the course of the last several years the blog has morphed into many different things. Even though I've been writing a lot about cruising lately, I've had this feeling like I needed to get back to the basics. Back to having my eyes wide open. Back to looking for new and interesting and beautiful things around me. Things not related to cruising. (No one wants to touch that topic now anyway so I'm totally okay at pressing pause on it.)

With COVID-19 having closed down our schools and businesses while we sequester in our homes, it seems like the right time to shift the blog's focus again. (At least temporarily.) My picture a day photos may not be nearly as exciting as photos from my travels, but they will again give me proof that I am living a life. A life focused on hopefulness and thankfulness.

First up, a picture from my quick trip to the store. And of course, I have a story to go with it. 

We are people who always keep paper towels and toilet paper on hand. Always. We stock up every few years and then live off our stockpile. (Remember this picture from six years ago in our old house? We're still working on some of those paper towels.) So when our daughter kept telling us about not being able to find toilet paper and paper towels in the store I somewhat dismissed it. How, because of work schedules, she and her husband couldn't get to the store first thing in the morning. Which then meant there would be no product on the shelf when they got off work. She told me stories of people at her work having to buy tissues and wipes because there were no paper products. We rarely ever go down the aisle so we really had no clue.

Until I had to go grab some disposable plastic cups in the store (trying to stay away from hand washing our glasses right now - there goes my zero waste household) and saw this where the toilet paper and paper towels are usually found. Wow.
A quick apology was offered to our daughter, as was several rolls of paper towels and toilet paper from our home stash. Unfortunately we had to make the transaction outside as she works face-to-face with customers all day and E and I are both high risk. (He with his kidney disease and me with only one working lung.)

Not the positive picture I would have liked to share for the first day back at it, but I have to give my daughter credit for being right - and needed the picture to prove it. 

Crossing my fingers tomorrow's picture will be less stress-inducing! 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Cruising Update

As a blogger I sometimes write posts and post them right away. Other times I write them and save them to post later when I'm ready. And sometimes I write them and schedule them to be posted on a certain day and time.

Guess I should have been more aware of when yesterday's Ways to Keep Healthy on a Cruise was posting. Bad timing on my part. While I do believe those ways to keep healthy are valid no matter which germs are floating around, the current strain of Coronavirus is a wild card. So much is unknown, and the information out there is changing so fast it's hard to know what to do. Which leads me to an update on how COVID-19 is impacting cruises. Mine included. 

First, we have a dear crew member friend who is on the Grand Princess right now. (He was the one we were supposed to meet up with in Ensenada last month but their ship had to skip the port.) Since we didn't get to see him in Ensenada we were planning on a cruise to see him in May, but that won't be happening now. While the future cruises on the Grand (other than this week's) haven't been cancelled by the cruise line, I wouldn't be surprised if the ship is taken out of circulation for a while. Even if it wasn't, our buddy believes all crew contracts will be cut short and they'll be heading home. After a quarantine, period of course. I've been talking with him every day and I can hear fear in his voice. It's certainly a stressful times for all.

Then today we heard from two other crew members, one on the Royal Princess (the ship we just left) and the Regal Princess. Both ships have crew members who had transferred over from the Grand Princess. (Before anyone knew about COVID-19 on the Grand.) And now both ships are in a holding pattern. The Royal cancelled yesterday's cruise and the Regal cancelled today's. The Royal is empty of passengers and sitting at the dock in San Pedro but the Regal is offshore in Florida with a ship full of passengers needing to disembark. Without knowing what is happening next, it's more stressful times for all.

With everything happening, what did our crew members on those ships and other ships tell us? Again and again, they told us the same thing. Stay away from ships for a while. I gotta say, I trust crew members we've know for years over what I hear on TV or read on the Internet so we're following their advice. 

We're skipping our two cruises on the Star Princess, our two cruises on the Grand Princess, and the one cruise on the Coral Princess. There will be no March-April-May cruises for us this year. Many months ago we had already decided to skip Alaska this season so no June-July-August cruises, either. We're not giving up completely, though. We've gone ahead and booked several cruises for October and November this year. But if when the time comes we have crew members telling us not to go, we won't. 

It's a crazy time in the cruising world right now and things are changing day by day and sometimes hour by hour. We all need to do what we can to reduce risks of exposure, whether we are on a cruise ship or not. Be safe out there, and stay healthy!

Thank you to everyone who has been checking with us to see if we’re okay. We are home now, having left the Royal Princess not too long ago. We’re healthy and happy to be back home for a while.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

5 Ways to Keep Healthy on a Cruise Ship

As a frequent cruiser (88 cruises and counting!) I've picked up my share of germs on ships. Most cruises I come away A-OK. Other times it might be a sniffle or a cough or a good ol' cold. And then there are those times I wind up flu sick. Oh so very sick.

If you cruise enough, it's almost inevitable you'll pick up something at one time or another. You're exposed to new people coming from new places who may or may not use the same preventative measures that you do. You will find fellow passengers licking their fingers just before grabbing the tongs in the buffet. In the elevator you might find another choosing not to cover their cough. Any chance of seeing someone walking out of the bathroom without washing hands and then using the handrail as they go down the stairs? Yep.

While the cruise lines do what they can to encourage healthy practices and sanitize ship surfaces, it's really up to us as passengers to protect ourselves. Here are a few practices you may find helpful for keeping healthy on a cruise ship.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and am not dispensing medical advice. Instead I am sharing those practices I've found to be helpful in reducing my exposure to germs while cruising. This article was written before COVID really took hold, but whether we're talking pre-COVID times or post-COVID, these guidelines still hold true.

1. Wash your hands.
It should go without saying, but you'd be surprised by the number of people who don't wash them. Don't be one of them. Wash those hands thoroughly with soap and water any chance you get and definitely before eating and after using the restroom. And it certainly wouldn't hurt to wash them before using the restroom, either. Just happen to be walking by a sink on your way to somewhere else? Wash those hands!

2. Use hand sanitizer. A lot.
See one, use one!
Cruise ships have hand sanitizer stations all around the ship. Along with handwashing use these sanitizers after holding the handrails, after touching other surfaces, and before and after eating. Even with the abundance of hand sanitizer stations on the ship we still carry our own. We also take our pocket sized sanitizer in port as handwashing facilities may not be available.

3. Keep your distance.
From other people, that is. Heard of social distancing? Leave space between you and the next person whether you are in the theater,
You'll never find a theater this empty so be particular about where you sit.
in any of the dining locations,
 or even when you're in a line getting on or off the ship.
Walk slower or faster if you need to, but leave some space
between you and the next person.
4. Seek out fresh air.
Choose outside spaces over inside spaces whenever possible. Fresh air is always a good thing and is preferable over enclosed spaces.

5. Assume every surface isn't clean.
You know how they place paper towels by the restroom door so you can use the towel to open the handle instead of opening it with your bare hands? Think about other ways you can protect yourself from surfaces that might not be clean. You most likely won't be able to carry paper towels with you everywhere, but you can be mindful of what you're touching. Hand railings and restaurant menus. Door handles, chair backs, and table tops. Even think about your cabin. The steward cleans the surfaces but sometimes the stewards themselves are coming down with something so think about those light switches, telephone receiver, and the TV remote. By assuming everything is not clean, you will find yourself washing your hands, grabbing the hand sanitizer, and spraying your cabin with some disinfectant spray before ever touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.

While these five ways can't guarantee you won't get sick, I have found them to help me in staying well onboard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Make Easter Egg Coasters from Fabric Scraps - Tutorial Tuesday

If you're looking for a homemade drink coaster idea for your Easter or spring decor, check out this how-to tutorial. These Easter Egg drink coasters are made from fabric scraps and sew up pretty quick. It's an easy Easter sewing project!

Homemade Easter Egg Drink Coasters Made with Fabric Scraps Sewing Project

For this project you will need:
Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

Looking for something else? 
Check out some of my other Easter sewing and crafting projects!

Otherwise you can watch the tutorial video for the fabric scrap Easter Egg drink coasters sewing project right here: