Merry Christmas!

It's been a wonderful Christmas, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to come home for the holiday week. My brother recently bought an adorable house, so my husband, pooch, and I decided to make our home base here. Not only am I incredibly impressed with my little brother's decorating skills (who knew?!?), but he has been an absolutely great host, and having Christmas here with our entire family was a blast.

Was so happy that my little brother had a Christmas tree up and ready for our arrival. 

My husband said that this stress-free week made this the best Christmas he ever had, and he also praised the loveliness of the indoor plumbing system (i.e., shower and toilet). When you live aboard, these land-lubber everyday conveniences are a special treat. As is being able to let the dog out in the morning to run around in the backyard on his own, making a quick cup of coffee, a dishwasher, a big tv with cable, etc. The biggest treat, though, is just being able to spend time with family which doesn't happen often enough.

Hoping that you all had a wonderful holiday and with continue to do so through the New Year. Best wishes!

One of our marina friends had his own Christmas tree poised on his boat.

A full size kitchen means I could try out creative breakfast - heart cinnamon rolls (one does look like an insect, though...)

Brother braved the northern cold to deep fry a turkey! Impressive.

I contributed appetizers - cranberry nut brie, spinach artichoke dip, crostinis. 

Yum. The brie was good. Actually, not sure if you can mess up brie!

My grandmother's Christmas decorations were on display. It's the third Christmas without her, and she's always missed.

My sister literally brought a Christmas gift bag full of jello shots. Yum.

Dogs were exhausted.

Although I'm not a fan of eating it, having Grandma's layered jello is a nice touch.

The pooch preferred the office futon for naps. 

Day after Christmas brought snow. 

Everyone was still stuffed after eating and drinking too much.

A good cup of coffee was lovely the day after. Being able to make it in a few minutes is nice!

Winter Morning

The weather outside is frightful, but the pictures turn out delightful. It's been a cold couple of days on the water. After we luckily missed the brunt of an eastward moving storm, we did have some low temps and freezing on the creek and pier. Just some pictures of what I enjoyed seeing and what makes me appreciate our new inside propane heater even more.

Funny - Caring for a Cruiser

Had to share this article from Sail magazine, shared with me by a fellow liveaboard lady. It's so funny - it made me think of how often I do drape my arms over our shelves in our aft cabin. In a house bed, I don't know what to do with all of the space! Enjoy : )

Caring for a Cruiser - Article

Project: Camera Case

I have only gone out into the madness twice during Black Friday - one was a few years ago with my mom and sister to Joann's Fabrics (if it's craft crazy, I can handle it) and then this year, before my work day began. Walmart had a great deal on a Canon digital camera, and I bit the bait. It was a really great deal but it did not come with a case. I love the tutorial over at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom for the easy quilted case, and it turned out pretty well. 

I was able to use up some of the scrap material left over from my holiday pillow covers and I used a towel I found in the boat. No longer do I keep batting around because I don't have space; the towel and fabric was pretty thick to sew through, so I put on the quilting foot so my sewing machine could make it's way through the multiple layers. If I made this again, I would make the little elastic shorter (my button had to be way down on case, not cute and in the middle of the front). But, I'm happy with the outcome, and it will keep this new camera safe while we are at or away from the dock. 

Project: Holiday Pillow Covers

Our good friends aboard S/V Last Tango put me to shame last year during the holiday season. Their interior was so nicely and simply decorated for Christmas that it almost made tears come to my eyes. Our crew of friends were all headed off in different directions for the holidays, so Last Tango hosted a pre-Christmas dinner and get-together. Twinkle lights were twinkling, Christmas music was singing, cards adorned the cabin... all things that were so nice and reminded me of home. In the time since then, I decided that I would do some little things to make our boat feel more decorated for the holidays, but still remain committed to only bringing aboard what can be used/enjoyed each day, has a place to be stored, and doesn't have glitter. (Not sure if this is a rule for all liveaboards, but it is in our boat - our captain despises glitter.) For example, I've hung ribbon on our aft cabin door so we can tie and hang our Christmas cards. My absolutely adorable nieces are featured below, because their mother is so on-the-holiday-ball that she's already sent out her Christmas cards (and I love her for that and more).

So today, in the time it took to watch the movie, You've Got Mail, I was able to complete three easy pillow covers for our non-Christmasy pillows. I had awesome coupons to Joann's Fabrics this week, so the overly expensive indoor/outdoor fabric ($19.99/yard - what?!?) became mine for 60 and 50 percent off. Nice! I liked the selected fabric because it had holiday colors and a bit of blue to match our interior fabric. We'll be able to use the covers far into the winter (meets one of our rules....) and as you'll see below, there's already proof that the pillows will be used daily.

I like (and have used for t-shirt pillows, for Hospice families) the easy directions from the Southern Institute for making pillow covers. You can make these for any sizes of pillows and you can make covers for all seasons and make those decorating changes in a nice simple way. Pillow covers can be folded up, as well, and stored easily (meets another rule...) I'll likely make some new ones in February for the end of winter, and some new ones in spring. I'm excited to cover the pillows we currently have; they are nice, but need a fresh look.

I'll share a bit of the steps, below; but, I really do suggest you check out the Southern Institute's blog for more specific directions. And, these are so easy that any beginner (or "never done a project") sewer can do.

First, make some tea or coffee. You'll need something to calm your nerves when you mess up (as I do many times).

Measure your pillows. Add 1 inch to each side. Mine are 20 inches, so I cut the  front panels to be 21 inches.

For back pieces, make two. One needs to be 5 inches less than the pillow size, and another needs to be 3 inches less. Fold back the edge that will be visible, 5 inches. Pin this across and then sew. 
Fold over again to make a clean seam. 
Just a tip, using these hair clips can be useful if you prefer over pins. I use both, depending on the sewing to be done.
You'll make sure that the back pieces (seen above) will cover one another. You'll place the front panel and back pieces right sides together, match up the edges and then sew all the way around. You'll use the opening (in the center) to pull everything through when you turn the pillow case right side out. Also, remember to cut your corners off before turning right side out, and also use a pen or your scissors (gently) to push out your corners so they are pointy.
Here's what the back of the pillow looks like, the original pillow can be pushed up and in through the back opening.

Destination: Onancock, VA

I Googled destinations on the Chesapeake Bay, and this led me to discovering Onancock, VA - a place that has become one of our favorite cruising destinations. Onancock sits at the end of Onancock Creek, on the lower Eastern Shore of Virginia. The town is charming, friendly, quaint, and always provides a backdrop for a lovely, relaxing getaway. 

We highly recommend the restaurant at the wharf, Mallard's, and if you're able to hang out for live music with their musical chef, Johnny Mo, you're in for a treat. Just make sure that you do not partake in any free shots should they be giving them away. I think the ones we welcomed (multiple times) were called kamikazes, and the name is not a coincidence. I think I walked into a fly trap that night....

View from the Onancock Wharf Marina, from our slip.

View of the walk downtown

Notice the jewels hot glued to the window - just a touch a fancy that you'll find all over this town.

We were lucky to get to shop the market; we found lovely desserts and some great all-natural repellents and soap.

We did partake in a weekend night show at the local theater; but, did not find out about the Int'l Film No (??)

Our dog promptly tried to introduce himself to this pooch (aka, sniffed the backside); disappointed that it was not alive.

Even the pooch loves coming to Onancock.

Our crew tried out paddle boarding - successfully, I might add. They were a bunch of naturals.

Still happy to be here.....

No better way to relax - standard rum and cokes, and Chaco tan lines on the feet. Marks of a productive trip!