Off the radar.

Lori enjoying a bit of seasickness on the bow.

We're still here - I promise!  We went for a sail Sunday - and thankfully dragged a couple of friends along.  It was a bit of a booger getting the boat out of the dock.  All the other sailors keep telling us "of course that's the hardest part!" but I say it's time for a bow thruster.

As soon as we got into the river, the wind was not cooperative.  It was pretty choppy and we only got up to about 4 knots.  We usually hit 7-9.  I hear that's fast, but what do I know?  I know 4 is slow - that's what I know.  It was still a blast - the girls were able to relax on the bow while the boys did the manly sailing part.

Luna bruised me in the shape of a moon.      
She's creative like that.
School has started back - thus my slackassedness at blogging. This semester I have a management class online and some other class that has to do with banquet stuff.  You know, which fork goes where, proper serving etiquette, etc.  As soon as he said we get to learn about wines/wine pairings, I was hooked.  I'm easy.  Just offer me wine and I'll take whatever class they throw at me.  Except Intro to Computers, which I'm trying my darnedest to get out of.  It's going to take a lot more than wine to get me to pay someone to teach me what a monitor is.  (That is apparently the subject matter of Chapter 1.)


The Small Things - hinging the bench

Sometimes it's the small things that are really annoying.  And let's face it, we don't exactly have a "Project" boat, so we're able to make those small things a priority.  When a small, annoying things gets fixed - it's big!  One of the annoying things was the top of the bench in the salon.  It's a good spot for me to brace myself when I'm cooking underway (yes, I do cook underway!)  But if you know me, you know I can't stand certain textures - whether it's food or fabric, I'm just picky.  The fabric on the bench is some sort of velvety non-sense.  It catches on your skin, is ugly and completely wrong for a water environment.  In addition, to get to the pot/pan storage inside the bench, I have to remove the cushion, remove another lid, then rummage around to find what I'm looking for.  That means I also have to stow the cushion and stow the wooden lid while cooking underway...
Bench in it's original (to us) configuration

The velcro doesn't really work anymore...

Here's the plug-style lid you have to remove

This shot just gives you a better idea of where the bench is (yes, we still have the table down low and use it as an ottoman)

I was surprised at how easily the bench came up - once all the junk was removed

I was also amazed at how much the salon opens up without the bench.  Tempting to remove the bench entirely, but we have grand plans for that bench - and it's some of the best galley storage we have.

Mark took the wooden lid off and added hinges.  It took two sessions - turned out he needed the router to remove a bit of the lip on the back of the lid in order to get it to close/open properly - and of course the router was at the condo.  He got it finished up and it is a great improvement.

While he was working on his project, I was fiddling around with our existing cushions.  We got a bargain on a large amount of scrap IZIT (faux, buttery-soft leather) that I am going to use to recover the salon cushions - and anything else I can get my hands on!  I took the cover off of the bench - it has a zipper down the back, unlike the rest of the sofa cushions.  You won't believe what was under it

Why?!?  Why would anyone cover the matching cream bench with that ugly, nonmatching blue?  (no offense to those of you that like blue velour...)
And here's an updated pic of the galley/salon - starting to get cozier.
I am keeping the cover though - it'll be a nice template/reference for the new covers I'm making.  I like that it's zippered and has muslin as a backing.  I've got quite a bit of muslin on my hands from the hand-dyed fabric I sell in my etsy shop.  I plan to use un-dyed muslin, but I could always jazz the boat up with some tie-dye...  I also like the piping.  I've been researching cushions and have learned to make piping, so we'll see how it goes.  I think it would be a nice design element to have a contrasting piping on the sofa - but it will also add a lot of work/room for error, so we'll see.  

I also opened up one of the MANY cockpit cushions that came with Luna Sea.  Those are closed cell, I think.  But they are drying out some, so I'm torn on whether to reuse the foam or buy more.  From the prices I've seen, I'll likely cover the existing foam in that buttery soft IZIT and keep on truckin' with those cushions.

Off to the boat!  We're hoping to sail today - the weather's not been cooperating, so we'll see.  Happy Sunday!


No more busting me arse.

So the boat is a little high-sided.  And I'm a little height-challenged.  That makes for a lively event every time I go to exit or enter the boat.  Some neighbors let us borrow a small plastic step stool until we could get/make our own steps.  That resulted in me stepping off the boat, onto the step, and immediately busting my butt on the dock.  Did I mention I'm also graceless?
We've had rain out the yingyang lately, so we figured out which projects we could work on in the condo and the stairs took priority.  

We cheated a little and picked up pre-made risers.  

Then cut to size and attached the stair treads.

We used a spacer to make sure they were all somewhat even.

Mark is a nerd.  ♥ 

Then attached the back legs/supports.  Contrary to previous photo, floating stairs are not practical.

These suckers are heavy.

Best part?  A ramp for the dogs!

The ramp has wooden pegs that fit into the appropriate hole, depending on distance.

And a peg that hooks over the toe rail to keep the boat in place.
 They work great.  We didn't have the dogs with us, as we didn't really plan to hang out all day Sunday.  We'll have to get them trained on their next visit!  Libby has already jumped off the boat onto the dock twice.  That's a long way for a wiener!  Hopefully she takes to the stairs easily and doesn't attempt any more flying escapes.

Sweet Dreams! (part 2)

There was a surprising break in the rain Sunday.  We planned to just run over to the boat to install the new stairs during a dry spell - but the dry spell turned into gorgeousness.  We were able to knock out multiple projects: including finishing up the bed project I started weeks ago.  I left off with the new foam topper just plopped on the pre-existing, original-to-the-boat cushions.  We tried it out for a while, and loved it.  Just needed to have a sunny window to drag all the cushions out onto the dock to cut them to size.  And Viola!  Sunday happened.

Apparently the base boards have been replaced over time.  We will replace them again, with more substantial wood.

The Full size topper was not an exact fit.

There was about a 2" shortage, so I placed that at the foot of the bed.

Thankfully, I realized in time that I needed to flip the cushions over before tracing - the top tapers down to the base.

I barely had anything left, practically a perfect fit after 2 or 3 cuts.

In place, the 2" shortage didn't matter - at all. 

I used the mattress cover that was included with the foam topper - it was a little awkward at first with the weird sized cushions.

Unfortunately, the custom sheets that came with Luna don't fit now...

Had to go with flat sheets for now (also came w/boat!)

Quilt/pillow from Germany

Keeping with our plan to only take things on the boat that are meaningful, I toted our super cool quilt and pillow case to the boat.  We picked them up on a day trip to Freiburg, Germany in 2009.  It will be traveling along with us wherever we go.  I love that thing.  It's kinda ragged, and I frequently have to patch it, but hey, love is blind, right?  It was supposedly made of scraps of material from old sari's in Thailand or something.  My aunt has a purse that matches it EXACTLY.  Purchased in Birmingham, AL, I believe...  I also have a skirt from Asheville, NC that is pretty darn similar.  Oh, well, the salesman had an interesting story and I have a cool quilt.

We headed home after a few more small projects and slept in our "real" bed - so no chance to enjoy the awesomeness that is now our cabin.  I'm sure it will be superb.



We're spending more time on the boat - and it's just not comfortable yet.  A few things are physical - the table is too big and in the way in the salon - but others are visual.  The Beneteau is a great blank slate.  Problem is, that canvas is still blank 7 weeks after we brought her home.  Well, it was still blank - until last night.  We headed over with super-Velcro in tow and I got to work adding some things from home while Mark was finally able to swap out the filter on the A/C water intake. 

Painting by Stephen Kasun 
I hung this on the fwd bulkhead in the salon.  I could actually get away with something larger in this space, but it's so bright and it makes me happy to see it when I first walk down the companionway.

You can see here that we've dropped the table to the level you're supposed to use for sleeping.  I'm thinking the 3"+  drop from the cushions to the table top might be a smidge uncomfortable.  I'm guessing that there was a cushion for this area at some point...  But for now we just lounge right on top of the dang thing.  It's become an ottoman of sorts.  We've got a plan brewing that involves completely removing the table and converting the bench (that's just out of sight in this photo) into an island with a fold down table and TV mount.  Good thing Mark is crafty.  And he loves my help - especially when it involves dropping the floor panel over the A/C seacock onto his head.  Oops.

Here's another painting I picked up from Stephen - this was a trade for some pottery I was selling at the art show where we met.  Local artists are often pretty cool.  This one is hanging in the galley - hopefully distracting visitors from the lovely EPIRB just above it...

I also took over a small iron mermaid that I picked up in St. Augustine one day and gave her a new perch in a non-opening port in the salon and hung a small painting that my sister brought me from a local artist in Bulgaria.  Oh!  And a cool handmade mermaid tile that I picked up in Mexico in March.  I just don't have pics of these things yet.  There's at least one more small handmade tile from Spain that I plan to hang in the aft head, and maybe a few more items around here that I want to move onto the boat.  Only our favorite art pieces are going - and those are generally from local artists picked up on our travels.  I guess I need to pick out something from my own work to take onboard - but I'd really rather sell my work to fund the travels!

I've been ordering fabric samples like crazy.  I'm planning to change the fabric on the salon seating and brighten it up.  The cream pleather is great for cleaning - and certainly bright, but I want some color.  I'm leaning to blues and creams and browns.  Those are the colors I have in the condo and I think it will make the boat feel more like home - plus I can "recycle" items from the condo and same some cash.  Why not use the items I already have/love?  Less spending, less to get rid of when we leave the condo.

Oddly enough, I noticed other posts on interior decorating today. It's interesting how blog topics seem to go in waves. It's also very cool to see how other boaters have chosen to decorate and make their boats into their homes.


Another Lazy Sunday

We headed over to Luna Saturday afternoon and worked on a couple of small projects.  Mark attempted to install a new filter thingamajig for the A/Cs.  Attempted is the key word.  The fitting we had gone to get on the way to the boat was a hair too large on one end.  When I took it to the Ace Hardware here on the islands this morning and explained that it was a "hair too large on one end" I got the typical questioning head tilt.  They don't have the right size.  I'll have to go back to the marine supply tomorrow.  Which is convenient, as the project I was attempting yesterday is also incomplete and I'll need some supplies.

I did manage to finish waterproofing the dodger, then set up the deck shade (this boat came with some pretty awesome accessories) and started on it.  I got almost finished, then had one too many rum drinks and decided to call it a night.  We had a delicious dinner of chips, dip and rum, then crawled into our cozy, yet still not-cut-to-fit bed.
Chips, dip, rum drink, and a sunset over the sewing machine
I got up today with a nice little list of to do's.  1 - finish water proofing, 2 - take the new cozy bed foam out of the boat and cut it to actually fit on the boat... 3 - start playing with some outdoor fabric we purchased weeks ago and see if I can whip up some wench covers with my wimpy, yet functional sewing machine I'd lugged down the dock the day before.  (Just a note: when you are done with a cart, could you maybe return it to the parking lot so other people don't have to carry their crap a mile down to the very, VERY end of the marina by hand?)

1 - ran out of water proofing stuff almost immediately.  Had to table that project until I can get to West Marine - the only place in Savannah that seems to sell the stuff.
2 - yeah - we took a nap instead of measuring/cutting/covering that cozy new bed foam.
3 - managed to get so far as moving the sewing machine from the cockpit to our storage cabin.

A very productive weekend.  I can't imagine what our lives would be like right now if we'd bought a project boat.  We're struggling to stay awake long enough each afternoon just to perform basic maintenance/decorating/cleaning etc.  It's nice though - to know that the boat is completely functional without us doing a lick of work.  And no, we didn't go for a sail - in fact we never even started the engine.
Who needs to leave the dock when this is your view every day?


Something's Brewing... - Homemade Sunblock

I've been on a search for "safe" sunblock.  The stuff you can get off the shelf is full of ingredients I can't pronounce, and just like the food I eat, I want my skin products to be toxin-free.  I've researched, shopped, tested for months. I have particularly sensitive skin, so most SPF makes my face burn, often makes me break out, and can even give me a rash.  Not to mention the gross feel of sunblock in general.

So I did it.  I finally threw in the beach towel on off-the-shelf sunblocks and did a bit of research on natural SPF.  Our skin is our biggest organ - so anything, and I mean anything, we put on it can be and is absorbed into our bodies.  I want an SPF that is not going to do more harm than good.  As much as I hate to wear sunblock, I love to be in the sun.  Unfortunately we have a heavy family history of skin cancer, and as I've already given Cancer a beat-down once, I don't plan to get it again.  And we can't forget about wrinkles.  : /
I did some very official Google research and learned that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4.  It's also an antibacterial/antimicrobial/lots of other things -  and fabulous skin softener.  Pretty good side effects, right?  But an SPF of 4 is not going to cut in on the boat.  More Googling turned up Zinc Oxide - which has an SPF of 10-20 depending on the quantity you use.  But I can't just dump zinc oxide into coconut oil, unless I want a big mess on the boat.  It goes liquid above 74 degrees.  So I needed another ingredient to sort of solidify the concoction.

Much like cooking, I couldn't find a recipe I agreed with 100% so I improvised.  I took what I liked from each recipe - simplified it, and came up with this!

I ordered Shea butter, zinc oxide and essential oils from SoapGoods.com

I used approx 2oz Coconut oil, 2oz Shea Butter and 1/3oz Zinc Oxide

I very slowly melted the mixture, stirring frequently.

I added some essential oils to add to the natural shea butter scent

After just a few minutes on low, it was all combined!

I poured it into a cute, inexpensive container I also ordered from SoapGoods
The result should be approximately an SPF of 15.  I have some on, and it does feel like I have sunblock on.  But it smells good and shouldn't have any negative side effects.  I'm hoping it soaks in after a bit, like coconut oil normally does when I use it as lotion.  I haven't worked much with Shea Butter though, so I'll just have to wait and see if it's the oil or butter causing the "greasy" feel on my skin.

This sunblock is not going to be waterproof - but apparently I can add a bit of natural beeswax to the mix next time to increase the weartime/water resistance.

Do you guys worry about sunblock?  Do you just use whatever is handy?  I'm curious about what sorts of alternatives other people use...

Time to head outside and give it a real sun test!

Happy Saturday  :)


Pics and Videos and a Nervous Breakdown...

Look how much fun we were having on Saturday!

We spent the night one the boat Saturday night - then headed out to an island beach!

I've even making the puppies do water workouts...

And then we started the sail home.  No engines, just sailing along at 5-7 knots.  It was fun!  Until it wasn't.  I was getting stressed with the heeling.  (That means the boat was leaning over - you know, like it's designed to do...)  It wasn't even heeling that much.  But it was stressing me out.  I was at the helm, smiling, having fun - but repeating in my head "this is normal, this is normal, this. is. normal"  until I couldn't repeat it anymore and passed the wheel off to Mark.  

Sail boats are designed to lean - they have that ginormous keel on the bottom that keeps the boat from rolling.  We were perfectly safe.  It was an irrational fear.  But I figure, for those of you other newbies out there, it's good to share.  Sometimes those irrational fears win.  But only the battle.  I'll be back out there, behind the wheel, heeling my little heart out in the future.  Practice makes perfect.

Docking is another story.  Holy frijoles - our Sunday docking fiasco was - well, a fiasco.  We had an incoming tide and a fairly gusty wind on our tail.  Our boat likes to pull to Port (left) in reverse.  So we figure we'll put her in neutral and ride the tide/wind into the slip, slide her into reverse, and let her drift on over into her spot.  No problemo, right?  Nah.  It took about 6 tries.  A 40ft boat does not always do what you tell it to do.  Ok, it does, it just takes it's own sweet time.  After my crazy heeling freakout, I was too stressed to dock the boat - I gave it 4 tries and then passed the wheel off to Mark.  It really felt like a cop out.  I was completely overwhelmed.  I'm so used to boats doing what I tell them to do that I was just completely thrown for a loop trying to figure this out.  Fortunately, after a try or 2 from Mark, and a hand from the guy in the boat slip right behind ours, we were able to get her docked and secured.  

The trip was great - and pointed out that we need more experience.  Not only with heeling and docking, but with general boating rules.  There were other sailors out, and we just aren't quite sure what the rules are regarding right of way.  Sailing vessels win over power boats, but which sailing vessel has the right of way when everyone's tacking back and forth...?  Clearly it's time to hit the books again!

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