Drought in Maine has made getting creative an art

So where do I begin? I will tell you what I am not. I am not a plumber and a few weekends ago I realized I have put my grease monkey tools away! That is an interesting story in itself. So my son has had a broken exterior handle on his older Honda civic. I had mentioned I could fix it since years ago I have fixed my Honda Element window regulator and it takes a similar amount of taking apart to fix the handle. My son was hesitant and well I can’t blame him it is his only car and the ability to enter the driver’s side is an important option on all cars! So I began the process and could not find one you tube video to my dismay that covered the entire process for his car. I proceeded not letting that bother me and viewed multiple clips and began. I got everything apart down to removal of the window and then viewed another clip and the level of the window is a vital part to removal. This was nice since I had the battery disconnected. Any how I got the window out and proceeded to remove the lock set. Well this was not budging. After all my struggle I had to say uncle. My son came out and gave it an attempt and we could not get it to budge. We both gave up and I began replacing all the parts feeling rather bummed about not being able to get one part of about twelve to fix the handle. As I put the inside panel back and began working on the lock my son came back out. He asked if I needed help. I told him I was having trouble getting the panel to fit tight at the bottom. He tried to secure it and then the door swung partially closed. Now this should not be a problem because you cannot lock his car without using the key for the driver’s door so I had the key sitting on the front seat the entire four hours. Now we were locked out of the car. I noticed that the locking mechanism for the front door had not slide through the opening and was jammed down in the panel. This was not a good situation. We attempted to unlock the car with the wire method. Finally my son mentioned that he thought he could hook the wire around the keys and pull it to the partially open door. After much trial and error he hooked the key but getting it out through the door was a challenge. We finally got the keys out of the car and still could not unlock the driver’s door. We got in through the passenger side and now instead of an exterior handle issue we have locked door issue. After much trial we figured if my son pushed the unlock I could quickly open the door with the broken exterior handle before the stuck locking mechanism stuck in the panel relocked the doors. I got into the driver’s side and removed the panel and got everything back together. It was five hours of work to be back to square one, the exterior door handle is broken. Well onto the title to this blog which has to do with water conservation.

This morning I decided I would finally fix my running toilet. I had turned the water off and then I had turned it back on to see how it functioned before I tried to fix it (this is the part I forgot). I quickly remembered as the water started shooting up to the ceiling and giving me a quick shower. I quickly turned the water off again. Continued to take the float portion apart to rinse off the rubber gasket. I pieced it all back together and it worked flawlessly! Now I had been thinking it was time to wash down the walls in my bathroom but had not gotten to it. So fixing the toilet gave me the opportunity to wash my ceiling and my walls while conserving water! It was a win win situation. I would not suggest this method for fixing your toilet and getting your bathroom walls clean but in Maine you use the resources that are before you in a pinch.

Morning on the water

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It was a beautiful day on the ocean.  I had a little challenge getting my boat off my Element this morning.   When I pulled it off the roof rack to slide it down the guide the pole broke.  This threw my kayak off the roof onto the ground below.   As the boat proceeded along the side of the Element it slid across my leg and gave me a good bruise.  I thought the boat took the brunt of the force but soon I realized that my kayak had broken the mirror off my Element.  It was most unfortunate but it was a good day for a paddle!

The ocean was calm and though it was hot it was a beautiful sight.  I call it CWS (calm water syndrome) when I am stuck at work and can’t get in my kayak and out on the water.

Fabulous flowers are in full bloom

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My front gardens are filling in nicely.  Super blooms this year.  I have had extra time to spend in my gardens this year so most of them are ship shape.  I thought I would share some of the pretty blooms that are currently making me smile.

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This beautiful yarrow I saw from my window and was in shock that I had such an amazing color this year.   I really enjoy seeing some of my new flowers bloom for the first year.   This made me day!

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Cute lambs ear finishing off their bloom and lady’s mantle in the foreground.  This blooms make super cut flowers and I have enjoyed them with my daiseys.

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Can you ever have too many gloriosa daiseys?   I think not.

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The side of the house is the top three photos.  One of the photos is a rock dragonfly I did on Mother’s day a few years ago in memory of my Mom and all her wonderful gardens.

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My daisey pathway into my backyard.   This year I have worked a lot more on my back gardens.  I will try to capture more photos and add them later.  The one garden just past my hot tub had been blooms constantly since Spring.  I wish I could say I planned and planted it that way but it was by accident.  It was a happy accident as Bob Ross often said.

 

 

 

Making a catio on my porch

A few years ago I made a catio on my porch.  My cats just love being able to be out of the house and almost outside.   Even during our Maine winter they still go out and usually don’t stay very long but enjoy the change of scenery.

Below is the entrance from the living room window.  We call this the lobster trap.  It now is connected to a cat window and then if you look to the right is open into the larger cage.  I will add more photos later.

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I added a cat walk along the front edge and they like to climb through the cage.  I also added a litter box in the right front corner.  That was a great addition.  I can access it through the opening in the cage.

The base is a piece of plywood that spans the entire width of the porch.  The entire size of the cage is 8X4 feet.  The cages I used were dog cages and I could take apart the connector pieces between panels and make any size I wanted.  The lobeter trap is made of the small cube pieces that people use to make small cubes to store shoes or toys.  I used zip ties to connect pieces or reinforce areas that I wanted to be sure they stayed closed since my main goal was to be sure the cats could not escape the porch.

It came together quite easily once I had the main points together and adding the cat walk was an after thought but gave them more access to corner roosting areas.

I used puzzle pieces to pad the plywood.  I also used small rugs to pad the roosting and climbing areas.IMG_1992 (3)

The catwalk is included in this photo.  It is a little difficult to see but in the foreground you can see the rug pad and then another wooden walkway takes them to the back left corner.

Making the unsponge and lovin it

IMG_2958Yes you read that right.  I am making unsponges.   I found it on you tube or pinterest just search unsponge.  Not sure what I was searching when it came up but I am sure that is a whole story in itself.   And the story continues.

Take any old cloth.  It was suggested to use cotton, flannel, and I chose a canvas material.  I do not recall what they used for the rough side of the unsponge.  So you cut them 4.5 inches by 6 inches.  But like in my photo I made them smaller because well I had some really cute material and wanted to get some more life out of it so I used it for this project.  If you don’t have old cloth then I would suggest asking a quilter for some scrap pieces.  The whole idea is to use something already in the house and use it for another purpose.  I cut up some flannel pj pants that had seen better days.  They became the flannel portion.  I used canvas that was leftover from another project of making reuseable shopping bags from a canvas drop cloth…another story!

So cut the pieces and then I made mine by using two pieces of flannel, one piece of cotton and one piece of canvas.  Next make a sandwich with the flannel on the outside.  The right sides of the inner pieces together so that when you flip it inside out the right side is the outside.  Once your flannel sandwich is made it is time to sew.  Begin along the long side and start halfway along the side.  Sew all the way around leaving a portion unsewn so that you can turn it inside out.  Leave more than you expect at least two inches or it will be hard to turn.  If you want a thicker unsponge then use more layers of flannel.  My first one (the one made of the brown rock material) was the correct size and it was four layers of flannel.  I found it took forever to dry so I reduced the number of layers by two.  Before turning it inside out it is good to clip the corners so that it makes it look nicer once you turn it.  After turning take your scissors and poke out the corners they look nice.  Then you are ready to sew along the edge of the unsponge.

After using it for a few days just toss it in your next laundry load and you have an unsponge for as long as it lasts.  Also if you want to make one side for scrubbing pots and pans more of a scrubbing surface like in the photo.  I used the protectors for wine bottles I am not sure what they are made of or if they will wash very well but they were free and I liked the price!   Enjoy!

Below shows the middle unsponge with the canvas side up.  I found it works as a great surface to scrub as clean.  I plan on making a couple different unsponges for use in the bathroom and of course keeping them separate from my kitchen use.

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Forget-me-not

Every spring I am reminded of a little game my late husband Dick used to play with me when my gardens began blooming.  He would ask me the question most every spring while I was busy weeding and distracted.  What is the name of this flower?IMG_2923

Since I was preoccupied with my weeding I would say oh that is a forget-me-not.  Now it brings a little sadness when I think about it because I will never forget him but this flower reminds me of him and spring!

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It has been good to work in my gardens and expand some of them while being restricted on movement in Maine do to the virus outbreak.  Being an introvert staying home is not an issue and I find plenty to keep me busy while I enjoy life.

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Intoxicating smells this spring from the lilac and from the ocean air one foggy morning this past week.  Lilac’s are my favorite and they are so precious since they come and go in a flash.

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In loving memory of a well loved man named Richard E. Lee that lived life full and really enjoyed making people smile.  So blessed to have had 23 years with him.

 

Second quilting session for 2020

Once I had completed my daughter’s quilt I began working on two quilts for sons.

They would be a little different with only a few tee shirts and more sports theme as my husband and both of my sons follow a large variety of sports.

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Again my whole quilt began with figuring out size and planning out which squares would go in which areas of the topper.  This quilt was much smaller.  The finished size was only about five feet by a little under six feet.

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The center piece I wanted to be a little different.  It took on many forms before I finally got an idea that I feel pulled it all together.  Below is the transition of the center square until finally I placed the initials of all my children around the center with the baseball bats.  Also I added LEE on the “red sox”.  My husband was a fan of the Boston Red Sox before they won the world series and he always believed in them.

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So above is the topper for the quilt I made for my youngest son.  There is a square with a Maine black bear for the college that he attended in Maine.   There is a heart on the Boston Red Sox tee shirt and that represents me since I did not have a tee shirt added to the quilt.  I added the Boston Celtics emblem to remember the game we went to on the train out of Portland.

The Toronto blue jays was a team that they went to see play the Red Sox when they were at their home field which is in the vicinity of a summer cottage in NY.

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The topper for both quilts was connected to a polar fleece Patriot’s themed blanket.  I also tied the topper to the fleece so it would stay together after being washed.

 

Below is the quilt I made for my older son.

 

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This is the topper before I finished the center square.  These two quilts went together much quicker and did not require as much sewing.  I enjoyed the entire process and was glad to give them to the boys in March.

 

First quilt for the crafter

IMG_2797In January 2020 I began the adventure of making my first quilt.   I had stashed away many tee shirts from my daughter’s days of sports and wanted to pull them together along with a few of my late husband’s shirts.  My plan was to put this all together and then in March which would be the tenth year anniversary of his death I would surprise her with it as a gift.  Well as we all know 2020 started out normal but quickly turned into each month adding restrictions.  By March I could not meet my daughter to give her the quilt but I recently mailed it to her so I could begin posting the process to built a tee shirt quilt.

My first step began with making choices of which tee shirts to use.  I also had to order some pelon to fix the tee shirts so they would not stretch while being cut and sown together.  I next had to plan out how large the quilt would be and how it would be pieced together.  My co worker had recently made a quilt and gave me the idea of buying a summer quilt that was already padded and attach the topper (the tee shirts sown together) directly to the quilt.  It seemed like a quick and easy way to proceed.IMG_2802

This is the plan I came up with after getting my measurements figured out.  I would cut the tee shirts and label them with each row and piece.  So the first piece in row one would be 1-1.  The second would be 1-2.  I would label them until I had them sown together.   I placed some rows of material to separate the tee shirts also.  This plan at first had me thinking it might add too much additional color and design but after I completed it I was happy with the results.

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The above two photos are some of the tee shirts being cut out.

To get to this point I had to sew each of the shirts in the correct order together in panels.  Then I sewed them together in sections of two or three.

Next the above three panels need to be sown together.  Starting with the left piece being the top of the topper.  The right top photo being the middle of the topper.  This panel had the two extra panels of other material than tee shirt.  The bottom right piece being the bottom of the quilt.

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I liked this panel.  I needed to add the black panel due to this shirt being worn so much by my husband that there were some discoloration near the volleyball.  Since their colors were gold and black I finished off the square and was pleased with the result.  The rock material on either side was in memory of what a rock my husband was through my daughter’s college years.  He would encourage her and look up stats on teams that they were going to compete with.  We also made many long trips to PA leaving Maine on a Friday evening and traveling all night to meet our daughter at 6 AM or at the college where she was playing a tournament and then following the matches we would travel back to Maine.  I cannot remember if we did it five weekends one fall but though we were weary it was a great way to spend quality time.  We did not know at the time how precious that time would be once he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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The MDI high school is another favorite square.  The high school is on an island and I made the tee shirt bordered by water material.  Another piece further up in the center of the quilts also is a swimming tee shirt that is bordered by the same material.  The tee shirts on either side of the Cedar Crest Volleyball piece are tee shirts that my daughter designed in high school.

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This photo shows the summer quilt I used for the backing.  I wasn’t crazy about the color but my daughter loves the color!  The most difficult part was getting the large queen size topper of the quilt attached to the back.  I tacked it in many places with thread before I could sew it around the perimeter.  I then tied the quilts as seen in the below photo.  The tying allows the quilts to stay aligned after washing.

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I am very happy with the final product and glad I tackled it.  Though the seams don’t always line up I feel that for a first time attempting a quilt it came out fabulous.

I was super glad that it finally got to my daughter and that she liked the merging of all her sports and education.IMG_2809

I also made two pillow cases.  Though they really don’t go with the quilt they again are a favorite color of my daughter’s with her favorite island shape.  My cat stayed with me through the entire project though she wasn’t much help she worked well weighting down the material!

 

 

 

 

Second annual Bob Ross paint

This is the first photo from my daughter and I painting a Bob Ross from season 14 episode 1.

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My daughter’s painting at lunch time.  I did not take a photo of mine at the same time.

The next photos at about one and a half  hours of painting.

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My painting at the time my daughter was done with her painting at about two hours.

I painted about another half hour.

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I think this year was much easier though still very difficult.   We watched the entire half hour painting show before beginning to apply paint to canvas.  It made it easier to

follow the process.  I think both paintings are unique and look pretty amazing.

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This photo is after about  another half hour.   I needed to work on the path and bushes a little.  I also needed to take out the cloud and redo portions of the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure on my Rad power bike

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A bridge on the road to Otter cove in Acadia NP.

It was a grey day but I did get to see a seal near shore as I sat and watched the waves.

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There is a tiny grey spec near the far shore and that was another sighting of the seal.  The waves made it so he was pointing his nose up high as he surfaced the water.

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A neat bridge I want to draw sometime soon.

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So I rode twelve miles on my bike.  Saw only a few people because it was early.  Enjoyed the little cove alone which is nice after a long summer of so many people visiting my beautiful island.  It was a nice ride and with the ebike the hills are a breeze!