Aiming to keep my dirt-dwelling life simple, special and sweet

Come On, Irene...

Hurricane Irene is headed her way to the east coast and southern Maryland. We now, at Friday afternoon, have an official hurricane warning and will expect the arrival of Irene tomorrow afternoon.

Latest projection: 

We have been in close contact with our live aboard friends who have spent today and many days up to now planning how to prepare for the storm. Their decision has been whether or not to stay put in the marina, haul the boat out of the water, or head up the creek and find a hurricane hole where many anchors will hold the boat down through the storm. To further illustrate their decisions this week, the first mate said, "... and from there we can tie ourselves to trees if need be..." 

Safe at home, we have stocked candles, food, batteries, and water. Our county has told us to be ready to be on our own for at least 72 hours and we have prepared for longer than that.


As I entered Internet Explorer this morning, the daily quote banner had this to say to me:

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

It is a quote by, Jim Rohn, and I found a revision on another website.

"You are the average of the five people...inlcuding yourself."

Further reading brought to light that it is the people we surround ourselves with daily who influence our thinking, feelings, and daily operations. If we think about the kind of person we aim to be and the traits we hope to have and display, we can think about our top five people and whether or not they influence our aims. If they do not, a reconfiguration is in order.

We can reconfigure each day who we talk to (in person, on the phone, via email), whose words we read (in books, on a blog, in the newspaper), or which people we encourage ourselves to think about (our families, loved ones of present and past). 

We can also increase the amount of positivity we include in our life, if we do not have the options of escaping from the influence of negativity. Outside of those situations, we can choose what we do and how we do it. The other day I read something that said: when you are low, heal yourself, and when you are good, enjoy. If our daily interactions are less than what we require, our time away from those needs to be healing - this can be in super small ways or in big ways, depending on our schedule and resources. For me, sometimes music and engaging myself in certain readings brings my spirit right back up to where I like it to be.

Who I aim to be and who surrounds me on a daily with their influence, is what I'm going to meditate on this Monday. I hope you can find time to do the same.

Crayon Roll

The sewing machine will not have been purchased in vain! I am dedicated to making some very useful things with my new machine, and today I attempted (successfully) to make a crayon roll. 

It's a handy dandy little contraption for carrying around crayons - which, I think, would be useful for a young colorer for trips, visits, and when crayons need to be put in a backpack (which can act like a black hole). After this first practice, I plan to make one for myself, pen-size. I have so many pens floating around my office, purse, work bags, etc. that this would help me stay organized and know where my favorite pens are. 

Thanks to this blogger/crafter for her so specific and visual tutorial on how to make a crayon roll:  For the fastener, this tutorial suggested an elastic hair tye for securing. Very good idea, as I have many not being used.

My inaugural roll is going to hold my longer sewing tools that would otherwise get lost. See, my sewing will help me become more organized and will keep my husband happy that I have resurrected this hobby - without clutter. 

Featured in "Made By You Monday" at 

Everything has to have a place

No longer will shoes lay all over the floor at each side of the entryway coat shelf. It will be easier to sweep up the floor :)
 Organization makes me happy.

Oh, Brother

It has been YEARS since I have used a sewing machine. A rocking boat wasn't the best foundation for sewing projects and the sewing machine wouldn't fit in any of our storage spaces. After a miserable attempt at trying to sew new slipcovers for our cabin cushions, the Fashion Pro sewing machine went away....until recently. 
A new baby in the family will soon be here and a quilt was in order. Homemade heartfelt gifts are the best; especially those that are useful. Hopefully, this quilt will provide a soft place for Karsen to learn to roll over or a warm cover on a chilly night.

Being back with stitching felt good, too. Before I moved south, I would spend hours with NPR on the radio, a good strong latte, and sew useful gifts for family and friends. As a college student and employed full-time, the nights of sewing alone provided welcomed seclusion and relaxation.

All was going really well, until, the stitches became loose, fabric glumped up inside the bobbin. The next step is quilting and I made the decision to rest the Fashion Pro and invest in a new machine. After reading many reviews, the Brother CS-6000i seemed a reasonably priced and sufficient machine for me, a returning quilter. So, I ordered it  and when it came - oh my! I realize that keeping my liveaboard lifestyle afloat doesn't (or shouldn't involve) buying stuff, but I can't help the excitement I feel using this new machine. I will examine my landlubber need for stuff in future posts. For now, I will just admire....
If you sew, read on... if not, shake your head in disappointment that I am slightly straying from the theme of this blog. 

There are 59 stitches: including, leaf, curves, and many buttonhole options. So nice for ALL of the future quilts, dresses, purses, and gifts I will sew in the future!


Even though my compost isn't ideal, my container veggies are growing. That's a good thing.

There are buds that will turn in to cucumbers and green beans. I also have basil and it smells so good.
Two tomatoes have started to grow. Hopefully, more will come. Seeing the brown leaves on the right maybe I need to water this plant more.

Compost Correction

In my attempt to be kind to Mother Earth I began a compost bin this spring. As easy as it seems (find a space, drop in biodegradable items, let it turn in to dirt) it can be tricky. My bin was doing good until I left it alone.

I didn't turn it, didn't think about the mix of layers I needed (brown and green)and like other things when you leave them alone, my compost is now sludge an it smells.

Because Google is my BFF (Best Fact Finder) I learned that sludge-y compost needs to dry out. I have also learned that my compost may have too much "green" like kitchen scraps, which is what I primarily put into the bin. There's been more of this since I started up juicing again. This morning my scraps included pulp from the grapefruit, carrot and ginger root juice I made as well as the egg shells from my breakfast and cofee grounds.

Although I had drilled holes in the botton of the bin and on top, I have decided that I need more holes to allow air to circulate. I have chosen three weapons to combat the sludge.
Weapon 1 - Drill for creating more air flow holes in the bin
Weapon 2 - Newspaper, brown matter, which should slow down the creation of the smelly, sludgy matter (created by too much green - kitchen scraps)
Weapon 3 - Baking soda to combat the unappealing smell so my nice neighbors won't be able to smell my compost composting

The holes are small, but hopefully they will allow enough oxygen to reach the compost and help dry out what is currently too wet.

Google led me to the website: which has taught me that in addition to the newspaper, another brown material I could be putting in to the compost is dryer lint. We have a trashbin next to our washer upstairs for when we clean out the dryer's lint tray. I also put in our grass clippings, which is a good brown. There should be more brown than green material and I'll have to monitor this a bit better.
Here's hoping that my compost can get back on track so it will be ready for my raised bed gardens next year. Currently, I have a container garden in my small backyard and next year I'd like to put these plants in the ground.