What To Do

I’m still adjusting to life in retirement, and occasionally have a fear that I’ll have nothing to do during these cold and rainy Seattle winter days. So once again I put together a bunch of winter projects, and these are all things I want to have done before we leave for Alaska in mid June. These, along with 4 other trips on my calendar before the trip north (Ajijic Mexico next week for our birthdays, sailing and diving in Belize, a weeklong horseback trip, a quick trip with Erin to spread Bob’s ashes).

This is the sewing area of my studio above Rob’s woodshop. It’s looking a little messy right now because I have so many concurrent projects.

The new boat bag accidentally happened when I was at the fabric store to get something cut, and saw this cute fabric at 60% off. I walked out with a couple of yards, and someone on my Sewing On Boats FB group suggested a boat bag. Sure!

Our awning needs a replacement cover. The frame is super sturdy but the fabric is extremely flimsy. We used this all winter to keep tools dry while working on the deck. And we managed to make some really big tears in the top, catching it on various tree limbs while assembling and moving it around. We need this for our rain/sun cover this summer in Alaska, so it has to get done before June. I just need to measure and order new fabric and replicate what already exists, pretty easy I hope.

The Christmas lights that go up the mast on the boat are red and white because Rob took off every other bulb cover and painted it red. Unfortunately the red paint looks a little too pink and needs another couple of coats. I decided this should get done before I put these away for next year. Christmas Ships is one of our favorite holiday traditions, and often happens early in the season. Next year we’ll be red and white, not pink and white.

One day I was looking online for a swing for the new deck, and found this project on Craigslist. It cost us $20 and a ferry to Stanwood. The frame is heavily built, but needs cleaning and likely a fresh coat of paint. The seat is a mess and needs to be completely torn off and replaced by the guy downstairs in the wood shop. And then I need to build some cushions. It’ll look great on the new deck. Maybe this summer, likely next summer. But I saved hundreds of dollars buying a project instead of new.

Rob has a really nice shop apron that’s starting to wear. I found a pattern and instructions on Sailrite, the website where I buy most of my supplies. So this was a Christmas present for him. The pattern is much like the one he already has, and we’ll tweak this and move some pockets around and add different hardware, now that he knows what he wants after wearing this one for four years.

Another deck furniture project is replacing the cushions on some stools. I bought a cute little table and stools from our online yard sale, but the seat tops were rattan and not in very good shape. We cut that off and I’ll make some cushions. It’ll be good practice for the other cushions that will need to be made for other deck furniture that Rob will build.

What would winter be without a boat sewing project. The bimini on the boat is starting to tear on the seams where the thread is failing. This piece of canvas is drum tight over a stainless frame above the cockpit, and when I put it up last time the seams started to give. This is not unusual for the thread to degrade and fail before the fabric does. There is some special tenara gore-tex thread that is UV resistant, but very expensive and difficult to sew with. I’m going to give that a try and restitch the existing canvas.

The summer before retirement we were planning a trip to Africa and for some reason I thought I’d have time to stitch up some clothes. This fabric and pattern has been sitting on my table since then and has timed out. I have sewn very few clothes for myself since high school, so this will be a good experiment.

This list of winter projects only includes two items from the trailer upgrades we want to get done before June. There is another list entirely of trailer projects with 30 items on it (yikes, shouldn’t have counted that). This one requires help from the woodshop, I need wood cut for three mounts for spice jars. Screwing things into the cabinets and walls of a travel trailer is tricky so this will be a first experiment with that.

Another trailer upgrade project is organizing the clothes lockers. We each have a tall closet for clothes with no shelves. The closets are really deep, and just adding shelves still wouldn’t be as organized as I’d like it for the three months we’ll be traveling this summer. So I’m experimenting with building custom boxes from fabric that fit exactly into the shelves and waste no space but also are lightweight. This is a prototype that turned out way too big, so it’ll go under the bed and likely hold TP and paper goods.

So there we have it. No boredom for me. Some of these may slip into next year’s list, but I’ll be busy until then.