Crypton

Choices, choices, choices.

It’s like a fabric store confetti party going on in here! I am recovering the settees and have had my usual indecisive fuss over the past few weeks.

What I want is creamy, soft, and plushy.

What I have is a mechanic, black dog, and a dining table.

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I started with the usual outdoor brand fabrics but couldn’t find something I loved or that felt soft enough and regular upholstery material wasn’t going to hold up against the sun and stains well enough. Then I found Crypton fabrics. They are used in hospitals and restaurants yet feel super soft. They are crazy stain resistant and clean with laundry soap or even bleach. I got a free sample from the website. It came with a swatch of their fabric, ketchup, soy sauce, a crayon, a highlighter, and a packet of Tide all zipped up in a cute pouch.

Ooh. I do love an experiment!

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I thought I might add a few things to the stain test-like blueberries, chocolate, butter, olive oil, grape jelly, honey, soda, and Mio (AKA: safety-orange food coloring) because it is our dining room cushions and these things will spill on them eventually. Then I added winch grease and blood, because again, it’s a boat and we can be messy.

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I documented my stains, to make it an official experiment, and smeared and rubbed away. It was kind of fun. Keith liked the blueberry part the best.

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I set it out in the Florida sun to cook.

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Then I wiped it off, mixed up my teaspoon of laundry soap and washed it up.

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I hung my sample (and the towel I used to clean it with) up to dry.

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Perfectly clean!!! The Crypton, I can’t say the same for my dish towel.

Well that just narrowed down my search. We want the blueberry proof fabric! Keith and I picked out our two favorite and and ordered a yard of each to decide. Anyone who knows me, can already tell you what colors I chose. I have an extremely small color palette comfort zone; I am a bit predictable.

Hint: think sugar cookie (without the pretty icing)

Workshop Rework

On this first week of my newly gained unemployment status, my main goal was to get as many of the incomplete, half-finished projects done as I could and set myself up for future project-tackling sucess.

The most time consuming project was organizing the workshop. Yes, our tiny little 35 boat has a for-real workshop. 🙂 It came at the expense of my much desired separate shower stall. 😦

But anyways, the workshop–it was a MESS! Like couldn’t even step into it, let alone find anything, mess. Not any more! Check it out, clean, and organized, and labeled. Ok, it’s never gonna grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but it’s a pretty pulled together space considering it’s our garage, attic, shed, basement, broom closet, and mechanical room.

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Keith is a mechanic, the man has tools. Crazy amounts of tools. We went through them together and sorted and grouped and thinned, and organized them all. Turned out that the tools were not really the problem, it was everything else; paint cans, caulk tubes, oil jugs, sandpaper, shop-vacs, extra saw blades, 9 different rolls of tape, paint brushes, lightbulbs, hose clamps, bilge socks…..

So much stuff, but it all has a place now, and that makes me happy, happy. The room really could have used a fresh coat of paint, but it will have to wait; there are higher priority items on the list.

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This last photo is my secret to a clear counter top: always have a home for the items that don’t have a home. (Yes, it’s full-those were all the items I had ask Keith about when he got off work)

Where were we ONE year ago: Dodger

Let There Be Light

Currently we have three halogen lights in the main cabin and they have earned the nicknames, “fridge”, “freezer”, and “watermaker” because, apparently, these little lights draw around the same amount of power as their names imply! Ouch!

I had tried to replace them a couple of months ago. I bought one LED bulb from a marine LED website and plopped it in. I HATED it! I couldn’t imagine having all the lights in the boat giving off this dim, sickly yellow glow. Just as the halogens are not an option-neither was this! Last week I came across the web site marinebeam and it had a great article, Marinebeams Idiots Guide To Boat LEDs, explaining LED lights and all the terminology used with them, and why there Is such a huge difference between the LED bulbs on the market. I learned things like the color emitted from the bulb and the way the light makes a colored surface look are separate things (CRI). And on boats you want to avoid ballast resistors and make sure you have one with constant-current control. I think I even understand why. But, even after reading, I still wasn’t sure which bulb to order so I called the company. I found out they have a new bulb that is not on the website yet, so I ordered that one and the one with the highest CRI rating (how objects look compared to direct sunlight). Turns out that they even sent me a third bulb to try out. Made my whole day happy!

Tonight I tried them all out and am happy to report the results. I piled up a bunch of colored objects to have something to compare, turned off my camera flash, and snapped away:

Below is my bright, happy halogen

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……and here is the first LED “light” I bought a couple of months ago-yuck!

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This one is the X-beam 10-90 CRI (has a slight pink color and isn’t as bright but objects appear true and makes the teak look good)

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This one is the original X-beam 10 warm white (nice and bright)

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And then, the Winner! The “new” X-beam 10 warm white. The difference is subtle but it had a much more pleasing color on the teak. I don’t think I will mind the switch to LED at all!

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With bulbs costing around $17.00 each, and more than 10 lights on the boat, I am happy to have taken the time to do some comparison shopping to find one I like before replacing them all!

Now we are cooking

As part of revamping the entire propane system onboard, we gave my little stove an overhaul.

I have struggled with it since we bought the boat. The oven didn’t get quite hot enough, the stove jets wouldn’t light completely, but most frustrating of all, I couldn’t fit my favorite pot on the stove top. Not only that, I couldn’t really fit any two pots on at the same time. The built-in pot holders had reduced the usable stove top size so much that it was almost useless. Even my smallest sauce pan wouldn’t fit centered above the burner.

At first we thought about replacing the stove but it seems its dimensions are a bit narrower than standard and the price of a new one just isn’t fitting into the budget. So……….

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We completely disassembled and cleaned it, including all the jets to get a more even flame. Keith cut off the stainless pot racks and I got to brainstorming on what to replace them with. My solution was two large stainless drawer pulls from the hardware store. Actually the pulls were not high enough as they were and I had to buy an extra set for Keith to cut down and make spacers to raise them up-we got it to work though. Alone they will work for everyday use and if needed I can clamp on the actual pot holders to them if we are really rocking.20130325-095905.jpg
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Now, not only can I fit (and keep) my favorite pot on the stove- but I can fit a sauce pan next to it! Now we are cooking! It's hard to explain how giddy this makes me. Its such a small thing, changing the pot holders, and yet it will make a huge difference in how much I enjoy cooking aboard.

Happy happy dance.

I just need to make the propane tank cover and this entire project will be crossed off the list (always one last detail to finish up)

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