Welcoming Winter? (in Portland, Maine)

I’m leaving the ‘?’ because we’ve really only had a handful of “winter” feeling days, so I’m not sure if we’re welcoming him or not. And yes, winter feels like a man. Summer feels like a lady. I don’t know why.

Anyways, I’ve got a month’s worth of photos to randomly update about, so here we go in chronological order…

“What’s the most inexpensive and satisfying boat project you’ve ever done?” asked no one. Since you asked, here it is:

New sailboat cushion upholstery

We reupholstered our upper cushions, FOREVER ELIMINATING the dreadful droopy velcro awfulness. I don’t know what it is about cushions that won’t STAY IN THEIR DAMN PLACE, but I swear those droopy cushions bothered me more than most boat-related tribulations πŸ™‚ The new ones cost approximately $18 to construct and they don’t fall down, forever placing them in my “favourite boat project” category.

 

“How’s the jewelry going Leah?”, you might wonder… to which I would respond “AMAZINGLY WELL” and “PLEASE CAN WE PLAY SHOW & TELL?!?”

(apologies to all my friends who actually did have to play show and tell with me… you are all the best)

Bright Beyond Belief - Smoky Quartz Ring

Bright Beyond Belief - Red Garnet Ring

Bright Beyond Belief - White Sapphire and Silver Necklace

Bright Beyond Belief - Golden Citrine Earrings

Jess and I upped the jewelry game, taking it from a side hobby to a real, live, 4-day (!!!) craft fair. Where we rocked matching shirts and gorgeous gems, of course πŸ™‚

Kruger girls rocking the craft fair

Kruger girls rocking the craft fair

(When I visit my sister in Vancouver I try to make up for the lack of sister-hugs by stealing the love every chance I get)

Kruger sister love

“What else did you do in Vancouver, Leah?”

So glad you asked! I found snow (which had – up to that point – been missing in Maine)…

First snow was in Vancouver

And hiked up a mountain to chop down a tree with my dad and Poppa… this year we managed to NOT choose an 18′ tree, much to my Grandma’s relief πŸ™‚

Cutting down the Christmas tree with dad and Poppa

And I even dragged dad out cross-country skiing… where he promptly left me in the dust (powder?) as I huffed and puffed my way up the hills behind him…

Skiing with dad

Skiing with dad in Silverstar

“How’s the weather been in Maine, Leah?”

Oh my new favourite topic! Or favorite, I guess, since we’re now talking about Maine πŸ˜‰

Well up until yesterday it had been downright balmy! Necessitating UHAUL parking lot selfies (we’re not moving, we just fill our baby boat propane tanks here)

Still sunny in Maine!

Christmas on the boat was very sweet…

Christmas aboard - simple gifts

Christmas aboard - a baby lavender tree

With great blue skies…

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And short-sleeve selfies…

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A dozen crabs…

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A half-dozen lobsters…

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And more ridiculous blue skies!!

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But then the cold came…

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And then the snow came πŸ™‚

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Now we get to *really* find out if our bubble does its job or not…

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SO FAR, so good πŸ™‚

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And the blizzard didn’t keep us from walking to the cheap theatres for $5 Tuesdays, so I can’t complain πŸ™‚

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So winter, you’re welcome for now, but don’t stay for too long, k?

– LMK

We Live in a Bubble: Shrink-wrapping a Sailboat in the Water with the Mast Up (in Portland, Maine)

Yes I know that’s a long title. But if you knew how many times I googled “how to shrinkwrap a sailboat in the water with the mast up” you’d understand… with the mast UP and in the WATER are key complicating factors to this fun little boat job πŸ˜‰

We now live in a giant bubble. We’re lovingly referring to it as “the bubble” because “giant contraption covered in somewhat opaque plastic” just doesn’t have the same ring to it and I’m already worried about how long it’ll be until we hate the bubble… πŸ™‚

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

But for now — for now — the bubble is AMAZING. We built our frame hoops out of two sections of electrical conduit zap-strapped to the stanchions, and that made for the most beautiful amount of headroom you can imagine.

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

We also have a “full size” door on this baby; last year we shrinkwrapped Brio (on land, with the mast down) and we unintentionally made it so that you had to snake-like belly-wiggle to get from the door to the cockpit #nofun. Since we’re committed to trying this whole living-aboard-in-a-Maine-winter thing, we knew we needed a better entry system πŸ™‚

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

It took a full day to construct the web (frame) for the shrinkwrap, and here’s what the whole mess looked like when we were done…

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

At this point there were a few hurriedly whispered “is this too big?”, “are we crazy?”, “is the marina going to kick us out over this contraption??” conversations, but we decided our windage is really no more than the average power boat, and we want HEAD ROOM goshdarnit. So full steam ahead πŸ™‚

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

I’d like to mention that we chose maybe the NICEST two days ever to shrinkwrap… it was 50 degrees, flat calm and crystal clear blue skies. The kind of day you should probably be out sailing actually πŸ™‚

But last year we waited until after the first snow (oops) and had to spend the first half of a day scraping icy bits out of boat crevices (and boats have a lot of crevices, it turns out) so we are trying to learn from our mistakes.

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

Thank goodness Jon found another boater’s post about shrink-wrapping that mentioned doing the plastic part in two pieces. “DUH” in hindsight, but “OF COURSE” in the moment.

I shudder to think about what a 40′ x 32′ piece of shrink wrap flapping in the wind while we tried to cut a slot for the mast might have looked like…

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

As it was we still made one pretty big boo-boo… when we cut the slit for the backstay, we then proceeded to shrinkwrap the bottom, back and front before remembering to seal that slit at the top.

It’s REALLY hard to get to the top of the bubble once it’s been shrinkwrapped (it’s 10′ in the air!) so we had to do a bit of a hack tape-and-pray job. That should work, right?? πŸ˜‰

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

Last year Jon (and our great friend Bill, who saved our clueless butts) did all of the shrink-wrapping while I “assisted” (aka: took pictures and made hot drinks). This year I wanted to get in on the action, so I made sure Jon documented my contribution too πŸ˜‰ do

In fact, he even got a little video of the patented “heat and pat” motion… in case you’re interested! I’m working on sealing the two pieces together in this:

All in all, it took us a half-day-ish to build the frame and strap it all down to the boat, and a very real full day (with two people working the whole time) to do the plastic cutting and shrinking part. So not too bad.

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

The very cool part is that when the sun is shining it’s *literally* summer-like inside the bubble. We’ve been hanging out on deck in t-shirts and there’s talk of some sand and a blow up palm tree. We’re classy like that, you know?

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

We haven’t built our door yet (just the frame) so that will be interesting, and we still need to add a few more vents. We’re mostly heating with electric heaters but when we run the diesel heater we’ll need to figure out a very good venting system (I don’t want to croak inside a giant bubble).

We did wake up to frost on the inside of the bubble this morning, so that’s an interesting (condensation-related) problem to consider… and I’m sure we have all sorts of other learning ahead of us!

But for now, I’m pretty happy to drink a glass of wine on deck and pretend I’m cruising in the tropics again…

Shrinkwrapping a sailboat in the water with the mast up

– LMK πŸ™‚

October According to my iPhone (in Vancouver, BC + Kelowna, BC + Portland, ME)

Rather than write you pages and pages about what we’ve been up to, I thought I’d let my iPhone snaps do the story-telling…

We moved to our ‘winter slip’. This means we’re tucked in closer to land (where it’s a little more protected). It also means we’re closer to the parking lot, the bathrooms, and the Starbucks across the street. These are all critical points for anyone contemplating a winter aboard in Maine πŸ˜‰

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One interesting aspect of our new slip is the depth. We sort of wallow in the mud during the super low-lows… but this seems to reduce the motion on the boat, so maybe we just call it a win?

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Our new slip also means I can get a picture of my car and Brio in the same sunset. That’s a definite plus.

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Jon and I had a quick visit to Vancouver for Canadian Thanksgiving. We’re trying to make this a two-turkey year πŸ™‚

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Vancouver blessed us with some fantastic weather…

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And we had a great time catching up with old friends (who have amazing balcony views)

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The other big highlight of this visit was not one I’d have predicted a few years ago… Dad and I ran a half-marathon.

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For anyone who isn’t aware, I was *LITERALLY* the kid that hid in the forest on “run days” in gym class, so this was a pretty big deal. With the finish line in sight, I sprinted the last bit… and then just about passed out on the guy giving out medals πŸ˜‰ Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced though…

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My favourite part of visiting Vancouver is always getting to spend time with my sister.

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She’s a professional athlete and a pretty kick-ass gal. Watching her play rugby (with her ENTIRELY male team) is an incredible treat.

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Not that we get along very well…

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At all…

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Then it was back to Maine, where we had a weekend of chilly weather (including our first nights below freezing!) before the weather gods decided maybe itΒ wasn’t time to be winter yet. We’ve been blessed with unseasonably warm 60-70 degree blue-sky days!

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I’d be okay with a winter of this…

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In metalsmithing news, I SOLD MY FIRST PIECES OF JEWELRY. They were a part of a fundraiser at a local art college, and I was really nervous that nobody would be interested (“who am I to call myself an artist?!”). So this was seriously exciting and I may or may not have cried little tears of joy when I found out they’d sold…

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Here’s what I’m working on now: a *gorgeous* green amethyst set in sterling silver… this one might not be for sale πŸ˜‰

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And last but not least, we had an awesome Halloween complete with boat-themed pumpkins πŸ˜€

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And that’s it! October according to my iPhone πŸ™‚

– LMK

PS: I read an article the other day that said we don’t think it’s strange to have our phones always within reach because we consider them to be a natural extension of our bodies. Phone on the table? No different than elbows. This is bothersome, maybe mostly because it seems to ring quite true…

 

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