Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm a Sailor! Well, Semi-Sailor....

Definitely an epic and gorgeous night on the lake!

My sailing days are just beginning and oh, how glad I am that I did this. I've been a bit hesitant and nervous getting out there. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of, but there has been a certain amount of fear of messing up, I guess. After getting out on the water on my 2nd tech sailing class I felt good to finally be in a boat, but a little overwhelmed at all I have to remember. Don't you wish you could just blink your eyes and immediately know how to do something? This summer I'm definitely practicing the fine art of patience with myself - that's for sure.

Tonight was my 3rd tech class with the Hoofers sailing - the one where if you pass you get your rating and are able to go on your own time and get lots of sailing practice in. You aren't officially rated on a tech boat. That happens when you eventually take a test to officially achieve your tech rating, and that rating allows you to go onto learn other boats.

It took me about 3 weeks to be able to finally find a class with openings that could fit into my schedule. In this break I felt like I've forgotten so much (and I have!) The parts of the boat are still coming slowly. I definitely know what is port and starboard, but things like the names of all the sheets (in sailing that's what you call the 'ropes') or the official names of the part of the sail (there are at least 6!!!) are not quite second nature - yet!

The evening started rough. I forgot how to do a few of the knots, but once shown again it definitely started to come back. Heading out on the water was slow and I was pretty guarded... but once out there my instructor yelled, "Jane, do you want to capsize?" Do I WANT to capsize? Heck no! but I wearily responded, "ok..."

Here goes nothing - I proceeded to lean on the edge of the boat, something I have definitely avoided doing since being in any boat in my lifetime. It slowly tipped over and I plunked over with it trying not to get tangled in all the sheets that immediately floated around as the boat rolled. I waited until it completely flipped, and the center board (or 'fin' under the sailboat) was sticking strait up. Let me tell you - sailing is a great workout!

Next, I lunged up to grab the centerboard and proceed to put all my weight up and lean so-as to slowly roll back the boat on its side. You have to then hoist up on top of this now horizontal centerboard and continue to keep it rolling until the sail is back facing the sky.

Yay - all those work-out classes are paying off because getting the boat back upright came pretty easy. Getting in the boat was the toughest part. It takes a lot of body strength, and then once up flinging your legs into the boat took a lot of energy. What a rush when you finally get back in that boat. Capsizing the boat was the best thing I could have done early on because after that my fear seemed to subside. What's the worst that can happen now- I capsize? Been there, done that....

The rest of the evening was lots of practicing of tacking and jibing - where you turn the boat into and away from the direction the wind is coming. It can be tricky because you have to switch sides in the boat while avoiding the boom (the large base of the sail that swings freely.) I now have my fair share of bruises to show how graceful I am - not! Hopefully with practice I will learn how to move about without flinging to my knees on the floor of the boat.

By the end I was improving much more in my finessing of the boat back and forth. My best part ended up being coming into the dock. This was my other worry next to capsizing, but it went pretty well the first, then the second, and on and on... we kept practicing sailing up to the dock like we were coming in. I definitely will have to practice in different wind directions and strengths to really get this down, but after tonight I feel pretty confident coming into the dock.

I guess I improved enough through the evening and actually achieved my tech rating - which was a great surprise. You basically take this third tech class over and over till you pass - so I was thrilled to get through and now be able to take the boat out whenever I can. No more having to fight to get into the classes. Who knew I could actually do this sailing thing!

These little successes in learning new things have really been so gratifying. It has been a while since I've been in a class where you have to study and worry about not knowing what to do, but in life you definitely need to keep challenging yourself. I think that's the secret to staying young and sharp - a great lesson I have been taught by my family. Even my grandparents continue to challenge themselves and learn new things whenever they can. What great role-models!

So - cheers to learning new things, to little successes, and finally to the amazing night I had on the lake at the terrace. I hope this is the first of many sailing adventures to come! Ahoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sewing Class:: Loving it so far!

So far I've had two sewing classes and have already learned tons. The first session was a review of materials and the different 'notions' that sewing brings. Between my sewing and sailing class, there is a whole new world of vocabulary that I have never know to be! It is definitely quite a challenge for me, though. Memorization is one thing that I have always struggled with. Typically my solution is flash-cards since I learn so much better visually, but so far I've not yet done that. We will see if I can still retain all this new lingo!

I am loving the fabrics I chose! The 2nd class brought actually cutting out of the patterns, fabric and interlining material. I was pretty slow to start in class, but once I got the hang of it I was rolling! Each of these bags are a little different in size. The yellow and brown one is the small, while the green and grey (I'm calling this one my mouse bag since the outline pattern looks like a bunch of Apple Mac Mice) is the medium size.

Hopefully the actual sewing goes just as well as the cutting! It should be the true test to how well I actually did cutting out all this fabric. I guess you don't really know until you actually line it all up! :)

I bet you're wondering, "Where did you get your fabric?" Props to this awesome shop I found right by my house. The Sewcial Lounge is a place I know I'll go back to once I get this sewing thing down. While they don't have a ton to choose from, it's definitely quality over quantity when you choose to go here. Plus, I love supporting the local businesses!

Here is the bag that I have started in my class.

When I got home, I continued working on THIS bag, which hopefully will help me learn more on my machine.

Finally, I'm learning to follow a pattern! I'm so excited for the options that this will bring!

Here is a sneak-peek at the possible look to the finished bag! :)


Thanks so much for reading! More soon to come - Cheers! :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Attic Sales are fun, but Jazz in the park rocks!

Hello! Here begins my promised post from the list of what is soon to come! So, last Friday I went with some co-workers to check out a local 'attic' sale. These are great for if you are like me and you love garage sales, but don't want to go through the arduous process of trekking all over town finding the ones that actually have things you are looking for.

This Sale was great because it was loaded with fun stuff: lots of furniture, old jewelry, fun dishes, and about anything you were looking for! I was on the hunt for some possible end-tables. No luck there, but managed to score some great old frames. I'm hoping to be doing a project here soon so watch out for that! :)

My friends and I had a great afternoon looking through things and hanging out, but Saturday was exceptionally great. My family annually attends the local Jazz-fest held at Wingra Park downtown Madison. Mostly because my Uncle and Cousins always participate in the Edgewood Jazz band, but also because it's such an amazing setting to listen to live jazz music.

The day turned out to be more than perfect and the crowd was the largest that I believe we've ever had! It helps with the good weather, but it's so nice to also get to people watch. Madison sure brings out some characters with the nice weather. Along with the music we enjoyed snacks and beverages. Chad and I packed up a cooler and hiked the 1.5 miles from my house.

My claim-to-fame were the mojitos that we brought. I've been looking for something to do with all this mint that I seem to be growing, so my cousin, Kevin and Chad promised they would bar-tend if I brought 'the stuff'. I am not a fan of Mojitos because of the sweetness, but they promised I would love them - and they were right!

While I don't have the actual recipe measurements, here is what we concocted from; direct from my cousin's email when I asked what I should bring:

"Clear/white Rum, Mint, Lime, Simple Syrup and club soda.  Pretty easy" ~Kevin

Here is a photo collage of the day. Thanks for reading!

Top Left: a view from the peanut gallery (My mom, Step-dad Charlie, Grandma and Grandpa);
Mid-Left: My cousin Brian playing a solo on Bass on the left while my Uncle and Cousin, Kevin, are on trombone on the right;
Bottom Left: The Stage;
Top Right: Chad enjoying a Mojito;
Mid-right: Our view in the park;
Bottom-right: Kevin, Brian, and Unkie Dunkie, or Uncle Dave.

Patio Garden a success so far!

My Garden has been growing so well! Here are some shots showing the progress so far. I haven't really utilized my herbs yet, but they sure are ready to be harvested. Oregano, Basil, Chives, Dill, Lavender, and Rosemary fill this pot.

In the back you can see what was the cilantro, but now is a sort of flowery looking thing - this plant taught me something new! During a huge heat surge, I noticed this plant growing within the plant. I thought it was a 2-1 deal where a seed somehow flew into the plant from another one, but once I actually started researched it turns out my plant bolted!!!

What is bolting? When a plant gets too hot or has a reason to go in defense mode it 'bolts' meaning it puts all its energy into producing the seed. Evidentially that seeding turns into the plants main goal. Who knew cilantro could be so finicky!

So, short story long... My cilantro pretty much got the heck out of dodge and bolted! No problem - I don't even really like it all that much, anyways! :)


My Herb garden is lovin life!

One of my favorite planters. I love the flowers that spill over the edge of the planter

My Flowers are loving life, too.

I harvested the lettuce once, but probably could have done a better job since this looks kind of ragged.

This lettuce is so dense! I have to get going on the salads!

Tomatoes and Peppers. I still need to re-pot these so they can REALLY grow!

A closer angle on my awesome herbs!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Excuses for My Excuses

I know, I know - I haven't written in a while! But, let me tell ya that it's because of all the stuff I've been doing! I just haven't been able to get around to take as many photos as I'd like and write about it...

Tonight was not any better - I was planning to come home from work and write this post. Things didn't go as planned because I ended up locking myself out of the house!  Luckily I didn't have any place to be, and was putzing around town anyways getting some groceries and fabric for one of my classes, so I did get some great shots.

Here are some shots from my adventures while I was locked out of my place.
I already had some packages (top left). I took some views of my place from the outside (top right and bottom left).
Finally, I trekked to the local coffee shop for a bowl of soup and a little logic problem challenge on my kindle.
If this is being locked out I'll take it any day with this weather!

Moving forward, I've decided to give you an outline of what I've been doing and will soon be writing about. Here are some posts to look out for, and what I've been up to these past few weeks:

1. Sailing Lessons: Taking advantage of Convenient experiences!

I work in the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin Campus and we have accessibility to the Hoofer's Sailing Club. Since it's right here, and I now live within walking distance, I figure I'm obligated to take advantage and utilize the access to boats while I've got it! It's been quite eye-opening with all the terms and lingo that comes along with sailing, and I never thought about how much more aware of the wind you become when you think like a sailor...

2. Sewing Lessons: Following a pattern and in anticipation of getting an Etsy store going

Sewing is something I have been taught here-and-there, but never have been officially taught. So, I signed up to finally learn how to follow a pattern, and to make and design things like bags; something I've been wanting to learn since I've been carrying bags around!

Here is a sneak-peak at some of the fabrics that I chose!

3. Trip to San Antonio to visit my nephew Collin

My Brother asked me to visit right after his first child, Collin, was born. I jumped at the chance to not only get to see and hold him as a new-born, but also was thrilled to visit while they are currently stationed in San Antonio. The alternative would be Mississippi, which is a bit more of a hassle to get to, plus doesn't have much to see in the way of site-seeing. I also got to meet their dog, Lucy, who is such a great dog - it turned out to be the best time.

4. Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

This post has been oh hold mostly due to the fact that I keep forgetting to get the images from Chad from his camera! Technology is great - but it's still a bit trying at times!

5. Progression of my Patio and Herb Garden: Successes and Learning Experiences

The Patio is going along great! Even though I haven't been able to spend too much time attending to it, other than watering, I've come across a few things that I've learned and a few things I love that I'd like to share.

6. Bikes and my Love/Hate relationship

I own 2 bikes and live in what is now considered a very 'bike friendly' city.  One is amazing and perfect, but I don't like to ride much around town since I'm afraid of it getting stolen. The other is a piece of crap that really isn't good for any kind of riding other than getting beat into the ground! You think 2 bikes would be great, but I still have this feeling like I need to trade the lesser one for a more functional version. Plus, I'm learning how high-maintenance this hobby/sport can be! But so many people on the road seem to be perfectly happy with their bikes! I'm searching for that same feeling of cycling serenity...

7. Apartment Apocalypse

I have had a few unfortunate happenings in my apartment. They are finally under control, but stay tuned to find out all the drama.

8. Attic Angel Sale - Love them deals!

I'm going to this on Friday and am hoping to find some furniture that I can fix up!

Links to these posts soon to come, so please check back!
Thanks so much for reading :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Patio Extravaganza, Part 3: The Conclusion

Today, I headed back to Walmart to get a few more flowers to make sure and fill in all the planters. I have two more railing planters that I bought yesterday at Walmart which brings the total now to 8 for the railing. I think I have enough planters finally, so I just have to complete planting what I do have. I can't tell you the names of the plants that I planted at this point but I did stick the tags in the sides of the planters for future reference - I figure I'll do that as I document how well they grow or not.

So, here are some shots celebrating how well it turned out! I already look forward to coming home after work to read or have a drink to unwind. I can't wait to have some grill-outs and a few friends over to help me enjoy this nice new space :)

These planters are now jam-packed with flowers and foliate!

I still have to go around with the goo-be-gone to get the labels off the railing boxes.
In bottom front are my pepper and tomato plants - I think these will be re-potted into larger pots once they grow a bit.

I'm thrilled with how this corner turned out. AND, my lettuce is loving life! Here's to lots of salads this summer.

Time to chill out and enjoy this awesome space!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Patio Extravaganza, Part 2

Day two in the Patio build begins with a desire to bring in a lot of foliage and flowers into the space along with some herbs and possibly a couple things I could eat. My mom and I headed out on Saturday to hit some deals at Walmart. Rumor was they just got a shipment of most of their plant-life so I was all about getting a bunch of things for as cheap as I possibly could!

Walmart did have a great selection of what I like to call 'fill-in' plant life. Things like potato vines, some herbs that I didn't have already, along with geraniums, and whatever flowers were cheap. I bought a bunch of stuff, along with these amazing rubber/plastic buckets with handles. At first I thought they would make great planters, but after chatting - mom mentioned about drainage. I decided I would pick up some planters from Menards - where the prices had been reasonable, and would keep the buckets for maintenance, and as something that would make it easier for carting things to and from Chad's house. Lots of time we cook dinner at the other's place and have to carry half our kitchen over to make whatever we are planning. I like the idea that if something tipped over and leaked it wouldn't be a mess all over my car, but rather just in the bucket. Plus, they made for a great way to get the plants I did get home.

In the afternoon we had a wedding shower to attend, and Mom and I had a nice laid-back day with family and friends. Sunday turned out to be the day to get things done! I made a trip to Menards on the way home to pick up a bunch of dirt and planters. I then headed over to Super Walmart on my way home to get some more plants as well as a rug. I got it in my head that it would be cool to have something down that would keep cooler than the black tarnish covering that you walk on on my deck. Searching online, Walmart had a pretty good selection of indoor-outdoor rugs, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I ended up hitting it big with finding a rug I loved for only $35! They also had a hose that I liked better than Menards, that went well with the adapter I purchased that makes it so I can hook the hose up to my kitchen sink! Turns out, when you buy tons of plants you have to water them all! I'm not one to like walking back and forth 50-sum times to water all the new plant-life so I figured rigging a hose out my kitchen window to my sink would work great for hosing down everything.

Today was when most of the planting actually happened. I put on a tank top, since the day was sunny and beautiful and prepared to get down and dirty. Not really having a plan of what would go where, I started filling up my planters with dirt and quickly realized I did not have enough. I even filled the larger containers with old tupperware that I was looking to get rid of to fill up space! It did a good job, but I knew I would have to purchase more dirt.

Preparing the containers to plant! Here is where I displaced the dirt with some old plastic containers that I no longer use.
No need to fill this whole container with dirt - that makes it a bit more cost effective!
 Also, as I started putting in the plants, I realized I was a bit short on those as well. I spent about 2 hours planting what I had, and worked at getting the hose hooked. It leaks a bit in the kitchen, but found that throwing a hand-towel over the faucet kept the water from getting all over my kitchen. I was so glad that my little watering system worked so easily!

Here are all the plants - and those great rubber tubs with handles in green. They are so convenient!
The rug I bought worked out perfectly. I love how it brings such great color to the space, but also makes it a bit homey. It also makes it so you can walk on the patio during the noon hour when the sun just beats and heats up the floor. You can walk out on it without shoes which I really enjoy being able to do.

This evening brought a bit of accomplishment with getting most of what I wanted planted. I really am happy with how my herb garden turned out! I put a small bucket in a larger bucket so I could tier my herbs a bit and get a bit more height. it probably is not as much height as I would like yet, but I figure it does the trick for now.

I LOVE the rug - It really adds to the space and livens up that dingy flooring.

One of my great successes so far is the herb garden where I planted a bucket inside a bucket.

Still a lot of containers to fill, yet!

Here is my watering system! This is the end with the spout.

Here is the other end that I feed through the window to my kitchen sink.

It is turning into a very inviting space.
It's coming together! Just one more day of planting and it should be good!

Part 3, The Final Look to come tomorrow!

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