Sewing tales…


There is no shortage of handy types living on and around boats. But men who can captain boats, fix boats, fix motors, rewire electronics and sew too? Not as common, but they are out there!

Our new friend, Mike, a shy type who doesn’t like to have his picture taken, lives a few boats down from us. He is one of those Renaissance men who can turn their hand to most things boat-related. And sewing is a very useful skill to have on a boat.

You could say that he and Bob are cut from the same cloth, so to speak.

One day they got talking and Mike offered to help us make hatch covers out of sunbrella fabric for our boat.

It just so happened that we brought our special sewing machine — a Sailrite — with us from Canada. It is a beautiful piece of machinery, very heavy duty and designed to sew sails and other heavy fabric.

So Mike and Bob spent the better part of two days working on measuring, cutting and sewing and they had a great time doing it.  We set up the Sailrite in our cockpit and they went to town.  The outcome is above — two beautiful new hatch covers. (The round shiny things are snaps.)

At home Bob had used the Sailrite to do repairs on our bimini and our sails and he was looking forward to completing some projects on our new boat.

So he decided he would tackle a companionway cover. The one that came with the boat was ill-fitting and badly weathered. The cover provides protection from the weather and sun for the varnished hatch boards and plexiglass hatch over the summer while the boat is on the hard. The Florida sun takes a real toll on these materials. In addition, should a tropical storm come through, the cover should prevent the wind from forcing any water into the boat.


It took a day to lay it out on the sunbrella fabric and cut it out. The wind can be a pain when doing this kind of work. After the fabric is cut out, all the seams are glued together with seam tape, the project is put into position and checked for fit and then brought back to the sewing machine and sewn. There’s five pounds of sand in the bottom to hold it down.


What makes the Sailrite so unique is that it has a “walking foot,” which combined with the heavy steel construction,  allows the machine to grab big, heavy pieces of fabric, pulling them through the machine, in order to sew them together. These machines are a favorite among sailors, and are a part of the culture.


Here’s the product of Bob’s efforts in place over the companionway. He really enjoyed the project and it’s comforting to know that the boat is better protected from any big storms that may hit this summer. (I will not mention the H word.)

comp cover


The same but very different…

I have been MIA from this blog but not from the blogosphere…I’ve been active on Still and All lately, posting about magical trees in Coconut Grove and thoughts on colour.

Yesterday we decided on the spur of the moment to try to catch an image or two of a sunrise at the beach (it faces east since we’re on the Atlantic side). We both woke up at 4:00 am for some unexplained reason. This never happens in real life to me so it all must have been a dream. 😉

Anyway, we left the boys (dogs) dozing in the boat and headed out. My plan was to experiment with HDR photographs of sunrises. I also wanted to try some more long exposures.

HDR processing requires taking at least three (if not more) exposures of the same scene and using special software that fuses the exposures and maps the tones. I am just a beginner at this so I will share one of the images that I have created so far. I will be doing a full post on my blog in the future.

The first is long exposure and the second is an HDR image. The first was taken after sunrise looking away from the sun and the second was taken right at sunrise looking at the sun. Same day — just a few minutes apart and two different techniques. I love how different the images look and feel. Some people really respond to the softer, more dreamy look and some love the more dramatic look.

Watch for more on Still and All. I will talk about my methods and thoughts on HDR.

Long exposure

I call this Vanilla Sky and Caramel Sand. Long Exposure.


This was created using three different exposures.

Me in action

Bob captures me in action…





Peacock crossing….

peacock diptych

Processed with Kim Klassen’s texture “providence”

Yesterday we went to Miami to take care of some boat business. As I was walking the dogs around Coconut Grove, where we had stayed last year, we were stopped short by an unusual sight — a peacock in one of the courtyards.

I quickly took Angus and Charles back to the truck and grabbed my camera. I watched him for a while as he strode around the courtyard — I had never seen a pet peacock before and I didn’t know how friendly they were. 😉

As I was snapping away, he decided to cross the street. I realized he was heading to the little house where he lived to get some food.  So now I know why the peacock crossed the road…

All the while I was clicking away. Finally he decided to display his gorgeous plumage for me.


The peacock is a special symbol of Coconut Grove and everywhere you go you can see artistic renderings of peacocks. But this is the first time I had seen a real one outside a zoo or a cage. What a treat!

Sharing with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday, the Free and Easy Edition…