Reshaping a Straw Hat

While Charlie and I were in Cuba last February we both purchased straw sunhats.

The hat has a chin string now.

I added a chin strap last summer to keep it from flying off my head on boat rides.

There I am in the hat in Cuba.

I’d like to take it to Puerto Rico but I don’t like the shape of the brim. It is turned up all around.

The brim should stay down in the front.

I prefer the front to dip down.

In addition to steam I used some water from a spray bottle.

After searching for hat shaping techniques I tried steaming just the front of the brim with a steam iron and pressing it protected by a towel.

I stretched the edge of the brim.

I also shaped the brim by lightly pulling it with both hands to stretch the front.

A much better shape.

It is much improved.

Ensuring the new shape.

As a final process to hold the new shape I weighted the front with a clip, a ribbon, a bell, and a clamp.  Hoping it works.

Do you wear hats? Do you have a favorite style?

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The Conservatory

One of my favorite rooms in the house is our conservatory.

I have no plans to cover the windows.

I love all the windows.

The ceiling is a beautiful color called “Hydrangea”.

I like the blue ceiling.

Dash (behind) and Rory spend a lot of time in the conservatory.

Unfortunately when we got a puppy it became the houndatorium.

The conservatory rug was originally from Pottery Barn about 30 years ago and looks rough now.

Dash has pulled the rug apart.

The loveseats fit perfectly in the conservatory space.

The love seats (circa 1981) were slipcovered in 1991 and are beginning to look shoddy.

We have needed a coffee table in the conservatory since it was built.

Now I want to go in a new direction.  Should I start with a new rug or give everything 6 more months when Dash will have graduated from destructive puppyhood?

I love the style of this room by Judith Liegeois.

Plus I have yet to see something in a sunroom/solarium/conservatory/morning room/orangerie to inspire me.

This chair is sturdy and comfortable.

I will be keeping the above chair.

What do you need to update?

A New Layout for the Garden

When we installed the greenhouse the garden area diminished in size.

The greenhouse displaced 4 squares.

The greenhouse, though, was a nice addition to the yard.

The firepit replaced 4 more squares.

Then we built a fire pit which eliminated even more of the planting beds Charlie has been using to plant vegetables.

The raised beds need to be rebuilt.

I promised him I would help him design the altered space which would include new beds and a surrounding fence to keep critters out.

We need a substantial fence to ward off deer, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, etc.

I’d like to use the raised-bed garden at Growing a Greener World as inspiration.

In the past deer have helped themselves to the garden.

The next steps are:

  • Move iron front fence and gate closer to the driveway,
  • Create 6 elongated raised beds,
  • Surround the entire area with a protective fence.

    Something simple like this would be sufficient to deter small animals.

How do you protect your garden?

Another Travel Notion

Last week I got an idea that Charlie and I should take a trip in February.

I never tire of looking at the ocean.

We live very near BWI Airport in Maryland.  I looked at all the non-stop flights from BWI to any warm place in the Caribbean.

Last February we were in Cuba.

The list includes:

  • Costa Rica
  • Grand Cayman
  • Jamaica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • The Bahamas
  • Aruba
  • Mexico
The red stars indicate non-stop flights from Baltimore.

The most easily accessible place with the least expensive flights is .  .  .

I decided on an island.

Tah dah .  .  .

Old San Juan.

Puerto Rico:

  • No passport needed.
  • No need to exchange money.
  • English spoken.

I’m hoping to make arrangements in the next few days.

What island have you visited?

While I’m at the Beach

Charlie and I are spending a few days in Ocean City, Maryland, while Sug is home with the dogs.

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

We viewed a beautiful though threatening sunrise this morning. And tonight the whole eastern shore of Maryland is in a snow storm.

The pink bedroom was even worse than this when Sug attacked it.

While we’re enjoying a weekend away, Sug has taken on the incredible task of trying to get out house under control.

This looks so great.

Specifically she straightened up the mess and clutter in the little pink bedroom so she could do a similar job in the Treetops Room (our back bedroom and guest room).

We had to bring our own equipment to this gig.

Charlie has one more session to play tomorrow morning then we’re heading home.

Have you been affected by winter storms?

Blue Jean Centerpiece

Charlie was hired to play a weekend gig in Ocean City, Maryland.

The Atlantic Ocean.

We stayed on the 12th floor of a beachfront hotel.

Charlie and Jo in bluegrass garb.

The first night’s theme was “Blue Jeans and Bluegrass”.  Charlie does not play bluegrass music so we attended a banquet of about 300 people dressed all of us dressed in jeans.

The centerpiece is about 12 to 14 inches tall.

The table centerpieces were simple but effective.

How many frappuccini did the decorating committee have to drink?

Inexpensive bandanas were stuffed into emptied frappuccino bottles.

A quick and easy.

Each bottle had a western-style decal and a trio of colorful bandanas.  The centerpieces for 25 to 30 tables was less than $100.

These could easily be color coordinated.

So cute.

What’s your favorite genre of music?

Peach Cranberry Crisp

During peach season Charlie peels, cuts up, and freezes dozens and dozens of the fuzzy-skinned fruit.

Freezer bin full of bagged peaches.

Last week I used the last bag to make a hot dessert for the buffet.

Simple ingredients — peaches and cranberries.

Using this recipe as inspiration I mixed together:

  • 2 pounds of previously frozen peaches
  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 cup sugar
Cranberry sauce could be substituted for fresh cranberries.

To make the topping cut mix the following ingredients and cut in the butter:

  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups oats
  • 6 T flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Fill a large shallow baking dish with the peaches and top with the cinnamon mixture.

I didn’t grease the dish and found it unnecessary.

Bake at 350 degrees until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is crispy — about 30 minutes.

We had a large variety of food on our midday open house.

This not-too-sweet dessert was very popular with the guests at our party.  This is a tart recipe — Charlie adds honey to his serving and tops it with vanilla ice cream.

Do you have a favorite cooked fruit?