moving, Navy life, Tampa home

In the Navy – Our Next Adventure

Even though we move a lot, courtesy of the US Navy, we generally have a good idea of how long we are going to be in a certain location.  We knew that we would have two years in Memphis and about two years here in Tampa.  And luckily, we already know when and where we are going next!  But in the meantime, I’m going to eke out another year in Tampa.

We know that we’ll be moving next summer but Pat will be done with his job here in Tampa soon and will be doing some training over this school year.  The kids and I will be enjoying one more year with our friends in this area.

I’ve been meaning to blog more of our Tampa home recently, but there has been a lot of work going on “behind the scenes” so to say.  We have already purchased the house we are going to be living in next and we are very excited about it!  I am so looking forward to owning a house again and I have spent a lot of time planning how things are going to work and fit in the next house.  I’ve been getting tight with Pinterest and graph paper.  But I haven’t spent much time planning and writing blog posts here.

The behemoth we live in now is a little too much for us at over 3000 square feet.  It has five bedrooms plus a big office and a big playroom and a formal dining room.  We have certainly figured out how to spread into all this space but we don’t need it and it’s a lot to take care of.

Our next house will be closer to 2700 square feet.  We will be using the formal dining room as the office and the playroom is going to be much smaller.  Plus we’re going down to 4 bedrooms.

Already knowing where we’re going to move in a year is kind of a luxury and I’m super excited about being able to plan the spaces.  While our Tampa house has a lot of space, the storage is awkward and it’s been difficult to organize using the existing systems and keeping spending minimal.  The fifth bedroom is essentially just a catch all for all random things.  The new house will probably have even less storage but I’m determined to think it all though and figure out where everything will fit and create the custom systems we will need.

Planning the next house has meant some changes here in Tampa lately.  Part of that means some serious purging and really thinking about what we use now and will use in the future.  Part of that is figuring out where we’re going to store certain items in the future and making a few changes here to “practice”.  I’m looking at every single thing in this house and asking myself where it is going to go in the next house.

Recently Casey’s room has gotten an update and is almost finished.  I loved her furniture when we got it but it was feeling too dark for the room and for our bright and happy child and it wasn’t all going to fit in the new house.  At first we thought we should wait and buy new furniture after we move so we don’t have to move it and risk it getting damaged.  But I already knew what I wanted to get in her room and that it would work well in the new room and hopefully it will survive the move.  Her room is now the brightest room in the house and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.  Just a few more projects to finish and it will be done!

I’m also working on the craft room/office.  There is no closet in the office in the new house and it is also open to the front entry.  I’ll need a good storage system…one that holds a lot of stuff but also looks good!  I have never been completely pleased with the craft room here which is why I’ve only ever shown part of it.  I’ve moved furniture around in it three times but there’s always a problem wall or spot.  I’m determined to get a good shot of the whole room soon!

So stay tuned for some updates on the Tampa house and maybe some plans for the new house.  And once I restore the craft room from it’s chaos, I’ll get some sewing done too!



family, travel

Summer 2016 – Cooperstown, NY

It’s been so long since I’ve written that I temporarily forgot my login to WordPress!  When school got out in early May, I had no idea how little I would end up accomplishing.  This summer has been very busy with camps, baseball, softball, traveling and one more traveling adventure to come.  And then school starts!!!  There have been very few days when we have had a long summer day stretching out before us with nothing to do, so when those days have come along, I have embraced them.  Which means I have very little sewing or decorating or organizing to share on the blog but I do have some summer adventures.

Three weeks ago, we set out on our summer road trip.  We drove to Ocean City, Maryland for a week at the beach.  We also decided that this would be a good summer to go to Cooperstown, NY and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Both of the kids got into baseball and softball and were on all-star teams, they started collecting baseball cards, they’ve been watching baseball on TV…the great American pastime has been alive and well at our house this year.  We don’t know what the next two summers might be like with Pat’s schedule so this was the year.

We arrived in Cooperstown mid-afternoon and enjoyed walking around the main street.  I have been to Cooperstown before (about 13 years ago) but those memories seem to have disappeared and it was all new to me.

We parked beside this crookedest of doors…

Crooked Door in Cooperstown NY

In one store, we waited out a passing thunderstorm, browsing through shirts and books and posters and pennants and everything else baseball related.  These places make you consider decorating your whole house in “baseball chic” but I resisted the temptation.

We walked along the main street with its red brick buildings.  Over our two days I’m pretty sure we went into every shop on the street, some more than one time!

Main Street Cooperstown NY

The kids spent a lot of time looking at baseball cards.  Every shop had cards and they loved finding their favorite players and wondering if the gum would still be good in the packs from the 80s and 90s and  deciding what cards were worth their money.

Baseball Store in Cooperstown NY

We walked by Doubleday Field…there were no games the first day but we caught most of a game on the second day.  We were only chased out by another thunderstorm.
Doubleday Field

We saved the Hall of Fame for the second day so we’d have as much time as we wanted.  We probably spent five hours there with a break in the middle for lunch – ball park franks of course!

Baseball Hall of Fame

You could spend days in the museum and still not read everything or take it all in.  5 hours is a long time for 8 and 10 year olds but there was always something interesting around every corner.

Babe, Ted & Casey

The kids had bats made with their names engraved on them and we caught the game at Doubleday while waiting for them to be finished.


One of the more interesting parts of this trip was the hotel/inn where we stayed.  I pictured it a little like the lodge from Dirty Dancing.  It didn’t quite live up those expectations.

Baseball Hotel

Breakfast Room at Baseball Hotel

It was rustic and quaint and we all appreciated the ample reading material found everywhere but not necessarily the squeaky bed and loud AC unit in the window.  The kids settled down with an encyclopedia and teacher’s edition of a life science textbook for bedtime reading.

Bedtime Reading

But there was a lot of room to have a catch in the backyard and picnic tables to eat our grocery store sandwiches when we just couldn’t handle another restaurant.

Playing Catch Behind the Baseball Hotel

And fire pits…where great effort and gasoline couldn’t overcome wet wood but the kids enjoyed their marshmallows even if they weren’t roasted.

Huge Marshmallows

Overall it was a great trip and we hope to go back in a few years with a team to play some games.  I remembered how much I love upstate New York and the gorgeous country scenery.  You forget about hills when you live in the flat land of Florida!

Now that we’re back, the kids have added their new baseball cards to their collections, are working on their renditions of Who’s on First?, and we’ve started watching a few of the baseball movies that got added to the list.



Tampa home

The Book Thread – Space Books

**I’m always in the middle of reading something so I thought I would share some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed.  I enjoy a wide variety of books from nonfiction to summer beach reads so I’m going to try to pick a category of books and write about some of my favorites during my “The Book Thread” update.**
Favorite Space Books-2

(This post contains affiliate links which do not change the price to you but will compensate me if you think I’ve recommended some good books which you choose to buy.  Happy reading!)

I’m currently reading A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin that I picked up at a thrift store.  (I love browsing the thrift store books shelves to find some great books for great prices!)  While I’m only a quarter of the way through the book, it’s already getting a 5 star rating from me.  I’m learning more about the Apollo program but really feeling like I get the know the astronauts and they are so intriguing.

I’ve been a fan of books about the Apollo missions since I was in high school.  Someone left a copy of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell at the family cottage one summer and I picked it up and started reading.  I loved it so much that I seriously looked into studying aeronautical engineering in college.  I was torn between architecture and aeronautical engineering but the schools I was looking at had either one or the other.  Ultimately I chose architecture only to switch to electrical engineering a semester later…since Norwich didn’t have an aeronautical program.

About three years ago, I stumbled across Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond at my favorite Maine store – Marden’s – when I was home for the summer.  It was another 5 star book for me about NASA and the space missions written by Gene Kranz, who I first read about as a flight director in Apollo 13.  Back when I thought about going into aeronautical engineering, I never wanted to be an astronaut, I wanted to be Gene Kranz.

3rd graders at our elementary school get to go on a field trip to Kennedy Space Center and I was a chaperone on my son’s trip last year.  I think I might have had a better time than some of the kids.  It was so amazing to see where it all happened/happens and reminded me of my love for space exploration.  I picked up The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space
by Eugene Cernan.  I haven’t jumped into this one yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a summer read for me.

My son and I enjoyed Kennedy Space Center so much that we went back last summer and are thinking about going again this summer.  And, I’ll have a 3rd grader next year so hopefully I can chaperone a field trip again.

Also, one more book about space that I loved but is in the fiction genre is The Martian by Andy Weir.  It had the adventure of Mars mixed with some scientific geek stuff and a character with a good sense of humor.  I might not have picked it up except it was a book chosen by our book club.  I’m realizing that after writing about four 5-star space books in the one post, whether fiction or non-fiction, they might be some of my favorite books.  Of course I’m likely to say that about other books in the future too!

I should also say that I’m sure there are many other great books about space out there, but these are the ones I have read and enjoyed.  If you have any recommendations for books like these, let me know in the comments and I’ll probably add them to my never-ending “to-read” list!



Beach House Remix Plus Quilt in Picnic Size

This quilt might look familiar – I first made this quilt for my sister-in-law’s 2nd baby.  Then I had enough leftover to make another quilt and I listed it in my Etsy shop where is it still available.

plus quilt in grass

Then, a few weeks ago, I received my first custom order!  My customer wanted the Beach House Remix baby quilt in a picnic sized quilt.  Luckily I was still able to find a fat quarter bundle of the fabric and I got to work!


I decided to increase the overall size of the blocks to make the quilt bigger.  The baby sized quilt blocks finish at 3.5″ square and I increased the block size to finish at 5″ square to get similar proportions.

two beach house quilts

I offered a few different options for backing fabric to my customer and she chose a wideback fabric from Angela Walters Drawn line (which is getting harder and harder to find).  Initially it wasn’t the option I was leaning towards but once I got the fabric, I realized how perfect it was for the quilt.  The wavy pattern reflects the easy going beachy colors of the front as well as the modern feel.

plus quilt with backing

When I was ready to put the quilt sandwich together, I realized that I didn’t order enough backing fabric!  So frustrating.  I wanted the wave pattern to be horizontal on the back but I didn’t think about the direction of the fabric in relation to the selvage when ordering, so I was about 5 inches short in length!  This is the second time I’ve made this mistake – for some reason it’s programmed backwards in my brain.  Good thing I like the backing so much because it will make an appearance on another, slightly smaller quilt.


I originally thought to go with a similar binding as the baby quilt but it didn’t work with the backing so I chose a simple Kona Navy.  It frames the quilt nicely and looks great with the backing.

beach house quilt at tennis courts

I brought the baby quilt and picnic quilt to my tennis match last week to take pictures.  The park was beautiful and after tennis I grabbed some shots.  My tennis partner helped me and at one point we thought we could hop over a little fence to one of the fields…bad idea!  It looked so simple, but hamstrings were tested.  We found an open gate on the way back.

beach house picnic quilt near water


I was very excited to send this off to my customer and she told me she has already had a picnic on it!  It was lovely to work with these gorgeous Cotton & Steel fabrics (again) plus a few others I added to get to the size I needed.

picnic quilt ready to ship

Quilt Stats (may contain affiliate links)

Size: 65″ x 75″

Pattern: Plus Quilt – modified from For the Love of George’s tutorial

Quilt Top Fabrics: Remix Beach House 16 Fat Quarter Bundle Cotton + Steel

Backing Fabric: Angela Walters Drawn Wavy in Storm

Binding Fabric: Kona Navy

Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% Cotton Needled Batting

Quilting:  Straight Line Quilting on either side of the seams, vertically & horizontally



Tampa home

Organized Kitchen – Coffee Station

Over the next few weeks, I want to share some of my organization ideas for the kitchen.  It’s not the perfect kitchen…appliances are all different colors, the walls are a bad grayish-white, and the cabinets and counters are not my favorite.  But it has some great aspects and I’m choosing to focus on them.  As a renter, I can’t really change much in the kitchen and sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes the challenge of working in non-ideal conditions gets me even more creative.

One of the things I like about this kitchen is that it has a lot of drawers.  There are enough drawers that I can devote one to coffee and tea supplies and only the Keurig and a few mugs live on the counter.

coffee station


This frees up space for all the other things that insist on living on the counter.   I love the idea of open, cleared off counters, but kitchen life runs more smoothly for me when I can easily store some items on the counter and access them quickly.  I’m constantly working on the balance between how useful it is to have something on the counter versus how cluttered it can get.

organized coffee and tea drawer

Storage containers in the drawer are a collection of Target Dollar Spot items, Dollar Store items and… iPhone boxes.  The boxes the iPhones come in are so nice that I can never throw them away and love when I can find another use for them!

I have a couple different sweetener options, mostly for our guests.  The sugar container, from World Market, can also be used when you have a craving for cinnamon toast…shake out some sugar and then sprinkle a little cinnamon.  The back of the drawer has a few extra spices and my kitchen scale.

organized coffee station and drawer

In the cabinet just above the coffee maker, I keep the travel mugs and the rest of the coffee mugs that are not as pretty to keep out on the counter but have a little sentimental value.

coffee station and mugs in the cupboard

Having everything near the coffeemaker and organized makes mornings go smoothly for the hot beverage drinkers in our house.  Using a few up cycled boxes and some inexpensive baskets keeps items contained and easy to access.

I’m working on updating my recipe collection and menu planning process for the next post in Kitchen Organization.