Monday, October 22, 2012

DIY Upholstery, Window Treatments, and Tinting

Sea Gem's salon (main living room) is almost entirely surrounded by ports (windows), which allow for natural light to stream through the boat's interior. This is both a curse and a blessing. Boats without large ports can be quite dark, however the absence of natural light also keeps them cool. In contrast, our boat's interior is bright and airy, however the abundance of sunlight results in excess heat.

The majority of our salon's ports are covered by custom Bermuda shades, which allow us to manually regulate the amount of natural light (and heat) entering our boat. However, our large forward-facing ports, which receive sunlight nearly all day, are not covered by Bermuda shades due to their steep angle. Uncovered, they permit a tremendous amount of light to flood our boat's interior:

Forward-facing Ports
To keep the sun's powerful rays from entering the salon, Sea Gem's previous owners created custom panels that locked into place over the forward-facing ports:

Port Covers
This clever solution works well, but the fabric covering the panels clashed with our decor. The mismatched look bothered me, but since custom upholstery work is rather expensive, fixing the panels wasn't a top priority. 

Although Eric and I agreed to put this decorating project on-hold until after we finished more important projects, as I stared at the panels the other day, it occurred to me that they were approximately the same size as a king-sized pillow case. An idea formed (I may not be the poster child for DIY projects, but I most certainly can stuff something into a pillow case). So, off to Target I went and returned with these:

$10 Pillow Cases from Target
After washing the pillow cases to remove the wrinkles, Eric and I stuffed the panels into the shams and stapled the excess fabric to the back of the panels. The result? Newly "upholstered" panels:

Newly Covered Panels
Covering the panels with pillow cases allowed us to quickly and inexpensively achieve the look we desired. However, before even starting the project, it dawned on me that since the panels cover windows, their backside would be visible from outside of our boat, and our (potentially) shoddy upholstery job would be on display for the world.

Prior to being covered by the dark shams, this is how the ports appeared from the outside:

Pre DIY Window Treatment
And here they are after:

Post DIY Window Treatment
Overall the difference is negligible. The dark color of the pillow cases is muted by the storm covers, which results in a (custom) tinted look. Very fancy. While unintentional, I'd say it is an improvement to Sea Gem's exterior.

Martha Stewart would be proud...or perhaps horrified, I'm not quite sure. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

3 Months!

Our ship's tiny captain is 3 months old! It is only a matter of time until she is shouting orders at her crew. Watch out, Moishe.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

But what about getting the baby off the boat?

Just like our dog, Moishe, our daughter, Helina, needs to leave the boat from time to time. In order to transport our dog on and off the boat, we developed a special technique that we affectionately call "Dangle Dog." As the name suggests, Moishe is dangled over the water as he is handed off from one set of hands to another. We've found this exchange to be a safe and effective way to move our dog on and off the boat.

In general, a dog is excellent practice for a baby; however, not all techniques that work with dogs also work with babies. Dangle Dog is a great example of a technique that doesn't transcend species (at least not canine to primate). Dangle Dog is safe for Moishe because in the unlikely event that he falls in, he would instinctively start paddling (albeit poorly) once his paws hit the water, which would keep him afloat until we could rescue him. Unlike our dog, Helina doesn't have an innate ability to swim (at least not that we are aware of), so as you might imagine, transporting her on and off of the boat is quite daunting. Since the idea of Helina falling into the water is absolutely terrifying, "Dangle Baby" is not being practiced while boarding Sea Gem. 

Transferring the baby from one person to another is simply not a safe option for getting her on and off the boat, so Eric and I had to figure out a way for one of us to safely board with our baby in tow. Our solution? I wear her. Literally:

Helina in her Baby K'tan wrap
With the help of our Baby K'tan wrap, Helina can be easily and comfortably secured to my torso. This is an ideal way to carry her because it leaves my hands free to steady myself as I board, which wouldn't be possible if I were holding Helina in my arms. There are times when we have carried her off of the boat while she was strapped into her car seat, but for safety reasons, the wrap is our preferred method of transport.

Of course, wearing the wrap does nothing to prevent me from falling into the water with her attached--there is always a chance that could happen; however, with Helina strapped to my body, at least I'd know exactly where she is if I/we were to fall in (and then I'd just flip onto my back to keep her head out of the water).   

Eventually, Helina will be too heavy to be supported by the wrap (and my body), and Eric and I will need to revisit our boarding options. My hope is that by the time she outgrows the wrap, she'll be treading water, which will give us peace of mind and a whole host of boarding options (maybe even Dangle Baby).  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Galley Upgrade

Out of all of Sea Gem's rooms, our galley is probably the most house-like. While most boats' galleys have miniature versions of familiar kitchen appliances (a 2 burner gas stove, a tiny oven, etc.), Sea Gem's galley is equipped with house-sized appliances. Well, sort of. Take our stove for instance. Our 26-inch, 4-burner electric stove was likely standard-sized in the 80's, but compared to the 30-inch (or more) stoves found in stores today, it is hardly standard anymore.

I love our stove. For starters, it is electric. While I realize that most people dream of having a massive gas range in their kitchen, I, for one, do not. In fact, a gas stove ranks #1 on my list of stuff I don't want. Yes, they are nice to look at, and I know nothing is better to cook with, but the horrible ticking sound they make when you turn them on sounds like a bomb about to explode, and the anxiety this causes me is something I'd rather not deal with on a daily basis (or ever). In addition to our stove's non-explosive nature, it also has a rich history, which makes me appreciate it even more. While it is true that only 3 of our stove's 4 burners function, I'd say its only real downside is that it's a bit dated looking, which isn't doing our galley any favors in the design department.

So, in general, I'm not in any hurry to replace our stove. However, the day will come when we do need to replace it and I'm convinced that when this day finally does arrive, the standard size for a stove will have increased from 30-inches to some absurd size that our galley could never hold without extreme renovation. Right now, we have found only one 26-inch stove on the market, and I worry that it won't be available forever. So, a new stove is likely in our future. Until then, I decided to give our dated 80's model a bit of a face lift by replacing our old, charred drip pans with a shiny new set. They were only a few dollars and they instantly perked up the entire galley:

Before (Top) and After (Bottom)
The Golden Girls would be proud.