Seashell insanity–Episode #452

Well…my tugboat man spent pretty much the entire day surfing. He came home at 2:00 p.m and said he had been trying to catch a wave in to shore for over an hour or he would have been back sooner. RIGHT.

Does he think I just fell off the turnip truck? Do I look stupid? I know that trick–the old “I couldn’t get in so I just had to stay surfing until the sun went down and the tide changed” lie.

I was so mad at him for abandoning me that I had to devise a painful retaliation to convey my displeasure. I decided that we were going to go walking in our little village of Carlsbad and go in and out of EVERY shop. That is absolute torture for my hubs, which meant it was perfect. And since I’ve gotten my Chanel, she hasn’t really had a good outing and begged to come along and see and be seen by all the tourists and locals in our little town.

We went to every single store including one where I bought some beautiful seashells, ‘cos, you know, I just don’t have enough seashells. I made him go into antique stores, sandal shops, shoe stores, clothing stores–up and down State Street and Grand Avenue without a moment to rest. When I felt he had been punished sufficiently, we went home and he installed a shelf that he made for my new shells and my seashell box we created together.

There’s more surf tomorrow, so I’ll be thinking of more ways to make his life miserable.




Our nautical Christmas 2012

My tugboat man brought back some treasures and cool marlinspike seamanship projects he worked on while he abandoned me was away for two months.

What do you think of the captain’s welcome home signs?


This picture frame is huge–2 ft. x 3ft.

Marlinspike seamanship picture frame

This is a close-up view of his masterful work.

close up frame

My mariner found a float in the harbor and crafted a delicate netting in black.


And then we worked together to make it into a lamp! The base is a piece of driftwood. The captain’s making some fancy knotwork to embellish the shade.


Princess Rosebud was spoiled with a necklace from a craft fair somewhere near where Santa lives.


Sparkly! Shiny!

 He fashioned a pretty little handmade tray with copper tubing sides and handles and filled it with shells and driftwood!


We had welcome home festive cocktails of cranberry juice and vodka with a fresh cranberry in our antique champagne glasses.


And yummy ginger cookies…


Our Downton Abbey-inspired dinner table.

xmasdinnerHis mess, which has since been cleaned up!


Now he has a new project–when he’s not surfing– refinishing a rowboat and making it seaworthy.


Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife! I’m a happy girl, that’s for sure!

Welcome to Casa de Enchanted Seashells..come on in!

To follow up on yesterday’s blog, I did not go surfing today. First of all, there was no decent surf this morning for the captain and he just now left for an afternoon surf sesh and anyway I have a project to complete. While he was away on his last assignment, I decided our front door was crying out for an addition of seashells to welcome everyone. Here’s what it looked like before I started. I thought the window embedded in the door was a perfect location for embellishment.












I made a template of the window and arranged the seashells, artistically, I hope!

It was necessary to use the trusty glue gun because the other type of glue wouldn’t work vertically.





A French Sennet

Once it was done, I was really pleased, but thought that some rope work would add the final touch. I commissioned the captain to work on a long piece to surround the window. I measured it, and it was about 50 inches. I glued it down and it’s done. I love it!

What do you think?

Welcome to Casa de Enchanted Seashells!

Ropework and Nautical Charts

I love the ropework picture frame the captain made on one of his voyages. The photo is a postcard of Freiburg, Germany from one of my son’s visits:My merchant seaman belongs to International Guild of Knot Tyers based in England. They are an educational non-profit organization dedicated to furthering interest in practical, recreational, and theoretical aspects of knotting. Their aim is to preserve traditional knotting techniques and promote the development of new techniques for new material and applications. He also brings home beautiful charts from far away.A nautical chart is one of the most fundamental tools available to the mariner. It’s a graphic portrayal of the marine environment showing the nature and form of the coast, the general configuration of the sea bottom, including water depths, locations of dangers to navigation, locations and characteristics of human-made aids to navigation, and other features useful to the mariner. The nautical chart is essential for safe navigation. In conjunction with supplemental navigational aids, it is used by the mariner to lay out courses and navigate ships by the shortest and most economically safe route. Over 98 percent of the nation’s cargo is carried by waterborne transportation—and all of those ships rely on nautical charts to find their way. (NOAA)

Even though there are electronic methods of charting, a good seaman will always update his paper charts the old-fashioned way. Just like with GPS, equipment can break down, and it is so important to be an expert in Celestial Navigation, like my guy, who has taught it at various maritime schools.

I like to figure out new uses for unusual things—like charts. I have used them as mats for pictures and I read in a Martha Stewart Magazine about using charts on the ceiling, but Captain Cranky said he sees enough charts while he’s gone and the last thing he wants to do is lay in bed and look up and see them there, too, so I’ve got a ways to go before that happens.

I thought it would be really creative to find a way to use them as flooring tiles for a bathroom,  but have yet to discovered how to do it. Any suggestions?

No Rest For The Weary or How My Captain Spent The First One-Hundred-Forty-Four Hours Of His Homecoming

Monday at midnight: Yet another godawful thirty-five minute drive to the airport, albeit no traffic and not too many drunk drivers weaving all over the road, thank goodness. I wore an animal print maxi-dress, nothing elaborate this time, no “theme”. I could barely keep my eyes open, but my car seems to know the way without much intervention from me, so that helped. I waited in the airport cell phone parking lot, which is not well-lit and has the most disgusting Porta-Potties. I mean DISGUSTING. And to make matters worse, they have no lights at night, which means—well, it means that it’s a nightmare for me.

When a girl has to go, a girl has to go, ya know what I mean? I was at critical mass.  But I am a smart and resourceful chicka and brought a camping headlamp to use so that I could see how nauseatingly filthy it was in there. At least I could see what I was doing—there were no seat covers, so I used three layers of toilet paper on the seat before I dared sit. No squatting on the sides this time; not enough room for two feet. OMG, could anything be more ghastly.  What were the previous 645 people DOING IN HERE!!!????  Got the call, picked him up, moved over to the passenger side—no snacks to hand feed this time. That’s what he gets for giving me no notice at all, but yes, very glad to see my captain anyway. I just like a bit of time to properly prepare an appropriate welcome. He’s lost a bit of weight, but still has those incredibly gorgeous blue/green/gray eyes.  He’s tired, but very glad to be home.  After a late dinner of leftover chard quiche,  it’s off to bed by 1:30 a.m. I am a harsh task master and make him get up at 7:00 a.m. with a cup of freshly ground French roast and we are off to the gym for my regular Boot Camp class. Hee hee, he doesn’t have much energy, I mean who can blame him; he told me he had two hours of sleep in the last two days, but I think he needs to work through the pain. I whipped out my project list and he was willing to meet my demands without too much whining and pleading and negotiation.

I really, really wanted the upstairs bathroom to have new floor molding. For some reason, he had previously installed some gray rubbery looking molding and it always reminded me of a nasty Greyhound bus station bathroom, which was totes at odds with my enchanted seashell and beach rock persona, so it was off to Home Depot! Got the floor molding and a commitment from my nice husband to completely remodel the downstairs bathroom the next time he’s home for a few months. Yeah!

He got right on the molding…see how lovely?

My 1983 Mercedes odometer stopped working about a month ago, so my hard-working husband took the instrument cluster out from under the dashboard and discovered that a couple of teeth had broken off the gear (I’m repeating what he said, I have no idea what he’s talking about) and MacGyver’d a solution. He glued small pieces of a toothpick to the gear where the teeth had broken, and voila! Success! He is a very ingenious captain, that captain of mine.

Next…I wanted to replace a swing arm lamp that was a creative project gone wrong. I had painted it black and glued seashells on it. This was not one of my better ideas, I have to admit. I don’t have a picture of it ‘cos it’s too embarrassing to view a failure, but I did take a picture of the beautiful new lamp my ever-so-nice husband installed for me during his first seventy-two hours not out to sea.

The weather here has been so very hot that our vegetable garden was suffering. My ever long suffering husband covered the garden in shade cloth.  Of course he did a much nicer job than I would have. He’s very detail-oriented. Just what you’d want in a good captain.

On Saturday we walked to the beach and back, about six miles. The weather had cooled off enough to make this endurable, but the last mile back is uphill and quite challenging.

Not done yet with projects; he decided to sand and varnish the deck. This was not on my list, I really hate when he does it, ‘cos sanding makes a mess and I have to close all the windows or I end up with a fine coating of dust everywhere. You can definitely tell he knows his way around boats; our deck looks like it could float away on its own.

Sanding while wearing the proper dust mask

Welcome aboard! “Stand by to cast off!”

Now he’s taking a well deserved nap with the remote still lightly clutched in his hand…

More Marlinspike Seamanship Photos

A beautiful little coin purse

A woven strap to turn any bag into a cross body bag








A knot board in progress

Marlinspike Seamanship as Art

What does my merchant seaman captain husband do when he’s gone besides working pretty much 24/7? He watches a lot of DVDs on his computer; he likes Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, and Justified-an eclectic choice. Sometimes there is TV, but not always.  He has devised his own work out regimen to stay in shape, and he does beautiful marlinspike seamanship, or ropework. It takes an unbelievable amount of patience and time to complete these works of art. He taught himself, and by reading the definitive work on the subject, The Ashley Book of Knots, but his long assignments away from home is what has really perfected his skills. It’s a beautiful expression of fiber art. This black bottle is one he recently completed.

  He makes beautiful bracelets, too. I help out with the faux pearls and embedded semi-precious stones. We have been selling a lot of them and I’m working on an Etsy site but it’s not quite ready.