The Handyman Can

Okay, now bear with me while I talk about the fifth wheel for a moment. I promise there is sewing on the horizon. When we bought the new RV, we weren't looking for anything larger. We really liked the floor plan in the new one and the possibility of adding a dishwasher. And besides, the old one was old. In the same way an old car needs replacing, the mileage on the RV had piled up and it was time for a new one. And all of that to say that in order to gain space in the living area, we had to give up some space in the bathroom and the bedroom. Not a problem.

Ay, but here's the rub: when we went to Cape Disappointment last month, weather was moving to the colder time of the year, and we realized our small bathroom could not accommodate any sort of space heater like we'd had in the old RV. Here's how it looks when you're standing in the bathroom. If you stand next to the door that leads into the bedroom, the shower is on your right, the door leading into the hallway is to the left, and the sink is in front of you.

Turning around and looking from the sink side of the room, you can see there really is no place to put a space heater. And, yes, that's a furnace vent on the floor, but we weren't running our propane-burning furnace. We were using the electric fireplace in the living room for heat. In order to heat the bathroom when the doors are closed, we need to turn on the furnace...which burns propane. And why burn our own propane when we're paying the park to use their electricity?

So you can see there really is no place to put a space heater. And burr....when you get out of the shower, the space heater is really nice! Not to worry, because I live with an engineer, who happens to be a very good handy man. He took a look at the bathroom and found a small panel below some skinny cupboards where he thought he could outfit a heater. And so he gutted a small space heater we'd retired to our attic, had some panels cut, painted what was formerly a gutter guard to serve as the grill, and installed that puppy in that little space.

Clever huh? (Sorry for the blur in this image.) It has a high and low setting, but low is plenty. It heats the small bathroom quickly, and then shuts off when it's warm enough.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh....niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Yep...that guy is a keeper.

Meanwhile, back at the house, kitties don't need no stinking space heaters.

Kitties travel with their own purrsonal heaters.

Okay, so I promised you sewing and here it is. I finished the 9th of 12 Sundress blocks.

And then I traced out the next eight shops for Row 7 of the Shop Hop quilt.

Now that's ready for stitching.

While I was doing that, we had something of a tragedy in the kitty Clubhouse. Recall that the clubhouse is in a "closet" where our water heater, furnace, and certain tanks related to our well and water chemistry are located. Here's an old photo:

The kitties first jump to the tank where Smitty is sitting, then to the blue one behind him, then up into the rafters. Then they roam around between the basement ceiling and the floor of the main level. Mostly, they sleep, but they also serve the important function of keeping that area clear of mice. Since that's the ground level of the house, we often get mice in there...at least we used to before we started letting the kitties into the space. So anyway...

When I opened the doors for them yesterday, I was reaching in to turn on the light (we don't know if it's necessary, but we turn on the light so they can find the opening when they're ready to come back down). Smitty jumped up just as I was reaching for the light, and I bumped him knocking him to the floor. He fell a distance of about 6 feet and ended up between some tanks where he was kind of trapped. He managed to get himself turned around and he got out under his own power, but he was upset by the whole thing. I imagine he hurt himself when he fell, but more than that, I think it wounded his pride.

So that was a long story to say that he refused to go up in the Clubhouse the rest of the day...and that meant I got plenty of help with yesterday's sewing.

Yes sirree...that is very helpful. I'm not actually sure how I'm ever able to sew without this much help.

A little medicinal catnip helped his wounded pride,

and eventually he retired to his kitty pole upstairs to nurse himself back to health.

So that happened.

Okay, so next I was ready to start sewing Home & Heart into a flimsy. First, the blocks were all framed with a solid black.

The quilt has 32 nine-patches, and so I cut the strips for those,

and then sewed them into strip sets.

Then they were sliced and diced.

When I left the sewing room for the day Pfelicity was hard at work sewing those pieces together.

What do you bet she didn't do a single thing more after I left the room? It's hard to get a good sewing machine these days.

Upstairs, it was time for dinner, and I put the finishing touches on the Coq au Vin I'd started the day before. It can be served over noodles or rice...or even mashed potatoes, I suppose. We chose noodles.

And Yum. This is Alton Brown's recipe. The first time made this, I used the pearl onions and boiled them as he suggests to remove the skins. It actually was very easy to do, but you know what's even easier? Frozen pearl onions, and that's what I used this time around. Just skip the first step in the recipe and move right along to step two. No need to thaw the onions, just open the bag and dump them into the pan. Also, I mentioned yesterday that my grocery store no longer carries salt pork, and so I substituted pancetta with good results. The only other thing I should say is that I used eight boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I can't explain this, but we've been eating more skinless chicken during our 300-year diet plan. I've become kind of squeamish about chicken skin, which I used to love. Boneless skinless resulted in a much less fatty dish, and we didn't miss the skin at all. So there you have it. If you're feeling like tackling a two-day project, I can recommend this recipe. To quote Alton Brown, your patience will be rewarded.

So my quilt shop names are hooped up and waiting for me.

The only other thing on today's agenda is laundry, and that means I'll spend some more time sewing Home & Heart into a flimsy. It would be wonderful to get it finished today, but I'm thinking it will probably be tomorrow.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Julierose said...

Wow you had quite a day there! I love your little dresses--just so adorable...
I did errands and DP-ed the morning away today...Will be assembling my Secret projects this afternoon and ready them for quilting...
Tomorrow is shopping for the 2 pumpkin pies (and, no, I am not making them myself this year lol) and whipped cream cannisters to bring for Thanksgiving at my daughter's home.
Mr. Wonderful bought two tabletop Christmas trees, pre-lit, one for us and one for my daughter...she has a whole table of Christmas village and we thought this would be a lovely backing for it...

Hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving Celebration...
hugs, julierose

Sally Trude said...

Dear Barbara,

I am a big fan of your blog! So much happening all the time. One request...I've been searching all over youtube for the video of Smitty getting knocked sideways and I can't find it anywhere! I'm looking forward to seeing it.



Annette Mandel said...

Did you give Smitty chin stitches to soothe his wounded pride?

Quilting Babcia said...

Love that little sundress! I hope Smitty is back to his regular adventurous self and roaming the wide open spaces between the floors of the house! Not that subjecting part of that beautiful tail to the whims of a rotary cutter isn't adventurous!

crazy quilter said...

Yes I second the notion that the resident engineer is definitely a keeper! What a fix for the cold problem. It looks like it was made for that small space. You are off to the races now. So sorry for Smitty’s mishap! I do hope the catnip fixed his wounded pride. I Feel sure that he will
Venture into the playhouse agin just maybe not this week.you do need the help in the sewing room .just watch that long tail or he will end up like Sadie. Keep on sewing you are making great progress!

Kate said...

Hopefully Smitty is back to 100% and ready to go chase off those invader mice. The sundress turned out beautifully. You've got a good start on Home and Heart. Looking forward to seeing that project come together.

piecefulwendy said...

Sorry to hear about Smitty's experience; hope he's back to usual programming today. Laundry and shopping are on my agenda today (groceries and Target, my two not-favorite places). There will be sewing rewards later in the day, I hope. My sourdough starter is bubbly but not growing. So it's not dead, right?

NancyA said...

I am seriously impressed by the heater install; it looks like it came that way from the manufacturer! I also want to thank you for the coq au vin recipe. My hubby has gotten a little tired of chicken lately, and I think this dish will change his mind.

I want to preface this following question with a sincere complement: you are very brave to post pix of your embroidery, knowing that we can enlarge the image! But your stitches are wonderful, even in a blown-up image. So even in an enlarged image I cannot tell- what stitch did you use for the ‘ribbon’ on the Dress?

Sarah said...

I don't believe I've ever seen so many doors in such a small space. Yikes! Poor little Smitty. I hope his pride heals very quickly.

Brown Family said...

THanks for the lesson on Bacon, Pancetta, and Prosciutto. fascinating! I am glad you can now have a warm bathroom.

I hope Smitty is OK.

quiltzyx said...

Wow, did the resident Engineer do a great job on the new bathroom heater! Looks like it came that way from the factory.
The polka dot sundress is wonderful!
I'm glad Smitty has recovered from his mishap in the utility closet/entryway to the Clubhouse. Scary!