Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | July 8, 2013

Vacation!

Finally! A much needed vacation was taken. We took a flight out to California to see my family and an friend of Darryl’s from high school. The flight out was interesting as we flew over some great scenery and the weather was clear. Here are a couple in flight photos:
The Rocky Mountains

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Grand Canyon

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We landed in San Francisco and picked up a rental car and off we went. We drove thru rush hour traffic, not fun, and finally made it to my favorite Aunt and Uncle’s house about 3.5 hrs after landing. My Aunt Elsie and Uncle Lenny live in a small town called Suisun City just outside Fairfield. My mother and her friend Ted, who live in Southern California, drove up as well to meet us. It was a long first day and we spent the remainder of it visiting and resting.
The following day we took a short trip to the Jelly Belly Factory to see how they are made and try out all the different flavors.

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The tour was really interesting and Darryl even volunteered to eat a vomit flavored jelly bean!! He said it tasted like leftover pizza, no thank you! That evening we went to my cousin Kay’s house for a cook out. It was wonderful to see my cousins Kay and David and their families, some of whom I had never met!
The next day we took a drive to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve to see the beautiful and gigantic trees. Words and picture do not do any justice to the actual forrest. It is something you have to see for yourself. It was so green and lush, and it smelled heavenly. To think those trees have stood there for thousands of years is amazing! Mom, Ted, Darryl, and I spent the afternoon wandering the many trails they have there.

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This last picture is of a tree that long ago fell and the root system exposed. The park is spectacular and has nice picnic areas to enjoy. We hadn’t brought any food so when we left we drove through a tiny town called “Stumptown” and ate lunch. The Pacific Coast Highway was our next destination, it has been on my bucket list for a while and we jumped at the chance to check it off the list. The drive there was beautiful as it ran along the banks of the Russian River. The roads were curvy and hilly, anyone who knows me will tell you those kind of roads are not my favorite! But still I enjoyed the drive and the scenery. The Russian River empties into the Pacific Ocean and when we came over bluff and the coastline revealed itself, it was breathtaking! Did I also mention it was cold!! Luckily we had dressed warmly, the views we took in cannot be described adequately. We stopped at a place called Goat Rocks Beach. Here a few pics:

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While we were there we did get a glimpse of a seal frolicking about in the water, it was fantastic. The drive home was beautiful, weaving in and out of little coastal towns and scenic vistas, each just as amazing as the last.
Saturday was spent with my family at my cousin Kay’s for her grandsons first birthday. What a great time we had getting reacquainted with everyone. Darryl was having trouble remembering who belonged to who! The party theme was a superhero bash.

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Sunday, we drove to Santa Rosa to visit a high school friend of Darryl’s whom he hadn’t seen in 28 years. We met at their home, and what a pretty home it was. The yard was beautifully landscaped with lavender abounding thru winding paths. He also had a lovely wine cellar filled with wine, as Lee is an avid collector. They took us to luch at a wonderful restaurant called Rivers End. It was on the PCH near where we had been the day before. The food was divine and the company even better. We enjoyed a great bottle of wine Lee brought, good conversation, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. On the drive home we stopped in a small town called Healdsburg. Fantastic little downtown area with lots of shopping, food, wine, and art. It was wonderful to meet both Lee and Sherry and all too fast our visit came to an end.

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On monday we were planning a trip to “the city” San Francisco but my cousin Deanna’s husband Joe called and had an opening at his tattoo shop. Darryl had talked to him about a tattoo he wanted and since he had an opening we postponed the trip to the next day. Uncle Lenny and Darryl took off Monday morning. One of the things i wanted to get done while here was to apply for my California nursing license, so while Darryl was getting inked my mo m and I drove to Sacramento to get my license. While the process was painless it was not cheap but I was able to accomplish what I needed to do and now have a temporary license.
Here is a pic of Darryl’s tattoo

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San Francisco here we come! we decided to just drive to Vallejo to take the ferry to the city instead of fighting traffic, and believe me the traffic is bad!! We arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf and man it was cold! About 58 degrees and a howling wind. We decided to take a bus tour around the city and here are a few pics we took:

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One day is not enough to see everything so there will definitely be another trip there to enjoy everything else.
Our final day was spent packing and enjoying the last few hours with my family. There is never enough time for that.

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Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | May 13, 2013

New toy for Mother’s Day

I am in the midst of reupholster stage 2 of the interior settees. Since I have never made cushions before, I am taking a class at our local adult school Tomlinson Adult learning center. It is very inexpensive and fun. The group that goes there are super nice and helpful. It is a busy class so you have to be patient and not be in a rush to get your project done. I have completed two of the cushions, and have the other two in the final stages of completion, which I am hoping to complete tonite. Here is what the two I have done look like:

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They aren’t perfect, but they do look nice and the imperfections are mostly hidden.
Back to the original idea of the post. In doing these cushions I have learned that synthetic fabrics fray like crazy and that can make it very difficult to sew. So hubby came up with the idea of taking a lighter and searing the edges of the fabric to stop the fray. Worked like a charm but was hard on hubby’s fingers and he got a couple blistered areas in the process. Sewing was much easier and faster after the fabric was sealed.
If you live in a marina, you know that word/gossip travels fast. I have had several people approach me about doing their cushions for them. I told hubby I wouldn’t mind but we had to figure out a better way to seal synthetic fabric, so on the Internet we went. We found on the Sailrite site they have a hot knife package and a video on how to use it. So with Mother’s Day coming that is what I asked for. It came in the mail and this is what it looks like:

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I just tried it on a piece of the fabric I am working with and it is awesome!!! This will significantly improve the quality of my project and shave off a lot of time. Well worth the money if you have a lot of canvas aboard as most sailors do.
I hope to get a post about the process of making a cushion on the blog this week. So excited to get it finished.

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | April 8, 2013

Interior reupholstering stage 1

Since we bought the boat last July I have wanted to reupholster the interior settee cushions. They were in ok shape but had some water stains and the foam was starting to breakdown. But we had a few leaks (as all boats do) that had to be tracked down and fixed. So hubby set out to do that and accomplished it just recently. My opportunity was at hand to get those cushions started. I have never done this kind of thing before and decided to start with the cushion backs. As you can see, the original cushions covered the whole back of the settee.

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They were also very difficult to remove to get to the storage behind them due to industrial strength Velcro, so I tended not to utilize that storage space.
I started by looking on You Tube for various techniques to recover the backs. I found a couple that showed the basics so I felt pretty confident that I could tackle the project. I needed some basic tools and supplies to get started like paint supplies, scissors, batting, staple gun, pencil, yard stick and so on.
The first task that needed to be done was to paint the wood of the settees so they needed to be vacuumed and the wood cleaned and prepped. The Velcro that was on the the wood was a plastic backed type that was screwed into the wood. So I removed all of the strips and sanded the holes a bit. After vacuuming I then washed it down with Clorox Clean Up and let it dry. I then had to spackle all of the screw holes and let them dry. I gave them another light sanding, vacuumed the dust and taped off the settee for painting. I used Kilz latex white to paint the surface because it retards mold/mildew growth and covers stains well.

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Prior to all of this hubby had measured and cut new plywood for the cushion backs. Once the wood was cut and sealed I was able to take the foam from the old cushions, as it was still in good shape, and cut out the smaller size using the new wood as a template.

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I used my electric knife, you know the kind you use on your Christmas turkey.

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One all the foam was cut I needed to adhere the foam to the wood, so I used 3M rubber adhesive that I purchased at Home Depot. I sprayed both the foam and the wood and let both sit for 4 minutes then applied the 2 sticky surfaces together.

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I then wrapped the cushion with batting and using a staple gun attached it to the wood. This step smoothes out the edges of the cushion.

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Once all of the cushions were covered in batting, I then measured the fabric and cut out the rectangles. Using the staple gun ( I recommend Powershot Pro which is an electric one) I stapled the fabric on each side. The corners are the tricky part, it took a few techniques but I finally got them looking uniform and nice. I found that it is easiest to staple the short sides first pulling the corners ends up and taut then stapling it in place.

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Then folding the fabric inward like this:

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Then finally bringing the flap of fabric over the folds ending with something that looks like this:

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Once you have the corner technique down it really is easy and goes pretty fast. It is helpful to have a second set of hands to help out (thanks hubby!) to hold fabric taut and in place while you staple.
When I finished all of the stapling, I then cut fabric rectangles to cover the back of the cushions and hide the staples. It gives a nice finished look and is very easy to do. I measured the cushions and added 1/2″ seam allowance all the way around. I then pinned the seam allowance and sewed the edges up folding in the corners.

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I attached the finished fabric to the backs of the cushions using a hot glue gun, the one I purchased is a hybrid, it works either plugged in or on batteries which could come in handy if you are not hooked to shore power. This is what the finished cushion looks like:

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I wanted these to be easy to open and close so that I would be able to access the storage easily so I had hubby put hinges on them, this way I just had to pull them down to open them with the exception of two of the cushions that open out instead of down due to the space allowed. Once the hinges were attached, hubby then measured and screwed them into the wood of the settee.

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The finished project looks like this:

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It really opened up the space and made the boat look bigger inside. The next project is the bottom cushions. I will be taking a class at the local adult school on upholstery to complete them. I hope to start that this week. Stay tuned for stage 2!

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | March 24, 2013

Bakeware for small galley ovens

I really love my Seaward 3 burner stove/oven since hubby installed it. I love cooking on gas and the ability cook more than one thing at a time, something I was unable to do with my nu wave induction top. But most of all I love having an oven. I love to bake and make casseroles. The only problem I found was that conventional bakeware and casserole dishes are too big for a galley oven. So I started scouring the stores for smaller pans. Casserole dishes are easier to find but can get quite pricy. I love thrift stores and so when I was out on a “treasure” hunt I found this great older Pyrex casserole dish for $1.16!

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It is a 6×10 1 1/2QT dish and is a great teal blue. It is also the perfect size for my husband and I and maybe a lunch since it can be difficult to store a lot of leftovers.
I was unsuccessful in finding small bakeware such as cookie sheets. Most are 15″ long and my limit was 12″. So I did find some on the Internet at this siteThe Bakers Kitchen and here Nordicware. But I’m not a great online shopper since I am an instant gratification kinda girl and I don’t like to pay shipping. So I went to our local Bed Bath And Beyond and found the same NordicWare that was offered online cheaper. I found these for $6.99 each.

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The small pan is also a cookie sheet so I bought 2 of those without the grate. They are 6×8″ and two of them will fit side by side in my oven.
My last find was a small muffin pan, very common but again, can get pricy for a nice one. I found this on at my local T J Maxx for $5.99.

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It is made by Wolfgang Puck and is 8×12″ and has a non stick finish.
So now the question is, what to bake?

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | March 9, 2013

Bimini revisited

Remember when I wrote that our Bimini was in rough shape? I had an estimate to replace it and it was expensive of course, $700-800, So we put that on the back burner for a while. One day not too long ago I was taking the garbage to the dumpster and when I opened the gate there sitting beside the dumpster was a folded Bimini in pacific blue in great condition! I am never this lucky (remember calamity Gina?), so I took it back to the boat thinking even it didn’t fit I could use the sunbrella for other projects. We took the old Bimini off and attempted to put this found one on our frame, it was the right size forward to aft, but port to starboard it was too long. Hmmmm, what to do… We decided to take it and our old bimini to a marine canvas shop and see if they could make a duplicate. We were told that it was difficult to do that since fabric stretches and it probably wouldn’t fit well. They could have a guy come out and and see if it can be refit to our frame, so we made an appointment for him to come out. The appointed day came and the guy from the canvas shop arrived at our boat. I noticed immediately that he had the attitude that he didn’t want to do this and we were wasting his time. My husband handled him and I stayed below because I did not want to say what I thought of his attitude and customer service skills, he wouldn’t have liked it!
However, he did proceed to give us an idea of how he would do it. So that got the wheels turning in my little brain and I decided that I would give it a try.
He told us that he would gather the extra material in the center and pin it and make the cut there. So that is what hubby and I did, we put it on the frame and gathered it little by little in the center and pinned it, then we took it off the frame and made a cut above the pins to create a center seam. I had already purchased special UV resistant thread from Philmore supply in pacific blue and a special thread spool holder from Sue’s Bay Area Sewing

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I set up my sewing machine and attempted to sew the seam and my machine kept binding up, even after several attempted to change settings, talk about frustrating! So I put it away and decided to consult with people who have sewn canvas before. We have a friend who had a machine that was all set up for canvas, so we borrowed it. I set it up and started sewing, it still had some trouble binding up, especially thru the thicker areas. I cut away a small portion of the zipper that was in the way of the seam. By the way save those portions of zippers you cut as you will need those later.

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I also reinforced all the zippers on the Bimini because the thread was damaged in some areas. Once I got started it really didn’t take long at all to finish it up. When I was done hubby then took it and put it back on the frame to check the fit.

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This is always a fun process! Once it was on we adjusted the straps and zipped it up. Now, remember those pieces of zipper I cut away and said to save? Here’s where we need them, when you cut the zippers you now have nothing to stop the zipper pull from coming off the zipper because you removed the stopper. So to remedy this you cut the teeth of the zipper into individual pieces like this:

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Then you take the individual pieces and fit them into an open space in the zipper teeth near the end of the zipper like this:

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This will stop the pull from coming off the zipper.
Amazingly it fit like a glove! I still have to affix the center bow pockets and put in the mast view window but that is another day. Not a bad job for the first attempt at canvas.

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | March 1, 2013

Up the mast he goes!

For hubby’s birthday he asked for a top climber to go up the mast. He said he needed it because I didn’t have the strength to help him go up the mast with our regular bosons chair, he was definitely right! One thing I am not known for is my upper body strength, lol. So we ordered it from Top Climber out of the Netherlands. This one is not to be confused with the Mast Climber. These two were related but the companies split. The Top Climber is much more reasonably priced than the Mast climber with very little difference in the two. It took about two weeks for shipping since it is an international address.

Now we had to wait for a calm day and for that calm day to coincide with one of our days off work. It took a while but today seemed to be the day! The reason he needed to go up the mast is to check out the steamer light, it is not working at the moment. So with a few tools in and the top climber up he went.

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Once he was up there he took the steamer light apart and found it to be corroded, hence the probable reason is isn’t working. He was also able to get a look at the antenna wire and it doesn’t look good either, which explains why it doesn’t work very well. So guess what, there will be a day of running all new wires up the mast very soon! Did I tell you how much Hubby loves to work on the electrical? He hates it! As I sit and write this he is attempting to find where the wires converge in the boat, I anticipate some very colorful language and yelling today. But it is all in a day of a boat owners life, right?

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | February 12, 2013

Calamity Gina is back!

I have never mentioned this before but my other name is “calamity Gina”. I am accident prone to say the least and usually it affects a vacation. Well, she decided to show up on the eve of our departure for our first cruising trip on the boat. I was trying to board the boat and as I stepped on my ankle rolled on the toe rail, put me off balance and I fell backwards. I fell between the boat and the dock and on the way down hit the left side of my rib cage on the hull of the boat and into the drink I went! Oh, and to top it all off, I had my iPhone in my pants pocket so of course it is history as well. Luckily hubby was home and there to help rescue me, yet again. Not sure what I would do without him! Went I popped up out of the water I was in terrible pain and scared (don’t like being in the water at night) so Darryl, mr. Calm, came out to fish me out. Since our marina does not have ladders anywhere on the sea wall he first attempted to pull me out. That did work because I was wet and slippery and it hurt too much. So he told me (who was still panicky and having trouble breathing cause it hurt) to swim around to the back of the boat where the swim ladder is. So I did as he instructed and hauled myself out of the water, which was no easy task, I was hurting, short of breath, and soaking wet. Finally out of the water, we went directly to a hot shower to warm up. The pain in my ribs coupled with my shortness of breath Darryl decided a trip to the ER was necessary to make sure I hadn’t punctured a lung or ruptured my spleen, so off we went. Now this is the second trip to there ER in 8 days. I didn’t tell you about the bungee cord accident, more about that later. Of course I felt embarrassed to be going back so soon since I work at this hospital, and wouldn’t you know I had the same nurse caring for me both times! I have to complement the staff of the ER at St. Petersburg General Hospital, they are prompt, courteous, and caring. I had a CT scan of my chest/abdomen and some pain meds, dilaudid and toradol are my friends! The test was negative for fractures, punctures, and ruptures so I was sent home with pain meds and muscle relaxers. These last two days have felt like an eternity because I can’t really do much, you never realize how your core muscles are involve with almost every movement you make! My hubby is such a great caregiver, he is soooooo appreciated.

Back to the title of this post, I am a clutz! There, I said it. Over the last 3 years I have had several mishaps from very minor to near death. They mostly involve falls, on boats, off boats, and once while at a car lot office where I proceeded to have the one and only fracture of my ankle. This happened the week before I was supposed to start my job at St. Pete General, so needless to say that postponed that for a month. The near death accident happened in St. Kitts on a scuba dive, regulator failure at 35 ft. I tried to drown but I had my hubby there to rescue me. That one caused a 4 day hospital stay in a very poor country with limited medical facilities. It made me more appreciative for the care we receive here in the states! The bungee cord incident happened when I was trying to secure the sliding drawers on the storage bins in the vberth. I was pulling the cord down and it slipped out of my hands and whacked my right eye and cheek. I thought OMG! I have just lost my eye, but luckily the majority of the blow hit my cheek bone under the eye. The reason for the ER visit was I had a shadow in upper nasal side of my vision and thought I may have a retinal hemorrhage or tear. Nothing was seen in the ER and I followed up with a great ophthalmologist Dr. Patel here in town, he didn’t find anything either. I just had to sport the black eye for several days. Usually I do not use bungee cords for this very reason (and I used to work in ophthalmology and had a patient who hooked his eye with one and lost his vision) so needless to say I won’t be using them again!

Everyone tells me that the ribs are slow to heal so I will have to find things to occupy my time that don’t involve lifting or quick movements, as it hurts too much to do these things and the meds keep me in slow motion. I am a nurse and used to caring for people, but I do not make a good patient, luckily I have a good man to take care of me and keep me in line.

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | February 3, 2013

New storage area, can we say YAY!

Our boat is a center cockpit and is split into to two areas, forward is the main section with the galley, main salon, head and the v-berth and aft is a larger berth with a head or as the original ODAY flyer called it “The Master’s Stateroom”.

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Since we have a nice roomy berth, we don’t use the v-berth for sleeping and if we decide to have a couple of guests join us overnight they can sleep on the settees in the main salon, I know not the most comfortable but hey you are on a boat out looking of adventure! Back to the point, not using the vberth opens that space up for storage and lots of it both below in the locker and on top where the mattresses were.
Since boat spaces are not like traditional rooms, ie. square, it is a challenge to find storage bins that work. No one place had bins that would work. So I put a couple different styles in place to try to see how they will fit and if they are effective and user friendly because face it, if it isn’t easy to use and get to what is the point!
We made a trip to IKEA because they are usually the best place to find solutions for small spaces. What I was looking for was something to store can goods, extra dishes, craft supplies, and all the extras that don’t fit anywhere else. What I found at IKEA where these two storage racks:

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The only thing shown in the pictures that I did not purchase was the tops on both of the racks, not enough room to use them effectively and loose items sitting on a shelf is just not a good idea.
We also bought a laundry hamper there which really is heavy duty and collapsible.

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So far this is what is looked like:

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With those two in place I still had room for another bin so I took my measurements and off to Walmart I went. I found a 3 drawer system made by Sterilite that fit perfectly. Of course I didn’t use the casters that came with it, another bad idea.

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Hubby will be securing all of these bins so that nothing moves while underway, a most important job!
Once all of that was in place I started putting things away and reorganizing. What a great feeling to have a place to put all the extras. Eventually we will be putting a refrigerator back there and turning the top loading box in the galley into a freezer, but for now we just put our cooler there. This is what it looks like finished.

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Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | January 20, 2013

It’s almost time to start baking!

I love to bake. Obviously, I haven’t been doing much of it since moving on to the boat. Mostly because I only have a toaster oven and it tends to burn things, like the biscuits I made for my strawberry shortcake the other day (We ate them anyway, lol). I have mentioned before the stove installation and now it is coming to fruition, Yay!! It has been a multi-stage process, and hubby says not as difficult as he thought it would be. First stage: run the propane hose and electrical wire for the solenoid and shut off switch, check.

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Must not be too bad of a job since he is smiling and there is no cussing involved!
Second stage: remove the current shelves, clear the area for the new stove, and hang the gimbals.

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Stage three: insert new stove and hook up hose.

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And the last stage is to turn on the propane and light the pilot. Sounds easy right? Well, if it were a new stove it might be but, this is a used stove that has been sitting in a salvage yard amongst all the dirt and dust. Of course it wouldn’t light, so to the Internet we went. We found a good website for troubleshooting Seaward stove problemshttp://www.suremarine.com/stove-repair.htm. This company is also a good place to get parts for older Seaward stoves. You can find them here: Sure Marine. Another website that has stove parts and lots more is Defender Marine Outfitter.
So after disassembling the pilot light assembly and cleaning out the dirt twice, we were able to get the pilot light lit on the oven. The stove top light fairly easily after the air bled out of the lines. Now we were cooking with gas! Literally, lol. That evening I baked some chicken in the oven and found that the oven temperature was not staying constant and did not seem to stay hot enough so it took a long time to bake the chicken, the stove top worked like a champ though. So back to the Internet I went looking for a solution to the oven temp problem. After some research I may have the solution, placing a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven may help to even out the temp and also we checked the oven sensor and wire and moved it away for the oven burner. You can buy pizza stones here: pizza stones they will even custom cut one for you. Or you can also use unglazed clay tiles, if they have glaze on them they will crack due to the heat. So I will be getting a stone or tiles today to put in the oven and also an oven thermometer to help me regulate the heat.
I also found a pre made wooden cutting board for the top of the stove that fits as close as you can get without having to make one at IKEA. You can find that here: wood cutting board
It is just about 1.5″ short of covering the whole stove top. It will provide more prep area, which is at a premium in a small galley!

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Overall I am thrilled to have a real stove and oven and look forward to baking some goodies soon!

Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | January 18, 2013

Treasure hunting liveaboard style

As a liveaboard/wanna be cruiser, we always are on the lookout for boat supplies and a great price. To be able to cruise someday (soon I hope) we have to do some treasure hunting and research for the parts we need. That is where Don’s Marine Salvagecomes into the picture.

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This place is a massive marine salvage yard and also carries new items as well as special order parts. The people are friendly and helpful, just tell them what you are looking for and they will point in the right direction or take you to that area and even help you look for it.

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It is like going on a treasure hunt every time you go. Even if you know what you are looking for and think you are just gonna be there for a few minutes to get that one thing, it never works that way. Every time we go we get caught up in looking around and think of all the possibilities…

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In my previous posts I have spoke of Ken, our boat guru. He is the main man in charge at Don’s and is a wealth of boating knowledge. If he doesn’t have it, he can find it or order it for you. If you need to know how to start or finish a project, just ask and answer will come or he knows someone who can help you.

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So if you live in the Tampa Bay Area take the time to get to over and take a look.

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