After a nice, lazy, sunny day loafing lakeside at a birthday party Saturday, we had another rainy Sunday--perfect for getting some work done inside the house. I worked on the sleeping bag I started last weekend. The kit is from here. I found the directions very clear and the sewing, while a pain in the neck dealing with such a large object (I had to co-opt the kitchen table for it) and feeding such thick layers through the machine, not terribly difficult. I didn't keep track of the time it took, but I spent a couple of hours cutting it out last Sunday, a few hours Saturday working through the first few steps, and then much of the day Sunday. Maybe 12 or 16 hours? About half of which was spent refilling the bobbin (I think I refilled it six times, including about eight inches from the end of my last seam) and un-jamming the bobbin thread. I think this is the project that will finally push me over the edge into buying a new sewing machine. It can't possibly be normal for the bobbin to jam so much, can it?
Meanwhile, E and Z assembled the birthday projects their grandfather sent them.
Every year my dad puts together kits of woodworking projects for the boys to make. This is their only real chance to get in any woodworking practice, since that's not really my thing and C is more of a "get it done with as few distractions and interruptions as possible" kind of woodworker. Which is not really conducive to ten-year-old assistance.
This year they made tool boxes, which they'll be filling up with tools for more projects in the future.
After dinner, Z made scones for strawberry shortcake (C picked 30 lbs of berries Friday morning!!!). He's made this recipe enough now that he can pull the cookbook off the shelf, find the recipe and all the ingredients and put it all together with minimal parental input. Which I love. E has almost reached this point with banana-chocolate-chip muffins (though he called me at work about eight times while he was making them last week). I also discovered that whipped cream keeps in the freezer from Christmas to strawberry season. Excellent.
I finished my sleeping bag just minutes before Masterpiece Theater came on Sunday night. (Photos taken Monday afternoon.) This is me telling C how to use my camera: "Hold down the button halfway until it beeps. Then push it down the rest of the way. No. Halfway. Yeah, it didn't focus because you didn't hold it down halfway. Wait till it beeps and you see the red dot. Did it beep?" Cell phones have corrupted the photography skills of a generation.
It's really a sleeping "quilt," not bag, because there is no zipper; you just drape it over yourself, like a comforter. The idea is that in a traditional sleeping bag, you compress all of the insulation beneath your body, so it doesn't do you any good anyway, and gets worn out sooner. Also, there is minimal ventilation, so you sweat and then get cold as the sweat dries.
And, of course, it's much lighter weight than a sleeping bag (though I forgot to weigh it, so I don't know exactly how much less it weighs), so less to carry when backpacking. It's also fluffy and cozy (I snuggled under it while watching Poldark), and all of the boys want one now (Who are you making that for? Can I have it?), except for C, who is extremely skeptical of all my lightweight backpacking endeavors. My plan is to test it on an upcoming car-camping trip to see how I like it, and then make them for everyone in the family if it works out as promised.