Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 Ice Storm - birds

Normally, I can barely reach these branches from the porch deck and fill the bird feeders hanging on them.  But now, the recent ice storm has them bending down to the ground... some breaking from the weight.  

This has been the view from my quilting studio for the last several days.  The low branches have given me an opportunity to watch the birds and take some lovely pictures.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Ice Storms

The recent ice storms in TN have our area designated as a stage 2 disaster.  Pictures and videos of the damage are all over the internet.   Trees littering the roadways,  phone/electric poles snapped in half leaving tens of thousands without power, heat and water for days to come. My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this storm.

My neighborhood has minimal damage in comparison to  areas around us... with many broken limbs and a few fallen trees and some inconvienient short-term power outages... I consider myself very lucky.  But even with damage that she has created, Mother Nature has put on a beautiful display.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sewing Machine Collection

Some of you have asked about my collection of sewing machines.  

This Singer Sylist 533 made in 1978 was my first machine.  At that time I worked for Singer Corp. in the legal office on the 63rd floor of 20 Rockfeller Plaza... you know the place where the ice skating rink is.  Before I left the company for a job closer to home I went downstairs to the retail store and bought this showroom floor-model with my employee discount... and since the detachable table was missing I received an additional discount making this a very reasonable purchase. (nope don't remember what that was right now).  I used it on and off for years, sewing clothing for me and then my kids,  and occasionally I would take it to the local repair shop for a cleaning and tune up.  Over the years the fiberglass (?) cams that determine the stitch design have dried up and cracked and no longer work.  So this machine is relegated to the straight stitch only status as I haven't been able to find replacement cams.
 When we moved here to Tennessee in 2002, I began taking quilting classes, and I  found a wonderful repairman, Ted, who used to work for Singer.  While picking-up my machine from him I told him the story of the great deal and discount I got because the table was missing.  He looked at me funny.  Took off the case.  Reached in.. fumble fumble fumble.... and pulled out the detachable table!  It had been stored in the case the entire time and I had no idea... and apparently neither did the orginal salesperson!  

I was very frustrated being without my machine when it needed servicing and I was in the middle of a quilt project, so I began searching yard sales for a back-up machine.  Lo and behold!  I found this Singer Stylest 534.  There was no learning curve adjusting to this machine... and it has the same cam problem that my original machine does.... and yes, the detachable table is stored inside the case on this one too!

These machines aren't super heavy, but I envied those who brought Featherweights to class and began trolling yard sales and antique shops for one.


    I found this Free-Westing House with a shuttle bobbin (or bullet bobbin) machine made in the 1950s.   I believe the finish is called a's a gray unpolished look.  I had heard talk about the shuttle/bullet bobbin and never seen one so this came home with me for its "novelty".... and it is a very heavy solid metal machine.

This Universal was also made in the 1950's... one of many Singer knock-off brands.  Post-war, the Japanese cranked out machines like crazy and put any name or label on it that was requested.  It too is a very heavy machine.

This Aldens Deluxe ZigZag  was also made in the 50's.  Note the funky green color! and Chrome look dials and features... reminiscent of the 1950's cars.  I now had a machine that could zigzag, but there was no way to take it, table and all, to classes.

This Brother LS-2020 was donated to our church bazzar with a note saying it needed repair.  I took it to my trusty Singer repairman to see if he could do anything with it.  Of course he could!  It's only problem was the timing was off.  This machine is machine is made with lots of plastic and is, therefore, lightweight enough to carry to class.

  I found my first treadle at the Rte 127 Yardsale that runs through several states.  It was in a very plain boxy cabinet that I did not like... with this beautiful body ... 1921 Singer 66 Red Eye G8546619.  I found a second treadle in this beautiful cabinet with a very plain and worn Singer body.  I switched bodies and cabinets and now have this beauty.  (I sold the plain one a couple years ago).  It sat on display in my quilting room for several years.  Bonnie kept talking about and sewing on her treadles during quilt cam and that inspired me to have Ted take a look at it and see if it would work.  All it needed was a good cleaning and lube and a new belt!  I have been sewing on her ever since!

This 1946 Singer 15 AG724989 was given to me by Margena when she was downsizing her home and couldn't keep her entire collection.  There is a white plastic cased electric light that has been added in the back (not shown) that I hope to maybe replace with more original looking black cased light.

and finally.....

December 2013, on the way home from the Colts-Titans game, we stopped at an antique mall and I found myself a  1948 Singer 221-1 AH435380  featherweight.  She is wonderful for travelling and sews perfectly!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sewing Studio Redo

 New Year's Day, when I went back into the Studio to get working on the mystery quilt, I discovered that the carpeting was soaked... from the back corner all the way into the middle of the room.  We discovered that the downspout extension had been removed and all that rain in December poured down off the roof  aimed right at the foundation corner.  I ran the dehumidifer for a few days hoping to dry it up and remove the musty smell, but it didn't work. I called Bob the handyman and got on his schedule for repairs.  In the meantime, my daughter and I emptied the room and pulled up the still soggy carpet.


We had painted the floor with Lock-tite the last time this happened back in 2007 (my daughter initialed and dated the floor with the paint!)  Apparently it wasn't enough to keep this from happening again.

Bob investigated and found that the floor molding was soft (rotting) and pulled off the wall boards to find that the water was seeping in from the brick foundation, not the flooring. 

All the rotting wood was removed, the brick foundation painted with Lock-tite and the rotten wood replaced.


The wall board was replaced, and while we were at it, extra electrical sockets and wiring for track lighting was added.


Primer and color.. I had agreed with my husband to paint it a neutral cream but  I woke up at 3am the night before purchasing the paint with an inspiration!   Lavendar!  A very light, neutral color rather than plain old white!   

And to save on labor and fussing with taping and sanding to get the walls smooth, Bob suggested a bead board and chair rail to cover up most of the damaged areas.
I LOVE it!


Next was the padding and carpet from Williams Carpet.  I can't get a good close-up picture but there are varying threads of color in this... including some purple .  If I decide to change things up in the future I will have a variety of colors to choose from without having to replace the rugs!


First thing back in the room is my collection of sewing machines!

Tubs with fat quarters, civil war and 1930s fabrics have been moved back in.  Along with smaller bins of projects started and a bookshelf full of additional projects.  
I think I need to expand my UFO listing!


Cutting dies and my Dear Jan project sit in boxes under my Studio Cutter.  The closet has 3 tubs of yarn and several other tubs with fabrics to be sorted through.   There are a few more boxes of fabrics and notions in the other room.  I need to get out shopping for more tubs to sort everything into.

I have three projects pulled out and sitting on my cutting/pressing table.... I can never work on just one thing at a time!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Grand Illusions Update and Link-up

I am a bit behind on this project but am enjoying seeing all the different completed versions that have been posted.  I've been interrupted by the holidays and family obligations, a death in the family and some water damage to my sewing room ... no fabric was damaged, and I am in the process of building/designing a new studio... so all will be good when it's finally done.

I have really enjoyed working on this when I can... My word of the year  for 2014 ... and 2015 too....  is accomplish.... so this all fits in together as I will accomplish what I can what I can, when I can, not stress over it and have fun.     There was no way I could keep up with the clues as they came in, but I am having fun.  I have decided to slow down and am using my treadle to stitch this together and have found my piecing is more accurate this way. 

Clue 1 is done:

 Clue 2 is now done:

Clue 3 is done:

My studio is in the repair process so further progress will be on hold for another week or two.

I have been helping Miss Bettie with cutting and sewing her GIMG.  I cut some clue 4 blocks for her today so she has something to work on during the next week.  I'll try to get my clue 4 cut up and started this week too.