An End to a Frustration

For some time I have been lamenting, investigating and wishing for a new heavy duty sewing machine that would handle all of the denim and leather that I threw at it. I love my  Singer machines, some I have had for lots of years, but they aren’t intended to be used with heavy duty fabrics. I have a couple of basic Singers and two more advanced Singers. Those machines are made for more lightweight sewing… quilting pieces and clothing. My experience sewing with denim – and especially the seams and waistbands – has been notably difficult. One project ended up with over fifty needles and I’ve broken a couple of throat plates and even broke one sewing machine!

So, after listening to his mother swear and bang my sewing table, The Kid took it upon himself to do a little investigation into my blog, Pinterest and Facebook page to figure out what I was looking for in a heavy duty machine. And this is what he went out to purchase:

img_3882I pretty much had decided that a Jonome was going to be my next purchase. It was wonderful for him to have understood what I was looking for and more specifically, what I wasn’t looking for.

Now my Singers – The XL-150, two XL-1000’s and an XL6000, are machine intended to do embroider work (as well as being sewing machines). I have invested a small fortune in the specialized embroider card disks, so I continued to purchase the same make, albeit newer models, of Singers. Its hard to make the change once you’ve invested that much in a system, but what I am finding now is that it is hard to find servicing – let alone parts – for these machines. But, oh how I love them!

There are a few things I might have changed – things that I have gotten accustomed to using the other machines – namely the option of not using a foot pedal. Was pretty used to touching the “go” button on all of my other machines, and now I have to change that behavior.

But as an aside, I have already spent the better part of twelve hours sewing together denim seams. If you are a regular reader, you know that I love to dissemble well worn blue jeans and turning the parts into new projects. And one thing I love to utilize is the leg seams on jeans.

olff-ffHere is what sewing together a lot of seams looks like:

img_3884I have to line up the edges and then have it quilted. I figure that a soft flannel backing would suffice without any batting.img_3883This thing weighs a ton, so I am hesitant to add any more weight to it. But additional quilting on it will help hold it together and hopefully be a nice finishing touch. I am thinking about using the ‘blue jean gold’ thread and then finish the edges with waistbands (which were also harvested from more than 200 pairs of jeans).

I am also working on a quilt (or two) made from more waistbands. And the bottom seams of each pant leg. I’ve got lots in the process!

But it is the new Janome machine that has allowed me to make actual progress for the first time in a long time. Thanks to my wonderful kiddo!

We don’t celebrate holidays like most other folks… it was my intention to treat everyone every day as if each day was unique and special. Can hamper this blog, as I don’t make Christmas decorations or other religious trinkets (although I have made holiday themed quilts for friends). I love that others celebrate in their own styles and traditions, and I don’t begrudge it for those who do. But I don’t wish people Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever. But I do wish everyone a wonderful day to celebrate (or not) however you wish.

julie

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My Recycle Project: Blue Corian, Singer Sewing Base and Metal Chairs

Whew! We’ve finally completed this project. It has been a long time in the making, but I finally was able to get it done with the help of The Kid.

DSCN2792So, you can see the starting point here, but I will give you a quick catch up. Months ago, I picked up several pieces of blue Corian countertops, including a smallish rectangular piece that I think was the counter surface for an island. Wasn’t quite sure of what I was going to use it for, but when something like that pops up on CraigsList, you get it while the getting is good.

I had the sewing machine base from one of our abdandoned house hunting trips and had spray painted it white, sort of as a primer. But once I saw the countertop, I knew it was a match made in heaven. Literally, all I had to do was set the top on the base and I could see something really unique.

Initially I was going to just make and sell the table, but I figured it would be cooler if there were a set of chairs to go with it. I kept an eye on CraigsList and almost like it was scripted, a set of four popped up. Now they needed work (of course they needed work, else they wouldn’t be on CraigsList for free) and I opted to pick them up, thinking I could get two good ones if I used the other two for ‘parts’. As luck would have it, three were salvageable.

DSCN2734After removing the seats, I then spray painted everything with high gloss white spray paint. This was not an easy task. It seemed every time I thought I was done, I would turn it upside down or stand at a different angle and would see areas that I missed. I think I have them completely painted now.

I used the seat that came with the chairs as a template and we used more of the Corian countertop for the seats. The Corian worked much like any hard wood, and we were able to route the edges and drill holes to attach the seats to the chairs.

DSCN2774The one thing that we did notice, however, is that working with the Corian results in a LOT of ‘saw’ dust. The workshop looked like it had snowed!

DSCN2775I didn’t want the seat to sit directly onto the base of the chair seats; since the previous seats were actually upholstered, the flat pieces didn’t exactly line up right with the exposed hardware on the chair.

DSCN2770By having and using the right tools for the job, the project went very well. Here is The Kid using our newest addition to the workshop, the drill press. SUH-weet!

DSCN2790Here he is in the final assembly. Note the nice, smooth, rounded edges. And interestingly enough, by routing the edges (top and bottom), it actually gave the edges a polished finish. Nice, happy accident!

DSCN2789By using some spare hardware(found when reorganizing the garage a week ago), I was able to give it a little more ‘polished’ look. And gave the necessary height for sitting at the table. The final detail was to add rubber ‘feet’ to the chairs, to protect the floors that the chairs would sit on.

DSCN2780More about the table: we had previously cut and glued a 1″x8″ on the back side of the table. Then two supports were added to the top of the sewing machine base, allowing the table top to be bolted onto the counter surface. This could be beneficial for the person or family that buys it, allowing for easier transport. Did I happen to mention that this stuff is heavy! And it has a nice solid feel as well.

The Kid’s help was immeasurably helpful in completing this project, and heck, I just like hanging around with him. 🙂

DSCN2779In between helping him, I was also prep’ing an additional 5 or 6 more projects… here are the drawers all being sanded and hardware holes being filled. The Kid has been tasked with putting the first couple of coats of primer on all of these now that I have gotten the prep work out of the way. All of these pieces of furniture are all wood and it makes the chore of preparation that much easier. Oh, and by the way, real wood pieces are light. I think a lot of people mistakenly think something is more ‘solid’ or more ‘wood’ if the piece is heavy and that generally is not true. What weighs so much is the glue and the layers of particle board or composite wood. Most of these pieces I can move by myself if I take the drawers out ahead of time. Another thing I really like is that some of the older pieces come with wheels attached and you gotta love that!

So, a few more photos as I close this post. If you recall, the third stall of the garage is where my sports car (you can see it in the background of this first photo) is stored once snow has fallen. And I’ve heard that there is an “arctic blast” predicted for the end of November, so I have to get projects done and sold (and delivered) very soon.

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DSCN2797Off to get this listed for sale on CraigsList. My kitchen is red (as you may know) or I might be tempted to keep this one for myself!

julie

 

 

 

31.5 x 39

The Tale of Two Bentwood Cases

On occasion, I get the desire to acquire something unique. (Okay, that’s about every other day, but who keeping track?) Recently, it was an old Singer featherweight in a bentwood case.

99K Singer Hand Crank Sewing MachineThey look something like this. These machines were so well made that many of them are still in use. And I found quite a few that were absolutely in perfect condition – both machine and case.

Well, for some unknown reason, I bought two! Based on the serial numbers, one was from the 40’s and one from the early 50’s. The older one was described as being in perfect working order too. But the other one had a foot control and a built in light on the back of the machine (to shine on the sewing area).

Well, much to my chagrin, neither of the boxes arrived without incident, shipping took a real toll on both of them. So, I opted to put together one using parts from the other to make it look almost perfect again. I cleaned the wood and lightly sanded it and then gave it a coat of stain in the same color, just to bring out the richness of the wood. I then added two coats of poly to help protect it. I also swapped a few parts, mostly decorative, as one machine had much more ornate detailing.

The other box, well, it couldn’t be saved. See how the handle sits on top of the case? Well, pressure on top of the box during shipping had literally pushed the handle through the top of the box. And then in jumbling about during transit, the connectors (where the box attaches to the base) broke and then the machine just bounced around inside the case, causing more damage. I tried very, very, very hard to restore it, but it just wasn’t saveable.

So, I opted to give it a treatment like I had done before with a dresser (and did a bunch of trunks this way ten or twelve years ago). I like how it came out:

2014-10-20 18.26.58So everything is still functional, it just now has a new look. Whaddyathink?

Oh, and worked on this photo to get my “Before & After” shot of the changes in the sewing room. The angle that the photograph was taken isn’t the best – as it is difficult to see the new cabinet on the other side of the television armoir, but trust me, its there!

Before&After

I still need to add more lights in the back corner for the two embroidery machines and that is in the works. Months ago I picked up these lovely antique hanging globes (two different sets with two lights each), but I need to get them rewired and then hung.

I found this wonderful site online that I want to order electrical cords from, I have been on this site everyday since I found it and I can’t wait to get going. You should check ’em out! It seems like their prices are extremely competitive, although I know once I get started, I am going to be sending a lot of money their way!

For the sewing room, I’ve got these in mint green picked out, the socket cover and a twisted cord:

metal_cover-6_largeTwisted_Pair-3_large

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I also have been collecting decanters for use in recreating something like this for the front foyer/entryway:

decanter-light… except I will use red socket covers and red wires:

red_metal_covered-1_largeDIY_Pendant_Cord-12_large

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it will look very striking! Well, you know me and my red kitchen!!

julie

 

 

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

Embroidery, Baking and Painting. Its a Trifecta of Crafting!

It has been a rough week for me, so this will be a quick post. In honor of my Mother who passed away this past week, I finished some hanger covers that I had stamped and marked and my Mom had embroidered for me. She had been a big embroiderer when I was young and she did teach me how at that time. I did a few pieces when I was young, not sure any had really survived. I’ve occasionally picked up a piece from time to time, but never have been accomplished at it. Mostly just did accents on pieces. I bought a lovely sewing machine from Singer that now does it automatically and I could never compete – time or accuracy – with its results.

My Mom had finished the pieces in the previous months, and all that was needed to complete it was to sew the seams and trim the pillow cases. And here are the finished results:

Hanger Cover1 Hanger Cover2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think they turned out quite charming. I think that I will hang one on the front of my closet door in my bathroom and the other will hang in the quest room.

Another thing I did differently was to do some baking this week. Nothing like rich, gooey, calorie laden baked goods to make the family feel better and bond me with my son. And he loved this! And it was so simple to do, I don’t know why I hadn’t done it sooner or do it more often. It is called Monkeybread and this recipe was made using Pillsbury refrigerated dough for buttermilk biscuits.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.01.38 PMThis was so unbelievably good, especially warm! It was gone before the day’s end. And so simple to make… you should try it!

Last but not least, this simple transformation of a beautiful little piece. It was very beautiful, but the top’s veneer was seriously damaged. I spent a few hours and a hammer and a pry tool and managed to remove it all without damaging the base piece. This allowed me to then prime the entire piece and generously applied six coats of my favorite black paint to the top. the remainder of the cabinet was the recipient of this beautiful dark purple that leans toward red when wet, but blue when dry so it just looks so extraordinary with the black that has undertones of blue as well.

I cleaned and then spray painted the hardware that was original to the piece, they were quite stunning in their own right. Not often do I re-use the original hardware, usually it is those ubiquitous Chippendale style handles that I have come to really dislike quite intensely. But with a couple of carefully applied coats of metallic black, these handles just turned out fabulously.

Here is a quick before and after photo:

Purple Before&After

Much to do this week and I have the luxury of having the Kid home with me on Spring Break. So far, “spring” has been cold, cloudy and a bit precipitous. The Kid has voiced his desire to transform a dresser from start to finish… I am excited and trying to convince myself that he wants to learn the process but I know he is doing it so that he can take a bigger cut of the profit! Either way, I get his company and help and that is worth it all!

Thank you for dropping by. And keep up the crafting!

julie

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