Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Wow! I have been MIA from blogland for a while now! I am still around, but done little sewing lately. DDIL and Miss E flew home on Tuesday, so I have been trying to get things back to normal after their extended visit. They will be back in May, but this time because they are moving here! DS the Elder is transferring back to Tucson, so their family of three will be living nearby, which is great!

We did a bunch of furniture moving Tuesday night, and got the bed out of my sewing room. Hurray!!! On Wednesday I managed to get my sewing furniture moved back into functional positions, but since I was babysitting the twins Wednesday and Thursday, today was my first chance to actually sew.

All the toys were sticky and nasty, so I started my spring cleaning by washing all the toys up. Then it was time to tackle the linen closets. We have three bathrooms in our house, but only one of those has a linen closet, and there is one linen closet in the upstairs hallway.I decided only having that amount of space made the linen closets prime real estate around here, and it was time to clean them out and get rid of a bunch of stuff.

 ^ Here is the upstairs hallway linen closet before I cleaned it. Four shelves of board games that rarely get played anymore, and two shelves of messy linens.

^ Here is the new improved closet. From top to bottom it is one shelf of games, queen sized sheets, room for full sized sheets (I realized the full sized sheets I had were shot so a trip to the store is on my to do list), twin sized sheets, crib sized sheets and blankets, and extra pillows. A lot of these linens were actually in other places in the house, so I am cleaning out some other areas as well. See the curtain rod leaning against the bookshelf? That is because I was supposed to make a curtain to cover this closet a couple years ago when the closet door broke. I haven't made the curtain, so maybe I will check to see if I can buy a new door if it's a standard size. If it's not, maybe I should get around to making the curtain ;-)

^ This is the linen closet in the bathroom. It has really deep shelves, so I always have two layers of stuff in there, with the things I rarely use in the back.

^ This is how it looks now. I made myself get rid of frayed, stained or holey towels. I am really unconcerned about how my towels look, as long as they dry me after my shower, I think they are good. DH does not agree with me. Oh it was hard getting rid of towels I would have happily used for years longer. A couple of the towels I threw out were wedding gifts, and we've been married 29 years as of tomorrow. I hate to admit it, but it was probably time for those towels to go. My stash of baby gift quilts are in the front of the top shelf, and you can see my Orca Bay on the third shelf. Other than that it's mostly towels, blankets and a few curtains. A couple quilts I keep for sentimental reasons are now relegated to the back of the top shelf. They are in rough shape, but I'm not ready to toss them. My washer and dryer have been busy, busy, as I've washed almost all of these linens in the last couple of days. It was easier to sort through them in a big pile so I could check condition, and decide what was to be tossed, donated or kept.

Today I actually found some time to sew, and I got the next border on the rally quilt. It is really looking doubtful I will get this done in time for this year's rally. The almost two months I couldn't be in my sewing room has really thrown me off. The rally is the end of April, and there are two weekends between now and then I will not be able to sew at all due to other activities. Since weekends are my only sewing time, that only gives me two weekends to finish this quilt, and I haven't started doing the applique border that goes on next. If I get it finished in time, I will surprise myself!

Tomorrow is our anniversary as I already said, but unfortunately, we have a bunch of errands to run. I have a huge pile of stuff for donation that needs to be dropped off. I really need to go to the grocery store, and a trip to Costco would be preferable, but on the day before Easter it may be a mad house so I may wait until next week for that. I need to go to Target and get a few things as well. I am sending DH to the post office first thing in the morning, to mail packages to DD#1 and family.

Easter will be low key around here. I am not up to making a big dinner for extended family, so there will just be a few of us, DH will grill some meat, and I'll make sides and a dessert. We actually debated going out for Chinese or something, but I decided I'd rather stay home.

I doubt I'll have a chance to post again before Easter, so to all of you who celebrate it, have a Blessed Easter!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Finished Something!!!

It may not be that exciting, but 12 yards are out of the stash and 42 rally bags are finished! DH wanted more than that, but there are a few left from last year so there should be enough. If we need more we'll come up with something. I had these two six yard pieces of very lightweight corduroy I wanted to use up, and they were western themed and so is the rally, so that's how I decided what the rally bags would look like this year. I had fun getting to know the Rocketeer while I was sewing up the bags. It sews very well, and having a straight stitch plate and a zig zag plate are very handy. Made me think I should get a staight stitch plate for the Bernina too.

After all my ramblings about ebay shopping, I did indeed buy a Singer 301 on ebay. I paid right what I was hoping to get one for, and the machine arrived Saturday. It was packed very professionally, with styrofoam cut to fit the machine, and nothing could rattle at all. I need to vacuum off the little styrofoam bits and see about getting it going this week to test it out. It looks to be in great shape, but I've been too busy to get it out and sew with it. I am hopeful it will work as well as was advertised to, since the seller accurately described the cosmetic condition and packed it so well. I'll post pics later this week, and let you know how the test sew went.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How to Make Sure I DON"T Buy Your Sewing Machine on ebay

I am on the hunt for a Singer 301. I've looked in town with no luck, checked Craig's List, Freecycle, thrift stores, etc... I've been looking online at etsy, ebay, and  After several days of pouring over hundreds of ads, I've decided I have some pet peeves about online ads. I have sold a sewing machine on ebay before, as well as lots of other things, so I know the stresses of being an online seller. The only sewing machine I've ever bought online before was brand new and shipped from a reputable sewing machine dealer, so online shopping for vintage machines is newer to me. I have shopped for vintage before, but with no real plans to buy, this time I want a 301 really soon. I am on the hunt!

I will continue to look in town, but I want a 301 by June to travel with, so I may buy it online after all. Here are some of the complaints I have about ebay ads, sellers take note.

1) If you are only going to post one photo of the machine (big mistake right there), make it the front of the machine, not the back or the case. Your photos should clearly show the machine. This is not the time for artsy silhouettes in front of a window. If I can't see the machine, I'm not buying it.

2) If you tell me the machine has just been serviced, I am not going to believe you if the machine is filthy. If it hasn't been serviced, say so, and if it has, it better be clean.

3) Do not say a machine is rare just because it is old. Singer made thousands upon thousands of sewing machines, most are NOT rare.

4) Do not say a machine is industrial if it is a domestic model. You really just look ignorant of what you are selling. Not sure if a model is industrial or domestic? Check here if it's a Singer. 

5) Do not say a machine is for sewing leather if it isn't designed to do so. Just because a machine is capable of sewing leather doesn't make it a good idea. Also, not many people are sewing leather all day, so it's a silly selling point.

6) I'm going to group all my gripes about sewing samples here under number six. I think showing sewing samples is a great idea, but there should be rules so you at least appear honest. If the machine is not threaded, but has a sewing sample under the presser foot, I'm not buying it. If the machine is threaded with white thread but has a red thread sample, I'm not buying it. If it's a straight stitch only machine but you show a zigzag sample, I'm definitely not buying anything from you.

7)If the machine is a handcrank, you are not missing a foot pedal, it doesn't have one. Do some quick research people!

I have seen all of these examples and more, but this covers a lot of them. If you aren't looking for a vintage machine, but need a good laugh, check out ebay ads.

You know what doesn't bother me in the least? A seller who says they have this sewing machine they know nothing about, so they aren't sure if it works or if all the parts are there. THAT is honest! I'd rather buy a machine from an honest seller than from one who seems shady any day. 


On a quilty note, this was my project from Sunday, a potholder for Miss E's other grandmother. I had a few firsts with this one. It was the first time I used 505 spray instead of pin-basting. It was also the first time I broke out the BSR for my Bernina Aurora 440 since I took the machine classes. It was a fun quick project, and is now in Texas thanks to the post office.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today the Dam Broke

I haven't posted in a while, because I had no quilty things going on. Writing about laundry and dishes isn't very interesting, so I just hadn't written.


My corner of the bedroom has had a change. I switched to my Rocketeer, which is named Cliff. I was making rally bags, and I usually make liberal use of reverse to reenforce the opening for the drawstring. The Featherweight doesn't have reverse, and it was bugging me, so I switched machines. This is the first time I've had any amount of sewing time on Cliff, and he sews like a champ! I got to make bobbins, and I switched to the straight stitch plate, so I am becoming familiar with this machine. It is a keeper, lots of fun to sew on, and very versatile since I have some cams for it. I only have six bags made so far, but it's a start.

Not having any time to sew has really been getting to me. Sewing is my time, my time to think, and block out everything else. I always wear headphones when I sew to block out the noises from everything else going on in the house and I just go to my own quilty world. My sewing room has been unavailable, but DD#2 who has been sleeping in there is away for the weekend. I moved things around a bit, and managed to access my Bernina, Roxanne. I should have worked on the rally quilt. I could have worked on bags. I have had all this desire to sew, and I just haven't been able to, and today the dam broke and I wanted something to sew where I could just sew a lot of units. I grabbed the nine patches I've been using as leaders/enders and had a blast just sewing away. The black and white nine patches were already in threesies, so I managed to sew up 80 of those today, and about 10 of the pink and white nine patches which are from squares. I'm now up to 200 black and white nine patches total, but I need over 550, so lots more to make. I strip pieced some sets to sub-cut to make more of those.

My mood is greatly improved after some real sewing time. I should have some time to sew tomorrow before I have to put things back into bedroom mode. I think I'm going to work on a fun little project tomorrow. Something I can easily finish in a couple of hours. Maybe the thrill of a finish, no matter how small, will carry me for a while, since I'll be back to little or no sewing time.

Oh, I have a funny grandkid story. Miss E from Texas loves the dog door, and when we can't find her, we know she's outside. The twins have been out the dog door before, but we discouraged it. Now that Miss E has been out it so many times, Mr L thinks he should be able to go in and out it at will. He's not sneaking around though. I was doing laundry and he comes in the dog door from outside, and says "Hi, Nana!" I tell him hi and go back to the laundry. He says, "Where's Luke? Look what Luke can do!" and goes out the dog door. As soon as he's outside, he asks very loudly, "Where's Luke?" I ask him "Where's Luke?" and he pops back in. This went on for a while, and he was very proud of his dog door skills. Of course, the dogs almost knocked him over a few times, because they were all excited about kids going in and out of their door. I may have no sewing time, but I have lots of grandkid time, and they sure do some cute stuff!