Sunday, November 5, 2017

Someone To Love

Elliott, my husband for 38 years, died at the end of October 2017. He was a good man in every sense of the word. He was patient, caring, fun-loving, generous, and always smiling. He never stopped looking at the world with wonder. He loved making music, getting his hands dirty, and being a pilot. He told me time and time again it was important to be loved, but it was more important to have someone to love. Toward the end of his life, he said he regretted leaving me without someone to love. As I told him, he didn't need to worry because I will always love him. Always and always. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sewing Softies

Lately, I’ve been sewing soft toys for the pediatric ward of a hospital and for two groups which assist foster children. These were a lot of fun to make and a good way to use some of my accumulated fabric.  (Not to worry.  I have plenty of fabric left.) 

The chickens were made from either flannel or bubble fleece.

I used cotton for the mice.  The photos show them before and after they were stuffed.  
My 90-year old mom, who taught me to sew, stuffed these and sewed them closed.

The fish were cotton on one side and light blue bubble fleece on the reverse.

Some elephants were flannel and others were fleece.

There were cotton and fleece snakes, flannel dogs and cats, and more flannel chickens.

If you would like to sew softies for a charity, you can find patterns here:

Chickens -
Mice -
Fish -
Elephants -
Snakes -
Dogs - (No pattern. She made a stuffed ornament)
Cats - (I omitted the tail)

Happy Sewing, Everyone!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Singer Built-In Retractable Foot Controller

In the post about my Singer 201 and its cabinet (, I mentioned it had a built-in foot controller which the previous owner replaced because it didn't work.  Recently, on the Vintage Singers Yahoo group, there's been some discussion about a built-in foot controller, so I thought I would tell you a little more about the controller which came in my cabinet.

The controller was installed under the bottom drawer and this is what it looked like when it was in place:

There's a notch carved into the side wall of the cabinet and there's an arm which sticks out of the notch.  Keep in mind, you're looking at this with the cabinet turned upside down.  The arm is where your right foot would be if you were seated at the machine.  

Here's a closer view which shows you the part number on the controller:

Viewed from the top (after I removed it from the cabinet), you can see how this worked.  There's a little rounded nub on the end of the arm (it's at the lower edge of the next two photos) and that's what you would have pressed to engage the controller.  Pressing down on the arm also allowed you to slide the entire arm into and out of the cabinet so it would retract when you wanted it out of the way.  The top photo shows the arm extended and the second one shows it retracted. 

I kept the controller because one of these days, repairing it might float to the top of my "to do" list.  If anyone knows where the wiring should run in the cabinet, please let me know.  It was wadded up next to the controller when I bought the machine so I'm not sure what route it ought to take to get from the controller to the machine head.

Happy Sewing Everyone!  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

700 Dogs and Counting

Most of E’s flying in the past few years has been for an organization we’ve blogged about before – Pilots ‘n Paws. On January 29, 2017, he flew his 700th dog. He flew to North Carolina, picked up a mom and her four puppies, and flew them to Maryland, where he met Natalie and Steve, who flew them to their rescue group in New Jersey. These dogs were rescued and fostered by our friend Pam, who has saved many hundreds of dogs.

Natalie, Steve and E

For the flight, E wore a new zippered fleece pullover I made for him. The dog bones on the front yoke made it appropriate for this flight, I think.

Happy Flying and Happy Sewing Everyone!   

Sunday, January 22, 2017

E's New Pants

A couple of years ago, E emerged from surgery with a medical device which sits almost exactly at his natural waist, sticks out about an inch, and needs to be protected from scrapes and bumps. If it were located a little bit lower or a little bit higher, he could wear all of the pants he wore before the surgery. But, it isn’t and he can’t, so we began looking for pants with a rise high enough to cover the device. (The rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch to the top of the waist band.) Unfortunately, the commercially available pants we found weren’t nearly high rise enough. Nothing to do but make a pair, right?

A few years ago, a blog I like (MalePatternBoldness) had a jeans sew-along using Kwik Sew pattern 3504 and I remembered it seemed fairly easy to follow. The pattern contains several sizes and I copied the one closest to E’s size onto pieces of tracing paper and used the tracing paper pattern to make a pair of trial pants from an old flat sheet. The photo above shows this pair as a work in progress.

The trial pair needed a lot of adjustments, mostly because I was adding so many inches to the rise. When you lengthen the rise as much as I did, the waist no longer sits anywhere near where the pattern intends it to sit and this affects the size of the waist, the size and placement of the front and rear pockets, the taper from the hips to the waist, etc. I incorporated the adjustments into the tracing paper pattern and made a second trial pair of pants. The second pair needed some adjustments, too, so I made more revisions to the tracing paper pattern. The next pair of trial pants fit reasonably well and I used the revised, re-drawn, amended, adjusted, much abused tracing paper pattern to make a pair of pants from a medium-weight cotton twill. (I also re-drew the adjusted pattern onto a clean sheet of tracing paper, to make my life a little easier the next time I use the pattern.)

Here’s a view of the front at the waist. 

The pockets are a snazzy snake skin patterned fabric. 

The yoke in the back came in handy because it allowed me to fine tune 
the fit in the back around the waist and hips. 

And here’s how they look with E inside. (They really don’t pull at the crotch. Honest! I didn’t notice they looked like this when I took the photo and I don’t want to wait for E to get home so I can take another photo. Trust me: They look fine.) 

By and large, I’m happy with these and so is E. I would recommend KS 3504 regardless of how much sewing experience you have. The pattern instructions were easy to follow and the jeans sew-along on the MalePatternBoldness blog has lots of good photos which show how to use this pattern, too.

Happy sewing everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Pumpkin

Pumpkin muffins, anyone?!?!?

The day after Halloween, I bought a pumpkin for $1 at Walmart and put it in the garage where it's cool. Today, the day before Thanksgiving, I chopped it into six chunks and stuck it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. After the pumpkin finished baking, I let it cool for a few minutes, peeled off the skin, and ended up with a heaping two quarts of pumpkin flesh pieces. 

After a few minutes with the potato masher, the pieces were reduced to a nice mash.

We used some of the mash to make pumpkin muffins, which are excellent. We set some aside to eat with dinner tonight, saved two cups to make a pumpkin pie tomorrow, and froze the rest to add to soups this winter. We're definitely getting our money's worth out of a $1 pumpkin. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sewing Machine Stool

About a year ago, I began looking for a stool to match a mid-century modern Copenhagen-style sewing machine cabinet. I found several which were too expensive (more than $100) and one which needed too much restoration work (the legs were painted blue and the seat had been recovered with a printed patchwork cotton fabric). Finally, a month ago, I found a stool with a reasonable price ($20) and its original upholstery. The upholstery was in good shape, but the legs needed some work.

The legs had a coat of tan paint over the original blonde finish and they’d been scuffed up a bit.

I didn’t care about the paint or the scuff marks because I was going to refinish the legs to match my cabinet. I used wood stripper and a teflon pad to remove the old paint and the original finish.

Next, I applied a walnut stain which I knew would be too dark. I wiped off most of the stain immediately after I applied it and then used mineral spirits to make the walnut stain even lighter.

I brushed on a coat of polyurethane which contained a cherry stain. If I’d wanted the legs to be more red, I could have applied another coat of the polyurethane/stain, but they were exactly the color I wanted after one coat. 

I’m thrilled to pieces with my “new” stool and I'm sure I'll use it a lot. Happy Sewing everyone!