Friday, June 18, 2021


I don't know about you, but patience is a virtue that I am often trying to practice, and more often that not having to remind myself that I have lost. 

On Sunday both Hubs and I were up to our elbow working on vintage sewing machines. We oiled and cleaned my beautiful Singer 99K - to forever moving forward to be called Dorothy (she's strong, dependable and comes across as a bit determined).  We took it step by step, stripping her down to the skeleton. We cleaned, oiled, and checked every bit of her.  We learned how to disassemble the light case and clean that (gross), we didn't need to replace the light, although Hubs really wants me to put a LED bulb in.  I am okay with the one she has. 

What a process!  That is truly all I can say about it.  All together it took us about 4 hours.  Not bad considering we had no idea what we were doing and were working alongside the very nice English fellow on YouTube. 

Having accomplished the work on Dorothy, we started in on my beautiful Featherweight.  She's a bit older than Dorothy being a 1950 to Dorothy's 1956.  And I couldn't wait to get started.  And started to take her apart.

Boy oh boy... what an experience.  The last person to clean and oil/lube her had tightened the screw down on the spool pin cover plate so much they stripped it.  We were not sure we would get it out it was so badly damaged. Hubs definitely exercised patience with that one, and he gets total props for doing so.  That was about the time we realized how badly damaged the belt was. When testing her we also discovered that the wires in her power cord were beyond damaged (replacement arrived yesterday) and the light burned out as soon as we turned it on (replacement ordered). We bought a belt (several sites insisted it would work - yep - not great - new correct belt also arrived yesterday). 

She was super clean, but for some reason she simply wouldn't sew correctly. I knew it was a simple project, but after working on the truck in the early morning, spending hours lost in the work on Dorothy, I was overly worn out.  Still hadn't packed for my upcoming vacation and my temper was getting short. 

My sweet little Featherweight had earned her name... She will forever be known as Sophia (she older, sassy, cranky and wants things her way).  I had to walk away from working on her.  My temper was starting to flare, mainly because I knew it was something super simple and my patience was gone.  I no longer had the ability to reason it through.  I opened an instructional video from the featherweight store, but didn't watch it.  Hubs was watching one of his BC shows (you know - before color) and I had a lot to get ready before the coming adventure began. 

The youngest grand daughter and I decided we were going to Arkansas to hang out with family this week. I'm pretty sure she was only a year old the last time we'd done it.  And she is pretty opinionated, not sure where she gets that from... 

I wasn't sure she was still going to agree to our trip, as she's changed her mind several times in the past.  So I will admit to being over the moon when not only didn't she change it, but was excited and couldn't wait!

Around lunchtime on Monday she and I loaded into my little beetle and headed south.  Full of energy, excitement and expectations! By the time we hit just north of Farmington my little travel companion had fallen asleep.  I was a bit glad, as it would make the trip quicker for her.  And a lot nervous, what if she wouldn't sleep that night? I shouldn't have worried. 

When she woke from her little nap we had just stopped across the state line to stretch our legs and take a break.  Six hours is too long to simply sit. Chatting with her I missed our turn and took us on a short detour that added about 20 minutes to our trip, not a problem we found wild turkey's and huge guineas.  We arrived just in time to relax, eat a bit and enjoy the pups, and visit with Aunt T and Uncle J.  A few short hours and some craft time later day one was over and bedtime arrived - at her request even!

Over the next few days we painted, played with plaster, made more play dough treasure chests than I could count (bad play dough boy kept breaking them), we giggled and laughed, we swam in pools for hours on end (I might have inhaled most of both of them thanks to my splash baby) we talked, we explored, we visited and enjoyed time with everyone and their critters (she is definitely an animal person). 

While we were in Arkansas my brother in law fed into my sewing machine habit, by finding one from 1911 (that baby is going to need some work!!!) that my mom bought me for my birthday present and a Mercury machine from 1953 (It's a singer clone made for Morse - I might have a sweet spot for Morse machines as that is what I learned to sew on). Neither of them have a name yet, but I have three machines sitting in the garage waiting for attention.  I am fairly certain I need to stop now.  Goodness have I managed to acquire a few of them rather quickly. The two that came home with us were a steal.  Mom actually paid more than I did, her gift was $35 mine was $30 and I know mine's history and story. The Singer is a 66 Red-eye.  She is going to need a LOT of work.  She runs, but she is missing a few parts and it might have been 1925 the last time she was cleaned up. It will be my greatest undertaking so I am saving that one for last. 

I was super proud of my baby girl.  She was in a strange place, traveling for the first time she could remember with Grandma alone and only had two meltdowns.  Once because I woke her up trying to carry her back to Great Grandma's house when she was so exhausted, to watch her stop mid-meltdown and explain her feelings is unreal, to watch her gather herself together once the shoes grandma forgot to grab show up (thanks Aunt T) and tell me what she needs to feel safe and loved is so inspiring. And once because she was hangry and being four couldn't quite figure it out.  I melted so hard when she wrapped her little arms around me and apologized for being so angry.  She said "I'm sorry grandma, I was so hangry! Thank you for not being mad at me!" OMG - what grandma wouldn't melt! 

curing the hangries...

She taught me so much about patience and stepping back to observe things this week. It is often hard to believe this sweet princess is only 4 years old.  She is wise and articulate far beyond her years.  She will question until she understands and even when she gets frustrated because she isn't understanding your explanation she will ask it a different way until she does. She is tall for her age, brought into sharp focus standing next to her cousin that is a day older than her and barely up to her shoulders.  When you are around her for even a few moments you quickly forget that she is simply a small child (she insists she's a full grown child) that is still experiencing the world.  Those sparkling eyes, the crazy curls, and those dimples... well if you don't melt you might not be human. 

one day difference

By the time we returned home yesterday we were both weary - what a drive.  About halfway home when she woke up from her nap she softly thanked me.  A little 4 year old thanked me for taking her to see her friends in Arkansas.  Good thing she couldn't see the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I have learned not to show weakness. 
My momma and me ❤

I want to find something for her older sister and I to do.  Something special just for her.  I miss those trips too! At least I know that won't involve the one hundred mile version of Baby Shark.  Who knew?

This morning after a good nights rest and fresh eyes and perspective it took a 14 minute video for all of the problems with my sweet little Featherweight to make sense.  Loosen a few screws (yes mine are already loose - but not Sophia's) pop the finger in where it was supposed to be and install the new belt and it was off to the races.  I am waiting until the silly screw arrives to sew with her, she needs sleeve to protect the bed extension, so that might be the first thing I make with her. 

Patience is truly a virtue.  And sometimes stepping away and doing other things in life, like enjoying time with family will help clear your mental vision. 

Well the house looks like a sewing machine junk yard and I am behind on my chores from playing too much.  Time to get back in the flow of things!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

the other choice...

This morning's breeze is a welcome change from yesterday.  Yesterday was just flat out miserable.  The air was still, the heat was insane and the humidity... there are not words.  It sure did the mid-western reputation proud.  

When Hubs suggested going out to work on the truck running boards this morning at 6 am before it got warm, I was ready and willing to get up early.  I hate the heat. Honestly, in the summer I could completely move way up north, surely there is a location that might even still be wearing sweaters and mittens - right?

Despite the miserable temperatures yesterday, Hubs and I enjoyed the tiny little town of Caledonia for literally hours!  Just a small main street of small shops and a gym full of quilts, yet we somehow managed to spend an entire day. Honestly, I might have fallen head over heels in love with that little town, and was quite dismayed to discover this morning that they had a winery and I didn't know.  Guess we will have to go and visit again.  Actually, many times I am sure. 

I had to sort of laugh when we hit the clearing in those rolling hills that held the little town.  We'd been on winding and curving roads that literally had me almost car sick.  They were beautiful, but they were intense.  Hubs kept telling me they would be great motorcycle roads.  He's probably right, they would probably even be incredible bug roads, but they were making me sick in our big pick up.  They reminded me so much of the small tree covered roads in Germany.  As we cleared the final curve and left the trees there in this small plain was an entire tiny town. Over two hundred years ago someone decided it looked like a great spot to settle down.  And they did, during it's entire history it has had less than 250 residents, and it is still a gem tucked in the middle of nowhere.

The quilt show kept us engrossed for hours, the talent of the wonderful ladies in the area (several guilds were represented because one of them could not hold their own show this year) was breathtaking.  And there was literally every style imaginable represented.  While I drooled over the antique beauties and the applique, Hubs was drawn to the brilliant colored stars of every imaginable style.  

We were honored to chat with the artist of one of my favorites and hear the story behind her quilt.  Seems she'd almost never completed it because it annoyed her on her design wall for years.  To listen to the collaboration between herself, her husband and son to finish the quilt she almost didn't make was inspiring.  The tall skinny bird with the Adam's apple was designed by her son.  

My favorite - do you see the Adam's apple?

Hubs got to play with a long arm and I think he is more determined than ever for us to finally decide on the replacement for my current machine. Shhh... don't tell anyone, but he did a great job using it. 

We both struggled with selecting our favorite quilts, to the point that we almost didn't.  I mean, how on earth can you say that one is more impressive than another when the selection is so overwhelmingly beautiful!  We both bought raffle tickets for a variety of things, barn quilts and a breathtakingly beautiful quilt.  As our phone's aren't ringing, I'm guessing that we did not win.  I mean, I wouldn't have been sad at all to have our ticket drawn for any of them, they were fantastic.  The purchase was more about the fundraisers they supported. 

I am in awe of the way small communities take care of each other.  The quilt show raised money for so many things the town and residents need.  It supports the historical society and the first responders.  The list of needs that they were raising money for was so impressive.  There was genuine love and compassion for their neighbors in all they were doing.  

Hub's favorite - I think...

We shopped all of the little shops at the show in some way.  It might have been $5, it might have been $50, it felt deeply important to support these small mom and pop shops.  Folks trying their best to make a living and support their families. 

The apron he felt I needed. 
Who can cook in that? Not me!

Hubs probably "flirted" with every woman over 70 in the place.  He is forever complimenting the gentlemen on their beautiful daughters that they have brought, knowing full well that they are their wives.  It makes me smile to hear the shocked happy laughter from the ladies.  Most of them blushing a beautiful shade of pink.  His heart is so pure. When I ask him why he does that, as most guys just look shocked, he says "did you see her smile and hear her laughter?" - he's right. 

Every time I lost him - he'd made another friend.  And was always deeply in conversation about the quilts, the community, the different machines and fabrics.  I was often called back to him by a loud, "B - you gotta come over hear now!", to which everyone in the immediate area (ya know a 1/2 mile or so) laughed and said you better hurry.  Each time he'd made a friend, a discovery, found out about a new place to visit, or simply wanted to show me another treasure.  

That man draws me out of my shell with a crowbar.  I am so thankful for it.  I would have missed so much yesterday if left to my own devises.  I would have been the quiet mouse wandering and silent.  I cherish having a soul mate that lovingly forces me to be open and welcoming. 

After probably two hours or better of enjoying those 162 quilts and marveling at the patience and time each one took we decided to check out the car show and the shops on main street. 

Surprisingly, those few small blocks filled several more hot and sweaty hours.  We poured through antique and junk stores.  Walked backwards in time in the mercantile and enjoying the old cars (Hubs found one that looked exactly like one he had once owned). It was after 3 pm when we'd finally walked (I might have hobbled) back to the truck.  There were a couple of shops left, but the idea of walking any further was a great big no from me.  I was perfectly content to sit in the coolness of the truck and head home. 

Keeping your nose to the grindstone

Lemonade anyone?

look closely - what do you see?

Could have been his...

Hubs is never one to be deterred, so off we went, he was determined to go into those last two antique shops. He had a feeling you know.  I was game the first one, and climbed down knees screaming each step to join him wandering through the beautiful old building.  Looking at each flight of stairs in slight despair.  

He found the cutest little spinning wheel way up abandoned on a shelf.  The young lady working there assured him everything in the store was for sale, if he could reach it.  You know that he did.  Stretching and standing on tip toes he managed to get it down.  It was there for a long time, covered in dust, the drive band so old it was disintegrating.  It is on my project list for today. 

all of 12" tall

As I climbed back in, I knew I was NOT getting out of the truck until we reached home.  I was hot, tired, my knees were aching and I was pretty much shot.  I was trying to not get cranky.  As we pulled up to Patti's Pickin's I firmly insisted I would wait in the truck.  I was simply done. 

1950 Singer 15-91

About 5 minutes later, I looked up to see an impish Hubs, beckoning me to join him. No amount of refusal was working, so I knew I had to go.  He'd found another vintage Singer, in a table.  And the sparkle in his eyes and that big smile made the decision for me.  When he is on a mission there is no turning him down.

Singer 15-91 in table

This one is a 1950 Singer 15-91, it can be electric or treadle driven and is in very nice condition.  It runs fantastic and I can only imagine how much better it will be after cleaning. Of course it came home with us. 

1950 Singer Featherweight 221

While we were out exploring and adventuring my treasured featherweight arrived at the house.  I am overwhelmed with joy and a fun confusion.  I want to dig in and get them all fixed up and ready to use.  I picked up all my supplies last evening and today will be a day of refurbishing and playing with all these beautiful old machines.  My sweet featherweight is in need of a new belt before I feel comfortable sewing much on it.  The one she has is probably her original, there isn't much left to it that isn't falling off. 

The case of the feather weight is a bit rough, although I hope I look that good at 71.  The table for the 15-91 is in very good shape, I think a good waxing might be all she needs. 

My sister in law assured me yesterday that all of my vintage babies need names.  Geez that is going to be tough.  I struggle naming kids and pets, I am really going to struggle with these babies - at least until I get to know them all. 

We made friends with the owners Patti and Bruce, I almost cried when he told me how many vintage machines he's dumped out in the rock pile, as he only wanted the stands not the machines. And sometimes didn't even want those.  He is not into refurbishing them, so he tosses them.  Figures it's $10 or $20 wasted.  He now has Hubs' number, he will call us if he has any that are headed for the rock pile. 

It's incredible how full a day can be.  How many diverse and unique opportunities can all present themselves.  I'm dealing with sore knees and blurry eyes (those antique shops kill me) today, yet I would gladly spend another day just like yesterday. 

I am feeling like the universe agrees with Hubs, that I should teach beginning quilting classes on my beautiful old machines.  My sister in law told me yesterday that she has another old one, for teaching on that she will gladly contribute to the cause. So many incredible opportunities and adventures are opening up. 

It's time to start working on machines, the running boards will have to wait until another time.  Ours are set for two brackets, the new ones have a 3 bracket configuration.  Mechanically inclined, yes.  Mechanic - no. I need a success today. 

p.s. we also had the awesome opportunity to meet and chat with the gentleman that painted all the barn quilts that decorate the town. What an adventure it was....


I don't know about you, but patience is a virtue that I am often trying to practice, and more often that not having to remind myself tha...