Sunday, August 3, 2014

Taking a lunch break

I have been working on getting my stuff together for the next flea market event in Mora at the VFW Hall on August 9, 2014; which is next Saturday.

We had brought quite a few boxes from our storage unit in Las Vegas this past week.  Little by little we are emptying that unit and filling up the unit here at home.

Among the boxes we brought was a small container full of ribbons and lace that I have had since I don't remember when.  See picture below

The grey container in the picture above was tightly packed and full to the brim.  I started sorting and measuring so I can sell them at the flea market.

When I decided to take a lunch break this is how much I had measured and packaged . . . 

Just a little over a shoe box size full and the grey container is still half full!  I still have a lot of work to do on this project before Saturday.  But, first I took a lunch break!

My husband had made some wonderful New Mexico Red Chile for us. He is one of the best New Mexico Red Chile makers ever. So I made myself an enchilada, New Mexico style (stacked) without the egg, and lots of cheese for lunch.

WOW! I can't believe I ate that whole thing! Boy was I hungry!

Now for a quick dessert! YUM! YUM!
Chocolate always helps cut the spicy of the chile.

Now it's time to get back to work!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Scrappy Purse

I needed a small purse to carry my phone this weekend. We are going to the Mora Fiestas on Saturday. There is going to be street dancing so I didn't want to take a big bulky purse. I used two of my crazy quilt squares that I always sew.  . .have tons of them. The lining is made from fabric that my daughter in law gave me.  I also used that fabric to add a small money pocket. Then I added a strap so I can carry it over my shoulder while I dance! That is if my hip is in good condition!! LOL!

The purse is in front of the vintage machine that I cleaned up and got it running. Very very nice machine and powerful.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Small Tornado Hits My Hexies!

So I am over at my daughter's house. We came to have a family barbecue. We were not able to get together for " Fourth of July" because of my hip so we are getting together now.

Anyway, I brought my plastic bin full of quilting supplies to work on my hexies while we drive here and while I have down time at my daughter's house.

I usually only work on them in the early morning hours and in the late evening before retiring. Yesterday I brought the bin out and was working on the hexies while the granddaughter was still asleep. I didn't pay attention when she came down and she saw the bin.  Of course her two year old eyes lit up with the possibility of a new toy! She was very polite and asked if she could touch the hexies. I guess she thought they were puzzle pieces. She was trying to lay them out and connecting them like puzzle pieces.

She loved all the pieces, there were so many! Then I asked her what color the pieces were and she got every one correct except the grey!

We had a great time "sewing"!

I told her mommy that I hoped this was an indication of her interest in quilting! LOL!!

The first picture is what my bin looks like normally and the second after the "little tornado" did her "sewing"!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Going to Albuquerque

We are on the way to Albuquerque to visit our daughter, son, and grandchildren.

Very beautiful scenery along the way.

We are approaching a village called Sapello (saw-pay-yo) when you're heading south from Mora toward Las Vegas, New Mexico, USA on highway 518.

As you pass Sapello and get closer to Las Vegas, you will pass Storrie Lake on the right. Because of the drought we have been experiencing, the level of the lake is pretty low.

But, even as low as the water is, it is summer and there are always campers in the Storrie Lake State Park.

I always enjoy our drive down from our mountain no matter how many times I see it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sewing in New Work Space

I was busy all day yesterday selling at the Flea market in Mora,  so I didn't have time to either work on organizing my new work space or to sew. For the past three days I have been unable to work on this space or to sew.

Today I felt like sewing!

My new work space is very cramped at the moment. There is almost no space from the front of my improvised table to the wall. I can not put the foot pedal on the floor to use with my foot. So, I taped it to the side of the boxes that are  holding up the sewing machine. 

To make the machine go I just squeeze it with my knee.  It's very comfortable. And its nice to not have to chase the foot pedal!  

When I put in the table that is to go here I will have to figure out how to keep the pedal by my knee cause I really like it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Working the Flea Market

Today is the flea market at Mora. Come on down if you are in the area.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flea Market at VFW Hall

This Saturday there will be a flea market at the VFW hall in the town of Mora, New Mexico, USA, starting at 8 am.

I am selling my quilting goods, freezer paper hexagons, pre cut fabric hexagons, 2 1/2 inch fabric strips, fat quarters, fat eights, fabric scraps, fabric yardage, thread, batting and various other crafting stuff.

I am also selling a crib and an Eddie Bauer high chair - all wood, that we bought to use when our granddaughters came to visit. They are now out of that stage so we don't need them anymore.  They are practically brand new. They have been in storage longer than they were used.

And of course since it is a flea market, we will be selling any other "stuff" that we can dig out of storage.

So if you have nothing to do and are in the area, drop by and say hello! It's free to get in!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Holiday Weekend is Over!

The "Fourth of July" Holiday weekend is over! Had a marvelous time. We went to the Las Vegas Fiestas to see Al Hurricane, a famous "Northern New Mexico music" band.

When we arrived at the park in "Old Las Vegas", we parked and walked to the central park area where the vendors,  music and dancing were to happen.

There were hundreds of people walking, standing and talking, sitting on lawn chairs and on the grass. The lines for the food vendors were long as they usually are for hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cake, ice cream, sodas, snow cones, indian tacos, sopapillas, red or green chili, ribbon fries, turkey legs and various t-shirts, bracelets and other trinkets.

We were lucky enough to find a spot to sit on the grandstand in front of the bandstand and dancing area. The music was good and loud! As we were looking around for anyone that we might know, my husband's family is from around the Las Vegas, New Mexico area, I felt a raindrop! Oh No! I told my husband we would have to leave if it started raining. . . and sure enough! The amount of rain escalated so rapidly that by the time we ran (as fast as I could with my healing hip) to the parking place for our truck, we were both drenched to the skin. I had no towel to dry off with so I used the inside of my sweatshirt sweater, LOL! I usually carry a towel in our SUV but we were in the truck. We took the truck instead of the SUV because we were planning on moving boxes and furniture from storage after we had listened to the music at the festival.  But, with the rain, we decided not to move anything. We didn't want to risk any items getting damaged by the rain.

So, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, "The Hillcrest" in Las Vegas. By that time it was lunch time and we had to wait to be seated because of the lunch time rush. We had a good lunch in spite of the fact that we were still in very wet clothes. Before we headed home we stopped to do some grocery shopping. It was still raining on our way home to Guadalupita, which is 40 miles away.  As we approached our home village, the rain slowed and stopped completely. But, as we finished putting our groceries away, the rain started again.  This time we were inside our cabin, completely dry in warm and comfy clothes.

The rest of the evening, we watched our usual Saturday lineup of country music shows on RFD TV. Then we watched the fireworks from the capital. It was still raining so no one was shooting off fireworks in our vicinity.

While we were on the way to and from Las Vegas I worked on my Hexie project. I got quite a few hexies basted. Since we were bouncing around in the truck, I couldn't do the fine stitching needed to connect the hexies so I settled for basting the individual hexies.  I only have about a thousand more to baste so it was an accomplishment!

Sorry there are no pictures! I was so preoccupied with the rain at the festival, I totally forgot to take pictures.  Maybe at next year's festival.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Update on Sewing Room/Studio

I have been working on my new working space and wanted you to see the progress.

The first photo is the whole corner where I am starting to organize. This is Where the bed was before we took it out.

My two vintage machines are under the colorful covers.

The second picture shows the corner with the machines uncovered.  . . I had to show them off!! LOL!

Still a lot to do but I am able to get in here and sew.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Work Area/Studio?

Well after laying low to heal my injured hip, I am raring to go! Feeling much better today so we have started tackling the job of cleaning my work area. But it's more like moving my work area from a 3 x 3 square foot area to a larger and more private area that is all mine!  I have really enjoyed being able to just sit and sew on my "insanity" hexie quilt for three days, but I am really, truly excited about having all my quilty "stuff" together in one place!

The only problem with rearranging things is that you have to figure out where you are going to put the things you are moving.  It's kind of a domino effect, move one thing, the next thing needs to be moved, then the next and the next, etc.  Previously, the area I am repurposing looked like the picture below.

The bed in the picture is going out and that is where I am putting a desk, an ironing station and a cutting table. The area is pretty small but much larger than my 3 x 3 previous area.

Now I can take all my fabrics, quilts, patterns, threads, etc and put them into this space instead of being spread around in small areas throughout my property. 

All the plastic boxes with fabric will be put into the area above the air conditioner and in the cabinets behind the mirror on the right and left side of the picture.  Any leftovers will put into our new storage shed that my husband just finished building.  At least that is the plan . . . I'll update you as the work progresses.

It shouldn't take too long because I have been planning, folding, cutting, taking pics of fabrics and cataloguing for the last 6 months.  So, I think it will go very smoothly . . . I hope!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Working the hexies!

Some advice.  . . When you get to be a senior, don't try to do too many physical stunts or silliness.  . . You''ll throw your hip out!!
Well I did just that trying to imitate a model on t.v.  you know that exaggerated hip swinging walk they do?
Right in the middle of my second step a very loud and audible to everyone pop and then PAIN!!
Needless to say I have not been able to walk properly for three days!
So of course I had to turn to my hand sewing project to keep from going crazy!!
I worked on my" insanity" hexagon quilt. This is as far as I have gotten.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Restoring a Dead Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

Since a lot of people have emailed me asking to elaborate on what to do to clean and restore old sewing machines, I did some research and found a series of 8 videos on You Tube.

If you are just starting out with a vintage machine the following videos by Duncan Hill are worth watching. He does a thorough job of explaining how to dismantle the machine, clean the machine and of course put it back together.  

Here is the link:

If the above link does not work do a search on you tube for the title above.

Remember there are 8 parts. I saved them to my watch list, that way I can quickly find them if needed.

Even though these videos are specific to the hand crank singer, most of the old singer non-motorized
machines are very similar.

I hope this helps everyone with restoring or just cleaning the vintage singer machines.  

Let me know how you do.

Monday, June 2, 2014

What To Do With Small Scraps?

What do you do with small scraps, or "crumbs" as some people call them?

I am a hoarder, as my husband calls me, of fabric. I love and breathe fabric! I can not look at a piece without touching it or wanting to buy it, if available and affordable. Way back when I started sewing my own clothes, I started thinking what should I do with the left over fabric?

Here comes my two aunts to the rescue. They made a lot of their own clothes if not all of them. One aunt suggested I save my pieces and coordinate them in color so I could piece a blouse, jacket or pants. After she said this, she showed me a top that had 20 pieces! She made it from scraps of her previous projects. It was really nice. I was very impressed that she had the mind set and patience to piece together a pattern that would look nice. The color scheme was great and she used a lot of top stitching so that the pieces looked like part of the design. I loved it! But, I did not want to put that much thought and effort into the design and all that top stitching!!!  After all, I was just a teenager and patience was not one of my virtues.

Then I went over to the other aunt's house and she was working on a "crazy" quilt. I inquired as to what pattern she was using and why she had so many colors and sizes of fabrics.  She told me when she makes an outfit, the left over scraps go into her quilt scrap bin saving them for a "crazy" quilt. I was fascinated by the twists, turns, colors and designs of the various fabrics and the fact there was very little planning other than which fabric you liked next to which fabric. I WAS HOOKED!!!

My fabric saving obsession started then. It was my aunt's fault for introducing me to saving the smallest scraps. Larger scraps for sewing together into a pieced or "crazy" quilt and smaller scraps for applique. I knew about quilting squares but had never heard of  "crazy" quilting . . .this was before the internet and the abundance of quilting magazines that we have now.

Today I would like to show you a sample of the pieces that I acquire while cutting fabric for customers.
These are some pieces that I have left over . . .

How I trim these down is what I will be showing you today. In the picture above right I had just finished cutting hexagons. You can clearly see some triangles, diamonds and some strips that can be cut from these pieces.  But what about pieces that are not so clearly defined? Here is an example . . .

I found this piece and was thinking to cut a long strip across the top. Then I noticed that if I used my
quarter square ruler I could cut a fairly large triangle.  I use two rulers when cutting difficult triangles. The quarter square triangle and half square triangle ruler.  After I cut this piece into a quarter square triangle I used the half square ruler because presently I am trying to cut a lot of half square triangles.

This picture shows a piece that has a tear in it . . .

Too bad it would have made a very nice large triangle. No matter, just move the half square ruler over a bit and cut away.

Here is a circle that didn't quite meet standards and I don't need a circle but need a triangle in this fabric. . .

Line it up with the edge of the circle and cut both sides to give you an angle. It will look like this . . .

Once you have this angle flip it so that it will look like this . . . 

Now you have an edge where you can line up your half square triangle ruler and finish cutting a triangle.

I hope this little tutorial will help you figure out what to do with your scraps. If you have any questions, please email me through the contact form on this blog. I will be happy to help.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Which Triangle?

After I cut circles from fabric for customers, I am left with a lot of pieces.

I then cut them into triangles like this to use in my projects.

Sometimes the pieces are fairly large and being the frugal quilter that I am, I want to save as much fabric as I can.

I am undecided as to which way I should cut this piece.
This way for half square or quarter triangle

This way with the trirecs ruller for a pyramid triangle? I just got this ruller and have not used it yet.

I was just wondering which would be the more thrifty way of cutting. I do not like to waste even little bits if it can be helped.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Not snow. . . FLOWERS!

We were headed home from shopping in Las Vegas, New Mexico and I saw this white streak on about 10 acres of land. Sorry for the remoteness of the picture, I took it with my phone.

Since it has been hailing the past couple of weeks and the weather has been so freaky, I thought it was left over hail or snow. Some of our higher hills still have peaks covered in snow.

My husband said no, that's not snow its flowers . . . white daisies!

Oh my! They were so beautiful! Then I began to notice they were everywhere!
Not on every piece of acreage, just here and there.

I had forgotten that every year at this time of year, with all the spring rains, we get these fields of wild flowers. They are never in the same field every year, the locations are very random. You never know where you will see all this beauty.

It seems the colors are never exactly the same. Last year they were golden yellow, the year before they were light lavender, and so on.  I have never seen white or red.

Whatever color they are they are so beautiful and so plentiful, they take my breath away. Being a city girl from California, I had never seen this beauty before.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cleaning and Testing New Vintage Machine

I have spent my holiday cleaning and researching my gifted vintage "Housekeeper Deluxe" sewing machine. Here is a picture of her after her preliminary cleaning. Isn't she beautiful?  The paint job is excellent! It either was very well taken care of, used very rarely or repainted. I still have more cleaning to do. It seems every time I step away for a few moments and come back I find more "spots" to clean! Since it was probably stored in some warehouse for many years, I know it will take time to discover all the nook and crannies that I need to clean.

Here is a picture of the side of the carrying case after I started stripping the paper.

This is that same side after I finished stripping all the paper. Now I only have three sides and the top cover to go! I also have to figure out how I am going to glue the top together so it will not split again.

But, before doing any cleaning outside and stripping paper, I researched the machine so I could thread the bobbin and the machine and test sew.  The following picture shows some of the testing I did.  It did very well. I still have to adjust the tension more, but that will take time to get it just right.

I had ordered some rubber "tires" for the bobbin winder of my Singer Hand Crank and had a couple left over. I tried one and it fit the first try!  Lucky me! Now I can wind the bobbin. Next step will be to buy more bobbins.

I also noticed that there were some sparks coming from the motor. Some people on the internet say that is very common among these machines and other people say that the machine's brushes should be replaced.  So, that is something that I have to do research on and will let you know what happens.

In the meantime, I still have the big job of stripping and refinishing the carrying case, buying more bobbins and finish cleaning all those nooks and crannies.  But, I love that it works and it's so quiet and smooth. It's just a matter of time and patience to finish the job . . .just like quilting!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

A New Vintage Sewing Machine . . . Housekeeper Deluxe

Today my neighbor let me know that her son didn't want the sewing machine that he had won at the auction. He thought he had been bidding on a treadle machine and it wasn't what he was looking for. So she asked me if I wanted the machine, if not they were trashing it.  I never turn down free sewing machines! Of course I said yes!

Here is a picture of it in its present condition . . .

Pretty dirty isn't it?

I noticed that the case, even though the top is broken, is made of wood.  That means that all that dirty, torn covering can be taken off and something new and pretty applied to the wood and the top glued back together. I am wondering what design should I put on the cover? Should I use fancy scrapbook paper or should I use really nicely designed fabric like a paisley.  I am looking for suggestions!

My neighbors son said that the machine works.  So that's a plus. He said the needle went up and down when he pressed on the peddle. But he never threaded it because he didn't know how. I needed to find a manual so that I could thread it and test it to see if it really works and has a good stitch.  So I went searching on the internet and found a company named "Sewing Manuals".

I was on their website for about an hour searching for this machine. The name on the machine is "Housekeeper Deluxe" Model 400.  I couldn't find a name for the manufacturer, just that it was made in Japan.

While I was searching the internet for manuals I read a lot of information about "badging" sewing machines. The machines were manufactured in one style over and over again, then sold to big retailer stores.  Several different names of stores or companies would be put on the machine.  Thus you could buy a "Housekeeper Deluxe" and it would be the same as a "White" sewing machine, but with a different name!

This machine is not a straight stitch, it has zig zag and cams for decorative stitching.  So with all this information in mind I went to Sewing Manuals online. As I stated before I spent a good hour trying to find the "Housekeeper Deluxe, Model 400".  No such thing!

 I remembered that they were essentially a "White" sewing machine and looked under "White".  They had dozens of machines!  Luckily, they put a picture of the sewing machine model next to the description.  That is what took so long. Looking at the different model pictures and comparing it to my sewing machine.

I finally found a picture that matched almost exactly.  The only difference was the upper arm thread guides in the picture were spring like curly cue type.  Mine were just straight flat pieces of metal with holes for the thread.  Everything else matched exactly. You can see the "flat upper arm thread guides" in the picture below. One is in back of the words "Push down to darn" and one in front. The dark square hole to the right of those words is where the cams are placed. The cover is laying to the right of the square hole.

I am so glad that I found this manual. Now I have the correct threading diagram, which is extremely important.  The machine came with one bobbin and no cams.  My next step is to find the correct bobbins for this machine. It does not say anything in the manual about size of bobbins. It only has the size of needles.

Here is a picture of the bobbin that came with the machine and the bobbin case. The bobbin case is inserted on the left side under the feed dogs in a sideways position. In the picture below you can see where you would insert the bobbin.

After I get the correct bobbins and clean the machine well, get the stitch correct and re-cover the carrying case, maybe I will look for the cams that go with the machine.

I will be posting more pictures of the progress that I make on getting this machine clean and nice looking.

If you need a manual for a sewing machine, I recommend that you go to this website.  They have hundreds of brands and models.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Fun Swap!

I have always wanted to do a swap. So the past couple of years I have done fabric swaps.

Then I got brave and wanted to do a quilting swap.  I have just finished my first quilting project swap.

Once I signed up for the "Mug Rug" swap I received the pattern and all the information I needed to do the swap. Later the moderator sent an email with the swap partners email address. I was paired up with a person in the midwest.

For my first quilting swap I wanted something small and the mug rug swap was perfect!

Here are pictures of the two different patterns for the swap that we were to use. The one with the dime in it is for size reference. The mug rugs finished at 9" x 5 1/2".

I love this little pattern and working on this project. It went along very quickly. I am excited to see what my partner is sending me.

Spring Has Finally Arrived!

Three days ago we had snow in Guadalupita and the temperature was in 20's and 30's.

 But yesterday it was in the high 70's and today its supposed to be in the high 70's also.

My husband cut our lawn for the first time today!  YAY!  I have moved my hand crank machine to (what we call) "the new trailer". I will be working in there during the summer.  Of all our living quarters, it has the best views out its many windows.

I am still trying to sort, toss and organize my fabrics, patterns, knick knacks, what nots and other assorted stuff.  Now that our storage shed is almost finished, I decided to start bringing boxes from commercial storage in Las Vegas and sort, toss, etc.  This was our storage shed's foundation laying days.

I can do the sorting, tossing, etc. a little at a time and start converting from moving boxes to plastic storage bins and labeling and placing them in our storage shed.

The storage shed has walls and a roof, just has not been wired or the outside finished yet, but it's useable while they finish the outside.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bobbins, Bobbins, Bobbins!

One of the things I love most about my little hand cranked singer sewing machine is that I can always use it. . . Power or no power! It is so sweet and easy to crank. I love it! I love it!

When I received her, I noticed that she only had one bobbin. Anyone that sews knows that you need at least two bobbins. So I set about hunting down another, or more bobbins.

I went straight to the internet. Living in the mountains of New Mexico is wonderful but not when you are shopping. The internet is my" local" shopping mall.

I found a website that deals with supplies for vintage machines and ordered bobbins for a vibrating shuttle machine. They came in packs of 5. I ordered two packs. 10 bobbins!! I was so excited when I received my little package!

I started winding the bobbins immediately. I then noticed that the thread was winding itself beyond the area where the thread is supposed to be. At first I thought I had done it wrong. I wound another new bobbin. This time I made sure to follow the instruction manual step by step when winding the bobbin. It happened again! There was the thread beyond the flange at the edge of the bobbin!  You can just barely see in the picture below (slightly blurry) that the little arm has extended beyond the edge of the left side of the bobbin.

In the picture below you can see the thread that wound beyond the flange of the bobbinl.

Now what? I wound another bobbin. This time I went very slowly so I could watch the action.  I noticed that the thread continued it's journey to the left of the bobbin's left flange only after the bobbin winder went to the left. It did not go past the flange on the right side. I tried to figure out why it did this.  I finally came up with the idea that the new bobbins might be a little too short. I have laid out the new bobbins side by side with the bobbin that came with the machine. You can see in the pic below, the new bobbin IS shorter, slightly from the original which is in the middle.

Back to the internet! I ordered from a seller on eBay. They were supposed to be original bobbins, not reproductions. They were too long! In the picture above, the top bobbin is too long and the bottom bobbin is too short. The middle bobbin is the one that came with the machine and is "just right"!

Back to the internet! I thought to myself. . . Third time's the charm. I found another vendor that was selling 12 assorted sized bobbins there were not reproductions. When they came I noticed that some were even fatter than my original, some were smaller. But, I noticed that there were two that were" just right"!
I now have three good bobbins!! YAY!

Lesson learned. . . Measure your bobbins carefully before you buy and ask the vendor to tell you how long the" axle" is. The axle is where the thread will wind. Measure the diameter of the right and left flanges. As you can see in the picture below, the flange on the right most bobbin is too wide. It won't fit in the bobbin winder.

Apparantly not all" vibrating shuttle" bobbins are made equal. Something I took for granted and wished I hadn't because I ended up spending almost $50 with the shipping charges and ended up with only 3 useable bobbins. The bobbins that are "too short" are still useable in the shuttle but are a pain to wind because of the overlapping to the left. The bobbin that is too long will not fit in the shuttle and as such can not be used at all.
This is the correct bobbin and is winding correctly!