Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Life is Sweet Wall Hanging

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I don't have a What's Up Wednesday this week because, well, life is too busy for me to sit and write about it.  I will however run through some good things that have happened:

  • My husband's job is secure!
  • My first snowdrop opened yesterday!
  • I got an email from Annie's asking for more patterns!

That last one is why I'm so busy.  I need to get some more patterns done to send to Annie's!  That's a good kind of busy though if you ask me.

Anyway, as part of that, I finally got off  my butt and finished my summery watermelon wall hanging!
Life Is Sweet Wall Hanging Pattern, $4 on Etsy
Hopefully you'll be seeing more patterns from me lately.  I'm so ready to get back to a normal life after all the craziness this year! 

Have a great rest of the day, everyone!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Free Friday: Simple Earring Holder

Happy Friday, everyone!  Did you have a good week?  Mine was pretty messy.  We got the water issue taken care of at my mom's house, but I still haven't found my wedding ring :(  I'm sad, but I'm trying not to let it consume me.  I have some charming (ok, not really) obsessive qualities about me, so as you can imagine, that's a very hard feat.  I made a very long and comprehensive list of places to thoroughly check, and once I'm done looking in every single place on the list, then I'll start thinking about getting a new ring. 

But enough about depressing subjects.  This week, I got a comment on my blog from someone who said they'd like to see some earring holder patterns.  In case you weren't aware, I do have a very lovely earring holder pattern up in my Etsy shop.  It's one of my best sellers!

Posy Earring Holder pattern, $4 on Etsy
However, I realize it's a fairly complicated pattern and not everyone wants to do one that fancy.  I ended up giving that earring holder to my Mother-in-law for Christmas the year before last.  She loves it!  I, on the other hand, have a very simple earring holder for myself.  This comes from a terrible disease I have called Lazy-itus.  Yes, that's right friends, I have the lazies.

Simple Earring Holder

Skill Level:



  • Wooden frame
  • Plastic Canvas
  • Hot glue


  1. If your frame came with glass and a backing, remove those.  
  2. Carefully cut plastic canvas so that it sits inside the lip on the backside of the frame, but isn't too small to fall through.
  3. Lay the plastic canvas inside the frame.  Using the hot glue gun, apply a thick layer of hot glue on top of the plastic canvas.  Use the nose of the got glue gun, or a wooden skewer, to smear the glue around, making sure it sinks into the holes in the plastic canvas and up the sides of the frame lip.  Use lots of glue.  Go over it twice if you need to.  The point is to create a thick layer that is attached to the wood that will hold the plastic canvas in.  
Here's a picture of the back side of my earring holder to give you an idea.

And that's it!  You can prop this up on a dresser, or attach a wire to hang on a nail.  I just hang mine using the frame lip, though that's not very stable.  Again, I have the lazies.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my simple little pattern today!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Crazy Week

Hey guys.  Happy Tuesday.  I wanted to let you know that I'm not sure if I'll be around this week to post anything interesting.  It's already shaping up to be a crazy week, and will probably only get worse.  For one thing, the plumbing in my mom's house (which hubs and I own and care for) has gone all wonky and it looks like we're going to need to replace the main sewer pipe :(  Big hassle and lots of money, but it needs done.

Second, I lost my wedding ring :( :( :(  I've been tearing up the house since last night, but I just can't find it.  I fear I may have lost it at our local mall, in which case I don't think I'll ever see it again.  I'm so sad and ashamed, especially since we went to all the work to get the new sapphire put in just two months ago.  I'm going to do some seriously deep cleaning in the hope that I'll find it in some crack in the floor or a dusty corner, or maybe under the fridge.  Wish me luck.

Hopefully I'll be able to get some work done on my designs soon, but I can't promise anything this week.  I hope you're all having a good week so far, or at least a better one than me!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Actually, happy Valentine's day!  I hope you have a wonderful love filled day :)  My hubs and I don't have anything special planned for today; we kind of didn't get around to making reservations for any fancy restaurants or anything like that, and we ended up exchanging gifts last weekend.  It was nice and quiet, which is how I like my life anyway.

Well, this week's adventure is entirely sewing related!  And I guess technically sewing machine repair related.  So hold onto your hats, it's a fun story.

Last week I was feeling kind of down and sad.  I don't want to say I was depressed exactly because it was a short lived feeling; I was very blue for about a week.  Everyone has their comfort habits when they're sad.  Some people eat junk food, some people play video games, some people shop.  Well, last week what I did was do lots of looking at vintage sewing machines for sale online.  I don't know why I did it exactly.  I have four sewing machines as it is.  I guess in the back of my mind, I have this image of a really cool life I could be living, buying old sewing machines and fixing them up and finding them new homes.  It's not a life I want to live exactly, but it's a place I like to go when real life is getting too stressful.  I also have an fantasy life in my head where I'm a farmer, lol, and one where I'm a perfect 1950s housewife.

Anyway, so I was surfing around on Craigslist and Shopgoodwill and ebay for cool old machines.  I've had my eye on a singer 500A Rocketeer for a long time, and I was really hoping I'd be able to find one for a reasonable price.  Here's what they look like:

How retro cool is that baby?  Not only is it super cool looking, but it's also one of the few all metal sewing machines that do fancy stitches.  Sometimes I fear that my new Pfaff electronic machine won't last very many years because it's got nylon gears and electronic controls.  Even though it's my most expensive machine ($800), it's also the one that's most likely to die first.  So I'm really drawn to a vintage machine that does fancy stitches mechanically, in a way that's unlikely to break down just because it's old.

Well, I didn't find a 500A for sale anywhere, but what I did find was this.

In an add on Facebook marketplace, I saw this picture and immediately recognized it as a Singer 401A!  The 500A and the 401A are basically the same machine, only with different styling.  I've heard some people online say that the 401A is a better machine because it has fewer weak points that can break.  The seller was asking $110 for the machine and cabinet, and it came with all the original attachments.  Hmm...

I had to think about that.  The asking price was decent, but I didn't need a new cabinet.  I thought about asking for just the machine, but then I had a thought.  My mom was using the world's ricketiest table for her sewing machine, so I decided I could give her the cabinet and keep the machine for myself.

It was an hour's drive out to the seller, and they live in a very rural out of the way place.  Hubby and I had a fun country drive at any rate.  I was dubious when I saw the machine in person, though.  It was frozen up completely, needle wouldn't move at all, everything was totally gunked up.  On top of that, the seller wouldn't budge on price.  Hmmm...  When the seller's husband (I think) offered $100, I decided to take it.  If nothing else, it would be a nice cabinet for my mom and a fun project for me to play with.  So we chucked it into the back of our SUV and drove home.

I got to work on the cabinet right away.  I used some Howard's Restor-A-Finish on the whole thing to cover up the numerous scratches, and then used some of Howard's Feed-n-Wax to seal it.  Here's a picture of the desk half way through working on it.  Finished side on the left, unworked side on the right.

Once that was done, I got to work on the sewing machine.  Ugh!  What a disgusting  mess!

The original owner was clearly a smoker.  The whole thing was covered in nicotine.

I tipped it over and the feet started disintegrating right away.

It has no drip pan to cover the bottom, which might explain why I found several buttons in the motor compartment.

It also looked like she would frequently douse the whole thing in oil, even the gears, which would explain why there was a severely tacky varnish on everything. (Pro tip, don't use oil on gears, only use grease.)

That last picture, that's the problem.  Those gears are supposed to be silver!  This was where the machine was stuck, and after several hours of lubing it up and working it back and forth and not getting anywhere, I gave up and got my heat gun.  It took about five minutes of high heat on these gears to loosen that gunk, and then I had to turn the hand wheel with as much force as I could to get it to start to loosen.  My hand literally hurt the next day.  But I got it loose and it ran smoothly!  This is why I like metal gears, you can beat the crap out of them and you don't have to worry about them breaking.

So after that, I plugged it in to see if it would run.  Well, it did, but it was very slow.  And after about 30 seconds, it began to smoke :(  Not good.  I figured it probably had some oil in the motor.  I tried to get the motor loose, but would you believe that it was stuck too?  Ugh!

By now it was about 5 PM and I needed to get dinner made for when hubby came home, so I decided to put the project aside for the night.  I shot off some questions to the Vintage Singer Yahoo group (a  great group of people, by the way) and put it away.

The next day I got my heat gun again, took off the hand wheel (because the gear on that is not metal), and heated the worm gear of the motor to see if that would loosen it enough to get it to drop down.  I didn't want to heat it too much because there are wires fairly close by and I certainly didn't want to melt anything.  Luckily, it only needed a little heat before it started to move.  Yay!  I took the motor out and started opening it up, and saw this.

It's a little hard to see, and if you've never seen a small motor it might not mean much to you.  But what's happened is, someone poured oil into the motor and it's gunked up the carbon brushes a lot.  It looked like tar in there, yuck!  My fingers are still black from cleaning all of the gunk out :(  I got it all cleaned up though and put it all back together, and she just purrs now!  What a beautiful machine.

I also spent some time yesterday cleaning her up.  I use Mr. Metal cleaner, which is an ammonia cleaner with some kind of polish in it.  I wouldn't use this on the old black sewing machines because they have a shellac coating, but this machine is enamel and I knew from experience that it would be just fine.

Look at that lovely girl now!  I still have some work to do, mostly cleaning and tweaking the tension assembly, and I also need to get her some new feet and a bobbin winding tire, but otherwise she's good to go!  I don't know if I'll keep her exactly.  I still want a 500A because the styling is just so cool.  I'll probably keep my 401A until I can find a 500A, then compare them side by side, and sell the one I like less.

My hubby was concerned about me buying a new machine.  I mean, with four in the house already, why did I need another.  But last night I bought him up to look at it and show him how all the mechanical parts work.  He's an engineer, so he was just totally captivated.  The fact that you can open it up and visually see what makes the patterns is cool beyond words for people like us.  Now he understands why I wanted it, and thinks it's a cool find too.  Maybe someday I'll get him into the action :)

In other news, I've also been sewing!  I finished the strip tube quilt last week.  I don't have a picture of it finished, but here it as while I'm basting it.

It's very pretty!  I love the rustic colors.  It matches my decor super well, because I'm trying to go for kind of rustic country type thing.  Not exactly shabby chic, but similar.

I used up the last of my garden carrots in a delicious butternut squash soup.  Garden carrots are so different from store bought carrots.  You know how a garden tomato has so much more flavor than anything you can buy in a store?  Well, the same is true for garden carrots too.  They have a robustness, a depth to their flavor that's missing from store carrots.  Le sigh.  I guess I'll just have to do without until next season's crop.

The good new is that I still have lots of rutabagas, though.  They're my secret ingredient in stews because they add such a lovely sweetness.  It's amazing to me that Americans don't cook with them more often, considering how delicious they are and how easy they are to grow.

Well, I guess that's all for this week, everyone.  I hope your Valentine's day is a good one!  I'll finish this post with one more picture that I hope makes you smile today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Scissors Revisited

Happy Tuesday morning, everyone!  It's so beautiful here today, with lots of bright sunshine and wide open blue skies.  I love the room my computer is in; it's the only room in the house with an actual view out the windows.  Most of the windows in the house face the side of the neighbors' houses, which isn't exactly fun to look at :P  But this room has trees and sky and yard!  Which also means it's bright and cheer on a sunny day like today, yay!

If you follow my blog at all, you may remember that I once talked about my favorite scissors to use with plastic canvas.  Back then, I used a pair of iris scissors which are technically surgical scissors and are really good with turning tight corners and snipping close to the edge of things. 

However, over time I have found that they're not perfect.  There are a lot of things I don't like about iris scissors, the first being that the finger holes are very small and can be uncomfortable.  They also have a smooth edge so if you're cutting something harder, like ultra stiff plastic canvas, they tend to slip a lot.  The biggest problem I had with them, though, is the fact that they will eventually lose their edge.  This is true of all scissors, of course, but the problem with iris scissors is that they have a very high angled edge compared to other scissors.  I think this is to make them sharper and more razor like, which you would want with surgical scissors of course, but what it means for a crafter is that you can't easily sharpen them once they lose their edge.  I tried using a scissor sharpener but that actually just made them a lot more dull.  I also tried sharpening them with a metal file, but it was very hard to get the right angle, so I eventually gave up and ended up throwing them away.

I could have gone out to buy another pair of iris scissors.  They're not expensive, after all; most pharmacies have them for under $10.  However, I don't like the idea of buying something designed to be thrown away.  I try to create as little waste as possible in my life because I care about the environment, so I decided to do a little research and see if I could find a really good pair of scissors that would continue working for me for a long time.

I ended up with a very cool set of scissors!  I liked the first pair I bought so much that I bought multiple sizes for all of my crafting projects.

They're titanium non-stick micro-serrated scissors and they come in several sizes.  They also come in several brands.  I've seen three or four brands that are essentially the same scissor with a different name slapped on them (for instance, the bottom green pair is a different brand as the top two pairs, but they're the same style).  I see these all the time in quilt magazines and quilt shops.  DO NOT BUY THEM THERE.  They are outrageously expensive if you buy them that way!  I paid $25 for the tiny pain on the bottom, and only $25 for the other two pairs combined! 

If you're interested, Amazon has the red Tonic Studios scissors for a very reasonable price.  You can get all three pairs for about $35 right now.  That's not an affiliate link, I don't make any money from this post.  I bought all the scissors with my own money and I love them.

What's really cool about them is that they have these tiny tiny serrations that grip anything you're cutting.  You know how sometimes you try to cut something with a traditional pair of scissors and it slips out as you cut?  I hate that!  But that never happens with these scissors.

It's hard to see, but if you click on that picture above, you can see the tiny serration.  Because they're serrated, it means you can't sharpen them; however, they're made of titanium which is very hard and will stay sharp for a very long time.  I've been using mine on yarn and plastic canvas and fabric for about a year and they're still as sharp as they were when they were new. 

The three sizes I have are 9.5", 7", and 5".  The 9.5" one is perfect for big fabric jobs, like cutting excess batting and backing off of a quilt before I add a binding.  Like I said, it grips the fabric so you can be sure your cuts will be straight.  The 7" one is great for small fabric jobs, like cutting half square triangles and trimming dog ears and such, but it's also the perfect size for cutting ultra stiff plastic canvas.  The blades are a little chunky, but the handles are big so you can put more force into the cut.

The little 5" scissors are perfect for tiny sewing jobs like cutting threads off your finished piece and snipping tiny corners, but I love them for working on plastic canvas.  They cut corners super well because their blades are so small and very very sharp.

They all come with a blade cover, but this is the only pair I kept the cover for because they're needle sharp.  I also bought a little connector chain so I don't lose the cover.  It was $5 at the quilt shop I  bought these scissors from, but you could just as easily make it if you have any jewelry making experience. 

Some serious words of warning here: these scissors can do some serious damage.  Because they grip so well, if you get your finger in there, it will cut you!  Normal smooth scissors will pinch you or maybe break the skin a little, but these things are like little saws and will seriously hurt you bad, so be super careful.  That also applies to any projects you're working on.  With normal scissors, if you get extra fabric into the blades, say a fold in the fabric that you didn't see and part of the project you don't want to cut, you'll probably get some resistance that will clue you into the fact that you're cutting the wrong thing.  Not with these.  Shoom!  It just cuts right through everything.  I very recently cut through too much fabric and ruined a perfectly good quilt back.  I had to do some clever patchwork to fix the piece :( 

The only other complaint I have about these scissors is that, for whatever reason, they don't cut soft floppy materials very well.  I have to have another pair of scissors handy when I'm stitching plastic canvas because they don't cut yarn very well?  It's very strange.  But that's life.  Nothing is every perfect in every way! 

That's all for today, everyone.  I hope you're having a lovely week so far! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Free Friday: Lovely Heart Bookmark

Happy Friday, everyone?  How has your February been so far?  Mine hasn't been too great.  I had a pretty awful week this week... for no particular reason exactly.  I guess I was just feeling sorry for myself and got myself into a pretty deep funk of a mood, but last night I decided that I can't keep doing that to myself all winter.  I need to take care of myself, keep working toward my goals, and try to enjoy every day as it comes.  There's many things to be grateful for in this life and it's a terrible shame to ignore your blessings.  So what are you grateful for today? 

I have one more Valentine's pattern to share this week!  It's a sweet little bookmark that is easy to whip up and would make such a pretty present for a sweet heart, especially tucked into a good book!

Lovely Heart Bookmark

Skill Level:



5 ½ x 1 ¾


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Overcast edges with Medium Purple yarn.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

Try to stay positive guys!  We'll get through winter yet, and soon it'll be lovely spring :)  Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Free Friday: Valentine's Coaster

Happy Friday, everyone!  It's groundhog's day today.  Despite the fact that I lived in Pennsylvania for  20 years before moving to NY to be with my hubs, I have never gone to Punxsatawney to see old Phil.  I keep thinking it would be fun, but then I remember that it's February and who want to stand outside in 10 degree weather to see a stupid groundhog?  I'd rather be at home where it's warm, and maybe one of the cats can pretend to be a groundhog.  They're about the same size anyway.

Today's pattern is simple but sweet and just in time to help you decorate your home for Valentine's day! 

Valentine's Coaster

Skill Level:



3 ¾ x 3 ¾ inches


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • Craft felt
  • Hot glue
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Overcast outside edges with Perfect Pink.
  3. Using coaster as a template, cut out squares of felt for backing. Trim 1/8 of an inch off around all sides. Use hot glue to attach to back of coaster.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  I don't know if the groundhog saw his shadow or not, but I hope spring comes early for all of us!