I wear full hose only in a dire emergency. As in, court appearances. I loathe trying to wedge my butt into those control-top monstrosities. Usually I cheat and wear knee-highs. No one else notices, since I almost never wear a skirt shorter than mid-calf. Technically, I wear trouser socks, which come in a great range of patterns, colors (skin tone to obnoxiously loud neons) and degrees of opacity, so I can be as boring or as ridiculous as I like.
I had plans for this one. Better design... better binding... hand quilting... y'know, a proper quilt.
My son had other plans. Did I mention he never sleeps and has to be right in the middle of all sewing projects?
I finally realized that if I wanted to use the thing before he starts school in oh, 2013, I would just have to slap it together, tie it, and be done. (I am quilting in individual squares when I have a free moment--I tied at the corner of each block, but it still shifts more than I'd like).
It's cheerful, though, and it used up a bunch of scraps from earlier projects. Used bamboo batting, which is warm enough, but super light. It's not a standard size--I had an old utility quilt from my great-grandmother which was the perfect napping-on-the-sofa size, so I cut this one to the same dimensions. The backing is the same red cotton as the binding.
Closeup of some of the squares. The prints make me happy.
I like the effect of colorful fabric in embroidery hoops as wall art. For about 20 bucks you could pick up enough wooden hoops and fat quarters to have a whole army of variously sized polka-dots. Yellow and grey seems to be really popular right now, and it really does pop.
If you are very careful to avoid cutting directly on the counter top/putting anything hot directly on the counter top, you can use contact paper on the counters. Lowes has a couple contact papers that are a bit more pricey (about $5 per roll), but which will take a fair bit of abuse and have less of a cheap plasticky texture.
Is the "mold" sort of a greyish-greenish-white? Kitchen cabinets may have buildup of food grease, which would encourage mildew. Scrub cabinets thoroughly with a household cleaner to remove any grease and gunk. Rinse off all the soap. Work quickly and dry each section as you go, as excessive water won't help the mildew problem and might warp the cabinet doors. Once all the dirt/grease is gone and cabinets are dry, go back over them with either a strong solution of vinegar and water, or a 1 to 5 solution of chlorine bleach and water. Again, dry each section as you go. If you can apply a light coat of wax or an oil-based polish when you're done and the cabinets are fully dry, it will help seal the wood to prevent further yuckiness.
I scavenged two pairs of vinyl wood-grain shutters, painted them, and used them for headboard/footboard for our bed. (Wood shutters would be better, really--- the vinyl shutters are hollow, so the footboard had to be screwed to a plywood backing for stability-- the headboard is screwed directly to the wall). They've held up through six years of abuse and three moves.
I thought they were all very attractive-- in theory. In practice, I think most of the designers have never actually met a real live pregnant woman. Maternity clothing that does not permit a bra is tantamount to torture... and frankly, I don't think most ladies at nine months would like a skirt so short that you can't bend over without flashing someone.
So far I've had good experiences with thrift store/yard sale machines. I have an old White Jeans Machine(free, from a friend's basement) that has run well for over six years, and a 1950's Singer (from Goodwill) which has run well for two years-- admittedly, the power cord was frayed, and I had to replace that-- but that's an easy fix. My dad collected old sewing machines for a while (mostly Singers), and all of them ran well-- but some did need new cords/pedals. The governor (variable speed controller) mechanism in the pedal tends to wear out before the rest of the machine. A sewing machine shop should be able to replace. If you buy from Goodwill or another thrift store, you should be able to talk the staff into letting you test the machine before you buy it.
If you're just looking for a fun beginner machine, you should be OK with a used machine. (besides, if you shop around, you can buy 2 to 4 old machines for the price of a new, kinda crappy machine) I'd recommend a mid-century Singer or an older Kenmore-- they usually have at least a straight stitch and a zigzag are pretty easy to use, and are very very sturdy. And, with care, they'll keep running nicely for years to come.
If you buy an older machine, in addition to checking seeing how it runs and whether the wires are worn, you should check to see whether the machine: a) needs a cam or disc to perform zigzag stitches--and are the cams still with the machine? b) requires a weirdly shaped bobbin, needle, or can't take a standard foot for some reason (probably more trouble than it's worth...)