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11  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Breathing life back into a vintage Fiatelli sewing machine - *Finished Project* on: July 27, 2013 11:35:18 PM
During each of my pregnancies I long to sew baby clothes on a treadle sewing machine.  In my pregnant bipolar mind, somehow, baby clothes sewn on a treadle machine were softer than baby clothes sewn on an electric machine.  Smiley  It didn't have to make sense.  One day I won a treadle table for a mere $10.  I brought it home, cleaned it up, and it sat waiting for a machine.  It had to be the *right* machine.  So one day, tired of scanning craigslist and gazing at machines I could never afford I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down what I needed.  I wrote...

I need a sewing machine that...

Can be used as a treadle machine.
Has a built in zig zag stitch
Is compatible with Singer accessories
Has multiple needle positions
Has multiple stitch length
Costs less than $30
Preferably powder blue

The very next day someone listed a Fiatelli sewing machine on the local auction where I had won the treadle table.  I bounced through the week on pins and needles.  Stylish; It was designed at a time when people thought we would be driving flying cars and vacationing on the moon by now.  They listed it as "unknown condition" which we all know means "can't get it to work", but in my experience people often give up when things aren't easy so I was unconcerned.  The day finally came and I won the coveted machine for a mere $5.  We picked up the machine and brought it home.  

The poor machine did not even come with it's foot pedal, but as I planned to convert it for treadle use I was undaunted.  I unscrewed the machine's motor from it's back and took a good, hard look at it.  It was filthy.  It's condition was absolutely deplorable.  It had been neglected and outright abused.  The wheel would not turn.  The needle barely moved.  I opened the machine and proceeded to clean.  The scent of WD40 filled the room and cleaning clothes littered the floor as I hunched over the machine for the next 12 hours without stop.  I dismantled every section of the machine, cleaned it, and refitted it.  There was not a single section of the machine that worked as it should.  Several sections showed where previous work had been done, only the technician had dismantled parts and reassembled them incorrectly.  No wonder the machine did not work.  Sad  The poor machine cried, and I cried with it, as I wrestled with gears that did not remember how they were supposed to fit together.  Such a disservice to such a piece of vintage art.  The light switch disintegrated when I touched it, so it had to be replaced.  It came with a turn switch, but when I searched for a new one all I could find in a low profile chrome switch was a push switch.  I wired it all up with a new, longer cord.  The deck had spots where the enamel had been ....damaged and rust had set in, bubbling up into nuggets.  The bobbin plate showed ... gouging  O.O  I sanded the plate and deck spots down to protect the fabric which would be passing over them.  Before I was done I spend 20 hours taking apart, cleaning, correcting, reassembling, regreasing, rewiring.  The moment finally came when I lowered it into the treadle table, laced the leather belt over the Fiatelli's wheel, around the table's wheel, slowly rocked the pedal and held my breath.  The wheel turned, the fabric moved, and the needle went up and down.  All of this with only a whisper to tell that it was working.  The sheer quiet startled me.  Never before had I been able to sew on a machine without the NOISE that accompanies electric sewing machines.  I could sew on this one while my infant and toddler slept!!!  Something I had NEVER been able to do before without fear of waking them.  Smiley  I was elated.  I can sew forward and backward.  Straight stitches are no problem.  It has a zig zag stitch, but I am still learning the tension to make the machine happy.  That is my struggle, not the machine's.  There is no manual available for this machine.  I have been able to find only one other Fiatelli mentioned online in the U.S, and it is not of this model.  I intend to study machines of other makes which have similar working in other to learn to use this one.  I am so happy I was able to save, and breath life into a BEAUTIFUL machine that other's had given up as garbage.  

12  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Garden Spider Home on: July 20, 2013 06:51:29 AM
20 years ago I saw a spider home in a garden boutique catalog and thought it was absolutely adorable.  But the price tag was not.  I could not afford it and I remember thinking I could probably build that.  And I've been thinking that for 2 decades, always afraid to actually attempt it.  The Harry Potter Craftalong Portkey project provided me with the proper motivation try.  First I took a piece of the kids' finger painting paper (it's bigger than copy paper) and made a square.  Then I folded that square into an octagon.  When I had an octagon I cut the far edge of the folded octagon the width of of lumber, which happened to be just under 1 1/2.  When I opened the trimmed octagon I had the outline of my spider home. Smiley  I cut one side of the octagon out and then I had my pattern! Smiley  I traced the pattern onto my lumber and cut the pieces out with my scroll saw.  I TRIED to toe nail the pieces together at the top.  This did NOT work as well as I would have liked.  I discovered that laying the two pieces I was trying to connect on the floor and then toenailing them from the side worked REALLY well.  I used a brad gun.  I nailed each piece from both sides.  I drilled a hole for my dowel into one piece before  started nailing the pieces together.  I both glued and nailed the dowel into place.  I'm very excited that I was able to build something I've wanted to build for so long.  Smiley
13  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Farmer's Market Quilt Block on: July 20, 2013 06:32:04 AM
There really isn't a section for "quilt in progress", but every square is a completed project in and of itself, so I decided to go ahead and post it here.  Smiley  This is the first quilt I've worked on since 6th grade (2 and a half decades ago.... ).  I've wanted to quilt for EVER.  I've studied quilting.  I've gone to quilt shows.  I've designed quilts.  I once bought a quilter's ENTIRE book/magazine/pattern collection at a estate sale.  But I have never found the time to actually quilt.  I have been so inspired by everyone's quilting that I have decided to quilt a Harry Potter Craftalong Summer Semester quilt. Cheesy  This is my first quilt block.  The theme was Farmer's Market.  When I was growing up my Pawpa grew the best tasting water melons in 3 counties.  I hesitate to admit what all he traded his water melons for, but needless to say they were worth their weight in gold.  SO, In honor of him I made this quilt block.  The border is John Deere fabric, because he always drove a tractor, and it is pieced in the same way that I built my mother's first square foot garden beds 2 decades ago.  Smiley  The background fabric of the quilt block is flour sack cloth.  Smiley  The Sunbonnet Sue is wearing a dress actually cut from a pair of engineer overalls, which is what Pawpa ALWAYS wore.  Her shirt sleeve is from a men's dress shirt.  He always wore stripped men's shirts.  Her hat is cut from an actual red bandanna.  Every farmer wore one while I was growing up to keep the dust out of their face and dip in cool water on a hot day.  The one I cut this from I've been using since I was a young girl.  The red wagon she is pulling was also cut from this bandanna.  Smiley  The wagon's handle is black ribbon.  I've never sewn ribbon down.  That was fun and I'm excited about using ribbon in my future quilt squares.  I used vintage 1950's buttons for wagon wheels, and sewed them on with the white cotton thread that is used to sew shut feed sacks (yes I got it from an actual feed sack). The letters and all of the blanket stitch are sewn with embroidery thread.  I used 3 strands for the blanket stitching and 4 strands for the lettering.  In hindsight I would have liked to use feed sack thread for the lettering.  I had been afraid, at the time, that it would have been too thick.  After I was done I decided that I probably could have used it and it would have been fine.  The blackberry between the lettering is iridescent seed beads sewn down one at a time. Smiley  The different fabric pieces were cut out of fabric with an iron of fusible webbing backing, and then glued on and sewn around.  I read a lot about people using double sided fusible webbing, but this is what I had and farmer's use what they have on hand.  I feel really guilt for not turning and stitching the edges, Aunt Bendina would have a stern word for me if she were still alive, but I think I did pretty good for my first pictorial quilt block I've ever done. Smiley

14  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Beaded Collar for Goddess Pumpkin :) on: July 12, 2013 10:40:17 PM
For Alchemy class, in the Harry Potter Craftalong, I needed to craft something inspired by the symbolism of a peacock.  Peacocks symbolize immortality.  What animal could be closer to immortal than a cat in possession of 9 lives? 

I use cotton crochet thread for my warp threads.  When I started beading I followed the directions and used sewing thread for my warp threads and then they would break on me.  Sewing thread is FAR too weak for loom beading.  I used button thread as my weft.  It's VERY strong.  Cheesy  But only ONE thread.  Two threads is too thick to pass through seed beads.  I used iridescent "peacock" colored seed beads for the background, and pearly white beads for the border and pattern.  I used a pattern that, had I used two colors to make it, WOULD have been a continuous infinity symbol, but with only the one color it looks like the links of a chain.  As though by putting on the enchanted collar, with chains wrought with moon beams, I am encasing an immortal creature into the mortal form of a cat.  I LOVE the look Pumpkin gave me when I was taking a picture of her in her new collar.  It's very haughty. Smiley  When I finished beading I wove button thread on the cotton crochet thread warp to make a strong fabric to sew around the bars of the collar clasp.  I used a used clasp, salvaged from an old collar because I couldn't find my bag of clasps when I finished beading. 

15  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Clear Storage Tub Cold Frame on: July 12, 2013 10:10:14 PM
I wanted to start some seeds, but I've had my fill of heartbreak. Going outside and finding my pots emptied by a cat, or scratching chicken, my plant eaten by a goat or rabbit. SO I needed some where to put my starts.  It's too hot for them to be under glass in a traditional cold frame.  It needed to be something light enough for me to be able to move it around, heavy enough to not be bumped around or knocked over by a varmint or goat, and have a cover to keep animals out.  Then I noticed an old clear tub that was holding a load of rabbit feeders.....  It was clear to let the sun in, light.... actually too light....  SO I mixed up an old sack of concrete and smoothing about 2 - 3" in the bottom.  Now I needed a cover....  I looked around and found some left over 1/2" by 1/2" cage wire.  I cut out a rectangle that was as large as the box opening, plus 5 squares.  (I was too tired to use dikes to cut each wire individually, so I cheated and used a metal cutting blade on my circular saw)  After I had my rectangle cut out I laid the wire on top of the box and cut a square out of the corners hanging over the edge of the box (I used the dikes for this part).  I bent the wire on the edge of the milking stand (any board would do) and held the two edges together with J clips to make a corner like a shoe box lid.  It fits nice and snug over the box.  I loved it so much I made another one.  As of this morning I have TWENTY THREE tomato starts from seed!!!!! Cheesy  YAY!!!

16  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Foot Stool with added storage!!!! :) Lots of pics Tutorial on: March 16, 2011 03:43:25 PM
About a month ago I won an auction for this really cool, vintage, rocking chair.  It's so old it's TINY (BEFORE the age of Lazyboys) and does not recline at ALL!!!  It came with a matching footstool.  

It was a nice little footstool, but as cross stitch stuff piled higher and higher on top of it I couldnt help but think of how much COOLER it'd be if it had hidden storage in it.  What it NEEDED was a box!!!! Smiley

So first I pulled the cover off carefully.  I don't plan on recovering my rocking chair anytime soon, since it's already an acceptable crushed red velvet, and I like the foot stool to match.

After I got all the fabric, and cushioning off, I unscrewed the legs and had this ....

Just two pieces of plywood held together by 4 strips of lumber.  It was all stapled together.

I measured the space and got 23 1/2 X 14 and made a box this size outta 1 X 8's.  I used a brad gun to connect everything since I couldn't find my drill chuck.  (the chuck holder broke off the cord)  I then attached the bottom board that came with the footstool.

I carefully put the bottom cover back on, stapled it, and put the legs back on.

I attached the padding to the lid plywood, but I couldn't get it to stretch as far as it was supposed to go so I sewed gold blanket edging to the top cover, and attached it by stapling it to the bottom of the lid.  (It was warped from being sat on for the last 60 years, so I flipped it over to get warped flat again. Smiley

Then I attached two brass hinges to the box and then attached the lid to the hinges while someone held it up for me.  After that I realized that even when the box was closed, you can see the lip of the wood box, so I took the staples holding the top of cover to the box out, restretched it higher and restapled it.  Then I painted the lip if the box hold to match the blanket binding so it's not as obvious.  

After the paint dried, I threw everything in!!! Smiley

Here's Maddy chillin on the new footstool.  Smiley

It was a LOT easier than I thought it would be!!!!  It didn't take very long at all.  I'm sure it would have taken even less time if I hadn't run outta staples, or didn't have kids and puppies to keep up with while doing this, but still a VERY quick project and I'm VERY happy with the result!!!  The only thing missing is every time I open it I expect it to be a antivampire weapon chest straight outta Buffy!!! lol  Smiley  *thumbs up*  
17  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 60 ENTRIES / Steampunk Iphone Home on: March 07, 2011 05:08:59 PM
I had seen an old phone (one of the bedside touch tone phone that they switched to when they didnt want us using rotary phones anymore) turned into a slick looking iphone home on the web somewhere.  When I saw this challenge I wanted to try making one.  I found this challenge pretty late and couldn't find the kind of phone I wanted in any local resale shops, and I didnt have time to wait for ebay so I went up in my mom's barn loft and found this ....

I found two unlikely candidates....

I chose the princess phone on the left.  

First I gutted the phone, which other than a LOT of dust was OMG *really* easier than I thought it would be.  I expected it to all be riveted together, but it was mostly flathead screws.  It made going alot easier than I expected. I then had to scrub the phone with nail polish remover.  My little sister had tried to paint the phone with pink nail polish back in the 80s.

Second I painted the body of the phone and the body of the handset glossy black, and the little screw parts of the handset brass like the one I had seen online.  Then I decided that I hated it.  *thumbs up*  It just didnt LOOK steampunk at ALL!!!  It LOOKED vintage Hollywood, which while GORGEOUS in its own right, was NOT what I was going for.  

So I then painted the body of the phone and the body of the handset hammered copper, the screw on parts of the handset shiny copper.  I peeled the old leather off the bottom piece of the phone and painted it brass.  I also took apart the button assembly, cleaned all the buttons with fingernail polish to get any nail polish splatter off them, and spray painted the button carriage brass.

I had a lot of trouble painting the phone. I tried to spray shellac is and it ate the paint off and I had to start over.  Smiley  It was a LEARNING process!!!

While everything was drying I took apart a cell phone headset.  I had to get a converter piece to make it work for an iphone.  That piece is purple in the picture.  When the handset was dry I threaded the headset through it.  I glued the black cord in place so it couldn't get pulled too hard and shift everything inside, then I stuffed the inside with pillow stuffing and carefully screwed the handset screw pieces into place.  I tried to glue the parts of the headset to screw parts, but then realized I couldn't screw them on after that.  giggle.  So I had to unglue them and rely on the stuffing to hold them up to the little holes in the screw parts.  

I had SO much fun calling everyone I knew to try the handset out!!! It works AWESOME!!!! Cheesy  *thumbs up*

While waiting for everything to dry I also cut three identical pieces of black felt.  One piece of felt I glued to the bottom of the phone to protect whatever surface I put the phone down on.  The other two I glued together and then glued to the inside of the bottom of the phone to protect my iphone when I put it inside.  

I put the push button assembly back together and glued it to the top inside of the phone.  Now I can push the buttons.  They even pop back up after I push them down because I put the springs and everything back together.  Smiley  They don't *DO* anything.  I just like pushing the buttons.  Smiley

After all the glue was dry I laid the iphone in the bottom of the phone and plugged it into the charger and closed it.  It *does* ring while inside the phone, but I cant answer it without taking the top off.  But once I answer it I can put the top back on and talk through the handset all I want.  Its not what I really wanted, but its *really* cool for what I had to work with!!!  

The little buttons in the cradle, and the little plastic for over the number place are missing.  They were misplaced during the disassembly.  

Doing this challenge I learned how to sprat paint plastic, how NOT to spray paint plastic, how to disassemble a phone, how to put a phone button assembly apart and together, how to take apart a headset (in this case I had to use a hammer), and how to solder (a wire came loose while I was threading the headset through the handset).  I ALSO learned that it WILL be okay if I take things apart (it was discouraged in our house growing up), and that I CAN finish things and they *work*!!!  I have disabilities that made it emotionally and mentally hard for me to finish this project, but I pushed through them and finished, and ENTERED!!!!  Smiley  I couldn't have done this a year ago.  I am *very* proud, even if its not exactly how I wanted it to be!!!  Smiley

Next time I make an vintage iphone home I'll try wiring an actual hand set to a iphone head set plug like in this tutorial .... http://steampunkworkshop.com/articles/phone so I can use the cool curly cord.  But Im happy with my first effort.  It WORKS!!! Smiley
18  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / *first project* Victorian collage picture and frame *pic added* on: March 03, 2011 06:05:32 PM

I found a picture/collage/mat free floating at a resale shop.  The mat was dark forest green and the ribbon was a dark green and tan check.  Very 80's country kitchen ugly.  I bought it and a country blue frame with a 80s folksy country verse in it.  I carefully pried it all apart and cut a pink mat out of an old file folder with an xacto knife.  Then I replaced the ugly ribbon with a pale loopy pink ribbon.  I spray painted the frame with brass spray paint and put it all back together with elmer's glue & double sided tape, and framed it.  What was ugly, horrible, outdated, & country before is now very sweetly, delicately, Victorian.  Smiley  Im SO excited!!!  I LOVE it!!! Smiley
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