Monday, February 28, 2011

My First Opportunity to be part of an Etsy Seller Feature!

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to volunteer in response to a request for Etsy sellers who would be interested in doing a blog interview.

I began the interview with a brief bio.: "My name is Gabrielle (Chelly in the online selling world) and I’m 19 and the oldest of 8. With five brothers and two sisters, there is never a dull moment in our house! I love running my own business and branching out as an entrepreneur while being at home with and involved in my family and siblings! I have a wide range of interests and I enjoy expanding each as I have time. I currently sell crocheted baby hats and photo props, an array of vintage clothing, accessories, and other random goodies, vintage and modern sewing patterns and supplies. I am in the process of designing a couple crochet patterns and sewing a number of original creations which I hope to market soon. The Shoppe has been growing and I have plans, within the next six months, to open a shop for newborn photo props and other sewn, knitted, and crocheted accessories for children."

Interested in reading any more? Do visit Jessica's blog, Seaside Cards, to read the rest!

Thank you so much, Jessica!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beautiful Randomness...

Weekend musings on the random and beautiful happenings in my life...

Mommy won a giveaway on a blog she reads and received three bars of lovely soap of her choice from Apple Valley Naturals. They smell divine and came so beautifully wrapped!

I brought Singer 1 to our local Sew and Vac on Tuesday for a tune-up and we were able to go pick it up yesterday afternoon! As a result, I've gotten the sewing bug and have been working on some lovelies...more details to follow.

I posted about Ellie Bean Models a little while back and recently received the pictures from my first photo shoot with them. Isn't Kamryn darling? She's modeling the 6-9 month version of my first crochet pattern I've been designing, and I'm currently awaiting more pictures with a 3-6 month version of this hat...again, more details to follow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Work Areas...

I'm taking part in a sewing and de-cluttering challenge on the Sense and Sensibility message board this month. This challenge involves cleaning up my workroom (workrooms for me), finishing half-finished projects, and just generally cleaning up (and taking pictures along the way). No one likes a mess... :) Originally, this challenge is for the month of February and we should be posting pictures on March 1st, but as we are anticipating some busy-ness in our family in early March, I'll just post throughout the month.

So, here are the 'before' pictures of my several work areas. Please pardon the messiness of those areas in which I actually do have current projects going.

Repair...Painting...Refurbishing...My painting drop-cloth on the basement floor next door is for all those projects too big and messy for the bar counters. My current project, as you see it here, is Singer 2. After that, we have a cute little 3-drawer chest we picked up at Goodwill which needs a sanding and repainting.
~Update on Singer 2 ~ I administered a second dose of sewing machine oil and the "catch" appears to be gone as I can't feel anything now when I turn the wheel. It runs beautifully. This week, I need to order a new metal feed dog to replace the awful black rubber one it came with that is so old it's chipping apart, and a foot and presser foot screw, and then I can use the machine!

My craft area (the dry bar area) in the basement of Meme and Pepe's house next door. I do scrapbooking, cardmaking, painting, polymer clay, beading and jewelry, and packaging orders for the Shoppe (and most other 'crafty' things) down here. It is so lovely to have an area where I can work, do messy things, and leave it out of reach of little hands. Not that I don't love all my little brothers, but sometimes, I think their eyes are on their fingertips. :)

My packing area for the Shoppe. I was recently blessing with a huge amount of boxes, bubble mailers, and other packing supplies from families at church.

More packing supplies - the three black bags and two boxes to the far left - , gift wrapping supplies in the four sweet potato boxes, and extra fabric, felt, and sewing supplies in the three black-lidded bins. As I was recently brought to realize the unacceptable messiness of my sewing room, I sorted into bins the items I don't use regularly. Those labels on the front of the bins are numbered and bear a detailed list of the contents of that bin and I have a master copy back here at the house for my reference - my most humble attempt at being organized.

And my sewing area in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. Yes, I do realize it looks like a tornado just swept through, and that is what I am hoping to tackle with the encouragement of the sewing and de-cluttering challenge.

The new table we purchased at the thrift store at the same time as my sewing machines. It has been wonderful for encouraging further organization. :) That pile of fabric on the right of the middle shelf is my pile for projects I'd like to make in the months of February and March.

Another of my recent attempts at organization. Rather than throwing all this stuff in a jumble into a box, I availed myself of the boxes of small plastic shoe bins we buy at Costco, labeled them with decorated index cards, and sorted my sewing notions. So far, they've stayed neat and very handy!

And the current tornado area. :) This needs some work, but I have some ideas for this next month.

The Singer Repair Adventure: Cleaning and Greasing

*Oops, it looks like this one somehow got into draft form and didn't get published. This is supposed to be prior to the previous post about the machine.

I believe some progress was made today on the machine.

Here's a good look at the inside of my machine. Fascinating, isn't it?!

A closeup of the two main gears - the big white plastic one and that smaller reddish one at the far right of the picture. I cleaned quite a bit of that red goo off these gears today. Unfortunately, before I received the information to spray the insides with sewing machine oil and not WD-40, I used a liberal amount of WD-40 on it. At least I'll try not to put any more in and hope Walmart has sewing machine oil.
The WD-40 seems to have helped, though. The side wheel turns much more easily, and though there's still some "stickiness", it seems better.

These are the two controls that the red goo had leaked out onto. They look a lot better cleaned.

I also disassembled and cleaned the bobbin area. Sadly, I forgot to get 'before' pictures, but here's the after. There's a big improvement!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sewing machine oil is my friend...

Yes, I was a little incredulous at the idea of its magical properties at first, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn't possibly have much to lose.

To quote from the wonderful advice given me: 'Sewing machine oil is your friend. Use heartily and with liberal joy.'

I picked up the closest thing I could find on our next run to Walmart, Singer all-purpose mechanical oil for sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, and the like. I applied it to the inside of Singer 2 'heartily and with liberal joy'; so heartily, in fact, that it came dripping slowly back out over the next two days. :) I cleaned the contact plates of the plug on the cord and the outlet in the machine and knocked it in with a hammer so it would stay. Trying to put a new cord into an old machine hadn't been working so well.

...And I let it sit that way for two days - to be exact...And yesterday afternoon, when I turned it on, it ran perfectly on both the slow and fast settings! There is pretty much no trace of the "catch" when I turn the wheel, but I'm still concerned that it could be hard on the motor, so I'm hoping to talk to someone at Sew-n-Vac soon and see if I should bring it in anyways. The machine runs beautifully and is surprisingly quiet too!

As an aside, a friend of mine, who even shares my name, featured one of my baby beanies in the Shoppe in a recent post on her blog! Do be sure to check it out. Thank you, Gabrielle!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Singer 2 - She Runs!

I received the cord and foot pedal today that I mentioned in the last post I had ordered. I was trying to prepare myself for the disappointment of not having the machine turn on when I plugged it in, but the light came on, and it ran! Slowly, I'll admit, but it ran, and that's a good starting point.

I've decided to see if I can clean up this machine, refurbish it, and give it a second chance at life - and learn something about sewing machine repair along the way. I opened it up last evening and spent an hour cleaning out its insides; I never knew the insides of sewing machines could be so fascinating - but then, I've never opened up a machine before either. :)

A few problems I found and things I'll be working on over the next few weeks:

  • The wheel, the control that moves the needle "sticks". Not very badly, but once every few rotations around or so, it sticks and I have to bring it through with a little more muscle. I'm going to try some WD-40 in its insides today and see if that helps any.
  • As I was cleaning it up when I brought it home a week ago, I was wondering about the dried reddish gunk all over the stitch control wheels. When I opened it up, I found a bunch of it inside, mainly over the gears. I have no idea what it is, but it can't be good for the machine when it's leaking out of the inside, so I cleaned up the big stuff and I'll get some more of it out tomorrow.
  • I had one of those 'Tah-dah!' moments when I realized I won't even be able to try sewing with it right now because it's missing it's foot and presser foot screw to attach it to the shaft. So that, and a new metal feed dog to replace the awful black rubber one in there right now will be the next purchases.
  •  This machine should have three settings: Off, slow, and fast. When I tried it, I got off, slow, and slow. :) I'm hoping that a little greasing and cleaning out the lint and like foreign objects will restore that 'fast' setting.
As I clean and refurbish this machine, I'll be writing regular updates and posting before, during, and after pictures. You are more than welcome to follow me and my machine on this journey!