Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Baby bird update!! I have to post a few pictures this morning of the little Finch family nesting next to our front door. They are growing by leaps and bounds, I still can't tell if there are three or four left out of the five eggs. They are such a mass of bird flesh and feathers that it is hard to tell. I know I saw three beaks but they tend to stand on each other in the little nest.
 Mom Finch must be feeding them well, they have gained a lot of weight in just a few days, and I know where she is getting her nourishment. They seem to love the hummingbird feeder and tomatoes. I normally would have been upset that the tomatoes were disappearing three or four a day, but it's ok with me if it goes to getting these birds grown. I don't eat tomatoes anyway, I'm allergic, but my son eats them, and the reason that we have a plant in the first place. Mr Finch has been on the hummingbird feeder, but I haven't seen him eating the tomato yet. Ms Finch seems to love the delicacy, I'm sure the babies do as well.  Here they are with their beeks open, I don't know if it is from hunger or the heat. We have been bouncing between the extremes of temperature the past couple of weeks, normal for this time of year, and I covered the tomato plant the other night when it froze. I wanted to put a blanket or something over the nest... but I guess they stayed warm and cozy with their mom's soft feathers.
We used the back door to keep from scaring Mom Finch while it was the coldest. I didn't want her to leave the babies. Now, i am sure they need their space to keep cool.

My son was in the PTA program last night, he actually sang when he was supposed to, and didn't have that deer in the headlights look he normally has in front of a lot of people. I was proud of him, he stayed after school to help get the props ready for the performance and goofed off a bit as well. He's getting so grown up. After the performance, he took a picture of one of the roses in the front of the house, I thought all the buds froze but this one didn't

What a glorious morning, the sun is shining but it is cool and humid so far. The smell of salt in the air, and it seems to be clean air, not dusty or smelly, just nice fresh air. I think it is a good morning to sit outside and have a cup of tea and enjoy the cool air while it lasts.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sewing Machines, Madness?

Gack! I keep having problems with the computer, mainly being able to post pictures. I went back to my old computer and remembered why I like a larger keyboard. Hopefully I will have an easier time posting to the social medias that I use. This is going to be a change from the tiny keyboard on the other computer!
 I wanted to write about the sewing machines that I have and use. Kind of off the jewelry subject, but I saw a bunch of pictures the other day of machines that one person owned. It got me to thinking and I wanted to know if anyone else has multiple machines? Anyone else have machines that they use for one or two purposes or do you use one machine for every bit of sewing that you do?
      Me? mmmm..... I have a few. I am only posting several of the ones that I have today. I own a few more than four...I refuse to tell how many on the grounds that I might incriminate myself or be found insane. My daughter brought this problem of collecting to my attention just a couple of months ago, as a matter of fact. She said I should get rid of my machines. But.... but, but.... I can't get rid of them. At least not the White Rotary.... or the Kenmore Sensor Sew 70.... or the International..... or.... or.... OK, OK... so maybe I do have a slight problem with collecting, maybe I do go a bit overboard, like the manual sewing machine that I bought in Bristol, England, that I was not able to bring  back to the states with me, so it sits in the cottage near Silloth, waiting for me to save it. Yes, that was not a well thought out purchase, but it was calling to me... buy me, save me... bring me home.... I could have shipped it if I had a bit more time,  but I thought a week was enough time to get done with all the shipping and all the business that goes with it... well... get it done. But, finding a UPS that was even remotely close to Silloth was near impossible, and I ended up shipping my books and things with the Royal Postal Service... If I had done the shipping while in Bristol, well... it would have been easier and quicker, and a damn sight cheaper as well.... but you don't want to hear about that do you?
That machine was an emotional purchase, and granted, the White was an emotional purchase... but usually the purchases are strictly functional. OK, so the White would still be functional if I could get another belt. Now I have found a person that actually will supply me with belts, so I can get it working again,  it too will be functional all in good time. The rest of the machines usually work, or have minor problems and can be cleaned and fixed up and do serve some purpose. I teach, not full time but some classes of sewing  and quilting at the college as well as teaching the summer kids camp, and one of the activities was sewing... So normally the purchases are functional, and I don't go around looking for machines, they just kind of find me, but.... I want to find a turquoise machine so bad that I don't care if it has real problems or not. I have my Grandmother's old Kingston, which could be close to but it really isn't turquoise, more of that industrial greenish color. I think that would complete my collection, or at least make me happy!
I started out on that old Kingston, and I loved it. Straight sew and all. I loved that it was sturdy and would sew jeans or silk and it was easy to thread and easy to move, though a bit heavy. I advanced on to the Kenmore Sensor Sew 70 when I was about 23. I loved that machine as well, but was mortified when after only a month or so it fizzled out and had to go to the shop with it's computer going out. It was gone to the machine hospital for a month, and since we lived in a small town with no hope of having a local repairman, I panicked and decided that I would always have a backup machine. In this particular case it was that old standby Kingston... now I have a couple of backups...
I used the Kenmore for quite a few years, with my grandmother's as more of a backup. I used her old machine to sew jeans all the time. I love that machine. It may be really old, but it just keeps on sewing. I sewed kids clothes and my clothes, kitchen accessories, bedspreads, quilts, curtains, and just about every kind of craft I could think of. Dolls, stuffed animals, blocks, balls, purses, camping accessories. Anything that I thought about, I made it.  Now I go to the store and buy my son's clothes, but only because I know he would not wear jeans that I made... but my daughter did. she wasn't that picky, and I did a pretty darn good job making all her clothes.
I took a while off from sewing, about 3 years. I worked a lot and had gotten a divorce, remarried and had another child and decided that it was time to get the machine out of storage. When I did, I had problems with both machines and just went and bought a cheap Brother sewing machine. It is ok, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the way it sews that can't be fixed pretty easily, but it just isn't a machine that is sturdy. I would never work on jeans with it, but I suppose it would work ok. I got my other two working and they were now my standby machines... but I used them both a lot.  The Brother and I worked on probably 40 quilts together. It sews ok, like I say, but it is really light weight, good for taking along with you for projects, but not one that I would want to use all the time. My husband was at a garage sale looking at lawn equipment and came across the old White sewing machine. It, being a treadle, was something he knew that I wanted. I had bought an old anniversary edition Singer treadle before I divorced and really loved it, but had to get rid of it. Knowing that somewhere in my mind I was saying, it had to go, it had to go... it was still hard to part with something so pretty.
So when my husband came home with that White Rotary... I hugged him and cried. He knew it was going to be something that I would never get rid of.
Cheryl's mother's machine, International... a keeper?
Now, the one I bought from the charity shop... not so much, I could part with it when it was fixed and ready to go, I found a new home for it,  but I did love it. Then there was another from a different charity shop that was calling to me, and another, and then one from the garage sale down the street. That one had been the machine of my friend Cheryl. She didn't even know if her mother had ever used it. I think she had, but it was put away with a piece of cloth in it and the thread through the tensions and needle (something I think everyone should do). She had the instruction book and box of accessories to go with it as well. I don't know if it sews as well as the Kenmore but I like it and now it has an emotional attachment as well... I know, crazy, huh?

OK, so it is growing, this collection that I have. But, I have to say... there are machines that I have that do one job, and one job only. Like the little portable machine that I got to take to quilting club. It is fun, but I would never use it for anything else... and honestly, now I am afraid that I have forgotten how to use it.  Or that little portable that I bought when i was at Dunelm in Carlisle. I wanted to make some pillows and curtains, and maybe a quilt, but I couldn't get the old portable that was kind of a castaway, an odd one that folds up to a small case.... well, I didn't have a clue how to use it anyway, but the bobbin was missing... so I bought this one, and used it, but it runs on English current, which I think might blow up any machine that i have, and our current would never power, or blow up this machine, so I left it at the cottage as well. sigh......
Then there is the one that I bought when I decided to really work on quilts. I bought the Janome. Harmony.
It is pretty cool, does nice embroidery, and it kind of one of those machines that once you get used to it, is really a go to for all your needs. I still like the old one of my Grandmother's. I bought another Singer, this time not a treadle. I like it as well, as for an older machine, but it sits without me using it for a long time.
When I think of a real sewing machine, I think of a machine in a table. One that is permanent and a piece of furniture that you don't get rid of. Maybe that is my problem with getting rid of sewing machines. I just can't do it, I look at the machine first I guess, and try to reason that it works, and does a job that is necessary... and then I look at the table that accompanies it. Is it worth salvaging? Mostly yes. Though I have a piece of the White that has disappeared somehow and no way to replace it. .
 This is the Kenmore that I got at one of the Charity shops. I love it almost as much as I do my grandmother's old machine. It is kind of a purpley-silver, and it is pretty heavy. I love that it has a knee pedal that makes it easier on the back... or at least that is what I think. My mom had a Singer that had the cool knee lever/pedal? Kind of reminds me of it.
This machine does heavy duty clothing, but I like it for denim and canvas. Yes, I do work on a lot of canvas. I did about 50 duffel bags out of canvas and I don't know how many knapsacks. It is one of those machines that was built to last. Heavy without the cabinet, so heavy that I would rather keep it out all the time instead of closing it up in the cabinet. But I don't.
Of the machines I have shown you today, I didn't get the old Kingston out. I will try, but you know me, It isn't going to happen right away. I have it put away at the back of the workroom, with that little portable one that I have forgotten how to use. Sad. I haven't found another quilt club around here to go to... Something I need to work on.