Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Almost Fail

After two coats of primer ....

The more primer I used, the more bleed-through of stain even on the parts that had been sanded down to bare wood! The stain even made my brush turn pink so that I had to clean it before re-dipping into the white primer.

I tried mixing the primer with a bit of the very light gray latex I was going to use as the color. Those photos were after that coat which was the third coat.

Hand wringing and tears did not help. A trip to the new Lowe's Hardware store in town did not help. They couldn't understand how the stain was bleeding through. They were incredulous that even the brush was turning pink. I don't think they believed me. They sent me away without answers.

Fail fail fail. Total fail. Dead end. Fail. Who wants to sew? Nora's throne was trash. What had I done to it? Lots of self-recrimination ensued. Why couldn't I have been happy to keep it in the original condition? Why did I sand so much? My first attempt to refinish furniture and my hopes to paint other things, dashed. Dumb dumb dumber.

Days went by. A couple of weeks. I wasn't even tempted by online fabric store advertisements in my inbox. Not.even.tempted! Maybe I should just give up SEWING for heavens sake. I can't even put a coat of paint on wood, much less aspire to sew a coat! Oh, I can do pit-of-despair very well. And I was dancing this tune to perfection!

Nora (the real one, my daughter) came home Labor Day weekend with a new beau. At one point I opened my garage door to show him my failure. He made a simple suggestion. Oil based paint.

Oil.based.paint? What was there to loose. Up to Lowe's I trudged (should have transferred my allegiance to Home Depot after the last Lowe's debacle but this new Lowe's is just too convenient). I brought a lock of Nora's hair (the piece of metal covering the light switch) to match colors - thinking to scratch the gray and go with pink because if the oil.based.paint bleeds (and I knew it would because everything else did), the red stain wouldn't be so obvious. Maybe.

Finding a color match took all of 30 seconds. A Lowe's guy helped me find the paint and gave me some painting with oil.based.paint tips (he sold me a roller instead of a brush). Lowe's redemption.

The oil.based.paint went on with perfection. No bleeding whatsoever.

I do hope Nora keeps the guy. I wonder if he knows how to fix drains.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


My local sewing machine repair guy was able to find two set screws to fit this old, European manufactured machine. Set screws hold the machine to the pegged hinges on the table so that the machine can be lowered and the top closed. After looking at the size of the holes, he was doubtful he had anything small enough, but he managed to find two mismatched screws in his 30 year old stock pile of parts.

I am anxious to put something under her needle. But I'm still in a post-migraine haze so that's going to have to wait a bit.

In the meanwhile, a few more BEFORE photos. If you double click on a photo, I think you'll get a close up.

And more AFTER photos.

Notice how well the hinges cleaned up using a bit of Tarn-x.

The handles also cleaned up nicely - even to the point of having a pink patina! I was going to replace them, but they no longer make handles to fit the 1.5 inch span for holes and I was NOT going to drill additional holes in this old cabinet. I cleaned the handles in preparation for painting - thinking to paint them gray. Once cleaned, they showed a beautiful pink patina, perfect for the Nora's desk.

The pile awaiting the sewer's touch. A good use of the uncomfortable chair.

Here is the extensive presser foot and accessory collection which came with Nora which I am anxious to employ.

Notice that there is one cam. One. I'm on the hunt for Nora's cams. I understand Lelia's cams will fit the Nora. (Supernova cam do NOT fit.) If anyone has a source, please let me know.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Waiting for the Paint to Dry

Thought I'd post a few of the things I made late spring/early summer. I wear skirts and dresses often because I love them. I think I've loved them since I was a child.

Here's a suit I made in the spring which I didn't wear at the time because the knit fabric was too heavy for the warming weather. It was almost perfect for today when I had occasion to wear it to appear in traffic court to beg for mercy for my very first e.v.e.r. speeding ticket. The judge did give me mercy, but in this state, that entails an 8-hour driving school course. At least I'll still have a pristine record. My mail carrier was in traffic court as well - don't you just love small town life??? Julie is a great gal and we agreed to attend driving school together. She got a speeding ticket while delivering mail on her rural route. Talk about having a bad day at work!

The jacket is made in the same knit but - - - I forget which pattern. I'll have to look it up and edit this post later. It came out perfectly and I'm thrilled with it.

I drafted the skirt using the tutorial by Jennifer Sterns called How to Draft a One-Seam Skirt in 30 Minutes. I've made this in 3 renditions and love them all. I'd like to add a back kick slit to this pattern.

The two other renditions are below:

The faces skirt is a knit I found at Waechter's. It was too wacky to refuse. I added a band of doubled double-knit at the bottom to weigh down the very thin and light-weight faces knit, though I did not line it. I've worn it a few times and not one person has given me feedback yay or nay. Maybe you can see the purple lips if you double click to get a larger image.

The green stripe is linen. I think I bought that at Hancock's.

Next up are my two favorite skirts made with McCalls 7316, view C. I bought the fabric, same fabric in different colorways, at Kashi's Metro Textile during my trip to NYC last spring. It's a stretch canvas of some sort and is extremely comfy to wear. Yes, the fabric is a bit heavy, but with the a-line, it didn't matter because there was plenty of air circulation. Buttons bought at M&J Trims.

The next is a zebra strip poly I bought at our local quilt shop. I had promised to buy a bit of it if Jeanine bought a bolt and so I kept my promise (hoping she'll get in more fashion fabric). I had made this pattern previously: McCalls 5430, but instead of the bow tie at the waist, I used a button closure. I got the idea for that from a review I had read (lest anyone think I'm that smart). The fabric is light as air so I needed to weight the edge down and bound it with some stretch black poly knit. I stretched it a bit near the bottom and, as you can see, it twists a bit. It's not so bad when I'm wearing it as it has movement and isn't quite so noticeable. I don't like to wear my fall colors (browns, blacks) during the summer, so this didn't get any wear, but I will be wearing it in the upcoming weeks, I'm sure. Since we are past Labor Day, summer colors are waning and fall colors acceptable. And since our days are still warm, this skirt will work well.

Last photo of the day is me now, after that whirlwind raid of my closet to show you some things. The t-shirt is Pamela's Patterns and one of the first I made. It seems subsequent tops I've made with that pattern don't fit me as well. And I can't figure out why! I won't give up, however. This top is comfy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Filling in the Gap

I have ignored my blog. And, evidently, you who have checked in on me. I had no idea anyone was interested in me or my blog until I received word today that, yes, indeed, someone has looking in on me to see what I've been doing. (Waving Hi to she who sent me a kind note!)

It has been an advent-filled summer. I went "home" to upstate NY for a wedding in July. I wore an outfit I made and felt lovely (but not nearly as lovely as the bride!). I'll have to model my outfit for you. We took the opportunity while in NY to pack the house and put our things into storage. I purged most of our worldly belongings and only regret tossing my old jello molds. Such an odd thing to regret and since they are the only things I do regret, the purge was a great success, don't you think?

I have been living in southern VA for over a year. My husband had been down here nearly 3 years and "commuting" back north to visit. He moved here to build a manufacturing plant and the state of Virginia wanted his business, so here we are. It is a privilege to provide American made product and to provide jobs for the wonderful people here in rural Virginia. The plant is doing well and growing - we are up to two shifts and a second line is being built with hopes that it will be online soon. Prayers for success and growth would be welcome!

We have two college-aged children who were still using (and needing) the home base up north while attending school, so we were unable to close out the house until now. They moved here with me a year ago last spring after my husband was diagnosed with CLL - Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia - two years ago. The greatest outward symptom of this type of disease is fatigue. The commute north got to be too much for him, besides, he needed his family full-time and so we each dropped what we were doing, packed a suitcase, and joined him here. We're now fully settled with the kids in schools down here - one at a local college so he can also work with his dad at the plant (and loving it), the other at a university 3 hours away (and working at the plant during school breaks) - close enough to come home and visit on occasion.

Meanwhile, I sew. Not quite. I prepare to sew. After returning from the great house purge, I found a Necchi Nora on Craigslist in a nearby city. I am thrilled with her.

Isn't she lovely? This is after cleaning decades of grime. She had been lovingly used for decades by a woman who sewed upholstery. You can see the yellowing in the paint from those years of use. I have been told I might be able to buff it out with Minwax. I'll be trying that. Nora came with lots of feet but her cams are missing.

Nora's cabinet was tired. Sturdy but ugly. See? A typical used sewing cabinet.

I feel Nora needs a throne worthy of her. So I set about making that happen. I lightly sanded the throne. But then thought it needed a deeper sanding so I did that. And then I primed. But when old red finish oozed through the primer (turning my paint brush red), I knew I was in trouble. I sat and looked at the mess for a week. I decided to add primer to the latex paint and try a coat of that. I only made the mess worse....and red still oozed through. Nora needed her throne. I need to sew. Tears were in order.

I decided to try oil based paint. What was there to loose at this point? I chose a pink to match the Nora (although I wanted a light gray) with the hope that if the red continued to ooze, it wouldn't be as noticeable. I got high gloss so that fabrics would glide more readily.

Finally! Success and no ugly red ooze. Which makes me wish I'd tried the gray. Ah well. I will post a photo soon. The throne is still out in the garage where it will stay until I determine the paint is fully cured.

I wanted new handles - I do have all four but they are tarnished and disgustingly dirty. I had visions of something feminine and beautiful. A trip to the store indicated that these 1959 Italian made handles have a 1.5 inch span between screws. Newer handles have a much larger span. I am unwilling to drill holes so painting the handles seemed a likely compromise. In the process of cleaning, they revealed a pink patina! I returned the spray paint and will use them as is. I think they will be perfect and will give the throne a regal air of antiquity.

I need to find fabric to cover the seat. I have no clue what I'd like. I'll know it when I see it.

I shopped the Labor Day fabric sales online. I used the Nora to zigzag the edges prior to washing. What a dream! What speed (there's a fast switch)! What precision!

Sew anxious!