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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Another Singer Domestically Speaking, Of Course

Moss Rose
Goodman and I were browsing our favorite local antique store yesterday, actually looking over a treadle cabinet that I was considering for my hand-crank 1915 machine,  when another browser walked up and began talking about the old portable Singer his mother and grandmother had used years ago.  We listened and found out he had inherited it, and that it was stored in the CRAWL SPACE of his house.  Argh, a damp, dusty, buggy crawl space in no place to store a sewing machine, but on with the story.  He said he had no family members that sewed, but he wanted it to go to someone who'd use it and appreciate it and then offered it to us for only $35.  He knew its worth full-well, but his emotional attachment to the machine and wanting it to be used seemed to be his guide for selling it to us.  We finished browsing the store and met him later at his house to pick it up.  I didn't get a chance to try it out first - he didn't know us from Adam's house cat so he brought it out to the driveway, we paid him and left with it.
Here's a look at how the case looked before cleaning:

At first the wheel wouldn't turn at all (usually a sign that the motor is frozen some way or other) so Goodman sprayed a silicone lubricant into the grease openings on the motor casing and let it set until the motor was saturated.  It took a few hours of waiting, but the motor turns and is working smoothly now.  This is an after cleaning photo... it was covered in grime when we got it. 
Grease holes are the silver upright cylinders on either end of the motor casing.
While Goodman was busy with the motor I looked the machine up on the Singer site and found that it is a 1928 Model 99-13 portable.  It's really too heavy to be carrying around at about 30 pounds, but that's how they billed it back then.  It was a 3/4 sized version of their Model 66.  Here are some ad plates that the Singer Company used to advertise this machine back in the early 1920s.  (Click the pics to see them better.)


  Someone at the Singer Company must have been a birder.   Love. that.



Here's our new girl all cleaned up but not quite ready to sew.  The tension needs adjusting, but that should be done soon. 

 The finish is in pretty good shape except for a 1-inch spot on a corner of the base that is a bit rusty, thanks to that "crawl space", no doubt.  Not a big worry though.

Several attachments, 6 bobbins and the original manual were in the cubbyhole in the base.  Love the gold trim on old Singers.
The main reason I really, really love old Singer sewing machines...  They will last forever if you keep them oiled.  Recently my second-hand, but still pricey Pfaff 2170 sewing & embroidery machine bit. the. dust.  I'd had it only 4 years.  It will cost $800 dollars to fix it.  I don't think we'll be paying that to fix it as there's no guarantee how long it would work then, either.  Obviously buying it was a costly mistake.  And it's not even cute enough to use as a doorstop whereas the old Singer machines are.  I have two other vintage Singer machines if you'd like to take a look at them:
A 1915 Hand-Crank Portable Model 15 and a 1953 Model 301a .

In my search to identify some attachments I found this clever gif depicting the interlocking twist that keeps us sewists in stitches. Brilliant.
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What's for dinner - a copycat version of Red Lobster's clam chowder and cheese toast.  Lip-smackin' good, it was.  Wishing y'all a wonderful week.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Passionflower For A Good Night's Sleep

Have you tried passionflower tea for relieving stress?  Studies have shown that a tea made from the leaves of the passionflower vine (passiflora) promotes relaxation for a good night's rest.  Studies have also shown that using passionflower as a supplement improved symptoms of menopause such as sleeplessness, depression, anger and headache.  It's a nervine so do not take it if you're already taking a prescription sleep aid.  Also, pregnant or nursing mothers should not use it. There are a number of different species, but the lavender one below is the correct one to use, not the blue variety.  The vines have tendrils and will climb if there are other plants around to give it support. If not, they grow along the ground. 

The leaves have three lobes and are the part you want to pick for the tea.  I use a teaspoon of dried, crushed leaves per cup of water. Use two teaspoons per cup if using fresh leaves.  Bring the water to a boil then pour over and steep the leaves for 15-20 minutes.  I think the tea is more palatable when cooled slightly with a spoon of honey stirred in.  Goodman and I have both tried the tea recently, and it has helped us relax and sleep through the night.

The fruit is an edible antioxidant.  I well remember eating them as a child.  Pick them as the color begins to lighten and let them ripen to a yellowish color.  As always with any wild plant be sure you have identified it correctly and consult your physician with any concerns you may have.  

In the garden:  Here's a little trick for producing tomato plants very quickly.  Take cuttings from the plants you already have and root them in water for a week or two.  

You'll be surprised how fast the roots grow.  

 After rooting in water place the cutting in soil in a small pot for another two weeks.

 By this time the roots are well developed and ready to plant in the garden.  This is a great, inexpensive way to keep harvesting tomatoes until frost.  Also, mix a tablespoon of epsom salt into the soil at the roots to help the plants develop a healthy structure and guard against blossom-end rot.

A goldfinch takes a moment to ponder what a nice summer we're having.         

Have a great week, Y'all!
Burgundy Stella d'oro lilies after a recent rain




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In The Good Ol' Summertime

What a summer!  I looked to the right...

 And then to the left, and June was gone before I knew it.  O.O

It must have been a blast as all I can tell you is it was full of blooms and warm, lol.

There's a new/old sewing machine in the house.  I'd been on the lookout to find this particular model for quite awhile.  She's a 1953 model 301a Singer, and she will sew lightweight leather and heavy-ish fabrics with no upsets.  I found her on Craigslist in a town nearly an hour away, but it was worth the drive, a good find.  The cabinet is handmade and very solid if not all that pretty. The first drawer held several treasures...

 It contained a buttonhole attachment with extra templates, a zigzagger, all manner of extra feet, bobbins and manuals for everything.  Someone had taken very good care of the machine and it's accessories, and I am thrilled to have it.

Any guesses what this might be?  I had no idea how to use it at first.

 It's a...

You just pull the ring shaped handles up and out to the sides and load a stocking or sock using the spring to hold it,  then place the whole thing under the sewing machine needle and sew up any holes. How it works is you just move it back and forth until the hole is filled with stitches.  I thought it was totally cool after I found out how to use it.

 Our second-year hydrangeas are growing beautifully. Coffee grounds are helping to keep the blooms blue.

 These little bugs were eating the leaves until I sprayed them ...

With a combination of 1/4 cup dish liquid and 16 ozs. water in a spray bottle.

Our Lavender Orpingtons are fully grown and producing chicks.  I've even sold some at a good profit.

This is Stubby; I thinks she's going to be a hen.

Our Buff Brahma hen is setting and very moody.  I'll just back out quietly...shh.

 I found this American Elderberry growing along the fence line and hope to transplant it to a more convenient spot in the fall.

  We had a birthday celebration on the Star of Knoxville Riverboat last month.
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We lunched and enjoyed the ride up a stretch of the Tennessee River.
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Hope you're all having a great summer.  :)
The little needle book from the fifties was also in a drawer of the machine cabinet. 
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, FarmGirl Friday, The BackYard Farming Connection