Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: The Road Ahead.

I'm sure you are all used to me disappearing for days by now, and I wish that I could say it's because I was up to some fun and exciting project.

Fact is, I've been coming to terms with some news I have been given about two weeks ago, though as rocky as it may have been at points and still is, I feel like I am ready to head it on, and speak about it.

About a month ago my mother found a lump in her breast, we have managed to remain cautiously optimistic that it was likely nothing as doctors and friends have told us that majority of lumps discovered are not actually cancerous. A close friend told me she even has lumps but they were merely cysts...

Two weeks ago she got the results of the biopsy confirming that it was cancerous. She spoke to the physician and we now know that it's stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. My mother has opted for a double mastectomy.

I wasn't so much sad as I was angry at the world; on top of her having to deal with another restrictive disease, we now have to confront one of the biggest ones of all. I felt like the tears wouldn't stop flowing.

As the surgery date gets closer, the concerns and worries feel insurmountable and the distance between us makes me feel largely helpless and isolated. I know that as a grown woman, I must live my path... but the guilt has never left my side, knowing there was and are a million reasons why I should've stayed closer to home. My mother is my life line, and the decision to move so far away was my own-- I must live with that.

I do have plans to go up and help for however long I can, but due to monetary restrictions ( I want to save up in case she may need a large chunk of help in regards to bills and such), I have to aim for the time when she receives chemo, as we heard that, that is the toughest stretch towards remission, and when she'll need me most.

In the meantime, the post-surgery attire is expensive and not covered by her insurance. I was planning on designing and constructing those garments in a fashionable manner. It seems kind of silly to consider the fashionable aspect, as my mother is much more reclusive than I, and has reminded me that she does not like "going out"... but I want her to not look upon these garments as you would a hospital-- sterile and lacking the "life" that it gives back. I want her garments to be a reminder of the hope we should always keep.

On another note, it's a very good thing that my last purchase was another machine, because if not... then my plans might've been dashed by the return of my brother sewing machine-- who did not make the journey back to me. The "repair" people sent it back in far worse condition than I sent it. They tossed it into a plastic sack with the embroidery arm rubber banded to the machine, put it in a box that wasn't labeled fragile or 'this side up' and used expanding foam on the sides alone. To add insult to injury, they managed to "misplace" the power cord and pedal I sent along with it-- they claimed I should not have sent those with it, but no where did we find in the shipping instructions they emailed us did it say to omit those.

We will fight this tooth and nail, but it's wal-mart's extended warranty plan... so I am unsure of the outcome; whether they will claim responsibility for such carelessness, and replace the machine.

Despite everything else, I am continuing to keep busy and attempting with all my strength to remain as positive as I can-- if not for me than for my mother.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Spooky Basket: Blasting Off With The Singer Rocketeer. (Image Level:Extreme)

Oh dear readers, it has finally happened for me.

I recently acquired a vintage Singer.
Bam! To the point.

Yess'm, this is a momentous occasion... so big, that I was/am heavily debating creating a Youtube channel based on this latest and greatest endeavor of mine. I don't know why, it's just a very loud and not easily ignored inclination that likely won't come to fruition due to my lack of confidence.

The first photo on the first day it set foot into my sewing room

Meet my newest obsession and love affair, the Singer 503A Slant-o-matic (also known as the Rocketeer).
My hubs purchased it for me after I was having a bout of the blues for having no way of finishing my projects while my Brother SE400 is away for repairs. He called it my late Hallowe'en/early Christmas present.

Some of you may remember me making a wishlist on my blog some time ago, and it included the Singer Featherweight. Well, a close runner up in popularity to the featherweight are the machines in the 500 series. These, the featherweights, and the 400's rank as some of the best Singer ever had to offer in function and aesthetic.

You can clearly see why, for the looks portion anyway... I read that it gets the Rocketeer nickname for it's "futuristic vintage" sleekness; the Jetsons comes to mind, hehe.

I remember seeing it at an antique shop in town and mistaking it for the 401A-- the older sister. I didn't take a closer look, because it would've just left with me that day... but it stuck in my head since then.

My hubby and I went back a few days ago, and there it still was, as if it was just waiting for me to finally come pick it up. It was destiny. The owner included the wood cabinet, and various original accessories.

Even the box they came in was original. The manual was an original-- everything was pretty much pristine! It filled my stitched heart with so much joy.

The only disappointing thing is that this one had its general purpose foot lost in the waves of time spent in that antique shop. Luckily, it was that one and not one of the ones shown in the photo... a slant general purpose foot is really easily located on Ebay, and I did... along with a couple other little trinkets for this machine...

I know, I'm crazy. It has just barely been a complete week since first receiving this machine, and already I am going loco with the extra trimmings.

Other things that were included in my nice little bundle are things like an extremely intimidating looking buttonholer.

I haven't even begun to read the manual on how to operate this... looks a lot like my mom's old electric razor... heh. It seems to be missing one of those plates, but I can't be entirely certain.

This Singer is all metal, and is strictly gear driven; not a single belt in there. As these things tend to go, they require an extra step in maintenance; whoever owned this in the past must've loved it deeply, there doesn't seem to be anything even superficially wrong with this machine. Even as it sat in the antique shop for god knows how long, it was still running.

It came with an original can and tube of lubricant and oil; yes, this machine does require both, for the very reason it's gear driven. I didn't want to use anymore of the old stuff, because it's a really cute display on my shelf... I'm a vintage sewing addict, what can I say?

I bought a tube and bottle of the new stuff... my how the times have changed the packaging...
I wouldn't know if it's any different in quality... but it doesn't look, sound or smell different; I mean, how much change can be done in a petroleum product? <insert naivety>

After some tune up done by yours truly, it runs like a dream. It doesn't even clank loudly as someone might expect a brute like this to do-- perhaps that's the gears?

Because of the nature of the mechanics, this machine utilizes these things called fashion discs (or cams) to create the different kinds of stitches, including a zig zag

You snap one into the top and set the width. Without one of these cams, this machine will only give you a straight stitch. The different patterns on the rims of these cams forces the inner mechanics to form the stitch. No programming in this machine, and I find that soooo cool.

Pops into this hole at the top

It came with its original 9 cams, but there are additional ones that, of course, I already purchased on ebay and eagerly await their arrival-- there's a total of 21 cams to this machine and they're all mine! All mine... Muahahah!

I haven't completed any projects on it... yet, but that will quickly change.

This won't be just another pretty face in my sewing room. 
It'll be used as it was always intended to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Coffin Rests, and Prototype Pumpkins

So, now that you all know I am trying to decorate my creative laboratory around a Halloween theme... I suppose it's time to let you in on all the things I am currently in the process of creating for myself, the self titled Spooky Seamstress-- could be a name for a new blog??


I'm going to post them as I finish them (or in this one case, days after), so I won't make this long... again... it might happen regardless...

This is merely a prototype; I say this because it technically doesn't function as it was meant... but the idea is still materialized... roughly.


Normal, and then spookified!

It's a pumpkin pincushion with a bat emery attached to it. I know, it needs work.
It's not actually filled with emery or sawdust, so that's why I said doesn't actually work as per its name...
I repeat, it's a prototype!

When I buy myself some emery and sawdust or crushed walnuts, this little creation might look a lot smoother and will also be a functioning member of my sewing society.


It's not enough to just post one photo... here we go again.
No really, I promise this'll be good.

If you're a sewist like me, then you have a ton of tools right beside your machine that constantly roll off the table. I did have a bowl, but that only worked for so long until I needed to spruce it up, make it spooky.

I had a few of these little wood coffins from Micheal's lying around, and they're just the right size! So a-painting I did go!

Here we have the bunch all together! How lovely. I put a ribbon on the lid to the base to keep the lid looking awesome, because the back (front)...

Has a little bat with button eyes and a web that kinda looks like it turned to stitching... kinda...

But wait! There's more!

It wasn't enough that I had a pumpkin pincushion with bat emery, and a coffin holder!

Nailed it.
I needed a skeleton hand holding it all, too.

Spook ya later!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: The Seamstress of Spooky Things.

For many of us, Hallowe'en is an important time.

It's sometimes as simple as the time of year to deck out or pads with things that will remain up for the rest of the year.
For me, it's a little bit of spiritual, a little bit of decorative flair, and lots of fun!

Unfortunately this year I feel like I haven't lived up to the "Halloweenie" title that has been bestowed upon me by my family and coworkers.

I haven't bought anything but Hallowe'en fabric this year, and the decorations that are up (the meager ones at that) were very last minute with a very small budget-- we're talking $20 at Dollartree, kinda budget. I didn't even get a pumpkin to carve...

I was working on a pretty exciting costume that I likely wasn't ever going to wear; first because I've never in my life been invited to the kind of gatherings that require dressing up, secondly I don't think there is a place in this new town that actually does something adult friendly that I could just waltz into.

Regardless of all those things, I was very excited to be working on a costume for once, but my machine had other plans... plans of not working properly anymore. I was forced to stop, pack 'er up and ship it away to get repaired. Thankfully it's only costing me the price of packing supplies, as it is still under the extended warranty.

So, I wanted to participate in Professor Z's monthly assignment, but the only place that is Halloweenie in my home is my creative laboratory, and even that is a work in progress.
Without further ado, I welcome you to my newest lab of excitements...

Here we have the view as you walk in. You might notice that I have the crappiest curtains ever to befall a place of creativity... that's going to change when my machine gets back to tip top shape. The only thing helping those awful curtains is the paper bat I purchased at Target, and some spooky windchimes I got at Dollar General.

Turning to the left you'll see my nook where my fabric, ironing station, scraps and other miscellaneous are kept.

You're quite lucky to be observing a closer look, because I've only just recently bolted all my fabric up and organized it by theme. I fear that if it had stayed in its past chaos the impact might not have made an impression. Each bolt carries an average of 2.5 yards-- the most holding 12 yards. I worry that one day that shelf will collapse under the weight of all that fabric... and this is a baby stash by many seamtress' standards. The taller bolts are shoved into the left cranny which cannot be seen clearly from this point of view. The boxes on the right carry more fabric, but are the ones that have very little use for my daily purposes. I ran out of bolts before I could finish the rest, thus the very top shelf is just neatly folded into meticulous piles, averaging about a 1 yard a bundle.
Most of it is, as you might've guessed, Hallowe'en themed.

Turning to the right wall, we can see my small stash of patterns, my various wood pressing aids, and a mini altar. It may sound like I'm bragging, but a genuine "trouble" (if you can call it that) of mine is my persistent flow of ideas, I have to temper it with meditation, thus I light an incense on my altar to create a sense of peace and focus whenever I am in there, because it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by all the things I want to make. Upon the altar there is various part of a deer (antler, vertebrae, skull) that were collected for me; to me the deer represents wisdom and tranquility. There is also a small jar of black riverstones that represent temperance and patience. It might not be the right representations, but they instill that within me and ultimately that's all that matters. I had all these in the past, but it never until moving here occurred to me to build an altar in my creative laboratory-- the place where it seems to make the most sense!

Moving along the wall, past my machine(s) table, we have the other side of the wall shelf. There is no altar upon this wall, but in some respects not any less special to me. Many of the trinkets and items were small gifts from friends and family all together adorning the shelves that hold many of my tools of the trade. You see that dalamation plush at the top there? That's Charlie, and he's as old as I am, and he still barks after all this time-- I can remember talking to Charlie as a child, whispering my wishes into his ear. I still do, from time to time.

To the right again, we see my handmade scissor shelf. sporting a few of the things that I bought/made/have been given. Below it, is a pegboard I framed in order to hang my bountiful array of rulers... but neglected to take a good photo of.

Next we pan out to see the right side of the room, which isn't much to discuss as it it simply a shelf for stabilizers, paddings, and whatnots. A shelf for all my sewing books, and of course my cutting table (which is really my dinning table that has been recently confiscated by me). You can't really tell but those lights lining it are litte purple bat lights.

You can see the lights just a tiny bit better from this photo-- these were given to me by my good friend from back in AZ. But you do get a good shot of two of my recent decorative purchases, the jack o'lantern rug procured in Target and the bat towel on my chair from K-mart. I put my knit hood onto the chair to make it that more batty... the material of the chair made it impossible to be comfortable, so that's really why I covered it all over.

Now that I've made this sufficiently long and windy... I think I'll end this post here, and hope that your Hallowe'en was a fabulous one!

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