A New Dress For My Vintage Treadle

Three years ago, when CountryBoy and I were walking through the farmhouse with the realtor, the seller had an old Singer treadle machine sitting on one side of the double-sided fireplace.  I fell in love with it and its reminder of times past and decided, then and there, that I wanted to decorate our farmhouse with dual-purpose items from the past.  Dual-Purpose as in both decorative and functional or decorative and sentimental.  I half-jokingly asked her if she was going to leave it!  Her reply was “maybe, if I was good”. Apparently, I was not good.  Go figure, ha!

Shortly after moving in, we started discovering where the local antique and vendor malls were and we frequented them whenever we were out and about and time permitted.  Most times we weren’t really looking for anything in particular yet at every shop I found myself looking for a vintage treadle sewing machine in decent shape.  After striking out shop after shop I asked one of the shop clerks if they ever got any in the store.  I was told that I just missed out on a couple of them and that a fella would snatch them up as quick as they came in.  No wonder I never saw any since we didn’t leave the farm very often!

Not too long after that encounter, we were in another antique and vendor mall and there they were… in a room behind the counter with a sign on it that said something along the lines of it being a workroom.  WHAAAAT?!  A workroom?  But, there are vintage sewing machines in there!

As we were peering into the room and my head was swimming with the knowledge that I have found some vintage machines but they weren’t for sale (at least not in their current state) a fella asked if he could help us.  Then it hit me – THIS was probably the fella that was snatching up all the vintage machines right before I entered any of the shop doors.  GASP!

Sure enough, he bought old sewing machines in cabinets mainly for the bases and he would repurpose them into other useful things.  Sometimes, even the machine itself would be turned into a lamp or some other decorative item.

While I’m all for repurposing items that are beyond their original function the very thought of doing such a thing to a vintage sewing machine left a pit in my stomach. Especially if the machine(s) were in good shape and still worked.  Sacrilege!

I quickly recovered and asked him about all the machines in this workroom and were any of them for sale.  He said none were for sale and then he explained how he repurposed them.  sigh.

I’m not sure whether it was the deflated look on my face or the fact that I teased him about being the one that always snatched up old machines before I could get to them but after a few minutes he had a change of heart and offered me one of the machines saying it wasn’t really the style he was looking for at the moment.  I looked at CountryBoy with my hopes up so he asked how much.  $60 bucks.  SOLD!

Here it is looking how she did when we brought her to the farmhouse…

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Isn’t the cabinet gorgeous?  We love its curves and the ornamentation on the drawers.  I couldn’t believe my luck that this was the one he didn’t want!

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And the machine?

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It was in decent shape and looked like it would function properly it was just a little dusty and grimy…

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See the original wood around the machine?  I figured one day I would get around to restoring the rest of it back to the original wood.  Three years later I haven’t done a thing with it.  sigh.

Well, after sewing my heart out earlier in the month at the annual quilt retreat I attend in Florida my sewing space has been on my mind.  It’s been needing some TLC so I figured while I was still in the sewing frame of mind I thought it was time to tackle the treadle.  I figured this would up the wow-factor of my sewing space and provide me with some inspiration every time I saw it.  Plus, this project has been one of my ‘just get it done this year’ goals!

Another source of motivation for working on it was our last snow storm where we were without power for several days.  Since then, my thoughts have been consumed with getting this machine cleaned up, something done with the cabinet and ordering the parts needed to get the machine up and running.  You know, just in case we’re ever without power again I could at least do some sewing in the light of the hurricane lamps.  (Remember my decision to decorate with dual-purpose items? Hurricane lamps (and lots of them!) and a treadle = able to do something without electricity!)

After mentioning my idea of restoring the cabinet to its original wood CountryBoy reminded me of the work involved in that process and that I would have difficulty getting all the black paint off from around the ornamentation on the drawers and from around the drawer pulls.  After closer inspection I knew he was right and it had me wondering if I really DID want to restore it back to the original wood.

At first I didn’t mind it being painted black but after looking at it in the sewing space for three years and not really being able to see it since there is no natural light source in there (making it rather dark) I thought maybe I should do something different.  Something that would showcase the beauty of it which got me to thinking (I know, right!)… why don’t I just paint it.  WHAAAT?  I know, I know.  I am the first one to want to restore something to its originality but in this case… it was already painted and as I’ve mentioned before, I could never paint original wood unless it was severely damaged, already painted or cheap wood.  So, since someone else already painted over that fine wood I figured I’d add another layer.

The last two days I spent chalk-painting and waxing my vintage treadle sewing machine cabinet and I’m really pleased with how it turned out…

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Look at the tiny drawer in the middle!  Before it was hard to see its unique shape.  I also love the simple black and white palette, how the sewing machine is featured now and the whole thing is noticeable in the space.

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I still have the lid to do.  It needs a bit of gluing and TLC and the weather has not been suitable for working on it out in the shop.

I ‘distressed’ it a tiny bit to feature the ornamentation on the drawers and tried to give it a ‘used’ look… after all, it is vintage!

 

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I also spent some time on the machine.  It had a little ‘spa day’ yesterday…

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It’s hard to see the difference but the dirt and grime are gone and the metal shines  once again.  The clear coat is mostly gone and the decals are showing wear but that’s OK.  She’s old and, as they say, just adds character!

This is a Minnesota A model treadle sewing machine and from what I’ve found in my research it was made in the very early 1900’s, probably 1910ish, and sold by Sears via their catalogue.  It was made to rival the Singer models and was mentioned as a ‘top of the line’ sewing machine.  I’m glad to have found her!

I need to find the correct bobbins and shuttle for this machine, the right needles and it needs a belt then I imagine she will purr like a kitten.  That is, if I can figure out how to sew using my feet! It will probably be a test of my coordination or maybe lack thereof, ha!

This is what I now see as I head up the stairs…

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A bit of inspiration for hanging out in my sewing/craft space whenever time permits!

The lid that still needs some TLC is leaning against a storage cabinet CountryBoy made that holds my small fabric stash behind the glass doors as well as some crochet thread, scrapbooking stuff, cross stitch patterns and who-knows-what-other-crafty-type-stuff!  The wicker basket is home to all the partial skeins of cotton yarn I’ve ever used.  Anyone know of a good scrappy project for all that yarn?!  For now I see tons of knitted dishcloths in my future, ha!

So, that’s a portion of my sewing space featuring my newly ‘dressed’ vintage treadle sewing machine.  I really like how it turned out and can’t wait until she’s got all her parts so I can learn how to use it.  You just never know when we’ll be without power again!

Till next time 🙂

 

 

 

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The Painted Hutch

If y’all remember a few days ago when our water was frozen I mentioned I was wanting to start a painting project that day.  I postponed that project and ended up finally tackling a wall hanging that was in need of being re-basted and quilted.

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I have many UFO’s (unfinished objects!) piled on a chair in my sewing room so it felt good to get started on at least one of them!  I still need to finish it up but I am over halfway with the quilting process.

Thankfully, our water unthawed late that same day and has stayed unthawed despite our below freezing  daytime temperatures.  So yesterday I jumped on my painting project…

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our dining room hutch that practically disappears into the wall.

Normally, I am opposed to painting any piece of fine furniture and especially antiques that is, unless they are beyond salvaging but in this case, well, let’s just say that sometimes we feel like we live in a cave and I feel the need to do whatever necessary to make it lighter and brighter.

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Hutch?  What hutch?  Oh, that hutch in the corner!

The interior walls of the ‘ol house are rough-cut lumber that has been stained a dark color.  Add to that, windows that are smaller than the original windows in the old farmhouse and it makes for a very dark house.

I’m slowly repainting the hunter green trim that was around all the windows and on the baseboards.  Doing that has helped break all the darkness quite a bit .

I love natural light and we often wonder what Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame would say if she ever darkened the doors of our old farmhouse!  Get it?  Darkened the doors – hahaha!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Anyhoo, a few people have mentioned painting our walls but I just can’t.  For starters, rough cut wood is difficult to paint and well, you know how I struggle with painting wood so painting the walls is out.  Besides, I think it would lose that cozy cabin-feel if we did.

In pondering my options and perusing Pinterest I found some really great hutches that have been painted with chalk paint and I decided to go for it.

I saved up some extra money I’ve earned at work and bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint, wax and the recommended brush and finally, I could start on my painting project.

That first swipe of paint was difficult but once I got started there was no turning back.  I finished it up today and have to say, that I-love-it and am super pleased with how it turned out!

I left the slats on the doors the original color to tie in with a small bookshelf CountryBoy made using some shutters.  I painted it white but left the shutter slats raw.  Our dining chairs are also white and natural as you can see below which makes them all come together nicely.

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I think the painted hutch did a lot to lighten up that corner and the light coming in the window also reflects off it and helps lighten the whole dining room.

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I did not want the solid white brand-new look so I did some light distressing after I waxed it which adds to the character of this piece and ties in better with our rustic farmhouse style.

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I also like how much better our collection of pink and green Cherry Blossom depression glass shows up against the white.

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So pretty!  I can’t stop looking at it, hahaha!  I guess that means it was worth it.

 

A Rainy Day Off

It’s a wonderfully cool, rainy day today and I have no place I have to be until this evening.  I’m lounging around in my comfy house clothes, doing whatever I feel like doing and I’m lovin’ it!

I woke up this morning with nothing pressing to do.  It was almost overwhelming deciding what I should accomplish today as I have many unfinished projects but I quickly decided to write a blog post and just chill.

Originally, I wanted to spend some time in my sewing room working on the many unfinished quilts I have draped over a rocking chair.  Quilts such as this one…

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It’s a wall-hanging that I quickly basted to get it off the guestroom floor before our first batch of company came last week.  Unfortunately, when I picked it up, the backing had a huge folded crease smack-dab in the center of it.  Talk about a let-down (sniff!).  Now, I have to un-baste half of it and re-do it before I can quilt it.   So, I decided to work on another unfinished project that stares at me every time I’m sitting in the living room…

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a stamped cross-stitch table topper with, of course, chickens on it!  This is the last set of chickens to be stitched then it’s on to the back-stitching and it’s done.  So, since I’m so close to being done I’ve decided to work on it today and forego doing anything in the sewing room.  Winter is fast approaching where I’ll have time aplenty to be up there working on my many projects.

Other than a staff party this evening at one of the girls’ house, there is nothing scribbled on my planner.   There hasn’t been a blank day in months so, to say that I am enjoying this cool, rainy day immensely is an understatement!

I’m also looking forward to the party tonight.  We’ve had a busy month at the B&B and tonight we’re all going to eat, laugh and chill out.  Last night, I cut up some fruit and dropped them into some orange juice, apple juice and NingXia Red (a delicious fruit juice and essential oils beverage full of anti-oxidants from Young Living) for an alcohol-free Sangria to which I’ll add sparkling white grape and cranberry juices before serving and this morning I made a Mexican Layer Dip to take to the party.

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MMMmmm!  I can’t wait to dig in to all the goodies everyone brings.

This morning there was a mist over the mountain-top across the street.

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The foliage has been beautiful this Fall!  They were late in turning but it was worth the delay.  This year has been the brightest and prettiest since we’ve moved here.  I don’t know if this ‘raised in Florida’ gal will ever tire of Fall and its colors, cool air and all its beauty!

Speaking of beauty, this Clematis bloomed last week.

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It has survived several cold nights and even a frosty night or two.  I’ve planted these at the base of the arbor.  I’m looking forward to the day when it is covered with these beauties and welcoming guests to the front porch!

 

 

Rainy Day Ramblings

It’s Monday.  It’s raining.  And, both are just fine with me.

The rain is nourishing the gardens. The onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes are coming along nicely and the recently planted watermelon, okra, turnips, beets and corn will all love this rain!

Also coming up much quicker than the crops are weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds!  One could hoe 24/7 and still not keep up with the weeds.  We are doing our best, though, to not get overrun with them this year.  We’ll see how that goes!

My flowers are also loving this rain…

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It’s been a nice, gentle rain which is perfect for newly planted seeds.

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It’s also good for all my potted plants.

Prior to this rainy Monday, I spent several hours over the weekend re-locating my ‘office’.  Again!  Originally, it was in my sewing and craft room but there are no windows in there and I found myself lacking any desire to get in there to do any blog writing or computer work in general.  So, I moved my ‘office’ (which consists of a laptop, printer, computer software, paper & card stuffs, and files and stuff for Young Living) into one of the guest rooms.  Ah, windows!  I suddenly found myself a bit more motivated!  But, it still wasn’t the perfect location.  When we do have guests, I am hesitant to do any blogging or computer work as I feel like I am intruding on our guests space.  And, I felt ostracized from the goings-on downstairs.  I don’t know if that makes sense or not but it was just how I felt.

So, I decided to move my ‘office’ downstairs.

The only somewhat suitable spot was in the dining room.

My overly-large roll-top desk was already in there so I decided that was where my ‘office’ would be. But first, I had to tackle the mounds of paperwork that covered the top of the desk so that I could put my laptop on it and yesterday morning was the day I felt as if I could conquer it.  Ha!  Please tell me I’m not the only one that lets paperwork get out of control!!!  I love to be organized but if anything is going to whip me in the organizing department it will be paperwork.  sigh.

Anyway, after moving the desk to anther wall so that I could look out the window while I worked I set about sorting, filing and tossing and eventually I saw the top of my desk.  Yay!  So, I started bringing stuff down from upstairs and getting it set up.

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It still needs a little bit of tweaking here and there.  I will finalize the space as I figure out what works and what doesn’t.  But, for now, I’m happy to be downstairs writing this here blog post, happy to be out of the guest room and happy to be able to see outside.  Happy, happy, happy!

I also spent a few hours over the weekend working on an old window that was left behind when we moved in…

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I knew I wanted to do something with this window but I didn’t know what so it’s been moved around from one storage shed to another waiting for me to be inspired.

As I was looking for a wooden box that I wanted to use in my new ‘office’ space (later to remember that I was already using it in another guest room to store bedding) I came across the window and a lightbulb went off!  I was going to clean it up and hang it on wall in the ‘office’/dining room.

It required lots and lots of elbow grease to get the paint off the windows…

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and while I was at it, I cleaned up the backside and ran a bead of clear silicone around each pane to help secure them…

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There was a pane missing so I tried to cut a piece of glass I had leftover from a water-damaged picture frame but I didn’t have the right tools.   So, to avoid a potential disaster I let it be.

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For the window frame itself, I simply scraped off any loose paint which exposed the original white paint and, in some spots, the wood itself.  I love the character that is left behind!

This wall, which is the only wall in there with drywall, is in need of a coat of paint.  I’m hoping that the window will be the focus and not the badly needed-paint job.

Also on this wall is a built-in shelf.  This shelf was originally a window but when, what is now the mudroom was enclosed the window was removed and, I’m assuming, this shelf was built…

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I’ve not known what to do with this built-in. At one time, I was thinking about removing it to have a solid wall and not have to try and ‘decorate’ around it.  But, since this shelf is near my ‘office’ I’ve decided to store some extra Young Living goodies on it…

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as well as a few things that remind me of the farm…

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I pulled that honey comb off the bottom of one of the medium supers I temporarily had in the large brood box.  It’s so cool and the handy work of the bees just amaze me!  It’s also a reminder of my ‘why’ for growing my Young Living business as well as my handmade/homemade farm goods business.

Speaking of handmade goods, I was asked by a friend of mine to make a quilted wall-hanging for her dining room.  She and I both like traditional quilts so I spent some time searching for just the right pattern.  After finding the pattern the next challenge was finding the perfect fabric.  I finally found some and, as you saw in my last post, I started cutting it.  I finished the quilt-top last Friday.  I love it!

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Simple nine patches around a double star.  Here’s a closer look at the gorgeous colors…

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Now to decide how I want to quilt it.  I find piecing the top is the easy part – quilting it, not so much.   I’m starting to come up with a plan.  I’m wanting to keep the quilting fairly traditional and I want it to add to, not take away, from the quilt top.

I did a second one with completely different fabrics which gave the quilt a completely different look…

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The sun was shining bright when I took this photo so it’s hard to see the colors but here’s a closeup…

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This pattern was so much fun!.  I will definitely be making more of them.

I also had some fun with the embroidery machine…

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I decided to make a pillow with this one.  I want to do another one but will use different colors.  SEW fun!

Earlier in the week, we decided it was time to let the chicks out of the grow-out cage during the day…

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CountryBoy cut two openings in the cage just large enough so that the littles could go in and out but the big girls couldn’t get in to eat all the food.  Cuz, you know, the chicks are getting better food than they get.  smirk!  We close the openings each night once they are all in safe and sound.

Occasionally, the big girls throw their weight around trying to tell the littles who’s boss but, for the most part, all is well.  Fuzzy Foot is really the boss but he just keeps thinking about the fact that he’s got even MORE girls to watch out for!  Poor Fuzzy Foot!

The rain has stopped for now so I will end my ramblings.

Thanks to all of you who faithfully read my ramblings and for the sweet comments letting me know that you actually enjoy reading my ramblings.  Y’all are too kind!