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NEW BLOG

Thursday, February 28, 2013
I've been taking over my family blog for too long with posts about all my projects.  It's about time I introduce to you The Project Lady blog!

My husband often teases me when he sees me starting a new project by saying, "busy, busy, busy!".  I'll be the first to admit that I can't stop myself from taking on projects... any project really!

Why a blog?  Simply put... If *I* can do it, *you* can do it!  I'm a 26-year old stay-at-home mom who most people mistake to be 16-years old. I am a tomboy at heart and enjoy the satisfaction of creating and building.  Whether it's sewing a super-hero cape or building a wood shelf... making things with your own hands is empowering and a confidence builder.  I want to show you what *I* do and how to do it in the hopes that it will motivate *you* to try it yourself!

A little more about me...

I grew up sewing and have been doing it for 20 years now. I've been teaching group sewing classes for the last 5 years. The majority of my students are young mothers. I design and sell my own sewing patterns on Etsy (twirlybirdpatterns.etsy.com). I have another Etsy shop (twirlybirdbaby.etsy.com) where I make and sell baby carriers. Surround me with fabric and sewing machines and I will be in heaven.

Growing up my dad built our house. I was always fascinated with tools and building. In Middle School I bought my own toolbox and filled it with tools which I used on a regular basis. My favorite class in High School was woodworking. I now have enough tools to do basic projects and thoroughly enjoy building furniture and decorations for my home.  I recently taught 2 classes of 8 women on how to build a storage chest out of wood and use the necessary tools to do so.  It was a hit!

I've found my new joy in refurbishing & repairing machines and their cabinets.  This is a perfect combination of sewing and woodworking! Old sewing machines are my obsession and getting them into working condition and into a home where it will get used is so rewarding for me!  The only problem is that I get attached to machines and it's hard to let them go! Eek!

Franklin Treadle Sewing Machine Cabinet Makeover

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I wrote a previous post about this treadle sewing machine and how I picked it up from the thrift store for $15.

The machine itself was in beautiful condition, hardly a scratch and no rust whatsoever which is pretty rare.  The cabinet however was showing it's 100 years (born in 1913) on the surface.  The door had a large crack stemming from the bottom half-way up.  The door would fall open with nothing to hold it shut. 
There was a huge water stain and crack on the top.

The bottom was looking really worn and almost brittle and there was a wheel missing which made the cabinet wobble.

The cast iron pedal and wheel inside had their black finish worn in several areas. I also didn't like how the pedal and wheel blended into the inside of the cabinet.  They were such a cool feature I wanted them to stand out!

I took it all apart! The cast iron pieces, the hinges, pulled the wheels off... everything!  I did TONS of sanding!  Thank goodness for a belt sander that did an awesome job on the large flat pieces.  I used my orbital sander for the smaller areas and then sanded by hand with the smaller details.

I spray painted all the cast iron pieces, hinges and screws with a black hammered paint - an instant new look (not pictured).

I made a large piece of wood to screw to the bottom to protect the brittle corners and edges of the existing cabinet and I also wanted it to be thicker on the bottom to match the look of the top.  Thankfully one of my kids decided to take pictures from inside the house because I totally forgot to take a picture of this step!  Here I'm aligning the bottom to screw in place.  Next I filled in the gaps with wood filler and sanded it for a flawless finish.

Here's the cabinet all sanded and put back together ready for a life rejuvenating stain coat!  I had already taped, primed and spray painted the inside by this point.

This shows the bottom corner with the new bottom added and the metal slides I put on the bottom instead of the wheels it had before.  

It's much more stable now.

 The old leather belt (on bottom) was really worn and actually the diameter was smaller than what it should have been.  So I bought a thicker one (on top).

I added a magnetic closure to catch the door when it's closed.

The bottom of the door scraped the cabinet when closing so I added a thumbtack.  Now the door closes and rests right where it should be.

 What do you think?

I love how the lighter inside shows off the metal pieces!

 The machine itself got a cleaning and polish...

 ...and some new bobbins!  She didn't need much.

Oh yeah, and I put a new knob on!


Picture of Jordan treadling.  He can barely reach! :)


Bookshelf Made out of Scrap Wood

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
People are always throwing stuff away at our apartment complex and leaving it by the dumpsters for anyone to take.  Last month I found a large pile of wood from a twin-sized bed.  FREE wood!

I had a project in mind and the wood planks would be perfect!

I originally planned to make building plans for this shelf, and that's why I took pictures throughout the process of building but it ended up being ALOT of work so I scrapped the idea of making plans.  Instead... you can just see how I put it together!

 I figured out how deep I wanted each shelf and made cutting lines for the sides of each shelf.

 Using my sweet jigsaw - couldn't do without it!

 It was FREEZING outside but I wasn't going to let that stop me!  ....My fingers were actually freezing after about 5 minutes so I took everything inside even though that meant I'd be cleaning up sawdust everywhere.

I clamped all the boards together so the rounded edges were together and I could sand them so they were all the same.  Belt sanders are awesome!

 Next I used my Jigsaw to make pocket holes along the wood planks that were going to make up the bottom of each shelf.  I wanted them to be strong so I chose to attach them together.  After doing the pocket holes I screwed the shelf bottoms together.

I also made pocket holes on the back sides of the shelves and clamped and screwed the backs to the sides.

 I flipped everything over and screwed the bottoms to the sides and backs.  TIP: Make pilot holes or your wood WILL split!

 Here's the staggered shelves finished!  I sanded all the edges nice and smooth.  I just needed to clamp them to some 2x4's for the sides, drill holes through everything for the bolts and DONE! ....NOT!  This was by far the hardest part and most frustrating. But once the shelves were all bolted it was worth it!  And making sure it was level and square... yikes!

Of course the 'finished' shelf was in the basement for a week and the kids decided to climb/jump on the 2 bottom shelves and stripped some of the wood.  I guess it was for the best so I could reinforce the shelves anyways.

I cut some small strips of wood to put underneath each shelf, then I clamped and screwed into place.

Nearly finished!  It was 30-degrees and slightly snowing but I decided I wasn't going to wait any longer to finish this project.  I made a tarp teepee outside (wish I had a garage) and got to work.

 After an hour of staining and all night of drying I was able to bring it inside and put it to use!  One of the features I love about this shelf is that I can take it all apart if needed in a matter of minutes with just the bolts!


Need help finding a part for Singer 201!

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Here's a Singer 201 I picked up off Craigslist.  In the picture it is all disassembled and ready to get a good cleaning.  I rewired the motor and put it all back together and it runs great!  I put a new light bulb in and it wouldn't work.  I took the light fixture completely apart and discovered the problem.
The metal prong/contact/terminal thing is missing on one side.  This is the part that touches the bottom of the lightbulb - and depresses (spring loaded) when the light bulb is put in.

Here's a picture showing how the terminal thing is soldered to the wire.
The plastic socket is also broken.  Someone must have been yanking on the lightbulb to get it out or something!

So my questions is.. where on earth can I find a replacement metal prong/terminal to solder onto the wire??  What is it called??  And the plastic socket?  I'm hoping to just get these 2 pieces as I don't want to buy an old wire from another machine that I have to re-thread through this machine.

Thank you!!

UPDATE 2/23/2013
I was able to find a light cord/socket replacement.
 This picture shows the light cord off an old machine.
Here you can see I used my soldering iron to take off one of the terminals which I used to solder onto the broken one on my machine.  You can see in the background the light works now!  Couldn't be more pleased! 

Thrift Store Finds!

Saturday, February 9, 2013
We have a local Kiwani's thrift store in Ann Arbor that is only open on Saturday's from 9am-Noon.  They almost always have 5+ older sewing machines but not usually ones that I'm interested in enough to buy.  We stopped really quick so I could run inside to check out the machines.  There was an old black Singer that caught my eye and the motor tested just fine.  The guy said he'd give it to me for $30 and I asked if he could throw in some attachments and he did!

 Singer Model #15-90.  It's in pretty good shape!  The exterior looks good except for a few spots and all the gold details are there.  I may need to replace the light and for sure the spool pin on the top.

 Serial # dates it to 1937

Folded down inside the cabinet.

Just last night I started thinking about treadle sewing machines and looked up some videos on YouTube to see exactly how they worked.  It got me excited to have one of my own!  I was worried about how large they are because I've only ever seen them in huge, heavy cabinets with the cast iron legs and I don't have room for something like that.

Of course what I found there was a treadle in a sweet little compact cabinet!  It is a Sears Franklin Treadle made around 1913. The handwheel moved freely and the machine felt smooth.  I asked the guy who worked there if he would take $15 for it.  He said, "Sure, just for you!"  I was so excited!  I didn't know if it would need a ton of work or if it was missing parts but I was going to take it!

 The top flips open and the machine pops up.

The leather cord that goes from the large wheel underneath to the machine could probably be replaced.  

Look at the bobbin case in my  hand and the funny long bobbins!  I have never seen anything so interesting!  It came with a full box of attachments and a manual!  Everything is in GREAT condition!

Here's the shuttle (bobbin case) underneath so you can see.  When the machine runs, the arm that the shuttle rests in moves back and forth.

 I didn't inspect the machine too well while I was in the store but once I got home I realized how truly lucky I was to get this machine!  It looks brand new!  No gummy gears, no grime on the outside, not hardly a scratch and all the finish is bright and shiny!  The mechanics underneath desperately need oil because they are stiff and noisy but that's easy to fix!

You could call my crazy, but I literally got teary-eyed at home over all the excitement!  HAHAHAHA!  Kevin wasn't sure what to do with me!  :)

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