It started with a phone call from my mom.
She follows several homesteading blogs and youtube channels. One recent blog featured a lady who converted her old treadle sewing machine into a modern unit with, well, a modern machine!
Hmmm... I had an old Singer in an old cabinet. It belonged to my Great Grandmother Hattie Wolf, who got it in probably the 1930s. I used the cabinet, closed, as a table for my modern machine. But, here it is opened up and sitting upright.
There was a serial number on it that I looked up online. My machine wasn't a diamond in the rough by any means - it was one of the largest productions, had been electrified, and well used. It was valued at $50, far less than what I paid for the new machine!
Normally I take more time to make decisions that cost this much, but getting through the first month of this pandemic and making several difficult decisions at work had me feeling like I needed to make a big statement of positive self-agency. The machine was on order, and I was super excited!
Until I looked down at my feet. Notice something missing? No? How about the namesake of the machine's power: the treadle.
Yep. It had definitely been removed at some time to provide more foot room for the electrified pedal. This was about to get more expensive.
A quick trip to eBay actually produced results! I thought I only needed the treadle, but I couldn't find any model number for the base of my cabinet so I wasn't sure what might work and what might not. I was pretty sure my legs were universal legs, so I didn't need those. I was pretty sure I just needed the bottom treadle. I found this listing, which was $75 and thought the extra pieces wouldn't hurt.
Shipping was $85, though, so I just added $150 to my little project. Solid iron is no joke! It was worth it though, as I also needed the wheel and bottom support under the treadle. Wrangling the pieces together to form a working machine took about 5 hours. You can click through the slides below.
And here she is in action!
I could finally close the lid for the night. And put my old machine on top to finish the project I was in the middle of. ;)
Every experienced sewing person knows each machine has its own personality. I will have to find some dedicated time to learn this new one! Meanwhile, anybody want a few old "Singer" pieces for decoration?
I didn't mention it in the last post I wrote, but over Memorial Day weekend, disaster struck.
A little backstory: we purchased the house we did partially because of the 1970s wood paneling in the basement. My husband grew up with similar stuff and it was a comfortable nostalgia for him. Well, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend said husband stayed up late watching TV in his favorite recliner and slept all night downstairs. We had had an unusual amount of rain in the area and I heard of a few basements flooding around town. But ours had always been dry. HAD. UNTIL NOW.
I woke up the hubs later in the morning by yelling down the stairs. What I got back from him were even more yelps! Standing water nearly everywhere! It took a couple days and ripping up quite a bit of carpet to discover the problem. Prior to us owning the house termite abatement had happened in the basement. This involves drilling holes through the foundation, putting insecticide in, and filling in the holes later. Except our basement had been carpeted before the holes could be plugged.
That's right. The entire perimeter of our basement was perforated, and due to the extreme rain amounts the water table had actually risen. We plugged the holes when the water went back down, but in the mean time all the carpet had to go. One hole had a shop vac on it for 3 days before it stopped burbling water.
It took a while for us to gather ourselves and re-carpet, but I took the opportunity to redecorate my tiny sewing/storage/craft/guest room.
Here is a before, with a wide angle lens:
Since it was just somewhat painted and repaired concrete we'd need an underlayment. The floor isn't super level, so I wasn't going with vinyl flooring. Carpet it would be.
Thanks to a past time of watching home improvement shows I'd heard about this relatively new product designed for basement floors that needed a bit of airflow. It was within budget, barely. But, it was fairly easy to install, and should our floors leak again we might not need to replace the carpet.
Our basement actually felt more insulated and secure with the new subfloor. If it's weren't for the color and plasticky sound when you walked on it, I would have been tempted to stop here.
Next stop on my remodel list: paint. I don't mind painted paneling at all, but as this was a "raw" surface, I went with a primer. Killz instantly came to my mind, but the helpful hardware store gal said Zinsser was better for covering paneling in her experience. It was nice stuff!
It lightened up the room SO MUCH. I used to think my one overhead light was just too dim and it would eventually need replaced, but it was just wall color this whole time!
I was also really pleased with the feel of the room now that I painted the bulkhead at the door white as well. I left most of the corner and edge trim the original color. This trim is plastic, and the paint would not have stuck very well anyway.
The last piece of the remodel journey is carpet! The hubs and I were deep in a long term "discussion" about color for the main part of the basement, but he said I could do what I wanted in my sewing room. Since budget was a definite concern I did my online shopping thoroughly.
At Home Depot (the place with the friendliest shipping policies for us) I found a carpet square product that seemed too good to be true. Apparently large corporations over buy when redecorating several locations or large buildings, and this carpet can't be returned for resale to the manufacturer. Home Depot buys it up at discount, mixes up the colors and styles, and sells squares of the same dimensions in a box. It's professional grade, brand name, but not matching. And all at $0.94 per square foot. I followed advice and over purchased by 30% and was not sorry. I seemed to get more warm tones than cool tones, so here is my crazy quilt of a floor THAT I LOVE.
In all of the basement clean-out we also got rid of a mattress that was easily 20 years old. It was a queen size and took up most of the floor space in the room.
I researched options and came across a tri-fold memory foam mattress on Amazon that was rated fairly well. Combined with a collapsible frame and a topper for those side sleepers to sink into my new fold out bed was just over $300. It's covered with a quilt when not in use. It's not the best couch to sit and sew on as the memory foam sinks weirdly when it's folded up, but it's a very nice bed. Hubs uses it when one or both of us is snoring. ;)
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!