Tag Archives: old things

Zippity do dads

Last winter I picked up another sewing basket full of goodies at an antique mall in the sticks.

zippity-basket

I spotted the basket first, thinking it might be Gullah/South Carolina sweetgrass, then saw it was full of sewing notions, then saw that it was priced something ridiculous like $6, then it was in my hands and going to the cash register.

Some of the contents were lovely – I’m not much for over-the-top femininity, but I love the package designs of the things for “women’s work” of yesteryear.

zippity-hooks

And there were the usual odd spools of thread, mismatched buttons, bindings and zippers.

I disassembled the contents of this one into its like parts to display the basket elsewhere, so I actually don’t remember what exactly was in this one…

zippity-boning

But I’m fairly certain it was in this one (or one of the estate sale cigar boxes I unpacked around the same time) that had a little wrapped bundle of steel boning.

I thought that the wrapper might have been a quilt square for a crown pattern…

zippity-pocket

…but it ended up being a very sweet scalloped pocket either made for something, or removed from something.

(I don’t know what I’ll do with either yet – I can’t see myself ever using boning, but the pocket will go with my little collection of vintage fabric I’m loath to cut into and/or sew, but it’s mostly scraps anyway so maybe a quilt will come of it one day…)

zippity-more zippers

And the zippers made their way into my stash of packaged zippers…

zippity-zippers

…and wad of unpicked loose zippers.

I love the old zippers with nods to art deco design, sturdy teeth and strong but faded cotton.

I do re-use the old (used and new) zippers for bags and the very occasional skirt, but I’m doubtful I’ll ever make much of a dent in the small stash – mostly the more delicate garment ones. I’m also on the fence about artistic use of them – like buttons, they can appear very “crafty” – I don’t have a desire to make zipper roses and things. Sometimes they can look interesting as trims and whatnot, but not on bags where they can be grabby or scratchy against a bare forearm.

But first, more research on that basket…

 

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Filed under collecting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

The things behind the radiator

I’m thrilled that our new-to-us house has radiators.

But they aren’t much to look at – just a single pipe covered with  a smooth boxy cover rather than an ornate cast iron multi-piped lovely.

The cover around the one in my office wiggled though, and didn’t sit flush against the wall.

radiator-the radiator

So I jabbed some pliers around behind it and found yet another pile of child detritus – further evidence of the slobs who owned the place just before us.

radiator-recent crap

But the cover still wouldn’t go flush with the wall, so I fashioned a slim jim out of a thin piece of aluminum threshold and went to town on the thing, once again playing archaeologist

radiator-motherlode of things

And unearthed a many decades mother-lode of kid shit.

More precisely, shit from the kids who were in here in the late 1950s to early ’60s (along with the last people here from about three years ago).

radiator-not art things

There are kid scribbles (properly on paper this time, not the walls).

(And I’d rather not think of what could have been munching on the paper.)

radiator-pencil things

The pencils that perhaps created scribbles.

radiator-old maid things

Part of a deck of Old Maid that could now never be won.

radiator-food things

Food things that have no business outside of the kitchen.

radiator-baby things

Correspondence that confirmed the owner’s identity (with an addition that could been viewed as ironic commentary on today’s ridiculousness of availability and popularity of weapons in this country and the truly terrible acts of kids killing each other).

radiator-knitted thing

Play things and a knitted thing – and it feels incredibly familiar to me – I may have had a doll sock just like this one…

radiator-red things

Cheery red things.

(And I almost bought a vintage toy tin washtub with these same little clothespins at a flea market recently, but though the design could be considered charming, and had in fact charmed me momentarily, ultimately I was disgusted that something like that was made to give to a child (girl) to play with instead of a book or a microscope or something enlightening and useful and creative and educational… )

radiator-precious things

And little once precious things – perhaps given to a child once they were deemed crap.

(Yes, I did get a little excited for half of a second when I thought the tie clip could be gold…)

radiator-puzzle things

And things that don’t make sense without other things.

radiator-butt things

And evidence of what I thought were nicotine stains on the walls (though this too could have been a teen-child act of hiding her/his own evidence…).

radiator-animal things

And finally a few random toy things that were played with by a far-from-child again for a few minutes…

And if you spotted the snakeskin, that was my contribution to the mess behind the radiator rather than a living snake leaving it behind.  I think part of the reason so much shit ended up back there is a perpendicular breezy window.   Moments after I took a picture of it, it blew out of my reach.

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Filed under collecting, home, home decor

Not too busy for a weekend jaunt…

I am busy these days.

I’m working on some knitting that is taking far longer than I’d expected, but must be completed in a certain amount of time, so I’m monogamous with it.

I’ve been work-working more hours.  And I’ve been doing some blogging for work that fills up that little writing time and space brain-hole that usually gets stuffed here.

But I’ve also been away due to both work and pleasure.  Recently, we had a nice long weekend in my old city visiting our old haunts.

We bought lots of delicious (and cheap) Italian foodstuffs.

weekend-meat

Basked in the warmth of radiators (I haven’t yet mentioned how I entirely [and somewhat irrationally] abhor forced-air heat).

weekend-radiators

Had properly made espresso drinks at our old neighborhood cafe.

weekend-caffe

Visited the lovely WPA mural in the post office again – it even has a spinner!

weekend-mural

And though I didn’t [cannot] visit my old LYS [due to potential uncontrollable purchasing] I did pop in another shop just out of town.  It was one of those tiny places where you’re the only one there and suddenly face-to-face with the owner who seems hopeful and maybe slightly desperate, and either way she’s friendly and helpful and you feel obligated to buy a little something.

weekend-yarn

So I did.

(I’m tempted to make another Honey Cowl with it, but I know it will be an oh-so-soft, but pill-crazy yarn, so I’ll either mix it up with something more durable, felt/full it, or most likely,  just sit on it for awhile… The color is more in the forest berries/cranberry range and less purple and pink than it appears – I think the colorway is “currant.”)

And what trip isn’t complete without a thrift store stop?

weekend-coat

This is such an entirely uncharacteristic garment for me in terms of color, but it’s a great vintage find.

weekend-coatdetail

I bought it to re-sell, but I just might keep it since it fits… winter greys be damned!

(It kinda hurts the eyes though).

(I got it in a small chain of regional thrift stores that absolutely have their heads up their asses when it comes to pricing.  Something that is a “better” department store or preppy shop brand will be priced astronomically, while vintage  and actual high-quality label things are often a steal – which is often a happy coup, but lousy when you find a holey and felt-able or harvest-able sweater and it’s priced at $19.99 but should be no more than $2.99.   The coat above was only $4.99, handmade in wool, in perfect condition, and from a fancy downtown shop that no longer exists…)

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Filed under collecting, spinning, thrifting, travel

Meet (some of) my sewing machines…

I learned to sew (or rather I learned how to use a sewing machine) on my mother’s 1960s era Singer.  I made some shapeless elastic waist skirts, “Jams” style shorts, and a few odds and ends in my youth.  During college, I borrowed the machine to make hats to sell at raves.  You heard me, raves – and the real kind back in the day, illegal and last minute and fun as a bucket of monkeys.  I loved her machine – it was metal and solid and felt like well, a machine in the masculine sense.  A few years later I acquired my first vintage machine at my favorite thrift store for something like $6.99.

machines1I’ve had it for nearly 20 years and it is the machine I use most often, however I just had to put it on a time-out due to a tension issue that springs up after an unpredictable amount of time (sometimes after 3 days of use, sometimes after year or so) and it seems to always fix itself as long as I don’t use it for a month or so.

machines1-det

A partial repair tag still clings to the handle – perhaps this tension issue gave the previous owner troubles as well…  After finding this machine, I was on the lookout for more.  Why?  I think I figured it would be nice to have the same one to use for parts if need be, I wanted one with zigzag and other stitch functions, and I just really fell in love with solid things made of metal that could last lifetimes – yes, the plural form.  I hate everything about the objects of our disposable society these days, but then again, obsolete, near-obsolete, and old timey things weigh a ton and are a pain in the ass to move.  But after a few years, I had amassed a collection of around 15 sewing machines, not to mention several typewriters and boxes of cameras and film equipment.  I didn’t move much then and used much of the equipment as furniture in my cramped apartment, but eventually most of it had to go.  Since I used the sewing machines on a fairly regular basis, I kept a half dozen of them or so.

machines4This is the back-up machine for when the pink Atlas is being temperamental.  It too came from a thrift store and I gasped when I opened the box – I’d never seen one that looked so like an automobile of the same era and I loved the deep green.  It sews strongly and steadily but the needle needs to be coaxed into the fabric in just the right way each time that I tend to get a little impatient with it.  Its best use is for sewing long seams or quilting.

machines2

This is the prettiest and the oldest of my current machines and it works just fine.  The bobbin is a little fiddly to work with so I don’t like to change it as often.  When I had more space (and when I will hopefully have more space again) I’d leave it set up with thread in the opposite color of what I was using in the other machine if I needed to hop on it for something else.  I believe this was originally a treadle machine and motorized later, so I have intentions of trying to turn this back into a manual machine, but I’d rather find a treadle machine for a reasonable price (and I could fit in my car or have delivered) instead.  It is also in a re-purposed Morse case that is annoyingly without a lid, so at the very least, I need a new lid/container for it.

machines3

machines3-det

My brother found this lovely Singer for me, but it’s probably been a decade ago…  I have it nearby because I intend to try to find a couple of missing parts for it, but haven’t done much searching around for them yet.  Ironically, it also came with the manual and a few extra tools, so someone was meticulous about keeping it all together only up to a certain point.  This one is also a more compact “portable” model, so it would be convenient to get it up and running as soon as possible.  I’m also slightly afraid to plug in anything old, so the first time I like to be prepared in case of an inferno.

And then I have perhaps two more?  I’m a little nervous that I can’t find them at the moment, but I believe that they could be in storage along with the other third of our stuff.  Hopefully I didn’t get rid of them in the frustration of the move.  One of them is another Atlas similar to my old stand-by that I found left in the trash on the curb in my old neighborhood.  Its cord was cut, perhaps indicating that the motor was blown or that it needs to be re-wired so I can use it for parts, or get it up and running again.  I believe the other machine is another Singer with a bad motor?

The machines I had but sold years ago included a couple of really old ones that had been motorized but weren’t very functional, I believe yet another Atlas, a less attractive 70s machine, and a blue White that I still can’t understand to this day why I got rid of it – it had a zigzag stitch, WTF?  But I think I thought I’d find another…

Some days I’m a little envious of others with the fancy-schmancy machines that will practically stitch up a cup of coffee or an offspring  but mostly I love my hunky metal beasts and will continue to do so…

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Filed under sewing, thrifting