Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Beauty & Home Improvements

Isn't she glorious?
Personally, I think she's the most beautiful machine ever created. And work? She can still crank out the hits without breaking a sweat.
I've always wanted to know how old she was, and any other information that could be gleaned through research. Getting right on it yesterday, I found out she's certified as being from the year 1910 by the
Singer Sewing Machine Company. Her motor, Singer made with all it's numbers, is 1911. Operation is powered by a knee lever (very long and heavy), and she is a shuttle bobbin unit, pictured below:
It has an amazing pop up button on the armature bar, making bobbin replacement quick and painless. As you can see, this beauty has been used quite a bit. The decal is quite worn. I don't care! She's still beautiful to me!
My research tells me she is a LaVincendora, circa 1885, and because of her spoked wheel and bobbin winding mechanism, she originally sat in a treadle cabinet. Oh, what I would give to have that cabinet now. Anyway, she's portable. Her carrying case is simplistically beautiful in itself.
So, the story is still not finished. I'd love to know who had her before, what she sewed, where she's been, how she came to be in a tiny, dirty 'antique' shop, waiting for me to find her.  I'll keep looking. You never know. It was in this same small shop that I found a tall, 2 burner wood/coal stove for my kitchen, that just happened to originally come from my farm house where I was living! It belonged to my great aunt. So, it made its way back to its home where it belonged and was needed. I did a lot of cooking on her!

We put up the 'new' kitchen curtains for the winter. They look like they were made just for these windows.
These are the best windows! I get a wonderful view of all the wildlife here, and right outside these windows are where the deer like to feed and play.
Since we moved here a year ago, I've wanted to put down new kitchen floor tiles, so after the curtains were up and looking marvelous, it was time to start the floor.

It's a work in progress. And my legs made me pay for that little exercise. But, everything is now matching!

With the kitchen getting right cozy, I decided to make soft molasses cookies for a reward, using my great grandma's recipe (as always).
Don't they look yummy?
Recently, a certain variegated skein of yarn caught my eye, so I couldn't pass it up. Getting it home, I realized it exactly matched the colors in the kitchen curtains. Happy day! Out came the hook and a few coasters for the table were born.
Potholders of the same yarn followed shortly thereafter. All of my Fall decorations are still up (until the day after Thanksgiving), and their colors are all in sync with the curtains, floor, coasters, and potholders. It's amazing.

Speaking of turkey day- I hope all my readers have a wonderful day.


Cowland Studio

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time To Slow Down

Now that the flurry of Halloween is over and the decorations are stowed away, it's time to dig in the heels and power down the jets. A much needed break is called for and the weather installs 'baking' in my brain to the point of overload. So, pizzelles were the first item on the menu.

Have you ever had them? If not, it's worth your time and taste buds to try them. But- be warned! They are highly addictive! I'm serious. I've seen packages with that very warning label on them. And there's so many things you can do to them. Hot off the pizzelle maker, you can roll them to stuff with whatever luscious filling you want. Top with with your favorite jam or jelly. Make up a creamy filling to make them into sandwiches for your coffee break. Mold them into cupcake pans (when fresh off the machine) and fill them with succulent berries topped with whipped creme. My favorite way- just plain old plain.
See why it was time to make them?
You can get about 100 out of the recipe I have, so I froze two bags for those 'I have to have something and I don't know what' days.

One day, when I had come home from dialysis and was having my badly needed cup of coffee (in the mug pictured below), I wanted to do something with my hands to keep them busy, so I snatched up a skein of yarn and a crochet hook and started a heavy potholder.

We use potholders all the time in our house. It always seems like there's something baking in the oven or bubbling on the stove. I like to have a good supply of potholders on hand, but so many times a potholder is just a tad too small for my liking. So, when I started this crocheted potholder, it had to be larger than what I already had.
About ten years into crocheting (roughly 18 years old), I taught myself to read patterns you could buy in the store. I remember the one pattern I had to have was the ripple for an afghan I had in mind. I was surprised how easy it was, and I believe it was at that point that I started coming up with my own way of making squares. The results of the patterns I had were too loose; not clearly defined edges and perfectly square.
After much experimenting, ripping out, starting over (you know the drill), I finally was satisfied with my way.

I like how nice and tight this stitch is and my edges are even and the piece is square. It was done the next day.
Large and in charge! My husband said it could double as a hot pad. Yup. It probably cold. Nice and heavy. Just the way I wanted it.
That little side project satisfied my need to do something, and make it functional, too. And, it got the need to crochet filled.
How can you go wrong with a project like that?