Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My "new" vintage Brother Sewing Machine and Desk

Wanna know why my sister is cooler than yours? Because she bought and refinished an antique sewing machine for me, table and all. I'm serious. A while back, she called me from a yard sale, while she was on a lunch break from her job as an instructor in the Navy down in Florida, and she found an amazing machine. A PINK brother from the 1950s, in a cabinet, and worked. If I remember correctly, and I know she'll correct me if I'm wrong hehe, it was about $40. She sent me a video of it running, from her phone. The timing seemed to be spot on, while it would definitely need to be serviced. I told her to haggle and talk 'em down to $30 since the desk had gaps between the machine and the desk. AND SHE BOUGHT IT! 

Still on the machine, carved into the faceplate is the name "Pattie", so that is her name (top picture). Also, in the above picture can you see an orange sticker? That's a sticker from a "Susanne's Sewing Circle" that met at Hub Vacuum Company in San Diego, California. I could only find documentation of this Vacuum store in a 1950 radio transcript, so who knows how long that sticker has been there. It will always remain on my machine, as long as I can help it.

Also on the machine is a "Guaranteed by Good Housekeeping" metal plate. They sure know how to pick 'em! This machine is the best machine ever! Notice how the bobbin winder is on the front of the machine? Isn't that funny how it used to be on the front, and the bobbin being wound was up on the wheel of the machine. It's similar to how industrial machine make bobbins as you sew. I do not wind bobbins on my old machine though. I always use a separate bobbin winder that is battery operated to reduce unnecessary wear and tear on my machines.

Rachael spent countless hours refinishing the desk, matching the pink paint to the machine, and painted the desk white. She encountered many bumps along the way, with the hardware getting lost and having to replace it all, rebuilding the surface of the desk with the new wood to close the gaps, among other things. These before pictures show you just how much work it was. She is the best!


My birthday present, and just because present that's what sisters do, was this refinished desk. She was finally able to make a trip up to Augusta with the desk and machine this September. I can not thank her ENOUGH! This is the best present in the whole wide world. And GET THIS: it sews AMAZINGLY! It reminds me so much of my industrial machine I used to use at work as a bridal seamstress. It's fast, so fast.

It only does a straight stitch, which some may think is inconvenient, but did you know industrial machine only have straight stitch too? No zig zag or changed needle position. On this Brother, I can only change the stitch length, forward and reverse, and it's all on the same lever. The level straight up is reverse, and the widest stitch, straight down is forward, widest stitch. So middle is stationary stitch, no movement from the feed dogs. It took me a while to get used to this machine, but it's ALL I use now.

Rachael painted little pin stripes all the way around the desk, man that looks like work. She told me it was a huge pain getting the stripes just right. Well she brought me the extra paint when she came to Augusta, and I'm a sucker for going overboard, so what did I do? I filled in the stripes and used more pink. Then. When I couldn't put my paintbrush down, I decided my mantle could use a facelift to match my desk. Whoops.

This is what everyday in my work room looks like. Zeus pouting because I'm working and not playing with him. And cats nearby. Generally on my lap. It's amazing that I ever get anything done, seriously. Anyone else that works from home constantly bothered by their sweet animals?

Congrats to Kendrra, she won $50 from Shabby Apple!

And Rachael just started a blog, since she finally upgraded to an iMac from her old laptop. I'm so excited for her. Follow along here, and expect some awesome baking, gardening, thrifting, and furniture reconstructions, very soon! And of course, cat pictures.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shelby Rebuild: The Roof

This is the second post of two from last weekend's rebuild. The holidays got in the way of me posting this sooner, but here ya go. Sorry for the delay. We had a super successful day working on the interior supports and the roof. 

Most of the water damage on the interior of Shelby came from the leak in the sunroof. It was the only real visiable damage we saw when we purchased our 1973 Shasta Compact. With more demolition and ripping out the benches and kitchen, we saw more water damage, but this was by far the worst! We were both unsure of how to go about fixing this, but after working on the front and back walls, it was a piece of cake! First, we removed the runsoof. Most of the rotten wood had fallen down, but removing the screws from the top allowed the remaining rot to just fall to the ground.

We scraped and scraped the old caulk off the roof and gave the sunroof a good scrub. We then removed the vent from the front right side of the camper. This vent was for the propane exhaust and fumes (CO2 right?) from the fridge and stove that were once inside the camper. Well we don't need a hole in the ceiling. Being the handy woman that I am, I just happened to have a scrap piece of sheet metal behind my china cabinet that was the exact size we needed (leftovers from this project). We removed the hood and cleaned that up as well.

We cut all the wood to size, for the vent and cross beams on the sunroof. Caulked the entire top of the roof around the sunroof and sat it back into place, with a screw on each side in for a placeholder, keeping the sunroof from shifting. We screwed in one support and then went to the hood. 

Caulking the hood and placing it back, we then sandwiched the sheet metal between the aluminum roof and the wood supports, using liquid nail to hold it in place. Since the hood itself will keep rain away from the interior of the camper, the sheet metal served as a barrier against drafts and air flowing inside. 

We predrilled the holes to reattach the hood to the supports, to go through the sheet metal. Then we screwed all the screws on the sunroof and hood back on, and that was that. After all wood supports were back up, we went back to the roof and applied caulk all over the screws. We'll go back over it with another layer to prevent future water damage. The roof is now done! It has yet to rain, this whole last week, but we're 99% sure it will hold up against all water. 

Some small cosmetic work I did, removing the old running lights, that we will just replace with reflectors. We removed them with the drill, cleaned off the old caulk, and from the interior, placed a wood support along the line of the lights, and drilled wood screws through the original holes. The caulked it heavily to seal the hole. Once the reflectors are in place after the final coat of paint, they will also be caulked around the edges.

The funniest part of the day, was Zeus freaking out because he couldn't see Matt on the far side and on a ladder. He was such a whiner. After I snapped this shot, I called him to me and pointed out how he could see Matt from farther back, away from the camper. He then laid down exactly where I was standing, letting out a large sigh. Such a daddy's boy.

It was quite scary with Matt standing on top of the ladders, and I wasn't able to offer much anchoring, having to hold and brace the wood supports from the inside of the camper. Where he is standing, above, was right beside the hood of on the right side of Shelby. He was simply applying a final layer of caulk, but during the reattachment of the hood, we removed the access panel on the right, and I placed a hand on his legs to try to help, if not to mainly feel better about him not falling.

Hooray for progress! Next step, getting wood cut for the new walls! We're using planed down wood to cover the existing walls, and to build the new ones back up. Also, it's time for wiring and installing solar panels. This week will be all about researching and buying what we need, as far as electrical, and getting my friend to cut us more wood. Did you know all the wood we're using on this project is antique hardwood pine?! We're even recycling the wood. It comes from old mills, and the wood was cut down in the last 1800s.

We may wait until after my show to get more work on the camper done. I have my winter fashion show in less than two weeks. Lots of work to do before then. Until next time.. ! Happy Monday, friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Movember Moustaches

 "Hey everyone. Matt here. So you like the mustache? Me neither, but it's for a great cause. I decided to participate in Movember for a couple reasons. First, I thought it would be funny. And if you take another look at the picture, you can see I've taken care of that part. Secondly, I knew it would be good for radio. From my experience, listeners love when you make yourself look like an idiot. Last, and most importantly, my grandfather passed away from prostate cancer in 2006. I know if he was alive today he would look at me and laugh. I would love any donations you can afford. And if you can't donate, your funny comments are always welcome. Thanks guys."

I can't stop laughing at his ridiculous mustache. Like Matt and millions of people, I've also been affected by prostate cancer. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the fall of 2002. I had just started my senior year of high school. Then one fall day, my parents, and all four of us kids were having lunch. It was the strangest thing, since the six of us hadn't been together since my parents split what I was 8 or 9. Then we found out why. They broke the news of dad having prostate cancer. It was devastating, as his father and many other men in his family have passed from prostate cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early, and he was in excellent health and in his 50s. My dad recovered and he is still cancer free. 

Even this past April, a friend of mine from college died from complications of testicular cancer. He was only 27 years old.

It is so important to bring awareness to men's health issues! For decades, discussing men's prostate and testicular health was tabo and not discussed. Thankfully times have changed. Did you know that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, compared to one in eight women and breast cancer. While most men aren't diagnosed with prostate cancer until later in life, it is still important to be well informed.

Movember has changed the face of prostate cancer research. It's amazing! Watch the video above. There's even talk of a vaccine in the next decade. "More research progress has been made in the last two months, than in the last five years," Dr. Jonathan Simons says. "Moustaches will be the end of men's prostate cancer."

Check out Movember efforts. Donate to the cause. Notice your friend is sporting a moustache this month? Ask him where you can find his page, and donate! Even little bit helps, and together we can end this disease!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shelby Rebuild: Back Wall Is Done!

What a day! What a great day we had this past Saturday working on Shelby. For those that saw the last post, we had the worst day ever rebuilding the front wall. So this time, we changed up the hardware for putting the braces back in place, and voila. Most productive day yet! We were both on the same page, we discussed out game plan, went over it, then went into action. We had to time everything and put the boards up in a certain order, with caulk applied at certain steps.

We started by removing the old screws from the window's exterior (above). This made all the rotten supports fall to the ground. We did the bottom screws first, then replaced that strip of wood. Then the top and side screws were removed, and the top support replaced, then the side supports replaced. When the screws were off the window, we carefully tilted the window back, removed the old caulk, and put down new caulk. When the screws were drilled back in, they grabbed the new supports, sandwiching the aluminum in between the window and the wood. 

After the bottom support was in place, above. This piece of wood must be as snug to the window as possible to catch those outside screws.

These metal braces saved us! Instead of the deck plates we used in the rebuild of the front wall, these were super easy in screw in, and didn't split the wood. For those that didn't see the last post, the deck plates were hammered in, and weren't good for the delicate metal exterior, and using hardwood pine, it wasn't easy to hammer into. Because the wood is only 1" deep, we couldn't drill into the narrow width from any angle. 

The previous states of the back wall. Next step, rewire the back lights, and then we're ready for the wood walls!

And it was such a beautiful day!

 Hooray for teamwork!

Zeus wanted to be a part of the team. He helped by continuously stealing wood beams from the wood pile and wagging his tail as he dragged them to his spot in the backyard, feeling victorious, like he got one over on us. Then we'd steal it back, since our wood was not a toy, and then time to pout.

As you can see in the previous pictures, along the top of the back and front wall, were running lights. these were most likely a major source for the water leaks, and the lights were all broken. Instead of fixing them and rewiring to these holes, we placed a wood beam along the line of holes, screwed it down from the outside, and caulked around the exterior holes, to seal it up to prevent future leaks. We will put reflectors in the lights original place, and caulk around the edges when it comes time for the exterior finishing.

And now the completely finished supports of the back wall, above. It was such a smooth process, we are so happy with it! We worked for another few hours finishing the front ceiling and sunroof. Stop back by on Thursday for part 2 of this day's rebuild!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

DIY Infinity Scarf with French Seams

Thumbing through online DIY infinity scarves, I find most instructions make a giant tube of a scarf, two layers so to speak, making it thicker than my personal preferences for a scarf. I love my pashminas, wrapped twice around my neck, and ends tied together. Also, this simple single layered infinity scarf hides your raw edges, by using a french seam. This tutorial will show you how to take two 15"x40" pieces of fabric to make a single layered scarf. Enjoy.

1. Cut two pieces 15" x 40". 2. Pin shorter edge of the fabric with WRONG sides together on both ends. 3. Sew 1/4" in from edge, or as close you can get to the edge with your fabric. 4. Press seams open (not pictured) and fold RIGHT sides of fabric together. Sew 1/2" in from sewn edge. (see video below for more on this step!) 5. Sew a double folded hem on both sides of the long part of the scarf. 6. Don't forget to backstitch and you're done! Wasn't that so easy?!

This scarf is so comfortable to just wear around the house all day. It's quite chilly in Georgia right now, and I'm a huge wimp now when it comes to cold. Layers are my best friend. Socks covered by fuzzy socks that I tuck my jeans into, then cowboy boots as always. 

The camper was such a nightmare last night! We've had the windows all open for about a week, still airing out that stinky old smell from years of being closed up. Well I woke up at 3 am, grumpy and couldn't fall asleep because of all of the loud rain and thunder. Wait a minute. Rain?! Agh. I jumped out of bed to throw on a sweatshirt and jeans, grabbed an umbrella to go inspect the camper. The tarp was next to the camper, not on top of it, and water was everywhere inside! I grabbed Matt from bed, and we went outside with a flashlight to cover it back up. I threw towels inside to soak up the water, and fingers crossed the remaining good wood isn't damaged anymore than it was before. On the bright side, the window we recently recaulked and wall we rebuilt held up to the rain! We really need to finish sealing the sunroof and back wall this weekend!

Zeus has been the best dog ever, and we're able to have him off his leash in our backyard. It isn't fenced in, and he's good enough to not run after passers-by along the street 50 yards up the driveway. This dense ball that we found in the backyard is his favorite thing ever now! He comes up to me, mid day, staring at me, nudging, and whining like he's about to pee his pants. I take him out to find him sprinting to his ball like he's been dreaming about it all day. Spoiled dog. Maybe he just needs more indoor toys. 

Hope you all found this tutorial helpful. If you try it out, send me pictures!  I'd love to see what you make! In the meantime, I'm headed to work at Stillwater and trying my best to beat this cold spell! Email:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shabby Apple Giveaway

Clothing links: 1 | 2 | 3 

Hello friends! Exciting giveaway today for you all. Shabby Apple would like to present one lucky reader with a $50 gift card to their shop! They have the prettiest retro and vintage inspired dresses. It's great to see clothing made with such a fun vintage flair, staying true to vintage looks. I'm in love with their dresses and want all of them! 

You can qualify to win in this giveaway, you must follow this blog, Sally Ann, through Google Friend Connect, and visit Shabby Apple. Comment on this post, telling me which is your favorite dress from their shop.

Additional entries must be followed with an additional comment:

1. Like Shabby Apple on Facebook.
2. Tweet about this giveaway: "Hey everyone, @sally_ann is hosting an amazing giveaway from @shabbyapple! Win $50!
3. Follow Sally Ann on Twitter.
4. Follow Sally Ann on Facebook.
5. Lastly, mention this giveaway in a blog post.

Oh yeah, and this is only open to US residents, so sorry international friends.
Giveaway open until November 28th. Two weeks from today.
Edit: now closed. Thanks to all that participated!

Shabby Apple is also offering my readers 10% off for the entire month, starting today. 
Use the coupon code "sallyann10off" for a discount.

Good luck! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Anniversary in Atlanta

This weekend, Matt celebrated our two year anniversary. Think it's silly to be excited about two years?  Get ready for some cheesiness! Naaah, because I'm always excited about Matt. It's been the best two years of my life. I couldn't be happier with him. He is amazing and I love him so. We did have a good laugh when we both realized we had the wrong day for our anniversary, and it's actually this Wednesday. He took me to Atlanta for the afternoon and night, where we saw Ben Gibbard perform at Variety Playhouse (my favorite!), and wandered around the city, window shopping, enjoying local restaurants, and taking it all in. 


We stayed at the Marriott Marquis. It was a beautiful hotel, and we joked how it looked perfect for a movie set. Then the next morning, Hunger Games 2 was filming throughout the hotel, and I walked past some storm trooper looking extras on my way to get my morning coffee. Woody Harrelson was off across the way, I didn't recognize him in that wig! Such a great time we had. 

By the way, Matt isn't normally a moustache kind of guy. He's growing one for Movember's prostate cancer awareness. Check out his page, and donate if you can, here.

Gotta get back to sewing and fitting the last few models. I'm also making the poster today and taking it to the printers! This show is coming up so fast, and I'm so excited! Eeep. Happy Tuesday, friends.