Craft "studio"

>> Monday, April 21, 2008

Please excuse my blossoming branch fixation. This one seems to have all its blossoms now and is starting to grow leaves! The ceramic planter was a birthday gift from my lovely friend Jaimie, it has a bird on one side.

I still haven't got a craft or art studio for real, but our living/dining room is definitely starting to look like one. I painted the china cabinet that I use to store my fabric and I this is how it turned out: As I mentioned in a previous post I just couldn't decide about painting it but the wood really didn't have a great finish and it created a dark corner in the room. Painting it white really made such a difference in how bright the room feels.The only difficult part is having the patience to do all the priming and painting of all the nooks and crannies and of course the mullions (ie. decorative thin piece of wood behind the glass) in the glass doors. It's fairly simple, it just requires extra work. You use a putty knife to gently pry out the quarter round strips of wood around the edges that hold the mullions in place. They are held in place by small nails (which you can use again when replacing them). Then you can take out the glass and paint all the pieces before reassembling.

When you pry out the strips of wood be very careful since they are quite thin and can break easily. Someone had broken two at some point and the pieces were held in place with wood glue. It's not difficult to remove them just by wiggling the putty knife, and then I used a little bit of wood glue to reattach the pieces.

Here's a detail of the tins I have on top of the cabinet. I was noticed that Amy Butler has the same vintage tin as the tomato red and white one I have in front here! I saw it in a magazine article about her, and in the Midwest Modern book photographed on her desk. It's so familiar to me now it was funny to see it in someone else's house. I thought it was expensive when I bought it but couldn't resist the design. The bottom says "W. & R. Jacob & Co. (L-Pool) Ltd. Biscuit Manufacturers Liverpool, England. Manufactured in England". I wish cookies still came in nice tins like this.Here's another tip, by the way. That tin was a bit grubby, and while I like things to have their vintage patina, this one actually cleaned up very nicely with gentle application of one of those mr. clean magic erasers. It took dark marks off that I thought were permanent - without removing the original paint. Of course I'd be very careful if it's a special vintage tin that you have.

And finally I have a "new" sewing machine! This one came from Goodwill and I took a chance because I didn't know much about it. But I've been using one from the 1940s and thought I should upgrade to one from the 60s at least. The main difference is it can do reverse and zig-zag.It's a Singer Fashion Mate 217. I find the beige/grey colour sort of elegant and I didn't want a modern machine. I'd like to do something about the bottom casing though, which is in rough shape. It's kind of green paper covering plywood. Not as nicely made as the old wooden cases. But the machine has turned out very well, love the zig-zagging, and it's very quiet and like the old one I have it's a real workhorse and can sew through many layers of heavy material easily. The only downside that I can tell so far is that it weighs 33 pounds.

18 comments:

Sarah April 23, 2008  

You have such a beautiful space to work in! I love the painted fabric hutch. So much classier than the bookshelf that I'm using! :)

Beth April 25, 2008  

All the pictures of your home look beautiful! I love the painted white cabinets and the colorful vintage pieces.

casey April 25, 2008  

such a gorgeous space to live and create in! I love the cabinets and especially the collection of bright tins. :)

Dandelion Factory April 27, 2008  

Oh your studio is so lovely! And so clean. Mine is spacious, but certainly not as tidy! Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. Susan

Oliver Rain April 28, 2008  

I finally had to retire my 60s model Kenmore. It did a lot for me though and I gained a lot of muscle hefting it around.

I love all the white cabinets. I always have a hard time painting woodwork, but sometimes the dark is just too dark, you know?

eileen April 28, 2008  

I just love the look of the furniture you painted white. And your whole sewing area is terrific. Exactly the kind of stuff I love too!

Suzan April 28, 2008  

Your cabinet is beautiful! Cheery , spacious, clean look to everything. That's a great sewing machine - at 33 pounds you can be sure it won't rattle all over the table

elisabetha April 30, 2008  

i love how the white cabinet matches the white blossoms. simply serene!

*karen April 30, 2008  

Wow she is beautiful. And the 33 pounds just means she's stable!

Junie Moon May 01, 2008  

I think your space is very lovely and looks quite elegant. Hooray for your "new" machine. Mine needs replacing, too, and I never even thought about checking for used ones. Good idea!

ceVec May 01, 2008  

Bless you for publishing the info on that tin! I saw it in Midwest Modern as well and fell in love. (Found you via Apartment Therapy, btw.)

angelune@TCA May 02, 2008  

your place looks amazing! the painted cabinets are a testament to your patience! beautiful studio, now i need to fix mine up to look more like yours!

Jennifer May 05, 2008  

Your Singer is fairly similar to the one my mom has owned and used heavily since the 60s -- they really are great machines! Singer made tables that folded up like card tables but that had an opening cut so that you could set the machine into it and have the sewing bed level with the table. I don't know how hard they are to find, but you might want to look into one (or figure out how to fashion one).

varenia May 09, 2008  

oh my! i might just have to move in and craft with you! that room is lovely! i love the vase, the blossoms, and of course you did an amazing job painting that hutch! the fabric looks gorgeous in it!

Anonymous,  November 15, 2008  

Do you have any info on parts and/or presser feet for your "new" machine? I inherited two of them from my granny and aunt this past summer, one in better condition than the other. My husband has them both in the basement, intending to use one for parts, but I've not been able to find a specific repair manual for the 217, and don't know if different presser feet are available...any info? Thanks!

Claire Louise Milne November 21, 2008  

Maybe too late to answer this... let me know! But any low shank Singer feet will work on the 217.
I recommend joining the Yahoo Vintage Singer group for more info.

robin.s June 01, 2009  

Hi You have a beautiful blog by the way.

Can you help me? I just bought one of these machines used and it seems fine but is kind of finicky. It took me forever to figure out that the needle flat side faces the right. I am using it for making bags. The material is Cordura and I am using upholstery thread with a #20 needle. The stitches on the top are loose when I sew two layers but fine when I sew one layer. I am adjusting the thread tension but it's the same. Is it the thread? Or the needle? Any help would be great. Oh I live in Toronto as well!

Claire Louise Milne June 01, 2009  

Hi Robin, Sorry I really don't know! My guess would have been the tension as well.

I would recommend the vintage Singer sewing group on yahoo:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Singer/
Those guys seem to know everything. I certainly don't... sorry I can't be more help.

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