Saturday, May 26, 2012

Singer Genie 354

My Genie was manufactured in France in 1974.  There is a price sticker on the bottom that reads $355. I bought it for $45 CAD from ebrandon classifieds.  This machine only weighs about 16 pounds or 7.27 kilograms.
The carrying case just slides onto the flatbed, then snaps into place.  There is a push button right above word "Singer" to close it up or open it.  The button operates the little door hinges that cover the tension disk, tension dial, stitch width, needle position and stitch selector levers.
The slide on cover holds the foot pedal and power cords as well as a plastic envelope with the accessories and  operator's manual.  Everything is stored neatly in the cover.
How cool is that?  It only came with three feet, a blind hem guide and device to raise the needle plate for darning or free motion quilting.  The Singer Genie uses standard low shank feet.  It has a top loading bobbin and uses Singer plastic bobbins.
After a thorough cleaning and oiling, my little Genie was ready to sew.  The green thread is the top side.
Blue thread is the bottom side.  Tension was excellent, the Genie sews good stitches.
It is easy and fun to operate.
Not only is Genie a functional sewing machine, it is also eye candy with lovely deco flowers.
This machine was really squeaky clean, only a few minor scuffs on the outside of the body and the case.  There was very little lint inside the bobbin case area and feed dogs.
The manual is well written and has good illustrations.
I restocked the accessories with a full pack of universal needles, seam ripper and pair of thread snips.
Even though, this machine does not have a ton of fancy stitches or even a free arm.  It is so cute and compact I can see myself using it for travel.  It is small enough to be taken on an airplane as a carry on.  I think  this was Singer's 1970s version of the featherweight, the design is also similar to the Elna Lotus and Stella.  I love to sew at home with my heavy weight Bernina 930 or large harp Pfaff Creative 2, but these machines are no fun at all to transport.
Readers do you have a portable, compact sewing machine?  If yes, what kind?  If no, do you ever take a full size sewing machine out to class?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Leah Day May 2012 FMQ Challenge

On my sample quilt, I divided a 16 by 8 inch rectangle in half.  Then I free motion quilted a large stipple across both sides.
On the left side I quilted a smaller stipple.
The right side was railway ties.  I used  Coats 100% polyester pink trilobal thread for the large stipple.
The smaller stipple and railway ties are with purple Isacord 100% polyester thread.
For this month's challenge I used my Bernina 930 Record sewing machine.
The off white colour is the backside.
This technique certainly gets one to practice making straight lines and following a wiggly line.
I found it difficult to fill the whole space while crossing the original line.
I'm impressed with the stitch quality of the old Bernina 930.
Happy quilting all.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Embroidery fun - name label

I like to personalize gifts made in my craft emporium by putting first names on bags, quilts and jackets.  I also put my  initials and the year (ted 2012) on all the quilts in matching thread hiding in the border.  So a few months ago when I won some fat quarters in a give away on Krista's blog.  I wanted to send her a shopping bag with her name on it.  In December 2011, I bought a Pfaff Creative 2 embroidery/sewing machine.  To make a long story short, I screwed up Krista's name on her bag by sewing a mirror image on the front side.  By the time I realized my operator error, it was too late to fix.  While I was picking out all the tiny, tight stitches, the bag was damaged.
The first photo is the inside.
This is the outside of the bag.  I was pressed for time (my life story) so I put her name on a different bag and mailed it to Alaska.  But I am far too thrifty to let a wonderful bag like this go to waste.
My Pfaff Creative 2 is able to embroidery all kinds of fancy designs including badges.  This time I made a practice name badge. 
Lane from That Man Quilts sent me two wonderful nine-patch quilting books.
Of course, I needed to send him a little thank you gift.
 I used tear away embroidery backing.
Sulky 100% rayon thread in the Inspira embroidery needle and white bobbin thread in the bobbin.
I'm still learning to use the machine.  In hindsight the badge should have been a little higher up on the edge.
I sure hope Lane likes his surprise!  
I'm pretty delighted how well the badge name label completely covered the damaged fabric.
Embroidery machines are fun!  I recently purchased a continuous hoop to embroider borders on quilts. 
Some folks write their names in their quilts using free motion quilting, my free motion quilting skills are not that good, are yours?  
Do you label your quilts?  
Do you have an embroidery machine?  
Do you have a sewing machine with an alphabet and built in embroidery stitches?  If yes, how do you use the decorative stitches?  
The most important question of all, how many sewing machines do you have?  
I recently read a joke on line somewhere where a husband asked "how many sewing machines does one woman need?"  answer: "just one more".

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitchen Reno - Emerald Pearl granite counter top

During the past five years, we have been in the process of slowly updating our house that was custom built for us in 1987.  My fantastic husband designed the floor plan and 25 years later, the lay out continues to work wonderfully for us.  We replaced the almond coloured fridge and stove in 2007, the black dishwasher in 2010.  Now it was time for new sinks and counter top.
As much as I love the warm look of natural hardwood, oak back splashes are just not practical.  They get water damaged.  The wood was sealed with white silicone that did not match the laminate or the oak.  Around the sink the silicone was black, much of the oak finish was worn off, it was ugly looking.  The laminate counter top had knife marks and chips in it.
The oak trim on the front side looks really dated with the stainless steel appliances.

The kettle is sitting on our little octagon shaped ceramic tile counter.  We put that in so we could take things out of the oven and place it directly on the counter top.  It was great for a big roaster or broiling pan, pies, cookies  and cakes.  That counter served us well.
I snapped these photos just before clearing everything off the counter top for Wheat City Granite to install our new sinks and counter.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the old sinks...too late now.
Doug picked the white glazed ceramic tile for the walls and I love it!  These photos were taken with my little Iphone 4s about 10:30 pm before the tile was grouted.
The oak breakfast bar was taken off to install the ceramic tile.
I did research on quartz, granite and corian.  There is a good utube series called "granite shorts" I found helpful.
We decided on granite because it is a beautiful, natural stone  which makes our kitchen counter not only functional, but also eye candy.
Emerald pearl granite has lots of sea shells embedded in the rock, the result is this very shinny reflective top that picks up the colours around it. 
With the under mount sink and no back splash we gained some extra counter space, plus no back splash to clean!  Bonus!
We changed the counter outlets from beige to white.  I was surprised that a single light switch was 94 cents at one place and $4.99 in different store.  It sure pays to shop around.  We got three quotes on the granite as well, the difference between the highest quote and the lowest was $3,400!
Hindsight is 20/20, our counter has two mitre corners and a seam in the middle of the double sink.  This wall is almost 11 feet long, an average granite slab size is nine to ten feet, it was impossible to get a single slab of granite long enough to cut the sink out of the middle with two mitre the corners.  The alternative would have been to have two straight seams 18 inches away from the sink on both sides, with no mitred corners or seam in the sink.  We prefer the look of an under mount sink with no seams, however we didn't know we were getting a seam in the sink until after the granite was cut.  I suggested to our contractor for future customers, that if he has to put a seam in the sink, he should explain this before hand.
This granite is difficult to photograph because it reflects so much light.  I can see the trees from outside on the counter top.
Besides vintage sewing machines, I collect pottery.  This is the view from the kitchen looking over the breakfast bar to the dining room.
When our kids were young, they would sit at the breakfast bar while Doug cooked them breakfast.  The bar is used a lot for extra counter space and when entertaining.  At our house it is common practice for one person to be cooking while another is sitting at the breakfast bar visiting the cook and sampling the wares.  We call this slippage.
The stainless steel range hood is also new. The install was complicated by the fact that outside of this wall is inside our attached garage.  So the installer used six inch venting pipe along the wall in the garage to get to the outside wall vent.  I only got two quotes for installing the range hood, the difference was $500.  This range hood has two excellent halogen lights, I can see the coils under the stove top, as well as every scratch on the stove top, speck of dust on the kettle, counter etc.  The fan has variable speeds and timer.  It is noisy.  Still to come later is new hardware for the cupboards and  a paint job for the dining room.

Dear readers, I would love to read your comments on counter top materials, pottery collecting or my kitchen reno.  Are you currently renovating?