9.18.2014

Singer Sewing Machine Motor Re-Wire Kits for Sale

If you have an old Singer, please look at the electric cords before you plug it in!  Old cords can be very dangerous and you should never operate a machine when the cords have been compromised in any way.  I've had a bad experience myself when exposed wires sparked at the base of the machine and started an electric fire all the way down the cord to the wall outlet like it was a stick of dynamite. 

This picture shows you how bad they can get.  The casing is so old and brittle it falls off with the slightest movement.

 This poor Singer 201 had the cords melted onto it and the casing on the cords got so hot at one point I could see how it actually dripped down and made a petrified puddle on the base of the machine.

After I managed to get the motor off this is what the cords looked like.

 After a re-wire this is what it ended up looking like.  Much better!

Doing a re-wire is easy if you can solder two wires together (or find someone who can).  A total re-wire of the motor takes me about 2 hours and that includes cleaning all the housing and adding new lubricants.

Here's what the process of a motor re-wire looks like:





Doing my first re-wire I spent about $50 getting all the necessary pieces and it took about 7 days to find everything and in some cases, get it shipped to me.  Because it was so much work and so expensive I decided to put little kits together to make it easier for anyone else.


HERE'S WHAT YOU GET:


WHAT YOU NEED:
Wire strippers, soldering iron and *Singer machine grease 
(*up until this year Singer had a nice red-brown grease for the grease pots but now it's a clear grease and I've read that it's not very good to put in your machine.  Some people say petroleum jelly is about the best thing you can use now.)

Of course I can't take credit for figuring out how to re-wire a sewing machine motor.  Thanks to the Vintage Sewing Machine Blog with step-by-step instructions I was able to learn how to solder and re-wire up to a dozen machines in just a few years!

7.18.2014

Woodshop Hutch Desk (Part 1)

I mentioned in a previous post how I was going to build a desk in wood shop class.  Class just finished and I'm probably only halfway done.  Has it taken longer than I expected?  YES (woodworking always does)!  SIXTY hours of class and it doesn't look like I have much to show for it.  It is nice to know, though, that other people there have been working on their projects for YEARS!!  I will take the next class starting in the Fall and work my butt off to get it finished.

I went over the design a bunch of times hoping to get it perfect!  I'm sure I won't be building another desk in my lifetime so this one has got to be THE one.

 One of the biggest decisions - what wood to use???  I knew I wanted hardwood because it is SO beautiful (when I was building my pine cabinet in shop I often found myself starring at other peoples projects who were working with White Oak and being so jealous).  So many of the hardwoods are heavy and my desk is already more bulky than most so I was worried.  I decided to go with Ash because the grain is so interesting and it felt more lightweight than White Oak (which I would have preferred).  The picture above doesn't demonstrate the amount of wood I got in my order to make my desk.  All of it probably weighs 1,000 lbs!  HAH!

The true beauty of the wood doesn't come out until you machine it.  It's always a surprise when it comes out of the planer to see what's underneath the rough layer on top.

 It took me probably 25 hours to get to this point of gluing up the bottom side panels.  I was holding my breath the whole time... talk about stressful!

 After a few more classes I got the main parts of the carcass machined, jointed and sanded.  Gluing all these parts could have given me a heart attack.  I got glue EVERYWHERE!  I'm just glad the thing came out square in the end!

 Next I made up a panel for the top, jointed to attach to the carcass and still waiting to be glued.


Up next was the side panels for the top half of the desk.  To get to this point was a TON of machining just like the bottom panels. 

 The joining method I used for these thick side pieces and works perfectly with the slots for the panel was to make wood pieces to fit in the grooves to act as a type of biscuit/domino you could say.  Each small wood piece is customized for each joint to fit like a glove.
The panel is slightly smaller that the frame to allow for expansion in the humid summers.

All glued up!  I have most of the other parts ready for the top carcass to glue up next class in 1.5 months.  Until then, here's to endless dreams of finishing my desk!

Oh, and here's some Ash feet I was lucky enough to find.  I can't wait to put them on!!  EEK!

7.07.2014

Leather Couch? Nah, Leather Baby Moccasins!

 We bought this couch thinking it would hold up well with 3 kids and be easy to clean.

 After a rip and a backside duct tape patch (awesome, I know) it wasn't looking to great.

Then one of the kids decided to cut a 1-inch slit in the arm rest and a few days after another boy thought it would be cool to pull on the slit to make it a nice-big flap.

Not only was the couch very uncomfortable and annoyingly cold but it was turning out to be quite a "looker".  Thankfully we ended up finding a free couch and could finally get rid of this one.

I started thinking it was a shame all the leather was worth more by itself than it was in the shape of a couch.  A lightbulb went off and my husband agreed that I could take the couch apart for the leather.  A few hours later...

...TADA!!!

 I was excited because I would have an excuse to use my upholstery machine to sew some baby shoes!

Aren't they adorable!?
The couch looks much cuter in the form of little moccasins (plus there's enough leather to make a few dozen more)!
I've had this pattern ready to sell for a while but haven't had a chance to make instructions... soon to come in my Etsy shop (I hope)!

6.25.2014

Do your own Floral Center Pieces on a Budget!

I was asked to make 25 table center pieces for an event.  I had a $200 budget and no experience with flower arrangements.

I hope this post might help someone who needs some ideas!


I figured I'd do 5 different arrangements of doing 5 of each to get the 25.  I knew I didn't want to do them all the same and also wanted the different groups to be unique and have different vases.

I went to the store and mix-matched flowers for about an hour.   I probably looked like a crazy lady with bunches of flowers all around me and going back and forth down the isle.  The store was closing and I had to decide quick!

Here I am putting together the last minute touches!

 Yes, that's my kid back there!  

For these roses (well, they look like roses!) I made simple wood boxes with cardboard bottoms with floral foam inside.  I cut the flowers off the main stem and stuck them in.

For the tulips I just had to cut a few inches off the main stem and put them in tall mason jars.  To hide the ugly stem I stuffed moss inside and tied a bow with twine.

For the small pink tulips I found these cool copper vases at the dollar store.  All I had to do was put some floral foam inside and stick them in with a little moss around the edges.

For the big pink flowers (yeah.. I don't know much about flowers!) I cut them off the main stem and stuck them in some glass applesauce jars.  It's good to re-use! :)

For the small white flowers (little daisies?) I found mini Martinelli drinks and I loved the green glass.  It ended up being a win-win because my family got to drink the drinks and we got cool vases out of the deal for the event!  I put 2 of these together on the table so we had 10 total.


The dollar store is your friend!  I got the copper vases, spanish moss, twine and floral foam there along with the Martinelli drinks for the green vases.

I got the mason jars from Target, flowers from Joann Crafts and the applesauce jars from the grocery store.

I made the wood vases with wood I already had.

6.20.2014

Rusty Bike "Fix-Up"

I've been wanting a nice bike for so long.  The one I used to have was not cute and the breaks and gears weren't functioning properly.. plus it was getting rusty (not the cute kind of rust).  Can you tell "cute" is important to me?

Our neighbor/friend had this bike sitting outside the front of his house.  The first time I saw it I had to take a double-look.  My first thought was, "wow, that is a COOL bike!"  The more I saw it the more I thought about it.  Some people would say the rust looks bad but I loved it.  It was original and old looking.  I loved the whitewall tires, the cruiser style, the big cushy seat and it was simple with pedal breaks or no gears.

I was jealous.  I wanted it.

Turns out someone told him just how much I wanted it, like, REALLY wanted it.  He told me he would give it to me.  One morning the kids said, "Mom!  He left you the bike!"

There it was... parked right in front of my house.  I wanted to cry I was so happy!

BEFORE:

The rust was really rough and bumpy... so bad it would scratch you if you rubbed up against it.  I wanted to preserve the rust but also stop it from rusting more (or there wouldn't be anything left after a few years)!  I decided to sand it down smooth so I could put a protective clear coat on it.  It was s dirty-tedious job but it paid off.  I did about 3 coats of Rust-o-leum clear spray paint and it makes the world of a difference.  The only other thing I did was put new reflectors on and grease it up.

AFTER:


I'm so lucky!

6.19.2014

Tutorial for Making a Wood Bathroom Shelf

We needed some storage in our small bathroom so I came up with a shelf design after I came across Shanty-2-Chic's website and saw their bathroom shelf (thank you for the inspiration)!

Unlike their shelf I had 3/4"-thick boards to work with and their shelf actually hangs from a coat hanger but my rope/hanger is solely for decoration (I put brackets on the back for hanging).

This shelf is made out of pine and super lightweight and simple to make.  The shelves are wide enough to fit large towels (I roll ours) and enough space in between shelves for taller objects.

I figure you could make one of these for under $25, including wood, rope, screws and mounting hardware!


BATHROOM SHELF BUILDING PLAN

Dimensions: 30-1/2" tall by 21-1/2" wide by 7" deep (you can easily customize your own dimensions, too)

Materials and Tools Shopping List:
1-in x 8-in x 12-ft Pine Board ($9 @ Home Depot) actual dimensions 3/4" x 7-1/2" x 12'
Metal mounting hardware (for hanging)
Decorative knob or bracket (for rope to "hang")
Sisal rope 30-inch piece 3/8" diameter
6 2-inch wood screws 
Drill bit for wood screws
5/16" drill bit for rope
Countersink (recommended)
Wood Glue
Sandpaper

Tools:
Wood Clamps
Measuring Tape
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Table Saw
Jigsaw
Drill
Sander

Cut List: 
1- 21-1/2" x 7" board - BOTTOM
2- 20" x 6" boards - SHELVES 
2- 29-3/4" x 5" boards - SIDES
1- 20" x 1-1/2" board - BACK RAIL


General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire instructions before beginning and make any adjustments/changes according to what you need. Take precautions to cut boards safely.

UP NEXT:
Sides: cutting dados, notches for back rail and holes for rope
Shelves: notching sides to fit into dados

Make notches in both narrow ends of shelves with a jigsaw.  The notch should be 1/2" in from the side and 5" from back end.

CAUTION: For sides make sure you are making them mirror images of each other!

 Top end of sides:

Bottom end of sides:
Make your dados using your table saw by setting the blade 1/4" high.  Set the fence so your dado will start 10-1/2" from each end of your boards.  Adjust fence little by little to make several cuts, creating a 3/4"-wide dado.  TIP: test fit your shelf pieces as you go to make sure they will fit snuggly.

Cut notches for back rail (this is where you need to make sure you are making them mirror-images of each other).  Your notch should measure 6-inches down from the top and be 1-1/2" long and 3/4" deep (best way would be to use your actual rail as a template and trace around it).

Drill holes in your sides for the rope using a 5/16" drill bit.  It should be about 1-1/2" down from the top and centered over your board, so about 2-1/2" in from each side.

Test fit all your pieces.  If they fit you can sand everything and start assembly!

Glue your shelves inside your dados.  Make sure to brush your glue on all touching edges.  Clamp.

Set your back rail inside notches on your sides.  Pre-drill a hole on each end for wood screws and countersink.
Attach your bottom using your 4 remaining wood screws (pre-drill and countersink holes), going in from the bottom...

...if your sides are centered over your bottom you should have about a 3/4" gap on each end of your bottom.

Bottom view.

Attach your hardware on the back for hanging.

My hardware required that I drill out some wood underneath for the head of the screw to sit inside.

 Hang your shelf up and then attach your rope and decorative "hanger" (mine was off an old sewing cabinet)!

 I used nails in the sides of my shelves just as decoration.

 The white you see in all the corners is just for looks.  It's vinyl spackling!  Super easy to wipe in, let dry and then I actually use a wet towel to wipe it down as far as I want or it also sands well.

One more project... DONE!