Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sew Close...

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been absolutely terrified of sewing machines.  I had an old Brother sewing machine for years that never worked right.  The bobbin took at least a half hour to wind and thread, and the tension was wonky.  Yanks on the tension adjustment wheel would move the wide, loopy stitches from the bottom to the top.  I dreaded using it and eventually it was pushed further and further back into a deep closet to gather dust.

Then, I bought a new sewing machine.

It was a cheap model, under $100, but it received many glowing reviews on Amazon.com.  There were several sewing projects I wanted to do, after all, and maybe a new sewing machine would work better. 

The new machine was amazing.  The drop-in bobbin took minutes to wind and thread, and the machine miraculously produced small, even stitches.  I felt ready to tackle my first major project:  hemming the curtains we'd purchased at IKEA earlier this year.  They were currently dragging the floor in the bedroom, collecting dirt and providing a soft sleeping place (and hair repository) for the cats.

I carefully measured the distance from the floor to the bottom of the blinds, removed the curtains, and folded/pinned up the fabric.

Taking a deep breath, I started stitching across the bottom. 

Success!  The stitches were even, the length was even, and all four curtain panels matched.  I was confident enough to cut some lengths of oatmeal-colored linen...

...and stitch them up on either side to make curtain ties.  They fitted easily around the curtain panels and added a nice contrast, I think.

I am so pleased by the finished curtains.

Alas, I became overconfident and tried to sew up a slipcover for my overstuffed craft room chair.  Five hours and ten bloody fingers later, the slipcover resembled a tossed-over sheet with Frankenstein monster-like ridges running in unnatural formations across its various parts.  

I think I'll stick with curtains for now.

In other news, I kept seeing large birds in the trees behind the house.  They almost looked like ducks, but I never knew ducks to roost in trees.  

Well, Carolina, or Wood Ducks, do.

Wood ducks are extremely colorful and were once hunted almost to extinction for their feathers.  They've made a nice recovery, though.  We have five or so here and I frequently see them flying from tree to tree in a lighthearted manner.

Speaking of local fowl, I noticed something strange on the neighborhood turkeys recently.  It's a long, feathery protrusion on several of their chests.  

 I learned that it's called a beard.  The older and more powerful the turkey, the longer and fuller the beard.  Naturally, hens are drawn to turkeys who would seem to be the best protector and provider, and a long, lush beard is a visual clue.  Interesting!

The squirrels here have been discovering our feeders.

They aren't fat, slow, and unconcerned like the big fox squirrels in Indianapolis.  They scare easily...

...and run quickly to safety.

Another interesting thing:  we had our first winter storm here in South Carolina.  I was expecting something a little different when I heard "ice storm", but we got a few ice pellets and a little sleet, nothing more.  Strangely, the only evidence of it in the yard was the strange ice formation on this bush:

When I inspected it more closely, I saw that the ice had formed a multitude of thin, flaky layers that for all the world reminded me of a day-old croissant.

The layers were delicate and melted quickly when touched.  Within an hour, the whole thing had melted.

Temporary ice outside, but inside, my hyacinths are blooming.  They're so wonderful to have, because even when they aren't flowering, the green plant is so pretty.

Then it blooms.

Purple Muscari are probably my favorite spring flower, but you can't beat hyacinths for cheer and delightful smell.

Have a great week!


  1. I really enjoy seeing your beautiful pictures and blog itself. I am on Raverly also and am a Christian. My heart desire is to knit for Operation Graditude. It is knitting things for the military, which is close to our hearts. We can say proudly that our son serves.
    Thank you again for the lovely pictues. Alice

  2. Now that's an ice storm I could handle ;D