Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

About four years ago I was still teaching middle school. Desperate for a way to come home and be the mom that I couldn't be while working, I came up with a brilliant idea to make and market nap mat covers for daycares. Because you see, when your children are 3 and 5, and have spent two years in daycare, you find your inner creative goddess. You come up with all sorts of ways to stop the spread of germs, some of which are actually cute and functional and may make you a little money.

My sweet Nannie, who has always let it be known how much she believes in each and every one of her grandchildren, gave me her sewing machine. It was her way of kick-starting me in my new brainchild of a sewing empire.

Unfortunately, the only sewing this domestic goddess knew how to do was replacing buttons and a little cross-stitching. So this is what happened to the sewing machine... It became a Nannie shrine of sorts. I covered it with a table cloth she made, and put my pictures of her and Paw Paw on top. And you know what, I didn't feel terribly guilty about not learning to first.

After all, I had this...

Well, ultimately I was able to come home and be just a mom. (Not knocking those of you mamas that can work outside of the home and do all the mama stuff, too. My hat goes off to you! I'm just not so great at multi-tasking!)

Well, recently my littlest joy became obsessed with karate. And when his karate uniform needed to be hemmed, I remembered that I owned a sewing machine. And I decided that surely I could learn how to sew on my own.

How hard could it be, right?

I opened the stool of Nannie's sewing machine and discovered that the "Original Domestic Goddess" not only still had her manual for the machine, but it was in pristine condition...

ONE HOUR later, I had managed to thread the needle.

ONE & A HALF HOURS into my feat, I realized that Nannie was indeed correct when she told me the sewing machine would need to be oiled and serviced before I used it. The motor was running, and the circle do-hickey was spinning, but the belt wasn't budging! I called the local sewing machine repair shop and was referred to someone that made house calls. That someone was headed out of town on a two week ski trip. He put me on the schedule for when he returned. And last Friday that dear, sweet man came and fixed Nannie's sewing machine for me-and even taught me how to work it!

He had sweet things to say about how well maintained it was, and how he had never seen an original manual in such good condition. Obviously he hasn't met a lot of women like the Original Domestic Goddess that is Nannie, bless his heart!

I called Nannie after the repairman left. I told her all about getting it back in working order and all the sweet things that were said about her machine and her care for it. She got choked up. I got choked up. When I hung up the phone I squalled. Needless to say, it took me a few days to start any sewing projects. Superman swears that I will cry at a Hallmark commercial, and I was afraid if I got all sentimental while trying to sew that we might end up in the emergency room having to have a needle and thread removed from my fingers. Seriously!

Wanna meet the Original Domestic Goddess?She was a cutie, huh? She's in her 90's and is still a cutie! And her husband was quite a hottie! They made pretty babies. And their pretty babies made pretty grandbabies. And the pretty grandbabies have made some pretty great-grandbabies. You get the picture?

Meet Paw Paw...Does he look familiar? I think THE Baby looks a lot like him.

Here's a look at the machine. I think it is gorgeous, but I may be partial. The engraved metal embellishments are my favorite part about the whole machine. Well, that and the sound it makes. I cranked it up today and worked on my first project. I got all teary eyed when I heard it. It reminded me of the bazillion hours I spent with Nannie when I was little. It made me homesick. But that's OK. They're all happy memories, and I'll be visiting with her this Monday. See how gorgeous this part is?!?! I love it!!!

I love this part, too. Just knowing that Nannie's fingers attached that little slip of fabric and stuck each of those pins and needles in makes it a little sweeter! I don't see myself removing it any time in the near future...or probably ever!Superman pointed out the serial number for me. I'm still trying to research any information I can find. Any sewing machine savvy people out there that can guide me?OK, now here's the part that really, seriously made me cry. Seriously! Yes ma'am, I had a little moment filled with wet, salty, sentimental, happy, sad (probably hormonal) tears! When you open the stool, it smells like Nannie's house. I love that smell. It makes me want to be careful not to open it too often, because I don't want the smell to go away. Here's a look at some of the neat things I found inside...Some leftover patches. The top ones are from my dad's and uncle's Boy Scout Troop. Nannie was their Den Mother. The ones on the left are from Dad's military days. And Donald Duck, well I know who he is, but I don't know why he was in there!
This packet of patches made me laugh out loud. I threatened to use them on Superman's work pants. He said he didn't think so! Don't they scream the 1970's?And of course, just in case I get motivated to make slip covers, dresses, curtains, or bedspreads, I can always pull out Nannie's books and whip up a few! Ding Dang Y'all, I just may start up that nap mat business after all! So after this blissful, tearful nostalgic day, I did finally decide to tackle one sewing project. I was on the verge of throwing away the liner to the boys' dirty clothes hamper. It had seen better days, and chose to rebel against me when I washed it with towels once or ten times. The seams were ripped and the fabric was frayed. Five minutes and four very crooked seams later... And those karate pants, the whole reason I decided to have the sewing machine fixed- they're still too long. I figure I'll get to them before the littlest joy has his next karate class! Maybe!


inspired said...

You are truly a domestic goddess! You grind your own wheat, you minister to your man and you sew! What more can anyone ask for! And now you can take pictures of it all!! God is GOOD!

Lipstick and Laundry ~Jen said...

WoW! I don't think mine works, in fact I know it doesn't I bought for decoration... I think it's awesome that your works and you USE it!

Chele said...

I can't believe I missed this post for um, over a year now!!!! Thanks for the email about it. In the sewing/quilting world, YOU HAVE A GOLDMINE of a machine. That is an absolutely beautiful Singer. With the serial number you should be able to find out some info.
Do you know if it start out life as a treadle machine? My grandmother use to have a treadle -- I loved pushing the treadle. Ya know, now that you know how to sew a line -- and make a quilt -- you could use those old 70's patches and make you a little quilt to decorate your machine with...or something like that. :-)

And as Inspired said, you grind your wheat, make your bread, do produce shopping, canning, minister (no further comment needed) and now you know how to quilt....what an AMAZING DOMESTIC GODDESS you are. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you!!!!!

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