Tuesday’s treasure: brand new old shoes

The Costume Museum of Canada has many shoes that were never actually worn.  Some came from a shoe store that donated shoes to the collection.  I don’t know if these shoes came from the store or not but I do know they were never worn and are in mint condition.  1910 shoe CMC b

Little cracking from some time spent improperly packed but otherwise in great condition.1910 shoe CMC cI was in love with the buckle.1910 shoe CMC aBut others loved the cut out portions on the side.  Lovely shoes!

Fancy photo

I bought a nice cabinet card awhile back with a fancy edge and “background”.SAM_2773 aI don’t think I have anything else like it in my collection!  I’m guessing this is a late 1890’s card based on those scalloped edges but the big ol’ sleeves would have told me the same thing!

I like this girls face…she seems handsome, young and friendly to me.  I wonder what her life was like.

I must admit, though, I bought the card  because of this lovely bodice.  I love the pleats and beads.  Very nice feature.  I’d like a dress made with these details!SAM_2773 b

Feelin’ all smug and gloaty!

With my magic knowledge box (computer and YouTube) I have figured out how to fix up the 1930’s treadle sewing machine I inherited from my father’s house after he died.  (If you recall, YouTube helped me fix my lap top too.)SAM_2794The poor sewing machine  was a mess with congealed oil, dust and masking tape.  I cleaned up the head as best as I could but it will never be lovely as it has fine cracks (crazing?) all over it.   SAM_2795I used kerosene and I think if I do it a few more times, some of the yellowing will improve.  I don’t want to remove the decals so I will have to be gentle.  Better a bit of yellowing be left than the decals removed.

The next step was to clean out the feed-dogs.  Past due, I’d say.SAM_2796There was enough fluff in there to fill a small stuffed toy.SAM_2797Better.  I picked it out, brushed and vacuumed.  After this photo, I got some of that rust and congealed oil off with kerosene.

Then I flipped the machine over to look at the bobbin.

SAM_2798More yellowing.  I didn’t spend too much time on that as it isn’t a moving part or a part that is typically visible.  I took out the bobbin. SAM_2799I brushed out some of that dust, vacuumed and oiled with sewing machine oil…not with WD40 which is a great cleaner and rust removed but not a good lubricating oil.  I think some of that congealed stuff is WD40.  The video showed a newer model (1950’s I think) so there was nothing to dismantle here like they were doing but I was able to figure out where to put the oil…where the parts slide together…based on what the video showed for the newer model.

The face plate was the next thing to come off.

SAM_2800More crap on it.  I cleaned it up some but I think next time I will take some kerosene and a toothbrush and that should get the stuff stuck into the recessed parts.  I also disassembled the tension unit and made sure it was smooth enough for the thread to glide through.

Here is what is under the face plate.SAM_2802

More kaka!  The needle still moved not too badly but it took the presser foot a minute or so to lower once the lever was lowered because of the goo on the post.  More kerosene and more gentle scraping and rubbing.  I didn’t work too hard on making it pretty but I got it working.  There were literally globs of goo around the post for the presser foot…nearly made me gag…it was like old snot!  But I got those two posts silver again and now they work great.  I almost heard the machine sigh when I oiled the posts…like Rusty the Tin Man.

Here it is all reassembled, oil in all the correct holes, and needle changed and threaded.  I had to YouTube how to do that as well!  Quite different than all the other machines I have ever used!  This photo should be a good reminder for the next time I need to thread it.

SAM_2804As you can see the face plate is shinier but it is still yellow in the groves and corners.  It does look better though.    SAM_2805Next I had to re-attach the belt.  No problem!  I was worried that after all this time, it would be stretched but it still fit!  Now to see if it works!SAM_2806And see if I still remembered how to do this!SAM_2807Grandma’s voice came back to me…hand on the wheel to bring the needle down…when ready, turn the wheel towards you…pick up the rhythm in the foot plate and away you go.SAM_2809The first try was too tight but a quick turn on the tension knob and it was perfect!

So now on the to-do list….several more sessions of rubbing to get more of the yellow off, clean the greasy dirt off of the legs and peddle end, learn how to work some of the attachments that came with the machine, make something with it and its attachments and finally, re-stain the wood.  I probably need to get the smug smile off of my face too!SAM_2812







I was very sad to learn that one of my costume groups favorite locations is closing down due to structural issues. Kennedy House/Maple Grove Tea Room. I am glad we took advantage of it while we could.

Taken inside the house just after having tea in the tea room.

Taken inside the house just after having tea in the tea room.

We did get good news that my FAVORITE house museum is re opening! Dalnavert House.

999402Ah, the ebb and flow of trying to keep history alive!

Making summer costume event plans

I have so many ideas and so many costumes!  I’d love to be able to wear them all but I think money, time and everyone else’s schedules are going to clip my Victorian wings!  I can’t wait to see what my partner in crime thinks about my ideas and I can’t wait to see if our other group members are able to join us for what we have  come up with!

As I think about trying to find enough events so that I can wear all my dresses, I realize that I’m coming to the point that I either have to accept that I can’t wear them all in one costuming season or I have to some how expand the season (we typically stop from December to May because all the good historic sites and events are not operational).

A third option gets my maternal gears grinding…and that is to try to give away/sell some of my least favorite ensembles.  Even my least favorites are my babies.  All my gowns were firsts as far as attempted skills.  The first time I tried to copy a gown in a museum. The first gown with a devilish fabric.  The first gown with a bustle/hoop under pinning. The first gown I tried grading up a teeny tiny pattern.

If they are my least favorite, it is because of some flaw that irks me (and irks me more and more as my skills are honed).  If I see them as flawed, I can’t imagine being able to find someone who is my size AND who wants to pay money to own and wear a flawed gown.  And heavens defend against the person being able to get up close and inside and find all the flaws that don’t bug me but really should (there are a few unfinished seams.)

I could just let the least favorite collect dust after all the time and money I put into them…I could stop making more dresses…I could just aim to wear all the dresses once every two years…I could wear them around the house….  Each possibility nuttier than the last!

I feed the birds

At work, we have some bird feeders set up outside the windows of the main rooms.  My seniors spend hours looking outside at the birds.  But it isn’t just birds eating there.  A few weeks back I posted about the rabbits that eat there too.photo 1Don’t tell the boss, but we also get mice.

Now that spring has arrived, we have new guests.photo 1

Excuse the messy yard.  It is spring and landscaping is on the agenda for this year.  Looks like crap now. photo 2We think this is the Misses of the pair.  Hubby was standing guard on the roof.photo 3

If the window wasn’t there, she’s be about 2 feet away from my seniors.  They are loving their “nature” show.  We spent quite some time watching them and joking that I may be over feeding the sparrows a bit!