Saturday, May 31, 2008

Someone Sprayed My Thistles

I'm crying. Someone came on our property and sprayed the thistles my baby Painted Lady caterpillars were eating. My heart is broken.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Singer Sewing Machine 15 - 90

I have done some searching around to find out more about my new machine. I found a very helpful group at Vintage Singers, a Yahoo Group who were able to look at pictures and let me know that my machine is a 15 -90. It is a dress making machine. It is very similar to the 15-91. Vintage Singers Yahoo Group has extensive files including much information about old machines. I was able to download a manual for the machine there, and also a repair manual. So now I think I'm ready to make something . . . as soon as I have a little more time.

I learned that most older Singers didn't have their model number written anywhere on it. I found a guide to pre-1960 Singer Sewing machines, to help you identify the model.

I found a cool animation of how the rotating hook assembly works and locks the two threads together neatly in the middle of the fabric

I've learned this machine can do free motion quilting, possibly even better then a modern machine because there is more room.

It uses needles and bobbins and feet that are still available.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Singer Sewing Machine 1951

I stopped by a garage sale today and found a little dream come true. It isn't a featherweight or a treadle machine like my great grandma had, but it is a vintage Singer Sewing machine, and it works great! It was made in 1951. I have not discovered how much this machine is really worth, but I'm thankful to the lady who charged my only $30!

My son brought me two squares of fabric and had me sew him a pillow to see if the machine could do anything. He didn't believe that anything this old could work. What he doesn't know is that there are many Singer machines that are much older that still work. I imagine that many of you actually sewed on a machine just like this when you were a girl.
There is a little emblem on the front of the machine that says this is an anniversary edition: "A Century of Sewing Service 1851 - 1951." It also says it was made in Canada.

Some day I would like to sew a dress on a treadle machine, even if I never get to own one. I would enjoy that connection to the past. It seemed like such a wonderful invention. I really like things that don't require electricity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day Blessings

My sweet kiddos told me to stay in my room as late as I wanted on Mother's Day so that they could make me breakfast. This is what I found on the table when I came into the dining room. Emily Rose made the French Crepes/Pancakes, filled with banana cream and topped with an I Love You in Raspberry Cream. Forest Zoo made the vegetables and rice and did a very fine job of seasoning them. They also gave me a CD of Jamie Jorge playing the violin. His music is so uplifting. Here is a sample of him playing on a youtube video. He also has an impressive story to tell including a childhood in Cuba. And yes, his mother had to make him practice. I got to hear him play live when he came to our town once, several years ago, but only got my first CD recently.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Review: Seven Secrets Cookbook.

I bought a new cookbook this week. Seven Secrets Cookbook: Healthy Cuisine Your Family Will Love, by Neva and Jim Bracket. Last Wednesday we visited a friend, and she made a Lentil Soup from the cookbook that was really good. And she had a dressing for the salad that my son loved, also from the cookbook. I bought the book the next day, because it looked like one that our family would be able to use often. It is vegan, and even though it isn't gluten free, many of the recipes are free of gluten, or have gluten free suggestions. It doesn't use very many processed foods, and very little processed oils, so my husband will be happy about most of the recipes too.

I have an older cookbook by the same authors that I also use often. It is called Five Loaves. The authors ran a vegan/healthy deli in Seattle, WA for many years, and this book contains many of their tried and true recipes that they used in their deli. The new cookbook also appears that it will not disappoint.

This morning I made Chili With Corn for our lunch.

Chili With Corn
from Seven Secrets Cookbook, by Neva and Jim Bracket

1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 green or red pepper (optional)
1 - 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons California Chili
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked black or small red beans (may be canned)
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh corn
14 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 Tablespoons molasses

1. Put onions, peppers, and seasonings in a medium sized kettle and add about 1/2 cup water. Simmer for about 8 minutes until onion is tender.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and heat to serving temperature. Top with Tofu Sour Cream if desired.

Makes 6 cups/

Note: I used red beans cooked in a crock pot overnight. For the chili, I used a combination of three chili powders that I had on hand, since I didn't have any California chili powder. I wondered what it would be like with the molasses. I didn't want it to be sweet or taste strong, but it turned out just fine. My only warning is to be careful not to walk away from it and leave it on the burner after you have added the molasses. It scorches quickly.

We served the chili on freshly cooked brown rice. Yum. It is a recipe that we will make again.

Other recipes we have tried from the book this week include French Crepes (already gluten free) and Ranch-style Dressing Mix (excellent - a powder you can mix into your own mayonnaise )


Kittens are growing. Their eyes are opening. Each one seems healthy. The children love to pet and cuddle them. Mama kitty is busy nursing them and keeping them clean.

The caterpillars are growing. We are busy remembering to bring fresh bull thistle in for them everyday. We are contemplating taking them out and putting them on a bull thistle plant, then we could watch them from there.

Homeschool is going well. We are in our last push to finish up the school year in about a month.

My husband discovered that he could recover old photos of my camera's memory cards. This means that he was able to recover some of the photos from Joshua Tree National Park that had been lost! Amazing that you can do this. That means I can post some more desert photos when I have a chance.

The power cord for the laptop that I use for photos went poof this morning and sent out a spark. I wasn't able to start the computer after that. I will have to wait until this evening when my favorite computer repair guy gets home to see how badly things are damaged. Until he gets things working again, I won't be posting any photos.

But I may not be posting much anyway. I have many things to focus on, and they aren't all fitting in a day. Blogging is a lesser priority, so if you don't see me for a while, you will know I'm out doing something good.

And I haven't even started anything in my garden yet!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Birth Announcment - Kittens!

I thought the butterflies were going to be the biggest event of the week, but actually, it is kittens! We have five of them. They were born in the middle of the day, on the couch. Queen CeCe wanted to be by us and petted through the whole event. Piano lessons had to be postponed, and little else got done. But I'd say we are doing well on the science of mammals this year too. Emily Rose has more to say about it on her blog, It's a Kid's Life. Forest Zoo hasn't posted about it yet, but I'm sure he will have one up before the day is out too.

Mr. Vince, the Hermit Crab

Forest Zoo has a new hermit crab. We are so happy, because Forest Zoo has finished all his grade one Pathways readers and mama gave him a new friend for his zoo, a nice active crab. Forest named him Mr. Vince, the invincible, because nothing sees to stop him. Before the day was done, he had traded his shell for an extra one that we had in the terrarium. The next morning, Hermie, our 4 year old crab traded his shell for the one the one Mr. Vince had come with. They seem to be getting along just fine.

Painted Ladies on Apple Blossoms

Things are really happening at our house. I've never had such a pet centered week before.

Our butterflies are doing well. We will have 5 living ones, dining on flowers, and laying eggs. We brought them some apple blossoms, which they appreciated, but then they went back to their favorite dandelions.
Our caterpillars are munching along as fast as they can. The tiny things look like nothing next to a giant bull thistle leaf. They are growing. I think they are about 1/8 of an inch now. Every time we add a fresh leaf, more eggs are laid too. I can't imagine how many butterflies we are going to have. They will be hatching over many days. When it is time we are going to carry them out and set them on a thistle plant that we are reserving for them, so they will feel at home, and maybe there will be more butterflies that live in our area then ever before. The farmers will be happy for our little thistle eaters to settle in the area.