So Far, So Good

IMG_5014So far, in this new year, we have been

up before sunrise,

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sewing (me, not George),

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This petite Singer Featherweight is the only sewing machine I’ve ever owned. It is older than I am, easy to use and maintain, and pleasing to the eye.

building a bookcase (George, not me),

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Before even tackling the bookcase, George had to set up a workshop.  He put a lot of time and care into this beauty.  I love it.

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and getting acquainted with a spinning wheel.

We found this beauty black with grime at an antique store. She seemed to have all her parts and the price was right, so we took her home.

We found this lovely old wheel at an antique store, black with lanolin-infused grime.  Likely she had been sitting in an attic or barn for years.  She seemed to have all her essential parts and the price was very right, so we took her home.  Unfortunately, when we bought her last summer, I wasn’t blogging and didn’t think to take any photos of her original state.  Wish I had.

After several weeks of cleaning and more cleaning, beautiful wood emerged.

In the fall, I started cleaning her up.  It took several weeks and a lot of elbow grease but eventually beautiful wood–at least three different kinds–emerged.

The workmanship on these old wheels fascinates me.

The workmanship on these old wheels fascinates me.

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I'm still learning her quirks and feel. When the yarn properly uptakes to the bobbin the band tends to fall off and vice versa. With some more time, I hope work it out.

I’m still learning her quirks and feel. When the yarn properly uptakes to this bobbin, the band to the wheel tends to fall off and when the band stays on, the yarn doesn’t feed.  I hope we’ll work it out.

If not, she makes delightful shadows

If not, she makes delightful shadows

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Zoe likes January.IMG_4871IMG_4872

George has been hauling wood,IMG_5051

we have been doing a lot of cooking,

My wooden spoons, more than 15 years old, hand carved by Don Duncan in North Carolina.

My favorite cooking utensils, 15 to 20 years old, hand carved by Don Duncan in North Carolina.

This one's hickory.

This one’s hickory.

a little wildlife viewing,

I gave George a game camera for Christmas to check out the wildlife on our property. So far, all we've seen are these fat raccoons heading down the driveway in the middle of the night.

I gave George a game camera for Christmas to check out the wildlife on our property. So far, all we’ve seen are these fat raccoons heading down the driveway in the middle of the night.

The local turkeys seemed to have survived hunting season. There were more than 30 turkeys in this snowy group.

Our local roving wild turkeys seemed to have survived hunting season. There were more than 30 turkeys in this flock.

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going for daily walks,IMG_5052IMG_5071IMG_5119IMG_5090IMG_5146

and watching this amaryllis bloom.IMG_4842IMG_4918IMG_5171

42 thoughts on “So Far, So Good

  1. What a beautiful wheel! And you are able to use it?? yeah! I always feel we are paying such tribute to the maker of something old and forgotten when we breath new life into it……whoever made that wheel will be smiling. wonderful! Seems like you are thoroughly enjoying winter.

    • Yes, she’s a gorgeous wheel isn’t she? The spinning’s been a bit rough, mainly because the yarn doesn’t consistently wind up onto the bobbin. But I haven’t spent much time with it yet. I’m focusing on a quilt right now. When it’s finished, spinning will be my next project. I like to imagine who made the wheel and who spun on it. Too bad it can’t talk.

      You’re right, I am loving every bit of this winter. I’d like a bit more snow, though! We’re hoping we won’t get blown away in the winds expected today. Better tie down your chickens!

    • Zoe adores the snow. And she’s been able to go on much longer walks now that the colder weather is here.
      You should have seen the spinning wheel when we got her–dirt, dirt, and more dirt. It was a thrill to clean her up and find such beautiful wood underneath.

  2. Oh my, but you are all settled in for a long winter’s night. 🙂 The bookcase is a lovely piece of craftsmanship – George has woodworking skills. Love the sewing machine – it has character and probably no plastic parts. The wood and metal parts on the wheel are wonderful. There is someone smiling knowing that you are giving it a new life. Great photos. 🙂

    • Thanks Judy. I love the bookcase, George did such a beautiful job. And he’s planning on building two more.
      No plastic parts on the little Featherweight. I open it up and oil and grease the metal bits regularly to keep it happy. It’s really quite a sweet machine.
      It does feel good to bring the spinning wheel back to life. I have an old loom too that we will be fixing up next winter. They will make a nice pair!

  3. What a wonderful post…I enjoyed all of it. The bookshelf is lovely, and I should take pictures of our old spinning wheel which probably looks like your before non photo. It belonged to great grandmother or even older, of Bill’s. Fabulous that you now have a woodworking workshop. Bill, btw, is a moderator on several old tool woodworking forums, if ever interested. And I always love photos of Zoe. Xoxo

    • Mahalo Arlene (sorry I couldn’t resist)!!! I would love to see photos of your spinning wheel. I really have an affinity for the old wheels. My brother has an old wheel from our family and I learned to spin on it. It even has some old (very, very old) flax on the distaff. It is wonderful to have a woodworking shop here. George is planning all sorts of projects. If you point us towards Bill’s forums, we’ll check them out.

    • We really enjoyed our year of travel, but it also made us appreciate the things that we couldn’t do on the road. We are acting like giddy kids in a candy store. Maine is a perfect fit for us. I hope you find someplace as sweet when you (if you) decide to settle down again.

    • There was a time when I considered getting a new machine with at least a few bells and whistles. But the little Singer does everything I want and feels like an old friend now. I wouldn’t trade it for any other. I’m hoping to pass it on to one of my grandbabies.

  4. That bookcase is a beautiful wood. What a handy man to have around and all your crafting skills means you will never be without something to do during the long cold nights of winter. Don’t forget to show us your quilt when it is finished. That is a very fat racoon. Had he just been visiting your garden?

    • Yes, George is wonderful to “have around,” in so many ways! I will post a quilt picture when it’s done and will update on the spinning, too. We haven’t had any critters in the garden, yet. Perhaps the raccoons were eating fallen apples, they look very purposeful waddling down the driveway. We’ll be putting the camera in the woods next and hope to see more wildlife.

      • The camera is a very interesting thing to observe the night time activity. I would just see cats (grrrrrr) coming around in my garden. Look forward to seeing the quilt

  5. I love it when those amaryllis bulbs bloom in January and February. Right now, I have two with flower stalks on them, but they’re not far enough along to bloom yet.
    It looks as though you are having a productive and creative New Year. I have spent this weekend indoors cleaning off my desk and getting organized in preparation to be productive and creative. 😉

    • The amaryllis add a welcome splash of color to the winter. This one is turning out to be quite spectacular.
      It has been so many years since I have had the time to engage in creative projects, I’m enjoying every minute.

  6. An all around beautiful post. It’s lovely how you appreciate working with your hands, using the simplest of tools, and take time to admire nature’s flora and fauna all around you. Winter in Maine is so crisp and clear, much for me to miss. Nice to balance time inside and outside the home. Sweet dog 🙂

  7. This is such a lovely post, Brenda. Lots of wood (inside and out). I love the bookcase – what a piece of craftsmanship – and your spinning wheel, although I’ve no idea how they work. Good luck with getting it going properly. It sounds like a thoroughly satisfactory and productive start to the new year. Sam x

    • Thanks Sam. I considered a “wood” theme for this post, but the sewing machine put a wrench in that idea! Needless to say, I love wood. George does too, and has several other woodworking projects lined up–including an outside bench. We’re having fun.

  8. Wonderful pictures! And words. They combine to show the creative rhythm of your days. Beautiful, beautiful book case. And love that dog face so much!

    • Thank you Laurie. I love the slower rhythm of a northern winter. We had anticipated doing some traveling in the winter but decided to stay here all winter this year. I’m so glad that we did, not sure I ever want to leave! I will share your bookcase compliment with George. The bookcase makes me smile–and I’m happy to start unpacking our books again.

  9. Your Singer is obviously an old friend, they are beautiful machines. Oh….what a fabulous spinning wheel, I tried to buy one in an auction but it cost a small mortgage! I do like the different woods, and the wooded cooking utensils. Zoe is a sweetheart, how happy she looks. I am a little jealous of those wild turkeys and racoons. I did enjoy this post.xxx

    • Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting. Believe me, I’ve spent many happy hours with the Singer. Too bad that you couldn’t buy that auction wheel. I was lucky that this spinning wheel was a real bargain and a fraction of the cost of a new wheel. There are lots of old wheels at antique shops around here but most are missing key parts. I figured that if I couldn’t get this one spinning, it was the worth the money just to look at!
      We have quite a bit of wildlife around here but, except for the turkeys we don’t see it much. That’s why we bought the game camera. Zoe’s not so wild anymore but still enjoys a good frenzied run around the yard.

    • I will pass your compliments on to George. The bookcase is ponderosa pine. We intended this first bookcase to be a test run for another one or two of more expensive wood, so went with pine. George picked out the nicest grain he could find and we were delighted that the pine turned out to be so lovely.

    • Thanks Gin. We are very much enjoying it here. For sewing, over the years, I’ve sewed all sorts of things–clothes, curtains, quilts, pillows, cushions. After I finish the quilt I’m working on, I will be sewing some summer dresses from some beautiful fabric made with pressed flowers!

  10. What a beautiful collection of shots from your life. Loved them! I especially like what you’ve done with the spinning wheel as I used to have a wheel myself and I spun wool shorn from coloured (various browns, black and cream) sheep on the outback property we lived. Once I got over the initial quirks of using it, I found it very therapeutic to spin. Even if it doesn’t work properly, as you say it looks beautiful. You’ve done a fine job of restoring it. 🙂

    • Thanks Jane. I have been sewing lately and haven’t spent much time with the wheel but I am optimistic that I will be able to work out the quirks and get her spinning well. And, yes, spinning is very therapeutic. Nice that you had wool from your own sheep–and in varying colors!

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