Monday, December 31, 2012


I always suggest you start your quest for quality earrings with 3 classic pairs:

   1.  Diamond studs -- as large as you can afford
   2.  Precious gem studs -- in your favorite stone whether ruby, sapphire, emerald.......
   3.  Pearl studs

Then, you need to add a punch of color and impact.  After all, earrings are supposed to highlight your face and you can't do that with a dinky look.  Go for the bold!  So I suggest you look at purchasing:

   1.  a pair of large diamond earring jackets
   2.  a pair of diamond long dangle earring jackets
   3.  a pair of large gold earring jackets
   4.  a pair of long dangle gold earring jackets
   5.  a pair of precious gem earring jackets
   6.  a pair of large precious gem dangle earring jackets
   7.  a pair of pearl dangle earring jackets



With these 10 pieces you will be able to mix and match your way to a multitude of stylish looks.

Of course you will be looking for nice used pieces picked up for very little [relatively speaking] from pawn shops and from the vintage/antique jewelry area on Ebay.


You are going to need 4 basic bracelets, but you WILL have many more than that!

I am a true believer in stacking to gain the look I am aiming for.  I can't afford the massive statement piece of jewelry, but I can afford to stack cheaper pieces til they become a dramatic piece!

So having said this, these are the bracelets you need:

A diamond bracelet
A pearl bracelet
A precious stone of your choice bracelet
A gold bracelet

I began snatching up affordable diamond tennis bracelets at pawn shops in my area.  I now have three of them, and although each does not look like much individually, massed together they are scintillating!

I did the same thing with pearl bracelets.  One day, I will get them re-strung on a triple clasp with rubies.  But some triple strand pearl bracelets are so affordable in pawn shops, you might not have to do the stacking thing.

I think wide gold bangle bracelets to be a true fashion classic.  You just have to have one or two to add presence to your look.  They are necessary not only for your casual look, but stacked with precious stone studded bangles, they will take you to all hours of your fashionable evening.

Imagine the impact you will have if you stack two wide gold bracelets with three ruby studded bracelets! 

And do not forget the versatility of simple gemstone tennis bracelets!  I like to get 2 or three of them just alike, and then I can intersperse them with the diamond tennis bracelets for true bling with a capital B.


Scout every pawn shop you can find, and take advantage of the bargains to be had in these men's gold jewelry!

Did you know that a gemstone men's tie clasp makes a wonderful scarf holder?  Or they can easily clip to a dress or a shirt to dress them up with style.

I found that a gold and diamond scarf clip like this one, can make styling and draping your silk scarves a breeze.  They hold the scarf securely and add a touch of class.  Scarf clips can be real useful for doubling or shortning long necklaces.  With a large enough jump ring, they can even be used as pendant holders.

Men's cufflinks can look smashing on a woman also.

And as I get older, I adore men's watches!  I can see them so much better, and they can be as dressy as you would like.


I've got one thing to say about rings for women -- DON'T FORGET MEN'S RINGS when you are out shopping!

There are several things I love about men's rings. 

1.  They are made of much stronger and heavier gold and so are more durable than lady's rings.
2.  The settings for the stones are more secure than ladies rings.
3.  The massive size of men's rings are a dramatic counterpoint to more dainty ladies hands.  They     make even larger lady's hands look more feminine.
4.  They are easily and less expensively sized down to fit.  Sizing up costs a lot more money!
5.  You can get a better bargain on men's rings often in pawn shops.  They don't sell as well.

I suggest you get three rings.

A diamond ring for formal occasions.

A precious stone ring of your choice.

Then you should add one gold ring of your choice.  Being a Leo, this is what I chose.

And if you are looking to get married, do not under estimate the power of a man's diamond wedding band for YOU!  When your finances improve, then you can buy a dynamite engagement ring to work with it.


There are three essential necklaces for a well dressed woman to have:

   1.  a strand of good cultured pearls -- 32 to 36 inches in length

   2.  a gemstone tennis style necklace of your choice -- 32 to 36 inches in length

   3.  a substantial gold chain necklace -- 32 to 36 inches in length

These three necklaces are going to cost you, but they are worth it as they are the base onto which you will make your jewelry work for you.  As always, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the best prices, and then bargain away at pawn shops or check Ebay!

 If you can afford a diamond tennis necklace that is 32 to 36 inches in length, you have got it made!

Since your necklace is so long, you can vary your look by doubling it. Doubling allows for more drama in your look -- more impact, more presence!

You can use a device like this one to hang pendants on your basic necklace. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

My Holy Grail Sewing Machine!

The Bernina Record 830!

I was browsing the ads from Sewitsforsale website, and there it was!  I immediately contacted the seller and negotiated a layaway plan!

It is a fully mechanical machine and tough as nails.  I have about 9 different style feet for the machine!

I've always felt that if there were such a thing as a Sewing Machine Hall Of Fame, this would be one of the first three machines inducted!

There's no one special feature that puts this machine in the classic category -- it's the combination of everything. This is one of those occasional happy manufacturing happenstances where simply everything about the product came out right -- kind of like a '57 Chevrolet.

You won't find loads of fancy features -- this machine is at best 30 years old -- but you will find beautiful stitch quality (21 built-in stitches), all the power you need (salespeople used to sew wooden rulers as a demo!), long-lasting quality (30 plus years old and still going strong), and a fanatical user base. I believe the demand for this machine is even stronger today than it was when it was first introduced.

BTW, the stitches are selected using a lever the Bernina 830 has an internal camstack does not use removable cams.

This mechanical machine offers a five-step buttonhole (basically a four step with an extra reinforcing stitch) and adjustable stitch width and length (up to 4mm each direction). It offers a knee-bar lift mechanism that will lift the sewing foot. If you're going to use this feature, you'll do best if you retrain yourself to use your left foot for the foot pedal and your right knee for lifting. Sounds screwy, but doesn't take much practice to get accustomed to.

The high demand for these machines keeps the prices high -- figure $400 or so would be a good price nowadays. Parts are no problem -- this is a widely used, popular machine -- its what I paid.  You can download manuals from Bernina posted in their downloads area.

This machine uses Bernina's "old-style" bayonet mount feet. These are a little lower than the new-style -- but are just as easy to find.  the feet!  You've heard about the feet, right?  They are AMAZING because they actually do what they're designed for. I never made a rolled hem in all my life, but with a Bernina foot my garments look like they'd been professionally finished. I can't say enough good things about the Bernina feet.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Have Got to Get My Sewing Room Organized! Part Two

The More Things Change!!!!!!!!  The more they stay the same!  My sewing room is always in a state of flux!  Since some of my previous posts, I have added several new machines and other equipment and now I have to reassess my situation. 

In my living room, I will keep the antique oak treadle sewing cabinets with their Singer Sphinx and Singer Lotus sewing machines.  They will not live in the sewing room proper because I will not be using them on a regular basis if at all, and that will make room for the machines I do use.

In the sewing room, I will have my "new" vintage Sears Kenmore sewing machine cabinet with my Necchi Lelia 515 machine that I will use for buttonholes exclusively. 

There also will be my Elna SP 33C cabinet sewing machine and my mother's Nelco J A -38 sewing machine in cabinet.  These are my "go to" straight and zig zag everyday machines.

The sewing room also will hold my Pfaff 1473 CD, Bernina Record 830, and my Viking 6030 in their respective carrying cases. 

I will sell my antique Rotary straight stitch sewing machine, my Janome, and my Singer 603E Touch and Sew with all of its many attachments on Yahoo's Sewitsforsale site.

All of this moving around will leave me with the 6 Elna Lotus/Stella sewing machines I use for my Children's classes; my Necchi Lelia 515, my Nelco JA -38, my Elna SP 33C,  my Pfaff 1473 CD, my
Bernina Record 830, and my Viking 6030.

I also have a dedicated cutting table that takes up lots of space, and an ironing board in addition to the daybed, tall chest for thread storage, cabinet end table, and sewing chair.

I have a antique cast iron thread stand that moves about the room where needed.

My huge thread collection is stored in the tall oak chest near the door.  It also holds my silk fabric stash.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Holy Aprons!!!

I have been sewing like crazy lately on my "new" vintage sewing machines. 

Part of the reason is that I want to use up a lot of my huge stash of fabrics I have accumulated over the years.  Storage is getting to be a real issue for me. 

The other reason is that I want to be of service to the community.  So, I have gone back to making my design of aprons.  Why, you ask, do I sew aprons?  Well it is one item that I know will be appreciated by my area's church kitchens!  And with the scraps left over, I can make matching potholders. 

Over the last few years I have made and donated aprons to my home church.  This last weekend, I donated another 9 aprons that I made with gray cotton twill fabric and white cotton ties.  I donated these to another church -- the one my grandmother was instrumental in starting.

I have 10 yards of a nice 100% cotton chintz drapery fabric that I am thinking of using for the next church on my list.  I am planning to give them to my girlfriend's church by Christmas.

All Aboard the Viking Express Part Two

Well, I only thought it fair.  I had gotten all the bells and whistles for my beloved Necchi Lelia 515 sewing machine, so I had to do the same for my workhorse Viking 6030!
I have never seen a full set of these particular cams, and when I saw them on Ebay with the cam holder, I bought them immediately.  It has the rare I cam -- $80.


Cam K is apparently rare and hard to find, so it will be the next cam I add to my collection.
I found this information online, but I don't know how true it is, except I HAVE found B1!
"Not all Cams have the same decorative stitches even though they may have the same letter.
I have found so far: A3, A4, A5, B2, B13, C1, C12, D3, D4, D12, E, F, G, H, I, J, K
(on the side of the Cam in the middle is stamped with a letter and sometimes a number)
So there are more possibilities than you probably realized! "
I will sell the duplicate cams on the Yahoo Sewitsforsale site and get my money back -- keeping the camholder for a few of the rarer cams that I know are still out there!
My next purchase was this Viking 6000 series instruction handbook.  I think it completes the collection nicely.  The Viking 6030 will be my dedicated cam embrodiery machine. 
I hate those clip on low shank feet that Viking has!  So instead I bought Pfaff feet instead!
My Viking 6030 had to wait for several years to get these goodies, but he managed to get far more expensive goodies than my Necchi Lelia 515!

Friday, November 9, 2012


You know by now I adore my "new to me" Necchi Lelia 515 sewing machine.  Therefore, I decided it needed all the jewelry and accessories that it had when it was a new machine. 

Joyfully, I discovered by looking on the Yahoo Necchi site that the proper cams for the Lelia were the same cams that the Necchi Nora used and memorized their outward appearance, then I immersed myself into the search.

First, I found the decorative stitch cams on Ebay.  Here is the ad:

"These cams are for an older Necchi sewing machine. There are 11 cams inside the cardboard tube. They are marked made in Italy. Part #'s are 9661400, 9661410, 9661430, 9661440, 9661980, 9661990, 9662020, 9662060, 9662070, 9662080, and 9662100. I know that they fit in the Necchi Nora because these part #'s are listed in the instruction manual."

On the Yahoo Necchi site I found out that the chrome rimmed hole to the right of the Necchi name on the front of the machine was actually the mechanism [when fitted with the proper dial and foot] to create buttonholes.

Then, I found this ad on Ebay, and decided I had to have it.  Right before my eyes are the needed feet, buttonhole dial, and buttonhole foot.

"This is a nice Necchi sewing machine parts set. I am not sure if the set is complete, but the case and all of the parts seem to be in great shape. Please see pictures.  A SET OF 9 FEET, BUTTONHOLER KNOB."

This auction features a removable dial key for the unique 5 step buttonhole.  The dial is removed or installed from the 0 position and the buttonhole is made via a unique 5 step process.  I have found a photo of a copy of a page from a manual showing the procedure for inserting the key dial and then forming the buttonholes and then removing the dial for normal sewing.
The white nylon lever below the slide plate controls the feed throw out.  Push down the lever to drop the feed dogs and raise the lever to place the feed dogs in the normal position.
Numbered presser foot tension indicator, Turning the chrome pressure adjusting knob moves the indicator on the face plate.
My Necchi Lelia 515 will now be my dedicated buttonhole machine, and I will install it in the "new" sewing machine cabinet!  I went to my friendly neighborhood thrift shop yesterday. They gave me free a Sears Kenmore sewing machine cabinet -- 1970's era!  It is not the most beautiful piece of furniture I ever saw, but it isn't the ugliest either.