Frankly, a Challenge

So I got a new(ish) sewing machine! A serger! And it was free!002It’s a Bernette 335, made for Bernina. I’ve read mixed reviews of its performance, and they’ve skewed neagative towards it’s capability as a 5 thread machine. But most say that it works well with just three threads. Of course, those are reviews of new 335s, and mine was an old freebie.

And it was free for a reason; because it had been living in a garage for quite some time and the nice lady at the yard sale was just going to throw it out if no one took it. So I took it! From a distance it looks nice, but when you open it up and look close, well…

Lots of grime. And thread bits from the last user…007A very rusty needle, as well as some other rusty bits.010I haven’t actually plugged it in yet, which I suppose is the first step of getting this baby running again. And if it works at all, I’ll try cleaning it up and ordering replacement parts for the really rusty areas. I’m sure it needs oil, and I’ve never actually used this style of serger, so there’ll be a learning curve for sure.009But it’s a challenge I’m ready to accept!

I think…

Has anyone here ever overhauled an old machine? How’d it go?


Frankly Surprising!

Hello everyone! I recently accepted a new teaching job, so I’ve been a bit busy. I’ll try to keep up with posting, but, well, I have over 200 students now, so we’ll see.

Today I’m sharing a dress that turned out surprisingly well! I picked up an old Simplicity 1620 pattern at a thrift store for 50 cents. DSCN2824And then fortune smiled at me, as I accompanied a friend to Wal*Mart, only to find bins of fabric for a dollar a yard! Now I’m not a Wal*Mart regular and try not to go mass produced too much, but I couldn’t pass up this bargain!

I still had the pattern on me, so snapped up 3 yards of a stiffish purple cotton, as well as a wonderfully loud print. I wasn’t so sure how the purple would drape, and I wasn’t so sure if the silhouette of the pattern was right for me. Ignoring my doubts, I pushed ahead and made up the pattern with the purple cotton. I mean, it was $3.50 total, so what did I have to lose?DSCN2825However, when I first tried the dress on, I was sure I’d lost every penny of those three dollars and fifty cents. I wish I took a picture, but I was so dissatisfied, I immediately took the dress off and got back to work. It was way too long (which I actually suspected when cutting the pattern…) and kind of poofy from the pleating around the yoke so it looked like a frumpy night gown. DSCN2815But I preserved, and chopped off a good bit from the bottom. With bias tape finishing, a good pressing, and a nice wide belt, it looked lovely! So nice, truthfully, that I immediately added it to my closet, and wore it out on a garden tour with my sister!010I do think the pattern will work up better in a softer material, and am eager to try a fabric with more drape. Not sure when I’ll get around to it, but I’ll make sure you’re the first to know!

Frankly Unseasonal

Happy Monday! We’re getting very close to the autumnal equinox , so I decided to do a refashion more suited for…Spring! Because of course I did. But I do think I’ll still get some use out of this refashion before the weather really starts to turn. good2I was inspired awhile ago by an image on pinterest of an old pair of pants upcycled into cute shorts. The exact pin seems to have disappeared, but the idea is that you cut off the legs, and use the cut-off-bit to add an insert up the side seam, so you don’t ooze out the raw edge of the shorts. I found a lovely pair of mint/aqua green pants for a dollar at a local thrift store. They were too small and didn’t fasten, so I didn’t take a before shot. But here’s a “recreation”, courtesy of MS paint:beforeAnd here’s the finished look!good3Rather then put in a hem, I scalloped the edge and finished with a ton of fray check. So far it’s holding up well, and I love the look. I’ve seen people doing street clothes versions of Disney characters, and if I were to do that, I’d definitely use these for an Ariel look!good5The hardest part of this refashion was working the side insert into the waist band. Ideally I should have cut a new waist band from the lower portion of the legs, but I was not feeling that. So on the inside, it’s a little messy, but I think it turned out alright on the outside. I also tried to mimic the double top-stitching of the original pant. My thread was a much lighter weight, but I think it blends alright.good 4So overall, a success, and I think I might just wear these out dancing tonight 🙂

Frankly, It’s Mostly Plants

Hello everyone! I few posts ago, I mentioned that I moved, and today I thought I’d share some pictures of how I decorated. It’s a work in progress, but I’m pretty happy so far. It’s mostly just my desk still unpacked in and shambles, so I won’t show ya’ll that 🙂

Instead, I’ll show you all the many, many plants. I didn’t quite realize how much of my decor was plants until I was reviewing the pictures…

Anyway, there’s a wonderfully sunny ledge that is home to four pots, with more on the way. I painted two of them, the white and green ones, and left two plain. I wanted some interest without looking busy, and I like the result.004 (2)You can barley see the philodendron closest to the wall behind the giant spider plant, but its vines drape down the other side of the wall wonderfully.

Related to philodendrons are pothos, and of course I have one of them too! Here it is in a novelty fish planter to create a visual divide between kitchen and living area:008 (2)So cute! I do love my fish friend! Speaking of fish, and therefore water, you use the most water in a bathroom. So here’s that set up! (or some of it…I’m not going to subject anyone to a close-up of my toilet…)017Well, would you look at that! Another pothos! Also, an Audubon print. He’s one of my favorite artists, so I was delighted to find that this picture fit so perfectly in the space!

I’ve also hung some original art. I have eventual plans for a gallery wall of sorts, interspersed with shelves, but as we haven’t got the shelves yet, I’m sticking to just one: a portrait of my childhood cat, Dickens.009Now, I know I mentioned that my desk area is not fully unpacked, and it’s not, but I did install a fintorp rail system from Ikea so at least I have access to all my writing implements and such.018And of course there’s another spider plant! You can also catch a glimpse of my arrow leaf, in a nice blue pot.

Finally, here’s some plant free areas. First, my jewelry storage/wall art. My dad made the earring holder for me, ’cause I’m a very lucky daughter. The towel rack for necklaces was a pinterest idea that I actually acted on. I wear my necklaces so much more now that they’re easily accessible.001And then on the windowsill catty-corner, I have a few of my favorite geologic specimens. The morning sun catches the crystal ones, and it’s lovely.003Does petrified wood count as a plant? ‘Cause if it does, there’s a plant here too…

Also, totes know I said “finally” a few pics ago, but of course there’s one more place with plants. There’s one lonely stretch of narrow wall, almost a column, so I hung a number of lightbulbs that I refashioned as vases so I can have cut plants as well as all my potted ones!014So, upon reflection, my decorating style is just all the plants. (And I actually didn’t even show all of them off…) But plants are awesome and bring life into a place.

How about you? Anyone else have a ton of plants? Or just a ton of anything that ends up defining your living space?

Frankly Giant Pom-Poms

POM-POMS! Great honkin’ big ones! Let me explain…

Okay, so I was looking into doing to some yarn-stash busting, and realized I have a few yarns that I’m never really going to use. Gifted yarns. You know the thing: a single skein of acrylic, well meant, but I mean, I already have approximately 3700 hats. What to do, what to do…

Well, I decided to make giant pom-poms! And you can too! Before I share the tutorial, here’s a list of totally practical* uses for giant pom-poms.

*may not actually be all that practical.

hat full of pom-pomsKeep them in a hat by your entry way. Throw them at visitors.Stairway pomsLine them up on your balustrade for a fuzzy trip up and down the stairs!plant pomJazz up your plantings!

pom mix pom bake

Bake with them!

pom head

Put a few on your head!

026Put a lot on your head!

So yes. Giant pom-poms. They have a lot of uses. There are a few ways to make them, including commercial pom-pom makers. But if you have the immediate urge to make giant pom-poms, here’s my simple, home-spun pom-pom tutorial.


  1. Yarn – worsted weight works best. Fancy or fluffy yarns are tempting, but make floppier pom-poms
  2. Cardboard – preferably nice corrugated stuff, but thin board works in a pinch
  3. Scissors – please don’t use a particularly nice pair; cardboard is not friendly to finely honed blades

Procedure:0481. Trace a circle onto your cardboard and cut it out. The bigger the circle, the bigger the pom-pom (My circles were approximately 4″ in diameter). Inside the circle, draw a sort of keyhole shape. Cut that out too, so it looks the picture. You’ll need two identical pieces.0512. Hold the two cardboard shapes together and aligned, and wrap the yarn around the inner hole (the top of the “keyhole”). The more you wrap, the fuller your pom-pom will be. Ideally, fill the whole inner circle. Go nuts!0503. Now wiggle your scissors between the two pieces of cardboard. Cut through all the yarn, moving around the wrapped circle. Do this slowly and carefully.0494. Now cut a piece of yarn about 6 – 10″ long and wiggle it between the two cardboard pieces. Pull it as tight as you can, so the long piece of yarn tightens around all the little pieces. Tie it firmly with a square knot.

5. Pull, twist, and otherwise coax the cardboard pieces out. I find it easiest to do this one at a time. Roll your pom-pom between your hands to fluff it up, and trim any longer strands to make it spherical.

6. Enjoy the ridiculousness that is giant pom-poms!

pom yum