Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Different Kind of Shopping

For the record, I don't like shopping.
Searching for ways to give my money to others
is not my idea of a good time.
There are however, a few things I am always shopping for.
I keep a short list of items I need or would like.
This isn't like the milk and eggs list, but it is similar.
There's just no store that carries the items I'd like to purchase.
Before I get to the items on my list, 
I have to take you down a different path for just a moment.
As far as the milk and eggs above, I've sourced them locally
along with most other items one would usually purchase from the grocer.
I'm not saying I never need a grocer, 
but my dependency is lessening all the time.
I still like coffee, olives, Worcestershire sauce and a few other items 
which are not local or if we want a produce item that is not in season.
If something happened to the supply chain,
we would live (okay, maybe not so happily without coffee, but...).
Honestly, of all the things, raw organic/non-gmo milk was one of the most difficult to source simply due to state laws rather than supply.
It's unfortunate that wholesome foods can be so difficult to find.
I know others who think I'm a bit silly for this, but so be it.
We are healthy, and I accredit it in a large part to this effort.
Now on to the fun list.
There are a few things which probably seem odd to some folks,
but one of the things that I've been on the hunt for for at least a few years now
is a cobbler machine (pictured above).
This machine can stitch leather and has a narrow foot base
so it can reach in shoes.
My regular sewing Singers are all "ladies," but this one is a fellow.
I named him Sidney Singer.
My sewing machines have names because I can't just say "the Singer."
I'm pretty specific in my wants, but I have my reasons.
I wanted an old machine and a Singer.
Old machines have all metal parts.
Even in the best newer machines, there are plastic parts.
Sidney was born in 1906.
The other thing particular to Singer is that there are parts schematics available.
They were made to work and be repairable.
The schematics identify each part down to the size of spring.
And, because Singer is still in business, some of the parts are still available.
All of his mechanical parts are in working order though there are a few issues.
As is, he has neither the knob to be hand-crank, a motor to be electric, 
or the original treadle to be foot powered.
There was a single bobbin that came with him.
His bobbin winder is missing.
He was absolutely filthy!
This was in addition to a bucket of soapy water!
The first thing I did was take the soap and water to him on the outside.
I also had a scraper to get some of the crud off.
Then I worked on "his joints."
Someone had gobbed a bunch of 5 in 1 grease in it.
On the positive side, I guess it helped prevent rust,
but there was so much dirt and grit in there, I didn't want to turn the wheel.
I got him all cleaned up.
I ordered a set of bobbins which have already arrived.
I found the proper bobbin winder and am waiting for that.
I have a knob to add to his wheel so he can have hand-crank.
And now that I have him cleaned up,
I will call the local sewing machine repair shop that has taken care
of my other machines and ask about a motor for him.
I don't mind that he doesn't have the treadle at the moment.
He is on a smaller stand that came with him.
It does have the cast iron legs that are part of a regular treadle.
I've been working on a slipper pattern and am excited to work on that.
Once I have him in a solid functional state, I will order leather.
I want to be sure of what leather I am getting
and get the correct weight for what I will be doing.
Leather's not the cheapest of materials so it has to be right.
I am pretty excited (an understatement)
but have been patient in my search 
so need to be patient in readying him for work as well.
As I said above, I looked for a few years before finding him.
There have been other things that have taken a while,
and those things are among my most cherished items.
(That sounds weird.  I don't worship them, but am content with them.)
I think part of it is that if you're willing to wait,
you don't end up settling for something lesser than what you want.
A few examples:
I know these things aren't exactly on par with diamonds,
but they make me far happier than jewels.
So with this oddball list, what could possibly be left on my list?
Well, a few more oddities of course.
Yet to find:
A cider press (like this one)
An old (not new repro) cast iron single sink with double drain board.
And yep, there's a reason for the old part - the shape of the basin is different.
A stove-top, corning, avocado green, percolator coffee pot.
McCall apron pattern 1105
and a few other smaller things.

We live in an age of instant gratification.
That avocado green coffee pot has been on my list for almost a decade.
You can bet whenever I do find one, I will relish every cup of coffee
I drink from that pot.
It's the same with Sidney.
Hubby has laughed at me (kindly) when my bobbins arrived, and
when I got him cleaned up & tension adjusted, 
then stitched a little scrap of leather.
I'm sure he will get to laugh again when my bobbin winder arrives.
He laughs but is coming up with projects for me to make for him - Ha!
I told him my slippers are first.

I'd be curious if anyone else keeps a list like this.
I guess it's my form of shopping.
I don't mind waiting - none of these items are life threatening.
They are just items that make life either easier or more enjoyable.
As long as I don't find them, I just figure I'm saving money by not buying them.

It's okay if you think I'm a bit silly~ so be it.



  1. You are not silly and I completely agree. I have list as well of things that I want to find. If I want it, I add to the list and see if that want is still there later. If it is, we just keep looking. It also gives me the opportunity to save more money for such things, because having cash to buy now is an advantage.

  2. Lady, I do not think you sill at all, but rather admire you. I have never seen or know that that Mr. Singer and congratulate you in providing it with a good bill of health. Cannot wait for you to show us what he and you produce.

  3. You are not silly. You are thrifty, talented, patient, and thorough. I'm impressed by your list. I have more of a project list. I enjoy crossing off projects. Can't wait to see your slippers.

  4. It's even a bonus that Sidney is such a handsome guy. Now, I am anxious to see those first slippers!

  5. Enjoyed the post. Your list is not silly in the least. I'm with you skip the diamonds, that sink sounds lovely I know exactly what your talking about, I'd like one of those myself. I have a cornflower Percolator Corning ware I picked up at Goodill, I use it every once in a while. Have fun with Sidney..isn't it fun when you find something your heart desires?

  6. This is the first time I saw a cobbler machine. Nice to meet Sidney Singer!

  7. What a find that cobbler machine was! I never would have thought to look for such a thing. But so handy. I agree that useful items like that are better than jewels! I did have to grin about the supply chain and coffee. We'd feel the same way! lol

  8. No! Not silly at all! In fact, a kindred spirit! I have a list of vintage things that I have searched for and wish for, that would certainly seem strange or curious to others, but these items would be very dear to me! I like your newest Singer indeed!

  9. This is an awesome machine find! I take it you know all about the forums for restoring old machines and are a great resource for information and parts.

    Yes, I do keep a list of things to keep an eye out for, so I don't find it at all odd that you do too. Settling for less seems to lead to never finding what I really want. Or if I do find it, I hear "what's wrong with what you already have?!". It has to be something really urgent and can't do without for me to be unable to wait any more.

  10. Beautiful new machine. I love how you take such good care of it. I love my hand painted antique lamps. They make me so happy; they are art. Hope you find everything on your list; I bet you will.

  11. You are certainly not silly! How wonderful the old machine is. My singer is very old and .......very easy to work on if it gets a problem......which it rarely does. A list is a very good idea to keep on hand just in case you come across what you are wishing for!

  12. I remember searching for a DVD or VHS of Singing in the Rain for years. I didn't want to buy it new. One day I was with a friend at a thrift store. She asked what I was looking for. I told her then began searching. I didn't know it, but she had bought me a new copy already!

    I love what you're looking for, and I would love to get my MIL's old Singer fixed up.
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage