Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vivo – The Create and Repair Machine by Singer Review

My mom recently bought me a new sewing machine; The Vivo by Singer. This is the first time I’ve been able to check it out and see how it works. I figured I’d write a little review about it as I go through my first time winding the bobbin, threading the machine and doing a small sewing project. Really, I’m just going to adjust the elastic on my sleep mask, so it’s not a big deal at all, but it’s still a good way to see how this machine will stack up.

I plugged the power cord and foot pedal into the back and turned on the machine. First thing I thought was “No light?” In my experience all sewing machines have some sort of light on them to make it easier to see your work. However, that’s when I picked up the manual and did a little reading. And viola! There was a diagram that had a button for the light, so I looked on the left side of the machine, and sure enough, there was a little picture of a light bulb, and a button. PRESTO! Let there be light! :-) Now to wind the bobbin.

I read in the manual that the reason they use metal bobbins is because it’s magnetized to control the tension, so I have a handful of plastic bobbins that came with a sewing kit I picked up that are useless to me. Oh well…sticking with the metal bobbins.  Took me a couple of tries to get it to wind, but I read and re-read the instructions and got it done. :-) Now I have a nice bobbin full of black thread for whatever that needs black thread. Now to get the bobbin in the machine and thread it too. This is where I sometimes get into trouble, so we’ll see how I do!

Machine is threaded, now the fun part of raising the bobbin! So far, so good! :-) Bobbin is raised and now I need to try out the machine and make sure the tension is just right. And I need lighter colored material. I’m using some dark patterned material...duh! LOL

Big thing to watch out for that I just discovered! Watch out for the stitch selection dial! It comes off and if it’s loose you won’t get the stitch you’ve selected because while you’re turning the knob, you’re not turning the mechanism to change stitches. Make sure you push the knob all the way into the machine and you feel tension when you turn the dial to make sure you’re changing the stitch! I found out the hard way, but thankfully it didn’t mess anything up, just didn’t change the stitch as I was sewing. Taken care of and it seems to work just fine now. :-)

The foot pedal doesn’t give you the option to go all that slow. There’s stop and GO! LOL But there is a high and low and there is a noticeable difference between the two speeds. I’ll need some practice to get my lines straight, but I know I’ll get there. The machine isn’t quiet, but seeing as it’s a plastic body, it feels fairly sturdy and isn’t overly loud. I had my TV going while sewing at a medium volume and I could hear it for the most part. The light on it could stand to be a bit brighter, but it does the job. It’s a good machine for someone learning or someone that does basic sewing. It only has 12 stitches and a reverse, but I don’t think most things needs more than that unless you’re a seamstress. Oh, and there’s no way to do a buttonhole on this puppy, just so you know. So, if you do them you’ll need a different machine for sure. The instruction manual seems to be pretty well written and the photos are nice and clear. I haven’t gotten into things any farther, but perhaps as I get more practice I can share some more info about my new lil friend!



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Trying my hand at this thing called tutorials.

I hope the pictures and my explanations are sufficient. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. This is just a random cane I came up with one day when I wanted to play with my extruder after it had been modified to make it easier to use. I took a lot of pictures. I usually err on the side of too many details, so, yeah.

Here's a picture of how I had my extruder modified so it's easier for me to use:

I asked a friend of mine to do it for me so I didn't hurt myself. But there's a hole drilled into the caulk gun for the finger grip to sit in and the end of the extruder is resting in the opening at the end. I had this caulk gun sitting at home not being used, so it didn't cost me a cent to do! But I know you can pick them up for just a few dollars at the hardware store and squeezing the handle of the caulk gun to move the disk down and push on the extruder is TONS easier that trying to do it by my weak little self. I only did one project with my extruder before having this done and I had nothing but problems, so I love this!! I found it on a polymer clay site, but I can't find the link to share and give credit to that person...I'm sorry!!

Anyway, I'm rambling. LOL

Like I said, this was a random cane I made. I don't make canes on a regular basis, but I was waiting for something to bake and wanted to make something else, so I started playing around.

I took 3 colors and conditioned some of each one on the thickest setting of my pasta machine. I have an Atlas with motor. Then, I cut out 9 circles with my smallest circle cutter of each color.

Here's a picture of the last color I cut:

I decided at the last minute to try turning this into a tutorial, so I already had the other 2 colors cut and put the extra put away.

Here's a picture of the stacks I made:

I made 3 stacks of 9 each. I used a pink, yellow and a kind of turquoise, but it's muted and I like it.

After that, I had to reduce the stacks to insert them into the extruder:

Here's a picture of the disk I used to extrude the clay:

I didn't want the strings to be too thin. I think that disk did a good job.
Here's a shot of the extruder and the clay.

 I laid them out on my mat and cut off the extra long tails and laid them on the stack and made three piles total:

 Then I mushed them all together and rolled them into a log:

 Next, I wrapped the log in black clay that I rolled out probably on a 3 or 4. Guess I should have taken note of the thickness! The log itself is about an inch in diameter.

 Then, I cut it into 4 equal pieces and put it together to form a cane and reduced it:

 I also decided to make it a square. Kind of looks like window panes!

 Before slicing it to make beads I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes and actually let it rest for a couple of hours.
I ended up making 4 beads with 2 holes and a pendant. I took 2 slices, rolled them out thin and covered a base bead.

Again, I hope I did ok with my first tutorial. Let me know what you think and ask any questions. Don't be shy!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GASP! A Post About Jewelry! For A Change...

So I got this idea just as I was getting ready to drift off to dream land the other night. I hopped out of bed, carefully, because it's a loft and I don't want to break anything...gone 32 years without a broken bone, thank you very much! So, the idea I had was to make initial charms/pendants out of polymer clay. I was thinking about this over the last day or so. Trying to figure out just how to do this. Stamps? Cookie cutters? And then it came to me...sort of. I have an alphabet mold in my stash so maybe I could use that. This morning after breakfast, etc, I headed down into my studio. I grabbed that mold and some scrap clay and with my new BSB CD cranking, I got to work. I conditioned the scrap clay and used pieces and made molds of each letter. Then I baked them. I'm going to try using them as stamps and then I might try some paint or alcohol ink on them...who knows. But here's a picture of the stamps I made...

I hope you can see the letters ok. Guess maybe the clay is darker than I thought. Anyway, we'll see how they turn out. I need to make sure there are no fingerprints on the letters because I don't want them transferring to the pieces I make! I'll try to do another post when I start working with these to make charms/pendants.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Holding Myself Accountable

Today is July 22, 2013 and I want to start this in order to hold myself accountable and chart the results of what I'm doing. I want to whiten my teeth, but I've always been a bit on the lazy side when it comes to actually brushing my teeth every day. I think this way I'll be more accountable and others can see the progress I'm making as well. My teeth are no where near perfect and I know that, but I still want them to be healthier. So, I've taken a picture after brushing my teeth after dinner. The plan is to take a picture every morning after today and post a small update over the next 30 days to see if I see a noticeable difference. I don't know how good this first picture is, but it's all I could get using my phone.

The toothpaste I'm using is a homemade recipe I found while searching online over the past few days. Here's the recipe I'll be using:

- 840 mg Activated Charcoal.
- 1 tsp. melted coconut oil
- 1 T Baking soda
1. Mix together the activated charcoal and baking soda. 
2. Add the 40 drops of peppermint essential oil. 
3. Pour in the melted coconut oil. 
4. Mix well. It should be a thick paste. 

Day 2, July 23, 2013. Don't have much time, but if I don't do this now I'll forget. I brushed my teeth after eating breakfast and I also rinsed with peroxide before brushing. It helps to remove germs, plaque, etc and the bubbles feel really cool, LOL. However, if you have any kind of sores in your mouth it will sting a bit. I had cereal this morning and it had scraped on the roof of my mouth so it stung, but it wasn't too bad and after about a minute I rinsed with water and brushed. I'm not going to show you what it will look like while brushing because it looks like black ink exploded inside my mouth! LOL But it all rinses out, so no worries. Anyway, here is today's picture. While we can't see a difference from yesterday, at least this way I'm doing what I need to do...holding myself accountable. :-)

Have a good day everyone and I'll see you tomorrow!

7/24/2013 - A little late today, but at least I'm here!! Can't tell if there's any difference yet, but maybe in a week or so I can look back at the first picture and see an improvement.

7/25/2013 - Late, late late!! I'm up to my eyeballs in jewelry stuff today! But here's today's picture!

7/26/2013 - Late again, but I'm still keeping up with this pretty good so far! Been kind of meh today, but I'm pushing forward. Anywhere, here's today's picture.

7/27/2013 - Took photo this morning as I was getting ready, but was rushed out the door, so I didn't get back to my laptop til now. Unfortunately, I can't use the Blogger app on my phone or tablet to upload pictures. Here's today's picture.

7/29/2013 - Realized I didn't post yesterday's picture. Was so busy that I just ran out of time. Here it is and shortly I'll post today's picture as well.

7/29/2013 - Here's today's picture. Just to clarify real quick...I'm not doing this because I want my teeth to be all white and perfect. I know that's not going to happen. I just want to keep track of this and share my progress with my friends and also help to hold myself accountable so I actually keep up with this. So, without further ado...

7/30/2013 - Hey look! It's not noon yet and here I am posting today's picture! Go me! Anyway, errands to run today, so here it is. 

Seeing a difference yet?? Maybe a little, but it's only been like a week so far. Until tomorrow!

7/31/2013 - Yeah yeah, I know, I'm late again! I swear I have a good reason!! I was working in my clay studio this morning! I wanted to get something done before I had to go out this afternoon.'s today's picture for you.

8/1/2013 - Happy August!! Gotta make this quick. Must go grocery shopping so we don't starve! Lol Here's today's picture.

8/2/2013 - Late again, but at least I'm posting every day. First weekend of August...any big plans? None for me except a friend's son's birthday party tomorrow. Well, there's nothing else to talk about, so here's the picture. I really don't see much difference yet. Hopefully soon.

8/3/2013 - Yes, I know, it's very late. But at least I'm here! Today was not my day. I didn't go to the birthday party I was supposed to go to. I was home all day feeling crummy because my stomach was upset. It wasn't until just a few hours ago that I started to feel better and was actually able to eat something. I'm posting this picture and going to bed.

8/4/2013 - I know, I'm awful, lol. The weekends tend to be busy for me, so remembering to post is an issue. But, here is today's picture before I go to bed. Maybe I'll start posting them at night instead. Something to think about.

8/5/2013 - Well, it's decided. I'm going to change to doing my posts at night. Seems my day gets away from me and before I know it I'm getting ready for bed. Tonight I had the goal of getting to bed a little early because I'm going out with my mom for a bit in the morning. But here it is almost 11 pm and I'm still up. Oh well, just another excuse to have some coffee in the morning! Well, here is today's picture and I'll see you tomorrow.

8/6/2013 - Today has been busy...running errands with mom. Tired and have somewhere to go tomorrow. I'll share more tomorrow. For now, here is today's picture. I'm going to bed.

8/7/2013 - Good news! I got a new job that I'm starting this week! Woo hoo! Anyway, here is today's picture. Time for bed.

8/8/2013 - Going to be going to bed soon. I'm now a contractor for a pet sitting company, mainly caring for felines. I'm looking forward to it and I start my first job tomorrow and I have another starting next week! :-D Anyway, here's today's picture.

8/11/2013 - Ok, so I've missed 2 days. Nobody's perfect, right? Things happen, let's move on. This new job is really taking it out of me. It's an adjustment, but so far, so good. I'll get my first check next week. :-) Anyway, it's late so here's today's picture so I can get to bed.

8/12/2013 - Didn't forget tonight!! Tired and not much to say. Here's today's picture.

8/13/2013 - I was all ready to get into bed when I realized I hadn't done my post for today. So I turned my computer back on and here I am. Lots to do tomorrow and it's late so I'm going to make it quick. Here it is.

8/21/2013 - Alright, I'm calling it. It's been over a week and I haven't posted anything here. Does that mean I haven't been brushing my teeth? Certainly not! But, I've been forgetful, so I'm just going to end this experiment and say that while I have noticed a difference, there hasn't been that big of one. I have the pleasure (NOT!) of going to the dentist next Tuesday where I'm be lectured on the state of my teeth. Mostly that I need braces and should have gotten them when I was younger. Well, I can't afford them now and my parents didn't do it then, so poo. Not much I can do about it. I don't even have dental insurance. My parents are paying for the cleaning out of their pocket. At least they have dental insurance. Maybe I should look into it, hmmmm. Anyway, it's been fun and hopefully I'll have another post about something soon.