Monday, September 12, 2011

Trade Up

This is a picture of my new sewing cabinet.  If it leaves you at a loss for words, don’t feel bad.  My reaction, at first, was the same.

A couple weeks ago, one of my husband’s co-workers (Let’s call him Hank, shall we?) emailed my husband and asked if I would like to have an old treadle sewing machine and table.  “Yes!” I replied!  No two ways about it.  I have a habit of collecting sewing machines and a vintage foot powered model would be the perfect addition.

The machine, I found out, was acquired in a trade for an old washing machine.  Some college kids knocked on Hank’s door one evening, and explained they were taking part in a game called Trade Up.

Each person starts with something small, like a bobby pin.  And then they go door to door asking if they might trade their small item for something bigger.  I’m not sure of the exact rules, but that is the gist of the game.

So when the owners of the treadle sewing machine came calling on Hank, Hank was more than willing to seize upon the opportunity to rid himself of the unwanted washing machine.

About a week ago, Hank emails my husband again to see if I still want the machine. Yes!  I sure do!  Arrangements are made to go get it, and I ask if I should come along to help.  No,  I’m told.  Hank has mentioned it doesn’t weigh that much.

What?  Doesn’t weigh that much?  An old cast iron sewing machine can double as a boat anchor in a pinch.

I pace around the house with anticipation, (with visions of restoring my new classic machine to its former glory) and soon enough, my husband is home.  “Well,”  he says.  “It’s not exactly what Hank remembered it to be  It was night time when he got it.  First, there’s no machine.  It’s just a cabinet.  And second, it’s pretty beat up.  Hank offered to take it to the dump if you decide you don’t want it.”

I admit, it wasn’t love at first sight.  But my daughter offered to help me clean it up-she could see the potential right away.  And I have to admit, that as the dust and spider webs fell away, I started to see the potential too.  The cabinet does have a certain charm.  Someone, at some point, made a valiant attempt to give it character.  They painted  the trim black, and added circles of plastic, also painted black, behind the black and gold knobs.

The cabinet, with it’s touches of black and gold, really does go well with my tiny Singer Featherweight.  And the drawers are nice.  Who doesn’t need more storage space? The cabinet is comfortable to sit and sew at, and I have to admit it adds a certain flair to the room.

Now, if someone ever comes to my house playing Trade Up, there is a certain  brass chandelier-reminiscent of an octopus-in the basement, that I’ve been meaning to get rid of…


  1. Oh, it definitely has charm...even if it is a far cry from what you were expecting. LOL
    And it does go very well with your cool Singer.

    Kimberly :-)

  2. What a cute cabinet! Of course, the best part is the story behind it :-)

  3. Please take a pic of the chandelier. I am dying to see it. ;)

    And I love seeing the little bits of your personality around the room.

  4. Oh funny .. I am dying laughing .. not a treadle ... what a bummer after all your dreaming ... I'd be so disappointed myself! Oh that Hank! But it is a very cute sewing desk.. Quite a bit like mine. I love the size... ♥

  5. Thanks Kimberly! Each time I look at it now I like it more and more:)

    Thanks Lisa:)

    Tina-thanks! And I will take a picture of the octopus and post it!

    Lisa-Now I worry that I'll run into the guy who gave it to me and call him Hank. Wouldn't that be a kick! These cabinets do make great sewing desks, don't they-and I'm glad mine is back to doing what it was made to do.

  6. I always want to have things like that in my house, but here's the truth: I'd just cover it in clutter. Sigh.

    So pretty, and I love the vintage sewing machine.

  7. "Clutter" is a very legitimate decorating style Cam! It's one of my favorite looks ;)

  8. Wish I could have traded up my old bfs like you can household goods.

  9. lafemmeroar-me too. I'm still waiting for that knock on my door. There still is that brass chandelier, though...

  10. @Valerie
    Here's hoping my knocker isn't another contender for a trade up ...

  11. That should be strictly against the rules ;)

    Love your blog, btw...

  12. Thanks Melissa! Welcome back from your conference!

  13. I like it - it has a unique look. Those knobs make it for me. But sigh, it would have been nice to get the sewing machine. That girl of yours is a chip off the not-so-old block if you ask me.