Grandma’s Sewing Machine

My crafting companion

My crafting companion

When I first moved, my goal was to spend my newfound time learning how to sew.  I used money that I’d saved from selling off possessions on Craigslist to purchase myself a new machine.  Now, I rarely buy brand new things preferring instead to purchase things that have already had a life, i.e. previously owned.  But I decided to get a new machine as an investment in my new creations.  This machine was to become my companion in craft, but our relationship soon soured with each and every mechanical breakdown.  My quilting group took to calling my machine names on my behalf.  It was not a good thing to have a new machine with a new, addictive hobby and not be able to complete my projects.

Then I found out about my grandmother’s Bernina sewing machine languishing unused in storage.  I asked for it, and my mom had it serviced for me to bring home from Colorado.  This machine is everything I hoped for, and more, in a crafting companion.  It is solid and strong, made of metal and not cheap plastic.  And just like the intangible benefits of my heirloom cast iron pots, sewing on this machine makes me incredibly happy.  I’m connected to my grandma as she too used this machine to make things for loved ones.  There is something very special about creating on the same equipment as your family.

Today, I took a quilting class and set up right across from me was another Bernina Record, made even more interesting as it was a grandmother/granddaughter duo taking the class together.  My classmate had purchased her machine online for her granddaughter, a very enthusiastic and grateful eleven year-old excited about her “vintage” machine.  Several other people chimed in about the quality of our machines, sharing memories of their own and finally I was proud of my machine, forgetting all of the old negative feelings of my previous one.  But for me it isn’t just a high quality machine, it is an heirloom that I will have forever.  I am connected to this sewing machine because it had a life before me, a life with my grandmother.



An Ode to Old Pots

My Great-Grandma Johnson's dutch oven with Hungarian Mushroom Soup

My Great-Grandma Johnson’s dutch oven with Hungarian Mushroom Soup

If there is something more comforting a home-cooked meal,  then surely it is preparing it in heirloom pots.  I’ve been converted to the cult of the cast iron cookware; the superiority is edible. So when given the opportunity to bring home my great-grandmother’s Belgian enameled cast iron pot and pan set, I jumped at the opportunity.  A full set of flame orange cookware that has lasted generations now resides in my home.  I cannot tell you how special it is for me to enjoy food prepared in the same pots my great-grandmother used.  When I see soup bubbling away on the stove in her dutch oven, my heart swells a little bit more.

In our disposable culture, food and items for food preparation are discarded thoughtlessly.  Pots and pans are made to last just a few years instead of a lifetime.  When you peruse antique stores, many of the items still remaining (and coveted) are useful food preparation items such as: cast iron pans, Mason jars, enameled coffee pots and non-mechanized implements (i.e. egg beaters).  Often these items are purchased for display and not re-used, although in all likelihood they still have a great deal of life left in them.  I’m grateful that I can continue the cooking traditions with my own family cookware, making memories and meals with the same equipment used to feed previous generations.  The new secret ingredient in all of my food is the love emanating from the family pot.