Monday, July 23, 2007

everything new is old again

Everyone has heard it: We live in a disposable culture. Was it that long ago when reliability was the buzz word of the age? Is Maytag even as dependable as it used to be?

I get that obsoleteness pays in the form of residual profit. The point is to build things that keep people coming back for upgrades and extensions on extended warranties and all the tie-ins and accessories (everything sold separately) and latest versions that the human mind can dream up. But I'm really mothereffing tired of it.

Last year I got a new account from Sprint (never again) and a Moto Razr (or whatever hacked up, retarded spelling the ejits in marketing at Motorola came up with) cell phone. Sprint never bothered to give me the new plan discount on the phone. Every time I called for a credit they'd swear on the lives of their mothers they'd check the account and call me back but they never would and do you know what they do now if you call and complain to them "too much"? They dump you as a customer! Anyhow, the Razr (I can't believe I own something spelled like this), with its ten minute battery life, is more fit for cleaning a toilet than for telecommunication.

But it goes very nicely with my three-year-old Dell Inspiron 1150. I'm typing on it now. It's really helped me up my words-per-minute because I have to keep my fingers moving lest they get scorched by the heat radiating from the defective heat sync up through the keyboard. And, oh yeah, I have to think fast because at any -- and every -- given moment, it cuts off. No warning. No gradual shut down. Just off. I'll bet you can't hit ctrl+s to save your document as fast as I can. Or as often. Before the (extended) warranty expired last month, I could have sent the unit in for repair, but it would've been the second time in a year and the last time they kept it fo-evah. I use it to teach my online classes and I don't have a backup, so I couldn't afford to be without it indefinitely. I'm currently scheming up a way to throw it out the window and buy something else. Though I don't hold out much hope that the new brand (because it sure as hell won't be Dell) won't suck too, I'm looking forward to having it suck in a whole new way to keep things interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I didn't post Eye Candy Friday because I had a crazy busy weekend. I've hung out my shingle as a proofreader/copy editor, and I had my first assignment, from Mister Stevens (he runs his own publishing company because ain't nobody bad like him). I had a manuscript due, and two birthday parties to attend with gifts to make for each. Thursday and Friday it was edit, edit, edit. Saturday morning I made this:

It's a dress from an old Butterick Sew & Go pattern. It's the first thing I've made using a commercial pattern outside of sewing class.

Any dress with fabric this cute calls for a purse, so I made one:

I improvised it using a combo of a purse pattern in one of my sewing books and a Craftster tutorial. It's lined in the same pink polka dot fabric I used to face the dress. It closes with my favorite thing, a magnetic snap.

The set was a birthday present for my friend Andi's daughter, who turned four. Even though I didn't think to ask her (sorry, A!), I have to post this pic of Andi because she's nine months preggers and look how perfectly beautiful she is:

Her due date was Saturday, the day of her daughter's party. I was so tickled that she had the chutzpah to do this. We were all waiting, but the baby (another girl, yay!) didn't make her debut. Andi ran the party with more energy and patience than I would have (kids, a waterslide, barbecue, parents, friends, Romans, countrymen, animals, beer, cake, babies, more kids -- wow). She was a wonder to behold.

After the party, it was a little more edit, edit, edit and then some top secret work on a gift for Ellen, whose birthday was Friday (same as Andi's daughter). I left the project in good standing on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, Ellen threw a fun and fabulous soirée at her house. It was grand times and she made out like a bandit with lots of amazing gifts, many of which were handmade by her crafty friends. I would've been in that number, but instead I was giftless. Why? Because my Brother ES 2000 sewing machine...

DIED. There I was on Sunday, in the zone, putting the finishing gloss on Ellen's gift, when it stopped. Cold. It starting flashing an error code, F2. Calmly, I got the manual and looked it up. It said "your machine may be malfunctioning." No shit. I wanted to put a hurtin' on it, but this machine means a lot to me. It was a birthday present last year from my friend Valecia, whom I adore. It's the first machine I've ever owned. Today I went ahead and located a service center. I'll take it in on Friday.

But I'm not going to take this betrayal lying down. In protest against new manufacturing, I copped this off eBay last night:

Picture me Roots style, hobbling up to a clearing in the woods, holding my new machine up to the moon, "I will call you Rosie."

Oh yeah. Take another look. Or ten. I love it so much I hope I don't go all Lennie from Of Mice and Men and squeeze it to death when it gets here.

Not only am I going to use it to make wonderful things, but also to shame Brother into elevating his game.

Whenever possible, I am going to buy things that are at least fifty years old. If I could, I would buy a computer from 1960. It would weigh 300 pounds and take six months to connect to the Internet, but the sucker would run, I'll bet you. It would run until the pigs come home.

(Hi, Kelly from Chicago. I don't have a pattern for Naiomi's tote, per se, but you can use the Jordy tutorial to make one any way you want. Enjoy!)


Frank said...

I agree whole-heartedly with how much this planned obsolescence sucks. I've always thought those little Singers were the cutest little things, and apparently real work horses too! I hope you get to enjoy it for at least 50 years. ;)

Annika said...

That is a gorgeous old Singer! So shiny, and it really will last forever.

sappmama said...

Thank you, Annika. Thank you, Frank. I swear this morning I was thinking about how long I'll live. I decided 91 would be good because that would give me 50 more years to sew! I'm totally going for it.

Roz said...

Now that's a sewing machine! I hope that the two of you will be very happy together!

sappmama said...

Roz, right?! That's what I'm talking about.

AllyB said...

That's the most beautiful Featherweight I've ever seen! You're gonna love it. Happy sewing, love your blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ellen Bloom said...

So, is the vintage Singer wired for electricity or does it have a treadle? Grandma Bloom used to sew my Barbie clothes on her treadle machine. Nothing EVER went wrong with that thing. It was a real workhorse!

That's fine about my faboo giftie. It's worth waiting for cool stuff!

Deborah said...

there really is such a thing as the appliance poltergeist. It is presently hanging out in my house with the fridge, dryor, tv, stove and microwave doing strange things...

love that singer girl, it be nice and shiney too!

jessie said...

My sewing machine is one I bought used in 1986. It probably hails from the 60s. It weighs so much I can barely move it, a disadvantage that keeps me from using it very often because it's stored out in our barn.


It works. It works well.

I also prefer used furniture to new and why I hate anything made with particle board. Ikea? Gorgeous when new. Crap soon after.

My late mother would have taken this post and framed it, seeing as she muttered this same rant every day, starting with the panty hose that don't last more than one wearing and going on to coffee makers, electric mixers, computers (of course), cars, TVs, you name it.

I have a Sony "Cube" digital alarm clock radio that works like a charm. It was a gift to me in 8th grade (1981?). I love it still. But I saw the new version of it at Circuit City recently. It weighs about half of what mine does and the buttons are crap. Times change.

Cherish eBay.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful Featherweight, congrats. Anything old Bernina is excellent too...I collect old machines. I hope that seller does a good job packing the machine for shipping.

Did you have to use the rent money for was it a 'summer steal'?


sappmama said...

Hey, hey.

Thank you, AllyB. I'll pay you a visit.

Ellen, no treadle. It's electric. Most likely it's from the late-50s.

Deborah, I hope the ghost soon goes back to the netherworld. :)

Jessie, never again will I purchase anything upholstered from Ikea. Gar-bage! If you put that clock on eBay, I'll buy it! And, your mom was a wise, wise woman.

Hiya, Heather. I hope so, too. I'm on pins and needles waiting for its arrival. No rent money, but eating won't be an option for a while, lol. If its condition is as nice as it appears to be, it was a "summer steal" (I like that).

Mo said...

Mo, you are really just TOO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

Oooooo your Singer is gorgeous! Love it! I'm a sucka for vintage - exceptional design, quality, durability, distinction, pure craft and so on. Sadly, aint much of nothin new like it!

Bummer on the Brother but the memory of the ecstatic joy you felt when you first opened the box; the anticipation of living yet another dream: priceless and far more enduring.

Love you! xoxov

laurie said...

I actually have a Toshiba laptop from 1994. It weighs 12 pounds. I don't know why I keep it but I do.

Your sewing is beautiful, and that Singer is just like the one I learned to sew on! Gorgeous!

sahara said...

I like the new and the old. I use my mom's old singer from the 60's, since I only need two types of stitches, but I made sure my Brother over-lock was new. With certain old machines, you either can't find parts easily, or the people to fix them.

It's traumatic when a sewing machine "dies," but this didn't start happening until everything became electronic. Do folks really need 200 types of stitches?

Kelly In Chicago said...

Thanks so much!

green said...

I have no idea how much you paid for this thing, but it was WORTH it! I am loving this sewing machine. If I knew where you lived, I might have to come in the dead of night to take it. lol Congrats on the score.