Tuesday, September 16, 2008

so like i was saying, bakersfield

Aw. Guys, thanks for the sisterhood on la periodica.

Getting back to Saturday's trip to Bakersfield, I always have a good time with Schmin. That is, as long as I keep my nose out of his personal business unless I'm asked or unless I just can't help myself. ;)

I'd never been to Bakersfield, and had only two tidbits knocking around in my brain about it: Our wedding photographer grew up there, but chose not to stay; it's known for its liberalism, but only when it comes to locking people up. "Come on vacation. Leave on probation" is a slogan I once read about it. Hell, when Schmin announced he was moving there, I kept thinking he was talking about Barstow. I'm not from here, and I got the Bs mixed up. I was like, Well, hey, at least it's where Sheryl Crow likes to pick up her crossroad truckers. I try to be optimistic, ya know.

Eenyways, Bakersfield isn't a bad place to visit, and I have to thank Ellen for opening my eyes to the possibilities for fun that exist there. Whenever I mentioned Bakersfield, people kept using words like "armpit" to describe it, except Ellen. It's not my kind of place to settle, and I doubt it will be Schmin's for long. I mean, the Panorama Bluffs, very nice, but judging from the number of times I heard them mentioned, they must be the only vision of loveliness in town. Besides, I'll have it going on so tough in Houston that Schmin will visit me there and not want to leave. Then I'll club Mister Stevens and drag him down there and my diabolical plan to relocate the people I love will have begun! HAR!


So, yeah. Wouldn't live there, but I have to give Bakersfield props because the Bluffs are lovely, especially at night, and because it has the world's 2nd greatest thrift store.

The only reason it doesn't beat St. Vincent dePaul is because I didn't grow up with it. This place, In Your Wildest Dreams, is sensational. Three huge floors of vintage and 2nd hand goodness. A well-organized wonderland. The staff is friendly and fun. See the guy in the red shirt for proof, and note, we didn't put him up to this.

I was minding my own business in the store, having found this beautiful red vintage slip to wear under the Inauguration Day Dress I'm making in my sewing class, and a vintage scale to replace the digital crapola one I bought at Target.

Twenty bucks and I was out the door, until the woman behind the counter said to me, Have you been to the linen room? Um. Wha-what "linen room"? We have a linen room downstairs, she said, and it's got all kinds of buttons and quilts and sewing--

I was already downstairs by the time she got the word "machines" out of her mouth. Indeed, it was a room, a nice sized one, filled with all kinds of sewing and home sweet home fabulosity. I hate to be crass, really I do, but it gave me a boner.

I looked around, dazed and hardly believing my lucky lucky eyes, until my attention landed on a Singer case.

You're like, um, kidding me. Right?

Sixty-five dollars worth of 1950s Singer heavy metal love, baby. I saw the case and knew there was something good inside. I opened it, checked the model number on the machine, flipped open the notebook I carry with notes on vintage sewing machine models, and saw that this one, the 403, is a honeypot. Like the 404, it's one of Singer's best, but it's not as known as the 401. Here's the deal: All three are Slant-o-matics, meaning they feature a slanted needle position to better view the fabric as it's being sewed; the 404 only does straight stitches; the 403 zigzags and makes pattern stitches, but requires cams to do so (like so, clipped from eBay); and the 401 does everything the 403 does and then some, without (and with) cams. Check out the prices of these machines in 1959. They're from the salesman's book of one of the old sewing machine guys in a Yahoo group I belong to:

404 269.50
403 359.50
401 419.50

They did come in cabinets, but still, these bad boys had to be top of the line in '59. (I made a rhyme.)

Take a gander at the price of this one on the Bay. Your eyes do not deceive you. In good condition, they go for that much. Sometimes more around the holidays. Not a bad resale value for 50-year-old machines.

When I first opened the case I didn't see any accessories, so I thought I was off the hook. Schmin and I tried to open the bottom of the machine, thinking there might've been treasures hidden inside. Schmin decided it was empty, so I hit the case an lo! secured inside was a box of cams, feet, accessories, everything a gal needs for happy sewing. The thing about buying a 403 is that you do NOT want it if it doesn't at least have the 0 cam, because that's the one that makes the machine do a basic zigzag.

The machine, which will become the new Rilla because I'm going to sell the original one (sniff), is in great condition. It just needs cleaning, oiling, and a bit of TLC to sew like a champeen.

Tomorrow: Eating Bakersfield. And, What's that tiny cat up to?


Nik said...

damn you and your lucky finds!

Stacy said...

Oh, that shop looks like such a great find! I'm just a wee bit jealous. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that you keep that little notebook with you. I've tried that but can't ever seem to keep it going or keep it around. What a find! You'll have a new companion for your sewing adventures in Texas. Don't know nothing about vintage machines but totally understand about the boner. My girls and I use that word too. Not my offspring! My homegirls. But usually pertaining to scrapbooking as none of them sew. Like when we walk into a scrapbooking store and there's all this beautiful, glittery flowery paper and embellishments etc.. BONER! Love that picture of Schmin in his gladiator gear. Did he buy it? OH. And a Periodica is a periodical, as in a newspaper. Or as in time (periodically). The inaccurate translation that we use is: el periodo. The period.

Christie said...

What a deal! You can sometimes find the best stuff in those little places. And you're going to sell your machine? I guess it will be one less thing to transport down to TX.

Adrienne said...

WOW!!! Talk about a great deal!!!

Ellen Bloom said...

Ahhh yes...Bakersberg on the Kern...vacation spot of the Central Valley! Glad you had a good time!

I didn't even know about the Panoramic Bluffs! Now I must go back so I can visit the bluffs!

woolanthropy said...

I want to visit too. That store looks like funfunfun. Lovin' the new Rilla! fantastic.

j.kaori said...

Congrats on your score --- solid looking machine! Regarding Bakersfield, I heard they have some good Basque restaurants too, but I've never stopped to check.

yaiAnn said...

OMG! Total score! Did I tell you that B's little sister gave their mom a sewing machine that her godmother gave her. Their mom just got a brand spanking new one.. and I'm thinking about asking her for the one that little sister gifted.. and wait for it.. it's a vintage singer.. WITH A TABLE! I probably should ask soon before she decides to do something else with it.