Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Archive for the ‘Thrifting’ Category

Christmas on a Budget Series – Two No-Sew Christmas Ideas

Posted by supermom on July 25, 2011


My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

Christmas on a Budget Series – Two No-Sew Christmas Ideas


Posted in Budget Savers, Christmas on a Budget Series, Conserving Resources, Creative Repurposing, Gift Ideas, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Recent Thrift Store Finds

Posted by supermom on June 24, 2011

I thought I’d share some of my recent thrift store finds.

I collect these glass wire bale jars to store my home grown dried herbs in, so these were a nice find at 99 cents each.

The rose shower curtain (100% cotton) will make a pretty quilt backing.  And the bright floral vintage sheet; I’m deciding between aprons or perhaps a fun summer skirt… maybe both.

I found this vintage Singer Buttonholer and extra set of templates at the Habitat for Humanity HomeMart.  They had it marked at $10.   I offered $5 and they accepted.  But I didn’t buy it for the buttonholer.  I bought it because I wanted the templates (those little grey things.)

When I bought my Singer 15-91, it came with a buttonholer but only one buttonhole template.  It’s the only part of the transaction that I wasn’t pleased with because the seller more or less shrugged off the fact the templates were missing by saying that you rarely find buttonholers included in the sale of vintage machines and there were lots of buttonholers available on Ebay to buy if I wanted more templates.

For the first time ever, I decided not to leave feedback for a seller.   I didn’t want to leave completely negative feedback because the 15-91 is exactly as described and sews great.  On the other hand, a buttonholer was advertised as part of the sale and it was missing important pieces; a buttonholer without templates is pretty much useless.  Ebay really doesn’t give enough room to explain things properly on their feedback form, so I decided no feedback was better than incomplete feedback.

Anyway, back to the buttonholer I got from the HomeMart.   That buttonholer was missing the needle plate cover but that wasn’t a problem since I was only interested in the templates.  I took all the templates from it and put them with the one that came with the 15-91 and now I have a complete set and I didn’t have to pay any extra for shipping like I would have done if I’d bought one off of Ebay.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the buttonholer from HomeMart.  Though I am thinking I might list it on ebay making sure to note that it only has one template.  Perhaps someone will want it for parts.

Posted in Budget Savers, Conserving Resources, Sewing, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Art Deco Cabinet – Some Dis-Assembly Required

Posted by supermom on June 12, 2011

Dave spent the past few days taking apart and then sanding the Art Deco sewing cabinet and bench seat that we bought for my Singer 15-91.

This ended up being a bigger job than he had anticipated.  Not only did all the outside surfaces need to be sanded as expected, all the inside surfaces had to be sanded as well to completely remove the unpleasant odor.

At first, we assumed the odor was due to having sat unused for so long.   We tried washing it down, inside and out.  We changed buckets of water three times and each time the water was an awful brown by the time we got finished.  Then we let it sit outside for several days to air out (bringing it back into the garage each night.)

We think the previous owners must have been very heavy smokers and over the years, the smell and cigarette fumes had soaked into the finish.

Thank goodness, now that all surfaces have been sanded the cabinet just smells like wood.

The next step is to wipe all the pieces down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust that the vacuum didn’t get.  Then he’ll start the refinishing by re-staining the black strips along the bottom of the cabinet and bench seat and the drawer handles.

Posted in Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

There Was Treasure Waiting To Be Found

Posted by supermom on June 4, 2011

I found some treasures in the drawers and bench seat of the Art Deco sewing machine cabinet.

This small envelope is just one of them.

I've blurred out the name for privacy... just in case the person is still living and at the same address.

The back of the envelope is cool too.

And inside…

Four and a half sheets of unused embroidery transfers.

I’m thinking I’m going to have to do those little chore girls in redwork on 10 or 12 inch blocks and then make a quilt out of them.

And then of course… those snails with washday, shop day, etc.   Wouldn’t it be fun to make some aprons with the snails embroidered on them?  I’d have an apron for each day of the week.

The flower ladies in the bottom left hand corner… pot holders, perhaps.  And those swans, I simply have to figure out something to use those swans on.

The bears and bunnies are adorable.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever use the transfers on the half sheet, but who knows.  They’re fun to have for sometime in the future.

I don’t plan on using the actual transfers as the paper is old and I don’t want to risk ruining them.  So instead, I’ll use the light box Dave made me to transfer the various designs to fabric.

I wasn’t able to find a date printed anywhere on the transfer sheets to be able to determine if the copyright might still be in effect.   Through a bit of research, I was able to find out that The Workbasket was published from 1935 to 1996 when it ceased publication and was sold to KC Publishing.  But according to this site, if they were published between 1923 through 1977 and didn’t have copyright notices on them, they are in the public domain.  I’m almost positive that these were published sometime in the 40s or 50s, but I’m going to have to do a bit more research to be sure.

These are so much fun, I’d love to be able to share them.

Posted in Quilting, Sewing, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

An Art Deco Cabinet For My Singer 15-91

Posted by supermom on June 2, 2011

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

An Art Deco Cabinet For My Singer 15-91



Posted in Budget Savers, Conserving Resources, Sewing, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

WIP Wednesday and FNSI Reminder

Posted by supermom on May 18, 2011

Today I’m working on sewing the quilt back for this scrappy nine patch quilt top:

A larger photo of the quilt top can be seen here.

I’m using a thrifted white cotton sheet for the back but it wasn’t quite long enough so I added a row of blocks made from the leftovers fabrics from the front.

When I was pressing the sheet to get it ready to use, I noticed one small area of discolouration and a couple of little stains that look like marker stains so decided to conceal them with some appliquéd hearts.

I’ve got one heart done, two more basted and ready to appliqué.   The back is going to need another good pressing once I get them sewn down.

And now I’m actually glad there were those little flaws that needed to be creatively covered up, because I really like what those three simple hearts are adding to the back.

Once I’m finished with this quilt back, I’ve got one more to make for my Disappearing Nine Patch quilt  top and then it’s on to cutting batting to fit.    Then  I’ll have 5 quilts ready to be hand-basted.  Almost perfect timing for FNSI  this Friday, May 20.   Though I may also spend that evening getting acquainted with the vintage Singer 15-91 that I won on an ebay auction on Mother’s Day.

If you haven’t done so already, you can still sign up for this month’s Friday Night Sew In over at Handmade by Heidi.  Just click on the FNSI button below.

Handmade by Heidi

This post has been added to WIP Wednesday #27 over at Freshly Pieced.

Posted in Friday Night Sew In, Quilting, Sew easy projects, Sewing, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Christmas on a Budget Series – Gifts for Less than $2 Each

Posted by supermom on April 25, 2011

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

Christmas on a Budget Series – Gifts for Less than $2 Each

Posted in Budget Savers, Christmas on a Budget Series, Gift Ideas, Sew easy projects, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

What To Do With an Old Doll Cradle

Posted by supermom on April 10, 2011

Just after we moved to Northwest Georgia, I came across a handmade doll cradle at a garage sale.  At the time, I had intended to sand it down, paint it white and do a tole painting of a teddy bear on the ends.   The plan was to use the cradle to display my childhood teddy bear and two of my old dolls.

Well… that was the plan.  But now that our children have all left home, Dave and I are thinking that with our next move, we might downsize to a smaller house and I’m looking around at the things we’ve accumulated over the years and deciding what must stay and what things we really wouldn’t have room for with less square footage.  I decided that the cradle (which I never got around to painting or displaying) was one of the things that could go.

So Dave sanded it down, put a few coats of polyurethane on it and glued some felt in the bottom.

Then I got busy and made a mattress, pillow and doll quilt for it from the flannel leftover from the baby/toddler quilt I made for Dave’s granddaughter.

Doll cradle with handmade mattress and pillow

With doll quilt added

Another view of cradle and doll quilt

Dave’s grandchildren live thousands of miles away.  Shipping the cradle would have been prohibitively expensive so instead we listed it on freecycle earlier this week.  After it was picked up, I got an e-mail from the young woman we gave it to.  The e-mail said that her little girl was so excited she couldn’t wait for her to get the cradle out of the car and had been playing with it ever since.

Now that’s a much better use for that doll cradle than sitting in our living room filled with my old toys!

Posted in Conserving Resources, Gift Ideas, Sew easy projects, Thrifting | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Make a Seamstress Very Happy

Posted by supermom on March 11, 2011

For the past week and a half, I’ve had to move my sewing machine back to the dining room table while my husband worked on refinishing and modifying a vintage sewing machine cabinet that I picked up at a local thrift store a few years ago.  It is solid wood with a cherry veneer and was a bargain at $30.

He’d gotten it all sanded down soon after I bought it but then with working away from home so much never had the chance to do the necessary modifications and finishing to turn it into a cabinet that would fit my sewing machine.  During that time, I sewed with my machine sitting on top of the closed unfinished cabinet.  But that is now a thing of the past.

Last week when the weather warmed up enough for him to work in the garage, he installed the Regal/Horn airlift mechanism, modified the cabinet so that my sewing machine would move smoothly from storage to flatbed to free arm positions and then began applying several coats of clear satin polyurethane.   That took longer than expected because the weather turned colder causing it to take much longer for each coat of polyurethane to dry and cure.

But he did the final sanding and polishing this morning and moved it back into the house.

Isn’t she a beauty…

My refinished vintage sewing cabinet with the top closed.

Front view of the sewing cabinet.

Top view with the lid open.

All ready to sew with the sewing machine in the flatbed position.

Moved to the free arm position.

And he finished just in time for me to sew up a little something for a giveaway that I’ll be announcing tomorrow.

Posted in Budget Savers, Conserving Resources, Thrifting | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Quick Inexpensive Easter Gifts

Posted by supermom on April 10, 2009

Just before Christmas 08, I came across a box of miscellaneous Easter decorations at our local thrift store.  You’d think that Easter would have been the last thing on my mind, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is to think ahead.

Our children are long past eagerly waiting for Easter Bunny, but I still like to give them a little something each year. Right away an idea came to mind how I could turn that box of decorations into some special gifts in a few months time.  And since the decorations were off season, when I got to the till, they only charged me $2 for everything pictured below.easter-decorations

I hid the box away until a few weeks ago when I dug it out and started getting creative.

To 6 egg cartons that I’d been saving for just this purpose, I glued Easter themed paper.decorated-egg-cartons

(I’d had looked all over the place for Easter wrapping paper but ended up cutting up paper goodie bags that were packaged 10 for $1.)

Then I divided up the decorations amongst three of the cartons.  The other three cartons were filled with the usual plastic eggs filled with candy.cartons-filled-with-goodies

The cartons for our oldest, I wrapped in an Easter themed table runner.  The ones for our middle daughter…  in an Easter tea towel.    You’ll notice a second tea towel wrapped package.  That’s an extra little something for middle daughter.  Oldest daughter’s extra something was wrapped along with her egg cartons.creative-wrapping

The other two cartons are again hidden away in the closet to await being put out early Sunday morning as a surprize for our teenage son along with the usual collection of Easter candy.  Someday he’ll be able to use them in his own home.

Note:  I can post this now because our daughters have each received their package and I encouraged them to open them so that they would have them to use for Easter.   Though I did tell them that they couldn’t open the plastic eggs until Easter morning.  :o)

This post was added as part of Frugal Friday over at Life as Mom.

Posted in Budget Savers, Gift Ideas, Thrifting | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »