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FAQs – Part 1

Thank you SO much for throwing some questions my way!  I hope my answers will be of interest and/or inspiration to you!  I have a few answers for you today and I’ll put together some more on another day!
Question #1 – I definitely want to get into sewing and am wondering if there’s any sewing machine you recommend for a newbie, but something I would be able to grow into and is also reasonably priced?
My Answer:  I’m sure that everyone with a sewing machine would answer this a little bit different based on their own personal experience and level of expertise.  I have owned a total of two sewing machines, both Singer.  My first Singer sewing machine was purchased new for around $60-$70 and had all the basic functions (a handful of decorative stitches, 4-step buttonhole, a few extra sewing feet/accessories).  It suited my needs fine for about 10 years of casual sewing, and about 2 years of frequent sewing while I was sewing basic quilts, home decor, clothing.  Nothing fancy, nothing digitized, it was user-friendly and never needed servicing.  Once I was sewing on it every day for hours at a time, it started slowing down and I decided it was time to invest in a new machine.  I chose the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and purchased it through Costco.com (because I know that if it stops working five years from now, I can take it back for a full refund.)  I’ve used it daily for two years straight and it’s still going strong.  It came with a lot of extra sewing feet which I’m finding to be very useful, (but even with a budget machine, you can purchase optional attachments for a very reasonable cost)  and some AWESOME fancy features (I’ll share my favorites another time).  Since you’re just starting out, I would encourage you to pick up a basic machine and get familiar with how you sew.  Assess how much you are actually using your machine and what types of projects you focus on.  A year from now, you’ll have the experience and knowledge that you need to shop features on some of the fancier machines – you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which features are important to you, based on how you use the sewing machine.  Whatever you choose, I’m so excited for you to start something new that you have been wanting to do!!! 
Here is a really comprehensive summary of machines and references for the beginning seamstress:
Question #2:  Have the roosters not attacked you or the girls? We moved from 64 acres and our beginnings of a farm–25 chickens and one rooster, “Mr. Mean Jeans”. (It WAS Mr. Green Jeans as his legs were green) We loved the chickens!!! Piles of egg cartons in the fridge! But one day Mr. Mean Jeans had to go–attacking/scaring me horribly. I swung the bag of eggs at him–what a mess!
My Answer:  Oh NO!  The image of Mr. Mean Jeans and a swinging bag of eggs is just too much!!!  haha!  Well……I’ll just say we’re still in the interviewing process with our roosters.  The silver-laced cochin seems to be a bit pushy with the hens, chasing them a lot, but he steers clear of me.  And he’s not on the top tier.  My favorite chicken, Mr. Lucy, turned out to be a rooster, and he seems to be the boss.  He’s really sweet when I hold him and just falls asleep while I’m petting him, but he has walked sideways toward me a couple times in the last few days, which was kinda scary.  He doesn’t ever go after the hens, but we do have two younger chickens that are still separate and he really watches them with his feathers puffed up, so we’ll see…. the girls would be really sad if we have to get rid of one or both roosters, so for now we’re just waiting…
Question #3:  How often do your girls wear/use something you’ve made? Have you reached a point where one of them is wearing something you’ve made daily, or is it more of an every-so-often thing?
My Answer:  Love this question!  It’s really kind of fun to sit back and think about this.  My girls get really excited when I make them something; they seem to know it’s special just because it’s handmade.  Most non-clothing items are used frequently – the baby doll diaper bags, their blankets/quilts, the gumdrop pillows, baby doll clothes, even their little stuffed turtles.  I’d guess that they use these things so frequently because they are set out in their room/playroom and they have easy access to them.  As for the clothing, it’s pretty item specific.  I can usually guess, based on each girl’s taste, what types of outfits will be used frequently by each of them.  Grace loves easy-on, easy-off dresses, like her simple peasant dresses.  Also, embellished t-shirts almost always get worn over and over.  Olivia wears her fancy dresses, like her princess gown, almost daily for dressing up.  She wears her 80s jacket ALL THE TIME.  In fact, she wore it to gymnastics today and it was already in the 90s when we left the house this morning.  I think it will get a lot of long-term wear – also, “all the girls” in her class last year wanted a rockin’ 80s jacket of their own.  haha!  Who knew?  Sometimes I consult the girls and really take in to consideration their tastes when I’m hoping an outfit will get a lot of wear and sometimes I go in knowing I’m sewing primarily to fulfill my own desire to try a new pattern/style/material/technique.  And sometimes, it turns out the complete opposite from what I expected.  Here are some of my handmade items that have been especially popular for an extended period of time:
Stuffed Turtles
Twirling Flower Gown
Quiet Book

Bunny Shirts and Dress
The Recital Dress
Men’s Shirt Dress Refashion
80s Rocker Outfit

Alrighty, FAQs to be continued…