Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Treadle

Three years back when my uncle passed away, that side of the family had to clean out his family (my grandmother's childhood) home.  In doing so they found my great grandmother's treadle.  Originally my aunt was going to take it but decided she didn't have room, so she offered it to me.  Of course, I said yes.  Who wouldn't say yes to an antique foot-powered sewing machine owned by their great grandmother?  Sadly I let my Aunt put it in her storage space rather than taking it right then.  Had I been more wise about rust, I could have saved myself a world of trouble by not letting it sit there for 3 years.  But hindsight is 50/50.

At any rate, it's a 1920's Singer Red Eye Treadle model #66.  =)  Produced in a lot of 50, 000.  Or so says the source I found this at during my intense internet search that I can't find again.  

845685185068506650000November 31920

Knowing the model (or what I thought was the model before I realized there were numerous versions of the 66), I went about beginning to clean the machine head this weekend.  I unscrewed the machine head from the frame.  Took off all the face plates and proceeded to vacuum up the lint balls with the shop vac.  Anything that remained I pulled out with forceps.  Then I went on to soak the internal mechanics in liquid wrench (a penetrating oil).  At first I applied it with the little hose adapter but then just started spraying away.  I sprayed in each of the oiling holes and in all the panels until it was dripping into the disposable oil pan I picked up specifically for this.  After everything got a good soak, I began scrubbing with an old toothbrush to loosen the old black grime (which I've been told is the remnants of old oil).  As the toothbrush wasn't removing the oil, I then wiped those spots with clean cotton balls to pull the oil off.  Had I been thinking, I would have used the old lab forceps I have to cotton ball further in.  Or even grabbed a q-tip for those hard to reach places.  But I was running low on light and didn't have the time to meander.  Once again... hindsight for a future date of re-cleaning.  After that I oiled everything up very liberally with sewing machine oil in all the holes and at all the joints such that it was dripping out of the machine.  And I ran it for around a minute to get the oil into the joints.  I also wiped the paint down will a bit of liquid sewing machine oil as well in the case that I got some liquid wrench on it.

As I haven't the time tonight to upload all the pictures for direct comparison (which I will do this week), I put them up on my flickr.  -->

Once they are up on this blog, you will find them below this.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Moving without Pets

I had originally intended on writing a post about our feelings of missing Scout and moments where we notice him gone.  Or how a song can invoke such a feeling of sadness because it reminds you of that someone.  For instance, I was listening to my Joy Ike playlist this week and her "city lights" song came on.  This song originally made me think of a photograph I named city lights where Scout was looking out the window at winter towards the city and it's sparkling lights.  I instantly began to cry in lab after realizing I'd never see him doing this again.

But sadly this isn't that post.  It's more a post of anger and outrage at the less than dedicated pet owners.  The ones who are moving and either don't try hard enough to find a place to allow pets or don't care enough to take them.  I'm not referring to those going internationally or going into the milliatary.  Those are slightly harder situations to take a pet.  I'm talking of the ones that move domestically and then give their pets to a shelter.  Or those who move in with someone who doesn't have a pet allergy but just doesn't like them so the pet goes.

I'm sorry but adopting an animal should be like adopting a kid.  You assume all responsibility for that individual for as long as they live.  You don't have to go overboard like we just did trying to save the life of that pet but there should be an understanding that there is NO Backsies.  You should adopt the pet only if you are willing to keep that animal with you for the 10-20 years they will be alive.  Giving an older animal to a shelter (aka anything that isn't a cute fluffy kitten) is a death sentence.  People going to adopt, go for the kittens and puppies, not the older ones.  So the older ones grow old in the shelter, get shelter shock, or are euthanized.  Why?  Because you didn't try hard enough.

So if you are considering picking up a cute kitty or puppy...  Rethink it!  Pretend you are looking to adopt a child.  Are you ready for a commitment to that animal?  If not, then don't.  Someone else will love them.

And don't tell me it's the cost of food and all.  We feed prescription food which is expensive.  But back when I did meow mix, it was around $10 for a huge bag.  That lasts one cat 4 months.  And same with the cheaper litter.  Plus vet visits use to be maybe once every 4 yrs when I had the cash.  Doing the minimum needed for a happy cat is cheap.  

I understand if you become allergic to your cat and have to give them up...  But otherwise, Commit or don't get!

Ok... end of rant now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


As I write this, I feel so nauseated and sick.  It's like this is all a really bad dream that I'm bound to awake from...  that we need to awake from.  We've been crying so much that my sinuses literally feel like they will pop.  And any pain I'm feeling now, I know is ten times worse for my husband as it's his kitty who is in trouble.  Our 2.5yr old human loving cat, Scout, is a very very very sick kitty.  It began with him acting listless, weird, not eating and having mobility issues last night when we got home from DC so we took him to the vet this AM.  After X-rays, blood panels and poking, we find that he has an enlarged spleen and very low hemoglobin levels.  So low that he could be facing respiratory failure.  We took him from our vets to the emergency vets down the street and the whole time I was thinking "Not again....  not another young one to acute illness.".  Sadly my hopes did nothing...  Scout has leukemia.

Scout in his favorite place...  damp grass.

He will be getting a blood transfusion which will allow us to pamper him for his final days to maybe even weeks depending on how many fully functioning red blood cells his body will make as the transfusion cells begin to die.  We could try chemo but Josh doesn't want to put him through the pain of chemo.  Plus we can't afford his current bill of $2500 (we're considering what can we sell off for his treatment...  Anyone want to buy some art?) let alone chemo and more vet visits.  So all we can do is hope for the best and to make him happy while he's with us.  The poor lil guy doesn't deserve this.  He had so much love to give and was such a great little kitty...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Seen in a New Way

Months back, I bought my first Lensbaby lens to celebrate my 30th birthday.  And just now I'm beginning to get it working the way I'd like it to.  The shining example is the aperture accessory kit that I bought with the lens to give me bokeh (the aesthetic quality of the blur) in the shapes of the aperture disks.  Up until a few days ago, I was disappointed with the results I was obtaining.  I wasn't getting any shapes in my backgrounds or in my light sources at first...  That is until I realize what I wanted depended on the field depth.  The way to get some shapely bokeh is to have bokeh in the first place!


These first two photos are taken with my stock Canon Rebel Xsi lens to show the standard lens look.  The next photos showcase the Lensbaby double glass optic in the composer lens body with the star aperture in place.

As you can see, the other plants in our yard give a nice blur with the lighter plants have star shaped bokeh.  I also offset the point of focus to the side to capture only the flower and at one point just the stamen in focus.


Then I decided to play a bit with the macro lens adapter I bought.  Putting on the +10 first and then the +10 combined with the +4.  I admit that it was quite a challenge to get a perfectly focused macro photo without a tripod.  Plus it doesn't help that I'm still working on tweaking my diopter to work with the Lensbaby.  I actually had to buy a dioptric adjustment lens to make my stock diopter more dynamic as I was maxing out the negative side of it to attempt to get focus.  The only thing I'm not really fond of is having to use my camera in Aperture Priority mode as I can't select the exposure time.  But as the Xsi doesn't allow me to indicate aperture size and the light meter ceases to function properly in manual with the Lensbaby attached, AP is better than a guessing game for exposure time.  Despite that, in the end I'm loving the little bit that I have learned about using my Lensbaby and I can't wait to play with it more so that using it becomes natural like my canon stock lens.

Anyone else out there try a Lensbaby yet?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Best

Voting to help me decide my best kitty photo has closed....  Here are the results

"Sleep with One Eye Open"         2
"You Killed my Saturday..."     10
"The Winker"                               1
"Hide and Seek"                           1
"Gator Play"                                 1

"You Killed my Saturday ..." will be entered in Paper Mama's contest!  Thanks for all the help everyone here and on facebook!


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

More recently, I've begun to want my photos to tell stories.  When I first started to photograph, I was content on catching pretty objects, scenery, cats, etc.  While that is all well and good, it tends to be more just a practice in catching the right layout, color, contrast...  the right type of shot.  Looking back at those photos, I find that they are of great quality but don't remind me of a moment.  They don't evoke as much of an emotion as others.  So hence my new desire to catch moments.  Oddly enough this new desire has occurred before the most recent Paper Mama challenge to show off your "Best Shot" of your child or pet.

The Paper Mama

Two weeks ago, I considered this one of my best photos...

"Sleep With One Eye Open"

The composition and the bokeh were awesome!  Plus who doesn't love a little kitty with her head upside down.  But it doesn't tell an entire story...  Just a glamor shot of my little model cat.  (Yes, she does model often for me.)  Mind you, it does tell of a sleepy kitty being pestered but many cat shots tend to involve sleepy kittys as that is what they do best.  =)

So I started to skim my flickr account to pull up some contenders for the Best Shot...  At first I found this beauty of a moment.  It's not a happy moment but it tells a story.  A story that all pets hate...  This shot was taken after bringing our 2nd oldest kitty, Squeakers, back from the vets.  I'll give you a guess as to how he got his name...  When afraid, he howls and cries...  stick him in a cat carrier and it sounds like your taking a dying animal to the Vet.  (I've had Vet Techs come running thinking I was bringing in a true emergency...  most think it was a cat run over by a car.)

"You killed my Saturday..."

At any rate...  This photo is named "You killed my Saturday..." because this particular Saturday was a sick Vet visit.  Squeakers' visit was due to a bout of vomiting(Not the normal, I over ate and then drank water which expanded my food making me sick that cats normally get.  Rather he had the full on vomiting till it was just bile for a couple days.  It was the type of sick kitty that screams something isn't right).  After being poked, given an xray and a general check up...  The vet sent us home with the diagnosis of Squeakers having no blockage or severe ailment but most likely a case of the nerves (Seeing that this cat has had idiopathic cystitis, vomiting due to anxiety isn't impossible) to be treated with OTC Pepcid for an upset stomach.  When home and release from his cage, he immediately ran full speed under the bed... staying there for HOURS!  After checking on him for what seemed like the 13th time, I noticed the sun shining on my sad little kitty who was mad that I made him go to the Vet.  And for those of you who didn't think animals could show facial expressions...  I have to say he's putting on a good pout face here.  ;)

The next photo was one taken a few weeks back.

"The Winker"

The story behind "The Winker" is as follows...  I had no desire to get up on that particular Sunday morning so I continued to lay sideways across the bed until I figured out what I wanted/needed to do.  My husband decided to pester me and our 2nd youngest kitty Scout decided to join the fun on the bed.  Out of sheer luck, the cat & the husband aligned in a such a way that I saw a perfect rare shot that could never be set up like that again.  Slinking off the bed to not disturb the cat (as you know they don't stay long when there is movement around), I ran to snag my camera.  I slipped back across the bed with all the auto settings on so I could catch the moment before Scout ran off.  Sadly, the autofocus went for the close face... my husband (Pre-Wink).  Switching to manual, I focused on the kitty who just as I clicked blinked his one eye.  And Voila... The winker was born.  

The third photo was one taken shortly after we moved.

"Hide and Seek"

Our youngest and littlest kitty out of the four, Alice, was playing on our cat tower behind the window curtain.  She was cooing and mewing as she does to get attention.  And the sunshine through the window was shining bright making her baby blue eyes sparkle.  So I snagged my camera and began to line up a shot.  Upon seeing she was being given attention and wondering what I had in my hand, she peaked forward to sniff and I caught this little gem called "Hide and Seek".

My final and fourth photo is still coming...  See our OC (old kittycat - he's 11 yrs old), Roscoe, doesn't stick around much to be photographed.  He's shy and afraid of most everything.  He's a watcher and a looker.

"Gator Play"

Currently one of my favorite photos of him is where he's playing with his gator (named "Gator Play").  For some reason he loves to play with this plastic gator.  It goes missing for years before I find where he hides it.  This particular night, I had found the gator and pulled it out for him to play.  As you can see, everything is in focus but Roscoe as he baps at his toy.  While I love this photo because my 11 yr old cat is playing with his gator, I'm sure I can get a better shot of him...  I just have to time it right.  Hence why Roscoe's best is still to come.

So which one do you like the best for "The Best"?  Posting is open until June 24th for paper mama so tell me which I ought to submit as I love them all!  I'll give you until Friday the 17th Sunday the 19th to comment on your favorite photo that would be a good contender for this Paper Mama contest...  it has prizes!  eep!

To view all the photos I've posted in the last few years, give a look at my flickr site ->
When you hit the gallery show photos, I'd suggest clicking on different sets as the show photos are MANY(hundreds...I think)!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Best Face Photo from May

So I'll keep this short and sweet as I have about a million things to do and don't want to do a thing.  Today is a rather somber day for my husband, his family and I as we say goodbye to his grandma Dee.  That tough old cookie, who was only given a short time to live last summer when diagnosed with bone cancer (her third and final battle with cancer), has left her pain and this world for a much better place.  We're glad she proved the doctors wrong and made it to our wedding last September but are still wishing she didn't have to go so soon.  She was only 82 years young...  We like to think she's hanging out at the Isaly's (a local Pgh deli that her and the old folks hung out at) in the sky with all her friends who have passed before her.

In memory of grandma Dee, I'm posting my best face of the May for the "I Heart Faces" photography challenge... one of our kitties.

Grandma Dee loved animals, in particular pussycats!  So it's only fitting to put up a kitty that we so wanted her to meet.  She only got to meet 1 of our 4 furballs and we're sure had she met our little Alice, she would have fell in love.

This photo I call, "Sleep With One Eye Open"...

Photo taken with my newest toy...  Lensbaby composer, double glass optic, f2.8 with +4 macro w/longer exposure

Now I must go off to do grown up things...  like analyze data for an abstract due Thurs (I think 2 days from now), comfort my hubs, keep the household a float aka pets fed and watered, etc.  I really don't want to be an adult right now...

ps.  I know we need to comment on photos around ours.  And I promise to do so.  I just might not be able to for a day or so while we sort life out.  But I had really really really wanted to post this photo when I saw the info for this week's contest in last weeks.

Oh and sorry it's not a human face.... But I don't think my husband would feel much like being photographed anytime soon... nor do I feel much like photographing.  Plus as we don't have fur-less children yet, our cats are who I photograph as if they were children.  Weird. yes I know.  But they put up with me when my husband gets sick of posing...  If it has to be a human face from may... then below would be it.  "Yesterday's sorrow"  taken yesterday when I was trying to cheer up after my last visit to see Dee.

Or maybe even the "Winker"...  When my husband, cats, and I were all happy and chipper.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Operation Layla... ps. Bake Sale

Also...  I cooked 21 dozen pizzelles this weekend.


Of those, 9 dozen (1 doz Anise/Splenda, 5 doz Anise/Reg Sugar, & 2 doz Orange/Reg Sugar) will be auctioned off for the Operation Layla bake sale at  See tomorrow if there will be 3 batches of these cookies or if all will be auctioned as a huge batch.  One thing to note... these cookies stay fresh for a VERY long time!  Ones I made over a year ago, the hubs was eating this weekend to make room for new cookies in his tin.  He's determined they are the perfect solution for when the shit hits the fan as they contain protein (eggs), carbs (wheat flour) and Sugar.  =)

Here's the dets for the bake sale auction from the site.


Bake Sale Info

Are you as excited as we are for the #OperationLayla: Bake Sale? This Wednesday, you can feast your eyes on more than three dozen varieties of baked goods, and everyone knows that tasty treats have zero calories if it’s for a good cause, right?
So get your money ready, because tomorrow you’ll see items like Cinnamon Rum Caramel Sauce and Homemade Pancake Mix;  Turducken Cookies (chocolate chip cookies stuffed with an Oreo!), Toffee Bacon Shortbread, and mouthwatering brownies, cookies, cakes, and pretty much everything in between! There will also be vegan and gluten free goodies and several items available for international shipping (just make sure to read each post for more specific details)!
You may be asking yourself how this online bake sale will work, so here are some need-to-know facts for the big day.
First, every single cent raised from this sale will make a difference in not just Layla’s life, but possibly in so many more lives around the world. (See how the money will be used)
The bake sale will open at 8 am on Wednesday, March 16, and closes at 11 pm EST on Wednesday, March 16.
On Wednesday morning, there will be a post opening the bake sale. Each item will have a minimum bid of $15.
Each item up for bid will have its own post. To officially bid on an baked good, you must leave a comment on that particular post with at least a $1 (one dollar) raise in price. Think of this as an on-going auction. Readers will see the last price and have the option of raising it higher. All buyers have until 11 pm EST to submit their bid.
All winners will be announced on Thursday, March 17.
Each winner will donate the specified winning amount through the#OperationLayla PayPal button. Once the donation goes through, I will email the baker the winner’s email address. It will then be the baker’s responsibility to get in touch with the winner to work out the specifics of sending the baked good(s).
The winner has 24 hours to make the online donation. If, in that time frame, the donation is not made, the next highest bidder will be contacted.
Thank you very much for your generous contributions and support. We will try our best to moderate the comments throughout the day. If you would like to comment anonymously or have any questions or concerns, please email
Happy bidding!

Operation Layla

Well...  I was going to write something profound.  Something absolutely dripping with grace.  I planned on telling Layla's tale of scar pains after intro-ing from my current post surgery issues.  Or even explaining how meds can cost a fortune to those who have no insurance (When I let mine insurance lapse as a stupid stupid grad student, I had to pay $168 for antibiotics.).  But lets face it, one thing I lack now a days and will for the next month is time.  (I'm writing this as I scarf down my lunch.)  So instead of being eloquent and artistic with my words, I'm going to be brief.

A dear friend to me, Layla, is pain...  Intense pain associated with surgery she had a few years back.  It's not getting better and the fates had conspired against her for the last several months throwing a monkey wrench in her motor of a chance to have insurance cover the surgery.  Because of this, friends of her (blog buddies) have set out to raise the money to help fund her surgery with no help from insurance.  Every little bit helps and there's a site set up to help all of us internet folk out here give a lil bit however we can.  So follow the little Operation Layla link below to find out more about Layla, the cause and how you can help.

I'm also donating all the proceeds from sales at my Etsy shop to Layla as well.  =)

DLMarts - Operation Layla

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Technicolor Basket of Sunshine

A few weekends ago, our original weekend plans were to enjoy a nice quiet one yet it was everything but that.  This being that at around the same time the hubs discovered his truck had been broken into the night before, we also found out that one of his teenage cousins was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  So as he waited for the cops to arrived, I scurried up to Wildcard for some "Get Well Soon" gifts.  I returned home with a container of colorful magnets (every teen needs magnets for their school locker) and two crochet critters by Alicia Kachmar (a Smore and a Deviled Egg).  Upon visiting lil cous "H"... her and all the girls in the ward's sunroom were in love with the crochet critters.  And after telling them that the lady who makes them began crocheting in the hospital when she was ill, that made them more excited about learning to make these lil cutsies.  =)  So I told H that if she wanted to learn to crochet, I get her all the essentials to start...

And that's just what I did...  "H" if you happen to find this post before I give you your treat, don't read.  =)

I purchased a few of the patterns she liked...  The vegetables as she thought the Olive was the cutest and hats for your safety cones.

Then I made a trip to Michael's with my Xmas gift cards and had an initial idea in my head of a few skeins of yarn, a crochet kit that contained a book and hook along with some embroidery floss that soon turned into a huge basket.

A bountiful basket to make any crochet lover giggle in delight...  

Diaper pins for keeping her work from unraveling when she's in between crochet moments plus tons of yarn and stuffing to make all the critters her heart desires.

All the little tools and bobbles she'll need to master amigurumi (the art of making crochet critters).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kitties and Yarn...

Dunno why but kitties love yarn.  But ours get all wide eyed any time I pull a ball out near them.  =)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Valentine[s]

So in our house,  I have 7 valentines...  the 4 cats, the 2 ferrets and of course the hubs!  While they all have their moments that annoy me to death (some of the cats pin me down in my sleep while others whine until they get wet food, the ferrets shake their cage and Josh sometimes snores like an old man), I couldn't see life without them.  When I'm at my worst, their undying love and affection makes me smile.  That is unless I'm queen PMS then it takes a good dose of chocolate.  ;)  So here's to my Valentines and the affection they bring me.

In the above photo: Josh and Alice (our youngest and only girl kitty...  she's a feisty female princess kitten and she knows it) sharing a kitty hug as she won't let you hold her but shows her love with a head bump!

The reason for the above short and sweet post is the lovely paper mama and her photo contests.  I'm using those as a reason to write more.  Plus I just love her photo skills!

And as always...  the photo above is unedited and uncropped as this lil grad student doesn't have the time to edit plus is attempting to master her SLR before depending on photoshop to fix things.   lol.  =)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birthday Wants...

So seeing as this year is one of those milestone years (I'm turning the big "3" "0" on the last day of March),  I've decided to compose a list of things I want that I will indeed use.  Oddly enough, they all have something to do with my SLR.  ;)

The first is an Epiphanie camera bag.

I've been pining over these bags for almost a year now since I saw one online last spring.  Originally I fell for the Ginger but now am leaning more towards a Lola as turning 30 has me wanting to attempt a lil trendiness before I get too old and wrinkled...  ;)  Plus as I love to take my camera everywhere but don't want to scream to the random thug on the street that I'm strapping a several hundred dollar SLR, a discrete yet protective bag is key.  =)

The second thing I desire is a remote for my camera.  This way I can start perfecting self and staged portraits.  An added bonus is that when the hubs and I play with sparklers outside, we don't have to take a dozen photos where half are me running back as it shoots of 10 in a row.  

And the last thing I want (that I'm more likely to save up for than to expect as a gift) is a fisheye lens called the Scout from lensbaby.  I love that their lenses are affordable and the bodies can be used with different lens inserts or the funky aperture kit.  Plus eventually I'll get around to getting one of their bundles that comes with a swivel lens.

So what are all of you hoping to save up for in celebration of a milestone birthday?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eeep... another photo contest!

As it turns out I happened upon Paper Mama's site on the last day of a photo challenge that didn't require your children (furry or fleshy being) present in the photo... This being that this weeks challenge is a self portrait!

The self portrait I've chosen is one of the many I took after the hubs and I returned from getting his 30th birthday present...  Cheesecake style pin-up photos of moi.  (For those of you unfamiliar with this style of retro pin-up, it's that of the 40's and 50's where the women were still sexy and beautiful without having to be naked.   Showing a little garter & stocking with a smirk was all the rage.)  At any rate... as hubs and I are big fans of the photography, I searched high and low for a classy place that gave superb results as it originally was going to be a surprise for his second tour in Iraq.  (Luckily he was medically discharged before then and it turned into a 30th B-day present).  We traveled out to Baltimore to the home of Atomic Cheesecake Studios where the wonderful Action Girl (aka Stacey B) did the most amazing job on hair, makeup and photography.  I couldn't stop smiling as the whole experience made me feel empowered and beautiful.  (Not that the hubs doesn't tell me I'm a beauty every day but looking flawless and seeing his jaw drop in new ways was even more empowering than usual!)  After getting home I felt I couldn't just wash the makeup off without getting a few photographs of my own.  The best one is the following self portrait in the bathroom mirror.

ps.  Be sure to check out Retro Lovely.  It's a new retro pin-up magazine and one of the sexy scientist photos from my shoot was used in issue #2  =)
Site Design By Designer Blogs