Saturday, October 30, 2010

Community Cookbooks

A very small sampling of my community cookbooks.
 I absolutely LOVE community cookbooks.  They're the cookbooks put out by churches, schools, and other groups, usually as a fundraiser.  They're also called regional cookbooks.  If they're vintage, I like them even more.  Oh yeah, if they're cheap that's a plus, too.  I look for them at yard sales and estate sales.  My favorites are the ones from areas that have some sort of meaning to me.  I also like the ones from the South, because I think that Southern cooking is just awesome. 

For my fortieth birthday, my Mother gave me a box of  forty community cookbooks that she had been buying off of eBay.  Since then, I've been picking up more.  I have no idea how many I have, and I probably don't really want to know. 

The vintage cookbooks are interesting because a lot of times you see ingredients listed in the recipes that just aren't used today.  One example is suet.  Yes, suet.  Suet Pudding, anyone?  When I think of suet, I think of the stuff that you put out for the birds.  Woodpeckers are particularly fond of it. 

Sometimes the covers of these cookbooks have beautiful artwork.  I have one cookbook put out by the First Congregational Church in Paxton, Massachusetts in 1980 that has a beautiful folk art cover. 
Cover illustration: A Scene of Paxton "When the Morning Stars Sang Together" by Judith Russell
Coincidentally, around the time that I picked up the Simply Delicious cookbook, I also picked up a framed note card.  The artwork was also in the folk art style.  Later, I noticed that the artwork on the note card happened to be by Judith Russell.  It was called School House and was one of a series of twelve in The Peaceable Kingdom in Old Deerfield from Historic Deerfield Massachusetts.  The date on the back of the notecard is 1991.  At the time, I did an internet search for more of her artwork, but was unable to find much.

Framed note card with artwork by Judith Russell
At some point, I'll probably go through my collection and cull the cookbooks that don't grab me, but for now, they don't take up too much room, and I enjoy looking through them to find that unique recipe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Is What Started It All: A Pink Brother Festival 471

This is what started my obsession: a watermelon pink Brother Festival 471.  I paid way too much for it and didn't even notice that it didn't have a belt until I got it home.  On the plus side, it did come with a manual, and a bunch of attachments.  I had been looking for a vintage sewing machine, and when I saw this on Craigslist, I had to have it.  It came in a cabinet with several drawers.  I took this one out of it, and put another sewing machine in the cabinet. 

After I bought it, I took it to a repair person, who said that there were broken or cracked gears inside.  She said that the gears were cheap, but getting to them was the problem.  Basically, she couldn't fix it.  So, I was stuck with a pretty pink sewing machine to use as a decoration.  Lesson learned: learn how to fix them myself, so that I can recognize potential problems in machines that catch my eye, and either avoid buying them, or fix them myself.

My Mother is convinced that I can fix this machine.  No matter that the woman with 40 years of experience says she CAN'T fix it.  It's nice to have someone that thinks you can do anything.  I will keep this machine.  Who knows, maybe someday I CAN fix it.  I think it'd be really neat to sew on such a cool looking machine. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Newest Acquisition - Kenmore Model 158.1410

I picked up this vintage machine the other day at my local Salvation Army.  I was really excited to get it because it looked really clean and came with a manual and a box with some attachments.  It's in a cabinet, which I'm not crazy about, but that's just my personal preference.  I realize that many people like to have a cabinet to store their machines in.  This one even came with the original owner's manual for the cabinet itself.  I've not seen that before.

I got it home, opened it up to take some pictures, and noticed that something was missing.  You can see that there is a gaping hole to the right of the dials.  I admit, I panicked.  My vision of being able to clean this thing up and pass it on to someone else in a relatively short amount of time came to a screeching halt.  Luckily, I had the owner's manual, so I was able to easily determine that the missing part was the reverse lever.  After a little searching on the internet, I was able to find the part number and a couple of places where I can get it.  Ahh, the panic eased.

I plugged it in, and it seems to run smoothly.  I'll go through it and clean, oil and grease it, and hopefully the reverse lever will be easy to put in.  I can then pass it on to the next lucky person. 

Here's a picture of the button holer that came with it:

I'm looking forward to seeing how well this machine sews.
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