DIY Woes


Today is my lovely Momma’s 75th birthday!  This Spring, she sold her house in my hometown (about 120 miles from where I live)  and moved into a retirement town home community in a suburb of Des Moines (yay!).  Having her living locally, close to her three youngest children, and five of grandchildren, is wonderful.  She babysits when needed for my brother and sister (happily and willingly!), attends soccer and football games and practices, joins them for a quick trip out for ice cream; even joined me on Friday for her first AQS experience!  When she needed new eyeglasses, I just took a long lunch to go help her pick out a new pair.  Yesterday, she drove over and took my little sister out for lunch for HER birthday.  Mom has been very happy she made the move, despite missing her old friends, and we’re happy to say she’s made new friends fast.


(Click on the photo to go to the designer’s site–love her Cake Walk pattern!)  My sweetie and I fixed up a new sewing table for Mom’s Elna sewing machine as a birthday present.  She sews with an Elna 6003, but she’s never had a drop-in table for it.  It must have been six years ago that she and I bought a nice unfinished wood shelf/tabletop at Menards with the plan that I would help her turn her old treadle sewing machine base into a custom made drop-in table for the Elna.  Well, best laid plans…

After her move in June, my sweetie and I took some measurements, drew up a plan, realized that the treadle sewing machine base wasn’t wide enough to accomodate her sewing machine, but thought we might have a table base in the garage that would work… so we hauled the wood tabletop home with us.

I dusted off my old jigsaw, and cut the hole out for her machine and the plexiglas extension base she had, borrowed my little brother’s router, and my sweetie routed out a nice shallow lip for the plexi to rest on.  The table base that we had fit perfectly.  It came from a little drop-leaf kitchen table that I found at an estate sale and had started to strip the paint off but gave up after we found another small table that needed no work and fit our space perfectly–and it was only $25 (with chairs).  Sweetie wanted to throw the little half-stripped table away, but I wouldn’t let him.  “It’s a perfectly good table, and someone will be able to use it.  It doesn’t need to be in the landfill”.  Yep, I’m that girl.

So, the table base was attached to the bottom of the new custom-cut table top, and a rectangular base for the sewing machine to sit on was suspended from the bottom of the tabletop:

We used an enamel spray paint for the base and legs, and bought a quart of the worst.oil.based.enamel.paint.ever.made. to paint the top a nice smooth, glossy finish.  I’m telling you, this project would have been complete in July if not for this horrible paint.  It went on like glue (and stated very plainly on the label that IT WAS NOT TO BE THINNED).  Not only that, it didn’t really dry, either.  My sweetie is far more patient that I; if I had been the one working on painting this, I would have stripped the first layer off after waiting a week for it to dry completely, and immediately thinned the paint and recoated it a few times–project complete.  But– he was determined not to be defeated by this can of paint (although he threatened about three weeks ago to go throw the entire table away and start over).  I’m pretty sure you know what my answer to that was.

Last week, when he was out of town for work, and we had some warm weather days, I went out to the garage to re-coat it.  He had painted a coat on Saturday morning, and this was Tuesday evening and it was still tacky.  I picked up a scraper and started scraping the edges down, so he could re-sand it, and maybe buy new paint and get the crazy thing done before her birthday.  When he saw what I did, he scraped it the rest of the way, sanded like crazy, thinned the paint and painted a new base coat.  The next day, he painted a second coat on it.  Third day, he did a little touch up, and this weekend we were able to declare this never-ending-project completely done.  Lesson learned: next time, just go buy different brand of paint.  Here is the table sans sewing machine and plexi (I’ll post a pretty pic complete with her set-up after we make the delivery tonight!):

Given the hours we invested in this project, we would have been much further ahead if we had just gone here and purchased a new table for her (but, don’t tell my sweetie I said that).

**UPDATE:  Table has been delivered, it’s a perfect fit and Mom can get back to sewing!  Here is a shot showing the groove we cut out for the plexiglas extension bed, and the whole set-to with her Elna Quilters Dream 6003 machine in place:

Now, if I could just get that table runner made for her that I promised her over two months ago…


12 thoughts on “DIY Woes

  1. Wow, what a busy time it’s been for you! Terrific news that your Mum is so happy and settled in her new home.
    So glad you’re joining us for Blogtoberfest12.
    Kat xx

    • I don’t think we asked if she uses her’s but I don’t think she does. A hole or slot could easily be drilled out to accomodate it though. On mine, I don;t use my knee lift, so I didn’t worry about it not being accessible, but worth some good thought for someone who relies on the knee lift.

    • Lisa, I think Frank deserves most of the kudos on this one… I woild have given up long before he did, and he took on the bulk of this project while I was trying to get some pattern business things done. She does love it!

  2. Nice job with the sewing table! You and Frank make a very handy pair. I’ll have to come to you the next time I need some woodworking DIY help. ; ) How nice of you to do that for your mom. I bet she loves the table.

  3. Pingback: Saturday the 13th | made by a brunnette

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