A not-so-great sewing milestone

Funny story!Β After giving myself that elaborate “keep moving forward” pep talk, I closed my laptop, started working on a project and promptly broke the sewing machine needle for the very first time! It was a stupid mistake that I’d read about thousands of times in the manual, yet it still happened. I’ll never forget to remove the zipper foot again!

Broken sewing machine needle

So… now what?

1) Watch that “Keep Moving Forward” clip for the zillionth time.
2) Pull out the manual and learn how to change the needle.
3) Keep. Moving. Forward. πŸ™‚

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Now it’s time to say goodbye…

Some years ago, my mom and I took a trip to Walt Disney World. While standing in front of Minnie Mouse’s house, in awe even at the age of 19, I said, “Someday I’m going to live there.” My mom offhandedly replied, “Okay,” and I repeated, with insistence, “No, I love that house. Someday I’m going to live there.”

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Years later, after graduating from college and following a multitude of dreams, I don’t actually LIVE in Minnie Mouse’s house – after all, it’s still Minnie’s house – but I do find myself visiting Magic Kingdom Park quite often. More often than I ever could have imagined back when I was 19.

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Today was the last day of operation for Mickey’s Toontown Fair, where Minnie Mouse’s house resides. Toontown is closing to make way for many exciting changes as a part of the Fantasyland Expansion. I’m giddy about the future of Magic Kingdom, but I can’t help but feel a pang in my heart and my stomach knowing that I’ll no longer be able to take a stroll through Minnie’s house.

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And believe it or not, Minnie Mouse has a sewing machine. As if she weren’t already my idol!

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Helping Minnie Mouse with a quilt at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2010 (dressed as Boo from Monsters, Inc.)

The search for a beginner’s sewing machine

Some months ago, I was surfing the incredibly addicting craft site Etsy.com. I started looking at a purse made with some cute, Japanese Peter Pan fabric, but wasn’t quite sure I wanted to pay $35+ for one that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I suddenly thought, “If only I could get the fabric myself, I bet I could make a better one.” I’m not really sure why that thought popped into my head, as I had tried to learn some basic sewing machine skills from my mom in junior high and was an admittedly lazy student with crooked stitches and impatient knots and tangles. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head as I started browsing sewing blogs and pattern review sites. The wheels in my brain started cranking full-speed, imagining all of the purses, clothes, accessories, home goods, and gifts I could create if only I had the proper tools, determination and maybe some professional instruction, but I still wasn’t sure that my instantaneous ambition justified the purchase of a sewing machine and related supplies for a few hundred dollars (all of the sudden, that $35+ for the Peter Pan purse didn’t seem so bad).

I let the idea stew for about a month. When I still couldn’t stop looking at patterns and concocting ideas, I started researching sewing machines. In my research, I realized that sewing machines are a lot like cheese soup recipes: everybody has a really differing opinion about what’s the best, and a person’s level of satisfaction really depends on their background and what they are seeking. I also realized that there are a lot of lousy sewing machines out there, and while buying a brand new machine can be expensive, it’s extremely common to get a lemon when buying used.

I decided that a brand-new machine would be my safest option, so I did a lot of research to find the most economical beginner’s machine available. I ended up with the Brother CS6000i for around $160, as it had a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon.com, compiled from about 400 reviews.

Now, I have only been using my Brother CS6000i for a few months, but I have really come to adore my little economical machine. It came with a handful of helpful accessories, perfect for a beginner. The computerized functions are definitely a step above the older machine I tried to learn with in junior high, although a tiny part of me worries that when there’s a computer malfunction, the whole machine will be shot. I try not to think about that. Overall, I am incredibly satisfied with my first sewing machine purchase and really proud of the pieces this little beauty has helped me stitch together.

How do you go about justifying and researching major purchases?