Archive for April, 2010

Smith-Owen – Grand Rapids, Michigan

April 9th, 2010 No comments

Smith-Owen were the people who repaired my Pfaff 1229, but even if you don’t have an ailing machine, Smith-Owen is well worth a long visit. The staff is incredibly nice and very helpful — one person even went through a drawer of miscellaneous parts looking for any hidden feet that might fit my 1229.


The fabric part of the store caters to quilters — without quilters would we even have any fabric stores anymore? — and is abundant with walls of beautiful cottons and inspirational projects.


The notions walls are complete, as is the book selection — in addition to those up front, there’s a huge rack in the back to peruse, too. If you’re in the area, there’s a large, airy classroom, and a ton of options for classes.


Lovers of Michigan’s lighthouses will appreciate the nicely done Michigan Lighthouse Panels (suitable for a cottage quilt, pillows, totes or just about anything else). Check out the Smith-Owen website; it’s much more extensive than most, with lots of swatches to view. I wouldn’t hesitate to mail order from them; it’s clear that they are really, really serious about very good customer service.


Smith-Owen sells new Pfaff, Viking/Husqvarna and Singer as well as “pre-owned” machines. The store is easy to find: It’s on Plainfield Avenue just past the Plainfield limits sign (though the address is Grand Rapids). Plan to go during the week or on Saturday; like many stores in the area, Smith-Owen is closed on Sunday.

Disclaimer:  This is a personal blog, and I received no compensation for this review, which represents my opinion and my experience alone.  My visit to Smith-Owen was in 2008.  (Yeah, I know — another post that got lost!)

Categories: Stores Tags:

Early Olfas

April 8th, 2010 No comments

The US Park Service maintains a printing office and bindery at 320 Market Street in Philadelphia.  Using replica presses, Park Service employees demonstrate 18th century printing presses and discuss printing in the era of Benjamin Franklin.  It’s a fascinating look at the process, but something that especially caught my eye were these devices:

ps-olf-300Look familiar?  Exactly:  Early Olfas.  These rotary cutters were used to cut paper, though.  It was another 300 years or so before  smaller versions made it into our sewing rooms.

Categories: Tools, Vintage Tags:

Organization -1798 Style

April 7th, 2010 No comments

Philadelphia has had to stretch a bit to capitalize on its association with Benjamin Franklin; sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  I suspect that many of the visitors to 322 Market Street leave believing that they’ve seen a replica of Ben’s own office, but the restored room actually belonged to his grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache.

It’s still historical, and still of interest, whether or not the association with the founding father is direct, so it doesn’t particularly bother me that the two Bens get a bit conflated.  As often happens, it’s the small artifacts of life that catch my eye most frequently.  Here’s what I saw on the wall at the address in question:

bb-fkln-400Grandson Benjamin published his own newspaper, The Aurora, here in the late 1700s, and this was his wall file.  Butterick’s got nuthin’ on Ben Bache.  (You’ll need to click on the third picture from the left, directly under the large picture at the link to get the specific reference.  Heaven forfend a pattern site link should actually be useful.)

Categories: Home, Organization Tags: