My dad had a sewing machine that he used to mend or alter his clothes (like hem his pants because he was a cute, short dad). He also used it to make those pillow type characters that were so popular in the 80s, the kind that were printed on a fabric panel and you just cut the shape out, sewed around the edges, stuffed it and there you go. I've got a family of cats and a Santa Claus that he made.
When he passed away in 1991, I was given his sewing machine and all his sewing notions. These items came out of his notions box. (Don't we all have an Oscar Meyer Weiner whistle in our notions box? Well, my dad did. He was just that kind of guy.) It might sound kind of silly, but when I'm sewing and don't have just the right color thread, I say, "Hey, Dad, do you have any [insert color here] thread?" and then I check his box. Nine times out of ten, he's got a color there for me that works.
His sewing machine and I didn't get along too well. It always seemed to be out of adjustment. Only once did I manage to get it adjusted so that the threads didn't bunch up on the back side of the fabric. My precious little toddler son immediately grabbed every knob on the machine and gave them a good turn. I put the machine away and only used it if I absolutely had to. That's why I really haven't sewn much until I got my new sewing machine a couple of years ago. I guess that coincided with my discovery of craft/sewing blogs. They're so inspirational and I don't think I'd be as interested as I am in sewing if it weren't for all those talented bloggers out there.And these two books - I absolutely love them! Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing is a great resource for beginning sewers with easy, fun projects. It's written in such an friendly manner and makes you feel like, "Yeah, I can do that!" Alicia Paulson's Stitched in Time is beautifully written and full of sweet memory making projects. These are my sewing bibles. If you think you want to sew, check out these books!