veggie garden work in progress

If you are a mama, how was your Mother’s day? I spent Sunday working on our veggie garden with my husband. My mother’s day gift! He has finished the hardest part, digging up grass for the veggie garden. I spent a great time pulling out weeds and little aspen trees. Aspen trees are like weeds to me, a menace! Their root system spreads quickly and if we neglect this backyard for two years I bet we will have a bunch of little trees here and there, because they grow super fast too. I like Aspens, specially during Fall but I don’t appreciate them taking over my veggie garden!

We’ve collected a few nice books over the years as shown on the photo. One of them is “Back to Basis” and it’s about old-fashioned craftsmanship and old-fashioned food. I found this book at Barnes & Noble last year and it caught my attention because self-reliance is valuable. We rely on technology too much and if one day this modern society collapses as we believe it might, whoever knows these basics will survive. This book gives you only this: the basics. Good ideas, good starter. I am not planning living off the grid and building our log cabin, but there is good info on gardening, canning, crafts and raising animals. Sometimes I think I need to teach some traditional skills to my kids.  I don’t know if this generation of teens can even sew a button. It seems much easier to throw that shirt away and shop for a new one.

My backyard is far from being a homestead, but my plan is to grow more veggies despite the harsh weather… It’s dry, windy and cold until June 15th, and we have about 100 days to grow our veggies. Anyway, it’s fun and rewarding. I enjoy gardening.


Another good book I found  last week: “Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains“.The first chapter is surprisingly educational, not something we usually find in “gardening books”. The author talks about how our industrial agricultural system is dependent on fossil fuels, the decline of natural resources, Permaculture, etc… If you live in the Southwest mountains and enjoy gardening you may find this book very useful.

Last year I started this little project: “selfies” every birthday. Let’s see how I physically change. I was thinking about writing “41 things about me”, but I can’t find much stuff about myself that are interesting, besides who cares if I have the 4 wisdom teeth intact, if I am left handed or if I sleep with my cat? Sounds too self-centered to me. A few photos taken yesterday for my 41st birthday should suffice.


I wanted to blog earlier, but I’ve worked a lot in the backyard the past days. We called some guys to give us price to build a nice veggie garden and make a simple patio and they simply charged us $6k. Yep, you read it right! Some people work 40+ hours per week and make much less than that  a month. Go figure. And when I see “mamarazzis” charging $500 or less for 12+ hours of work giving all the high resolution photo files to their clients I feel sad. Really!

We decided to do it ourselves, because we don’t feel like paying $6k for a veggie garden! It sounds moronic. It’s hard work though. My muscles are sore and my back hurts! We ordered some rocks, no creosote railroad wood ties and top soil. We need mulch and a compost bin.

Today I just wanted to stop by and talk about my plans for this sporadic online life of mine. I have a Photography portfolio that I put on hold to make modifications as soon as I can. I don’t know if I said it here, but I went through all the paperwork to get a State license to open for business. I was almost ready to launch when I got very angry at myself and cancelled everything! Yes, I am crazy like this! I don’t want to photograph families and babies. I enjoy Photography so much, but popular portraiture is not what I want to do and honestly I don’t feel like having a Photography business at all. I enjoy shooting photos as a hobby at the moment and I don’t even do a lot. Sometimes I question my “passion”. Is that really a passion?

I’d probably enjoy working with creatives, photographing studios, workspaces, documenting their stories,  but reality seems so distant from this glamorous life. I know it sounds so negative. It probably is. I like working with my hands as well, that’s why I sew. I find it soothing and relaxing. I enjoy being alone in my studio, I wish for less home chores and more creative life! Ha!

So, this blog will remain as is and I hope it will get better. I hope to share from the heart and perhaps, help others too. The Photography portfolio will change a bit. I am not sure what I will do with it yet, but I’d probably have a shop for occasional print sales.

I have a website called Pixie Blossoms and I am about to end it. That site started in 2006 as a craft blog and by 2010 I was just creating cute photos that sold pretty well when an UK magazine featured some of them. I sold more than 600 prints in 4 years. Nothing last forever and I am quite tired of selling carnival photos. I don’t feel like creating cute pastel things for kids anymore, since pastels are not my top favorite. It’s not my real style, however I could do it for the money. I think one of my strengths is that play well with colors. And  seems that people really enjoy cute pastels colors {do not get me wrong, I think it’s pretty too, just not very me!} and how that site keeps attracting visitors even if I don’t blog for months!

I like the little money I make from my Etsy shop { and it’s drying out btw }, but I am not really motivated to do more with Pixie Blossoms. I can’t have both. It’s confusing and distracting. I understood what my style and tastes are using Pinterest! I don’t usually praise social media, but Pinterest is cool and it’s my favorite as I am a very visual person. It works as inspiration and bookmark. I find tons of good ideas and craft/sewing/garden tutorials as well. I don’t use it for business. It’s personal and only pin what I really like.

I don’t Facebook, I mean… I do very little, and I only add people I know and It’s just a way to keep in touch with my brazilian friends and family. I don’t waste my time there. I don’t use Google+ anymore. It’s been erased for good as there are no much interactions anyways. It’s just a bunch of noise. The problem with social media is that all is good and exciting in their beginnings and as soon as discovered by “business” and “spammers” it becomes cold, impersonal and extremely boring. Do I ever click on Facebook ads? Nope. Do you?

What is Twitter?

Oh Instagram, I like it less than Pinterest. See, social media must benefit me somehow and it must benefit others and that’s when they talk about “having good content”. I don’t visit blogs as much as I visit Pinterest these days. Why? Well, because it’s nice to have all in just one place and because I am a bit lazy or even tired of trying to connect with people who could careless or simply don’t relate to me either. It’s that old story…if you are not in my “niche” I am not talking to you! Isn’t it? Nobody talks about it, but we people act like that. That’s how social life goes, right? Sometimes we are not interested in certain things. For example: I don’t have babies anymore, I don’t have toddlers and I don’t plan more kids, and if your blog is mostly about that…well, I might find it nice, but my life is different now and I am not interested in diapers, how your pregnancy goes and baby furniture. I guess it depends how people share these things. Sorry, it sounds selfish, but man…I don’t have time for all. I struggle to find time to sew…

All these years blogging on and off I learned a few things: people like inspiration, unique content and tutorials. This is my case. Of course, there are all types of blogs out there. People want information, benefits.

I find it difficult to communicate with bloggers these days. I find it difficult to relate to them as well. My blog is not a big deal either…Oh well, whatever. I just feel nostalgic about the good old blogging days. I remember when we all were “real people” and we all said “hello”. Lately, we don’t see all bloggers linking each other anymore, ok some will do. Links have been replaced by ads {not against it, though} or simply disappeared. Sometimes we just don’t want to relate to a particular blog and better go “anonymously, right? Oooh…secrets of blogland or It’s just how we roll. I just decided to keep my favorite links on my Feedly account which is very convenient.

Well,these days I better do not worry. I am turning 41 years old tomorrow and I just do not have time and energy for small issues. It’s good to be genuine. It’s good to be here.

Too much blab, blab, blab today…I shall come back later!

One day I decided that I needed an industrial sewing machine. Why? Well, because I enjoy making bags! Besides Photography, sewing bags are my thing. So, today I want to share my little story as a “seamstress” or a maker of handbags. Am I even considered a designer if I draw my own patterns? I don’t care much about that, I just like creating and constructing with my own hands and using machines.

I gave myself a Japanese Juki DNU 1541-S for 2011 Christmas. Yep, my husband did not argue with me about it, since I used all my savings from my Etsy shop. This baby is quite expensive. A workhorse! I bought it online and it arrived with the table and an awful clutch motor that blew off in 2 months! I was scared and devastated when I saw the black smoke all over the room! Have you watched “Lost”? Exactly the same black smoke! I have no idea why it happened, but soon I found out that a servo motor is much better and quiet. Probably safer!  So ladies, if you ever consider a machine like this, request an adjustable-speed servo motor. You pay a little bit more for it, but they consume much less energy.;)

My husband put it together for me. Yeah, he’s a handyman! Not a big deal though, since the machine comes mostly ready to use. The manual is a bit confusing, but we were just fine. This Juki is super heavy and the table that came with it is bending! I am a little concerned about that…

As you can probably tell, I am no expert regarding industrial sewing machines. I just own it and I love it.  My intention here is just to share the little I know. I bought it because I wanted to make and sell leather/canvas handbags so I needed a walking foot sewing machine. I fell in love with leather! I was sewing bags out of textiles, and my domestic Janome was not handling thick materials very well. I wanted my bags looking professional and strong. I was able to sell enough handbags to pay for this machine. Since I started working with it, I’ve been on and off sewing. If you ever read this blog, you will notice that I have a child who has learning disabilities and our journey is full of bumps. I closed my shop last year and quit blogging for several months to help my kid with online schooling. We’re still struggling with school issues and that can drain me just way too much. I am trying to come back slowly and steady.

juki industial sewing machine

When we put this machine together I was sure I could use it right away. I’ve mastered my Janome pretty well so this shouldn’t be a hassle, right? So wrong! There are little secrets that the manual doesn’t explain to you. First off, It was set up way too fast for me. I can’t sew too fast. I had to call the dealer and they sent me a shorter belt for the motor and I handled that to my husband who always come to my rescue!

I was happily sewing when it became out of balance and I was pulling my hair off. We took the machine to a local sewing center. Gosh, it was just a matter of pushing a small button to fix it! That was so dumb! Finally, I found a girl in town who has a little repair shop (outdoor gear) and works with industrial machines and I hired her to teach me. The guys at the repair center did not want to share these secrets with me, of course. There are no schools around here and this is something I’d like to talk about too, maybe another day: Technical schools or trade schools, I am not sure how these schools are called here. In Brazil we have schools like SENAC and SENAI where I learned Photography. I don’t have a degree in Photography, I did not have to go through Math and Biology classes to learn Photography, do you know what I mean? Where are these schools? Where can you get skilled without going to an expensive college or university? I am talking about manufacturing. I know, this is USA and long ago they sent manufacturing to Asia, therefore there is no demand…but I wonder where can we learn certain skills? I am learning in a very slow and difficult way. I “Google” and I ask here and there. Sometimes I feel lost.

This blog has the purpose of documenting things I enjoy and my progress as a maker, an artist of sorts. It’s suppose to be whatever I want it to be. Bits of life,work and not so serious stuff. A few visitors stop by and I have no idea what brings them here. I don’t know if they sew, if they like Photography and what are their interests. Feel free to leave a message to me and ask anything related to this post.

Btw, I found this video and this one about industrial sewing machines and sewing with leather that are good help for anyone interested.


  • I found your post via Pinterest. You have a lovely blog. I just gave myself a used juki Lu-562 for my birthday 4 days ago. I’ve been sewing with a home decor janome for a year and taking sewing classes at a sew and vac shop. I have a great teacher but they only teach on the machines they sell. I have been searching for help online and asking around and having a hard time finding help. Have you found any other online tutorials? I’ve been debating adding my finds and experience if the industrial sewing machine on a blog as well because it’s been difficult to find tutorials.ReplyCancel

    • Zilá

      Hi Susie, Thanks for stopping by! I find a bunch of videos on You Tube, but most of them are just “show and tell” to promote their shops. I don’t find much on this particular machine. This Juki I have, for example, has attachments and accessories that I am not sure how to use. One thing I found out about mine is that the needle has an indentation and that should be positioned to the right side. I am thinking about sharing what I’ve learned so far.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa

    Hi there! I just found your post when googling for Juki 1541, and found it very helpful. I just ordered one :-) I make canvas things for my boat (sail cover, dodger, bimini). When I was looking for a heavier machine I was googling around, looked at a consew-111 for a while, but the Juki 1541 kept coming up. Your post helped clinch my decision. When I get it I might have some more questions, hope to share/learn with you :-) ReplyCancel

    • Zilá

      Hi Melissa! I am happy to read your message. This machine will handle the stuff you sew for sure. Get the 1541-S, because when it goes off balance (as it happens often) you just push the button and turn the wheel, then all it’s in place again! I will share some more things about it soon. Thank you!ReplyCancel

      • Melissa Abato

        Yes, I ordered the -S version, seemed worth it for the small difference in price.ReplyCancel

        • Zilá

          Let me know when you receive it and what you think? ;) ReplyCancel

  • Ashley

    Hi! I found you via Pinterest! I just purchased this machine three days ago and have yet to sew a thing. I believe it is unbalnaced or the timing is off because the needle is not catching the bobbin thread. Can you help?ReplyCancel

    • Zilá

      Well, if you bought the 1541-S there is a small metal button on the table, right under the arm (it’s a bit smaller than a penny). Push that in, with one of the tools you have or a pen. As you push it in, turn the wheel to the back. It should click. If that doesn’t work, it could be the bobbin. When you put the bobbin in place it has to click. You must push it strong and it has to click. You will listen to it. See also “troubleshooting” on your manual. It’s not well explained, but there are a few topics that may help you too. Do not forget that the indent of your needle must be positioned to the right side, always. I hope this helps you!ReplyCancel