“Pfaffing” around …

well not really…

here is what the Urban Dictionary says about “phaffing”:

1. phaffing …….. Activity that looks (to the casual observer) like work (or another task) but is not really all that productive, and in fact may be time wasting. Is usually used this way: “phaffing around” Eg “I’m just phaffing around, really.” or “He looks busy but he’s just phaffing around”.

I have heard friends from other countries use the term and couldn’t help but use the word playfully here…

my phaffing has to do with my mother’s 1950’s German PFAFF sewing machine…

state of the art and a bit of a splurge for my parents back in the day…

I remember many a weekend leaning against the wall watching excitedly as my mom sewed new outfits for me…

we were quite overwhelmed last year clearing out my parents family home…

what to keep …

what to let go …

I am so happy that Mr Magpie urged me not to let my Mutti’s sewing machine go…

it came in a handsome blond wood cabinet that we did not have room for so we passed that along to someone that needed a sturdy stand…

the machine sat on our living room floor patiently waiting to be taken for a spin all this time…

back in the seventies my Mother bought me a Singer sewing machine that I have used on and off over the years…

lately I sew as much paper as I do fabric…

my Singer had been acting up even after its latest checkup…

the repairman said it sounded like a mac truck…

we plugged in my Mutti’s Pfaff and it took off like a race car…

it purrs and runs smoothly making beautiful stitches…

I will be donating my old Singer to charity and let someone else fiddle with the stitch tension…

the Pfaff is a keeper and it feels wonderful sewing with an angel on my shoulder

thank you my sweet Mutti


this was my first sewing machine (a toy) and my Mutti and I are having a go…

she was not only a fabulous seamstress…

she cut hair too…see my bangs 😉

I forgive you Ma XOX

*footnote:  Sweet Natalea is having a heart giveaway this weekend*

42 responses to ““Pfaffing” around …

  1. ooo you are funny….ox…what a wonderful post, thank you for sharing your sweet Mutti with us..wink


  2. btw, did you change your header? i see new artwork up there with a hint of that fabulous gold paper???


  3. Hi Patty,
    What a wonderful story Patty. You are so lucky to have been taught to sew- and to have this lovely working keepsake of a sewing machine from your mom. Such a beautiful gift to have. And, just so you know, my mom and your mom went to the same haircutting school- I had the same bangs!!! And, truth be known, i have the same bangs now, just a little bit longer!! Enjoy your weekend and thanks for this lovely story! xxoo


  4. It seems that some oldies are real keepers. This is such a heart-warming story! I love it! Oh, the memories you have brought back to me of my own childhood waiting and watching for something wonderful to behold from my mom’s machine. I so wish I still had the treadle from my grandmother… Enjoy!


  5. oh, I love new words!
    and see, I’ve been doing a lot of phaffing around in the office~ lol, jk

    and your post reminded me that I *should* be learning how to sew. Damn. I’m just so tired when I get home, the only thing I end up doing is crawling to the couch and watch tv like a zombie. SO. WRONG.

    My mom has a Singer too. It was a splurge when they got it, my parents had a reaaaly tight income when they married. It’s still there and my mom uses it ocassionally, it’s the one I’ll be learning how to use 🙂


  6. This sounds so very German 🙂 and thank you so much for sharing this, it brings back so many memories. My Mum and Grandma both had Singer and Pfaff sewing machines and they were fab (I learned on one) but have to admit I now broke with the tradition and went Swiss and I am VERY happy!


  7. What a charming post Patty! How meaningful it is for you to have your Mutti’s sewing machine and every time you use it, you can think of the wonderful memories! I also loved seeing the picture of you and your Mutti there – just precious!

    Your new Blog banner is great! Thanks for the smiles today! xxoo


  8. Good heavens, I had those same bangs!!!!

    Pfaff is STILL a good machine (I ditched my old Singer eons ago for the same reason) and the memories you have using Mutti’s machine are truly priceless.

    I adore your little sewn art……….pfaffing seems to suit you to a “t”.


  9. Souvenirs, souvenirs, ma mère et ma grand-mère avaient une Singer, mais savoir coudre n’est pas héréditaire et c’est bien dommage. Merci pour ce partage.


  10. So awesome that you kept it! Good job Mr. Magpie!! Things back then were made to last. We have several power tools of my dad’s from the 50’s. They are heavy as heck but work better than the new versions after 60 yrs.
    Love what you’ve done with the machine so far. Cute photo as well. Mutti may have been a seamstress but she was no beautician! *grin* Luckily hair grows, right!!


  11. My Diane told me to read your blog today, she loved it. So, here I am! Cutting bangs that way must have been a generational thing, I cut my girls bangs the same way …. very short… they were never happy with the results! BUT, hair grows! Maybe I’ll learn to sew better if I can wait a few more years, HA! What a lovely and thoughtful entry for today, for both of us …. my Mom has been gone 20 years this week …. hard to believe! I’m glad I took time to stop and read your blog right now.


  12. It’s a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading it.


  13. such a lovely story and I am so glad you have the sewing machine!
    :):) I could’ve done without the part about cutting bangs tho-I’ve had a few bad cuts in my lifetime so now to this day NO ONE gets near my bangs-I trim them myself. I’m lucky to have such an understanding hairdresser 🙂


  14. adorable post… so very touching… and of course we all had bangs like that!! xoxo


  15. Oh, Patty, what a wonderful feeling to be able to enjoy the machine your mother loved! I loved this post in every way!


  16. Your Mutti was quite a lady. Not only was she a fantastic seamstress, she did it in style. Look at those earrings and manicured (and painted) fingernails. Quite the appropriate housewife of the era, I’m sure.

    What a fantastic post. You got an excellent machine. To say I’m envious may be a bit strong, but I’m a bit envious, anyway!


  17. those last few sentences made me laugh out loud 😀 We call this hair-do ‘flower pot cut’ (i’m not sure if I would be so forgiving, but hey you look cute with it, so that clarifies). The Pfaff machine looks wonderful, great to have it in use again. Your Mutti will be so happy.
    xo Dymphie


  18. Ha I knew you were talking about a sewing machine..:) Isn’t it wonderful to have women in the family who pass on all their knowledge? I learned so much from my mother and grandmother who sewed, knitted, crocheted and designed many a wonderful thing! Thanks for bringing back some great memories!
    Tina xo


  19. I have actually burned a machine’s motor out so it would only sew slow or fast. I’m on my 5th machine…finally Viking does it for me.

    Loved seeing Mutti’s 50’s Pfaff..it was the Bernina of the 50’s.


  20. I had never heard the term before! Interesting! ha! Love the pic of you and your mutti with the toy sewing machine! And…those bangs… ha! Yes…I sew more paper than fabric now, too…… I hope the exquisite machine will enjoy it as well! Hugs!


  21. I loved seeing the tiny little sewing machine – every time I see one in an antique shop I think how much I’d like to collect them (and then I look at the price, and that’s the end of that thought!).


  22. Oh, look at your pretty Mom 🙂 and is that nail polish on her nails, wow 🙂
    You are so fortunate to have that beautiful machine and I can guess you will be having fun with it—phaffing around on your pfaff 🙂


  23. Dear Patty…so enjoy this post about you & your Mom & her sewing machine. As you use your machine it will bring back loads of good times for you. Really like what you are doing with the sewing on paper. Thanks for sharing.


  24. Enjoyed your Pfaff story, Patty. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories! I myself have a few photos of some bad hairdo’s when I was young. However, my Mom wasn’t the hair cutter in the family, my grandfather the barber was. Guess that’s why I had very short hair as a youngster!


  25. Your sewing machine story is a lot like mine …. first sewing on a singer and then my mom gave me her bernina. I wouldn’t give it up for anything – it weighs a ton being all steel parts and I RELY on it 🙂

    yes an angel on your shoulder


  26. hehe phaffing is such a good word…glad your pfaff is going well, those old machines were built to last . my new one was an absolute lemon and i was too scaird to sew on it in the end… 😦
    what a treasure of a photo that is. even with the shortest bangs ive ever seen 🙂


  27. This is such a charming post, Patty! My Mom had a Pfaff sewing machine also. Love the photo of you and your mutti ~ I think we all had those bangs:)


  28. Oh sweetie what a lovely post.
    Thanks for telling us the story. The photo from your Mutti is beautiful.

    Have a lovely weekend my dear. xoxo


  29. Hello Patty, I love your wonderful post. A lovely thinking about your Mutti


  30. Wonderful smiley post Patty!! oh the hair the hair, that was quite a cut!
    I love it that you have an old Pfaff, what an absolute treasure and the weight is an advantage for free sewing, you don’t even need a foot, just take off the one you have and get whizzing.
    Gorgeous paper fabric combos, I should do more of that too !! Mx


  31. Love the photo!!
    Have a happy weekend Patty!
    xo natalea


  32. I so love seeing you and Mutti. What a pretty young woman she was!

    I need to talk to my friend who’s last name is Pfaffinger and find out about Pfaffing Around! We did a lot of that together in grad school!

    Fun post, Patty!


  33. Oh Patty
    Such a sweet story and I can Imagine the thrill it would give your Mutti to know you are using her treasured Pfaff for some pfaffing around!
    Look forward to seeing the creations of that pfaffing produce!
    Hope you’re having the best weekend.
    Ours has been up and down – just got home from visiting a friend who was rushed into hospital today for a stent… we just never know what’s around the corner.

    Take care dear Patty
    love & hugs
    PS Good old Mr Magpie saving the pfaff – what a gem he is!!!


  34. such a sweet story, Patty! I loved the photo of you and your sweet Mutti…oh yeah, didn’t we all have those oh-so-short Mommy bangs when we were little? Mom could do ANYTHING…even be our own beautician. Did she cut the toes off of your shoes, when you outgrew them??? She called them “sandals”… Or maybe that was just me 🙂

    Sweet memories. Thanks for sharing them here!


  35. I remember that machine—my sister-in-law got one, too, and loved it! Thanks for the post so much: your embroidery samples gave me an idea for an art journal page I’m doing that features my mother’s high school graduation picture.


  36. Hi Patty, phaffing would definitely describe a couple of the people I work with. Of course, most of the time they don’t even “phaff”, they just waste time. :/

    Loved this post. I’m so glad to hear that you kept your mom’s sewing machine and are now able to use it. That photo of all your sewn bits and pieces is absolutely wonderful. And I laughed out loud about the bangs. Ha!

    Wishing you a wonderful day! Best wishes, Tammy


  37. Oh I love this post Patty. I did laugh at the end when you mention the “hair cut”. My mum was a hair dresser, but by the time I got to my teens I would not let her near my hair, bless her. I’m so glad you kept your mum’s wonderful Pfaff, it looks beautifully vintage and obviously runs like a dream. I have a Pfaff ( it’s about 10 years old ) and it’s my best friend, I love it and it sews on many things a normal sewing machine would not be asked to sew on. I also am a regular ‘pfaffer’ ….I think it is interchangeable with ‘procastinator’, as I do a lot of that too….one must be ‘ sure’ of things before taking action ! Happy sewing Patty ! xx


  38. I think i “phaff” out loud sometimes, I like phaffing. I love your sewing machine and was LOL. I had bangs just like that only my mom didnt do it – the “beauty shop” my grandmother, Momo, took me to did it… or sometimes I did get creative with scissors on me and my doll’s hair. Love your story and so happy you kept your mama’s sewing machine! Sweeeet.


  39. How sweet that you have your Mutti’s sewing machine…so many memories must be “attached” to it!


  40. oh i knew just what the pfaff you were talking about when i read the title! pfaff are beautiful, well-made machines. how special yours must be. that photo is just wonderful! i Love the bangs, truly! 😛


  41. Such a sweet post, Patty 🙂

    A couple of months ago, my grandmother gave me her old and glorious Singer, unfortunately is too heavy to move, so I hope one day I could play with it, and remeber the old day when I looked at my granmother seat at it.

    hugs, gio


  42. What a sweet post Patty! And funny! I got those haircuts too! And perms!!! LOL! Oh Lord! Makes me laugh to think about them! So glad you have your Mom’s machine- that is so awesome!! And you’re making beautiful art with it!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here...it means a lot to me and I appreciate your visit very much oxo

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