Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Got a new motor!

I'm not really into cars, but I've decided to replace my 10 year old Renault; I've mooched round car dealer's yards, looked at web sites, read magazines and motor sections in the weekend newspapers – but I haven't got at all excited :-(

You see, part of me would like something funky and retro, a quirky sporty little car (completely unsuitable for the place I live in and my lifestyle); another side of me would like something utilitarian and workmanlike, a van or a ute (but it probably wouldn't fit in the garage and I'd hate trying to park in the multi storey car park in town). Dilemma . . .

This afternoon I decided to stop thinking cars and get on with something useful, like hemming Cliff's new Boden chinos and that meant test driving this . . .

A classic motor c. 1973, one careful lady owner (Cliff's aunt)

Well designed with clever storage space

Funky styling

French engineering

Complete with the original manual

Yes! it's a Singer Starlet 353 and it drives like a dream :-)

We brought it home from Liverpool last year in a battered old cardboard box and up until today I hadn't really looked at it or decided what we'd do with it. It's a gem! And I'm very happy to give it a loving home with my other vintage manual Singer sewing machine which was my Gran's (the machine with which I've stitched everything – most of my clothes throughout the 1980s, all the curtains in all the houses I've lived in, theatre costumes and even my wedding dress).

I think the Starlet will have to be my funky classic little motor . . . now, perhaps I can make a rational decision about which car to choose from all those 206-C4-3008-1.6-crossover-super-mini-hatchback-picafocuzarara-sports-look-a-likey motors I've seen on the forecourts!



  1. Love the retro flowers! Welcome to the world of classic electric sewing machines ;-)

  2. They don't make them like that anymore!

  3. Love old sewing machines. I have a hulking heavy metal Japanese machine from the 1960's that I got for free. It needed about $90 worth of TLC and it runs perfectly now. Only does a straight stitch - but does that through anything, like 5 layers of polarfleece (to make dog toys) and plastic feed bags (to make totes.) It doesn't jump or shimmy or shudder. I've recently seen some charming greeting cards made with vintage papers and sewn together. Perhaps your machine will do that.... Enjoy!

  4. Ooh! Machines obviously went dead trendy in the seventies - mine is an Acadex and is 45 years old, slate grey, weighs about three hundredweight. No zig-zag nonsense, like Terry's just a straight stitch. Sounds like the wrath of god and smells of electrical burning if you build up too much speed.

    Please get a Skoda 'Roomster' - I couldn't get my hands on a used one when Noddy died and they are FAB!

  5. Oh I wish my sewing machine was called Starlet.

  6. How lovely. Never mind the car, with a decent sewing macnine you won't want to go anywhere! I have 2 machines. Husband thought I'd sell the little one when I got the bigger model for quilting. Just didn't understand!

  7. Marvellous! My kind of vehicle.

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for the Valentine's card that arrived so quickly. When I saw the design I knew it would be the perfect thing for my Woody. From our kitchen window we watch the hares racing across the fields and love them very much. Its a beautiful creation, thanks ever so much.

  8. Just a thimbleful....

    ...and I bet that the works inside are an engineer's dream and can be fixed easy peasy. No complicated digital stuff to go wrong!

  9. Oh how totally gorgeous - car wise you should get a Hillman Minx to keep with the cool names!

  10. I love the Starlet! I have never seen a machine with a patterned inset before. That pattern is so 'of its time' and I covet it, but whilst I envy you the machine Celia, I wouldn't want to trade places and have to decide on a new car. I intend to drive mine until it just won't go any more and then I'll just buy any car... as long as it's a Golf! Lesley

  11. So...will the good citizens of Suffolk see the innovative Celia motoring along the lanes in/on her Singer?

    And I wondered if you are familiar with this place?


  12. Thank you CS - the orange flowers are pretty cool!

    Hi Damo - they certainly don't! It's a gem :-)

    Hi Terry - sewing vintage papers - now that has given me an idea...

    Thanks Gina!

    Hi Wendy - they did indeed! I went to the Skoda dealers, but in the end plumped for a Peugeot.

    Hi Poshyarns - yes Starlet! how cool is that :-)

    Hi Veg Heaven - the truth is I need a car too...

    Hi Curlew Country - you're welcome :-) And enjoy watching the hares this spring.

    Hi Mavis - a very good point!

    Hi freerangegirl - Hillman Minx - yeah they were very cool!

    Hi Printed Material - I'm not one for going for the same again with cars - so far have owned a Ford, VW and Renault... now have a Peugeot :-)

    Hi Moreidlethoughts - St Judes! of course - it's a bit of a trek from here but full of wonderful tempting things. You can buy there books and fabrics at lots of galleries around here.



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