Gotta say, I like my beginner sewing machine a LOT better than the big, bad version I had to use in high school. My first sewing project, adjusting my Halloween costume (won't tell ya what or how yet), is complete and turned out pretty well. It also went a helluva lot faster than if I'd tried to hand-sew the thing. However....
Note to beginning seamstresses (and seamsters?): Do not choose something with gathers (e.g., a ruffle) as your first project, especially if you're pressed for time. I managed it, but, sheesh, it took half a day--half of a long day--to figure it out and get it done! I have some beginning-sewing books coming and I'll be interested to see if my solution matches their instructions.
One dumb mistake I kept making was forgetting to set the presser foot down before I started sewing--DOH! Oddly enough, you don't accomplish much when you do that.... And, as I discovered to my dismay, it's possible to get the thread tangled up in all the mechanical bits inside the machine when you do it, because the tension isn't right. I think I'm over that particular mistake now.
Oh, and working on a voluminous garment with a curious cat in the house is a real interesting proposition:
"No, Minnie, you can't be up there."
"Minnie, don't sit on the pins!"
"Minnie, stop, that's not a toy."
"Watch out for the needle, Minnie."
Pick up the cat, put her on the bed instead of my fabric.
Stuff the leftover bits of thread way down in the trash so Minnie doesn't eat them.
Pick up the cat, put her on her scratching post instead of my ironing board.
Bribe the cat out of the sewing room with treats....
Oy. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous and cool this weekend--Minnie's favorite--so she spent a lot of time outside (her preference--she's an indoor/outdoor kitty).
On another kitty subject, I met my regular cat-sitter's helper this evening; she'll be taking over for my "main gal", the Critter Nanny, for a few days while Nanny's out of town herself. Imagine--after two or three years, she thinks she needs a vacation! The nerve! :D Minnie was a little nervous with the helper at first, but got over it--especially when treats were produced. Anyway, she's very nice and seems quite responsible, so I won't worry (too much) during those few days.