Friday, November 10, 2017

How A Magnetic Pincushion Saved The Day

Everyone should have a magnetic pincushion.,  office, farmhouse style, farmhouse,  cottage, sewing, magnetic  pincushion, a great story

I know you're wondering, "well that's random"., cottage, sewing, magnetic pincushion, a great story

You know those moments when you see something on Facebook, which leads you to Amazon, which makes your mind wander and remember something that happened to you a long, long, LONG time ago?
Then you wonder, well heck, how did that happen?

Yep, just happened to me  today and I thought I'd tell you about it.
It's one of my very first DIY, I did it myself stories; not a house project DIY, but a fix your car when you're stranded 30 miles from home DIY story. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and I'll tell you about it...

Let me start at the beginning...

Many years ago, back in the 80's,  when big hair was all the rage and I was in my 20's, I drove into downtown Los Angeles from Long Beach several days a week attend classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), in my little white 5 speed 1979 Toyota Corolla.

The breaker points on the car broke (back in the day where cars had points), not once, but twice in the course of 5 days when I happened to be in Long Beach with Mr. DIY close by. We went to the auto parts store and he fixed them the first time. The 2nd time it happened, we bought 2 of the parts and he told me I should watch how to fix it, just in case they broke again and he wasn't there to help me. Now, I don't and didn't know anything about cars, except how to fill it with gas and maybe add a little oil, but that's it. Fixing the breaker points didn't seem too difficult, but Mr. DIY said it had to be installed just so, in order that the timing is right - or something like that.

 Ok, so I  listened and watched him as he fixed my points the 2nd time, but I really didn't think they would break again.

I was wrong.

It wasn't but a few days later, that I'm up at FIDM and I'm done for the day and get back to my car and won't start. DANG. 
The points were broken AGAIN! 

Mr. DIY had shown me how to fix the points and I had the part, but I didn't have a screwdriver, which was needed to install the points.

What to do, what to do.

There was a gas station (with service bays) right next to the parking garage I was parked in, so I walked over to see if someone would come over and fix my points. The guy said no. I said I'd pay him, but he still said no.
Well shoot. Hmmm. Thinking on my feet, I asked if I could borrow a screwdriver and I could fix them myself and he laughed at me. HE LAUGHED AT ME!!! He laughed at me as he reached around and handed me a screwdriver.

How Rude.

I walked back to my car a little perturbed that he had laughed at me  in response to my saying I could  fix the points on my car.
I lifted the hood and proceeded to take all the screws off the distributor cap, removed the part, then replaced the part. I know you're probably thinking:
"But, where does the magnetic pincushion come in?"  Hold on, I'm getting to it.

Things are going pretty well and I've put the new part in and finishing up by screwing the distributor cap back on.
All of a sudden, dink, dink, dink; or whatever sound a screw makes dropping down into the distributor!
I tried getting it out, to no avail. Then it hit me. Light bulb moment. I know at this moment that I am Wonder Woman, brilliant and CLEVER because I  know how to fix this and  I'm smiling because nobody else would be able to solve this without...

(or a magnet)

In my big FIDM canvas bag I just happen to have a magnetic pincushion because I was taking a fashion design class that required the use of a pincushion and mine happens to be magnetic!, cottage, sewing, magnetic  pincushion, a great story

How do you retrieve a lost screw that's way down in the distributor cap and you can't even see it? By magnetizing the end of the screwdriver with a MAGNETIC PINCUSHION!!!
I'm smiling as I type this because I remember it like it was yesterday.

I magnetized the end of the screwdriver, retrieved the screw and finished installing the breaker points on my car., cottage, sewing, magnetic pincushion, a great story

I did it! 

Wasn't sure I did it right and thought it might have to be adjusted again later, but at least I fixed it and my little white 1979 Toyota Corolla started right up.

I closed the hood, then drove over to the gas station. I pulled right up beside the guy who loaned me the screwdriver. As he looked at me, his mouth was wide open in shock and awe that I had fixed my car. I handed him his screwdriver, said thank you and drove home.

And that's the story of one of my first DIY fixes...using a borrowed screwdriver and a magnetic pincushion.

P.S. My points never needed adjusting and they never broke on that car ever again.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to my story. 


*this post contains affiliate links, which means I'll make a small commission should you purchase something after clicking on the link.


  1. Ha! I love it! And I also have a red, magnetic concussion exactly like yours. I still use it to this day :)

  2. I love this story- more power to ya!! Very ingenious to use that magnetic pin cushion to magnetize the screwdriver- a real MacGyver moment! I love that you blew the mind of the guy at the gas station!

    1. I really loved seeing his face when I returned the screwdriver!

  3. Very Good! But somehow I am not surprised.

  4. What a terrific story for a gray drizzly Sunday. Very appropriate tale for what's in the news about "professional" MEN in America right now.

  5. Hahah, what a fun story!! I never would think of that. Thanks for sharing!!


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