Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vintage Kitchen Aprons

By the way, I apologize for the Barbie-doll proportions of my dress form. I can't afford a REAL one, and it was either this dandy, or one made of duct tape! I'm enough of a feminist to be slightly offended by those proportions, but this one looks a whole lot better in a corner of my house :)

My First Vintage Aprons

What's not to love about vintage aprons??  Of course, they are extremely popular these days.  A few years ago, there was a book written about them, and these days there's even an Apronology magazine dedicated to them as a more modern art. 

But 15 years ago, they were not so popular as they are now, and very easy to come by in thrift stores for a dollar or two, at the most. 

I have always loved thrifting.  I love things that have a past. So wandering through a thrift store many years ago, I came across two vintage aprons that spoke to me on every level, and for about three dollars, they were both mine. 

Ahh.  Yellow happy sunshine!! I LOVE the fabric.

This dandy apron is particularly flattering because of this unique curve in the band. 

Could it be, that being in the kitchen was all that glamorous and fun?  I started slowly collecting aprons, each one with such pretty details!

I realized many years later what it was that drew me to vintage aprons, other than the fact that they are simply adorable!  It was memories of my grandmother.  She always wore the same old apron while she was working in her kitchen, always making something for US.  Oh how we all miss those cinnamon twists, the Hawaiian chicken, and the swiss steak! 

Memories of my Grandmother

I spent some summers with her as a young girl, and was amazed at her schedule. In the mornings she would drop off her newspaper to someone who didn't receive it (usually without even reading it herself).  After that she would take a trip to the Geneological library in Salt Lake City to do volunteer work for the church, and be back, donning her apron, to get dinner going not just for us, but for some one else in need of a meal, too.   

She never owned a car, she walked and rode the bus everywhere. We walked all over her neighborhood making visits to the 'shut-ins': aging people that were housebound, and complained on an on about their life as she compassionately listened, some of them much younger than she was.  She was in her late seventies then, and I remember her saying to me, 'pick up the pace, so we won't be late' as I chugged my 11-year-old legs behind her all over Salt Lake City.  She wore me out!

Aprons are symbols of service.  They represent a willingness to get dirty on behalf of those you love the most.  Aprons are becoming popular fashion statements now, but generations ago, they were a necessity.  It wasn't so easy to just chuck your clothes in the washer and dryer - an apron protected them.  We dress more casually than people did then, and clothing is easier to come by.  Women in previous times put their best foot forward - even in their own home!  Maybe it's old-fashioned - OK, there are lots of days when my pajamas are on day.  But maybe, just maybe, there is wisdom in giving those we love the very best of ourselves.  I learned so many lessons those summers I spent with my Grandma.

So now, I have a small collection of lovely vintage aprons, and some other special ones, too.
I look forward to a new occasional segment on my blog posts, devoted to a vintage apron.  But since this is a post entirely about aprons, I'll share a picture of some very special ones.

Utah Centennial Apron

I received a special gift recently.  Thanks, Aunt Carol.  This was my husband's Grandmother's apron.  It is a Utah Centennial apron. Be sure to look at the lovely details.  I lived in Utah for many years, and I am a proud descendant of those tough Utah pioneers.  All the symbols in the fabric have special meaning to me.

Grannie's Apron

Then there is my Great-Grandmother's apron, or 'Grannie's' Apron. 
Her daughter, my Grandma who I spoke of before, had a rare way of making people feel they must be the most amazing person in the whole world! 

After she passed away, it was so difficult to be in her home, without her joyful personality there, and face the realization that she would never be there anymore.  We all felt her home was a refuge for all of us to come to, for so many years.  It was a place where we all felt loved and important.

She had few possesions of value, because she preferred using what money she had to further her relationships with people instead of acquiring very many things.  But I didn't know until her death that she kept her mother's apron.  Her mother's kitchen apron. And it was among her most special things, right next to her mother's white dress that she wore to worship in the LDS temple.  I was fortunate enough to recieve the apron.  I'd like to think the apron had value to her, for the same reason that it has value to me, because of what it represents.  It is a symbol, a badge of SERVICE, of hard work, of helping others.  Of being willing to 'give up' a part of yourself for someone else. 

When I 'don an apron' these days,  I can't help but think to myself, "What have I done for someone else today?" Have I lived up to my legacy of service?  My heritage?    I sure hope that I can.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Sweater WINNER and our Magic Blankie

And The Sweater Winner Is......

First off, I won't delay any further in announcing the winner of my sweater giveaway.  Congratulations to Katie Otto!!  I'll be contacting you shortly for your mailing address and your sweater will be on it's way!

Here's my previous post about the Lace and Leaf Sweater. 
And the first one that I made is here in a Creamy Ecru color

Thanks to all you who participated and left such lovely comments.  I'll be sure to do another giveaway in a few months - maybe something for a BOY this time.  :)


Our Magic Blankie

I have so many things to blog about, and so little time!  I decided to post today about one of my special projects.  We call it our 'Magic Blankie'.  It was knit for my second baby, and each one of my little newborns has been swaddled to sleep in it.  We thought it was magic, because it seemed to help my babies to sleep through the entire night, when they were just a few weeks old.  Or we might've been really lucky :)

Here's the pattern link.

The edging reminds me of the detail in a good linen hankerchief. 

I love the texture of plain old knitted 'garter stitch.'  It produces a lovely fabric, with just the most basic of stitches.  It has amazing texture, and elasticity, thus it's name.  Perfect for swaddling.  Good quality natural creamy wool, is soft, breathable and perfect for babies, keeping them neither too hot, nor too cold.  I know about all the blanket warnings nowdays, but since I keep my baby pretty close to me for those first few precious months, I feel free to ignore them entirely.  At the very least, it's great for snuggling :)  There's just nothing like a good blanket. 

I love the rustic texture of this stitch.  Even though I enjoy all kinds of knitting projects, I still love the simplicity of this blanket. 

Can you see the bug in the corner??  I didn't notice it for awhile either.
More Knitting to come, as always.  My Poppies 'hatched' open this morning - a much-anticipated event for me at the beginning of each Summer!  Lots of fun upcomming posts are in the works.......

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Dream Kitchen- Part 3 The REVEAL











For those of you who missed what the kitchen used to look like here's a reminder.

This is the last of the Kitchen remodel series of posts.  If you missed them, here is Part 1, and here is Part 2


My Black and White French Country Old House Kitchen

Here's the reveal!  Can I say how much I LOVE my kitchen!  It's my favorite room of the house, and for me, the most important one. 

My sister found this sign for me when she was on a trip.  Could there be a more perfect accessory for my kitchen?? Gotta love my sister, she knows me so well it's a little freaky sometimes.

For the Love of Black and White

This was the inspiration-peice for the whole room.  I picked up a set of black and white transferware at a Goodwill store 14 years ago, and that was what inspired my black and white theme.  Thank Goodness I actually bought them.  I can't even begin to mention all of the good deals, vintage finds, etc, etc, I've left behind over the years.  I'm glad I picked these up then, because I've never seen anything like them anywhere else! 

These were a lovely gift from France. Even though we don't drink wine, we appreciate how great they look in the kitchen. They are great hooks for my lovely aprons.

Another thrift store find. Copper canisters! Love the French touch that a bit of copper adds to a kitchen :)

My French Mother-in-Law painted this for us soon after we moved into the house. It couldn't have been a better fit for my kitchen!  It reminds me so much of the still life that hung in their old house for many years.   I always found it fascinating to see such a great peice of art hanging in a kitchen, a very functional room.  Turns out, that is very French, indeed :)  She is an amazing artist. 

Eric did an amazing job on the moldings and finish-work. 

What a journey! So many little things I would do differently now, but overall I feel pretty good about what we pulled-off!  We stayed within a careful budget, and compensated by putting in some fun details.   Best part is, if you walked into my house today, you'd never in a million years know what it used to LOOK like.  It feels like an old house kitchen with a French touch.  'Exactly' what I'd hoped for :)

Capturing a Moment - or a Few

Coming Soon:  I will announce our Sweater Giveaway Winner.  And I'm very busy knitting, as always.