I am so fortunate to have a space in our home dedicated to just my apron world. With southern and western window exposure, the room light filled year around. Seven years ago I painted it a perfect deep yellow, and even on the chilliest days, with the sun and yellow walls, it feels warm and cozy.
But for sporadic attempts to keep the space tidy, it represents my habit of not putting anything away. Peruse a magazine source, find inspiration, and set it down; years of such a practice, and not to wonder the result.
What finally motivated an epic tidying was not my conscience nor Prince Charming’s eye rolling, but that all the pieces had fallen into place for promotional activity in conjunction with The Apron Book. With the support of the publisher, Andrews McMeel, Beth flew from her home to mine, where we were joined by Tracy Wahl, the producer of my 2006 NPR All Things Considered segment.
I had but days to “make it work.” Without an idea of how to begin, I just did. Loathe to hide away the collections I so love being surrounded by, I chose a selection to display. The remainder went into cupboards and bins and suitcases, hidden by the quilt and oil cloth covering tables. So I’d know at a glance what was in each storage point, I hung clues on the doors: a child’s apron designated children’s books and games; an apron with a tea towel embroidered with a lady reading a cookbook = cupboard of cookbooks; a vintage sewing manual….and so on. A selection of sewing patterns is lined up in a child’s valise, a picnic basket holds vintage black and white snapshots, pamphlets on food, etiquette and household tips peek out of perfectly sized make up cases. I was on a roll! And the end result is amazing and wonderful and joyous.
The filming of Beth and me chatting aprons was the gift of Dustin Hodges, a professional in the field and a best friend.
The next morning, Beth, Tracy and I discussed The Apron Book and why the apron remains relevant in the modern landscape of women’s choices. That discussion is a podcast, which you can listen to HERE:
- THE APRON BOOK: Podcast #1 – Apron Memories Author EllynAnne Geisel, foreword contributor Beth Livesay and producer/interviewer Tracy Wahl, formerly of npr, chat about their connection to aprons, the continuing relevance of aprons in today’s world, and connecting to the past while moving forward. 27 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #2 – Judith Olson Gregory Installation artist Judith Olson Gregory was seeking an object through which to explore the word ‘Grace’, when she received an apron that ultimately inspired an exhibit. 4 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #3 – Leslie Dodge The summer when Leslie Dodge was ten years old, her dad lost his job. Moving to another town and into a relative’s garage, Leslie brought with her a 4-H apron sewing project that was due at summer’s end. Taught by her mother and aunt the skills of homemaking, Leslie sewed and baked her way to much more than a winning ribbon at the county fair. 5 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #4 – Erin Owens & Cristie Coffman A friendship forged decades ago over a love of cooking and entertaining, Erin Owens and Cristie Coffman maintain a special closeness despite Erin’s move to another state. Reuniting in Lubbock, they reminisce of family, friendship and aprons. 8 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #5 – Ray Moore Ray Moore has loving memories of his grandmother. Always wearing her gingham apron, she showed him how to safely gather eggs from pecking chickens, then set the eggs gently into the lap of her apron. Focusing on her kind demeanor, Ray recalls the difficulty of her life and his last visit with her. 5 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #6 – Cristie Coffman Cristie Coffman is a professional caterer, a career that requires apron coverage. But the apron she holds most dear is from her childhood – bright yellow gingham with a flower pot shaped pocket, sewn for her by her doting Grandma Lily. 3 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #7 – Bennie Swanson While having lunch at her mom’s, Bennie Swanson opened a kitchen drawer and spotted the apron she’d sewn in her 1959 home ec class. Overwhelmed with emotion and memories, the apron reminds Bennie of her mom as a brave and beautiful woman who’d faced life’s challenges with a smile and a song. 4 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #8 – Lynn Holle Moore Lynn Holle Moore inherited Grandmother Lynums aprons, as well as her hardy Norwegian spirit and instincts. Her grandmother’s aprons strengthen Lynn’s sense of heritage and roots, traits she shares in her writing and storytelling. 4 mins
- THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #9 – Erin Owens The women in Erin Owens’ family were renowned as good cooks and gracious hostesses, attributes Erin embodies. She is also a born storyteller, as evidenced in her colorful recollection of the miniature Coke bottle aprons she inherited from her mother. 4 mins
This collage is a pictorial summary of our gathering. So many smiles, hugs, tears and love, as the best journeys are.
Find us throughout social media! And join the movement of apron love by tying one on…an apron, of course!
About The Apron Book:
Warm and inviting, but (like an apron) quite practical, The Apron Book is a celebration of a great American icon. Apron enthusiast Ellynanne Geisel, who curated the traveling exhibit, Apron Chronicles, returns us to hearth and home in this updated edition of the award-winning book. In this paperback edition, EllynAnne reflects on the grassroots movement of apron love in a new introduction, and a new foreword by the former editor of Apronology magazine expounds on EllynAnne’s mantra that aprons don’t hold us back; they take us back because the connection to the past is a strong one.
The Apron Book showcases full-color photos of new and vintage aprons from Geisel’s vast collection, patterns for four basic apron styles and myriad variations, recipes, tips on collecting and preserving vintage aprons, and heart-tugging stories from the traveling apron exhibit. The book also explores the history and heyday of aprons and looks at the various roles aprons still play when worn in the kitchen, around the house, by the backyard grill, on the job, or for a special occasion.