Apron Love, a Tie to the Past and Future

In 2006, Andrews McMeel published The Apron Book, trailblazing a non-existent landscape with a worldwide movement of apron love.

Seen as a symbol of drudgery and an obstacle to women’s success, the apron is being rediscovered in a new and modern context.

In recognition of the apron’s continued relevance in our daily lives, The Apron Book is releasing as a gorgeous softbound with a new foreword crafted by a dear friend, Beth Livesay.

The Apron Book
The Apron Book releases Nov. 7 and is available for presale at www.apronmemories.com

As a founding editor of apronology magazine, Beth knows aprons. For three years, we emailed of our mutual love for the humble icon and the exhilaration of the apron’s recognition as a canvas of artistic expression, the premise of the magazine. In 2011, our paths crossed, a meeting captured on video, for revisiting and recalling our excitement.

Beth and EllynAnne
Of course, when Beth and EllynAnne first met, they’d wear their favorite aprons!

Six years later and Beth is the executive editor of Nails Magazine, a professional publication showcasing nails as canvases of artistic expression. Aprons to nails puts Beth in the forefront of recognizing the possibilities of blankness, no matter the canvas.

Seeking a new perspective and voice for newly crafted edition of The Apron Book, Beth was my first and only choice. Beth’s foreword is an acknowledgment of aprons taking us back and honoring the women of earlier generations, for it is because of them that young women can make their choices in a landscape of opportunities. Aprons, writes Beth, take us forward…the only place really worth going.

Beth's nails
Beth Livesay, executive editor of Nails Magazine, coordinating her nails to the cover of The Apron Book

Please join Beth and me throughout social media as we tie one on…our aprons, of course! It’s a lovely ride, and we want you to be a part of it.

Contribute your written apron story and pictures at apronmemories.com/stories
Share your apron story recordings and videos at facebook.com/apronmemories
#theapronbook on Instagram & twitter
Gratefully, EllynAnne

About The Apron Book:

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.

Available To Order:

Order at Amazon.com

Order at Barnes & Noble

Order at Indiebound

Order at Booksamillion.com

Order at Andrews McMeel

THE APRON BOOK: Podcast #1 – Apron Memories

THE APRON BOOK Podcast
Storytelling and aprons go hand-in-hand. Share your stories and pictures at www.apronmemories.com

 

New: THE APRON BOOK : Podcast #1 – 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.

Contribute your written apron story and pictures at www.apronmemories.com/stories
Share your apron story recordings and videos at https://www.facebook.com/apronmemories/
#theapronbook on Instagram & twitter

Enjoy listening to the podcast!

» Right-click and download here (31.3MB / 27mins 47secs)

About The Apron Book:

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.

Available To Pre-Order:

Order at Amazon.com

Order at Barnes & Noble

Order at Indiebound

Order at Booksamillion.com

Order at Andrews McMeel

Lodging in Lubbock is all Hope

I’m still a-glow from Tying One On…an apron, of course! and being a part of the fundraising efforts benefiting Hope Lodge in Lubbock, TX.

Championed by my dear friend Erin Owens to the American Cancer Society of Lubbock as a keynote of a unique ilk, I presented Apron Memories: Remembering the Richness of Our Lives Through a Humble Icon and a Tie One On Fashion show to a sold-out event held at the historic Lubbock Women’s Club.

Following the socializing and lunching, I was introduced to a most welcoming audience. I adore sharing my apron journey and Lubbock was totally on-board and ready to be entertained.

Taking my seat, the fashion show commenced. I’d streamlined the historical apron commentary to allow for our focus on the models – all cancer survivors!!

Hope Lodge Collage text

As each was introduced, her years as a cancer survivor was announced. Imagine! From a darling teenager, who waved and smiled from her wheelchair to women of every order – each was a model of such inspiration.

The grand apron finale was fabulous, as the fifteen models – adorned in Fifties’ entertaining aprons – sashayed and flirted and flounced through the Club, all blowing kisses…and with the motion, kissing cancer good bye.

Hope Lodge in Lubbock is a modern facility that provides a home-like atmosphere, without charge, to those needing cancer treatments. Without a Hope Lodge, many simply could not afford to relocate while getting the care needed.

The American Cancer Society has Hope Lodges all over the country – something I didn’t know – and the Lodges require fundraising to stay in business. As we’re entering the season of traditional giving, the ACS’s Hope Lodges would be grateful for any donation.

I am so proud of Erin and everyone who put on the Tie One On event, which according to Misty Welch of Lubbock’s ACS was a huge success!

ACS_ Lubbock_cropped

xxea

Celebrating the gumption of women!

Julia Child and Me

On June 22, 2002, I interviewed Julia Child at her home in Santa Barbara. After ten minutes of ringing the front doorbell, I timidly ventured round to the backyard to find her seated on a patio vibrant with plantings and comfy outdoor furniture. She greeted me with a hand wave and smile, gesturing that I should join her.
I came bearing gifts: an apron I’d sewn especially for Ms. Child and a bottle of champagne. Ms. Child unwrapped the apron – all ruffles and at least 10 sizes too small – held it up and in her distinctive voice said, “Oh, dearie, dainty doesn’t do in the kitchen.” Then she sweetly handed it back to me. I quickly produced hostess gift #2. Sliding the bottle from its bag, she rewarded this present with a nod and murmured notation that this gift she would not be returning. 
Seated across from one another at a small cloth covered table, we talked while she ate a simple lunch of an unadorned hamburger patty and sipped a pint carton of milk through a little straw. We conversed about my apron journey, the storytellers whose apron memories I’d collected, and her personal apron story. In case my tape recorder failed to capture every syllable of her priceless recollection, I took down her words on a little notepad, utilizing a sort of frantic shorthand I hoped to God would later be decipherable. 
Ms. Child told me that she hadn’t much experience in the kitchen nor had she ever worn an apron, until she met her husband. Newly married in 1949, they moved to France, where she tasted French food and knew right then she wanted to learn about French cooking. Following the tradition of the Cordon Bleu cooking school, she began wearing the chef-type blue denim apron with a towel draped over the waist ties. When Paul and I cooked together, he wore the same type apron, only folding the bib at the waist and hanging a towel from the apron pocket.
As soon as she began talking about her husband, sadness misted her face, and no longer was I sitting across from an icon; rather, I was in the presence of a woman who’d lost the love of her life. Paul and I always had breakfast and most of our meals with one another. After his retirement, we often ate at home in our kitchen. Upon his death in 1994, Paul and I had eaten together for almost fifty years. Fifty years.
Perhaps it was her sigh, or the controlled tidying of her cutlery, but in that instant she was my mother, also widowed and emotionally adrift without her prince charming. And as quickly, my nervousness left me and for the next hour, we conversed easily, like old friends.
 

With Ms. Child in the lead on a shiny blue walker with handle bars, hand brakes and a basket, we walked single file from the back patio through the house. Graciousness personified, she acquiesced to my request for a photo of her in the doorway of the kitchen – a miniature replica of the kitchen in the home she and her husband had lived in and now housed in the Smithsonian.  

 Tying on her apron, she perched on a stool and noted the wall-mounted microwave as more an annoyance than convenience. Kitchen chit chat with Julia Child. I was in heaven.

The digital recording of that interview has been in a fireproof box for a decade, so fearful am I of erasing it.



There’s over sixty minutes of conversation, revelation, poignant recollection, homey, personal advice and her words of wisdom, which I’ve integrated into my life. Julia Child was a teacher of more than cooking.  

Since misplacing the key years ago, I’ve decided to just let that day stay as is: locked away from sight, but not of memory. 

Julia Child’s apron story is published in THE APRON BOOK (Andrews McMeel, 2006) by EllynAnne Geisel.


apron·ology #4 giveaway winner!

Apronistas all, thank you for showing such love for apron·ology magazine. Issue #4 publishes February1st but for one very lucky lady, whose entry number was selected by a number generator. She has been contacted and responded with her address. I’ll be sending off her win via speedy mail, so she might have it for her week-end enjoyment.

CONGRATLATIONS and 

apron skirt lady down

flip your skirt…the winner is  Number 59, Lisa Anne  from Henderson, TN !!

apron skirt lady flipped

The publisher of apron·ology is Stampington & Company – in case anyone wants to order the 3 earlier editions plus this latest. Worth every penny, and not much can hold up to that!

Come on, February 1, and get here already.

xxea
Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Mary Can Sew and Sew Can You Giveaway!

dictionary_sew_cropped-640x480_thumb

With spring’s arrival, it’s the perfect time to plant seeds of inspiration with a giveaway that will provide one very lucky winner with yardage for aprons designed by graphic artist Caleb Gray

CGS Logo higher res

and courtesy of

robert kaufman logo Robert Kaufman Fabrics

SONY DSC

3 yards of “Cocoa” from Confections and

3 yards of “Vintage” from Suburbia

+

a personalized copy of Judi Ketteler’s fabulous new publication

Judi Ketteler_book cover [640x480]

+

2 personalized copies of

Layout 1

my very adorable little book, which will slip perfectly into the pockets of your new aprons!

To enter, leave a comment here, on this blog posting. Deadline for comments is late Wednesday evening. One winner selected by Random Human and posted Thursday, April 7th.

***bonus entry – “like” Apron Memories on Facebook & leave an additional comment that you’ve done so.

Just so y’all know – I never receive compensation from a company, designer or author for lauding a particular product or book.

This giveaway is the result of an email from Caleb. He’d written that upon visiting my website, he thought his fabrics to be perfectly suited to the vintage spirit of my line of aprons. I decided to check up on Caleb’s genuineness and see if he was really familiar with my aprons or what. So I called him.

Judi’s book is just wonderful. How she managed the research, writing and project design while pregnant and mommy to a toddler is beyond me. I’ve been working a year now on a project that has much cross-over with her book’s contents, and I wanted her to know I hadn’t swiped from her hard work. So I called her.

Both Caleb and Judi are the nicest and most agreeable creative types one could wish to meet. I thought to combine their offerings because of their complementary nature.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit their sites and learn of their endeavors. Creating can be lonely work, and I know they will appreciate your visit.

xxea

Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Behind the Apron Strings

I’ve been looking forward to receiving my courtesy copy of the March/April issue of Texas Live magazine, which includes an article on my exhibit, Apron Chronicles, and its showing at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth. What I hadn’t anticipated was the spread would be so extensive (4 full color pages!) and introduce

TEXAS LIVE MAG_EXHIBIT 2011 [640x480]

readers to the exhibit through the stories and images of Miss Ada Florence Ashford, Jean Latka and Emily Prager, three of the storytellers. I always tell people that if they can’t see the exhibit in person, the next best “viewing” is via the exhibit’s catalogue.

AC cover (Medium)

Texas Live magazine has done such a superb job, I can now add a second source.

A month ago, I posted the article I’d written about my apron journey that was published in this magazine:

The American Interest cover 2011

With every article, whether I am the writer or not, I supply a selection of photographs and stories to accompany the piece. I never know which pictures and stories will be selected, most often, not until the article is actually published.

I loved the three storytellers chosen for The American Interest piece. Due to editorial decisions and space, the snapshots I provided for two of the storytellers weren’t published. I’m sharing those with y’all so their voices might also resonate visually.

Mrs. Martha Marie B. Pugh had written a letter to me in the most gorgeous cursive. When I mentioned her exquisite handwriting to Drucilla, Mrs. Pugh’s daughter-in-law, she said such grace was extraordinary, given the tremendous starkness of her mother-in-law’s young life in Pawnee, Oklahoma.

Martha Marie Barnes Pugh and her mother 1934-35

Martha Marie Barnes Pugh and her mother, Lucetta Barnes 1934-35

“I was born in 1931, during the Great Depression. Santa did not show up at our house with a big bag of gifts; my parents, however, did see that we got at least one gift.

The Christmas when I was 4 years old, my gift was a little pink apron trimmed in white rickrack. I loved it and showed it to everyone. It meant so much to me, I wore it until it was falling apart.

That little apron was such a sacrifice for my parents. I can’t imagine what they did without so I might not be disappointed on Christmas morning.

It was my best Christmas present ever.”

Martha Marie Barnes

From such a hardscrabble world, Martha Marie Barnes would later travel the world, visit England and be presented to the Queen.

Bennie Carrico Swanson was one of the first 46 people to come upon me and my basket of aprons as I traveled on my apron journey. Our paths crossed in 2002, the year her mother, Neva Carrico, died. Bennie’s sadness was still fresh, and through tears, she told me that she and her mom, “…will always be connected by loving apron strings.

Bennie’s story about her mother is so touching and inspirational, that I’m including the entire version, as it is represented in Apron Chronicles, the exhibit.

Bennie Swanson_mom with daughters 1951

Neva Carrico and her four young daughters, 1951.

“My mom was a smart and resourceful woman who handled difficulties with style and grace. Twice in her life, she pulled herself together and faced her future bravely. When my own life gets bumpy, I think of Mother for inspiration.

When Dad died of cancer at thirty-eight, Mother had to raise four young daughters by herself. A beautiful woman (she once won a beauty contest), Mom kept our little family going by working in a bakery. After a long day scrubbing floors and cases, she still had the energy to run a house, sew our clothes and sing. She knew the words to a million songs, and Sunny Side of the Street was a favorite: Grab your coat and get your hat, Leave your worries on the doorstep, Gold dust at my feet, On the sunny side of the street. If she had fears, we never knew them, because she always had a song to brighten a cloudy day.

In 1980, Mom again faced her future bravely. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she had to retire from her job as a grocery checker, a position she loved and where her personality shone. With changes made to accommodate her home to her disability, she lived on her own for many years. When the disease worsened and she admitted to needing daily assistance to live her life, I began helping her more and more. Despite losing her independence, Mom kept looking at the bright side of things, and when asked how she was feeling, she almost always replied with a big smile, “I can’t complain.”

My mother and I were very comfortable together, whether we were on an outing to the doctor, doing her housework or eating lunch. It was at one of those meals that I reached into a kitchen drawer and spotted the familiar fabric of the apron I’d made in my seventh grade sewing class. As I slowly tugged it out, I was instantly taken back to 1959 and Mrs. Kelly’s home economics class. Tender feelings overwhelmed me as I realized Mother had kept the apron all those years.

Such wonderful memories are woven into the lavender checked cloth…going to Duckwall’s together to purchase the fabric for the big project, my excitement at learning to sew, the thrill of presenting the apron to her when it was completed, and how special I felt when she wore it to fix dinner.

Mothers and daughters are tied together in many ways, some complicated and some simple. These apron strings remind me of my mother’s pride in me, her unconditional love and how her face lit up when I walked into the room. I miss my mom.”

LeVeta Terzise, the third storyteller selected for TAI article, sent me a postcard seven years ago with the most endearing story typed on one side. It remains one of my favorites, for the precious innocence of a child at the turn of the century.

“In 1899 my father was six years old, and his mother was pregnant with her sixth child.

My grandmother went into labor at home on their farm. The five children were sent across the field to stay at the neighbor’s. As they crossed the field, the neighbor lady was coming to their house to be the midwife for their pregnant mother. As she walked past the children, she had her arms wrapped in her kitchen apron.

When the six-year-old, my father, returned home later in the day, he had a brand new baby sister. And he was forever convinced that the baby was brought to their home in the apron of the neighbor lady.”

When The American Interest asked if I could locate a photograph to accompany La Veta’s story, I didn’t imagine it was possible to even find her after so many years had gone by. A few quick clicks on the internet turned up a phone number for someone identically named. But doing the math, I figured the La Veta I was dialing had to be a relative, not the actual storyteller La Veta. Was I ever mistaken!

La Veta is in her nineties and doing just fine, thank you very much! I felt like I was the millionaire delivering a check when I gave her the news her story would be published. She was so excited to have her father’s favorite story on himself shared with a national readership – and she assured me she would find a photo.

And did she ever! This snapshot was taken in 1904 and the little girl wearing white…is the apron baby.

La Veta Trezise_1905 family photo [640x480]

I’m always appreciative when the opportunity arises to introduce readers to the storytellers and their apron memories, for without their trust, I’d just be an apron collector, instead of the very fortunate apron archaeologist I have come to be.

xxea

Tie One On…an apron, of course!

apron*ology Countdown Giveaway!

Here it is – the cover of issue #3 !!!!

CVR_3rd issue [800x600]

Sticking with tradition, this yearly edition of apron love will publish February 1st, and as in the past, I’ll be giving away a pre-publication copy courtesy of Best Livesay, editor of the only magazine devoted to the art of the apron.

So, how to enter to win this prize of prizes? Just leave a comment on this blog by late evening on Wednesday, January 26th. Winner selected by Random Human and announced Thursday afternoon.

Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be posting about my October visit to Stampington’s headquarters in Laguna, home of apron*ology and dozens of artistic publications. Here’s a peek: After three years of emailing, Beth and I finally meet!

ea_Beth in lobby

Which brings me to announcing that with the new year is a new way to stay in touch and up to date with what’s what in apron land – the new Apron Memories Facebook page !

Now to get going on tomorrow’s posting! I’m so excited for y’all to see the world of apron*ology.

xxea

Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Laughter+Cake = 1 Fab Giveaway!

In celebration of both laughter and cake, Andrews McMeel has provided a second copy of Cake Wrecks for me to giveaway!

To be eligible, just sign up to receive my Apron Memories newsletter. Winning subscriber will be announced Tuesday, October 22nd.

What’s not to love about a good laugh accompanied by cake.
xxea
Tie One On…an apron, of course!