A Musing New Year’s Eve

As a child, I remember visiting Daddy at his work place – a smallish, wooden building divided into an entrance space, where he measured his children’s growth and wrote out the date, name and height on the side of a door that led to his office space, a tight configuration of a drafting table, stool, telephone and thumbtacked to the wall at eye level, a pin up calendar of the naughty-but-nice genre so popular during the Forties and Fifties.

VINTAGE CALENDAR PIN UP 1955 www (Medium) 

Such illustrations are highly valued by collectors of pin up art, but my purchase of this Gil Elvgren calendar was purely for the nostalgia and the memories it evoked of my dad.

Memories are at the heart of what inspire my creative ventures. But not always are the recollections mine – which accounts for the floor to ceiling bins and cabinets overflowing with inspirational collections of vintage magazines, books, patterns, tins, barrettes, fabric, cake toppers, sewing baskets, lunch boxes, valises, hot pads, hair dryers, aprons… I revel in the cacophony, which is well and very good, except that it has moved outward from my writing room to an adjacent room, a space uninhabitable for the past seven years, and one my prince charming has requested be reinstated as a communal area.

At the time I agreed to clearing the room, I had the best intention to do so; however, the promised date of reclamation is tomorrow – the first day of the new year – and I am not much into the task.

Rather, I am into musing, and perfect to that mind-set has been going

Hopper portrait_woman staring out window

through a cache of cardboard boxes a-jumble with memorabilia, all catalogued by my parents, who saved everything, including several hundred rsvp cards to my wedding in 1975. Almost to a one, those who regretted provided a handwritten explanation, but it was a typewritten response that caught my attention

img027 (Medium)

Despite the gritty sentiment, Robert hadn’t made it, and thirty-seven years later, I wondered what my former fashion illustration instructor was up to. The internet yielded a single match to my google. Leaving a message on the phone service provided, I hoped at the least for a courtesy call back from a stranger also named Robert Carreon. 

Instead, “Google” Robert is my Robert!

Revealed in our catching up is Robert’s mission of producing theatrical properties by emerging voices, many of which include collective memories. When he said that, my heart leapt. I told him of my twelve-year apron journey, the discovery that the apron is a memory trigger and a connector to those of earlier generations, and the storytellers I’ve met along the way.

This story has a happy ending: Robert has invited me to join him on a journey to bring my aprons and the voices woven into their fabric to a platform where it will be heard.

But as with any journey, there’s a long road ahead with many twists and turns and no guarantees. However, the only way to get “there” is one step at a time. This task I am up to. The room clearing will have to wait.

Happy New Year towel www 

xx EllynAnne

21 Days of NTOOD Giveaways Winner #2

National Tie One On Day’s November 2nd winner is #46 / Beth.

Beth’s gifts are a My Memories Suite software package + a $10 gift certificate to my.memories.com and an assortment of patterns from Rebecca Ruth Designs.

How Beth is putting the “give” back into Thanksgiving
I’m planning to make an apron for a lady in our church, for “Tie One On Day.” She’s the nicest lady and always so nice to everyone! I’m thinking to give either banana bread or gingerbread with the apron, haven’t decided!
National Tie One On Day is a win/win for those who participate and those who receive, and the more who are involved, the more who experience a gesture of kindness. SO, please spread the love and the mission of National Tie One On Day!

To enter the month of sponsor giveaways and inspire others with how you will be celebrating National Tie One On Day, click HERE !

xxea and NTOOD sponsors

21 Days of NTOOD Giveaways Winner #1

National Tie One On Day’s November 1st winner is #13 / Sandy.

TieOneOn_logo pocket onlyHigh Res (Medium)Sandy’s gifts are a My Memories Suite software package + a $10 gift certificate to my.memories.com and a year’s subscription to Country Woman magazine.

How Sandy is putting the “give” back into Thanksgiving

I have the apron my grandmother hand sewn as a child. This Christmas I plan on embroidering Aprons for my relatives. No pies as they are too far away.

National Tie One On Day is a win/win for those who participate and those who receive, and the more who are involved, the more who experience a gesture of kindness. SO, please spread the love and the word of National Tie One On Day!

To enter the month of sponsor giveaways and inspire others with how you will be celebrating National Tie One On Day, click HERE !

xxea and NTOOD sponsors

Ready! Set! Tie One On…and put the give back into Thanksgiving!

Grab an apron and get ready to put that “give” back into Thanksgiving with your participation in this year’s National Tie One On Day!

NTOOD by Mackenie coverphoto_B

Sponsors of National Tie One On Day 2012 are generously providing 21 days of daily goodie giveaways. You need only enter once to be eligible for a chance to win. Nothing to buy. Just a click and a comment, and you’re entered!

To ENTER, leave a comment and share how you’ll be “giving” at http://apronmemories.blogspot.com/2012/09/national-tie-one-on-day-2012.html  

The more who participate in National Tie One On Day, the more who are touched by a gesture of kindness. Thank you for telling others of this annual opportunity of sharing and gratefulness, and for making National Tie One On Day a part of your Thanksgiving tradition.

xxea and NTOODay’s sponsors

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.

A Perfect Fit Birthday

This issue of Life magazine was published exactly 64 years ago, on March 29, 1948…my birthday!  As serendipitous as its discovery in an enormous Arizona antique mall is the cover story’s subject – handbags – for which I have a personal weakness.

Life mag cover March 29, 1948 (Medium)

The magazine profiles Claire and Bob Kennedy, who cleverly converted an assortment of “prosaic items” into smart handbags.  Prettying up breadbaskets, letter containers and delicatessen cheese boxes,
Life mag March 29, 1948 purse 1 (Medium)
the two created swank accessories that “go with almost any daytime outfit and will blend with the bright-colored spring shoes already making their appearance.”

Handbags and shoes in the same sentence! … in my birthday issue of Life magazine…a prophesy of sorts, which must explain my fondness for both as special birthday gifts.

My favorite presents of birthday’s past are these two
Fav purse doggies (Medium)       Fav purse monkey faces (Medium)
and this vintage beauty, 
Fav purse vintage marbles (Medium)     
and this, shaped like a watering can!
Fav purse watering can (Medium)

I would have been quite pleased with another bit of birthday arm candy, but this year, PC had something else in mind.

                      Happy Birthday to meeeee

Birthday shoes happy bday to me (Medium)

               Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeeee

Birthday shoes happy bday to me 2 (Medium)

 Happy Birthday lucky meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Birthday shoes happy bday to me 3 (Medium)

           Happy most fabulous birthday present 
                 to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
 Birthday shoes 3 (Medium)
As if this foot candy needed further adorableness, the leather lining is printed with festive vintage graphics. 
Now for a cake and champagne breakfast! 
Tie One On…an apron, of course!

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.


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.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!

happy-final-entry-day apron·ology#4 Giveaway

APRONS | NOTE CARDS | NEW! Apron Memories® Limited Edition

Shop Apron Memories: APRONS


Welcome to Apron Memories®, EllynAnne’s on-line emporium for all things apron-y. Her creative outlet since 1999, the designs showcase the domestic art of handsewn stitchery and the old fashion ethic of quality workmanship.   Apron Memories® designs have been worn by Bree on Desperate Housewives and featured in Country Living, Mary Engelbreit, Frontier Airlines magazine, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Vogue.

Each apron is handmade with love and is of heirloom quality;
Treated kindly, the aprons will be cherished by many generations.

The Apron Memories® collection is a Grassroots Royalty project, homegrown and handsewn in Pueblo, Colorado.

– FREE SHIPPING within US on purchases $50 & over –

DomestiChic_Deni ♥                                                


DomestiChic_Erin ♥                                            

As worn by Bree on ABC’s ‘Desperate Housewives’


Of the over 600 aprons EllynAnne has collected, this bright happy design is based on her favorite. The deep red skirt showcases the fan-shaped pocket and gore panels, which are pieced of genuine vintage fabrics. Details include finished seams and handmade bias binding. In the tradition of an apron as part of a bride’s Trousseau, “Erin” revives the Victorial good luck saying: Something old is the vintage hankie pocket; Something new is the apron; Something borrowed is the recipe and advice slipped into the pocket; Something blue is the old button. The white skirt is framed in a print selected by EllynAnne and guaranteed to please.



DomestiChic_Karen ♥                                                


Vintage Domestic Chic_Mary                                    

Apron - Mary

This aprons’s flirty peplums and figure-flattering design make it the perfect accessory to an outfit, attitude or occasion. EyllnAnne will choose Karen’s fabric combinations, which are guaranted to have you smiling and feeling very very cute.
This versatile style can be worn to do everything, from baking a pie to wrapping a wriggly baby fresh from a bath. A vintage hankie adorns the pocket. Fabric combinations and hankie pocket embellishment are individually selected by EllynAnne and guaranteed to please.



DomestiChic_Smoochie ♥                                                


The envelope package that your apron will come in - click to view larger

Your apron purchase is packaged in a cloth envelope. A bookmark sharing the apron’s inspiration is clipped to the fabric with a petite clothespin.
Smoochie, as featured in VOGUE, is an enticing apron with a quilted lips pocket. Certain to get even the most sport-bessotted mate to turn off the TV !


"I love creating each apron and I guarantee you will be delighted with your purchase."
~EllynAnne Geisel~

The fabric combinations for trims, waistbands, ties, borders and panels are individually selected by EllynAnne. All aprons are designed to cover and fit most.

  • FREE SHIPPING within US on purchases $50 & over.
  • International shipping costs quoted via email.
  • For specific measurements or fabrics, contact EllynAnne

We are a PayPal Verified seller

A Slice of Life

The old cookbooks, like this one from 1941, were close to 900 pages, with chapters covering a range of domestic concerns, like Menu Making, Table Setting, Carving, Spices and Useful Facts about Food. The American Woman cookbook cover 1931_mixer and homemaker

The heft was also attributable to the photographic illustrations. In this cookbook, a List of Illustrations three pages in length is provided at the front. It was while flipping through the illustrations that I came upon this display

A Kitchen Collection to Gladden the Heart of the Most Ardent Gadgeteer

Gagets and gageteer 1941 Am Womans Ckbk [640x480]

Gadgeteer! How fabulously descriptive. Most of the gadgets were familiar; of some, I’m clueless.

I do not lack for gadgets. I’m especially attracted to those with colored handles.

Gadgeteer_3 items [640x480]

These pie crust rollers are among my favorite utilities.

Gadgeteer_pie trimmers faceup [640x480]

On the backside of the green handled one, you can see the company, Vaughn’s, and the descriptive name: Pie Trimmer and Sealer, circa 1930s-40s.

Gadgeteer_piecrust trimmer Vaughn [640x480]

Looking at the pie tools led me to think about pies, and the purity of the recipes of 1941. A pie was made from scratch, and that included the sifting of flour.

These Sifting Sisters from the Fifties have a tiered interior, which sent the flour through a series of three screens and produced ultra fine flour. Sifting seems more fun with a gadget so well designed and adorably adorned.

Sifter Sisters both 1 [640x480]

Baking a pie is a messy production, and domestic armor is a must. My new friend knows this. Meet Beth Howard of The World Needs More Pie.

Beth Howard_wearing Kaen [640x480]

This photo was taken in Beth’s kitchen – can’t you just hear that screen door slamming as Beth shuttles pies down to her roadside stand. Beth lives in Iowa in the American Gothic home. Her journey from LA to this new life through the conduit of pie is chronicled in a book that publishes next spring. Meantime, do visit her website and welcome her to the Apron-Hood.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Apron Strings at apronology

I often pinch myself in disbelief that a love of aprons has for twelve years now brought into my life such bounty of storytelling, aprons, friendships and the opportunities to share that journey.

In October, I was the guest of the Santa Barbara area’s quilt guild (another story to share in an upcoming blog). There I met-up with Jini Burkholder and her very agreeable husband/chauffeur Dean. We’d first crossed paths earlier in the year when I was speaking in Farmington, NM. Jini prevailed on Dean to drive from their home in Phoenix to meet me, share her apron collection and a unique piece of sewing history (another blog story!).

I share this preamble because Dean drove Jini and me to Laguna to meet Beth Livesay, editor of apronology. And then he stayed and took all the photos and videos you’re about to see. What a guy!

Here we are in the lobby of Stampington & Company: Beth Livesay, ea and Jini

1_Introductions in the lobby [800x600]

Extra hugs as Beth and I marvel we’re finally meeting after three years of emailing

1_ea and Beth meet [800x600]

The Stampington operation is spread out among several facilities. Following Beth from one building to the next, we walked through a narrowing corridor, which struck me as a Canyon of Creativity:

apron*ology tour_Canon of Creativity

Everywhere you look are stacks, shelves, and racks of inspiration and submissions2_Racks of inspiration and submissions are everywhere [800x600]

Offices line the many corridors. My head spun like that poor girl in the Exorcist! Doorways like this one just enchanted – that’s a dress constructed of paper

3_Amanda's office [800x600]

With Beth’s encouragement, we walked on into this office and met Amanda Crabtree, editor of Belle Armoire. Amanda’s greeting was of such warmth, which I quickly learned is the “Stampington Way.” I just knew this visit was going to be a special time indeed.

4_Amanda Crabtree_editor Belle Armoire [800x600]

Along the corridor of editors’ offices is this wall sculpture with a timeless quote by Coco Chanel

5_Coco Inspiration [800x600]

Each office is like a snowglobe – an environment a-jumble with creative stimuli that’s specific to the creative spirit of the editor. This office belongs to Christen Olivarez, editor-in-chief and director of publishing. To fit the picture to this page, I had to crop the overflowing tables and stacks of inspiration lining the walls. I loved this space

6_Christen Olivarez_ office [800x600]

Christen returned to her office as I was still oohing and carrying on about the filtered light from the windows, and in the “Stampington manner,” allowed for a photo so y’all might see just who oversees dozens of art-centric publications

7_Christine Olivarez  [800x600]

Submissions to various magazines are displayed on tables and racks for editors’ consideration. This jewelry was awaiting aSmile or Crying faceverdict

8_checking out jewelry submissions for a magazine [800x600]

Anyone who has sent off a creation of (he)art knows the anxiety of concern and whether they will ever see it again. Submissions to the magazines of Stampington arrive daily and someone with an eye to detail records their intake and caretakes their return. That person of he(art) is Michelle Nolan 9_Michelle Nolan caretaker of submissions [800x600]

Even the wall space surrounding the copy machine is a canvas of expression – wallpapered with the magazines’ covers (note to self – do this with vintage magazine covers!)

10_Wallpaper in copy room [800x600]

On her way to a meeting with Christen, Stampington’s publisher, Kellene Giloff, stopped to introduce herself. Kellene started Stampington as an outlet to share her love of stamping. That single publication has grown to dozens! Kellene is a dedicated, hands-on publisher, and many careers have been nurtured through her example of hard work. Beth spoke of her 11_Kellene Giloff_Stampington publisher [800x600]

admiration of Kellene in this video – which has us multi-tasking (walking and talking) on our way to lunch

Beth shares her joy of her job at Stamington

When you live in the landlocked Southwest, fresh seafood tacos are the BEST!13_Fresh seafood tacos  [800x600]

Our first stop following lunch was to pop into Beth’s office – here’s one bitty corner. It’s a very happy environment – feels like a birthday party is about to take place!

14_Beth's office_no peo in pic [800x600]

Jini purchased back issues of apronology, which Beth took time to personalize. FYI: you, too, can purchase the past two editions, but hurry – few left of #1 and #2’s inventory is quickly depleting. Contact Stampington for info

15_Beth signs Jini's copies [800x600]

Then it was time to primp for our photo session – a surprise from Beth…that I will appear alongside her in issue #3! The apron I’m tying on is one I designed from vintage taffeta – it was my entry into this year’s competition. Yes, I enter like everyone else!16_readying for our pic [800x600]

Finding more common ground – we both love vintage cherry anything, the color pink and a funny story. Such is a friendship further forged.

17_shocking our favorite color is pink [800x600]

Posing for our picture – the photographer is Johanna Love, who is responsible for the mesmerizing beauty of apronology and Stampington’s other publications. Personally, I think it’s the photography that transforms these magazines into keepsakes. I take very good care of my issues of apronology, following all the good rules of page turning to keep the edges crisp. I can’t wait to see issue #3 – which was still being created when I visited, so I’ll be as surprised and delighted as y’all when it debuts

18_Posing for our pic together [800x600]

With Dean keeping an eye to the clock and gently reminding us just who was doing the driving through Los Angeles (def not me – heart palpitations just thinking about it), it was time to say goodbye. One final stop by Beth’s office to pick up our take-home bags of Stampington goodies.

20_ea beth swag bag [800x600]

Then this – a wave and a beautiful smile from the editor of our favorite annual magazine!

21_a last goodbye [800x600]

Stampington is a third-year sponsor if National Tie One On Day, and the 5 winners of NTOOD’s 2010 goodie bag giveaway are receiving their very own issue of apronology #3, which will be available for sale February 1st.

Beth is giving away one copy of #3 through my blog. Do click here to enter.

I hope this long, long entry is one you’ve enjoyed as much as I delighted in sharing my visit with Beth. So it is with aprons – an unexpected bounty of storytelling, aprons and friendship.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!