Apron Power!
Monday, January 01, 2007

Barbara over at Mommylife is sponsoring an Apron Contest! First prize is a copy of her new book, The Mommy Survival Guide (she has 12 kids, so she knows what she's talking about!).

Here's my entry:

<---The decapitated Mama, taken by
Mr R.

<--- The more flattering angle, after Mama and Mr R's discussion of the zoom function and how not to apply it to pregnant women.

I am a saver. A pack rat. A hoarder. I also have a tendency to save things for a nice occasion, or for people better than my family proper company. This is a tendency I am trying to correct, as one thing I absolutely believe is that you should treat your family better than company. Theoretically, this will cause them to act like company, and put the seat down. We're still working on that.

I am trying to inject a tiny bit of culture and grace into our lives. Yes, I often feel like a salmon swimming upstream...during a flood... in the snow. My first project, you may remember, is to get the kids to sleep on sheets. Babysteps, girls, babysteps.

A year or so ago, I got a package from my grandmother. My grandmother has always seemed to be the "cultured" one in the family; the one who knew where to put all those forks and how to use them; the one with real china in a real china cabinet; the one who put the stick of butter on an oblong plate with a top instead of scraping the wrapper with a plastic knife for toast. She even made Barbie evening dresses for us with pearl buttons, because nothing says "Lady" like nine inches of electric blue satin.

She is a wise woman, who introduced me and my sister to aprons at the same time she introduced us to the Singer sewing machine. Our first project was a gingham apron, with pockets. There was no pattern; just a rectangle of fabric to be hemmed on three sides, gathered, and turned up at the bottom to make pockets. The gingham pattern was perfect for a beginner struggling to sew in a straight line. Another slender rectangle of fabric was sewn on top for strings; my grandmother had one she had made in purple, and had embroidered tiny flowers into the squares. I dreamed of the day my own blue apron would sport similar embellishment!

Being a wise woman, she is passing on heirlooms and collections now, while she is still alive. They often arrive with a little note explaining that the brass pitcher always rested in the foyer, the little ceramic chicken was on her breakfast table as a child, or some other personal note. These treasures are cherished around here, as I am a nostalgic, sentimental packrat.

The package contained this:

Two beautiful Irish linen tea towels, each one bearing the tag "Threads drawn by hand All Pure Linen Made in Ireland"

The note says:
These dish towels are pure Irish linen. They belonged to my mother, but they were never used. I found them in the original box with the price tags still on them. They will wear forever. Enjoy and remember your Great Grandmother... Love, Grandma
Of course they are too nice, too beautiful to use now! Maybe when I'm older, when I have time for nice things, when the children are grown... it made me sad to think that my own great-grandmother probably thought the same thing. These are too nice for me. And so they sat, unused, in a box; discovered by later generations, who also left them in the box. I am going to use them; probably not as towels, but I might make them into a baptismal gown or part of a First Communion dress. We'll see.

Don't worry, I'm getting to the apron part!

This Christmas, I unpacked the decorations and found some towels that my mother had given me three years earlier. They are red and white, with little gingerbread men on them, floursack style. Nothing terribly fancy; but too nice for me. They still had the plastic hanger from the store attached, and I unpacked them, admired them, and put them away, untouched and pristine, every year. Dishtowels around here are used more often than not to wipe snotty noses and milky floor puddles. Rags will do for this oh-so-humble Mama, thank you very much. Yes, my disorganized and free-wheelin' ways are the reason we can't have nice things.

This year, I decided to make a change. I decided to use the nice things now, while the children are growing and making memories. I decided not to pack away the finer things in life, waiting for a better day when I'm old and alone and don't use the nice things anyway because it's just me. Is there any finer use for a towel than to clean a little one's face or wipe down a table after baking with the children?

Last month I broke in my sewing machine making a towel apron. This was half a towel that I sewed a strip of quilt binding to. It was amazingly, wonderfully functional. It also looks like I'm wearing a towel... not the prettiest picture, however practical it might be. I got the idea to make a new towel apron.

I laid one towel lengthwise, one crosswise, and folded up the bottom to make two pockets. Mamas with little ones can never have too many pockets!

I used sateen baby blanket binding to finish the sides and for ties. Extra long ties, as this is currently a maternity apron, soon to be a nursing apron, then back to a normal apron. See, it's a multitasker!

Here I am with Baby C, who loves my new waffle iron I got for Christmas more than I do!

Tags: Family Life, Crafts and Cookery
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 1/01/2007 07:37:00 AM | Permalink | |