Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little Red Baby Dress

Sewing refills my creative reservoir.  I have sewn dresses, pants, costumes, coats, pajamas, hats, underwear, curtains, quilts, dolls, toys and more for myself, my children and other family members.  Out of necessity, my mother probably sewed as much.  In the 1960’s economy, fabric (or material, as my mother always called it) was much cheaper when compared to ready-made clothing, than it is today.  Today it is no longer always less expensive to “make your own." 
However, I don’t remember my mother ever saying that she enjoyed all the clothing sewing she did.  After her children were mostly grown, she sewed many quilts, both by hand and machine. She did love quilting and teaching quilting.  And although she was critical of her results, by examining her quilts, I know that she was very skilled.  I have a little red dress that shows she was a skilled clothing seamstress as well.
            By the time my mother’s third daughter—me—came along, the little girl dresses were mostly worn out.  Consequently Mom made a dress that was just for me.  I don’t remember wearing it.  It is probably about a 9-month size, but since I was the last daughter, it didn’t get worn out and it got saved.  I know what it looks like and the fabulous workmanship in it.  It is a simple cotton floral print, with white bias trim and a little bit of lace.  The stitches along the bias trim are small, fine and perfect—it almost looks store-bought.   My mother gave me the dress, along with a little pair of white leather shoes, when my daughter, Carol, was born, saying,  “It must not have fit you very well because it didn’t get worn out.”

Baby Shoes

This baby picture (from a slide) of me is marred with a fingerprint and the lighting is not the best, but I have always liked it.  As the years have passed, I have gazed at it and wondered about the baby  I was and what I have become.  There is a resemblance to some of my babies--especially around the eyes and in the face shape and the ears sticking out.

My mother wrote on the back of the picture, "Winter, 1960, Taylorsville, Utah; Rug braided by Carol [Hatch] at time George [Hatch] was sick in Provo; Amy ready for church, has taken shoe off."

I’m not sure if the shoes in the baby picture are the same ones my mother gave me , but she did say that most of her children wore them at some time.  We must not have worn them often, however, because the shoes survived and were given to me when my first baby arrived.

I'm glad my Mom wasn't in to bronzed baby shoes.  These are so much cuter this way.  Can you say "Vintage?"

Grandma Again

Carol called yesterday at 10:30 am to tell me that she and Keith had a baby. He is two weeks early!  I was excited, but a little disappointed because I'm not there.  Since I have church committments this Saturday, I'll just have to sit tight a little while.  I'll wait for my November 10 airplane tickets, I guess.  The little guy (no name yet) is truly just a peanut (that's what they called him up til birth).  He is only 5 pounds 2 ounces and 18 inches long.  I'm hoping to see a picture soon--I have never been one to remember to take pictures and it seems that Carol takes after me.  So far, everyone seems to be doing great!  Babies really are testaments of God's love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Matriarchal Crochet

A crochet shawl I finished around 1977
         My mother crocheted.  She taught me to crochet.  I'm not sure if her mother taught her to crochet but I know her mother crocheted.  I have the crochet pieces to prove it.  Since crocheting is one of my loves and something I do often, I believe it is a good place to start my fiber inspired personal history . . .

"What People I Love and I Wore:  A Personal History of the Fibers of My Life"

Clothing and fibers have always held my interest.  I love the feel.  Enhaling the smell—even the musty smell of vintage and old fibers, satisfies, inspires and rejuvenates me.  Therefore, this is my story, my personal history if you will, told through the fabrics, fibers, and handiwork around me.
“I am born,” says David Copperfield, although he didn’t remember his birth anymore than I remember mine. In what was I first wrapped?  I was the fourth child of six.  My oldest sibling was just 4 years old when I entered the world.  That meant my mom was very busy.  By the time I questioned her about those early days, it had probably blurred into a general memory of all her children’s babyhoods.  But one blanket I know was there, because it is in my possession still.

Bedspread piece crocheted by May Adrian Petersen Hansen
I’m not sure when my mother learned to crochet.  My mother, Carol Hansen, eschewed most of the homemaking arts until she became engaged to my father.  That summer of 1953, while she waited for my Dad, George Washington Hatch, to be discharged from the army in Alaska and come back to the lower 48 and marry her; her mother, May Adrian Petersen Hansen, taught her “home skills.”  Mom’s letters from the period tally the numbers of bottles of fruit and jam they canned, bedding that was made, as well as other things she learned. 
Around this time, my mother crocheted a zigzag stripe afghan—forest green and yellow/green variegated yarns alternated down the length.  It was a large afghan, covering a full size double bed.  I remember it lying on my parent’s bed throughout my childhood.  As a toddler, my afternoon naps were often on my parent’s bed, cozily tucked under that afghan.
As my pregnant mother waited for her first child, my sister Evelyn, she crocheted a baby zigzag afghan from lavender baby yarn.  It was used for all six of her children.  I have seen pictures of several of us as babies lying on that blanket.  Here I am on that afghan, and note the retro wicker chair I’m lying on. 

Those chairs were easily upset when I climbed into them as a toddler.  Many a time I tipped over in them. When I was pregnant with my first baby, Carol Ruth, my mother passed that soft purplish blanket on to me. It was used with all six of my children, too.  I have yet to decide where I will pass it on.  But now its history is documented.
As I grew up, I don’t remember my mother crocheting much—there were those 1960’s crochet vests.  In fact I still have that pattern. 
(Mine was the red one on the left, without the buttons and in navy blue)

Mom was certainly an able crocheter, but keeping her children in clothing and later quilting were where she spent most of her time in the fiber arts.  However, when I was 11, and a Merrihand in Primary, we were supposed to learn to crochet.  I got sick and missed Primary that week.  While I sat in bed, my mother gave me a hook and taught me to crochet.  A variegated orange yarn hanger cover emerged from that hook.  I also made a lime green one—oh the colors of 1971.  That lime green one covers a wooden hanger and still hangs in my closet.
(The off-white shawl in the background is also one of my earlier crochet projects)
(Note those lime green stitches aren't exactly even)

Thank you, mom, for teaching me to crochet.   Watching the knots and lace grow from my hook has given me much relaxation and enjoyment through the years.
I have passed on crocheting to my children.  My daughter, Carol, who is now pregnant with her first baby has been producing multiple granny-square afghans.  She even made one for me.  It is fine workmanship which I love.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

School Hair

When Beth was in 6th grade (2000-2001), she had quite long hair. I had started doing braids of all sorts and so we began styling her hair each day. At first we were just picking styles from some of our hair books (here, here, here and here).

But as days passed, we thought we could do something different every day. Then we ran out of choices in the books--especially styles that could be created in a reasonable timeframe for a before-school morning. After all we had to fit music practice into the morning as well.

By the end of the year some of the styles got more outlandish, and some weren't much different than ones that had gone before. But we did finish the school year with Beth wearing a different hair style every day. I wish we would have taken some pictures. Thinking back, it is amazing that Beth put up with it. As a small child, she hated me combing her hair. She seemed to have a sensitive scalp and thought it all hurt. However, of all my children--until Sarah came along, she was the one who liked to take scissors to her own hair. Carol cut her dolls hair, but Beth and Sarah liked to chop their own.

When Beth started 7th grade, I still often did her hair, but we repeated styles. In fact, I was in the bathroom doing her hair on the morning of 11 Sep 2001, when Tom called and told us to turn on the TV. I don't remember if I ever finished her hair style that day.

But I digress. Over the years of little girl hair, I have improved my braiding skills. Sarah seems to be like Beth in that she has a sensitive scalp. Until recently, she didn't like me to spend too much time doing her hair. She has mostly just worn a ponytail. But one Sunday last year, we did put a braided "cage" in her hair. She was in 6th grade. Is there a pattern here?

This morning we decided to try a new type of braid. I found it on the internet here and here. It turned out quite nicely.
As an aside, a few days ago Sarah did my hair, too. I've always loved people combing and brushing my hair even if the result is something like below. Sarah certainly knows the art of back-combing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Egg Roll

No not that Chinese dish or that Doris Day/Brian Keith movie either. (The whole family just watched that recently.) Sarah had been requesting a fancy eggy breakfast--something like the "Sausage Strata" which we always make for Christmas morning. So, I went through my recipes and came up with this one. It was originally from Martha Stewart. However, someone did a lousy job of posting at that site. We discovered there were several details missing. However, it turned out great and was yummy, so I thought I'd post our version here. I wish I would have taken a picture, but here is Martha's photo.


• 8 large eggs
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, cheese
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 or up to 1 pound ground sausage

• 1 medium tomato, cut into small pieces (about 8 ounces)
• 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
• 1/4 cup milk, for brushing
• Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place wax paper or parchment in bottom; spray generously. Separate eggs, placing whites in mixing bowl. Add salt to egg whites; whisk until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks with flour, Parmesan, oregano, and pepper. Add a spoonful of whites to the yolks; mix gently. Using whisk, gently fold in remaining whites.
3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet; spread evenly. Bake until lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen, and turn omelet onto a clean kitchen towel; peel off paper. Gently roll omelet lengthwise, jelly-roll fashion, in towel. This worked very well and was much easier than I thought it would be. The egg rolled easily and didn't crack.
4. While egg roll/omelet is cooling, make filling: Roughly chop sausage; brown in skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato. Unroll omelet; layer with half the mozzarella, all the filling, and then remaining mozzarella; roll up, sealing end by brushing it with milk. Place roll, seam side down, on baking sheet; brush with milk. Bake for 10 minutes. Cut into slices, and serve.

Everybody loved the breakfast--of course those of my children who turn up their noses at eggs were not in attendance. Every speck of the egg roll was devoured. I think I'll make this again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Let's Begin

It was several weeks ago that I created this blog and I have been pondering why I did. Ideas for it have ruminated for several days. Hopefully I can document some of my creative ideas, projects and designs.

But I'm also dabbling at recording my family history through my textile endeavors. I have always had a love for textile--fabric, lace, smooth, fuzzy, shiny and rough. It has been a large part of my life, since I first learned to embroider, crochet, sew and even knit--though I rarely knit anymore. A room of my house is dedicated to the projects pending, needing redesign, needing mending, or just not quite finished. And of course, all the supplies and stuff that entails. I need to add that I'm somewhat of a hoarder--not in the sense of "the hoarders" on TV. I am fairly organized, but in answer to the creative side, supplies need to be brought out and touched and observed and pondered. That creates some mess.

I am told that my maternal grandmother saved items as potential creative supply. Perhaps it is genetic. I know that it frustrated my mother somewhat, although when she died, she had a large inventory of quilting fabrics, too. It was all organized, though--drawers and cupboards of blues, greens, yellows; prints and solids, all in 100 % cotton. And all pre-washed, too. After 23 years, I still have some of that stash here and there in my own.

Some family history is already starting to emerge here on this blog, isn't it? Maybe this medium will work for recording my life through textiles after all.