Monday, October 17, 2016

Christening Gown from Grandmother's 1942 Wedding Gown

This a christening outfit I made from a wedding gown originally made and worn in 1942! It was made for my customer's grandmother.  Then her mother wore it (from the pictures - below - looks like it was the early 80's).  It had not been altered to fit her mother.

The gown was machine and hand stitched.  The seams were pinked inside - not something you see often. The fabric was silk satin and absolutely beautiful.  It was cream, but in certain light, looked almost buttery.  It hadn't been stored well after the last wearing and had some rust spots (from the hooks and eyes).  But since it had a train there was plenty of fabric to work with.  My customer had no children but her sister was having one soon and she thought she should do something with the gown before it deteriorated.  Her mother had passed away so it was even more special.

Grandmother in gown 1942

Mother wearing gown at her wedding
My customer wanted the finished christening gown to be unisex.  She also wanted her grandparents' and parent's' names and wedding dates embroidered on the slip.

I usually make a bonnet out of the fabric; however, in this case, there was a hand-embroidered handkerchief carried by both the grandmother and mother at their weddings so I made a "Handkerchief Bonnet" and used the silk ribbon carried by both.  Yellow is not usually a color associated with a christening gown, but since it was a special memento of both weddings and the outfit was to be unisex, it worked well.

It always takes me aback when someone sends their cherished wedding gown to me - a total stranger - and asks me to cut it into pieces and create a new family heirloom.  Each and every one has a story to tell and this one in particular was very special.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Apple Pickin'

Apple Picking
When we moved to the Ozarks, the place we bought had only two little apples trees, which were only a few years old.  We have no idea what variety they are. I got serious about taking care of the trees and have pruned and sprayed (with dormant oil) at all the correct times.  I was rewarded with my first apple harvest (I'm not counting the ONE apple I got last year).  I got a total of about a dozen apples.  Not many, but it is the first harvest after all, and I'm hoping this next year both trees, and maybe even the two we planted a couple of years ago, will have some.

All the attention to the spraying schedule paid off.  There were only a few spots on the outside of a couple of apples that needed to be trimmed off.  There were NO bugs on the inside!! That's a big deal to me. I didn't spray the apples with any fungicide so the skins weren't pretty, but I didn't want to saturate them with poisons.

So Apple Picking was a big deal and a photo op of course.  The little ones picked the apples lickety-split and posed for Grandma.

Grandma may have photoshopped the apples just a bit so they look a little better.

After picking the precious harvest I knew I wanted to make some jam or butter with them.  Stephanie had made an Apple Pie Jam (recipe from Pinterest) but I didn't like the idea of any chunky-ness in my jam, so on to Apple Butter.  Again, Stephanie had found a recipe on Pinterest which turned out good, so I searched and found one.

The girls helped me peel the apples with the handy-dandy peeler Stephanie found at World Market.  It is amazing (and I don't use that word regularly) how quickly and easily it peeled, cored and spiral-sliced each apple.  So easy even a four or six year old can do it!  The girls peeled all but two apples and I had a little fun with the last two.

I added pumpkin pie spice and sugar to the apples and dumped it all in the crock pot to cook on low.  All the Pinterest recipes say to cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Well before the 10 hour mark, we went next door for dinner.  When I came back in I smelled SCORCHED apples!!!  I quickly scooped them out of the crock pot and into a bowl and into the fridge to cool quickly.  I haven't had the nerve to check it since.

Apparently I'm not the first to overcook apple butter.  Sister Dana did the same thing with a batch last year. Caroline suggested that she add some vinegar, can it and call it pork glaze.  So maybe I can salvage it after all.  Word to the wise: do not gamble your entire first year's apple crop on a Pinterest recipe.