to celebrate the publication of my new book


Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.

This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.

The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lambing Attire

We've had 18 lambs so far. I've been uber busy with book edits and not had a moment to help out. Hence no photos. Lambing has been slow but if it goes like most years, this week we are about to get into high gear. And just as the temperature is once again to drop below zero. We'll see what the week brings. 
Sheep farming is messy and dirty and sometimes downright disgusting. The Farmer wears a Carhart insulated coverall and a big heavy Carhart jacket to keep warm along with long underwear. It's all about keeping warm. I wear a tweed wool hunting coat that has lots of pockets for various supplies - iodine, pens, rubber bands for tailing the lambs. Seriously, we are a sight to behold with big old boots on that have traction so we don't fall on the ice. 

My coat has seen 15 years of wear and it has been developing some mighty big tears and rips. You would think I would fix it but I just haven't made the time. Until this year. I snagged some of Dad's nice worsted wool pants that Mom still had and used them to patch the coat. I still have some more patching to do but I'm making progress.

As I was cutting and sewing, I couldn't help but remember a children's book I loved when Julia was little. It is called Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and it was magically illustrated by Simms Tabach. I read that book to her so many times. The illustrations - part collage, part painting, including die cut holes - were so fabulous. Simms won the Caldecott for it. Here is a short video - you can see how charming and colorful this book is.

Joseph wears his coat so much that it frays and turns into a vest, then a scarf, eventually a button, and then nothing. 

I started looking into Simms and found his biography here. Sadly, he has passed away. It made me sad, even though I didn't know him. He had an amazing body of work and that will live on. Nice thing about the internet - that someone's work can go on and keep inspiring people even after they are no longer around.

Last week there was a post on DesignSponge about things and how people use them and toss them. Julia thinks it is ridiculous and embarrassing that I will wear this coat. Me, I can't bear to get rid of my coat because it is so useful, even if it is worn. Granted, I won't wear it everywhere but it still has a useful life. What do you think? That's my question for the day. Have a good one.


Esther said...

I'm with you, keep wearing the jacket as long as it's useful. I love the patches made of your dad's pants. I totally understand why Julia differs; she's a teen and her parents are an endless source of embarassment. The book is one of my all time faves, too. My dad was a tailor and was named Josef. He grew up in Europe between both world wars and learned from an early age how to create beautiful clothing out of scraps and leftovers.

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

Patch away. Still a lot of life left in that coat. I wear liners for army jackets as my regular barn coat. They are so light and warm (and cheap at the flea mall), plus they're that weird green that I love! During lambing I can throw them in the washer and quickly have them clean again. When it gets down to single digits, my Carhartt insulated bibs get added to the mix. It's all about functionality!

Corina Sahlin said...

You just keep wearing that good ole' coat! I have a sweater like that - it's a sweater I knit with my own handspun yarn ten years ago, and I still wear it daily in the barn. This sweater has been through many milkings of goats, birthing of goat babies, and lots of manure and dirt. I love it. Plus, these old coats and sweaters have sentimental value, don't you think?

Auntie Shan said...

so. Those *PANTS* from Last Year, have they been de-HAZMATTED, or did they just WALK AWAY on their own in the Spring..? ;-D

BTW, I'm with you on the old clothes. I still have stuff in the closet from 40 years ago! Mostly, a few outfit that my Mom made. -- It's ironic really, at a Time when "Kids" all want to wear that 60s & 70s stuff... duh. Just go into your Grandparents' Closets for those ORIGINAL-*VINTAGE*-PIECES!!

Actually, THE best pieces of USEFUL Clothing that I've ever gotten, are the SILK L.L.BEAN LONGJOHNS from my Sister [that go under my old jeans] and an ARMY-SURPLUS WINTER-COMBAT-WORK COAT from my Brother. It's like a Chinese-Puzzle-Box with all of the Secret Pockets, zippers, velcro and straps going on! I've had it for years and *still* finding NEW pockets! -- Both things I wear to go shovelling for hours on end.

Otherwise, I'm always in CARGO Pants or Shorts! Seriously. *HOW* does Anyone go ANYWHERE without "POCKETS"?!! -- Why do you think "SUPER-HEROES" have to wear "UTILITY-BELTS" -- pockets just don't "work" with SPANDEX! - [and, SPANDEX so does NOT work on me!]

nadinecreates said...

I have clothes I have worn for years. They go from being something I will wear away from home to something that is only worn at home. I was raised to reuse, redo and use up. It makes me feel good to save money that way.

Pammie said...

I'm getting better at mending things that are wearing out - I do think it's important to not just toss something out simply because it needs to be repaired. I love what you did with your coat - how creative of you ! I so enjoy your blog - as well as your Creativebug classes. Thank you !

Ana said...

Thank you for giving us food for thought today. This wastefulness we practice leaves true gratitude out of life! Jesus told us to be content with the basics of life: food, clothing, and shelter...all the other things are extra and are causes for gratitude. BTW...do people write "thank you" notes anymore?!?

dot smith said...

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Do without.

Helen Hart said...

I wore patched snow suits back east when I was a little girl (geez-in the '40's? yes) Yes my clothes go from good to everyday to no one sees them but me. Actually I don't think I wear my "good" clothes as much as I should. But yes, keep warm with your great barn clothes.

Beau said...

Wear the coat as long as you wish! Makes me think of my "most favorite" rain jacket of all times. My mother kept trying to get me to toss it. Told her I would if I could find another. Well, one day I went to reach for my good old stand by and, alas, it was gone. [I always kept it in my car. Why would anyone take an old jacket which was obviously well worn and leave other items of far more worth?] I asked my mother if she had something to do with the vanishing of my jacket. She danced and never admitted she was in on the vanishing of my jacket. To this day, I have never been able to replace that jacket with one I liked and that vanishing occurred more than 45 years ago!

Anonymous said...

Love your new coat! Since I know how to spin, knit, sew and weave I appreciate what goes into making quality clothes that truly work for us. It seem like such an honor to mend and give new life to a faithful piece of clothing. I have two sweaters that need drastic mending. I am waiting to come up with the best method for repairing the damage. I've taken scissors to one and am now pondering if I should be conservative in the repairs or be very bold!
Good luck on the lambing. I hope the weather does not confound the lambing more then usually.

Anonymous said...

The time will come when Julia wants to "borrow" some of your old gear. If it still keeps you warm, go for it!

Adaliza said...

That's a great coat - don't ever part with it. You've reminded me of a coat that's at the back of the understairs cupboard, where I stashed it a couple of summers ago - it's a Canadian leather parka that I bought for 50p - ragged & a bit torn - I'm going to dig it out right now!

jennifer.auroradesign said...

I was JUST thinking about Sims Taback and this book yesterday. Such an absolute treasure and so nice to see it today! Best of luck with the lambing.

Anonymous said...

Oh totally keep the coat! I have so gotten into well loved practicality and feel like Farmer ann when I visit my well heeled suburban friends who go to the gym every day and are always buying new clothes. That's what the country/practical life does after a while. Off the subject--thanks for the lamb pics. I almost forgot--gives me a lift--I've barely been out of the house this week.Take care...ann from maine