A Few of My Personal Favorite Things…

One of my all-time favorite songs (from one of my most favorite movies) is played frequently during the holidays: “My Favorite Things”. It always brings to mind a long list of personal “favorite things”. Some are seasonal, such as seashells, pumpkins, and snowmen. Others are functional like teapots, and cake plates. When I see a cookie, it’s a cookie, but put it on a footed cake plate and my heart skips a beat! Often, we women find we need to have more than one of our “favorite things”. A girlfriend once told me that if you have two of something, it’s a “couple”, but if you have three, it’s a “collection”. Aprons are another favorite for me. They make me happy. When I’m home, I’m wearing one, especially since my favorite place is the kitchen. I knew the Farmgirl Sisterhood was for me as soon as I saw the Henrietta logo of a chicken with her apron! I can never have too many aprons! I guess that makes me a collector…

I recently read a very interesting list of the “Most Worthless Collections”. Having been an avid collector of this, that, and everything else since childhood, I was intrigued. It listed things like Beanie Babies and Hummel figurines, saying these items hold no resale value whatsoever. However, it didn’t take into account sentimental value, and in the hearts of true collectors, isn’t that what drives them? Any object can have a price, but one has to have a buyer for said item. If a collector is collecting something for a dollar investment, that’s what can make it worthless. My personal favorite collections hold sentimental value, with items that are useful at the same time (like aprons).

I have Christmas aprons, gardening aprons, and aprons for the seasons. My newest apron is one recently sent by my Secret Sister, Kathy, from what was a year-round Secret Santa swap on the Farmgirl Connection. It has the cutest chicken print that matches my kitchen, and knowing that she made it just for me warms my heart. Another favorite is the apron that started out as a joke, from a girlfriend who gently teases that my domestic skills are a bit antiquated. She was cleaning out her mom’s house on a visit, and sent me an apron her mother made in the sixties — a half-apron, in cheery yellow and green, with a green dish towel sewn to the front. I think the design is clever, and very useful when I’m cleaning house. My friend was shocked when she saw me actually wearing it. Joke or not, I love it! And my Farmgirl Sisterhood Chapter and I wear our best aprons when we get together!

I really love vintage and antique aprons, none of which I’ve paid more than a few dollars for. I like imagining the women who made and wore them before me, and what their lives were like. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong generation, and when it comes to many things, I love the 1920’s to the 1940’s. One favorite vintage apron is a “farm apron” I bought on Ebay. It’s blue and white, in a print of another of my “favorite things”, cherries. As old as it is, it is sturdy, and I wear it often.

Imagine my surprise last summer when I saw that print on a dress worn by a historian at one of my favorite museums, Sturbridge Village, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This museum is a village of old buildings, put together to recreate life in New England in the late 1800’s. The historian told me her long dress was a reproduction, and that the fabric was a copy of a real fabric from the late 1800’s. She imagined my apron had once been a dress, put away when the style was no longer current, and brought out during the Depression, to be repurposed into said apron.

At that, I thought about putting my beloved apron away, and never using it again, but then, that defeats its original purpose. I can only imagine its creator, laughing at the idea of it being a “collectible”. With all the comfort-food cooking I do in the New England winter, it will be well-used, and I will think of the strong, practical women who wore it before me.

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  1. Rose says:

    What a surprise to see my mom’s apron pictured here! I am glad that you like and use the apron and now it is famous! My mom will be thrilled to hear about her apron that she wore in the 1950’s.
    I enjoyed this blog, Nicole. You are a talented writer! I am looking forward to more installments.

  2. gail keanrey says:

    Nicole, I’ve heard talk about you and all your talents. I love the idea of the towel sewn into the apron.  I have a weird habit of always cooking/baking with a towel over my shoulder. You wash your hands or something a million times. What a good idea. Isn’t Rose a gem? Happy New Year.

    Thanks, Gail! What a nice compliment!  Rose is a very dear friend, indeed.  I’m lucky to know her.  Happy New Year!!

    -Nicole

  3. Gina says:

    Hi! I love aprons, too. We live in Rhode Island, and have been to Sturbridge Village a couple of times–I’ve thought longingly of going again, especially during harvest time, since we’ve never seen it then.

  4. Theresa King says:

    I really enjoy reading about (and seeing) your aprons! I have a collection of some of my Grandma’s aprons, as well as
    a few I’ve bought from second-hand stores. In Grandma’s collection is one of those "dishtowel aprons". Now I’m inspired to get it out and use it! Also thinking about making patterns from some of them for new aprons. My favorite second-hand-store apron is from Denmark and has a colorful print of some happy people – one playing a horn, one fiddling, and 2 women doing a clap-dance. And every Christmas season, while making cookies and breads, I wear the Christmas apron that Mom made me. There’s so much history in aprons. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Thanks so much for sharing, too!

    -Nicole

  5. Pam says:

    Hi there, I too am a New Englander, CT is where I reside. I am a farm girl raising wool producing animals, a spinner and knitter an I have an attraction to vintage aprons and crochet pot holders. I thought I’d say "hey". Maybe we will cross paths some day here in beautiful CT.  Respectfully yours Pam

     

  6. Margaret Taffi says:

    Your thoughts are lovely! Aprons are a favorite of mine also and I am in the process of making different ones for my daughter and other members of my family! Aprons are a page in our history and each one can tell many stories! Keep the old values! They are timeless!

  7. erika says:

    I love it! My favorite part? The coordinating detail on the pocket! Who knew?!?! it is just too cute. I am an apron lover, too. When my grandmother moved, my aunts threw away all my great grandmother’s aprons. She had TONS. I was so sad I actually cried. Happy New Year!

  8. Raynita says:

    Nicole, I am enjoying your blogs and seem to have a lot in common with you. I LOVE APRONS! Love the pic of you in your sweet apron in you very pretty kitchen…looks so warm and inviting. Looking forward to reading more about you while sitting in my Oklahoma log home:)…………Raynita

    Thank you so very much, Raynita! 

  9. Carla says:

    I saved a few of my mother’s dressier or unique aprons when we cleaned out her home. Hers are half aprons. One has a sleeve at the top instead of ties, the sleeve holds a very heavy plastic piece, like boning that fits around the wearers waist. Another looks like it may have been made from handtowels, and is trimmed along the edges so that it protects the wearers clothing while seated.
    I like full aprons and so these are set aside to make patterns from for my use.

  10. Aloka Mukherjee says:

    Hello Nicole,
    Some years ago I sold a few aprons with towels that were buttoned on them. I too, like you, liked to cook then, and was able to do that. And like you I washed my hands frequently and wished I had a hand towel sewn onto my apron. So I made a few. When friends saw those they suggested I sell them in the local consignment craft store.So it was a surprise to read about the same idea in your blog. Aloka

  11. Joan D. McGuigan says:

    Nicole, I, too, love aprons! Really enjoyed your decriptions of your collection and each’s use. I have one large cobbler’s style apron that I LOVE to wear when I’m cleaning. It has huge pockets that hold lots of the odds and ends that one finds when working her way from room to room. At the end of the day "treasures" can be easily sorted and distributed or trashed!! My mom always wore an apron. I guess I learned my appreciation of aprons from her.

  12. melissa says:

    Greetings Nicole,
    I just finished reading your blog and had to respond.
    I collect and sell vintage clothing and aprons are my very favorite.
    I must have a few hundred on hand at anyone time.
    It a funny thing that I have so many and never remember to wear them when I am in the kitchen.
    I have many that are very elaborate and some that are very simple.
    When I was a Girl scout Leader that is the first sewing project we did. It was a gift for their mom’s on Mother’s Day.
    Thank you so much for the knowledge that I am not the only collector of many things that have no dollar value.
    Take Care and keep the writing coming.
    Melissa

    Melissa, Your collection sounds like a true treasure trove to me!

                     -Nicole

  13. Barbara says:

    I love aprons too. I am interested in buying some if anyone has any to sell. I would like to see some pictures of them and have the price of them. So please if you know anyone who has any aprons for sale I am interest in the full body aprons. Thank you everyone and Have A Blessed Day. Barbara

     Barbara, have you tried Ebay?  It’s a great place to go for aprons, even vintage ones, reasonably priced. 

                    –Nicole

  14. Tess Sole says:

    Nicole-

    I loved your blog about collections and aprons. I received 2 handmade aprons from my Mom recently and just love them. They are the full body style and very pretty yet practical. I also have some family heirlooms that she handed down to me. My husband even has his own "fly fishing" apron that he wears when he cooks! I also collect teapots among other things. Collectibles in many forms are my "treasures". Thank you for your lovely blog.

    Thank you for reading!  Your mom’s aprons sound so very special. 

                                  -Nicole

  15. Brigitte Farmgirl with a heart says:

    I too LOVVVEEE aprons! I remember when I was just a wee little girl, opening my mama’s big wooden chest and trying on her aprons that she made as a wee little girl herself! They were so good looking with all their colors… I still have my hand on some of them…But I must take the time to make some! And why not, give some to my friends! I dont know if it’s because I’m almost 40, but I feel much need each year to go back to my roots…Brigitte

    I hear, ya, Brigitte!  Thanks for reading!

          -Nicole

  16. glorigrl says:

    Hi Nicole, & all you fun ladies that respond here,
    Last year I made vintage full body aprons for my three girls, and a mommy & me matching ones for my daughter in law and grand daughter who is turning three, she calls them "cooking dresses" and wears hers when she plays mommy with her little cousin… I have a picture of my grand mother wearing hers to gather eggs , she just held up the skirt and filled it up, also one where she is feeding the lambs a bottle. I too love aprons.

  17. twin says:

    I was lucky to find this website. You definitely can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing – I’ll keep reading.

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