The Wonder of Tasha Tudor

A few weeks ago my friend Jessica of Cast & Bind was over, and somehow our conversation turned to Tasha Tudor.

I had never heard of her but was very intrigued, especially when I checked out the website above.

I got the book The Private World of Tasha Tudor from the library last week, along with a couple of her childrens' books, and I am smitten.

Ever since childhood she knew what kind of life she wanted to live- simple, homemade, self sufficient, and suffused with the spirit of old world goods and methods- and she did it. (She died two years ago at age 92).

The best part of the book for me was about her clothing collection. Here are some quotes:

"Why do women want to dress like men when they are fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get much more accomplished by being charming than we would by flaunting around in pants and smoking. I'm very fond of men. I think they're wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don't want to look like one...

When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error. Things half seen are so much more mysterious and delightful. Remember the term "A neatly turned ankle"? Think of the thrill that gentlemen used to get if they caught even a glimpse of one. Now women go around in their union uits. And what a multitude of sins you could cover up with a long skirt if you had piano legs... (<-- I had to look this term up. In modern parlance- cankles).

My antique clothing collection is a great folly of mine. The majority are from the 1830s, but I have examples from every style and decade from 1770 to 1870. It's very common for a friend who tries on one of my old dresses to feel transported to another time. It gives a different perspective on life...

I myself feel much more at home in an old frock. There's no feeling of dressing up; they just feel right! I've collected everything: stays, corsets, bustles, hoops, parasols, gloves, wristers, muffs, bonnets, and even an Empire "barnyard cape" made of peacock and pheasant feathers, which was all the rage when Jefferson was president." (<-- If anyone can tell me what this is I would be most grateful. I have exhausted all search possibilities I could think of).

She had a special fondness for corgis. And pears.

This might be one of my favorite photos of all time. The Crone at Harvest Moon.

Braiding onions.

She illustrated by candlelight.

The parts about her doll house, puppet collection, and family rituals are so beautiful. Her four children were very lucky to have her as a mom.

"I'm perfectly content. I've no other desire but to live right here with my dogs and my goats and my birds."

"I think I've done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I do have a philosophy, it is one best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: 'If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours'. That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up."

(The book, of course, has much more information and many more photos and quotes from Tasha, I supremely recommend checking it out!)