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!)

Welcome To Our Little Cottage In The Woods

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Yay!! I've been so looking forward to sharing the images of our new cottage with the world! My partner Graham built it himself this autumn, and it is on the property of a friend of ours. It is less that 300 square feet- one larger room that serves as living, dining, and bedroom, and one smaller bathroom containing a clawfoot bathtub, laundry baskets and clothing, and a composting toilet. Aside from the toilet and the lack of an internet connection or cell phone reception we have all the luxuries of modern living- hot water, electricity, etc.

It is a few minutes outside of Nevada City, California. We have been living in it for about a month now and are just thrilled with it. As this article points out, living in a small space, even with a young child, is very do-able and has many benefits!

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First off, let me introduce you to Speckles. Speckles spends most of her time on a manzanita branch perch a few feet from the window by our bed. The rest of her time she spends flying directly into said window. She probably is just confused by the reflection, but sometimes I feel as if she has an urgent message for us, or that she is an omen of some sort.

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Now this is a funny little story that could have had a disastrous ending but, thank you stars, didn't. Graham went to our storage unit to get all of our daughter Mycelia Violet's children's books out. There are a lot of them. I read voraciously and am of the mind that you can never have too many books around, so she has hundreds (like me). Now it was late when Graham got home so he left the books in their boxes in the back of our truck overnight. And it rained. But somehow the damage was minimal. We spread all the books out over the floor, turned both space heaters on, and left for a few hours.

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Here we are in the garden of the family from which grew the beautiful musician Mariee Sioux. Graham and Mycelia played outside while Mariee's equally beautiful mother Felicia and I went through her vintage collection. To die for! (A few pieces will be coming into the shop in January).

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Here is some "sugar smoke" from when Graham baked up some *delicious* bay leaf and lemon shortbread yummies for a cookie exchange and clothing swap I attended a few nights ago (where I scored mightily for myself and the shop).

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Bathroom coziness.

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And here's my favorite little corner of the cottage- the clothes rack.

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And the little sprite herself, wearing her favorite vintage shawl.

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The outside is still donning Tyvek Home Wrap and is therefore very un-photogenic at this moment :-)

But you can see the surrounding landscape in many of the photos that are in the shop right now. Just look for green grass and manzanita trees.

Hope you're all as warm and bundled as we are this Winter Solstice!