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November 1, 2013

Share An Apron And Some Good Wishes This Thanksgiving With Tie One On Day And Author EllynAnne Geisel

Happy Friday! RetroRuth here, and this month we have a special treat for everyone AND a chance to do a good deed for someone in need. Our newest sponsor here at No Pattern Required is author EllynAnne Geisel, who you will recognize from her fabulous books about vintage aprons and kitchen linens, including The Apron Book, Apronsims, and The Kitchen Linens Book. EllynAnne is here to talk about her annual Tie One On Day, a day in which you pass an apron, a baked good and a inspiring message onto someone who you know could use a little encouragement. Also, EllynAnne is hosting some fantastic giveaways all month long on her site, Apron Memories, as well, so read on for more information about sharing an inspiring message with others and the ways you can be entered to win some great prizes!


1. First of all, Welcome to No Pattern Required! We are thrilled to have you as our sponsor this month and have you talk about your annual giving opportunity, Tie One On Day. I am very curious about the evolution of this idea, and was wondering how this idea got started?

I was rolling dough for “one more pie” for our Thanksgiving feast, when I suddenly took stock of the amount of food I’d prepared for the next-day’s holiday meal. For a dozen guests, it was just too much! Deciding our company absolutely did not need another dessert choice, I spontaneously wrapped a sweet in a handy piece of cloth…an apron. Then I wrote Thinking of You on a notecard, and still wearing my own apron, walked out the door. Within a block, I was presenting the wrapped treat to a very surprised neighbor, who I’d heard was experiencing a difficult time.

Walking home, I couldn’t stop smiling. I hadn’t anticipated that acknowledging my neighbor with a baked good would have me feeling positively buoyant. I decided right then to figure a way to share my discovery and in doing so, getting others to give from the heart before giving thanks.

And so, eight years ago, I created Tie One On Day as an opportunity for people throughout America to share their good fortune with someone in need of a kind gesture.

Vintage collection display kitchen (2)

2. What is the significance of giving an apron and a baked good the day before Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for recollection, making new traditions and sharing. The apron symbolizes these concepts. Through Tie One On Day, people not only make a difference in someone’s life, but also honor the humble apron and the spirit of women who donned the universal symbol for home, family and mothering. Women clad in aprons have traditionally prepared the Thanksgiving meal, and it is without our historical linkage to share our bounty.

What with technology replacing face-to-face communication, the act of writing a note and delivering it with an offering is an expression of kindness itself. And bread is the ultimate expression of this, because it is the basic comfort food.

Give us this day our daily bread is not just a prayer. The words are a reminder that to have more than daily bread is to be blessed.

3. Why are there sponsors to Tie One On Day and how can people enter for their giveaways?

The more who participate in TOOD, the more who experience a gesture of kindness. For this win-win to grow, people need to become aware of TOOD and join the grassroots movement of this yearly event. The giveaways are provided by sponsors as a way of attracting new participants and thanking one and all for spreading the love that is Tie One On Day.

Sponsors become involved because they believe that change can come through kindness. I approach each with a request for their support of a donation of goods for giveaway. The listing of sponsors and their giveaways is on my website www.apronmemories.com. The giveaways are too fabulous, from a year of wine, aprons, books, gift certificates, goodie bags, memberships, and much more.

Entry is deliberately easy. Go to my recent blog post about Tie One On Day(HERE) and share how you will participate in TOOD and you are entered!  Only one entry is necessary for the four scheduled giveaways.

4. You are pretty much the Queen of Aprons. Tell us, how big is your personal apron collection? And do you have any favorites?

I’ve been collecting and receiving “custodial” aprons since 1999, which adds up to a lot of aprons! For years, the living room wasn’t usable because aprons were stacked and piled everywhere. Today, dozens of aprons hang at ceiling height in my creative room. I love being surrounded by them – though many are similar in design, they’re individually sewn and like the homemaker who wore it, each is totally unique. I don’t have a particular favorite, but there are aprons I’m more drawn to because of the fabric or color of the binding or use of rick rack. Despite having hundreds and hundreds of aprons, I still have the need to create an apron. Sewing an apron brings me incredible joy.

Vintage collection display aprons patterns (2)

Apron, patterns and etiquette book collections

5. Of the books you’ve written, The Kitchen Linens Book happens to be my particular favorite. Whenever I read it, I always think that you must have an enormous linen collection. Where do you keep all your lovely linens?

I adore household linens!! And as with the aprons, the beauty of my cloth collection is inspirational. The living room has amazing floor to ceiling southern-facing windows, with a northern wall. Because the sun doesn’t reach the wall, it’s here that I showcase linens in a glass front cabinet from the Victorian era.

I use the goods without concern for stains, and since I like to iron, washing and ironing napkins is my domestic zen. I used kitchen toweling for curtains in my creative space, and I’m always wrapping a hostess gift in a bit of vintage cloth.

Redo_color inspiration www (2)

The creative space’s colors were inspired by this piece of vintage cloth

Creative Room Bulletin Board 1 www (2)

Bulletin board of ever changing happiness

6. Are all the linens and aprons pictured in your books yours? If not, does that mean you get to see other collections? Is there one in your mind that stood out.

The linens that aren’t mine belong to the storytellers. In order to have them photographed for the book, the goods had to be sent to me, so I got to admire their loveliness in person!

When possible, I visit other collectors, whose obsession is in sync with mine but different…like buttons.

The most interesting visits reveal the totally unexpected, as when I drove to a small prairie community and the home I entered was of the most humble exteriors, but inside was a domestic museum. The owner’s family had lived on the land and in the home for generations, and nothing had ever been thrown out. Each room held multiple collections of items I’d only seen in photographs. It was a thrilling experience.

7. Do you have any other vintage or retro collections?

I love exercising my wallet at estate sales and antique malls! I have wonderful collections of sewing patterns, etiquette books, cookbooks, assorted luggage, flashcards, barrettes, hankies, hair dryers, floral vases, bowties and the old primary readers.

Vintage collection display sunroom (2)

8. What is your favorite place in your house right now?

After years of procrastination, I redid my creative space and it is the happiest, most inspiring environment.

Redo_ creative chaos room www (2)

Creative Space – Before

ea 1 (Large) www (2)

Creative Space – After! Room ready for the PBS Vintage Collector’s Series interview. Curtains of favorite toweling

9. If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be?

A biscuit slathered with warmed homemade pimento cheese. I recently purchased a Kitchen Aid and I love this appliance. I was never a bread maker, but with KA, I’m turning out amazing biscuits, pasta and pizza dough.

10. What book or books are you currently reading?

The Obituary Writer and behind the beautiful forever are great companion reads. My daily reading though is old magazines, which I buy up in stacks. I find it fascinating to flip through a women’s magazine dated 1910.

Especially enlightening are magazines from the war years. Women were essential to America’s home front survival and we rose to the occasion. I think the current revival of domestic skills, like sewing and preserving, is exciting and in tune to the capabilities of women of earlier days. In other words, we’ve always had the skills, and the time is right for resurrecting them.

Kristen_Living Room (2)

Our living room!

11.. What apron/baked goods combination are you planning to give out for Tie One On Day this year?

A plate of biscuits and store-bought jam repackaged in an old jar. I’ve been saving the blue plastic container that mushrooms come in. The size is perfect to line with a napkin or hankie and fill with the food, jam and a little spoon.

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your home and collections with us, EllynAnne, and all the details about Tie One On Day. We are very excited to have you be part of No Pattern Required this month!

Be sure to visit EllynAnne’s website if you would like to learn more about Tie One On Day or would like enter into the Tie One On Day sponsor giveaways.

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5 Responses to Share An Apron And Some Good Wishes This Thanksgiving With Tie One On Day And Author EllynAnne Geisel

  1. Andrea Reply

    November 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    What a lovely idea! This is something I could definitely get on board with. I am also a fan of The Kitchen Linens Book. Welcome!

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    November 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Super fabulous idea EllynAnne, kudos to you for all of the good that you do! So glad to have you here on No Pattern…..and wow – your house is just AMAZING!

  3. tammyCA Reply

    November 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Oh, I have her book..and, a tiny one, too! Colorful table linens are my weakness, too.
    Great idea for sharing some kindness!

  4. Pingback: Generous Giving Promotes Acts of Kindness | Apron Memories Blog

  5. Becky PS Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

    EllynAnne is every bit as gracious and wonderful when you get to meet her in person! So neat to read your interview. Thanks for featuring her and promoting Tie One On!

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