Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homemaker in Chief

In law school at Brigham Young University (owned and subsidized by my church), I always knew at whose desk I could find the cookie of the week and whom to consult for knitting advice - Eliza.  She was quite famous in my class of 150.  She knitted in class, made amazing cakes for various occasions, and would return upon graduation to a beautiful country farm in Pennsylvania, a picture of which was printed onto her artistic business cards.  And she was smart, too.

I always envied her pluck, her care for fine ingredients and natural, organic processes (she bought a loom in law school), and knowing exactly what she wanted to do with her life.  I also imagined visiting her some day on that country farm and having my children come to know 'Aunt Eliza' and learn how to bake and sew and knit and be delightful in the process.

Well, the children aren't quite here (no, that's not an announcement, unfortunately), and she's moved to a country home with 30 chickens, a huge garden, fruit trees, and surrounded by "farmlets" in upstate New York (are all cities upstate called such if not The City?), but I did visit her this last weekend, and found all my fairy tale dreams to be true.

The loom, unfortunately, is gone, but she is dying her own wool with Koolaid (who'd have thought?!) and spinning it herself, collecting and selling eggs from her chickens, cooking up a storm with local, fresh ingredients (I had homemade bread, fresh, local cream, and just-laid eggs for a second breakfast there - unreal), has two adorable children and a doting husband, and has truly made herself a home.

She and her husband have made wooden furniture, a creche, cabinets and windowseats, bookshelves, a swingset for their daughter, a coop for the chickens, quilts, dresses, bonnets, aprons, shelves of canned goods, and the list goes on and on.

And I still envy her.  

Yes, her husband made the built-in book shelves

The adorable ottoman? Homemade.

Yup, homemade.

Her husband built this, and she had local Mennonites upholster the cover and cushions.


  1. What talent! I've always been fascinated with what I call the "old-fashioned crafts." I knit and crosstitch and I always feel this sense of connection to women in the past when I do. I love the tradition in knowing that my grandmother did this and 1,000's of women before her. I would love to learn to spin!

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. How charming. My mother so so good at all things crafty and old school. I have always said she should have been born in the 1860s. Sadly my attempts are not as successful. I lack the patience for most of it.