Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Power of Pictures

Most bloggers have commented that the photographs they have taken have caused them to look and think twice about the subject matter.  Maybe it's about how well a garment fits.  Sometimes it's about the scale of a print....or the location of a few motifs on a body.  The camera was useful on my last project for showing me what didn't work about one of my embellishing ideas.
It is enlightening and surprising as to what the camera reveals and what it also conceals.  I'm thinking a lot about this topic in the last two weeks since I am getting a chance to see pictures that have been "hidden" from view for more than 40 years.  My brother is scanning a collection of family slides from our childhood and sending me the pictures.  I have the strange sense of being totally familiar with the setting, the people, of course, and yet being remarkably surprised and shocked by what I am seeing.  My family took slides rather than photographs since slides were less expensive to have developed.  On occasion we would pull out a projector and screen and project these slides to the boredom delight of visiting family members.  But my parents left that home more than 38 years ago and I had already been gone for six years by then.  So these pictures are both old and new to me.  
On the sewing front, one of the things that jumps out at me is that I have pretty much the same body shape and posture that I did as a child.  I have a rather columnar body which might be thicker or thinner over time but is still a column.  That low right shoulder from scoliosis is evident in my earliest pictures.  Mildly surprising that I was never diagnosed and I distinctly recall my mother hemming coat sleeves one Easter and telling me that my right arm was longer than my left.  Nope, turns out that my right shoulder is dramatically lower than my left but otherwise they are just arms.   
1964 or 65

So if the "Mad Men" art directors want to get 60's details right, they can just give me a call and we can examine some of these pics for clues.  I've selected these few to share with you because all of them show me wearing something my mother sewed for me.

Also, I know you'll get a kick out of this picture in particular.  This is the very first year, most likely 1963, that my family could afford to rent a small bungalow at the Jersey shore   These were plywood 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom and about the size of a two car garage, a whole huge development of them, reach-out-and-touch-you close to one another.  My mother packed food and groceries so we wouldn't have eat out except for the one evening that we went out for her birthday.  Let me tell you, staying for a week at the shore, going to the boardwalk one or two nights and spending every waking hour on the sand or in the water....was better than a summer at the Hamptons or some beach in Greece.  These are happy, fun memories for me.  But what I had not remembered was that we had to bring our Sunday best clothes for Mass on Sunday.  I howled out loud when I saw this picture.  Yes, my dress isn't the best for my size and body type (I was my tallest by the following year) and my mother's dress is beautifully tailored but seems to have been an upholstered chair in another life....but did you get the gloves?  In all the packing and preparation that had to go on for this trip my mother did not forget her Sunday gloves.  

The last picture was taken at my grandparent's home.  My how our picture and expectations of grandparents have been changed by baby boomers.  I think you can tell from our clothes and body language that my grandparents were friendly but reserved around children, not the fun-loving grandparents of today.  I'm also very glad today that clothing for tweens has dramatically changed.  I'm wearing something that would have been appropriate on my Betsy McCall paper doll but I'm in 5th or maybe 6th grade and could definitely use a wardrobe do over.  

No sewing going on here but I am starting a new jacket project that needs some planning and design work before I cut out the pieces. 

 In the meantime, I am canning away.  Last night was a wonderful new red pepper jelly recipe from this new pectin that I had read about, Pomona.  Pomona Pectin  The recipes can easily be made low or no sugar and the package contains enough for several batches.  I've made eight jars of peach preserves and these five of red pepper jelly and I still have maybe half of the package to use.

50 lbs of tomatoes are turning into tomato sauce and also this wonderful creamy gazpacho recipe that I've adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
Creamy Andaluz Gazpacho

the raw materials of my latest projects


  1. A graduate student told me that, wherever she travels, she goes to Sunday mass. She has never failed to score a Sunday dinner invitation abroad. Imagine being invited to eat real meals with real people instead of hotel food. She also says that mass is both the same and different everywhere; that's what makes it interesting.

  2. Jane, what a great post...I know some of the same pics are in our family. BTW, is the anything you can NOT do????? Tina

  3. I enjoyed seeing the pictures. They are wonderful quality, probably because they were originally slides rather than photographs. We are also eating and freezing (no time to can) lots of tomatoes and peaches. Yum!

  4. yummy yummy and yummy looks like your putting up some great stuff!


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