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Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Afternoon with Tasha Tudor



Several members of the Maryland Chapter of the Tasha Tudor Museum Society gathered today to hear Tasha Tudor's "Gentle Wit & Wisdom."  Even though we had to settle for Tasha's visit on a cassette tape, we felt she was sitting at the end of my dining room table talking about her life as we made cut-wool rabbits. . . .

Tasha was is in fact sitting in her own front parlor in 1996 talking about her childhood...how her father would read poetry that would give you goose shivers and how he could quote the Rubiayat of Omar Khyyam from memory.  She said her mother surprised her with a dollhouse that took her a whole year to make since she had to do it in secret.   Her mother also loved gardening and made a sunken garden.

Tasha only made it through the 8th grade.  Her family felt she'd never succeed at anything--but she showed them she said.  Some other tidbits:  her father owned a trained seal; she bought her first cow when she was a teenager from an uncle with money she'd made by having a nursery school in the Bahamas while staying with her mother one winter.  Her uncle sent her the cow when she got back to Connecticut along with her money.

After she grew up and had her own home Tasha had a menagerie of animals.  She likened her farm to Dr. Doolittle's.  Her pet crow, Edgar Allen Crow, followed her around as she hid jelly beans for the jelly bean hunt for her children one Easter.  When it came time for the hunt, no jelly beans could be found anywhere.  It turns out Edgar collected them all and hid them in the barn.  He would always call out to the children "Don't fall off the barn."

She made her brother a linen shirt from flax she grew herself, spun it into thread, wove it, and then sewed the shirt.  It took her 3 years from start to finish.  When people say they want to be just like her and live a simple life, she'd tell them to just be themselves.  She says it has to come from within.  As much as she loved all the things she'd done in her life she said she was happiest right now.

As we listened we wrapped yarn around a cardboard disc to make the pom-poms which would be used to make the cut-wool rabbit.  I made the above rabbit using the template and instructions in Tasha Tudor's Old-Fashioned Gifts . . . .




But then I found a tutorial on YouTube for an easier way to make the pom-poms. . . .

                   
   

The table was set with the supplies we'd need.  I provided a rabbit to model for us. . . .

Linda and Cindy are working hard on their bunnies. . . .

Linda had to leave early, so she only got her 3 pom-poms put together and would finish it at home. . . .

Cindy used a curly yarn and made a rabbit that looked a lot like a lamb until she added the ears. . . .

I made another rabbit with a lighter yarn and added a button nose this time that made it look a little like Gabriel.  I still need to give my bunny a clipping to give him some shape. . . .

In Tasha's book, A Time to Keep, she writes, "Easter week we all made pretty Easter eggs and had hot cross buns for tea". . . .

So, that's what we did--have hot cross buns for tea. . . .

Here is Tasha's receipt (recipe). . . .


Cindy gave me this delightful hand-painted egg she did from one of Tasha's drawings. . . .


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

22 comments:

  1. Cathy, I always enjoy seeing what your Tasha Tudor meetings are up to. Cute crafts and lovely hot cross buns to enjoy--Many blessings to you and your family this Easter! ♥

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    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen. Many blessings to you and your family, too, this Easter!

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  2. What a lovely gathering! I taught the rabbits at our first Take Peace gathering in Vt. My husband cut all the templates from wool. Oh we had fun! Such a lovely gift your friend gave you, a delicate egg with hand painting-a treasure! I love Tasha's Hot Cross Buns and make them every Easter. Have a joyous Easter Cathy!
    Take Peace,
    Suzanne

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    1. You should try the round cardboard discs. I found it much easier. My hot cross buns didn't rise as much as I thought they should have. They were more the consistency of biscuits. Are yours like that?

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  3. O Joy! Such fun you ladies have! Thank you for sharing, and for including excerpts from Tasha's books. Happy Easter!

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    1. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the excerpts from Tasha's books. I love sharing them!

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  4. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, crafting with friends and afternoon tea. Easter blessings.

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    1. It IS much more fun to craft with friends!

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  5. What a lovely gathering Cathy.
    I love the little rabbits, we have that book so maybe next year we will make some when the girls are a little older. They have done poms poms before but got in a knot or two!
    Your hot cross buns look wonderful, we have some to eat today & also some for Easter Sunday.
    Sending Easter blessings to you & your family.
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. Never having made hot cross buns before I don't know if they rose enough. They seems more like a soft scone, but they tasted good nonetheless. I think the round discs were much easier to maneuver than the templates used in the book. Once you got your disc started it was easy to just keep going back and forth. Sewing the pom-poms together might be a bit tricky for the girls, but that could be your contribution. Everything else can just be glued on if need be.

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  6. You come up with the best ideas for your TT meetings. I would imagine it would be pretty cool to listen to her voice while you eat her recipes and make her crafts. I learned more about her from this post.

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    1. I'm glad you learned more about Tasha. She was a fascinating lady.

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  7. Dearest Cathy,
    Oh how fun and joyful this gathering looks to be!! And in your newly finished room it must have felt so nice :-)
    The bunnies are so cute!! And the cross buns and tea looks so very inviting yum! What a nice table you set!
    Such a great get together!! And what a sweet egg that you were gifted, so pretty!!
    Many sweet blessings may your Easter be lovely xx Linnie

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    1. Thank you, Linnie. I hope your Easter is blessed as well.

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  8. What a lovely time you had. Your beautiful new dining room and yummy food was the perfect setting. The bunnies are so cute. What an adorable idea. Happy Easter.

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    1. Thank you, Lilly's Mom! Happy Easter to you, too.

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  9. Wow, it's amazing that Tasha's parents didn't think she needed to go any farther in school than eighth grade. Of course it was a completely different time. A lot, probably most, girls didn't go onto to high school, and certainly college at that time. The universal goal was to have girls marry and start their own families. But it still sounds unusual to me, in this age, that her parents considered her adequately-educated by the age of 13, especially when you think of what she went on to achieve. Reminds me of stories my mom told me about her mother. My maternal grandmother lost both parents by the time she was 11 [I think], and was sent to live, along with her little brother and sister, with her paternal grandfather and his second wife. Apparently the second wife, who was NOT her grandmother, basically abused Grandma, forcing her to do the most miserable housework jobs [cleaning chamber pots etc], locking her in closets if she became belligerent or sassy [something Grandma was known for all her life-LOL], even withholding food at times etc. The original wicked Step-Grandmother, huh? But Mom said this part was the worst. When Grandma finished eighth grade she BEGGED to be allowed to go to high school, and the step-grandmother decided no. Apparently she didn't want the expense involved [clothes, books, trolley etc] and she especially didn't want to lose the excellent [and free] household help she had. I don't know where Grandma's grandfather was during this whole deal, but Mom and I decided he had to have been quite the henpecked piece of milquetoast. Anyway the importance of education was something Grandma always talked about later. She told me at my high school graduation how glad she was I was going to college, because "your education is something no one can EVER take away from you..." Anytime someone mentions girls and education I think of Grandma and my Mom's stories about her difficult childhood. On a brighter note, the little wool rabbits are adorable. Not something I could ever do, I don't think, since my skills with yarn are negligible. Just ask my college roommate and my aunt, both of whom tried, on special occasions, for over a year to teach me knitting and crocheting. All I can do with yarn is wind it. PS - is everything in your kitchen and dining room finally installed, stained, waxed, buffed to perfection and completely-finished? Oh and have a wonderful Easter weekend. Hope we get to see some pix of Olivia June in her Easter finery! xoxo

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    1. Janet, that is a sad story about your grandmother, but not too unusual. My husband's father had a stepmother that favored her own children over the children from the first marriage. The same thing happened on my Dad's side--only it was his mother who was the step-mother. As for the rabbit, if you can wind yarn then you can do this one because that is how it's made! You wind yarn around a template to make a pom-pom and sew/glue the 3 sections together (head, body, tail). Quite easy. I'm working on the countertops now (putting on tung oil). They have to cure for 2 to 3 weeks, then we'll install them. We're celebrating Olivia June's birthday on Easter (it's actually the 9th) so I'll have lots of photos to show.

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  10. What a charming and magical post you share today. I love the Tasha rabbits! The curly yarn one has a very special character, but they are all sweet and springlike! Your hot cross buns are much better looking than mine, which are slightly over baked due to an ill~timed telephone call.
    Such a lot to learn about Tasha, and I'm so pleased that you take the time to pass the information on, for I am always eagerly seeking out to learn about this particular heroine of mine.
    Sending Easter Blessings to you and yours ~~~
    ~~~Deb in Wales

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    1. Because I've read every book, magazine and web page on Tasha Tudor I forget others may not know everything about her that I do. I'll have to add more tidbits in future posts. Thanks for your lovely comments, Deb

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  11. That looks such fun and a wonderful way to celebrate Easter Tasha's way. Sarah x

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