Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sewing and concealed shoes...

Eliza is fascinated by people, and in particular, what people wear. When we learn about a new country or a new artist, or read a new story, she wants to crawl into the life of the other person by trying on their clothes. Yesterday it was a sari, inspired by a collection of photographs in a book called Circle of Life. Out came the Daring Book for Girls, where she found the section on "how to tie a sari".
We didn't have the right length of material (5 to 9 yards!), and my shama, from Ethiopia, is much thicker a material than a silk sari, but still, I think she did pretty well.
Along with this fascination comes a desire to make clothing, something which I am woefully inept at helping with (with the exception of the recent t-shirt skirt successes!).  When a friend generously offered to let us in on a barter she had made with a massage client, we jumped at the chance.  This friend loves trading skills, and has long been wanting to remember how to sew on a machine, and to sew a skirt in particular, so that was our project for the day.
Eliza is a natural, and loved working at this straightforward machine (no foot pedal! push a button! slow, medium, fast! WOW!).  She is at such a good age for this work...
Ari worked on a skirt too (wait, that's not Ari working on that skirt...), made out of fabric from a pillow case - so cute.
Little did we know how interesting our visit would be! Not only is V. a dynamic and engaging hostess and a patient teacher, her husband R. entertained us with his jokes and the fabulous smells of his cooking, and we got a historical tour of their 1874 saltbox house.  They have gutted it and are working on it still, but there are exposed beams the length of the house, hewn from a single tree...and there is an Adena-Hopewell burial mound right outside their door. The people who originally built the house didn't discover that that was what the "big dirt pile" next to their house was until an uncle passed away and they used the mound for a temporary burial while waiting to put him in the cemetary. When they dug him up to move him they found several jawbones and other artifacts that were  eventually carbon-dated to that period.
Their elderly neighbor was one of the six children born in the living room of the house.
And when gutting the living room, they found a shoe in the wall.  V. built a small cubby in the spot where it was found, between two supports, as shoes were often placed in walls while a house was being built, for good luck.  There it sits, partially hidden by an easy chair, in the living room.
photo by Eliza
photo by Eliza
 So, voila - at the end of the afternoon, a skirt.
With a very nice ruffle.


Reba said...

Wow. What a crazy unusual post in a fun way! Sounds like you all had a full interesting day! Liza great job on the skirt. :)

merry said...

I am so impressed, Eliza!That's a beautiful skirt and one you should be very proud to wear!Deb,what can I do to encourage more of this?Should I be looking for a more powerful sewing machine for you guys?A sewing kit?Some fabric?Exciting new ideas for Christmas!!!And I'd LOVE to see this house!!

alissa said...

dude. I love your life. I know that you just see things as natural, they just appear for you, but they don't. you have a magical way of creating wonderful experiences for yourself and your girls. it's amazing and awesome.

my word verification today is: bakeding. yum.

Stephanie said...

Hooray for sewing! And for interesting days, too! :)

Annie said...

What an incredible history story! I can't help but want to know more and more!

Happy sewing! xx

Anonymous said...


I am researching concealed shoes in the United States for my Master's thesis. I would like to get in touch with the homeowners who found the shoe in the wall of their house. Could you please send me their email address or pass mine along to them? I can be reached at mcpratt AT bsu DOT edu.


Anonymous said...

I'm still very interested in finding out more about the shoe in the wall. Please email me at mcpratt@bsu.edu