Saturday, April 7, 2012

For the Love of an Artist

Anyone who knows anything of me, knows of my love for the artist and illustrator, Tasha Tudor. The first book I ever received of hers was a copy of Becky’s Christmas in the early 60’s as a gift from my mother. It was during a time that I was reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I was swept away into history and times past with images of family life in those settings. As an adult, Tasha’s quaint illustrations became my inspiration for not only taking time out to celebrate and handcraft throughout the year, but also to weave into my life, time for embellishment and illustration in whatever I was doing.

One of our favorite books when the children were growing up was Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep.

Now, this simple book not only had an influence on the wardrobe choices of my daughter Nelly, who, for several years, would only wear calico or flannel long skirts, often with an old lace tablecloth draped around her shoulders as a shawl, but also the actions and adventures of many of our family activities. It is funny how something so simple as the illustrations in a book could have such an influence on the celebrations that marked the time of my children’s childhood days.

The pictures were pleasant and sweet, the words were few, but were just enough to inspire us to gather together and create our own special holiday home crafts and activities.

One year, for Nelly’s 8th birthday, we even made our attempt at the August cake that drifted down the river, as inspired by their favorite pages in the book....

” But best of all- the birthday cake came floating down the river.”

Our attempt was not quite so awe-filled as the book, but still brings a smile to my face as I remember our son Matt pushing our kayak from behind under the water with a fireweed adorned cake on top. I chuckle when I remember as it emerged around the corner on that one Alaska light filled night at Skater’s Cabin. I fondly remember Nelly with her pinafore dress, all the girls with their triangle shawls and those young boys with hand sewn neck kerchiefs, watching it arrive safely on the shore of the banks of Lake Eyak. Those surely are memories of "A Time to Keep.”

Since Tasha Tudor's passing in 2008, her family has been carrying on her legacy, preserving and celebrating her lifestyle and art, and now has some special things to offer true to her memory. We, at The Net Loft, would like to share some of these with you and are now carrying some of these items at the store.

First off, is her wonderful cookbook, one of our family’s favorites, The Tasha Tudor Cookbook.

I can absolutely guarantee that you will love the recipes. and book illustrations. Her pancake recipe is a family favorite and our copy has many drips of butter and batter on the pages that automatically open when you open it up just to prove it.

There is a wonderful blueberry coffee cake and delicious hot cross buns that are perfect for Easter morning.

The book is laced with her sweet stories and illustrations , and right now we have several copies available at the shop.

The next Tasha Tudor treasure we are stocking is Tasha Tudor's very special goat’s milk soap. I thought these soaps would make a lovely addition to an Easter basket, or even as a special Mother’s day gift or birthday present.

These goat's milk soaps are SO very sweet. They are handmade in Vermont, and come in an illustrated keepsake gift box ( which of course I would save to keep treasures in) Scented with essential oils, these wholesome five ounce cakes of soap are sculpted with pictures drawn from life at Tasha Tudor’s Corgi Cottage and made with goat's milk, which has a pH level similar to your skin so you get clean while keeping the healthy oils you need to stay moisturized.

The next gift item comes from CLICKS, those great magnets that encapsulate the artwork of various artists. Anyone who loves the artwork of Tasha Tudor will love these magnet sets.

They are perfect and amazingly strong to secure children's artwork, important reminders, and other precious papers onto the family fridge, office file cabinet or any other metal surface you like. Contains 4 magnets, one of each image. Excellent for Easter baskets! In addition, we also now have in stock, a couple styles of her greeting cards as well.

Last, but not the very least, are limited edition seed packets from Tasha Tudor’s garden. I just have a small number of these and wanted to give you a chance to purchase these now, so if you are wanting to start your indoor seedlings, you will have plenty of time. Bellflower, columbine, forget me nots…embellished with Tasha’s illustration, these seed packets make a perfect spring gift for a gardener friend or treat for yourself. These will be out in the shop the day after Easter, and limited to supply on hand.

I am very excited to share these Tasha Tudor treasures with you, and hope you will find as much pleasure in them as I do. They are perfect for springtime gifts, and we hope to add to our collection of her books and gift items in the future.

I have always felt Tasha Tudor to be a bit of a kindred spirit. She loved to knit, to make things, to paint and draw, to work in the garden, to bake and to create and cultivate very special memories with her children. It is the time we take during these precious times that we look back on and remember with a smile. They are the memories that we hold on to, rather than those more difficult times we had best let go of and release.

I am thankful for those precious times and fond memories, and look forward to the next generation of family gatherings and activities just waiting to be created in the future. It takes just a little time some times to do those special little things, but they are the touches that enhance our daily lives and a way to show our love and care to those we love, plus it is ... just plain fun... in its purest form.

Happy Easter one and all..
with love,
Net Loft Dotty

For more information about Tasha Tudor go to their family website:
Photo of Tasha Tudor by Richard Brown
all Tasha Tudor images copyright Tasha Tudor

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