Childhood memories are peculiar things. There are moments captured and burned into memory like a still photo. The memory of voices carry emotions that bring the distant scene to life in an instant. I don’t remember that much from New York, I was only four after all. But I do remember my great-aunt’s pool (pool’s are impressive to all Alaskan kids). And I remember the tractor ride. Not one of those leisurely hay rides around the farm on a picturesque fall day. Instead my younger brother and I were being pulled in a little trailer by my great grandfather, booking it down the highway at a speed that hay rides are not. More than anything, I remember being scared, and the look of terror in my parents’ eyes as we were being blasted away, and them trying to get him to slow down or stop. Obviously we survived to tell about it, but it is a memory, nonetheless.
I have always wished I had more memories of New York, because that’s where my mom’s family’s roots are. I love the stories my grandparents tell of their families, of growing up, farm life, life thru the Depression, and World War II. I have always loved history, and even more so, the connection to my family, connection to the past. In it, there is a sense of identity, of belonging, of understanding me and this thing called family that we’re fitted together in. I have often longed for New York to be closer to Alaska, to experience family, and I am every so grateful for the family that has visited the Last Frontier.
Many, many years ago, my grandmother brought me a gift from her home in upstate New York. She had been taking care of things as her mother had passed away, and thought I might be interested in fabric that had been hanging around that old farmhouse. Fabric pretty much always interests me, but when it comes with a story, when it is attached to people who are important to me, it is all the more valuable.
One of my favorite fabrics my Grandma brought home was this navy blue butterfly print with a truly vintage vibe. I always imagined a little girl prancing around in it. But four boys later, the little butterfly print was still sitting in my fabric stash. When my dear cousin was having a girl after two boys, I knew it was time to share it. She loved our great-grandmother so dearly, I knew it was what I should do. It was honestly, one of those deep sacrifices, because it was something I had longed for and saved for well over 15 years that also represented a dream. I knew she would appreciate the fabric and the sentiment more than anyone, and it was worth it. It was worth blessing her with even if I never got to use it for the purpose I intended.
A little over a year after making my cousin’s daughter the adorable butterfly romper, I was pregnant with my own daughter. I had saved a bit of the butterfly fabric to still use it for some outfit. Then I found this grey based butterfly print at JoAnns and imagined it coordinating beautifully with my great-grandmother’s fabric.
And since my daughter is moving into toddler sizes, the vast array of patterns available are becoming great. I chose another Violette Field Threads Pattern. The Ginger pattern is vintage inspired, and has a variety of options in length and style. With her still crawling a bit, I wanted it short enough for her to be able to crawl, but still look like a dress.
I used the Clara Baby pattern for the bloomers and added a bit of length and a ruffle and coordinating band. I barely had enough fabric, and had to improvise a bit, but that’s always a fun challenge. The bloomers were actually cut out of a blouse that had been started by my great-grandmother many, many years ago, and was never finished.
I love, love, love the way it all turned out. So girlie. So vintage. So adorable.
And the props, you guys, I have to be honest, sometimes I have just us much fun dreaming up a photo shoot as much as the project itself. I guess it’s just another creative outlet. But this gorgeous little desk sits in my greenhouse! I am contemplating where it can go in my house, because I fell in love with the patina on the wood and curly iron back. They just don’t make school desks like they used to!
My sweet daughter was the perfect model that lovely fall day.
It’s funny pulling together a vintage school day photo shoot with a 14 month old. I know that day will come all too quickly. I will continue to enjoy all the moments wrapped up with my little one; but hope pulling Legos, slugs, and dog food out of her mouth will quickly become a thing of the past.
And I hope little butterfly dresses and bloomers help hold the memory of our connection and past to a little farmhouse in upstate New York, and the ones who lived there.
I also want to give a huge thank you to my friend, Melissa Ray, who was also a photographer in this photo shoot.
Thank you for stopping by,