Firewood and Batter Bits.

Mark Powell shares a few family memories of home - thank you!

"..Our family wasn't poor but lived in an old cottage with only an open fire for heating. In the 1960s my mother used to collect fallen firewood using my pram as wheelbarrow. She still sat by an open wood fire in her last winter (2013/14), still didn't have central heating..."

"..Favourite vegetable: broad bean tops (plucked out to deter blackfly) closely followed by broad beans, both with parsley sauce.

Favourite treat in 1970s: 'batter bits' from the chip shop.."

"..1970s memories that would give H&S nightmares today: Flicking mercury around like miniature footballs. Getting teenagers to demolish asbestos barns. Shotgun lent against many barn walls. Broken light switches that gave you a jolt if you fumbled for them in the dark..."

"..As a kid, planting runner beans on a 'planter' behind a Fordson Major. Farmer noticed I was snacking on the beans. They were 'dressed' with pesticide. He showed me how to induce vomiting with finger at back of throat. Got the rest of field planted and received pocket money..."

Click here to follow Mark on Twitter - you'll learn loads about lichens.


sew sew

adding a bit of zing with yellow bias-binding
wrap apron in the making
cyanotype fabric prints selected from my drawings of home


In and out of the kitchen - Documenting the domestic - ideas for a new apron.

 Fabric in the making for a new apron.

On January 1st 2018, I started a personal project - a drawing a day for a year. using a black rollerball pen and watercolour paper cut to pocket size. I set out to draw wherever I was, not go somewhere specifically to draw. I nearly failed the first week, with a few drawings made late at night, but once I got into the habit, I started to enjoy it.  

Inspired by patchwork - incorporating an old duvet cover.

Many of my drawings became about the domestic environment from community kitchens, to a new recipe tried out by my dad for the first time, trying to find the right cooking utensils.  Looking back through a year of documenting, many are from in my own kitchen. Each drawing holds a memory, from jam making, bread making in winter to rainy days when laundry dried indoors on the clothes maiden and the endless washing up. 
Out of the  Blue
Blue prints tacked ready to hand stitch - wrap apron in the making.
One of my hand stitched quilts - made from my old jeans, bed sheets and Joe's shirts.   
A new wrap apron in the making.  The imagery will be sourced from my stack of  2018's  365 drawings a day.


A Caithness Collection - house dresses, Wrap aprons, pinnies - all worn by one remarkable woman.

Sheila Moir couldn't get my lichen inspired wrap apron on quick enough!
This photo of me and Sheila was taken by Carole Whittaker at Mey & District gardening club.

Sheila gave me her own collection of aprons:

21 aprons, pinnies and tabards, all ironed, folded, packed away neatly in storage boxes, and labelled.

When I first became fascinated by wrap aprons and all their variations over time and  in different countries, I hadn't anticipated  the most comprehensive collection, all worn by one remarkable woman, being quite so close to home.   Now in her 80's, Sheila Moir from Scarfskerry, Caithness, just a few miles from me, is well known for her photography, but when  she invited me over to see her aprons,  I wasn't expecting to see such a fantastic collection of garments unfold before me. 

Sheila used to be a clippie (bus conductress) in Caithness, and when she returned home from work, she'd slip an apron on over her uniform. 

With a huge thank you to Sheila, I'm now custodian of this collection. 

A wrap apron. 

This is Sheila, a few years ago, at Castlehill Heritage Centre in Caithness. She's with artist/basketmaker, Tim Johnson. They are both holding  heather creels (once used to carry fish).  Click here to read more these heather creels.


treacle toffee

My grandmothers hand written recipes
new aprons in the making. test piece - digital print onto cotton


My grandmothers recipe books

I have a folder packed with my grandmothers recipes, hand written in a lined jotter and a notebook specially designed to collect your own. All carefully written out on  blue letter writing paper, envelopes and more. Its quite a collection, with lots of recipes cut out from magazines, saved to use again.   I also have my grans copy of Mrs Beaton's Cookery Book and still use her weighing scales each time I bake.

Parcels of parkin and treacle toffee regularly made their way to us by post. 
They didn't last long! 

Reading these brings back memories of 'helping' her in the kitchen and makes me want to bake some of her recipes - but they will never be as good a gran's.

Documenting the domestic.

treacle toffee
my grandmothers hand written recipes
new aprons in the making.
test piece - digital print onto cotton


4 loaves - still hot

 A windy day means baking in my kitchen. 
 4 loaves ready.  
Chocolate cake has already been eaten. 
Pizza dough nearly ready for adding topping. 

Amy Turnbull shares her childhood photos.

 "... Me in one of the many pinnies I had growing up! 

For me it was part of the theatre of cooking and baking, like an integral part of the process. Not that I would have been allowed not to wear one because as you can see I was a messy pup!..."   Amy Turnbull from Glasgow 

I wonder what she's baking?!


Aprons from the early 1900's in Western Pennsylvania & Western Maryland

Karen Brooks from Maryland and West Virginia shares a wonderful selection of old family photos and current apron obsession!

 "..... some old photos of family members with their aprons on . The oldest are from the early 1900's and are of my great great grandmother's....." (above)

my great great grandmother Caroline Wilt Mcfadden

 these more recent photos are of my mom Gail Papke , 
she was an excellent seamstress and her apron won a ribbon 
at the Maryland state fair

my sister Kelly wearing that apron

"....The next photo (below) is my sister Kellys apron collection , most were hand made by our mom. My sister and I have had a love of aprons from early childhood. We both feel a sense of nostalgia and closeness to our mom , grandmothers when we get our aprons out, it is even more comforting to put one on when cooking or baking. Call it silly but whenever I see an old apron in a thrift store, I feel the need to rescue it because some ones mom or grand mother spent a lot if time in that apron cooking and baking for loved ones. I have my own apron collection ....."

family friend of my grandmothers 1950s
"...We are in Maryland and West Virginia of the US. My grandmothers and great grandmother's lived primarily in western Pennsylvania & Western Maryland. My great, great, great grandfather Ezra McCoy emigrated from Scotland late 1730s . He was of Whiteside decent/ Lanarkshire area ...."

5 generations of apron wearers!

Thanks to Kirsteen Oliver for sending these images documenting 5 generations of her family and aprons! 

".....  I read about you on the Scottish Field FB page.  What a great idea!....."

  1944 – my Great Granny Mitchell, Muasdale, Kintyre
She led the horses during the harvest in return for food for her hens.

1970 – my Granny Beaton and me.  My granny’s pinny being used to collect eggs.

Butterbridge, Cairndow Estate, Argyll, 1970.   My grandpa was one of the Estate’s shepherds.  Butterbridge had one of the larger sheep sheds on the Estate, it was used constantly throughout the year. The Estate shepherds would meet at Butterbridge and work together gathering the hundreds of sheep from the hills, bringing them down to sheds. The shepherds needed fed. The Estate provided the basic provisions, ordered from a grocers in Inveraray and delivered to Butterbridge. Granny provided the meals and was paid a small amount for her time.  I loved pottering about with my grandparents, playing in sheds, keeping up with sheepdogs, feeding lambs and hens.  Here my granny and I have just been to the henhouse – my granny’s pinny being used to hold the eggs.  Spot the mangle in the background!

My mum and me, Craig Dubh, Inveraray, Argyll, 1968.  Baby feeding time!            

Granny and Grandpa Beaton, Cumlodden, Argyll, 1984.   My granny was a great home cook, busy in the kitchen and always wore a pinny.

Aunty Morag – Granny’s little sister, the last surviving child of Great Granny Mitchell, now 92, still wears a pinny.  and my daughter, Garelochhead, 2005.   Aunty Morag, Granny’s little sister,  is last surviving child of Great Granny Mitchell.  She still makes pancakes and wears a pinny!

QOH – I have a friend who designs logos for my aprons  - previously I was Queen of Hearts, Cakes and Tarts, this photo was taken with Clyde, the mascot for Glasgow Commonweath Games. 

GBBO 1 and 2 – my daughters at Moffat Gala Fancy Dress Competition, 2013

New Apron Logo – I changed the business name to Granny Beaton’s, so my friend, a tapestry weaver designed the new logo.  I wear the apron at my stall at Farmer’s markets around Glasgow.

".... If you like nostalgia, have a look at my website, I have told some of my Granny’s story of her life as a shepherds wife in Argyll...."