Thursday, January 8, 2009


When I went back to Palmerton for Christmas my parents threw me a party. They invited old friends and neighbors into their home to celebrate the book's publication. People I hadn't seen in years came to wish me well, have some nog, and dig into some pie. But out of all the guests - one person floored me with an amazing gift, my hairdresser.

Stacey had been cutting my hair since I was in Junior High. She's a short, spikey-haired, spunky, gal who over the years has watched me grow up. My mom's been going to her shop for decades, so for Christmas she gave each of the stylists a copy of Made From Scratch. Stacey really liked it. For some reason, it really touched me to hear that from such a background character of a past life. I don't mean that in a negative way, but hometown hairdressers are people you seldom see. To hear she remembered me, read my book, and was inspired to plant some veggies after so many years since I sat in her chair... well it was downright touching.

She came with a gift. Out in her car, she told me between sips of punch, were quilts her grandmother made. She said she had so many of them, and wanted to give me a pair for the cabin. I almost fell back. She then brought them inside. One orange, and the other teal. (Incidently, my two favorite colors.) They were so beautiful. There is something unspeakably beautiful about handmade things designed to do simple tasks. Things that keep you warm, feed you food, or haul water to the garden. I think old quilts, cast iton teapots, and old rusty watering cans are beautiful in their loyalty and utility. I feel that way about most things.

After the holiday was over and I was driving home to Vermont, I kept looking in the rearview mirror at them to make sure they were still there. It just was so unbelievable to me, that I was bringing them to Cold Antler. Now they are in my living room. At night I curl up under them to read or watch movies. They keep me warm, in so many ways. Thank you Stacey. And thanks to everyone who said a kind word or picked up the book over the holidays. Everyone who reads this blog, or pages through the book, is a part of a quilt in a corny metaphoric way. A thousand little pieces coming together, following a story, and hoping it turns out to be something worth settling down with.


Blogger Sojourner Design said...

I agree Jenna, hand-made textiles are incredibly wonderful.

The quilts are exquisite; I especially like the orange one; makes me think of Pumpkins and Pomagranits.

Handmade textiles and their makers are undervalued by many, and it's good to see that your hairdresser values those quilts enough to share.

January 9, 2009 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger busymama said...

What a generous gift that will make many warm times for you. Congratulations on the book...I intend to get a copy and devour it. I love your blog and have been reading for quite a while now. Keep it coming!


January 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Barb and Steve said...

Those are beautiful quilts. I have a quilt from my Grandma which I cherish. I have started to save scrpas of fabric & hope to make my own one day. It's a nice thought to think I'll have thte time to do that in the future!
I love your blog, read it everyday. We bought a farm in Wisconsin & try to get there most weekends from IL. This is our homesteading dream. Check out our blog is you get a minute.
You are an inspiration to me!
Take care,

January 9, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger pleintexas said...

What a beautiful gift from the heart. When I get away from my computer day job, I can go to my happy place (home) and work on quilts. When taken care of, they can last for generations and oh the stories they have seen! A quilt can warm the heart and soul, as much as the body.

January 9, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I read your book the other day in practically one sitting and loved it for both for its wittiness and its accessibility. I work at an independent bookstore and have now recommended Made From Scratch to most of the staff and several customers.

Also, I've been trying for more than a year to win my boyfriend over to the idea of chickens and after reading your chicken chapter I decided that's it, we are getting some chickens.

January 9, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

your book was amazing, and i'm a huge blog fan! As a hairdresser, this post touched me enough to comment. I liked the way you describe her as a "background person," because that's totally what i am to my clients. And your story proves that we DO actually listen to what our clients say (except when the blowdryer's running!), take them seriously, and think about them and their accomplishments long after they've left our chairs. A hairdresser's clients are background people for her own little landscape. Thanks for the post -- it was very sweet.

January 9, 2009 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Diane! did you get the late newsletter? How was it?

mary, thank you!

barb/steve - i saw the blog, totally jealous.

PT - right on

Megan, do it!

Amanda, you're welcome!

January 9, 2009 at 10:26 PM  

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