Stories

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

My maternal grandfather, Garth Williams, didn't live a life that can be summarized in a blog post. He lived in at least five countries, married four times, had six biological children and a stepson over a span of nearly forty years, played classical guitar, restored an old hacienda in Mexico, and illustrated dozens and dozens of children's books including classics such as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, the Little House in the Prairie series, the Rescuers series, the Cricket in Times Square series, and Bedtime for Frances. Listing those book titles makes me feel antsy, because so many other books are missing. Equally delightful books....

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Sewing thimble

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

Sewing thimble

Years ago, I made a quilt by hand, without using a sewing machine. I read books and taught myself how to quilt through the fabric and batting layers. And I followed the authors' instructions to use a thimble.  Since then I've found it hard to hand sew anything without the protection of my thimble. I can, but I feel naked without it. I have strong feelings about many of the tools I use. As a maker, these tools are almost as meaningful to me as the things I make. I created #toolsontuesday to keep up the practice of sharing stories...

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The best spade

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

The best spade

Spring is taking way too long to arrive this year but garden fever has set in all the same. This afternoon the sun was shining and I took my tea out to the patio and scrabbled around in a corner of the flower bed, cleaning up and dreaming of dividing plants and digging holes for more. This is my garden spade. I bought it nearly ten years ago. It was the first garden tool I purchased when I finally got my own garden. It's fabulous. It has serious heft and has never needed sharpening. And there's something about it that makes me feel competent and powerful....

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Darning mushroom

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

Darning mushroom

This darning tool was my Scottish grandmother's. I inherited her sewing supplies and this was tucked into a box full of embroidery floss and darning wool. I googled a bit before writing this post, and discovered that this must be a darning mushroom. Or at least the mushroom top. It must have originally had a stem, possibly hollowed out to hold darning needles. I had no idea! I just know from experience that the gently curved dome and the softness of the wood make it a very useful tool when fixing a sock. Tuck it into the toe before you start...

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My favorite stapler

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My favorite stapler

People can have strong feelings about their staplers. I do. This is my favorite stapler, bought at a thrift store for $1.50 many years ago. I think its design is a perfect melding of function and aesthetics. The area that holds the staples isn't disguised or dressed up, it just is what it is. And the big round button on top of the leaver is incredibly satisfying to hit. The stapler can take it. It's built to last. I have strong feelings about many of the tools I use. As a maker, these tools are almost as meaningful to me as...

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