Nov 032014 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl, Faby Baby14 Responses

525,600 Minutes – The Second Year

Dear Beautiful Girl -

You became a child in the moments I wasn’t looking – while I slept, or wrote, or there were dishes to clean.  Otherwise, surely I would have seen the shadows of your baby self fluttering from your face, witnessed the shrinking of the infant creases in your wrists and the disappearance of dimples on your knuckles.  Surely I would have noticed the moment the top of your head began to smell of sunshine and wet soil and Playdoh and strawberries instead of that unnamable new baby perfume. I would have captured each fragile moment of your metamorphosis, frozen and kept them, written each of them down. Surely I must have been sleeping. Surely I must have been doing. Because look at you, beautiful magical child of a girl.

Look at you.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

There is a core of fire that runs in you, a deep and profound confidence, a sureness of self that you wear in your eyes and your tiny new voice and your goofiest smile.  It is the thing that holds you, that stands you on your feet in rooms of strangers, meeting their eyes, holding their hands, singing them songs.  It is the vault of your secrets, the part of you that waits to reveal what you are learning, what you are seeing, what you know, until you have it all mastered and the moment is safe and specific and completely yours. You trust your own timing. You carve your own way. You meet strangers from a place within your spirit that knows its own worth and trusts the God-thing in new faces, the potential for love, the desire to play.

I envy this in you, the Fableness of you.  I watch it, and learn it, and let you teach it to me.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

You, at two, are generous with kisses.  You are prone to spontaneous bursts of enthusiastic hugging.  You are fully convinced that life is not worth living unless we stop and dance whenever you feel the rumble of heavy bass.  You love your grandparents and aunts so passionately that occasionally, when they are not with you, we must yell their names in car at the top of our lungs, a lament to the heavens for the brutal injustice of their absence.  You are convinced that all food falls into one of two categories: soup or cake.  You prefer the latter.

And somewhere within you is a magic bit, a fiery core, a sureness.  I watch it, and learn it, and let you teach it to me.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

You love Daniel Tiger with a love that borders on obsession.  You take fantastic care of your babies, kissing and wearing and tucking them in.  The sight of a bus sends you into literal spasms of joy.  You call all the trucks and trains and trolleys “Toot.”  You still laugh whenever the wind hits just right.  You still take my face in your hands like you’ve been trying and trying to tell me something I haven’t understood.  You still prefer to fall asleep on the back of my neck or lying with our noses touching, eye to eye.  Your feet no longer fit in the palms of my hands.  Your feet used to fit in the palms of my hands.

You are still the thing for which I am most profoundly grateful, still the someone who drives me to ground and renew and trust and seek after my maker, still my very best girl.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

My promise to you, tiny beautiful magical child of a girl, is to name the sureness in you, to remind you of it, to feed it and nurture it and help it to grow.

Happy Birthday to you, my most beautiful girl.  I have loved every minute of your second year on earth, and I promise you that I will love every minute of every year with you that follows, even the hardest minutes, the angriest, the bleakest.  You and I will continue to work our way through our imperfect days – we will rely on grace, we will cling to each other, we will celebrate.

We will measure always, always, always in love.

The Second Year - Girl of Cardigan

image by Shannon Hannon Photography

Girl of Cardigan

A note to you, reader: Some day, our girl will come back and read these letters – I’d love for her to know the names of the friends and strangers who have watched her grow.  Now is the moment to let us know you’re here!  Please leave your wishes for Fabes in the comment section below, so I can share them with her, as I have shared her with you.  

 

 

Oct 162014 Posted in The City, The Lists4 Responses

Local Good – Portland Goodness for Your Fall

Local Good - Portland Goods for Fall - Girl of Cardigan

I don’t do a lot of round ups around here, but you all know how I feel about fall – specifically, Portland fall.  Love.  Big, big, cozy wooly love.  I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite autumn things that are made right here in Portland, that you might share in them, love them, snuggle and knit them, and generally take a touch of my favorite season in my favorite place into your home if you so choose.  Because FALL guys.  Fall.  Mmmmmmm.

1) You can’t fake Portland fall without legit coffee.  Thankfully, the seriously legit folks at almost-too-hip-to-handle Coava will ship their delicious magic to your door.  Sweet of them, no?

2) For those of you with littles, cold season is often completely un-fun.  I love this all natural alternative to Vicks to rub on congested little chests and the soles of sleepy toddler feet.  Baby Carrot Children’s Herbal Chest Rub.  Maybe also I use this on myself.  Maybe.

3) I always want to knit green things in the fall, so my seasonally misaligned cravings bring you this delicious wool from Knitted Wit.  Dyed to order and available in several weights.  Heavenly.

4) The difficult-to-track-down-but-so-incredibly-worth-it Mulling Spices lip balm from Wee Mindings.  It isn’t on their website, but email and ask for it.  Reminds me of the Lip Venom I was addicted to in high school, but without the numb and swelling cinnamon madness and, instead, just the perfect spicy lingering yum.  If you’re local, I picked this up at Portland Homestead Supply Co in Sellwood.

5) Local artist Scott Erickson is one of my favorite artists and humans, and I am seriously coveting one these Society6 totes with his Rise print.  Society6 is hit or miss for me, but I do love their totes, and this one... yes please.

6) My friend Mollie of Simply Carried just introduced me to the magic that is the Green Tea Facial Cream from Urban Oreganics.  Guys, I have the most incredibly sensitive skin, and thanks to my dance with Acutane in early adulthood, my face basically falls off every year in October.  It’s incredibly attractive.  This completely organic, vegan, magical cream is saving my face.  Literally.  Face SAVED.  I cannot say enough nice things about it.

7) It’s fall.  It’s fall, so we eat chocolate – that’s a thing, right.  If you’re going to eat chocolate, eat this chocolate.  You’re welcome.

8) House Spirits Coffee Liqueur is one of my favorite things to give as a gift, to get as a gift, to cozy up to… it’s delicious.  I dare you to find someone who doesn’t like it.  Okay, no, your teetotaler friends don’t count.  Nice try though.

My loves – cozy up.  Cozy in.  Stay healthy, keep your faces on.  Love your fall.

Girl of Cardigan

Disclaimer: No products, money, or other incentives were exchanged in the making of this list.  I just really like this things and thought maybe you would too.

Oct 022014 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl10 Responses

Dear Beautiful Girl – The Story of Orange

Dear Beautiful Girl -

There were pipe cleaners spread between us on the floor, feathers and buttons and bells and beads for fairy building on a rainy afternoon.

“Red?” I offered.

“Nuh”

“Green?”

“Nuh!”

“Pink one?”

“NUH!”

I watched the river of tension begin, the one that travels your tiny body when the words to communicate the thing you want most will not come.  It starts with your fingers, which form tight balls of fist on stiffening arms.  Your knees flex, your torso bounces, your head protests violently side to side.  I watched the river run through you, tiny beautiful wild thing on the other side of the pipe cleaners, and with a touch of desperation I asked you a question.

“Which one do you want, baby?”

You stilled, suddenly, and looked me square in the face with those wide wild blue eyes and said firmly:

“Orange.”

Dear Beautiful Girl - Orange - Girl of Cardigan

Which is how I discovered you can say orange, and at the same time, that you know your colors.  I handed you the orange pipe cleaner, and you smiled casually and went about your fairy building business.  I, baffled, spent the next hour grilling you – “Which one is red?  Which one is brown?” and watching in disbelief as you chose the correct pipe cleaner EVERY SINGLE TIME.  You had shown no interest in colors, never indicated that you might know them, never before been able to point to the “red circle” or grab the “blue ball” and here they were, all colors, suddenly yours and owned and mastered.  I did not teach you this.  Did I teach you this?  Did you teach it to yourself?  Were you teaching me?

Maybe Elmo?

You are a keeper of secrets, tiny wild thing, wood sprite, tempest mine.  You hold your cards close until you are sure of your hand. You wait to reveal your strategy until you know the game is already won.

Your words are coming, flooding in now by twos and threes in a day, but they were slow to find you, and my heart breaks for the disappointing times I haven’t been able to interpret your frustrated grunts and gestures.  I can’t imagine how strange and silent it must be to understand and not be understood, how noisy and cluttered the things you want to say must become on the back of your tongue.  I can’t imagine the chorus of learning and knowing and becoming that is booming in your mind.  Words have always been my gift, and I am desperate to give them to you, impatient to share them, terrible at waiting, ready, ready, so ready to know.

“Mama. Dada.” you read, pointing to the letters on the drive-through sign.  Later, you are at your chalkboard scribbling “letters” underneath the ones you asked me to write and muttering “Mmmm. Aaaaah. Mmmmm. Mama.”

Everything is stirring.  Anything might be.

Dear Beautiful Girl - Orange - Girl of Cardigan

Minutes ago, and also years, you were the tiny body held closest to mine, soothed simply with carrying and feeding and songs.  You were mine as much as the palms of my hands or the beat of my heart.  Now, seconds later, a swift skip in time, there are secrets between us – things you know and have not yet chosen to tell me, things you are that I haven’t discovered, things you want to say that are simply awaiting the words.  And motherhood is always the opening and the breaking, the push and the pull – as you are becoming, you are more and more your own and less and less mine, but as you are becoming, I have the privilege of getting to know you, the you I will know for the rest of my life, the you I will watch you grow into.  There is always, daily, the loss and the gain.

I sneak into your room in the early morning and whisper words into your sleeping ears, the ones that I want to give you, the ones that I want you to keep.  I love you bigger than the sky.  I love you deeper than the sea.  I pull your damply sleeping big girl body onto mine and breathe in the still-baby smell of you and give you the best of the words that I know. I love you wider than the world.  I love you taller than the stars.

You are my favorite mystery, tiny beautiful girl, and I count and I cherish your words as they come.  And time is a thing that will keep on slipping as we try to catch it.  Let us revel, let us whisper, let us celebrate the trying.

Girl of Cardigan

 

Sep 252014 Posted in Wear Your Baby142 Responses

The Catbird Seat Giveaway

Lovely friends -

It has been a long, crowded, hot summer full of projects and tantrums and giggles and growth.  We have added six chickens to our family.  Fable has added dozens of words to her vocabulary, including orange, but not including red, green, or blue.  I got to officiate not one but two beautiful weddings.  We’ve gutted and rebuilt a room of our home, visited friends and family, and generally had a lovely time.  And I’ve missed you.  And it is my absolute joy today to welcome you back to GOC with the reveal of one of our summer projects, of which I am incredibly proud, and a fantastic giveaway for you.  Yay fall!

I’ve come to love my friends at Catbird Baby this year – loved working with them and learning about the carrier industry, loved their creativity and the way they welcomed me and embraced what I can contribute.  Last June, Beth and Nicole flew up to Portland, and together with my gorgeous friend Liz of Fishgate Films, a few friends, and this lovely city, we made The Catbird Seat, which has become one of my very favorite things.  I’m so glad to finally share it with you!!!

Catbird Baby makes a fantastic couple of carriers, and they have such a heart for families and babies and safety and connection.  It has been my privilege to work with them, to use their wonderful product to carry my girl, and now, to share it with you!  Catbird Baby has generously offered one winner their choice of the carriers featured in The Catbird Seat.  You can choose the Catbird Baby Mei Tai in Sunset or the Annika print, or the Catbird Baby Pikkolo in Zephyr Gray or Georgia print.

Both of these carriers offer four positions (front facing in, front facing out, hip, and high back carries) and both are fabulous for babes 8-40 lbs with no infant insert necessary (YAY!  I hate me an infant insert.)  Either one would be a fantastic addition to your existing carrier collection, or a wonderful first or only carrier for families just getting started with babywearing.  You also get my help making sure you are completely hooked up with all the tutorials and answers you need to make sure you’re using your new carrier well (you sort of already have that and can email me anytime, but hey, free carrier!!)

Details on how to enter are below!  If you need help choosing, well, you know where to find me! A winner will be chosen and contacted on Saturday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Psssst… want to double your chance to win? Head over to the Catbird Baby blog and enter their giveaway too!

Girl of Cardigan

Aug 182014 Posted in Just Words3 Responses

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila

Mom Jeans is a collection of thoughts on personal style from mothers of young children all around the world. Some are fashionistas, some would call themselves the furthest thing from fashionable – all of them are wildly beautiful, and all of them inspire me. Enjoy!

Mom Jeans: Notes on Personal Style - Girl of Cardigan

Hello, my name is Lila. I’m an urban-girl-turned-mom-and-maker, living in the city of San Francisco. Here I raise my little guy, Grayson, and run my business, Lingering Daydreams. I play hockey, make quilts, and explore with my husband, who I met in college many years ago. On my blog I write about my life, my love, and my adventures in entertaining. My blog started as a way for me to be sure that I was living in the present, dreaming and doing instead of getting lost in what could be. It continues to be that today, growing and changing with me and my life.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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My personal style is cozy/urban with a little hipster tossed in for good measure. It has been a fun road. I started out of college as an elementary school teacher and allowed what I thought teachers should wear to guide many of my purchases. Now that I have left the classroom, I have found the freedom to express myself in my style. So fun.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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Biggest challenge in maintaining my style? Baby puke. And dirty hair. Gone are the days of “hand-wash only” and blow-dry-and-go. Cotton is my new best friend, easy to wash and wear, and sock buns are an absolute go-to for me. I love how they look, they keep my hair away from little fingers, and they are quick once you get the hang of them.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

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My must-haves include:

- Layers! I especially love button down plaid shirts and large open sweaters. I like my plaid shirts a little over-sized, so I often go for a slightly fitted, mens shirt like this one. And I am a sucker for a sweater. Batwing, short, long, I love them all. I am super into the aztec patterns that are everywhere now, so cute. Both items are great for nursing and make a basic cotton tee look like an outfit.

Basic, comfortable t-shirts. Target is my spot for these. I literally wear them with everything. I even wore one with a gold sequin skirt once, no joke. You can dress them up with a cute skirt or dress them down with a pair of leggings and plaid shirt. They are soft on baby cheeks and easy to wash. Need I say more?

- Speaking of which, leggings. They are a staple. I love the ones from Lucy. Expensive, yes, but I found mine on Zulily for a steal. They don’t even flirt with being see-through and they have a little control-top action that is really nice to have in the weeks/months/years after giving birth.

- When I got pregnant, I started growing out my hair and my bangs. I had an idea for what was coming and wanted to be able to braid it or put it up out of the reach of little hands. Now, my favorite thing in the world is to simply twist, twist, twist, until is swirls into a bun atop my head. I use an hair band to secure it most days. If I am feeling fancy or want to feel a little more put together I use a sock bun roller like this one.

- I usually walk out of the house wearing Converse or boat shoes. Sperry’s are my favorite. Something I can slip on without too much trouble and still feel cute in.

- Great glasses and a good blush. I’ve always worn glasses, but now I appreciate them more than ever, it is like putting on eye make-up except easier. I love my wooden frames from Sire Crown, unique and beautiful. I have this blush in my bathroom and in my glove box. I find that on a tired day, a little blush makes me feel a little less tired looking.

 Mom Jeans: Notes from Lila - Girl of Cardigan

 

For more of Lila, who I will confess to having a massive girl crush on at the moment, please visit her blog at www.lingeringdaydreams.com, and check out her adorable Etsy shop.  You can also find her on Pinterest and Instagram!  Thanks so much, Lila!

Girl of Cardigan

 

Jul 232014 Posted in A Good God, Just Words, Love, The MotherHood5 Responses

Where to Build the Fences

The toddler is dipping her toes in the water.

Across the lake, yards that may as well be miles away from her, ducklings are marching a drunken parade that is the stuff tiny Fable dreams are made of, and she wants to hold one.  She knows that between them are the depths and the shadows and the cold of the water and her inability to swim, but she is a single-minded spirit with rebellion in her soul, and today her soul cries “Ducky.”

The water is deep, but she doesn’t see the water.  She only sees what she is missing.  She only sees what she lacks.

There is a rebel of a girl who lives deep within me who only sees the lack.  She rages about the missing thing, aches to give it a name and a face and a value.  She is fear and fire, and she plants her toes loosely on the edges of disaster and insists that fulfillment is somewhere waiting in the burn and the glow.  She believes that contentment is a thing captured and granted and anchors her will in the pull of the illusive more.

I used to hate her.  I used to hide her and shame her and scream blame at her fickle fearful grasping and her tantrums and her noise.  But I’m learning to see her for what she is, what she isn’t, what she doesn’t know.  She believes that contentment is a thing captured, but I know that contentment is a victory won.  Contentment is the war wound healed from the stubborn fight of gratitude.  It is the armor chained from carefully curated observations of grace – a head on a shoulder, a glimpse of salvation, the chirp of a cricket, the clothes on the line.  It is a thing that breaks and rebuilds.  It is a thing that is broken and rebuilt.

Contentment is not the capture and keeping of beautiful things.  Contentment is watching beauty from the shore with eyes full also of the beauty beneath our feet and in our hearts and in our hands and accepting that nothing will ever be complete here, but aren’t we all worth it, and aren’t we all tragic and precious grasping love with white knuckles, yearning to know each other, following each other home.

We are each other’s, the frightened girl inside and the toddler on the waters edge and the mother-me who is learning where to build the fences and where to tear them down.

Today, motherhood is taking the girl with the rebellion in her soul in my arms and carrying her away from the edges of rivers and fires and the siren song of want.  Compassion is hearing her protests and honoring the plain and lovely sadness of her loss.  Faith is a patient hand in her hair as long as the tears fall and the presence of spirit to place something beautiful into her empty, grasping hands (the rain on the pavement, the truth of a promise, the sound of you on my skin) and hope is the whisper “Hold tightly, tiny beautiful girl.”

Hold tightly, hold tightly, and never let go.

Girl of Cardigan

Jul 082014 Posted in Mom Jeans1 Response

Mom Jeans: Notes from Amber

Mom Jeans is a collection of thoughts on personal style from mothers of young children all around the world. Some are fashionistas, some would call themselves the furthest thing from fashionable – all of them are wildly beautiful, and all of them inspire me. Enjoy!

Mom Jeans: Notes on Personal Style - Girl of Cardigan

I’m Amber Christopher. I am a blogger at With Love, a personal lifestyle blog that covers design, fashion, beauty, food, and motherhood—all for the sake of inspiring women and fostering that village we all need. I grew up in the northwest, on a beautiful island in the puget sound, and have lived in Portland, Oregon for the past decade. I love Portland so much, I really can’t imagine living anywhere else. Though I do miss being a five minute walk to the ocean. I’m a mama of one charming, completely delicious little girl. Eleanor turned two this past February. Her personality is infectious and so fun, and reminds my husband and me to enjoy the present. She’s passionate and, consequently, stubborn- I don’t know where on earth she gets that from.  She has a huge heart and is so tremendously nurturing and loving. We call her our “little mama.” She is magnetic. My husband, Daniel, is every bit my better other half. He is far less selfish than me, and definitely the more patient and grounded one. He keeps me sane. And he’s like the best father. He gets her, and she is crazy about him. Seriously, I lucked out. I have been able to stay at home with Eleanor her whole life thus far. This will probably be changing in the not-too-distant future, which is very bittersweet for me!

Mom Jeans: Notes from Amber - Girl of Cardigan

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My style is a mish-mash of colorful and neutral, new and vintage. Feminine, but more and more minimal and streamlined as I’ve gotten older and become a mom. It’s stylish, but it’s also comfortable and easy, and with pockets. I like unique things. Pieces that look and feel special, and different from anything else out there. I don’t give too much to trends, but rather have always loved timeless pieces that I can keep and wear year after year.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Amber - Girl of Cardigan

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When Eleanor was first born maybe it was harder to adjust my wardrobe to my new life (aka, endless nursing), but slowly I grew into my new life and figured out a way to adapt my wardrobe without compromising my style. I think everyone’s style evolves as you get older. There is a natural editing process, not only because I am a mom, but more because I don’t have the room or time for things. My style is just not as fussy anymore, which I love!

Mom Jeans: Notes from Amber - Girl of Cardigan

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1. I love Everlane for basics (quality without breaking the bank). They just added denim/ chambray shirts to their line which I couldn’t have been more excited about. Chambray and denim are my second skin.

2. Dresses and onesies. They are cute, comfortable, and incredibly low-maintenance. You just add shoes and you’re good to go. I am currently living in Ace&Jig’s onesies and dresses and, well, everything. I’m totally obsessed.Their pieces are an investment, but, to me, a worthwhile one. They are quality made, so comfortable, unique, and timeless—-all of which outweigh being able to buy clothes more frequently for me. Other than that I love vintage. As a mom, I obviously don’t have the time anymore to scour flea markets and vintage stores but, Etsy and Ebay solve that problem.

3. I’ve always loved makeup, but, like my wardrobe, it too has been pared down since Eleanor was born. For example, I still always wear mascara, but just not really the eyeliner anymore.

I only put mascara on the top lashes. I feel like it makes me look less tired. MAC’s In Extreme Dimension is the best I’ve found so far. It makes your eyelashes do all right things. I’m a lipstick girl too. MAC Ruby Woo  and NARS Heat Wave  are my favorites. On the rare occasion I want to go with something less bright, I have really been enjoying Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose.  It moisturizes, adds a little color, and feels so soft. I’ve become more obsessed with skincare too as I’ve gotten older. Some of my favorite products right now: Coconut oil for my face and body, the stuff is pure magic…for like everything. Skin, diaper rash, sore nipples, you name it. My Konjac facial sponge . I had my first encounter with this natural sponge a few months ago, and I couldn’t believe how smooth and soft it made my skin. It’s only $10, and I hear it stands up to the Clarisonic! Win! Aesop parsley seed cleansing masque- pair this with your konjac sponge and your skin will be as soft as a newborns.

4. OLO scents are so lovely. They are locally made and the scents remind me so much of Portland.

5. As far as shoes go, clogs (No.6, Hasbeens, many of which I find marked down either on ebay or amazon) Saltwaters, or booties (Hasbeens, Frye, Dieppa Restrepo, again, on deep sale or ebay usually) are always on my feet.

Mom Jeans: Notes from Amber - Girl of Cardigan

For more of Amber’s impeccable style and the adventures of the fantastic Eleanor, visit her at www.amberchristopher.com.

Girl of Cardigan

 The gorgeous photos in this post are by Alyssa Elliot  http://alyssaelliottphotography.com

Jun 222014 Posted in Dear Beautiful Girl17 Responses

Dear Beautiful Girl – California

Dear Beautiful Girl-

My grandmother’s hands are holding your hands are holding my mother’s hands are holding my own.

California is a wrecking place for me, but long before the ghosts that haunt these highways and doorways and skies took up residence, it was a building place, and this landscape will always be part of me – and because it is of me, of you also.  Though I have tried to shake off California and leave it behind me, though I have painted Portland on my skin and woven it into my hair and my soul and made it ours, my childhood still lives in the smell of eucalyptus and the sweat of long summers and the swish pound constant always of the birthing breaking sea.

I hate and adore this place.  I need it.  I am California, or perhaps we are each other.

Dear Beautiful Girl - California

You, beautiful girl, you need the chance to make your own footprints on the places your mother skipped and ran and grew.  The deep welling in my stomach that accompanies our return to California shouldn’t starve you of the wonder of found seashells and the joy of my girlhood here and my grandfather’s lessons still echoing in the branches, fading but waiting if I show you where to listen.  I want to tell you only the best stories, but you deserve the whole truth, and the mistakes and the running and the regret and the sweet healing passage of time will be yours to discover as you grow here, as I grew here, in summers and Christmases and long books and sand in your shoes.

Home, my love, isn’t a place.  Home is a collaboration, an intimate collection of beating hearts and adventures and skin and brick and meals eaten and hands held.  Home will flex and change and narrow and grow – bits of it will chip away, arms that held you will become holy memories that you carry, walls that contained you will burn or fall or belong to someone else.  Words will become echoes, seedlings will root and grow and tower and fall, and home will still be a thing we are building, you and your loved ones and your Maker, and also my grandmother’s hands which are holding your hands are holding my mother’s hands are holding my own.

Home is a thing that travels, tiny beautiful girl, that you carry with you and tend and protect and nurture, a thing that in turn will tend and nurture and protect and carry you.  The ghosts and the laughter and the loss and the wonder – they are the building blocks.  The soil and water.  The bread and wine.

We will tuck the smallest pieces of home into seashells, whispering them deep in with the ocean sound and the salt smell and I will put one in your pocket, just in case.  I will tell you my stories, that you might know where you came from.  I will tell you my secrets, and remind you always whose we are.

Girl of Cardigan

Jun 022014 Posted in The Friends, Wear Your Baby13 Responses

Home – A Unicornio Heron Review

Before we begin, there are two things you need to know about me.  The first is that my wild, sleeve-worn emotions are extremely susceptible to tactile and aesthetic influence – in plainer terms, pretty soft things make me feel all the feelings, usually to a fairly ridiculous degree.  The second is that I am usually not the greatest patriot.  Grateful, yes, but passionate, eh, not so much.

There’s a gorgeous woman at our church who came here, years and years ago, from Africa, leaving behind family and babies and stories I will never hear.  One morning, as I was wrapping Fable, she looked at me with tears in her eyes.  ”I love this,” she told me, “This is how I carried my babies.  I love this.  I feel my home.”

This is what babywearing has been to me – a chord of motherhood, something ancient and true that ties me to mothers all over the world.  Learning to wrap my daughter has been a grounding force for me, and learning the feel and weave and artistry of the pieces of cloth I use to wrap her has fed the glutton in my soul that craves fiber at her fingertips, the drape of a well-chosen yarn, the calming presence of pattern and beauty and art the bends and snuggles and holds.

Home- A Unicornio Heron Review - Girl of Cardigan

Unicornio Heron* arrived today, and I loved it immediately, and this is why:

Right out of the box, there is something deeply familiar about this wrap.   Heron is your most loved pair of jeans – the ones you’ve worn nearly threadbare around the pockets, the ones with the perfect balance of stretch and structure and memory, the ones that you can’t replace because they’ve become softer than any others ever will.  There’s something in this wrap of that day I spent by the river holding someone’s hand, along with a splash of seawater, a firework, a faded photograph of the 4th of July.  I sat and I held Heron and immediately craved summer, maybe baseball, definitely apple pie.  Though I hate to call something so lovely an ugly word like “beater,” this is clearly a wrap that wants to go places – long hikes and weekend camping trips and beach days and fairgrounds and neighborhood potlucks.  This wrap belongs bunched in the corner of a picnic blanket or swinging as a hammock in a late summer backyard.

Home- A Unicornio Heron Review - Girl of Cardigan

One wash in, Heron is that sweatshirt you borrowed from your high school boyfriend – homey and comfortable and soft enough to be the only thing you want to wear.  Of course, it’s less like your high school boyfriend’s sweatshirt in that you desperately want to wrap your toddler in it, and when you do she spends the tedious-and-usually-loudly-protested minutes it takes you to take shameless selfies for the internet counting whimsical bunnies and birds and saying “Hi dog!” to all the unicorns.  She’s light on your shoulders, and it’s wearing the heat well, and oh but oh that perfect Pavo stretch… thinner and lighter than my other Form wraps, the passes glide smoothly and sit snuggly where they landed, and it tightens and adjusts like a dream.

Ask me about Heron, and I’ll tell you it’s a little bit country.  It’s a Bonnie Raitt song and a ride in someone’s truck and a good pair of boots, but also the stories your grandmother told you of her home in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, and the stories my grandmother heard of tapestries and kings and fantastical creatures.  And isn’t that the very stuff that makes us beautiful, this juxtaposition of marvelous things?  That’s a whole lot of wonderful for one wrap.

Home- A Unicornio Heron Review - Girl of Cardigan

Unicornio Heron arrived today, and I loved it immediately, and it made my texture-loving-geeky-artist heart thump around, but even more than that, it reminded me how much I love this country.  Heron showed up, the most charming, soft and lovely patriot, and made me feel my home.

Who would have thought?

Girl of Cardigan

 

*Unicornio Heron is a woven wrap from Pavo Textiles’ Form line.  For more wovens available from this line, visit www.pavoform.com.  If you’re interested in finding this exact wrap, well, email me and I’ll tell you what I know.  Also, this review was unprompted and uncompensated.  Sometimes I just want to write about things because I love them.

May 202014 Posted in Just Words, Love16 Responses

Legacy and Roses

The house we live in now was Favorite’s before he knew me.  He bought it from the estate of the original owner, a woman named Clara, who had recently passed away.

I don’t know much about Clara.  I know she had eccentric taste in wallpaper.  I know she preferred the security of a front window that doesn’t open, and that she labeled either plants or lost pet souls with hammered metal tags, marking planting or grave sites with tall wooden posts.  I know we credit her for the way the doors of this creaky place spontaneously open, for the strange settling sounds in the hallway, for the friendly way the house moves and swells and sings.

I don’t know if she had family, don’t know if she was lonely in her aging or contented in community.  I know that, eventually, she stopped changing the wallpaper, and that, eventually, she died.

What I know for certain, though, is that she loved the feeling of her hands in the soil, that she loved to cultivate the beauty of living things.  Every spring, when the ground erupts with shoots from bulbs that she planted, when strategically ordered hydrangeas and rhododendrons and dogwood blossoms begin to dance their colors in turn across the yard, I know that they are here by her design, an artistic echo, a legacy continuing on seasonal repeat.  I know that when my table is ripe with the fragrance of her roses, I remember her and whisper her name.

Legacy and Roses - Girl of Cardigan

Legacy.  How easy it is for us to get lost in the bigness of that word, in the depth of the things we have not done, in the grandeur of the things we wish to do.  How quick we are to believe that only the most obvious successes are important, that somehow the weight of our lives can only be measured by the sum of our awards and accolades and careers and contributions to science.  As though any of us are capable of more than just a series of small, raw, stumbling steps, as many of them ugly as beautiful, some of them leading to remarkable places, others just leading us steadily home.

It’s easy to forget, when the days stretch long and the dishes are many and our lives seem small and insignificant, that we are valued pieces of a winding, ancient story.  Our smallest contributions, our passions, our designed and designated loves – the dirt under our fingernails – the marks of these things stay.  Their echoes bloom in season.  Their purpose is revealed in time.

Bleed legacy into flowerbeds.  Use your time wisely.  Leave marks.

Plant roses.

Girl of Cardigan

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