We’ve moved!

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lovely friends and followers-

Please adjust your readers, browsers, and expectations – Girl of Cardigan can now be found at www.girlofcardigan.com!  Please come hang out with me.


Friday is for snuggling. And links.

September 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon

Lovely friends-

I hope your weekend is full of snuggles.  Snuggles are definitely in the air, I believe.  Some link love for you:

Homemade sriracha?!?  Yes please!

Oh plaid.  I just love you.

Can someone build one of these for my parent’s backyard?  I’m thinking it could work as another guestroom.  For me.

I’m thinking I might make a bunch of swatches and pin them all over a wall and call it art.  Love.

For all you fashionable bike commuters: this is awesome.

How sweet is this tiny fashionista?  I dig her outfit.

The first picture in this post makes me all kinds of happy.






Cry Me a River

September 14, 2011 § 5 Comments

I’ll admit it: I’m a cryer.  I cry, well, I cry an annoying lot.  I cry listening to a good song, hearing a good story, or watching moments in movies or tv shows I’ve already seen.  I cry anticipating watching moments in movies or tv shoes I’ve already seen.  I cry when I think about certain people, certain flowers, certain events.  I cry fairly reliably when anyone says the word “dog.”  I cry out of frustration, in the middle of any argument, and when I’m just plain tired.  Waterworks abound around here.*

There is little that frustrates me more than being a person who cries out of frustration – and you can imagine the terrible spiral that creates.  Coupled with a life long battle to overcome a deeply routed perfectionism and powerful pride, my teary habit will nearly inevitably rear its ugly head in all kinds of inconvenient situations – on airplanes.  At work.  At the mall.  Frustration births a powerful headrush of teariness, the holding back of which will compound my frustration, and so on and so forth until a tear escapes and alerts everyone to the state of distress I’m in, which adds embarrassment to the frustration and good Lord here we go.

I’ve spent more time trying to convince myself not to cry than doing just about anything else in my life.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m not a wuss.  I’m not a pain crier.  If you punch me, I’m not going to fall apart on you.  I understand that frustration is a part of life – I’m not afraid of it, nor do I avoid conflict with the fervor I did in my youth.  I expect and accept that I will let people down occasionally, and rationally realize that most of the time it won’t be the end of the world.  But I’ll probably cry about it.  Because I simply can’t help it.

I’ve tried long and hard to eliminate crying, but the bottom line is, it helps me to cry.  That pent-up bit of nastiness that forms at the back of my throat disappears with the release of a few quiet tears, and I can go on with my day.  I’ve been known to lock myself in a bathroom or corner myself in a closet at my workplaces just to let it out so I can move on.  I’m not concerned about its effect on my job performance, my makeup, or my self worth – all of them are pretty immune to damage from a little salt water.  But people’s perception?  Now that concerns me a little.  Because the presence of a tear or two is a one way ticket to “emotional crazy girl” land.  A land I’ve fought hard to avoid.

And I’ll admit it – even I judge people when I see them crying.  My first response to someone crying in a situation where toughing it out is expected (an office building, a competition, a reality tv show) is not so much sympathy as “Oh, please.  Cut the drama.”  Which, when armed with the knowledge of my own typical flight or cry response, is a completely ridiculous thing to think.  So I’m vowing, at 7:07 on a Wednesday morning, to check this bit of judgement at the door from now on.  To treat crying as a perfectly inevitable human response, and as long as it’s not a weeping and wailing spectacle with obvious ulterior motives (reality tv show again), treat it with a hand on a shoulder and a good conspiratorial wink.  Because it happens to all of us, occasionally.  Some of us more than others.

Not that this new acceptance is going to keep me from going to the closet to cry it out.  We do what we gotta do, kids.

How are your tear ducts, friends?  Do they betray you in inappropriate places and times?  What assumptions do you make when you see someone crying in public?  When’s the last time you cried in a completely embarrassing way?


*It may be worth noting that I have a weird inability to cry at times when it would be appropriate to do so – like when everyone else is crying because they’re genuinely sad.  No tears for me at funerals or going away parties, but I find tears of joy irritatingly contagious.  I’ve cried when a stranger finds her wedding dress more times than I can count.  My tear ducts have a seriously messed up set of priorities.

Photographs and Memories

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just a little photographic evidence of our late summer adventures to share:


Yesterday was Thursday.

September 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Lovely friends –

I hope you have fantastic weekend plans!  Fave and I are having a houseguest (hooray for the wonderful Tamara!), going wine tasting with friends, and celebrating a wedding – all in all, promises to be a pretty swell few days.  Here are some links to peruse in your down time:

How to stay inspired from a girl who knows.

This DIY might be a bit too girly for Favorite to get behind.

These photos are pretty crazy.

To be reserved for serious sweet tooth days.

Who needs mustache mugs for Christmas?

Ridiculously cute edible penguins.  And I’m not even into penguins.

Thing to do with zucchini #497.

A cute outfit and a super easy hair tutorial!


Love Letters.

September 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

I’ve spent some time on this blog telling you about my grandfather and the letters he used to write me.  Today, feeling busy and a bit uninspired, I thought it would be fitting to share one of his letters that most inspires me with you.  

This letter begins with a page and a half on the study of optics – my grandfather was a teacher first, and though I love every word of that artfully presented science lesson, we’ll pick up on page two of this letter.  

Dear Karen (it’s 1994, so my name still has an “e”… in three years, I’ll change to a “y”)

…What I was going to write to you about before the spoons came up was your poems.  Now having a copy of all of them, I am impressed all over again.  It’s hard to believe these are the poems of a sixth grader.  They are excellent.  I like best the one that expresses the thoughts of a sixth grader.  It shows a recognition of things that an adult cannot imagine an eleven year old thinking about, or if they do think about them, they are unable to convey those thoughts as you have done.  I think it should be published.  Surely there are magazines for kids that use such materials.  As I recall, your mom was going to look into that possibility.  Has she found anything?

Recently there was a TV interview with the author of a book of poetry called Deadline Poetry.  The title had to do with the nature of the poems, political satires that were written about current news and therefore subject to publication deadlines.  It made me think of some of your limericks, which were not included in the poems you printed for us.  It gave me an idea for something you might like to try that, if done cleverly, could be fun for you and your whole class at school.  Could you, between now and the end of the school term, come up with a series of limericks about little incidents that have taken place during the school year?  Could you produce a personal limerick for each person in your class?  Perhaps there might be a combination of the two.  It would be a priceless 6th grade souvenir for each of your classmates.  It would also give you practice in developing a means of communication that could mean years of fun for you and your friends, and even the possibility of profit if your future work proves salable.

If you were to attempt this project, you would have to be very careful about personal feelings and be sure not to offend anyone.  A satire, which often involves holding someone up to scorn or criticism, would not be appropriate.  At the same time, a funny incident in which someone made a silly mistake might be recalled in a limerick IF the person is big enough to laugh at himself or herself and see the humor of it instead of being embarrassed by it.  If you think there is such a person and situation, you might write the poem and show it only to the person- nobody else at all – and ask if it would be okay to use it, or if they would prefer that it not be used.  That way you might be able to take advantage of memorable moments without hurting anyone.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” should be your guiding principle.

I said above that writing these limericks would “give you practice in developing a means of communication that could mean years of fun for you and your friends.”  I was thinking of Roy Dunton, a good friend of ours who is an expert in this sort of thing.  You have met Mr. Dunton several times.  Once we walked from your house on Baron Drive to where he lived in Los Gatos.  Roy entertained us at parties with his poems.  Some were his own fictional creations about garden hoes and flowers that grow upside down.  Others were about people in the group; some of these, if I recall correctly, were in limerick format.  Anytime somebody moved away, Roy had a funny poem of some length about the departing family that was read at a going away party.

Roy had fun doing these things, and he brought laughs and entertainment to all of us for many years.  It appears to me that you may have some of this rare kind of talent that he has.  If so, you can enjoy it and give enjoyment to others too.  In fact, if you’re interested, I am sure Roy would be happy to show you some of his material, talk with you about what he does and how he does it, and offer helpful suggestions.  Incidentally, we have already shown some of your work to Roy, and he was amazed to realize that it was done by an eleven year old person.

One of the great tragedies of individual human experience is to have a talent to bring pleasure to others and fail to use it.  You have the talent.  Go for it; use it.

Much love,


Every 6th grader should have such a letter – a letter that matter-of-factly states their talents and also the responsibility they have to treat others kindly, a letter that seems to believe they can accomplish anything through hard work but will be equally valuable if they fail, a letter that reeks of love and leaves very little room for excuse.  I hope someone has written you such a letter.  I hope you will write one someday.


It Starts.

August 31, 2011 § 6 Comments

I’ve heard it said that we Portlanders live for the three or four weeks of balmy sunshiney summer we eventually get around to in August.  I suspect for many of us that’s true – only in Portland have I witnessed such a dramatic change in behavior due to sunshine.  Suddenly, people are out everywhere doing everything and wearing very little.  It’s neat to see (sometimes more neat than others),  but the California kid in me gets bored with warm and sunny as quickly as my popsicle melts, and I find myself skulking around in the air conditioning waxing poetic about what’s coming next.

Because this Portlander?  She lives for fall.

photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon. Click through for her work.

And fall is coming.

Isn’t that the best combination of words you’ve ever heard?  No phrase is as sensorily evocative for me as “fall is coming.”  A change in the wind, a chilly day, a grimace from a sane, warm-weather loving friend, and I’m in an altered state of giddy apple cider drunk anticipation.  I can smell fall – cinnamon and woodsmoke, dried leaves and fresh pumpkin, wool and late tomatoes and bales of hay – number 2 pencils and new shoe leather and pure anticipation.  I love it so much I write basically the same blog post every year in an attempt to convince you that you love it too.

By far the greatest thing about this coming darkness is the huddle.  The days get shorter, the clothes get infinitely cuter, the air gets cooler, and people start to touch again.  Suddenly, pairs walking on sidewalks will link arms to fend of the wind.  Hands will be held, no longer sticky from sweaty afternoons and berries and cotton candy.  Couples will creep to the same side of the bed again, after months of fan-assisted languishing on opposite ends of unbearably cozy mattresses.  Dogs and cats will be invited back on to laps.  Blankets will be shared.  People will huddle.  It’s the loveliest thing in the whole of the world.

This fall, I want you to live it – to smell it, taste it, embrace the heck out of everything and everyone.  Engage in those nutty hayrides and silly rituals and that fabulous color palette.  Plunge your hands ungloved into the ooze of gutted pumpkins – bake something that smells like home – spend hours marveling at the impossible many colors of leaves.  Meditate on the folding phase of the seasonal cycle put in place by an infinitely creative and scandalously beautiful God.  Cozy up to Him, cozy up to everywhere.   Breathe deeply.


Cheap Thrills: $5 Etsy Finds

August 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

And now it’s time for Cheap Thrills: $5 Etsy Finds – the part of the blog where Karyn finds five things on Etsy that she thinks are cute that cost a mere $5 and all the people go “eeeeeee!” at the cute cheapness.  Click the pics to visit the Etsy listings.  Today I offer you:

If you live in Portland, they make you do this.  May as well get some cute typography involved.

The three times a year I use a checkbook, I’d like it to be wearing this.

I firmly believe you can never have too many felt flowers.  Never.

Practically, this idea is a dud – glittery clothes all day every day.  But aren’t they so, so pretty and shiny?  I know, right?

These are cute, and orange.  Win win, I say.

How about you?  Find anything good on Etsy lately?


In Other Words

August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today’s In Other Words is a blog kept by one of the most talented writers under 21 I’ve had the good fortune to meet.
Despite my obviously tendency to write borderline Disney-esque prose, I’ve always had a pretty deep affection for the brooding writers – writers who can harness the grayer, grittier pieces of life and turn them into something beautiful and worth keeping. Such is the talent of one Dashiell Finn, whose haunting, provocative, and unexpectedly lovely poetry and short stories you will find here: dashiellfinn.tumblr.com (sorry no link…our interwebs are on the fritz, so I’m attempting to blog from my phone)

Also, here is a picture of cake. Maybe. If it shows up.


New Winner!

August 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Due to the lovely generosity and pay-it-forwardyness of my knitty friend jazznjava, we have a new winner – randomly chosen commenter #8!

Congratulations, Aubreylaine, and happy almost anniversary!  Just let me know what color you’d like, lovely, and I’ll send it off to you soon. 🙂  You’ll have an email from me shortly.