Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: The Snow Covers It All

Upper Michigan Blizzard

This is it: the great frozen north, separated from the great white north by an icy body of water that the Song of Hiawatha calls “Gitche Gumee, that shining Big-Sea-Water.” For me, it’s a land of family history. My parents grew to adulthood here, as did their parents before them. When you climb the branches of my family tree, the only place that comes before the great frozen north is the Old Country itself — or countries, rather — Italy, Slovenia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Poland. Between the Old Country, and me, there is nothing but this great frozen north.

Even I lived here; not for long — just two years — but I did it. And I was cold. From the upstairs of a 1920s house, I was within earshot of the shining Big-Sea-Water, within earshot of the fog horns and the ice-breaking tugboats and the winds that pulled the water from the Lake and twisted it and stretched it and smoothed it like a icy blanket over the naked branches and undulating streets.

But the Lake isn’t all of the north. Like Longfellow wrote,
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them…

And it’s these inland woodlands that grew up around my parents as children, that grew around me summer after summer and that grow up around my own child now as we visit. It is these woodlands and these tired old towns, once humming with industry and iron mines, but now battered and listing, with every winter leaning further away from the future. It would be wrong to say time has stood still here, for had it stood still it would have left a kinder mark on the crumbling foundations and the aging rooftops.

Stepping here feels like stepping between the pages of the National Geographic photo essays I loved as a child; in the glossy photos I see the live bait and chainsaw repair shops, the blaze orange, the Stormy Kromers, the ice augers, and chatter about choppers (not airborne flying machines but leather-and-shearling mittens).

Here is where we Christmased, this year; here in the waves of gray that slowly sweep from sky to earth in great snowy sheets that obscure the horizon, layer after another until there is no more sense of up or down but only a single color painted in a single swath.

And in that horizon, I see only the lights of Christmas and hear only the laughter of everyone I know, and I forget the heat and forget the noise and forget the traffic and forget the tropical gales.

The snow covers it all.

Christmas, Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: Christmas 2013 TOAST UK Catalogue

You know how there are some brands you really love one year, but the following season you’re indifferent? TOAST is not one of those brands. With every single catalogue, the mood created by their photography and staging makes me fall in love with them all over again. This December release is just so rustic and lovely.

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Christmas images from TOAST UK December/Winter Catalogue

Can’t get enough of TOAST? That’s ok! You can keep on looking through the TOAST archives, or go directly to a particular season in the list below.

Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: Autumn/Winter 2013 TOAST UK Catalogue

The November 2013 edition of the Autumn/Winter Toast UK catalogue (the House + Home and Women’s sections are all merged into one issue now) is stunning for its frozen lakes, tall pines, and slate mountains. These are all aspects of the natural world distinctly lacking in this corner of the world, and I especially miss them as Christmas approaches. Truthfully, I miss the way they look through windowpanes — with me remaining on the warm side — because I do so like to stay toasty. No pun intended. 

November 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall Pines

November 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall Pines

November 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall Pines

November 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall Pines

November 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesNovember 2013 Toast Catalog - Slate Mountains, Frozen Lakes and Tall PinesWant more pretty pictures? You can keep on looking through the TOAST archives, or go directly to a particular season in the list below.

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN & NORDIC CHRISTMAS :: 3rd Annual Open Call for Christmas Submissions

NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS for the 3rd Annual Scandinavian and Nordic Christmas Series on the Oaxacaborn blog! (Carl Larsson image) 

It’s October, and already, I’m seeing a big spike in Christmas-related searches. (You all really, really love Christmas posts.) Can you believe it’s almost time for the Third Annual Scandinavian & Nordic Christmas Series? It’s crazy that we’ve been doing this together for three years now!

If you’re a new reader, every year in November and December everything goes Christmas here on Oaxacaborn. And not just any Christmas. We celebrate all things Scandinavian and Nordic, and during these next two months the blog will be full of Jul with brilliant guest posts by bloggers, photographers, writers from around Northern Europe.

We’ll talk about advent calendars (julkalender and adventskalender, that is), traditional celebrations and foods, wrapping paper, decorations, meals, dinner parties, ornaments, and Christmas trees. We’ll delve into snowy winters and traditions and we’ll light candles in the windows and we’ll deck the halls with red and white (and blue and yellow, and blue and white, too).

The most amazing part to me about the Annual Scandinavian & Nordic Christmas series is how all of you — all of us — come together to make this happen. For the last two years, people from all over Europe and the US and have shared beautiful Decemberish photographs and words with Oaxacaborn readers, and it’s you who have made this series the success it is today.

If you participated before, you’re welcome to share again! If this is your first time, we’re so happy to have you. (You don’t even need to be Scandinavian or Nordic…just a lover of Christmas and the northern traditions.)

Maybe you have a tutorial on how to create a Swedish heart. Maybe you want to share how your family celebrates Finnish Independence Day. Maybe your Christmas dinner table last year was stunning, and you want us to see. Maybe you live in a Scandinavian or Nordic country, and you want to send photos of your town’s or family’s celebrations. Maybe you have a memory of your grandparents and how they passed down the traditions to you. Maybe you’re an absolute pro at curating images, and you want to send a round-up of (properly credited) Christmas images. Maybe you’re a knitter who creates Icelandic sweaters. Maybe your Norwegian heritage shows proudly every time you get out the Christmas decorations. Maybe you want to show how the streets of Copenhagen look in December. Maybe you want to share some Christmas legends and lore. Or maybe you have a killer mantle display and want to share the wintry beauty.

Remember, we’re celebrating all things Nordic and Scandinavian, all November and December. So in addition to Christmas (of course!) this series also aims to showcase any national holidays or celebrations happening during that time leading up to Christmas, too.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the previous Scandinavian/Nordic Christmas posts here, and then email me, oaxacaborn@gmail.com.

(Content which you’ve already published on your own blog is perfectly fine. And remember, the posts don’t have to be lengthy – a single inspiring image is excellent, as well.)

Can’t wait to hear from you. :)

Hyvää Joulua! God Jul! 

Little Style

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls

While we don’t need a winter coat here — a spring/fall jacket will get us through the handful of “cool” days we might have — I still wanted to put together a fun mini round-up.

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls :: Olily Winter Coat
Oilily “Chilly” winter coat via olliewood.nl

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls :: Collection B® Packable Down Jacket - Girls 4-16
Collection B® Packable Down Jacket via JCPenney

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls :: Mini Boden Ski Jacket
Ski Jacket via Mini Boden

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls :: John Lewis Checked Lumberjack Jacket, Red
Checked Lumberjack Jacket via John Lewis

LITTLE STYLE :: 5 Outerwear Options for Little Girls :: John Galliano Gazette Print Bomber Jacket
John Galliano Gazette Print Bomber Jacket via Harrods

Will it get cold enough for winter jackets where you live? What’s in the coat closet for your littles this year?