Honoring our Daughters with Braids

IMG_7527Hello hair friends and sisters:)

This post today is dedicated to the daughters of the world, which is all of us with possibly some additional sons, and this is for them too, if they are into braiding their hair with flowers, and if they are, we salute and love them for it.

I want to be the kind of mom who honors my children for truly who they are, and I want them to be the kind of kids who understand that and know it deep in their hearts. And it is so hard sometimes to nurture that connection and love when we are stuck on the hamster wheel of ‘normal life.’

A month ago, I took my kids out of school for 2 weeks because I wanted them to be able to run free in the Ozarks and spend time with their loved ones and friends in our other hometown of Fayetteville Arkansas. And I needed a chance to remember who I am, and who they are, and why and how I love them.

I had been feeling increasingly out of touch with them in our busy Seattle life……Our days a routine of rushing them around and then feeling frustrated at their slow pace.

IMG_7417Being a mom is really hard because I often feel like the asshole, or I like to call it a momhole, if you will ( DON’T google it! No DON’T!) We simply don’t get enough time to just relax together (much less on our own!) , follow our curiosity, and just be without plans to keep us rushing around like rats in a race. We desperately needed some time to slow down together.

On top of feeling like a momhole in general, there is also the guilt of motherhood and womanhood, where everything we do is in opposition to what we should be doing, no matter what we are doing. What?????????? wtf. Makes one want to just say fuck it, I’m just going to do whatever I want forever.

IMG_7447Which is what we did in Arkansas last month, and it was divine. We crashed couches, we invited ourselves over to the homes of some of our favorite people, we ate, we danced, we played, we slept, we spent mothers day in our underwear lounging around like sloths, and we worshipped the great mama in the river with some of our best friends.

2 full weeks just BEING with our daughters, letting our little community hold us, not rushing, and just letting our days unfold was the best therapy that we could have asked for.

IMG_7512As we drove back to the airport at the end of our trip, a 4 hour journey to Kansas City, the guilt started to creep back in. What kind of mother would give up this sort of life? What kind of mother would leave the sweet community that raised her a mother, to move to a city that is no longer hospitable to part-time working parents who refuse to not be there to watch their kids grow up?

We drove past a sign advertising the Gentry Animal Safari…….Just 15 miles up the road!

IMG_7503What kind of mother would drive past the Animal Safari and not stop so her kids could see the weirdness of totally not native animals roaming the land that WallMart bought? What kind of mother would not let her children hand feed a kangaroo white bread while drinking coke and eating red vines and hot dogs cooked in rancid oil?

What kind of fucking mother am I.

And then, as if by magic, a literal field of beautiful wild flowers entered my vision on the side of the freeway. Hark! A Park!  I pulled the car over, and we ran together into the middle of the field. We all knew what to do. We sat at flower level, watching butterflies flutter by and listening to the sound of the flowers sing.

As I watched them frolic in absolute joy and wonder, I forgave myself for all the things I don’t do for them. As I braided their hair, I bowed to them in my heart, honoring them for being who they are and reminding me to stop beating myself up for not doing more for them. In my own annoying mom way, I tried to telepathically beam that straight down their throats and into their joyful little hearts.

There is nothing like braiding someones hair to show them that you honor them:)

If you are a mama, braid your kids hair. If you have a mama, braid her hair for her.

Thanks for reading my rambles:)

Here are the braids I gave them.

selahsparrow

marleymae

Pretty self explanatory, although the trick for this second one is that I pulled out all the hair along just the outer edge of both braids, instead of both edges. Then used pins to secure the braids across the back of the head to the other side, and tucked and pinned the ends of the braids underneath.

Honor yourselves, Honor your daughters. Lot’s of love.

Also, PS. Our youngest daughter Selah is graduating from Preschool today so I’m feeling very sentimental.

xoxo, HTHG

 

Tiny Punk Rock Girl: Letting our Kids Do What They Want With Their Hair

Hair is a great teaching lab for children to develop their senses about body autonomy- Dr. Laura Kastner

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 You know how some people just radiate who they are unapologetically and unquestionably so hard that it makes you want to follow suit? Grayson is that chick. This is Grayson. She is 3 years old, a true threenager, and she is a budding radical non conformist with a healthy sense of ownership of her own body.

Grayson and her big brother Eli are friends with our 4 year old Selah through preschool, so I have had the pleasure of hanging out with G when she comes over for playdates, and more recently, have had the opportunity to play with her hair.

Grayson has insanely beautiful apricot red naturally curly hair that grows straight out into a cloud of fuzz and ringlets, and it has brought her a lot of attention in her life. Any curly red-haired person can relate. People want to touch it and make a big deal of it. Grayson is quite unconcerned.

A few months back, her brother Eli got a haircut. His long curly locks came off, revealing a more independent, grown up kid. Inspired by the power of his transformation, Grayson decided she wanted her haircut too.

She asked her folks, and they agreed. They asked me if I would trim her hair for her. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

DSCF4280All color photos in this post were taken by my friend Bill Anthony🙂

Grayson came and sat in my hair chair and I brushed her hair out. She smiled and shut her little eyes as I pulled and tugged my way through her hair, acting like a happy cat getting groomed.

I trimmed her ends for her, while she sat still and at full attention. I sensed her satisfaction with the whole experience, a little boost in her self, a little ownership of her choices. It is such a subtly powerful shift that I witness in people when cutting their hair.

I had a feeling that this trim was the beginning of something bigger for her. I knew that she would be back for more. She wanted to see herself in a different way, she wanted a bigger change, she wanted to make the choice, she wanted to feel big like Eli. A trim was not enough.DSCF4301

The next week, she came over and wanted more hair cut off. (Her parents, by the way, are impressively cool about letting her decide what to do with her own hair, which is an important point that totally drives this whole experience.)

So, we shaved her sides. She spent quite a while examining herself with this new look. She liked the look of herself, liked the experience of transformation. She really liked the larger pile of hair on the ground afterward.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.43.33 PM

This far into the process of Grayson going full punk rock girl and getting her head shaved, I started thinking about the importance body autonomy for young children.

Body autonomy, as defined by Getting to Calm author and famed clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Kastner,refers to the human right of people to have control over their own bodies. This right grants people self-determination regarding how their body is used or treated, personal boundary inviolability, and choices about who touches one’s body and who doesn’t.

 We, as parents, have a responsibility to make sure that our child’s health is maintained , which includes feeding, cleaning and protecting their bodies from harm. But ideally, we explain our reasoning and respect their need for control as much as possible. Even with food, it is our job is to supply healthy food at appropriate times, but it is the child’s job to decide what and how much to ingest. Because health decisions will be mostly non-negotiable, encouraging your child toexplore his or her unique tastes and whims with hair style is an ideal way tosupport your child’s understanding and rights to body autonomy.’

DSCF4364A week later, Grayson told her parents she wanted her hair all gone. Her dad Asa said this about the request: ‘There was a definite ‘oh shit’ moment for me, when I realized that the only reason we weren’t letting her shave it was because she is a girl’  So, being the cool parents that they are, they shaved her head for her. A beautiful example of supported autonomy between a parent and a child.

Dr. Kastner continues…’ I learned early in my adolescent development training to encourage parents to let kids make their own hair decision. To do so is harmless. It’s respectful of their burgeoning identities. Parents control so much of their children’s lives that they should rejoice in having hair as a safe realm in which they can support body autonomy.

 Encouraging personal exploration in safe ways builds self-knowledge and competence! As parents, we can sometimes have big opinions about “what looks best”. However, if we dig deeply enough, we know that our notions about physical appearance and hairstyles are culturally constructed, influenced by our identities (not respect for our children’s budding ones), and potentially biased by our needs to bend our children toward conformity.’

IMG_2127-3 Grayson is a great example of a child who has a very healthy sense of body autonomy (and a great sense of style). She rocks her shaved head proudly and beautifully, exploring herself in a creative and expressive way and experimenting with non-conformity. And damn it if we don’t need more non-conformist, think outside-the-boxness in this world.

Dr. Kastner sums it up…..’What’s wrong with conforming, you ask? Naturally, teaching your children to obey many social rules is imperative and your job as a parent! We want them to settle squabbles nonviolently, pick up litter and show kindness. However, when itcomes to their bodies, do you want them to learn to subjugate themselves to others’ opinions about their bodies, desires to touch their bodies, or others’ beliefs about crossing personal boundaries? I don’t think so.

Giving children control of their bodies at a young age will empower them to standup for their rights later in life. You can talk to your toddler or young child about hair, knowing that you are communicating deeper meanings. This is your hair and you get to choose how to wear it. You know best about what feels best to you. The great thing about hair is that if you don’t like it, you can change it!’

 Thank you Grayson, for demonstrating this lesson in such a badass little way.

Urban Foraging for Winter Hairstyles: Hen and Chicks Braids

Welcome back, babes. We are just on an Urban Foraging for Winter Hairstyles bender here at HTHG, If you haven’t noticed. We just can’t seem to stop sticking things in our hair to celebrate the season. Thank you for bearing with us:)7U6A9069

This one is a sweet little braid, done on my daughter Marley. I felt very drawn to Hen and Chicks a few weeks back, when 2 friends of mine were due to give birth any minute. I kept seeing Hens and Chicks everywhere, or maybe noticing them for the first time because of the miracle of human multiplication that seemed to be happening all around me. IMG_9920

 

 

( Succulent arrangement photo from @rotdcreations)

Witnessing childbirth is really magical because it is like the splitting if one soul and body, simultaneously, into 2. This creation of new life is also an extension of a universal life. This miracle also happens to be how the Hen and Chicks plant (Sempervivum) grow…… Sempervivum translates literally into Live Forever because these little plants propagate so quickly and bountifully, multiplying and extending the eternal mother life forever.

With this in mind, I give you….

Hen and Chicks Braids

PicMonkey Collage

Begin by finding a rock wall or hedge in your neighborhood. Look in the cracks to see if you can find Hen and Chicks growing. They are all over the place!

Carefully, by the base of the plant where the green connects to the root, pluck several hens and several chicks of different sizes. If you take them roots and all, you will be able to wear them in your hair, and then re-plant them when you are done!

To make your braid, flip your head upside down and start a fishtail braid in a small section of hair at the nape of the neck.

Braid about an inch and a half….. Now, add in hair to both sides, working your way from the base, upwards toward the top of your head.

(for reference, this braid is the Blood Eagle Braid in reverse;)

Continue fishtail braiding, adding in hair every inch and a half or so. Once you have added all your hair in, and your braid is at the top of your head, continue braiding to the end of the hair, then secure the end with an elastic.

Wrap the free braid end into a bun on top of the head, tucking the tail underneath the bun, and pinning the bun securely.

Now, using hairpins, pierce gently through the roots of your Hen and Chicks, and pin them into your braid to adorn your crown. Have any friends who are about to give birth? Share this one with them, or do their hair for them with the Hen and Chicks Braid!

xoxo, HTHG

Ceremonial Head Wrap Tutorial

Hi honeys. I recently had the absolute luxury of an entire day to myself, in my house, cleaning done and chores cast to the side……….And a little project that had been burning a whole through my mind for over a year.

I made myself a nice cup of coffee, and I put on the news radio with the intention of catching up on some world news. I got out my fabric……….Huge swaths of linen, cotton gauze, and bamboo, and I began cutting. 4 inch strips, 9 feet long. I cut and cut until my hands ached and the blades of my scissors gnawed and hacked. Cutting things is my happy place.

100 strips later, with a gigantic pile of fabric strips and fabric lint on my living room floor, my head filled with the awfulness of war and ignorance, I turned off the radio, sneezed, and made the assertion that running these fabric strips through the wash was the right choice. Why? Because it seemed like the right thing to do.

While the strips laundered, I prepared a bucket of Indigo Dye in my back yard. I picked some veggies and weeds from the garden and juiced them, and put on some old country music.IMG_6602

When the washing machine beeped, I eagerly lifted the lid. Inside was a dreadlock of fibers and fabric. I lifted it out in a large clump. I thought to myself ‘this is going to be a long day.’

I spent the next 3 hours untangling the mess, strip by strip. I practiced breathing and having good posture while I worked, a difficult practice considering that a large part of myself felt absolutely tortured by my own stupidity for not washing the fabric before cutting it into strips! and I just kind of wanted to melt into nonexistence.

Something that the last year has really taught me, though, is that wasted time and energy is only wasted if a lesson is not learned. I thought about that, and felt better. This is a part of the process, and it is part of what will make the next time even better. I think it’s important to be kind to ourselves especially when trying new things. Needless to say, I talked myself down from the ledge with this little affirmation…….Take the lesson, enjoy the process, keep going. The Ceremony of Pushing Through!

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 12.55.49 PMOnce I had untangled the worlds larges fabric dreadlock, took off my shoes and went back outside where I proceeded to I dye the strips in all different ways, some I double dipped to darken them, some I krinkled up and rubber-banded and dipped in the dye bath, some I twisted into knots and dipped, and some I dipped so that they would be more gradient, like an ombre. My hands were denim blue by the end of  it, and I had blue splatters all over my feet, arms, and face. I was surrounded by 100 blue dyed strips which hung from my clothes line, gently fluttering in the wind.

After the strips dried, I braided them, twisted them, and crocheted them into long ropes and shorter bands, with the intention of adorning peoples hair and heads in a a multitude of creative and meaningful ways.

IMG_6706When I finished with the fabric, I used the last of my dye on some vintage paper roses, dipping them in one at a time and setting them in the sun……For future Blue Rose Power Crowns.IMG_7616

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, I had 25 beautiful unique head wraps, each with it’s own personality. Two of my favorites were simple, ombre-dyed strips of linen which I had knotted every few inches from one end to the other…..They seemed the perfect ones for my daughters Marley and Selah.

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Mars was kind enough to let me shoot a quick little tutorial of a lovely way to wear a head wrap such as this one.

 Head Wrap Twisted Hairstylemarstar

We began by wrapping her head with the knotted strip, it banded around twice. I wound the ends of the strip around the band a few times to secure the wrap.

Then, starting on one side, twist a small section of hair, and wind it around the bands, tucking it securly in and around the headwrap. Take another small section of hair next to the first one and repeat.

Now do the same thing, starting from the other side. Work your way towards the center, twisting winding and tucking in hair around your bands.

Lovely!

 

 

Over the next few months, I will be posting more ways that one can wear these hand-made beauties.

These headwraps were made with the intention of helping us find more ceremony in the small details of our daily lives, with more intention setting in our self care routine, and homage paid towards the power of adornment.

These head wraps are now available in the HTHG shop! Get yours today and let it help you ground, connect, and channel your creativity.

Made with love and light!

xo, HTHG

 

 

 

Sunday DIY: Rose Bud Hair Pins

7U6A3078Today, while it rained quietly outside, I made some rose-bud hair pins with bobby pins, dried rosebuds and a glue gun.

It was such a sweetly simple project which took me all of 15 minutes to complete, and left me feeling so satisfied!

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Get an assortment of different bobby pins, a glue gun or a nice thick rubber-like glue, some small dried rosebuds ( I get mine from my local herbal apothacary, but they can easily be harvested, or found online through Mountain Rose Herbs) and you will also need a small piece of thick paper, cardboard or a business care or old credit card:)

I made 2 kinds of rose pins, single buds on the ends of hairpins, and a row of buds across the length of a bobby pin.

For the bobby pin one, I put the pin on a card to keep the prongs separated so they wouldn’t get glued together. Then, I gathered my rose buds, making sure to trim off loose outer petals so they were nice, neat and compact. 7U6A3034

I squeezed a small dollop of glue just above the base of the flower, low along one side. Then, I smooshed the flower directly onto the flat side of the pin, clamping it down tightly between my fingers to make sure it grabbed. Then, I did this to 5-6 more buds, squishing them tightly next to each other along the length of the pin.

7U6A3035For the single bud pins, I put a larger dollop of glue right at the base of the bud, and layed the crux of the pin right on top of the glue, allowing it to sink into the dollop and adhere to the bud.

msrleyI let them dry overnight, and woke up to lovely rose bud pins, ready to wear! (okay, I had to do a little careful yanking to get the pins off the card where the glue had seeped through and dried) No biggie.

 

This easy and lovely-smelling project left me very pleased, and inspired to make a pretty hairdo happen. When Mars came home from school that next day, I grabbed her for a quick little do outside in front of the grapevine.

 

To do this hairstyle, I started with a little twist pinned on each side, halfway to the back of the head.

 

Then one by one, I made three small twisted buns in a row, pinned securely and discreetly.

 

I finished the hairstyle with a garnish of roses and a few pretty leaves from the garden:)

 

If you love this sweet DIY, check our Crystal Hair Pin tutorial. I think you will love it!

 

Enjoy! xo, HTHG

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