Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Girl-what is this all about??

Something amazing has been happening.  And I need to step back a few weeks to explain how this amazing thing got a seed of a start in my whirling drunken squirrel party of a brain.

I am a very lucky girl in that I had magical summers up until the time I went to college and got real summer jobs,  I spent my summers in a funky and perfect little house in very small town on a peninsula of land between a bay full of soft sand beaches with water perfect for swimming, sailing and water skiing and the ocean on the west side, a short drive away. Our house was about a 5 minute walk to the edge of Tomales Bay.  We spent every single summer moved into a 2 bedroom house with a porch on the back for sunning, eating and friend gathering.... and a front porch with a couple of sleeping spots and stairs made  for perching when I wanted to read or embroider.  We had no tv, dishwasher or inside washer and dryer.  We spent sunny days at the beach and foggy days hanging with other summer families who became our family.  During the week it was mostly the moms and kids, dads came up on the weekends and so did "company".  Dinner during the week was often platters of cheese, salami and crackers while the moms played dominoes, had cocktails and laughed until it was time to go home. Weekends were large groups on our special beach with boats, sand and water everywhere.  The kids were allowed to roam the streets between everyone's home even in the dark. It was carefree and magical and I know as an adult what a very very fortunate girl I was.  At the time however.....I was surrounded mostly by boys.  My 2 brothers and a collection of the most annoying boys in the world.  So I found ways to entertain myself as a summer girl must do.  I turned to reading, painting rocks, embroidering on shirts and jeans and playing the guitar.  When the other two girls in the group were around, we did those things together but often it was me on the porch with my skinny legs tucked under me, using what we had around to make things or get lost in a book.  I learned to summer this way from my mom and the other moms because they summered like it was their job. I was left to be me, hair unruly, freckles encouraged to catch fire from  days on the beach.  I was barefoot except when I was forced to slip into my flip flops for safety.  My mom made the best apple and blackberry pie and if we picked enough of either, she would whip out a couple of pies before the beach. Pie for dessert and pie for breakfast on the porch in the sun.  Bathing suits and sandy towels were perpetually drying on the porch railing. It was simply the best way to grow up and to spend summer days.  Allowed to be my own tangled teenage self, I was probably the most at home and the most me I can remember.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a cabin in the mountains with some lovely women.   We were there to indulge in our projects, sewing machines, cutting tables and fabric were everywhere.  I happened to grab an embroidery project along the way and pulled that out on the first day.  As I sank into the stitches, I was taken back.  Back to what it felt like to just fall back into myself.  Stitching while we chatted or while we got quiet, I thought a great deal about the gift those summers had given me. I wanted to feel the way it felt when the world fell away a bit and summer was magical.  The more I embroidered, the more I traveled to that place and the more I wanted to recreate what that was like. That summer girl place, where the young carefree teenage girl lived for a few months each year.  Barefoot, unruly hair and sun on my face.  And Grow Wild Summer Girl was born.  First a hashtag on an Instagram post, the idea nagged at me. I shared my thoughts with a friend who jumped at the notion of being a summer girl and she encouraged me to write about it. And then I wrote the first Blog Post (one post back from this one)  Shared it on social media and something insane and beautiful happened.   A whole lot of you responded. And when I say a whole lot, more than any other blog post I have written..  And I knew that I wasn't the only one......

I wanted to share embroidery, reading ideas, summer thoughts, friendship bracelets and mostly friendships. I wanted to create summer for myself and see who else wanted to summer with me.  Connecting in a place that feels like home to our weary grown up girl selves....We carry the world and lots of worry about life and the people we are raising or love.  We carry so much more than we need to and adult life sometimes sucks the girl right out of us.  I say we take it back.  We can't all quit our jobs and summer like we did at 17 but we surely can give ourselves that place in bits and pieces.   So that is what this Summer Girl thing is all about.  connecting.  Connecting to other summer girls who need to laugh and let go a bit and connecting to ourselves.   Create a tribe of summer girls, exchange gifts, exchange pie recipes, exchange thoughts, exchange pieces of your heart. Whisper to each other and to yourself the things you don't let out in the other seasons , trust yourself to let your truths out and set down your burdens for just a while. Let go and be yourself...Just be a Summer Girl even for an hour at a time.

I've created a place for you to come gather with us..A Facebook page just for all of this wonder and magic..

I've also just started on Pinterest a Summer Girl Board and will be adding in some Summer Girl activities and reading list boards, all will start with Summer Girl...(I already started an Embroidery board).

So join us, become your Summer Girl, grow wild a bit.   There is no age that defines a summer girl, we are all the same in summer.  The Facebook page is filling up with lots of other Summer Girls from everywhere! Bring your friends, create a tribe, start summering and please please please share your stories and projects.  That is what we do as Summer Girls, we connect and we remember what that girl we sometimes leave behind.  Laugh hard, get sunshine on your face , play dominos and have cheese and crackers for dinner once in a while. Put down your phone, pick up something that feels like a deep sigh to your soul.   The world will look much brighter when you tuck your legs under you and settle in just a bit.   Welcome home Summer Girl. I'm so happy you are here.
<3 Barbara


  1. Thanks, Barbara! What a great idea!!

  2. oh to be young again :) My summers were not as fantastic as yours. We also had no TV but went to summer camp every year. I even swam across Sequoia lake. But that was a LONG time ago. I grew old but my memories are still there when I was young :)

  3. I realised my Summer Girl years ended at 14. The summer I was 15 I took a job and spent all my future summers working until I spent years at home with my kids prompting their summer activities and memories.