A New Start

This is another one of those posts I’ve been kind of dreading. I realize most of you already know I said farewell to this blog last week from Facebook posts, but I wanted to leave a note here in case anyone reads this that isn’t on facebook. It’s been a long time in coming and the truth is I didn’t even realize it until just a few days ago.  I started a new little adventure called Wildfeathers Vintage.

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I have so many hopes and dreams for this new adventure that goes well beyond a blog, but for now it is just that- a new blog, a new place to gather thoughts and it will be surround more around creativity, bohemian inspirations, nature and natural living than anything else. I will of course be popping in pictures of our lives and spilling my guts when I feel like I am about to burst, but this new space will be a new start. You can read more about the name and why I decided to move on my first post on Wildfeathers Vintage here. I would be honored to have you read along at my new space. (You are able to sign up through email here and follow the new Facebook page here and Instagram here.)

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For those of you who have followed my journey here, all I can say is that I am at a loss for words on how thankful I am that you stopped here and read my words, which often felt like spilt paint splattered over canvas. Thank you for embracing this mess with me and giving me a place to honor my daughter’s memory. Your encouragement through each of my crazy adventures has meant more than words can suffice. This space will remain open for a while, maybe forever (my forever anyway).

With love and so much gratitude,

xo franchesca

 

Garden

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This has been an exceptional winter. Today in fact our front yard is covered in icicles, I’m sure my car is too. I cannot wait until the warm spring and summer arrive!! I keep thinking of strawberry picking, and last night had this irrational fear overtake me right before I fell asleep (clearly this is when all I remember all the important things…) that the strawberry farmers might lose all their crop with these cold fronts creeping into March.

But this year I started these babies inside, its been so much fun to see them grow. I can’t remember if I shared this here or not, but my friend Carly shared this clip with me on the effect we as humans have on plant growth. It is mind-blowing. Anyway, you might catch me singing or humming to my plants. :)

A few weeks ago after the first few little sprouts came up I noticed a little collapse in some of the leaves, and decided it was time to move them from starting seed mix to a more rich potting mix. (Recipes for both of those here). In days I saw a difference and they’ve been thriving ever since. On the warmer days they sit outside and they seem to do the best under the sun, but on days like today, they’re sitting super classy right next to my bed on my little nightstand.

Last weekend I rented a tiller and broke down the ground. Talk about a workout! I’m not even finished yet, but I plan to revisit that ground by Friday – hopefully it’ll warm up. I have a friend in the church who is dropping pearls of wisdom on me in this area, and I’m soaking it all up. I went to her place yesterday morning and took some manure she offered up to make the ground all healthy and stuff for the plants.

My arms are on FIRE! This whole organic gardening thing is hard work, but I keep reminding myself what organic produce in the stores cost. Suddenly I’m inspired all over again :)

Wander

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For the past few months, close to a year I have been reading up on detoxing your body and ways to live cleaner. Mind, body and soul I have been on this quest. Detoxing. Leaving things behind, changing habits, forming new ones, trying out what works and what doesn’t quite feel right. Cleansing.

I feel like I’m at a standstill with my writing. I hate it when the words don’t flow, the ideas feel like they’re held back by something. Every time I’ve ever felt this way, it means a change needs to take place. Growing pains and writing, who knew they go hand in hand? I don’t know where it leaves this blog honestly. A name change or new place to open up altogether. My heart is wide open. I want this place to be something my children can one day come back to, and read about their days together growing up. I want them to know our day to day, but I want them to know about our lives, the way we loved, the way we traveled and the way we read books in the teepee at night sometimes. The in between moments that helped us grow and be.

I’ve kept “small bird studios” as the name of this blog for so long, but lately I feel a push for change. It’s bittersweet. I write. It’s how I process things. Whether or not people read, like, share, agree, disagree, comment – it helps me. Writing here serves so many purposes. This article got my wheels turning today. (Thank you so much Beth for sharing this, I’m afraid I’m mostly a type 4 as well!). I love having a place to share ideas and put thought to words.

I’m wandering this week, anticipating more change soon, then again maybe not so soon, until the dust settles in my heart. I want it to be organic, and flow and be a complete reflection of what’s going on inside. Sometimes you have to get lost before you get found.

So I’m wandering quite a bit, and I might be lost in this forest for a while.

Until then I’ll share bits of our lives and photos as the inspiration and moments come, and continue with Boho Soul and gardening updates because right now those two feel the most organic.

Privilege

Two Saturdays ago Pete brought Evie into our bedroom around 7 in the morning. On the days he is home, he takes care of our early risers and usually let’s me sleep in. By seven he’s been up at least an hour (!?). Yea, I don’t get it either… but, it’s a very nice treat to say the least :) He brought her in a little early that day because soon we’d be on our way to San Antonio. He put E onto the bed and she hustled toward me, smiles and all. She found me right at the edge of the blanket, just waking up. She rested her head down on  my chest, sort of hugging me and would look up, smile and then do this hugging me thing all over again. It was the SWEETEST. I hope I never forget that moment.

Later that morning we were scurrying along, changing diapers, packing last minute items. I think the nostalgia was getting to me, because in less than an hour I’d be parting from my babies for a weekend. I know it was nostalgia, because I wanted to cry thinking of it. But it really is such a privilege to do this. To get to be the mom in their lives. To raise them. Read to them. Teach them about this world. Teach them about the love of God, but how could I ever do this justice? Being the mom terrifies me but lately it has been weighing on my heart on how much of a privilege it is to get to watch them discover the world, become the people they were created to be, take interests, make friends, stumble with failure and heartbreak, piece their world back together again. All of it.

Sometimes being a stay-at-home mama gets lonely, I won’t lie. Most nights I fall over exhausted after a long day with most of my “to do” list still on the counter, some days completely forgotten about. I turn in earlier these days, mostly because I’m not 21 anymore and my body demands sleep, or claims insanity the next morning. There is also this insane list that doesn’t even ever get written down. The list of things I’d like to try, or paint, or draw. Create.

But for now at least, I’m trading most of that in. Pieces, crumbs, messes, slobbery kisses and hugs that feel more like a three year old boy tackling you, shoes lost somewhere behind the couch and hysteria over the one toy both kiddos can’t seem to be able to live without. But woven through all of that chaos are memories that make me want to go and kiss that blonde headed little baby girl hours after she’s turned in and laugh thinking about the crazy things Joseph came up with that particular day.

I feel a lot of peace over a lot of the work I’ve let go last year. And I know there will be a day, too soon I’m sure of it – that I’ll have more free time than I know what to do with, for a while at least. Until then I’ll squeeze in my art sessions during naps and write before the sun rises and babies wake.

Life is short. And this part of it is just a privilege. There’s no other word that sums it up better.

This past week, Evelyn took her first real steps, while holding a sippy cup with homemade sherbet ice cream AND also had her first pig tails (which of course didn’t last longer than five minutes…;).

A few months after I finished college I found myself searching for a job in the art world. I turned down a job for teaching because I knew right out of college, teaching was not my passion. I had a handful of interviews, and even a few offers. Pete and I had just come back from NYC and art history was pumping through my veins. I felt driven, inspired more than ever to just dive in. I found a little art gallery in the Galleria, who at the time offered me a position. It was full time and part of the job requirement (really loose word, obviously) was four paid trips to NYC a year. The only problem with the job was the shift. I’d never see Pete. Like, ever. Maybe Sundays. At the time he was working seven days a week, twelve hour shifts with the exception of Sundays, and our marriage was so, so new. I knew it would never work. I think back to that decision to let that position go. It could have led to a lot of things I thought I wanted in life, so badly. But at the heart I think I’ve always known that THIS is what I wanted, moments that money or even new horizons can’t buy.

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Boho Soul | Messy Braid

I try not to give my hair too much unnecessary heat, because it tends to break easily. Most days, I wear it curly. And it tends to frizz a lot on the days I don’t wash (don’t judge, it’s a curly head thing – or a mommy thing?… and okay, it’s probably a lazy thing). Anyway the messy braid = lifesaver. It is a really nice alternative to the bun I wore all through middle school because I had no idea HOW to style this crazy hair of mine. Maybe I still don’t? I’ve at least gotten a little used to it :)

Also, while I’m drooling over Princess Elsa’s braid (seriously, Disney has outdone themselves on this one!!!), mine just can’t look that smooth and thick unless I’ve blow dried it AND added a bunch of extensions, so I thought I’d post a little tutorial of how I make a messy braid work for my curly, super fine hair.

Messy braid for curly hairMessy braid for curly hair

1. I don’t split my head down the middle but if you do you can just use your natural part. On one side start to twist your hair down to right behind your ears or so. Take a bobby pin and secure the twist.

2. For the other side, pull out a little strand and twist around your finger until it’s a pretty tight (but still messy) twist. Wrap this behind your head and snap under the same bobby pin, or under a new one. It will look something like this:Messy braid for curly hairMessy braid for curly hair

3. Take the part of your hair underneath that wasn’t in either twist and begin twisting a little toward the two other twists. Once you’ve reached the two twists, begin a fish tail braid and secure with a rubber band or tie. For extra volume in the braid, gently pull the braid apart (I didn’t do this in these pics but I usually do). It makes your braid look a little more full:)Messy braid for curly hair

Speaking of princesses, THIS is hilarious. But they kind of ruined Belle for me.

San Antonio | Marriage Talk

IMG_8408IMG_8509IMG_8456I will fight for you. For US.

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I’m convinced that love isn’t something that just happens. I mean, at first – yes. But over time you have to decide it’s what you want. And work hard for it. Chase it. And then work at it again until you’re completely exhausted. That whole 50/50 thing? Lies. It’s more like 100/100. It’s so easy with the kids. Even though they are constantly covering me in all kinds of unimaginable nonsense and pull my hair and turn my good clothes into play clothes… love for them comes easy. Marriage has it’s own wonderful spin on love. A tale all of it’s own. This kind of love is wrapped up in secret love, amplified fears, memories that often don’t serve a marriage well when it comes to forgiveness and runs at the hint of any major change.

For years now Pete has covered me in a lot of well-meaning concern over who I’ve become. I’ve cried many, many silent tears wondering if he could still love this new person. I’ve become so tired of hiding, well not really hiding – but not really talking about how I really feel about a lot of things.

I sort of just let all the care go. And I let him see who I had become. The person who loves adventure, loves life again, but isn’t quite the same person he fell in love with over ten years ago.

“Love has never been the problem, Fran.”

Just, tears.

This surprise trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I almost jumped in his arms. He’s not big on surprising me, and I’ve come to accept that. He’s more of a flowers and card kind of Valentine’s Day gift-giver. My birthday is only six days away from the big Hallmark holiday, so I don’t really expect a whole lot. I just love that he acknowledges it at all.

But when he made this grand gesture it wasn’t just a valentine’s gift. It was the kind of fight for us that I needed to see in him. Because up until then, I wasn’t sure if there would always be an us. I can’t picture life without him, but after accepting who I have changed into after loss, the only fear lingering was the acceptance of the people I love.

The night he surprised me with this trip, I read this over at Ann Voskamp’s blog. Tears were flowing. How did she know?

Marriage changes us into strangers who have to meet again and introduce each other to love.

What she said. Yes, what she said. She summed it up perfectly.

Strangers who meet again. And fight for love all over again.

//

Also, in other news I am talking about pregnancy after loss on Still Breathing. Read here.

Boho Soul | Milliedot

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E + J’s teepee shirt/onesie and my dreamcatcher tote: c/o Milliedot

The second I laid eyes on Heather’s beautiful shop Milliedot I was SMITTEN. Her designs are just the sweetest but what makes her shop super special is that she donates part of every sale to Mended Little Hearts. Since being involved with the baby loss community I have met so many loss mamas who have given birth to CHD babies. This tugged at my heart. It just doesn’t get much better than this. Hand-drawn designs and paying-it-forward all wrapped into one shop.

Also just thought I’d throw it out there!! Heather has a super sweet deal going on this month. All “All You Need is Love” & “Just Love” apparel is only $15 during the month of February!!

Today Heather is giving away a Teepee tote bag, a 3T Teepee shirt to one lucky person! 

teepee giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watercolor Hearts

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This week we had a painting date. Joseph has been dying to join me in the kitchen with the projects ive been working on. It gets complicated, because as soon as he’s up on the counter “helping” me, Evie is instantly bored and wants in on the action. Naturally :)

So one afternoon while Evie was catching Z’s, we had our painting time, and he was so excited. And the photos are very telling – he is a very concentrated painter.

What you need:

+ Illustration board (watercolor paper might work too, though I haven’t tried the blue tape on it)

+ painter’s tape

+ watercolors (Prang are the best!!)

You can lay out the tape in any shape or letter’s you’d like and then paint over liberally. Painting over the tape won’t affect the image at all. Once the paint dries, gently lift the paint off the illustration board and watch the letters and shapes magically appear :)

Golden Sun

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Will you take me even now?

Will you love the new person I’ve become?
I’ve searched high and low for the shadows of who this person was before.
I see the books she used to read, the clothes she used to wear. She was so hopeful, naive leaving this ghost house in tact, assuming that she’d return

the same.

I’ve spent the past almost five years mourning my daughter.

But I’ve come full circle and I see her all around me. I planted her, and she grew. Not the experience I hoped for, by a long shot. But our relationship is just that.

Ours.

My relationships under the golden sun feel very beat on. Worn.

I realize that the persons on the other end haven’t changed much, though staring back at them a person that not even I recognize.

Things have become so comfortably unrecognizable that I’m okay with who this person is now. It once scared me, but it doesn’t anymore.

But I can feel the outside world giving it their very best to get along with the girl they once knew. Connect with her, though she isn’t the same. They no doubt wonder a lot, maybe not at all. Chalking it up to something frivolous.

But she wasn’t frivolous.

She was my daughter, and now that I have a daughter to raise her on this brown earth and under the golden sun, I know.

I know what I’m missing.

The gap rends my heart, but this heart soaks up those tears.

Be thankful.

And I drown in so much thankfulness.

My heart bursts, I can barely wrap my mind around how quickly (retrospectively, of course) things got better after they were so, so horrible.

But rising in the aftermath is something I didn’t see coming.

A survivor. War paint is often involved, in paint and charcoal. Dirt from a little boy and smudges of bananas from the most heavenly baby hands. A woman with mostly the same interests, but she isn’t the same.

Will you take this person still?

She misses who she used to be too, but there isn’t a path that leads back. Only forward.

I read once “don’t look back, you’re not going that way”.

Oy.

How complete. How true. And a little sad.

I can’t change back. I refuse to try anymore. She didn’t die to leave me the way I was. She died, and whether or not I believe it was God-ordained, that changed me in and out and every which way you can possibly imagine. It’s a transformation that took flight the moment her soul flew from this earth.

I entered the last year of my twenties this past weekend and when it finally hit me that day, I was a little sad. A decade ready to be behind me, almost. This decade has been the decade of school days, marriage, babies. It has transformed me in the most excruciating, and at the same time, in the most rewarding ways.

I start this year with a deep breath. Time flies when all you want to do is sit and soak it in. This year feels like one long goodbye to the baby years, the pregnancy days and all that comes with carrying precious new life, a goodbye to so many firsts. I look forward to this next decade – hopefully the one where we get to see them start school, and get to know our littles a lot, lot more. And see them become the beautiful souls they were created to be.

Maybe I’m not supposed to recognize this person I’ve become, maybe it’s an ever-changing transformation. One that I’m not in charge of. One that is divinely orchestrated. One I don’t really have a say in, only prayers that I can someday catch up. I feel like our society is eat up with “finding yourself”. I have to admit I am drawn to soul searching, and exploring these transformations that take place after intense life situations, but I can’t spend my whole life trying to find something. I fear I’ll miss these days – the days that so many testify are the best days of your life. And I am totally convinced.

I’m still getting to know this new me. But this life is about so much more. It’s about pouring yourself into the people in your world. And finding fulfillment in giving pieces of your heart and soul away. It all comes back to you somehow, I truly believe it does.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the ride under this golden sun I’ve come to love on the sunny days and miss on the cloudy ones, so so much.

Boho Soul | Boho Baby

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Natural wood braided teething necklace c/o: The Baby Boho Boutique

When I started this little series “boho soul” so many ideas came flooding over me, as to what I could share here on Mondays. I am so excited to include “boho baby” in this series. I stumbled on Kristen’s shop, The Boho Baby Boutique on etsy and her shop is pure sweetness. She makes dreamcatchers, these amazing (and fashionable!) teething necklaces, and so much more!! Today she is generously giving away one reader/ follower of Small Bird Studios a custom dreamcatcher!!! Winner gets to choose colors and customize it to match colors in your child’s bedroom.

dreamcatcher by The Baby Boho Boutique

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Hand Drawn Doodles

I drew something for you guys! These are PNG files and high resolution, so they can be changed up quite a bit (color, size). You can use them on prints, cards, your blog header design (or anything!).

Free hand drawn doodles by Small Bird StudiosClick the image to download, or click here!

 Yesterday we had SNOW. We get sleet every few years, and it never sticks but this year has been full of surprises. It looked like Dippin’ Dots, and Bubby was asking if we could build a snowman. I woke up and opened my bedroom window where the seeds are blooming, since the best sunlight comes through those windows. At first I thought the white chunks were little spillings of Pearlite from the seed mix (that stuff is almost just like styrofoam!), but then I realized it was pretty much everywhere! We didn’t even bother getting dressed we were so excited. Pajamas and rain boots, in the snow!

snow in Texas!

Tonight Pete is taking little man to see the Lego Movie, and I’m having a girls’ night in with E. :)

baby girl cleaning out the cabinets :)Happy weekend ya’ll!

 

Greenling Giveaway

The other day I stumbled on this company, and I have just been bursting to share them with ya’ll! They are completely awesome. Greenling is a Texas based company that delivers organic foods, meal kits and local boxes full of locally grown vegetables to your doorstep… for free. The local boxes even come with recipes!!

Greenling local box

 

I’ve been slowly cleaning out our pantry and refrigerator of foods that aren’t considered “real food” and moving toward organic and clean foods. The process has been fulfilling to say the least. I have even noticed a change in my son, who is three. I plan to share more about the little steps that have helped us embrace this “real food” saga, but today I need to share something super fun! Greenling is offering TWO Small Bird readers a $30 gift card!! Most meal kits are right under that price too, but if you win you can use it on anything of course:)

Greenling - delivering organic foods

I picked the Beef Tacos and I loved that everything you need is included in this kit – with plenteous portions, along with directions. I made my Mexican rice on the side, and while the sound of “organic food” literally makes Pete spit fireballs, he actually LOVED this meal. Seriously. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found a meal that we can both thoroughly enjoy!!

Baby steps. And Greenling has totally made this transition to “real food” so. much. easier. :)

Organic foods delivered to your doorstep! Greenlinglove that it came with directions! mexican tacos ingredients making tacos tacos from Greenling - organic food delivered to your doorstep

*Please remember that Greenling is located in Texas, and serves Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and more recently, Houston. To enter please use the Rafflecopter :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Etsy | to the moon and back

Today I’m spending the day getting lost in paints, printing, my sketchbook and possibly a trip to the nearest art store to stock up on paints and a few other art supplies. Hope you enjoy this little inspiration board I put together on etsy :)

How fun is that garland with twinkle lights!!! How have I never thought of that before?!

ps – I shared a quick tutorial on how to make a super simple dreamcatcher on KVBIJOU’s blog yesterday. Check it out here!

‘to the moon and back’ by smallbirdstudio


I love you to the moon and b…

$5

vtg 90s White BOHO Dress S, …

$35

Valentine Twinkle Light Garl…

$55

Badge Set – Just Kiss Me – A…

$5.2

Custom Silk Wrap Bracelet – …

$25

Abstract Minimalist Black an…

$15

Realistic red roses leggings…

$35

70s red suede shoes size 7 /…

$34

Red Hair Wreath headdress fl…

$79

I Love You To The Moon And B…

$25

80s White & Yellow Striped P…

$39

Shooting Star Ear Cuff – Sil…

$16

Valentine’s Day Girl’…

$12.5

Multistrand linen bracelet ,…

$22

Heart Tree Necklace Game of …

$8.5

I love you to the moon and b…

$48

Boho Soul | eyewear

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Sunglasses: c/o Smart Buy Glasses // Yellow tights: Target // Boots: urbanog

I have never ever had a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses, or any name brand for that matter – other than the ones I got for free when I worked at EyeMasters (back when it was called that) a lifetime ago. I’m the one who is always on the lookout for cheap, cute sunglasses because I cannot for the life of me make a pair last! But these, they are so durable. Made of something much more durable than the $6 glasses at Wal-Mart.

When Smart Buy Glasses sent these to me, I was so pleased with their quality of service and how quickly they showed up at my doorstep!!

You can save 10% at Smary Buy Glasses on these brands: Gucci, Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, Italia Independent, Nike, Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Safilo with discount code EyeLoveYou at checkout (good through 2/ 14).