make-believe: polar vortex.

January 31, 2019

Truth be told, I’m cold even with socks and slippers and the biggest wool sweater I own. Instead of lounging in bed wearing flirty pajamas and reading a good book, I’m hunched over my computer hammering out as much work as I can muster before my kids get home. But a girl can dream. Here’s how I wish I were waiting out this polar vortex:

Reading this new book start to finish.

Padding around in slip-on moccasins.*

Wearing this sleep set under the covers.

Using these knitting needles to knit something far beyond my skill set using hand-dyed yarn in craggy tweed and dusty pinks.

Opening up this passport cover and daydreaming about a sunny escape.

Getting massaged with this delicious smelling hair and body oil.

Following up with this body butter.

And partaking in this sleepy time herbal blend—to sip, or smoke, or soak—and taking a long mid-day snooze.


In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are few other places to direct my attention:

Give the gift of long johns: Brooklyn Defender Services is a non-profit that provides criminal, civil, family and immigration legal defense. As the coldest weather of the year hits New York, they’ve put together an Amazon Wishlist filled with long johns, socks, and underwear they’re sending to NYC jails to help keep incarcerated New Yorkers warm.

Buy someone a coffee: Earlier this month, a conversation unfolded on Instagram about racism in the online (and offline) knitting community. It evolved into a community-wide reckoning about how to confront racism. As so often happens, women of color led the charge by calling in white women to confront their roles in racism and white supremacy as well as their casual use of gaslighting, spiritual bypassing, and tone policing. A few of the women who led these discussions are @su.krita (ko-fi), @ocean_bythesea (ko-fi), @astitchtowear (ko-fi) and @thecolormustard (ko-fi). Those ko-fi links provide a quick way to send a virtual cup of coffee (in the form of just a few dollars) as a thank you for their time.

*These beautiful moccasins were designed and made by Jamie Gentry, an indigenous designer from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Please support indigenous designers if considering the purchase of moccasins.

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  • Reply Rachel Morasse January 31, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Ah! I was so pleased to see this! Many of the blogs and people that I follow live in sunny California, and as an Ohioan feeling this polar vortex, it’s nice to see some cold weather solidarity. Thanks (as always), Erin 🙂

  • Reply Genevieve January 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks Erin. I sent a pair of long johns and a pack of Ts to Brooklyn Defender Services, and they have a book wishlist, so I added in some books as well.

    Hope everyone is staying as warm and safe as possible.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 8:24 am

      So glad to hear this! Thank you!

  • Reply Trish O January 31, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    A dream, for sure. That sleep set is lovely, but I am cold looking at it. In IL it was -20 with a windchill on -50. My old house is COLD. So cold, and we are bundled up in flannel, wool, and long socks. So cold. Long Johns for all is a great idea! Off to get some to people in need.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 8:28 am

      ha! best part about make-believe! (and thanks so much for the long john order!)

  • Reply Grace January 31, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Hey Erin- I saw this post and immediately thought “Uh oh, white woman encouraging her followers, which are probably not entirely or not even mostly Native American, to wear moccasins”. Then I read about B.Yellowtail and thought “okay, rad”. But my gut is still saying “no, no moccasins on white people ever”. Could you share a bit about any thoughts/research/conversations you’ve had on this? I’m torn between “absolutely, support Indigenous artisans” and “Moccasins on anyone who is not Native American is cultural appropriation”. I know this series is all speculative, but even speculatively it’s sort of a form of permission-giving.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 31, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      What I’ve heard from indigenous folks is that buying goods from indigenous makers is a way to honor and support their craft and livelihood. Certainly this wouldn’t be extended to wearing ceremonial dress or dressing in head to toe traditional dress as a form of costume. Of course, I’d humbly submit to fault if I’ve gotten that wrong.

    • Reply Shelly February 1, 2019 at 1:30 am

      What’s wrong with white people wearing moccasins? The company/individual wouldn’t make them if they didn’t want everyone to enjoy them.

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 8:19 am

        Hey Shelly: I think Grace was concerned that non-native folks wearing moccasins might equate to cultural appropriation.

  • Reply Grace January 31, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Okay- I have been doing some reading since hastily writing my first comment and I have learned some things about moccasins. So- I wonder if it would be a good idea for you to put a note in there about supporting Indigenous/Native artisans when it comes to culturally relevant but not super symbolic goods- like moccasins. Just to encourage some awareness. Cause not everyone is going to fall into a “moccasin cultural appropriation” google-hole, or only purchase those exact ones from B.Yellowtail, a lot of folks (white folks, non-Native folks) are just gonna go out and buy the cheapest moccasins they can find at Target.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 31, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks for following up. I’m always hopeful folks will thoughtfully explore the links I provide in these posts and see for themselves the details of makers and brands that I direct folks to. But this makes me think maybe I meed be more explicit generally and not only when writing about moccasins! It feels like a fine line between showing and telling. Anyway, lots to consider and I’m going to amend the post.

      • Reply Grace January 31, 2019 at 8:23 pm

        I think it’s really generous of you to give folks such nice benefit of the doubt! Thanks for being willing to amend- however I’m not sure just mentioning that the moccasins are Indigenous designed/made fully sheds light on why that is important (or, 100% required) when moccasin shopping.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 31, 2019 at 8:53 pm

          It’s more likely just naive. I think my note urging folks to purchase moccasins from indigenous makers and directing them to the designer specifically will turn folks in the right direction. There’s so much we could dig into here and your note is definitely making me think about how I can make these posts more impactful and better explain my reasoning for what I choose to include. The truth is there’s nearly always a pretty specific reason why I’ve directed readers to the items I include in these collages—from the yarn hand-dyed by black and indigenous dyers, to the shea butter from a black, woman-owned company, to the body oil with 100 percent of proceeds going to a non-profit, straight on down the list. Each of these things probably deserves more editorial attention and it’s an interesting challenge to see how I might be able to do that while also preserving the pared down style of the post.

  • Reply Kyung January 31, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Truly appreciate your commitment to social justice and bringing awareness through your blog. Plus, love all the beauty and design integrated throughout.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 31, 2019 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks so much.

  • Reply Molly February 1, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Hi Erin,

    Have you tried SLEEP Herbal Blend? Curious about your personal experience with the product.

    Thank you,

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Haven’t tried it!

      • Reply Molly February 1, 2019 at 11:50 am

        If I order it I’ll report back!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 11:54 am


  • Reply Tabitha February 1, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Kiichi ekosani for featuring handmade moccasins. My aunt uses a traditional technique of brain tanning hides for her beadwork; it takes two weeks just to prep the hide! The time, effort, energy and knowledge that goes in to making a pair of moccasins- which are also a form of storytelling- is incredible.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 1, 2019 at 11:59 am

      So glad to hear from you Tabitha! Jamie’s work is exquisite (no doubt your aunt’s, too!).

  • Reply L February 3, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing the wishlist link from Brooklyn Defender Services! Important and sadly relevant this weekend. I was glad to have it on hand to pass it along to others as well.

  • Reply Lauren February 4, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    I loved this book; I read it last month.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 4, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      So glad! Can’t wait to read.

  • Reply Jamie Gentry February 7, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Gilakasla for sharing my work.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

      All thanks to you, Jamie!


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