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      A Letter to Our Children About Being "Stuck" Home

      A Letter to Our Children About Being "Stuck" Home

      Dear kids,

      You won’t remember these days the same way as we, adults, do.

      You won’t remember being cooped up in the house.

      You won’t remember not being able to have play dates.

      You won’t remember mom and dad scrambling to come up with activities to do besides watching TV.

      You won’t remember how stressed mom and dad were as they tried to balance work and taking care of you.

      You won’t remember your mom being worried about what will happen if she runs out of milk and eggs for you.

      You won’t remember all of the financial stress your parents felt as they saw the economy on it’s way to collapse.

      You won’t remember how scared your mom and dad were that they may get and spread the virus to the most vulnerable, including your favorite grandparents.

      No, you won’t remember any of this…

      You will remember how much time you got to spend with mom, dad and siblings in the house and all of the family fun, snuggle parties and love.

      You will remember all of the creative games and shows you came up with and how you utilized all of your toys.

      You will remember learning new skills.

      You will remember spending time in nature.

      You will remember finding new ways to connect with people.
      You will remember being kind and the kindness of others.

      You will remember staying in your PJ’s till noon and eating all of your favorite foods.

      You will remember FaceTiming with your grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, on a daily basis, seeing more of them than you usually do and taking turns “pushing the red button”.

      You will remember how much love you felt when no one from the outside world was allowed into your home.

      Remember: this too shall pass.  We need to keep a positive attitude and appreciate the silver lining that comes from this time of social isolation.

      Introducing Batik!

      Introducing Batik!

      Introducing Rafi Nova’s Batik Collection!  We have a very limited and rare collection that we procured from 9 vintage batik skirts. 

      Rafi Nova founders, Marissa and Adam, and their 4 kids, personally purchased these rare and sought after textiles in Dien Bien, Northwestern Vietnam.  Each skirt is different, takes up to 6 months to make and are worn for special occasions, such as weddings. They are estimated to be between 5-10 years old.  From each skirt, we can make approximately 6 bags, 10 single pouches and 10 double pouches.

      While these 9 skirts are all a little different, they all feature vintage Hmong hand dyed indigo batik, appliqué and hand embroidered cotton.

      Let’s explain what each of these mean:

      Hand Dyed Indigo Batik:

      The artisan starts by drawing on natural hemp or cotton with black ink and a mixture of beeswax and indigo dye.  She covers the entire surface of the fabric in a symmetrical design that starts from the edges.  Next, they use natural indigo dye (indigo leaves are put into a jar for 4 days, the leaves are removed and the pigment is left to ferment in a vat for 7 days).  The hemp or cotton is repeatedly soaked and sun-dried and the dipping and dying process is repeated 3-4 times per day, up to 40 times in a month long period.  Finally, the fabric is boiled and the beeswax melts away.  The drawings appear in white.  The dried cloth is then embellished with embroidery and appliqué.

      Appliqué: Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn onto larger pieces of fabric to form designs.



      Corona Virus: How to Prepare

      Corona Virus: How to Prepare

      As a mama to 4 young kiddos, an avid traveler and someone whose been living and working in Asian manufacturing, here’s what I’m doing to prepare for a potential spread of the Corona Virus.

        Read more

        All about our Sapa Collection

        All about our Sapa Collection

        It’s fitting that our first collection is the Sapa Collection, as it’s our signature and most cherished collection from Rafi Nova.  This collection represents so many things both in our personal life as well as in the world around us. In fact, it is the bright, colorful “Sapa” textile that inspired us to start Rafi Nova.

        In 2017, we were living and working in Vietnam with our then 18 month old twins, Noa and Eyva.  While we went on many adventures around Vietnam, our trip to Sapa in Northern Vietnam was one of our favorites.  Just getting there involved a 2.5 hour plane ride, an 8-hour overnight train and a 2 hour bus-ride over mountainous terrain.  We hiked through rice terraces, motorbiked through the mountains and met with ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages at the local Boc Ha market.

        It was at this market that we bought 2 kids backpacks, a small elephant and a traditional baby carrier, featuring handmade textiles from the Flower Hmong women, one of Vietnam’s 54 Ethnic Minorities.

        A few years (and another set of twins) later, after working in bag manufacturing for some time and traveling around the world with a young family, we decided it was time to design our own backpack and our first thought was to incorporate the beautiful textiles we found in Sapa.And so, we had an aspiration: how do we incorporate these bright textiles onto modern products that our friends and family in the USA would buy and how do we support these ethnic women so that their beautiful artform can live on.

        The first thing we did was call the eco-lodge we stayed at in Sapa and asked if they could help send us some sample fabrics from the local market, so we could use them on our prototypes.  They helped to connect us to one of the Hmong ladies and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Over the past 6 months, we were able to purchase 40 Flower Hmong skirts (each is 4-5 meters) and then we washed them, pressed them, cut them and incorporated them into our Supernova Backpack, Single Pouch and Cross-Body bag.  We believe in preserving traditions and each textile from our Collections have lived a full life before being incorporated into your Rafi Nova piece. 


        About the Flower Hmong

        The Flower Hmong are known for their Color Clashing, Pattern Loving, Bead Encrusted clothing.  They are a sub-group of the Hmong people, the largest of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.  Each subgroup has their own dialect, cultural customs, dress and handmade textiles.   Amongst other things, Hmong women are known as exceptional craftswoman and outside of their work in the fields, they spend much of their day doing embroidering for their clothing.  The patterns are passed down from generation to generation and retained by memory alone. Each pattern is unique and distinctive to where the artisan lives and the materials available to them at the time the fabric was crafted.

        Here’s some of the meanings of the different designs found in your textile:

        While all of the textiles that we’ve personally purchased for our Rafi Nova products hold great meaning and are near and dear to us, it’s the Sapa Collection that is our most cherished.  The bright colors and patterns make us feel happy and empower us to take new adventures (sometimes to the mountains of Vietnam and sometimes to the mountains of New England). We hope that they do the same for you.