When I was young, my family had a little wind-up musical statue-thing we called the Birthday Girl. She was ceramic or maybe porcelain, one of those idealized pretty things with a pioneer dress and bonnet, and big blue eyes, and probably clutching a basket of posies. You twisted her up and she played “Happy Birthday.” She was old, and had maybe come from Germany, or maybe not. Maybe she came from Woolworth’s.
The Birthday Girl was a family piece, purchased at some point because they all on my mom’s side of the family thought they couldn’t sing, and thus maybe would need a little help with the birthday song. So, even when it turned out that at least two of us could sing pretty well, we brought her out on birthdays, and in almost all my childhood birthday photos, there she is on the table, next to the cake.
Well, as it happens, my entire family can sing like larks now, so we have no need of the Birthday Girl, but I did love the idea of her—the one thing that, when you see it, you know it’s somebody’s birthday; the Christmas Tree of birthdays, the Jack ‘o Lantern of birthdays. The thing that gets the party started.
So, because I sew, I made this. I chose to leave all the edges raw and let them fray. Happy Birthday, kids!