Eco Label: Plant-Dyed Organics by Shaadee Mae

Shaadee Mae Hippie in Disguise Plant dyed organic clothing

In June I started a new blog series over on the Enfants Terribles Magazine blog today called ‘Eco Label Love’. For this series I share interviews with small companies who produce clothing and other products in a sustainable and ethical way. The fashion industry can be pretty terrible in terms of labour practices (for example, this). And, fast fashion is sorely contributing to landfill.

We need another way to clothe ourselves. With care. Slowly. Ethically. Mindfully. Sustainably.

While the most sustainable choice is always to buy second hand or thrift, thrift is not an option for everyone. This is why I want to celebrate companies who are leading the way toward a more sustainable and fair (or more than fair) industry. When it comes to sustainability, this means the fabrics are organic and renewable, locally sourced and sewn, or eco-dyed. In terms of ethical production, this means the garments are sewn and produced under fair conditions, as locally as possible.

Shaadee Mae Hippie in disguise Making Mindful Children Plant dye organic

For my second interview, I spoke with American Designer Shaadee about her new line SHAADEE MAE. Shaadee designs adorable one-piece jumpsuits for babies and toddlers, that are gender-netural, made from organic fabrics and sewn locally. Shaadee has been experimenting with using plants to dye her textiles, to take make her production that much more eco-conscious. The sleeveless suit Sen is wearing in the photos included in this post was dyed with pomegranate.

Please visit the Enfants Teribles blog to read my post here.

You can find SHAADEE MAE‘s online shop here, follow them on Instagram here and on Facebook here.

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Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

Have you subscribed to the Global Guardian Project yet? These are monthly learning capsules for children and families to learn about global stewardship. Each month features a different country’s wild life, landscape and challenges, and includes art projects, activities, meditation, recipes and more! Use my discount code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off, you can read more about it here

Shop Love: Rowdy Roddy Vintage

Back in October I shared an interview with Taralyn, the owner of Little Heirloom, an online shop based in Canada, as the first in a little series of my favourite shops around the world stocking sustainable goods. So, today, I have the second: an interview with the lovely Jolyne Colburn owner and curator of the fun online (and brick and mortar too!) shop Rowdy Roddy Vintage. RRV, as she likes to call it, specializes in vintage and organic clothing for children. Jolyne’s hobby of vintage hunting led her to open Rowdy Roddy Vintage. She loves searching for unique prints and hand knits, and thought it would be fun to do so for others.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background? What are you passionate about?

I was born in San Francisco, California and went to the College of Arts there for Graphic Design. I have always loved to paint, draw and read magazines, so I thought design was perfect for me. I have had the opportunity to work with some great companies and high fashion magazines in the past that taught me the ropes. And because of my love of art, I have always loved to travel and see new things. I try to travel as much as I can with my son Roddy too, as other cultures supply so much knowledge in addition to our own. One summer we stay in Europe, the other, America, and the next in the jungles of Costa Rica…

Now, living in Scotland, so many people ask me “Why are you here and not in California?!” Well, long story short I married a Scotsman and here I am. Yes, there are not as many sunny days here, but I do love it. It is filled with castles, beautiful scenery, and sheep (I love sheep)… The people are so lovely and I have so much amazing history at my fingertips. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss California! But there is a sense of peace here that I don’t get anywhere else. Maybe it’s because I don’t know as many people here, but the shop has created a wealth of friends, similar to family, for me.

The things that I am passionate about besides my business and family would have to be my love for cooking, traveling and my need for the softest fabrics known to man.  I love a good dreamy linen or organic knit…

How many children do you have and how would you describe them?

I have one child, Roddy (4yrs), and one on the way in the spring. Roddy’s full name is Rodrigo, named after my uncle. My family is Costa Rican, so my husband and I wanted a name that would embrace both is Latino and Scottish cultures. With this spicy blood combo, boy is he a wee firecracker! But the best kind really, he is my best pal, so funny, so loving and clever. Every day he is surprises me.  What is your favourite thing to do as a family?

My husband is a drummer and is away A LOT. So I would say when we can all be in the same place at the same time is my favourite thing. Whether that’s if we meet him on the road or he comes home and we ignore that he is jetlagged, just being together is the best thing in the world.  What did you want to be when you were a child?

As far back as I can remember I always liked to be involved in art in some way. Whether it was drawing, painting or sculpting I wanted to be doing it.

Did your career aspirations change once you had a child?

A little, but just a little. I told my dad that I wanted to go to Art School for painting and he said “no way.” As much as that infuriated the teenager in me, I am glad that he forced me to choose another field at school. I knew I loved design as well and it was a good fit, and while I was there I could squeeze in some painting classes too. Win Win. The tools that I learned as a graphic designer were indispensable and great for the coming years. I still use them daily with RRV (Rowdy Roddy Vintage), whether its for a new shirt, our website or an email mailer. So, I’m not sure If I have said this, but thanks Dad! 

What is Rowdy Roddy Vintage and why did you decide to start your own business?

My love for vintage is what inspired me to open RRV. I found it very difficult to find good vintage for babies and kids in the UK. So with my over active addiction to collect vintage, I had found a purpose! Being from the bay area and a wee bit of a hippie at heart, it fuelled my love for vintage as well. Wearing vintage keeps clothes out of landfills and helps the planet. We also support our community with our Buy Sell Trade scheme, where we pay you to recycle! 
We are always trying to find new ways to keep our kiddos lookin’ good and help the earth at the same time!

What inspired your shop’s name?

We started the business when my son Roddy was just 7 months old, and we thought it was a perfect fit for his personality… Wee Rowdy Roddy…

How do you choose the brands and clothing you carry?

I started my business with just vintage items that I would bring from California. Not long after opening and from the growth of my shop to a bigger location and our popularity in Glasgow, we introduced Lapin & me, a vintage inspired company that we thought was a perfect fit. After that we went from strength to strength and added Beau Loves, Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Finger in the Nose, Noe & Zoe, to name a few. We choose these independent brands because they fit well with our ethos. Whether they are organic, recycle or made locally and in small batches, we take all these little things in to consideration. 

What are your dreams for your shop and for motherhood?

As everyone who owns a business, I just want it to be successful. So much hard work goes into owning a business that you just hope for the best. I do have to say that I am very happy with what we have accomplished in the past years and I am lucky to have the great support of my staff, family, and lovely customers. I feel like I’m a winner already.

Now for motherhood, that is another story! It is a learning process that never ends. It is amazing to watch your child grow and try and teach them to be the best wee human they can be. Most of the time it is not easy, but it is always rewarding. I know the most interesting is yet to come with another on the way.  When you are all caught up on work what do you love to do?

I don’t think I have ever been all caught up! I am always trying to think of new ways to promote the business, so it is a never ending thing on my mind. Wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep stuff. But when I really try and have a day off, I love to try new recipes and maybe attempt to knit, although I never have enough time to finish the project! Hopefully one day I can again, because I do love it so…

Thank you Jolyne! Friends and readers you can find Rowdy Roddy Vintage’s online store here, and you can also follow Jolyne on Instagram @rowdyroddyvintage.

You can also find an interview I did for Rowdy Roddy almost a year ago here.

You might also like my post:

Processed with VSCOcam with e4 preset   Shop Love: Little Heirloom

Full Children's Gift Guide 2015   Thoughtful Gifts for Children

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset   The Mathematics of Love

Meet Creative Mother: Peta of Sapling

Each creative mother I interview for the blog inspires me in some way, whether it’s how they’ve pursued a dream, crafted a creative life for their family, are living close to nature or are a role model in some other way. Peta Stinson is a lovely business woman I met through Instagram a few years ago, she was always very kind, sincere and open. Who wouldn’t like that?! Despite the fact that my children didn’t fit into any of her clothing I decided to follow her shop on Instagram because I loved how open and honest she was about herself and her business, and she seemed like a good person. I also loved how fearlessly creative and experimental she was.

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Recently, Peta collaborated with actress Jaime King on a collection, including this Be Brave shirt

About a year ago, while her number of followers grew past 20,000 or more (I wasn’t keeping track, so I’m not sure of the number) she decided to unfollow everyone she had in her feed, and just see what would happen. Who would she miss seeing pop up in her feed? Who would stop following her because she had let them go? Who was a fair weather friend and who would stick around? I’m someone who doesn’t bother tracking who follows me or not, it’s information I don’t care to know, so I didn’t notice that Peta had stopped following me. When she mentioned on her Instagram account that she had conducted an Instagram experiment I was intrigued and impressed, I wrote her to say so and that little gesture turned into a dialogue and ongoing rapport. It seems that aside from figuring out who was really interested in her and her line, it actually strengthened some bonds.

Peta continues to intrigue and inspire me, so a few weeks ago I asked if she’d agree to an interview for the blog. Despite her busy days, she gladly agreed. Yay! If you are looking for adorable baby clothing or a businesswoman role model, or just a plain old-fashioned nice person, Peta is someone you’ll want to connect with. Her line, Sapling Child, goes above and beyond in terms of organics, and is pioneering into new areas of sustainable products. She’s one to watch and for very good reason. Without further ado, I present to you: Peta Stinson.

Dear, Peta, please tell me a little bit about yourself. 

I’m a mother of 3, a wife, a designer and an entrepreneur. I’m highly strung, I do too much, I don’t know how to relax, and I love what I do.

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What part of the world do you live in?

At the moment we are super blessed to be able to travel and wander. We are taking the opportunity over the next few years to travel around the world with the kids, at the moment we are in Canada, and enjoying every moment.  

How many children do you have and how would you describe them?

We have 3 kids, all boys, and I swear they are all insane! It’s also AMAZING how different all 3 of them are (like three points on a triangle), although they are all FULL ON – jumping off the beds, climbing up the walls, crashing and banging through life kind of kids – they are all so, SO different.

What are your core family values?

Showing kindness, using manners, helping others, and treading gently. Although, mind you, those values are kind of a rough plan….our babes certainly have a very long way to go. It amazes me that although every day of their lives they are asked: “What do you say…” (when they ask for something), they still don’t always say it! When they do remember these things, I definitely do a happy dance in my head (and say to myself “yeah we got this parenting thing NAILED”).

How do you spend most of your days?

The mornings are pretty much always the same, now that all the boys are at school. I get woken up by my 5 year old, way too early, who still climbs into my bed and covers my face with kisses (I’m trying to enjoy these moments as I know they won’t last forever, but 4 am? Seriously?). We get up, get breakfast organised, wake up the big boys and get them off to school.  

Then it’s a day of work, emails, design, more emails, a bit of pretending that I know what I’m doing, a bit of doing stuff that I have no idea how to do (PR, advertising, at the moment designing packaging, measuring samples), and then before I know it it’s school pick up time.  

We’re lucky enough that we live only a short walk from school, and it’s so lovely all walking home together.  

What is your favourite thing to do as a family?

Sunday morning pancake breakfasts have got to be my fave. We sleep in, make pancakes and sit around the table together eating, giggling (mostly), and planning out our lazy Sunday.

What are you passionate about?

Chocolate? Can I say chocolate?  Hmmmm….

What are some words you live by?

“Breathe it all in. Love it all out.”

Can you tell me a bit about Sapling Child?

Sapling is an organic baby wear company. We use organic cotton, and GOTS certified water based and vegetable based dyes. More than that though, we are a company trying to do what we can to improve the manufacturing industry as a whole, to provide the environmentally conscious alternatives that our community wants, and to show that having corporate ethics doesn’t mean that design has to take a back seat.

We are also fair trade, we pay our workers well above industry standard, we think carefully about our impact on the environment at every step of the manufacturing process. We have an orphanage in India that we also support, and our community contributes to the running, upkeep and items that the orphanage needs when they purchase our clothing.

How would you describe the ethos of Sapling Child in a few words?

Ethically Made.  Exclusively Designed.

Why did you decide to start a business?

We were living in Fiji at the time for my partner’s work. My spouse visa was quite restrictive and it meant I was unable to work. I was at home with the kids, I was restless, bored and I wanted to do something. It wasn’t until I had my third child, Oliver, that I knew what it was I wanted to do.

Oliver had meningitis as a newborn. We almost lost him and he spent many weeks in NICU after we were medivaced back to Australia. At the time, there were limited organic baby clothing choices. The organic clothes that I could find had been dyed with toxic bleaches and dyes. When babies are so sick their skin is so thin and their lungs are so delicate, it was important to me to find something that was truly ALL organic. When I was unable to find anything, that led me to start Sapling.

Do have any projects or collaborations coming up?

YES! We have some super exciting collaborations coming up, but I can’t tell you what they are or who they’re with!!! It’s KILLING me!

Did you life goals and career aspirations change once you had a child?

Definitely. Flexibility wasn’t important to me before kids. Now it’s the most important factor for me in career choice.  Having the flexibility to walk the kids to school, and to pick them up. Having the flexibility to stay at home if one of them is sick. Having the flexibility to take time off when I need it is the most incredible thing.

What are your dreams for your professional work?

I have so many. I’d like to expand beyond babies….we are also researching ways to make diapers and wipes more environmentally friendly.  

What are your dreams for your family?

Unrealistically, for my littles to stay little forever. Realistically, it’s all about happiness.

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Thank you Peta! Friends and readers you can find Peta’s line Sapling Child online here, and on Instagram @saplingchild and Peta’s personal account @petastinson.

This interview is part of my Creative Mother series, find the rest here.

You might also like my post:

image   Creative Mother Alana of Tafari Designs

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Want to find me in other places?

 

Released: The Ro Dress

It’s here! The dress Ro and I designed with Mimobee! It’s hard to believe that what started as an idea back in June, arrived in the mail last Friday, and is available for pre-sale today! Surreal, to say the least.

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If you are new around here, Ro and I were invited to collaborate with Mimobee for their collaborative capsule collection this fall (you can read about the process here). A few Instagrammers and Bloggers were invited to design a piece that represented their aesthetic. The final collection includes our boho inspired look, a street-inspired blazer, a minimalist dress, and a conceptual shirt.

Ro and I always have ideas for garments we’d love to bring to life, but never thought a serious brand would come asking. So when Mimobee asked, we didn’t hesitate, even though we were pretty scared that our lack of any technical skills might sink the ship! We figured hard work could take us pretty far. However, we never imagined that our collaboration with Mimobee would be fun, so much fun! Being involved from start to finish we learned so much, and Ro is already starting to put together ideas for her next piece. Should she get asked again…But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For our dress, we wanted to design a garment that was elegant, comfortable and functional. Something that we would want to wear everyday, but was still dressy enough for an occasion. We also wanted to make something that could celebrate all shapes, with the drawstring waist and sleeves, the dress is unfussy so it can grow or shrink as needed. Finally, in the interest of slow fashion, we wanted to ensure our design would be relevant beyond this season, by incorporating some classic design elements.

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We hope you love the dress as much as we do! If you do, you can buy it here.

Important details:

  • The dress is available for pre-sale ONLY for the next two weeks (sales close Sunday, November 15th). The dresses will then be sewn and shipped by early December.
  • All aspects of production take place in California, in the same space where Mimobee owners, Tom and Helen, work and where all the designing happens, the sewers are paid fair wages and work in excellent conditions. It’s a Mimobee family.
  • The dress is sewn from 100% organic cotton and dyed using eco-friendly dyeing methods.
  • The dress is available in size 2 to 16. That’s right mamas, some of you will fit into that size 14 or 16, so get one for yourself!
  • In addition, 10% of sales will go directly to the Jane Goodall Institute, a charity close to Ro’s heart. The Jane Goodall Institute works to preserve great apes and to improve global understanding of conservation issues to safeguard the planet for all living things. (For the last two years, Ro has chosen to raise funds for the Jane Goodall Institute in place of birthday gifts. After getting a little package in the mail with the name, photo and story of the chimp she is helping, she told me she couldn’t imagine ever wanting gifts. Giving a gift on your birthday is way more fun!) You might remember that we raised money for the World Wildlife Fund when we collaborated with Gardner & the Gang.

If you’d like a chance to win a dress, follow my blog by email, WordPress or Bloglovin and leave me a comment letting me know that you did. If you are already following, just let me know in a comment that you’d like to be entered in the draw. I will be giving away two dresses, so you have two chances to win! Visit my Instagram account to find out another way to win a dress.

Thank you to the Mimobee team for being so amazing to work with. Thank you to everyone who shared their ideas and gave feedback on earlier designs. And thank you, in advance, for buying a dress and supporting the Jane Goodall Institute and a young designer’s dream. Find the dress here.

[UPDATE: Congratulations Piper and Poppies, who entered on the other blog post here, your name was drawn for the dress! Please send me an email to claim your prize]

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Ro’s moccasins are from Canadian brand Manitobah and are available in a range of colours, in both children’s and women’s sizing. You can find them here.

Label Love: Mountain Honey Clothier

“Everything sweet about childhood can be summed up in a bonnet”

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A few months ago I won a giveaway with Mountain Honey Clothier. The prize was an organic, reversible bonnet, with removable ears — one hat, four ways to wear it. I loved the simplicity and versatility of the design, making it fun for a young child and mature for an older one. Not to mention, it was beautiful and the sort of item you knew you’d save for your grandchildren.

After exchanging a few messages with Deidre, the woman behind the brand, I learned about her unconventional path to starting her business and more about all the care, consideration and research she puts into her craft. I was also really impressed with her efforts to source her materials and produce her heirloom clothing line in the most sustainable way. She even uses her scraps to the fullest by making adorable soft toys and treasure bags. I asked her if she’d share her story and she happily obliged. Thank you, Deidre.

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Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background? How has it influenced your creative pursuits?

I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl. Creative expression has always been a huge part of who I am, as a young teen I actually covered every square inch of my bedroom wall with little doodles, I spray painted my door one day while my mom was at work, I stepped in paint and walked on the wood floors of my room. My mother was ever tolerant of my need to express myself. She was also the one who taught me to sew, starting with Halloween costumes. She supplied me with plenty of fabric scraps and odds and ends and was generous enough to allow me to use her nice sewing machine, even when she wasn’t there to supervise. I made little pillows and stuffed animals.

When I had my own children I began to sew even more. Creating clothing, toys, and blankets for them. I loved seeing them play with or wear something I made with my own two hands, and I loved that the items were quality and would last.

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Five years ago I began a degree program in Biology. While in school I participated in some research and I was keenly interested in molecular and cellular biology. I aspired to go on to a PhD program and perhaps become a researcher. While I was in school I had a few odd jobs to help support our household. We are very lucky to have a devoted and hardworking husband/father who supports our family, but I wanted to be contributing to our livelihood as well. However, being a full time mom, and running a household while attending college full time, especially in such a challenging field, required flexible work. Not to mention the fact that I was pregnant and delivered my third precious little boy during this time. So one day I was contemplating odd jobs, I was more in love with sewing than ever before, and I decided I would just google “how to earn money sewing”. That sounds silly, but it’s the truth, good old Google.

Well, little did I know where that would lead. Before long I was doing private label work for a children’s clothing designer. Soon I was doing product photography and taking on clients who needed me to do prototyping work. All along I was amassing a little collection of my own designs and selling them here and there to friends and at small craft shows.

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Time flew by and in May of 2014 I graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Biology from Castleton University in Vermont. I absolutely love science, I love research and problem solving. Despite this and all I had invested in my studies I was feeling more and more pulled towards my children’s line. I dreamed of making a go of it, of building something amazing. But Leaving something certain, something everyone expected me to continue in and that I had worked so hard at for something utterly uncertain and completely new was a frightening possibility. I convinced myself it was an amazing daydream but a scary reality. So, I continued to grad-school. I didn’t get far though, halfway through my first semester I took a leave of absence for personal reasons and that was when I finally decided to be brave enough to pursue this dream.

Here I am now, a year later. I have learned so much. I’ve refined my brand, stuck to what matters most to me, and created what I feel are some really special pieces. I am ever inspired by my children, by the natural world, and by a drive to build a company that is different than your average children’s line. I’m very committed to sourcing responsible materials and due to my background in the sciences, I feel I am acutely aware of the environmental, humanitarian,and health impacts of the products we bring into our lives. I’m striving to make sustainable and healthy choices down to each little detail. I am beyond excited to continue this journey and grateful for the ability to be there for my family and to have them be a part of this little company.

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What part of the world do you live in?

Vermont, USA. The green mountain state.

How many children do you have and how would you describe them?

3 boys. Maxwell, 16, is an overachiever like his mom but the most gentle soul. He is the principal bassist of the Vermont Youth Orchestra and an extremely talented musician. People are surprised to find out he’s 16, he has the maturity of an adult at times and is over 6 feet tall. Max plays on several school athletic teams, including the Varsity football team. But perhaps the most memorable thing about Max is his laugh, he has the most wonderful infectious laugh.

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Jacob, 10, the saying “still waters run deep” well it was written for this kid. My Jake is a bit of an introvert. He is the intelligent, quiet type. Those that know him best get to see his more relaxed side, and wow is it magical. He is passionately loving of his friends and family. He is full of emotion and so good at articulating his feelings. He doesn’t rush nor does he allow others to rush him and sometimes I really need his reminders to stop and smell the roses.

Derek, 3, this kids lights up our lives! He is doted on by the whole family and being the center of attention doesn’t bother him one bit. For his age his vocabulary is impressive, and he cracks us up on a daily basis with the things he comes up with. He has a habit of nicknaming people and the nicknames tend to stick. Derek is obsessed with helping and is so proud when the opportunity arises for him to use a tool or fix something with Daddy. He is my little sidekick and a HUGE part of Mountain Honey, you’ll always find him wearing a pair of ears!

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What are your core family values?

I’ve matured a lot over the last 16 years as a mom. The world has become a scary place for parents and I feel this has resulted in a tendency to overprotect a bit, honestly, it’s really hard now to balance keeping kids safe while giving them the space to discover who they are. This is what we are really working on as a family. I feel the best way to show someone you love them, is to do them the honor of trusting their judgement and allowing them to make decisions and to deal with any consequences that come. Our core values are honesty, responsibility, acceptance, and love. I’m working really hard to honor the difference between guidance and direction, to model these values instead of reciting them, and to give my kids opportunities to model those values as well.

How do you spend most of your days?  

Hahaha…October-December = wake, sew, wake kids, sew, make breakfast, sew, brush hair, remind boys to change underwear, sew, pack lunches, sew, drive kids to school, sew play play dough with Derek, sew, feed Derek lunch, read  with Derek, play with Derek, sew, pick kids up, sew, clean house, sew, cook dinner, sew, eat a family dinner, sew, cuddle kiddos, bedtime routine and kids to bed, sew, sew, sew, sew, sew, pass out, sleep 4 hours while dreaming about sewing. Repeat. Sprinkle in football games, concerts, playing outside, and family outings.

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What is your favourite thing to do as a family?

Discover new places.

What are you passionate about?

see novel above 😉

What do you design and how do you source your materials?

Designing is one of my favorite aspects of my job. Drafting patterns allows me to use my brainy side. Pattern drafting is as much engineering as it is creative. I make each and every one of my pieces myself, starting with the pattern design. Often, I am inspired by a fabric to create a new piece.

I have a deep love of fabric. While I buy some materials wholesale I also really enjoy patronizing small, locally owned fabric shops. Everywhere I travel, I find a shop to pop into and buy some treasured fabric. I’m also passionate about sourcing organic fabrics free of synthetic fiber. Not everything I source is organic but a really good percentage of it is. I haven’t done the exact math but I’d estimate at least 80% of the materials I use are organic and sustainably produced. My packing materials are all 100% recycled and I am extremely conscientious about energy use and waste in my studio.

Beyond the material there is the aesthetic piece. I think my aesthetic is best described as nature inspired with a vintage/heirloom charm. I love simple designs, that are timeless and a bit whimsical.

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What’s your favourite piece you’ve designed?

My bonnets, by far. They are my baby and are really unique to me. There is just something about putting ears on a baby, then combine that with an heirloom quality and styled piece, and you’ve got magic.

What are your dreams for your business and motherhood?

My biggest dream is to be a strong role model for my kids. It’s hard not to have some guilt about the little sacrifices we all have to make in order for this business to take off but I think the payoff is worth it. I dream that my kids will look back one day and appreciate that I showed them how valuable hard work and creativity are and that these efforts are reflected in the adults they become. My dreams of motherhood have less to do with me and more to do with what my kids experience, I hope that they feel loved and valued.

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My dreams for my business are that it will continue to grow and be successful. I wish for it to not only be able to sustain my family but that hopefully it will grow into something that can benefit my community and perhaps one day reach even farther. I don’t want to lose that handmade touch though, mass production will never be for me. I’d would love to be able to provide some flexible well paying jobs to other parents and to pass on my love for sewing.

Thank you, again, Deidre! Readers you can find Mountain Honey Clothier online shop here and on Instagram @mountainhoneyclothier_.

GIVEAWAY: To enter to win 2 bonnets from Mountain Honey Clothier, follow them on Instagram and leave me a comment here. For two extra entries subscribe to my blog by email, WordPress or Bloglovin. Contest closes Sunday November 8, 2015.

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Shop Love: Little Heirloom

Last season I had the honour of working with a small Canadian shop, Little Heirloom, to help spread the word about their lovely shop. Little Heirloom is an online store specializing in small ethically produced children’s wear brands. The shop is a little dream come true for Taralyn, a lifelong dreamer and entrepreneur, who took inspiration from her new motherhood to leap into the unknown and follow her interests in a way that would allow her to be more present with her young toddler. The shop is still very small and working to establish itself, so I wanted to help get the word out about this excellent shop, with a most excellent woman and family behind it.

Honestly, I’m not someone who cares much about fashion trends and season releases, but when I started to see sneak peeks of the Nico Nico Clothing fall line I got really excited. Something about the colours and textures spoke to me. I was immediately inspired to capture beautiful moments of my children in the clothing. I’m telling you, this has never happened before! So I picked up a few of my favourite pieces from Little Heirloom and let our adventure-seeking ways take their course, what resulted were some beautiful moments.

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I’m really in awe with how the Nico Nico line seems to form a dialogue with the landscape, whether we’re in the city or the forest or on the beach, the clothing seems at home, making you feel like you are exactly where you should be. I’m so happy to have invested in this line of organics. And, now I understand a little why some people get excited about fashion.

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I love to learn from mothers who have started their own business while raising children. So I asked Taralyn if she could share her story here. Read on to hear from Taralyn, herself, and to see more photos of the children enjoying themselves in clothing from her store.

Tell me a little bit about yourself, the person behind Little Heirloom. What is your background? What are you passionate about?

My name is Taralyn Fodor, and I am the founder/owner/operator of the online children’s apparel website Little Heirloom. I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, but recently moved back to the city with my family after living in Montreal and Toronto for almost 8 years. I have a background in Art History and Design, but I also work as a buyer for a local apparel brand here in the city. I do a lot of juggling as a mother, business owner and buyer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am passionate about my family, first and foremost, but I also have a soft spot for design, travel, and art.

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same denim poncho fits both kids, winning!

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How many children do you have and how would you describe them?

I have one son, Levi, who is 2 and a half. He is the wildest, most engaged, energetic, fearless, hilarious and social little person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is truly chock-full of personality, and he never stops talking. Any moment spent awake for Levi is full of dialogue – be it with us (his parents), a friend, or someone imaginary. I love hearing him chatter away while playing with his toys, listening to him re-enact scenarios from earlier in the day, or talking about something I had no idea he even knew existed. It gives me fantastic insight into his little mind.

What is your favourite thing to do as a family?

As Levi gets older, our choice activity changes. It used to be a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium or Science World, but now going to the beach is our favourite. We really love getting outside and taking advantage of the beautiful city we live in.

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What did you want to be when you were a child?

This one makes me laugh, because I have always wanted to own my own business. I used to set up these roadside stands where I could sell things. I’d sell drawings, flowers (well, they were probably more like weeds, but who’s keeping track…), and anything else I could come up with. I just loved interacting with people and selling them something that made them happy. I guess nothing has changed!

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Did your career aspirations change once you had a child?

Interestingly, I became more focused on making my aspirations a reality. I knew that if I didn’t try it would never happen. In the beginning, running my own business also offered me the flexibility I needed to spend more time with Levi.

What is Little Heirloom and why did you decide to start your own business?

Little Heirloom is a website dedicated to selling high-quality, stylish and ethically produced children’s fashion. We like to focus on smaller, independent brands that are a bit harder to find. I originally wanted to create an online store to offer brands I love to the Canadian market, as no one was selling them here, but the demand for our designers has us shipping all over the world now!

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I love the name Little Heirloom. What does that name mean to you? Why did you choose it?

When I was thinking of a name for the shop, I kept circling back to the core concept of the store: to offer timeless, high-quality clothes that can be passed down from sibling to sibling, and even generationally. The idea of a sweater, romper or pair of shoes becoming an heirloom, a special memento of childhood, meant a lot to me. The name Little Heirloom sprung from that.

How do you choose the brands you carry?

They have to be beautiful, un-fussy, ethically manufactured, and above all else: well made. I also put them through the “Levi Test” as I like to call it. If I don’t like how the clothes wear and wash with my little guy, I won’t carry them in the shop.

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What are your dreams for Little Heirloom?

I would love to add more labels to our roster, and build out the collection we carry to represent even more exceptional international brands. Maybe there will even be an in-house line someday!

When you are all caught up on work what do you love to do?

I’ve been trying to allow myself “alone” time. It’s harder than you’d think! But when I manage it, just getting to a yoga class or riding my bike is wonderful.

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Readers: Little Heirloom carries premium brands, such as Nico Nico (the clothing pictured in this post), Red Creek Handmade, boy+girl, Misha & Puff, Soor Ploom, Goat Milk NYC, at excellent prices and ships internationally. She also carries the most charming line of toys, Des Enfantillages, made here in Canada (adjustable skipping rope and felt pompom slingshot pictured in this post).

The Canadian dollar is low now, which makes it especially economical for international shoppers to buy from Canadian shops. You can find Little Heirloom online at www.littleheirloom.com and on Instagram @littleheirloom.

Sen’s salt water sandals and Hunter rain boots are from Mini Mioche. Ro’s moccasins are from Canadian Aboriginal-owned brand Manitobah, offering a complete year-round line of moccasins and mukluks.

A special thank you, as well, to the kind women at Nico Nico Clothing, who helped me source sizes 8 and 10, to fit Ro.

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Strawberry Picking

We live in Canada’s national capital, so Canada Day is a pretty big deal here. Lots of people, locals and tourists, congregating in the downtown like sardines eager to see bands and buskers, eat street food and watch the fireworks. As a couple, Matt and I always enjoyed partaking in the patriotic festivities. But with massive crowds, noises, sites and smells amped up to the max, we had a feeling we would need to find our own family tradition for Canada Day once we had children. Even for our outgoing social butterflies, Canada Day in downtown Ottawa was just too much for our children. (We learned the hard way through experience: tantrums and tears).

With strawberries in prime picking season and with the fields safely outside the downtown core, we happily adopted strawberry picking as our family’s Canada Day tradition. This year was no different, except that when we arrived at the farm to pick, there were only off-the-shelf berries available for purchase, as the farmer didn’t want people walking in his fields following overnight rain. We decided to go for a hike at a nearby lake instead and go picking at the soonest opportunity, which luckily was just a few days later.

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Sen thought it was pretty funny to fill his pocket with snacking berries

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While a rascally Sen runs off with the basket, Ro is charmed about using her skirt to gather

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But wait…”Mama, ooooh it’s getting heavy!”

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Tired kiddos getting silly

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Thank you to our kind sponsors for outfitting Ro and Sen:

Organic clothing by Nico Nico from Little Heirloom, a lovely Canadian shop, that ships worldwide. LIttle Heirloom is especially great for Canadian shoppers looking for premium brands and organic clothing with domestic shipping rates.

Leather sandals are by Salt Water Sandals and are available from Mini Mioche, another superb Canadian shop stocking organics, shoes, bags and much more, and shipping worldwide.

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In their Element with boy+girl

I am honoured to have collaborated with boy+girl this season to celebrate their lovely line of sustainable clothing for girls and boys. boy+girl asked me to capture photos of the children “in their element.” I interpreted this to be when the children are most themselves, most happy, most enjoying life. Some children are in their element when they are in the kitchen baking treats for their family, when they are curled up on the sofa with a book, or when they are building Lego masterpieces. Well, my children seem to be the happiest, the most free and creative, full of zest for life and adventure, and thirsty with curiosity when they are out in the elements. Our recent visit to the Montreal Botanical Gardens  proved to be an ideal place to capture them in their element: in the elements – at least earth, water and wind.

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I love hearing people’s stories and what inspires them, so I’m pleased to share an interview with Christine, the designer of boy+girl.  In the interview, Christine talks about her family, cultural and work background, as well as her sources of inspiration for clothing design, the ethics of boy+girl production and what’s new for next season. I hope you are inspired by her ideas and perspective.  { Gallery of images below }

Tell me a little bit about yourself, the person behind boy+girl. What is your background?

I grew up in Northern California in a very tight knit family. My mom was/is the ultimate artist/creative, she made everything from scratch from all our meals to curtains to clothes. She encouraged and inspired me to be creative from the time I was little, so I was always drawing or painting, cooking and baking, lots of hours at the dance studio… that is how I grew up so I always very drawn to a creative path.

How would you describe boy+girl in 5 words?

free-spirited. minimalist. pure. clean. california.

boy+girl, the brand name, is simple and yet intriguing. Why did you choose this name for your brand? What does it mean to you?

It came very naturally to me. I wanted something simple and understated and classic. I think it means a lot of things but I like how it describes very purely what we all are.

How did you get started designing clothing?

I started 4 years ago when I started boy+girl. I had never designed before, but I knew what I liked and I love materials.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

My dream was to be a dancer or a designer.

What are your sources of inspiration for the line?

For the boy, I am definitely drawn to my West Coast roots, that skater surfer California little guy. For her, I like things a little more bohemian, simple yet fresh and always feminine. For both I am drawn to styles that are really comfortable, natural, free.

Craftsmanship and sustainability are important to you. How do you translate these into your designs and their production?

We put a lot of effort into the craftsmanship. I am really proud to work with amazingly skilled people – from our fabric mills, to our dyers, to our cutters and sewers. They are the true experts and I don’t pretend to know more than they do. I am very hands on in the process. In terms of sustainability we try to do a lot of different things. I think for companies and individuals it’s about examining everyday decisions with an environmental point of view. Our hangtags are printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. We source organic cotton. We produce locally. There are little things and big things that you can do to increase the sustainability of your business.

boy+girl clothing is sewn in LA. Why did you choose to work with a local factory/sewers? What is your relationship with them?

Two reasons: one is sustainability, you create less carbon footprint when you work locally. And, secondly, I grew up in a very community-focused culture – you want to be connected and contribute to the area in which you live. Working locally provides jobs to amazing artisans in our area. Our sewers are true artists, I ask them a ton of questions and rely heavily on their work for a beautiful product. I pop in all the time, pretty much every single day when we are in production. I look at samples, and we go over what’s working and what isn’t. And they know I love to eat so they always try to feed me!

What has made you the most proud of what you’re doing?

The line is so personal, the work is so personal. It has been really nice just to have people react positively and have beautiful stores and lovely customers support what you do. I appreciate that every day.

So far, you have only designed one piece for women. Have you designed clothing for yourself?

I haven’t but at some point I’d like to!

Do you plan to expand the line?  What’s next for boy+girl?

Fall is the launch of our baby line. A lot of people have been asking for baby styles since we start at age 2, so that was really fun and exciting to do. There are so endless projects and things I’d like to do so I’m just going where the wind blows.

When you are all caught up on work, what do you love to do?

I love cooking, going to the beach, walking flea markets. Being with the people you care about in the California sunshine is always nice. And I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit this year which has been really amazing. Hopefully there will be more travel in my future, I love going to new places and taking in the culture!

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Spoiler: Keep scrolling, you might find a discount code…

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boy+girl has generously offered my readers a discount code worth 15% off all new arrivals. Use ‘HIPPIE15’ for purchases through their online shop.

Find boy+girl on Instagram @byboyandgirl

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Magic Feathers

Last September Kristin, the owner and designer behind the kids organic clothing line, Gardner and the Gang, decided to hold a children’s art competition. Children were encouraged to submit drawings under the theme for her SS15 collection: Magic and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The winning drawing, chosen through open voting, would be incorporated into the SS15 collection.

I loved the spirit behind Kristin’s competition, encouraging children to draw and supporting young artists to pursue their passion. I talked to Ro about it and she decided to submit her Magic Feathers drawing that she had drawn as part of her daily drawing project. The drawing itself had been inspired by a photograph that Kirsten Rickert had shared on Instagram. Isn’t it lovely the way the Instagram community knits itself together, connecting people across vast distances in these beautiful ways?

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Initially, Kristin had planned on donating the profits of the shirt sales to support access for children to art lessons – a very worthy investment I would have to say. The value of art education should not be underestimated. When Ro wrote to Kristin about her inspiration for the drawing and her passion for protecting animals, Kristin decided to invest the money in another way: to protect endangered animals. This is what both Ro and I are most excited about, the shirts are symbolic of a greater cause and will hopefully inspire conversations between parents and children about animal protection.

This morning on the way to school I told Ro that her shirt design was for sale on the Gardner and the Gang website. She replied: “Mom, I’m just so happy that I drew that picture, because so many animals will be saved.” My heart is so proud.

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I have an inquiring mind and so I asked Kristin a few questions about herself, the competition and her clothing line. And, now, I can see why she was swayed by Ro’s love for all animals.

Why did you hold a children’s art competition?

I thought it was a nice idea to involve the people I design for and make it a fun happening.  If we can help encourage children to use their artistic talent then that is a good thing and such a good feeling too.

What is the plan for the money earned from sales of the Magic Feathers shirt?

We will donate all the revenue from the sales to a cause chosen by Ro. In this case we will adopt endangered animals through WWF (the World Wildlife Fund).

What is your background, where did you grow up, what did you study?

I am from Sweden, I grew up in the countryside close to animals and nature. I have studied media communication, visual communication, photography and graphic design. My degree is in Visual communication.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I had all sorts of dreams, but the main one was to have a huge farm. However, I have always been terribly allergic to furry animals, so that is a bit of an obstacle, and the fact that even if I am a country girl at heart, I am also an adventurer and I love the pulse of a big city. I get totally mesmerised by New York City. Like seriously, goose bumps constantly whenever I visit. I will live there some day, at least for a little while.

How did you get started designing clothing?

It all started with me having my first baby girl, Ava. With a background in graphic design and a strong fashion interest, these are what made it all start to move forward.

How would you describe Gardner and the Gang clothing in 5 words?

Quirky, fashion, meaningful, fun, comfortable.

Why does Gardner and the Gang mean? What’s behind the name?

It is named after my daughter Ava, she is named after Ava Gardner. I loved her strong personality and her story . The gang is all the other kids that want in.

What are your sources of inspiration for the line?

I always get inspired in the most unexpected places. A thread through all my designs would be a wish to convey a message to all kids: Do not live with prejudice, open your mind to new cultures, you will learn something. Even if the message is not so obvious I always draw characters that are somewhat outsiders, strong personalities. The message is simple, be yourself: that is as cool as it gets!

What has made you the most proud of what you’re doing?

The fact that children really seem to like wearing my designs.

Your design aesthetic seems perfect for a fun youth line. Do you plan to expand the line?  

Yes, slowly but surely.

When you are all caught up on work, what do you love to do?

I love to do yoga, and to go running with some good tunes in my earphones. Clears my mind. These occasions are very rare though, haha, my life is mostly, kids, work, sleep…

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Thank you so much to Kristin for supporting young artists and the World Wildlife Fund.

If you are interested in buying a shirt visit Gardner and the Gang, the shirts are limited edition!

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