Monday, 27 May 2013

kidswear extraordinaire - Tootsa MacGinty

A little while ago, someone asked me where I shopped for clothes for the kiddos - they were looking for some ethical and organic childrenswear, and I dutifully gave them a long list of my favourites. We don't shop in these places all the time, and tend to rely on eBay and charity shops as much as possible, and then resorting to H&M (the best of a bad high street bunch) if we can't find what we want anywhere else. A while later, someone else asked me what my favourite kidswear brand was, and so I thought it might be nice if I put together a mini-series of my absolute favourite places to buy childrens clothes from.

I couldn't help but kick things off with the absolutely amazing Tootsa MacGinty, who stock an incredible array of mostly unisex clothes - expect bright colours, hard wearing fabrics and an ethical conscience (they produced a range of organic cotton t-shirts for Summer, and also donated money towards Surfers Against Sewage). On the homepage, designer and owner Kate Pietrasik says:

"Tootsa MacGinty are clothes for little people who want to step into a rainbow and splosh through the colours, who think rain is a shower of diamonds, and that getting wet is fun. They're for children who make a bee-line for mud and see the magic in bubbles made out of washing-up liquid!"

I fell in love with everything in the range, but was completely smitten with the triangle printed trousers (you know me and my love of geometrics!) which we bought for Daisy as a birthday present.

I honestly can't recommend Tootsa MacGinty enough - the customer service is excellent, the clothes are outstandingly well made and the wonderfully eclectic designs are right up our street. Check them out now, especially the Hayling Island Knit Jumper, and the Palace Pier Indigo Jumper - they're next on our shopping list!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

life lately

When it comes to blogging, I seem to be a bit 'all or nothing'. I either don't post for aaaages, or I post every day. I've just had a bit of a break after feeling like I was spending too much time staring vacantly at the laptop, while my crafty projects mounted up, the dust balls blew around the floor and my children turned feral. (Ok, they didn't, but you get the idea.) So I had some time away, and this is what I got up to...

My clothes experiment has come to a bit of a premature ending, after I sent half my wardrobe to the charity shop. Out went dresses that still had tags on them, unworn tights (I love mustard tights, I really do, just not on me) and a whole load of clothes that simply didn't fit. I replaced them with a few new things, all shirt-y blouse-y bargains from eBay:

Although the weather's been a bit iffy, I managed to find the time to get out there and sow my Higgledy seeds, pot on my tomatoes and get some bedding plants into pots. I'm planning a whole post dedicated to the garden, but we've still got a fair bit to do before the big reveal - it was a total mess when we moved in, neglected and overgrown, and it's taken a while to bring it back to life.

My beloved Higgledy seeds - germination after just four days!
Tomatoes and carrots
Strawberries in hanging baskets
I've been pottering around the house as well; finishing off curtains here and there, painting bits of furniture, putting up some pictures and finally getting round to making an accessories holder:

Getting addicted to cactii

Thoroughly in love with Ingela P. Arrhenius prints
And, of course, I've been spending a whole lot of evenings armed with tea, magazines and my trusty crochet hook. There have been a gazillion baby-related creations, forgotten projects finally finished off and new projects started (they'll be appearing in a similar post this time next year... ahem...)

An intarsia experiment turned into a crochet hook purse thingy

Yes, that is a baby hat that looks like a boob.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

worn: seaside sandals and floral prints

In true typical British fashion, after a week of glorious weather, the sun seems to have buggered off completely. Pah. It's been back to snatching an hour here and there in the garden, spending time with noses pressed against the window, looking forlornly at the rain, and worst of all, coats. Ugh.
Today was another grey, drizzly, windy day, so I thought it'd be the perfect time to share some photos and an outfit post from a gloriously sunny day trip we had a a couple of weeks ago. I always think we're really lucky where we live - ten minutes by car in either direction and you can be standing on the shoreline, immersed in countryside or surrounded by great independent shops. We took a wander around Old Portsmouth, which I love - I've lived here my whole life, but never get tired of pottering around the stone steps and exploring the tunnels and walls.

It was the perfect day to break out my new Saltwater sandals, that I'd bought the week before from Toast - I originally fell in love with them for the design (and the colour - bright popping orange, amazing!), but honestly cannot rate them highly enough for their comfort. The first time I put them on, they felt like they'd been made specifically around my feet - I usually dread sandal weather, because I've never found a pair of sandals that are actually comfortable unless you're covered in plasters, but these were like a dream. Goodbye, Elastoplast!
I paired them with my usual favourite skinny jeans, a charity shop floral top, a clashing floral cardigan and a vintage jacket with yet another floral print. There's nothing I like more in clothes than a good pattern...

Dear Saltwater Sandals, you're the bestest. Love from Me.
Bag - Doodle Bag // Scarf - Vintage
Got the Husband to practice with the DSLR again - he'll be outdoing me soon!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

blog love: craft and design

If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I've got a fair few hobbies; crafts, crochet, watching films and box-sets and rummaging through piles of old junk, to name a few. One of my favourite ways to switch off and relax, though, is to sit down and have a good read - anything from books to magazines and online publications. My blog reader is jam packed with hundreds of great blogs on subjects that vary massively; feminism to activism, crafts, design, interiors, lifestyle, fashion.... pretty much anything that pleases my eyes. I've been meaning to share some of my favourites for absolutely ages, so I thought I'd kick off this new little mini-series with my top five craft and design blogs - hopefully you'll either recognise them, or you'll discover something new and love them as much as I do.

1. Good Night Day
When I started crocheting, I was quickly sucked into the world of yarn, and ended up stumbling across some incredible blogs in this area. Good Night Day (or 'Stay Fancy Free' as it was back then) was the first one I ever read, and it quickly became a firm favourite. Tara-Lynn, the owner of Good Night Day, is the most incredible knitter; think chunky shawls, removable collars, intarsia hats and my long-running favourite, the welland merino sweater - check out her online shop for the full range. The Good Night Day blog also features vintage photography, snippets from her home and everyday life and 'behind the scenes' style posts. A must read for anyone interested in yarn, clothes or vintage.

2. Belle Fleur de Lis
I stumbled across Lotte's blog one day when I was searching for information on lacemaking, and pretty much added it to my reader straight away. Belle Fleur de Lis is a real treat of a blog; Lotte is a crocheter and lacemaker, who combines her love of plants and flowers with an exquisite talent for yarn and cotton craft.
The beautiful photographs are light, airy and delightful, and the posts are always a joy to read - if you're a keen crocheter, or even if you just enjoy being inspired, you'll love Lotte's little space on the internet.

3. Studio Meez
I actually discovered Studio Meez via the blog link page on Lotte's blog, so finding Belle Fleur de Lis was a bit of a double win. Studio Meez is a real treat for the eyes; knitted creations, print designs, sneak peeks of her home, books and outdoor adventures - there really is something for everyone. The photography is really incredible - whether she's writing about yarn or recent travels, you can pretty much guarantee the images are going to be breathtaking. There's also an online shop where you can buy her stationary, prints and cosy accessories - I've got the mint green apple cushion firmly on my 'want' list.

4. Karen Barbe
Based in Chile, textile designer and photographer Karen Barbe has one heck of a great blog. Full of incredible images of anything from her inspirations to her home, her design projects to peeks inside her studio, if you're a fan of photography or design, you'll love this little patch of internet. An incredible textile artist, Karen weaves, embroiders and prints her materials into the most beautiful of accessories and homewares, from aprons to my personal favourite, the stunning potholders. Expect colour, light, and pattern aplenty, and don't forget to visit the shop afterwards...

5. One Sheepish Girl
I discovered Meredith's incredible blog, One Sheepish Girl, after reading about it in one of the earliest issues of Mollie Makes - that was a couple of years ago, and even now it's still one of my favourites. Meredith combines her fabulous talent for knitting and crochet with quirky project ideas, stitched journal entries and some brilliant DIY tutorials, and has a knack for producing some of the most colour-popping photographs in blogland. She regularly pops up in magazines and online publications, writes for Gathered by Mollie Makes and is a champion GIF maker. You've probably already got her blog bookmarked, but if you haven't - do it now!


Monday, 13 May 2013

worn: DIY embroidered skirt and vintage knitwear

As you probably know by now (because I talk about it every now and then... ahem), I'm a huge fan of charity shops, eBay and basically limiting my consumption when it comes to fashion and clothing. The only thing I like better than finding something fabulous second-hand, is finding a way to cobble it together myself. I might only have limited sewing skills, but armed with a few excellent dressmaking books and the internet, I like to think that there's not a lot I can't achieve (and if there is, I can always take it to the tailors...) 

I'm over at Ms. Wandas Wardrobe today, with a handy little tutorial on transforming an unloved mens shirt into an ace embellished skirt - it's going to be the first of a few similar DIY-upcycling posts, including a laptop sleeve, removable collar and other lovely little bits and pieces. I'm hoping you'll check them out and have a go! (PS Make sure you get involved in their incredible 1% Campaign too!)

I'd actually been searching for a button-down denim skirt for a while, but never found one I liked enough to part with my cash for. I came across the idea of making my own when I was folding the laundry one day, and found the mens shirt on eBay for a few quid. I paired it up with some stripes, mustard knitwear, and clogs, and was very happy indeed. Hurrah for upcycling!

Knit - Charity Shop // Breton top - New Look // Skirt - Homemade // Clogs - Lotta from Stockholm // Owl Pendant - eBay


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

found: pretty pastels

{From Top-Left} Shirt - Lowie // Pumps - Emilion Luca X // Bow Necklace - Original Design Jewels via Etsy // Phone Case - On Your Case via Etsy // Nail Polish - Barry M // Storm Lantern - Toast // Vintage Hair Clips - Rokit // Melmac Cups - Housing Authority via Etsy // Vegan Bag - Missco Girl via Fashion Conscience // Cut-out Brogues - Clarks // Lasercut Bamboo Necklace - Pom by Pomegranate via Etsy // Lexington Satchel - Accessorize

I'm not sure whether it's the arrival of the sunshine (ok, let's discount today, I'm pretty sure it was just a blip....), but lately I seem to be lusting after anything and everything pastel coloured. I'm usually into prints and stronger colours, but over the last week or so, I've brought home mint, lilac and pale pink nail polishes, and some ace Debbie Bliss pastel cotton for a crochet project I'm planning.

I went on a bit of a pastel-based rampage around the web, and found some beautiful things - loads of different ladies shoes, like the blush coloured brogues above by Clarks (be still, my beating heart!) and some pastel coloured seventies-esque wedges, and I also found an incredible new Etsy shop, Pom by Pomegranate. A whole shop full of geometric loveliness, and a blog to go with it, hurrah.

What's on your lust list for Summer this year?

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