Blue Alma for Baby

When the stars align and you've found the perfect knitwear to complement your little one's wardrobe, dressing for winter becomes a joy.  Such was the case for us upon discovering the beautiful range of baby and children's knitwear from Blue Alma.

I welcome you to get to know this wonderful brand and the inspirational woman behind it!

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Owner and designer, Annemarie Shoemaker is dedicated to producing goods with a nod to tradition, the highest quality fibers, beautiful styling, and comfort.  Annemarie's collection of knitwear provides the perfect amount of warmth without unnecessary bulk or itch.  During her design process, a great deal of thought is given to a garment's functionality and the child's well-being without compromising on style.  When worn, these pieces pull together any outfit effortlessly.  Trust us, you'll be smitten.  

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For Annemarie, knitting runs deep.  A skill passed down through generations of family members, she pays homage to these traditions in each garment that is produced.  After graduating from fashion design school in Berlin, Annemarie, a German native, worked in various settings as a freelance designer, in a yarn store, and as a technical design assistant for a knitwear company.  Along the journey, true love eventually brought her overseas to live in Brooklyn, the birthplace of her handknit label, Blue Alma. 

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Yarns are thoughtfully chosen and made from pure natural fibers.  The current collection was produced using a cotton-alpaca blend, snuggly soft yet breathable with the ability to wear year-round.  

Annemarie was lucky to have found a team of talented artisans in Peru who help produce the knitwear while maintaining the brand's dedication to 'handmade.'  These women and men are highly skilled and detail oriented knitters who deserve a fair wage.  Feel good knowing that your Blue Alma purchase helps to support this collaboration of talent worlds away.  

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The Adventure Begins Here

Our long awaited journey to London is here and we are quickly falling in love with this wonderful city.  We've been welcomed with magnificent weather while chirping birds and cascading wisteria abound.  We rarely leave the home without a picnic blanket and frequent trips to Sally Clarke's bakery are justified only by the amount of walking we do on a daily basis.  

I'm excited to share with you our treasured moments and findings from "across the pond." Over the next four months, we'll be introducing you to wonderful makers from the UK and beyond and will take you on explorations from off the beaten path.  The adventure begins here!

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It wasn't hard for me to feel right at home here where many seem to share my appreciation for gardens, songbirds and serenity.  So we've found ourselves visiting these beautiful green spaces that the English have so painstakingly maintained.  

Among the garden crowd, "bluebells" is the buzzword these days.  A pretty little blue flower that en masse, creates a blanket of periwinkle in the woodland areas.  They can be found right now in London's Holland Park and Kew Gardens.  Further afield, the National Trust has a handy guide to bluebell fields throughout the UK.

Without further ado, I leave you with a few of my favorite garden moments from our first week in London.  May these be among the first of many adventures as our summer awaits!

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The Glorious Gardner

Our beloved city is home to the enchanting Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum which is a magical place for patrons of all ages.  The Venetian inspired ambiance centers the soul and transports us to far off worlds and times while remarkable works of art are etched in our minds.  

Our British adventure begins in less than a week so our days have been filled with visiting these most treasured spaces to which we say "adieu" but only for a short while.   

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With European travels on the horizon, we've been lusting after all the wonderful creations from overseas and recently indulged in the sweetest frock from the collection of Princesse au Petit Pois®.  The beautiful pairing of a swiss dot apron and a linen dress edged with black rick rack gives this ensemble fullness and texture.  Timeless and playful, she looks as if she's jumped from the canvas of an Edwardian painting.

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A trip to our favorite museum is not complete without visiting my all time favorite artwork, John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo. The impressive scale and sultry scene always holds me captive.  It was a joy to see my daughter pay tribute to this awe inspiring exhibit in her own 'Elise' way.  

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When we were last here, photography was only allowed on the first floor around the atrium.  Just last month, they relaxed the rules and cameras are welcome throughout!  We can now leave with a little bit of the Gardner (without being mistaken for thieves!). Read more about the Gardener's missing artworks here.  It remains one of the greatest mysteries of our city.

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Spring Necessities

Bring on floral, pastels and frills.  We crave a warm summer day as snow is still teasing us in the forecast.  But while it might be brisk outside, we can at least pretend with these lovely pieces that are sure to take us joyfully into the warmer days ahead.  While we're not exactly a family of musicians (at least 3 of us are tone deaf), the girls do love to make some noise.  Mila's first stop in the toy bin is her collection of musical instruments.

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Enter the most adorable Briar Handmade summer bonnet which pairs beautifully with this sweet coral dress from Tocoto Vintage, both available at Minikin (in other words, get them now!).  Some of my all time favorite pieces are from Tocoto Vintage, a brand that generates feelings of romanticism and nostalgia.  Their fabrics are oh so soft and the styles are as precious as the babe who wears them.  

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The only thing that comes between Elise and her ukulele is the perfect summertime dress from our Alaskan friends, Oma + Jo.  "A Shop for Teeny Adventurers" Oma + Jo encapsulates all the wonder and adventure that is childhood into playful and wearable pieces that are timeless yet modern and unique.   

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Above Elise plays with the adorable Animal Seesaw from Manzanita Kids.  Its tactile, fun to balance and of course, beautiful to look at!  

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At Play in the Windy City

We're a lucky bunch.  A couple of our favorite people call Chicago their home and we get to pay them a visit from time to time in their glorious city.  Over the years we've visited during the bitter cold of winter and my husband and I even ran a marathon during a late fall heat wave.  You never quite know what you'll get here.   Our most recent trip however coincided with some of the most perfect weather I've ever had.  


Two days before we left for our trip, a highly anticipated delivery came from Zimmerman Shoes.  These handcrafted beauties made their way from Eastern PA to Boston and got right back on the road to join us in Chicago.  They are made from the softest suede that you can imagine in the richest of tones.  And please do not glance over the laces.  Its not a detail I normally notice but these are truly something special.  They tie up like a charm into a neat and tidy bow and remain that way even after a day of walking the city.  


Elise was asked to collect some leaves and nature for a class project at school this week so we got right to work scouring the streets of Chicago for some unique items to bring home.  The colors of her findings made a perfect match to her fall ensemble.  It is the age of twirly skirts and tutu dresses but that all becomes so much more tolerable when we come across gems like this beautiful rust colored piece from Alaskan brand, The Tame Fox.  It is one of those garments that adds depth to a wardrobe without even trying and the construction is beyond amazing!


Every winter season we acquire one pair of tights that seem to work well with almost everything.  The accessory of the season for us has to be these Caramel Baby & Child Pointelle Tights.  I first noticed these lovely tights on a fall campaign for one of our favorite collections.  After some digging I came across the source and ordered a pair straight away.  Caramel Baby & Child is without a doubt one of my favorite stores to visit during our travels.  We've stumbled across them in Tokyo and New York and each location offers lovely treasures for all the littles in your life.  


It is hard to imagine this backyard oasis is in the center of a bustling city!  The vegetation is lush and the decor is inviting.  We always feel right at home in Chicago thanks to wonderful friendships and magical spaces.  


Quiet Play

Now that fall is upon us, our lives are once again busy shuffling between school and various actvities that will soon become our life blood during a long and at times brutal New England winter.  With all the bustle, the girls are naturally drawn to moments of quiet play.


Mila explores her toys transferring them from hand to hand with a pit stop in the mouth.  Elise loves to gather her heard of friends and line them up in an assembly where they have mostly peaceful conversations.  There isn't much else I'd rather be doing than watching these two play.


This Play Mat has been a godsend since the day it arrived from the talented Syd + Stitch. The mat features a print by Wee Gallery of woodland animal friends at play.  Each can be dressed with removable garments making it a toy in its own and one that can grow with the child.   


While Mila takes her morning nap, Elise wanders over to her sticker book for more quite play (until the stickers start their own conversations of course).


A few throw back photos from our vacation earlier this year when the girls were cuddling on their special mat. This mat is super portable and folds up easily to carry along in a tote bag.   An essential for family travel!


Picnic Time

Elise is about to start school five days a week and I'm trying to savor every last moment with her before the bustle of fall begins.  We took a trip to Ipswich in search of a pair of these Royal Horticultural Society Hunter boots for moi.  I'm a bit of a want to be gardener even though I've managed to kill even the most hearty of succulents and I do appreciate a good flower show (husband makes fun of this on a regular basis but there is NOTHING wrong with it!) so these boots were calling my name, naturally.  

This town is too cute.  A short distance past the town center there is a darling river walk where we sat down for a picnic.  It wasn't too hot thankfully so we were able to pull out some of the girls' early fall pieces.  Where do I start?


When I first came across The Tame Fox I immediately began to fill my shopping cart with goodies from their website including Elise's ivory blouse.  The pieces are handmade to order in Alaska and the love that goes into each piece is apparent in every detail.  This top is stunning.  It is fully lined and charming cap sleeves are adorned with the perfect amount of gathering.  


Now travel back to New England for the birthplace of Misha and Puff, designer of Mila's merino hand dyed romper.  This is an essential three season piece and she'll be wearing it well into spring.  I've been in love with this brand for a few years now when I first saw it appear in select stores around Boston.  Minikin has a great selection of these pieces and as I've said before, they are always a pleasure to purchase from. 


Flower shows aside, I have a weakness for Scandinavian design.  I even once planned a vacation around it (more about that on another day).  This part of the world can do no wrong in my eyes when it comes to clean design and environmental awareness.  The union of these two elements encompasses the brand Fabulous Goose, maker of the softest fleece blankets which also happen to meet the strictest requirements for quality.  This blanket is made from GOTS certified organic cotton and feels like velvet.  


Everything old is new again

Our New England travels took us on a last minute trip to my hometown in Connecticut last week and we all soaked in some grandparent pampering and fresh air.  I came back with a treasure trove of dresses and tops from when I was Elise's age.  For the most part, they are timeless, classic pieces and I can't wait to repurpose them.  Others scream the early 80's but lucky us, that late 70's early 80's vibe is back big time this year.  

The little dress that Mila wears below is from our favorite store for vintage clothing, Mary Beth Hale's Etsy shop.  I first ordered some items from her when my husband and I were in search of Halloween costumes for a party last year and I was blown away by the quality and pristine condition.  


This little dress has the perfect amount of smocking and embroidered rosettes.  I love that some of my favorite photos of Mila at this age are with her in this simple piece.  


Apparently Elise's floral dress was a favorite of mine when I was her age.  It was the first of my own vintage finds that she reached for.


If you're on the lookout for vintage children's clothing, you may run across sheer white dresses similar to what Elise has on below.  I'm guessing they were worn with a slip underneath or perhaps they were undergarments.   For our purposes, they are delicate, airy works of art from times past that are perfect for hot summer days.  This was another find from Mary Beth Hale's shop and one of my favorite pieces.  I imagine Mila will wear it as a dress not too long from now.  


Its fitting that Elise's blouse pairs so well with shorts from a brand named Tocoto Vintage.  The blouse that Mila wears above is also from this nostalgic children's brand.  In fact the brand was conceived from a love of antique patterns and clothing.  The collection can be purchased at Minikin in the U.S.


Thankfully it is still sandal weather and these classic Stevie sandals by Zimmerman have been good to us.  Fall we be here soon so on the to do list this week is to measure Elise's feet for our next pair.  Tough part is deciding which of these beauties we'll be ordering!  


Blueberry Bunny

People often ask me what there is to do in Vermont over the summer.  Many know northern Vermont as a winter playground in the cooler months.  After all, skiing is what brought my husband and I here years ago.  Well, beyond the hiking, river swimming, craft beer tasting, and outdoor concerts, you can add blueberry picking to the list.  This pick your own blueberry farm is only a short drive from downtown Stowe, accessed by a windy dirt road reminiscent of a fairytale forest.  

Speaking of fairytales, this red corduroy cape from Tortoise and the Hare seems as if it has jumped out of the pages of a favorite bedtime story.  Not all reds are created equal and this one is divine.  It is the same color as the barns here in Vermont, a wonderful muted red that pairs well with everything.


If you're looking for the perfect transitional piece for Fall, this should be at the top of your list.  The cape is lined with a soft bamboo fleece that is oh so cozy.  I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, these pieces are cut to perfection.


Oh Willaby how we love thee!  After years of buying leggings in every color and length for Elise I was so excited to find a pair of summer pants that weren't skin tight and had the perfect amount of slouch.  The cotton is airy and soft and looks incredible wash after wash.  I adore everything this brand stands for and their commitment to high quality, ethically produced items.  Check out their story here and swoon over their new fall pieces.


Have any favorite blueberry recipes?  Please let me know!  These berries are in our freezer waiting to be eaten.


Vacation days

Summer feels like it just started but somehow we are nearing the end of July already and it will be over before we know it.  Luckily we were able to plan a trip to Nantucket while the sun is still shining, our first time here as a family of four.  


A classic island calls for classic styles and a Wren and James gingham dress fit the bill on this day.  A style you might remember from your own childhood photos, Wren and James uses only the highest quality fabrics and their craftsmanship is exceptional.  Here its paired with a Namhee NYC Liberty print whale necklace and Free Babes bows.   

A small town 4th of July

Our 4th of July was spent in Northern Vermont.  Two parades within a couple miles of our home, face painting, t-shirt making, flag waving and near perfect temperatures made for a memorable holiday weekend.  

Wovenplay made a special run of these gorgeous fourth of July dresses this summer and we were lucky enough to snatch one up.  The organic fabric was hand printed and is just stunning in person.  Best of all, Elise loved wearing her special "star dress".