I Am Brave

For the full post visit Junior Style London here.

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A few short weeks shy of ski season’s end, Elise suffered an unfortunate fall and a broken leg. While we weren’t able to reach her for an hour, she was supported by outstanding individuals on the mountain who came together like family for this brave girl. As I approached her laying on a rescue sledge, time stood still for me at that moment. I witnessed my little girl putting her trust in the ski patrol and coaches as they stroked her hands and discussed the attributes of Disney princesses like fine wine. Like a sponge, she borrowed on the strength and wisdom of others. Through the physical pain and emotional turmoil that followed, her repose was a blanket of calm that eased us all.

In time, we learned a new routine and managed all the joys that come with having a full-leg cast. And while this period is relatively short-lived, her experience has been rewarding in its own right. Friends have selflessly given up recess to spend a quiet moment reading with Elise. Her heart dances with every kind gesture and friendly check-in. As the old adage “what comes around, goes around,” she’s found a common language with others in need of helping hands or a simple hug.  She’s embraced a wardrobe of culottes and fanny packs while navigating the world in a wheelchair.  But what amazes me more, is something I don’t observe. Her psyche is completely void of self-pity but filled with gratitude and courage.

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I Am Brave Clothing Credits:

Vintage 1930's dress from Mary Beth Hale

Traditional Croatian floral headdress from Ethnicdress

Skipping Stones: Paying Homage to Vintage

Read the full post today on Junior Style London: https://juniorstyle.net/skipping-stones-paying-homage-vintage/

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Everything old is new again.  For us, this often rings true upon discovering a vintage gem that finds new life in our wardrobes.  Handcrafted garments from decades past satisfy cravings for one-of-a-kind pieces with timeless appeal.  There is a world of vintage and antique childrenswear that awaits discovery and repurpose but knowing where to look is often key.  Elise's Depression-era netting dress is one of many treasures you'll find in Mary Beth Hale's scrupulous collection of vintage apparel.  'In with the old' I say! 

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These vintage treasures find us immersed in nostalgia.  We're transported to simpler times, wading barefoot along the banks of Lake Champlain.  A hunt to find perfectly shaped shale ensues and we try our hand (rather unsuccessfully) at skipping stones along the water's edge.  I'm left to wonder if these garments could talk, might they tell a similar story?  One thing I'm certain, Mila's dress may actually hold such memories from my own childhood.  My Mother diligently cared for and saved a wonderful collection of clothing, now sprinkled throughout the girls' wardrobes.  

Thankfully we don't need to scour store racks or attics to find pieces like these.  Mary Beth Hale has done the work for us with a stunning collection of unique and pristine childrenswear from the past century and beyond.  From hand embroidered baby bonnets to velvet rompers and fur slippers, I can assure you, it won't be easy to browse without temptation.  But if you simply must, she's offering readers 10% off at purchase with the code BlakeAcres.  

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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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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!  


An approach to Minimalism

A favorite blog of mine, A Merry Mishap, recently drew my attention to an interesting article called 'The New Minimalism' from The Spaces.  It discusses minimalism in the digital age and how this influences what we choose to acquire.  The idea that we use "the absence of things to enhance the meaning of what we choose to retain" speaks to me on a personal level and can be translated in a number of ways.  The piece also discusses how we choose those things we hold dear and the growing desire to bring handcrafted, personalized items into our lives that maintain their quality over time.  

I feel very connected to this practice of consumer behavior and perhaps it has a little something to do with how I was raised.  My Mother shopped for our family with this same mindset and wouldn't you know, decades later, we now have lovely clothes and toys that my own children can enjoy.  These dresses stood the test of time and look like they were purchased yesterday.  They epitomize the definition of heirloom.


With Elise in one of my favorite childhood dresses, it felt fitting that we visit a special place that I've been going to since I was her age.  The towns of Warren and Waitsfield Vermont haven't changed much over the years.  Institutions like the Warren Store and All Things Bright and Beautiful help maintain a small town charm that is hard to top.  


All Things Bright and Beautiful (pictured to the right below) is every child's fantasy.  It was a tradition in our family to visit this unique store year after year and on occasion to come home with a special bear friend.  The owners are a delight.  If you wander in with some extra time to spare, they'll tell you wonderful stories of the bears that live here.


Elise is wearing another favorite dress of mine which has a classic floral appliqué on a simple silhouette.  If you're on the lookout for vintage, please check out Mary Beth Hale's shop.  She has a discerning eye for timeless pieces that have little to no signs of wear.