Monthly Archives: September 2015

Not your average mama’s homemade clothes

I know I don’t put a lot of kids stuff on the blog, simply because I very rarely shop for kids or babies. I am also a firm believer that parents make sure their kids have what they need, so I doubt I need to get them anything for that reason; no random kids’ presents from me coming your way!

Anyway, I came across this amazing lady snooping around some of the pages I follow on Facebook, who has her own sewing workshop in Dallas, “MammaLouise sews”. I immediately contacted her and asked if I could feature her custom-made kids clothes on the blog; and she said yes! This small company of only one dedicated seamstress (Louise) stands for all the things I love in “not fast fashion”; eco-friendly, sustainably made, custom and great quality. Here’s what she had to say:

How did you start your business and why? *** When I was about 10 years old I had a wonderful teacher in textiles, who inspired me a lot. She taught me all the basics of sewing, and when I got my first baby 4 years ago my interest for sewing came back. When he was almost 1 year old, I bought a new overlock sewing machine, which quickly became my best friend! In the beginning I just made hats, bibs and pants, but when my second baby arrived 2 years ago I started to make everything. Now my kids only wear my own designs and it’s so fun!

apa_klader_baby dala hast baby

These two kiddos of yours – Are they the inspiration for your collections? *** YES! I want to make cute clothes that they can play around in and I test every single design on them first. My idea is that the customer chooses everything how they’d like it, and I “only” stitch it all together. In that way each item is unique and hopefully I end up with a satisfied customer.

Where do you buy your fabrics and how do you decide which ones to use?*** Most of the fabrics I have are from Sweden and Europe. I also let my customers design their own fabric (if it’s possible to get it printed) if they place an order with me to make clothes from that same fabric. I have a lot of custom fabrics that I have designed and printed, which are unique for MammaLouise. The custom fabrics are GOTS-certified.

tygWhat does it mean that fabrics are OEKO-TEX® (like you mention on your webpage) or GOTS-certified?*** OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent test and certification system for all types of textiles tested for harmful substances – from threads and fabrics to the ready-to-use items that you can buy in the shops.

Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers can become GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects as well.

These standards really mean that the fabrics are safe for the little ones and eco-friendly.

Your adorable baby clothes are made to order: how does it work and what’s the waiting time?*** It depends on how much I have to do and how big of an order you place, but I try to be ready to ship within one week.

What’s your favorite thing to make?*** Hard question! Since I have two little boys; I like to make dresses in very pink or girly colors. But, I LOVE what I do, so everything is fun to make!

What are some of your own favorite eco-friendly brands for children’s clothes and accessories?*** Everything that is eco-friendly is GREAT but since my kids only use clothes made by me, I don’t have any favorite brands except my own; MammaLouise :)

If you are interested in having some custom clothes made for your babies; contact Louise directly at louise.wahlin@gmail.com and check out (and LIKE) her Facebook page for more cute pictures and information! She just needs to know what size and what you like, and you can work it out from there. Super convenient!

Prices range from $15 to about $40 dollars depending on what you are looking for. That is so affordable! Isn’t it amazing how a place like Carters or Target will charge almost the same for a bulk order, non-organic, made in China or Vietnam outfit? Imagine the profits they make! Here’s an opportunity to instead, get something very special with that unique European flare (we all want!), without breaking the bank. Yay.

Cuties rocking their mom's designs!
Cuties rocking their mom’s designs!

In celebration of my sister’s wedding anniversary: The story of her perfect dress

Today, it has been 6 years since my beautiful sister got married to her handsome husband. It was the most gorgeous, sunny day. And though it’s a day we will always remember (naturally) this story is really about when we went shopping for her wedding dress. See, I am taking a break from my eco-blogging (sort of) today to instead write a little something for her.

PICT4955Like so many times before; we had been saving and planning for our “New York sister get away”, for a while. We’d been taking notes on which coffee shops to try, which Broadway show to see and had been trying to find out where in the world the Manolo Blahnik store really was (It’s so hard to find!). However, the really exciting part about this trip was that we were going to shop for a wedding dress for my sis and a maid of honor dress for me!

It was May of 2009, wedding set for September 19th; we had plenty of time and plenty of optimism to find that perfect dress. The only question was; where do we begin?

It looked so easy on Sex and the City, but for two sisters in the city, not so much. We had no idea where to go. We figured you can’t just show up at Vera Wang like Charlotte (who can afford it!?) and we didn’t even know the names of any wedding dress stores. Strolling down 5th avenue and looking up at the second floor windows with gowns on pale mannequins wasn’t helping either; we didn’t even understand how to get into those places.

We decided to just start at the department stores; they have wedding sections! They do (I think) but none that you just walk into. We looked around the party dress departments for white, long dresses at Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdales and even Bergdorf’s (I remember it was super fancy and sterile in there). Sales assistants we ran into, and told what we were doing, kept telling us how late in the game we were. “September? Oh wow, you better hurry!” What? We had four months, surely they must be mistaken!

We realized quickly that midtown and 5th weren’t working out for us. So the day after; new area and new spirit. Let’s go SoHo. And yes, that’s where it all came together, in a little bridal studio called Nicole Miller. Two tourists walk in on a day when no one had booked a fitting, and one awesome consultant (with seriously big hair!) let us in without an appointment! She must have fallen for our hopeful-and-lost-non-locals-look, and figured she had to help us out.

My sister was looking for a fitted, simple gown with a mermaid feel to it; which is basically all of Nicole Miller’s dresses. She tried a few, one after another; they all fit her perfectly (she has the perfect shape for dresses). They were all priced around 700-1200 dollars, which was right in line with what she could and wanted to spend.

PICT4964In less than an hour she had decided on her dress, not really any alterations needed (of course – perfect shape); form-fitted, mermaid feel, in an off-white, metal threaded fabric. Priced at 800 dollars, and made right there in New York City.

What a high! How did that work out so quickly?! Her wedding dress packed up nicely in a paper bag, not too heavy to carry around on her shoulder, so we took it to lunch – isn’t that amazing?

We had a great lunch, we were so excited, and we talked about the Manolos she was about to buy to match the dress and what the heck the maid of honor was going to wear (me!).

My sister hadn’t decided what color she wanted on me. The wedding wasn’t all planned out yet, but she knew she wanted it to feel like a fall wedding with warm reds, oranges and earth colors. We continued to explore SoHo, and randomly found Foravi.

We didn’t know what they might have, but as if it was meant to be, they had two Nicole Miller dresses in the same fabric as my sister’s wedding dress! One red, one earthy green; one size 4, one size 6. I could squeeze myself in to the red 4 (the fabric is very stretchy and hugging), but it was just too tight and the color was too sexy. The green dress fit perfectly and had the right cut, length, feeling and color for the upcoming fall wedding. It was 400 dollars, and as you guessed, made in New York! Sold!

IMG_6014   IMG_6016

There you have it. Two out-of-towners, went to the fashion capital of the world, without a plan or any appointments, and came home with the perfect pair of dresses. We sure proved those sales assistants wrong! How lucky were we to find matching, made right there wedding fashion?

skor manoloAnd; yes, we found the Manolo Blahnik boutique finally, and my sister got her white satin, open toe, rhinestone-buckle, Sedarby pumps. Price tag; same as her dress (yes, really!) I was lucky enough to have bedazzled (60 dollar) shoes at home, matching her style of shoes and my new dress.

Foravi is still in business and still focusing on providing hand-crafted, responsibly-produced, and aesthetically powerful clothes.

Nicole Miller still makes wedding dresses in New York City, and they are still reasonably priced. Don’t count on getting in to the SoHo studio without an appointment though! (Unless you know how to pull off the hopeful-and-lost-non-locals-look, and even so, it’s a gamble…;))

The girls may not have been locally made, but the dresses sure were. I love that every garment we buy has a story, and it starts long before we get to wear it for the first time. We have the power to decide what kind of stories the clothes we buy should have, from cradle to grave, not just from purchase to grave. And I love the story of these two dresses.

To my sister – the best sis and the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Thanks for always letting me be part of your stories, and of your clothes’ stories too. Happy anniversary!!

klanningen
Gorge!
(Yes, I was blond at the time!)
(Yes, I was blond at the time!)

Back at the Rack for something Splendid

Funny enough, just a few days before I bought these cool pants, my friend had texted me about Splendid. She asked if I knew the brand, and I said no, and she said they may still be making most of their stuff in USA, so I said I would look into it. I added the brand to my imaginary “must-check-out-this-brand-note-book” immediately. Turns out, they are not all made in USA anymore, but do fabricate in Cali still.

You know what happened next; I was at the Rack and found this pair of sweats in my size in the clearance section! MSRP $128, I paid $32: that’s how I like it.

splendid

This was a particularly awesome shopping experience because it was a zero waste purchase! I said no to the bag, and the store offered to email me the receipt meaning no print was needed. Also, I had parked my car where I had an errand close by and ended up walking all the way to the Rack (in 100 degrees) and back: reducing start-stop emissions!

I swear I am not on an endorsement deal from Nordstrom Rack. For real! I just find so many amazing deals there that I keep blogging about them.

Comfy, cool and my favorite color. Can’t wait to add these pants to the LookBook later!

This week’s impulse purchase: A few tons of CO2 and some trees

Have you ever experienced the mysterious ways your friends like things on Facebook?

What I mean is this: Post a picture of yourself in a new dress, tag it #MadeinUSA #OutfitILove and get 25 likes, five comments and 100 views on the blog. Post a link to a relevant article on land destruction (so sad) or animals being saved from captivity (yay); get two likes, no comments, no views. (One of those likes being from my husband.)

So when I came across this video and shared it and no one seemed to care, I figured I’d share it here too. Maybe a few eco-conscious followers will watch it :)

I didn’t know who Prince Ea was before I stumbled upon his important message. He is saying EXACTLY what I want to tell people who seem to not have woken up yet. We have one planet.

Favorite Quote: “What ever you are fighting for; Racism, Poverty, Feminism, Gay Rights or any type of Equality – It won’t matter in the least, because if we all don’t work together to save the environment we will be Equally Extinct.”

No matter your cause; saving wildlife, planting trees, cutting back on meat, shopping sustainably, living homemade, committed to zero waste, driving electric… One way or another, you have probably implemented these changes in your life with an intention of doing better for our planet. And the thing is, once you start walking down one eco-path, you quickly embrace another. Why? Because they make sense.

Thanks to all the bloggers who inspire me to walk new paths! And, of course, thanks to Price Ea who made me make an impulse purchase (I hardly ever do!) in order to save some trees :)

trees

Must give cudos to Stand for Trees for not asking for my home address or offer to send me some sort of “thank you gift”. Above PDFs in an email, was all I got and wanted.

Got some money burning in your pocket? Donate here to plant some trees and support clean air and lives:

Stand for Trees

The very best fishing reels are still made right (here)

I love blogging about “shop local” because my friends keep giving me great ideas for posts.

A good friend from work told me, he had been researching fly fishing equipment and came across an article that he thought I might enjoy. Me? Blogging about fishing gear? Ok! (It does give me an excuse to post this beautiful picture of my husband and some friends fishing!)

Instead of trying to recap something very well written, I decided to include the text as it is in the article. How cool is it that this text pretty much ends with the statement “made right here”?! Very cool and perfect; that’s what it is. Did you know that when you buy US made reels you support the conservation efforts of our waters and fish?

Read on and learn more about how it works and what to consider when you shop for fishing gear.

IMG_5903
By S. Hansen “Magical Light”

“In a global economy less and less people are being sticklers for goods made exclusively here in the US. But there is a very good reason to buy US made reels that very few people know about. The Pittman–Robertson Act was so successful that in the 1950s, a similar act was written for fish. This one was titled the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act. As with its wildlife counterpart, the name of this act is generally shortened by reducing it to the names of those who sponsored it, and so it is generally referred to as the Dingell–Johnson Act.

This law stipulates that reel manufacturers must pay 10% of the first sale to the US government. This provides each state valuable financial assistance for fish restoration and management plans and projects. The sticking point here is that for most of the US manufacturers, their first sale is directly to retailers. For reels manufactured offshore, the companies selling import reels have invented very innovative ways to reduce this “first sale” 10% to a much more minimal amount.

So by buying US made reels, you are not only being patriotic and providing more jobs for US workers, you are also helping support our fisheries. The next time you are out fishing, look around you and realize that you and your gear contribute to sustaining the fisheries you love.

That being said, does buying American make sense? Yes and no. Many anglers are looking for the absolute best reel out there, regardless of what it costs or where it is made. Look at car buyers – a lot of successful people are riding around in a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche or Ferrari because they are generally rated better than anything from our American manufacturers – regardless of the cost or origin. Fortunately for us, most of the very best fly reels are still made right here in the old USA

The article is from yellowstoneangler.com.

Just ’cause it doesn’t cost a lot – doesn’t mean it’s cheap

We live in a world full of opinions. We like, share, re-tweet, comment and favorite things on a daily basis. As I share my posts on social media, I get many lovely comments, likes and great tips for brands I need to check out, which makes me so happy! Thank you friends!

After I shared my post on shopping and new LookBook, there were some comments and questions about M-O-N-E-Y. “People must have a lot of money to be able to do what you do”. I have seen similar questions being asked to other people blogging about their sustainable lifestyle and zero waste. The question always is: Are you rich?

Well, no, but I know that not all people can afford to be on a not made in China challenge, since in many cases imports cost less (dollars), so I am very fortunate in that regard. I totally agree that someone struggling to make ends meet, cannot be expected to also read every single tag, worry about origin, and not shop at Wal-Mart. Changing the world cannot be on their shoulders, neither in the US, nor in other countries.

But, the way I see it, this challenge is more about effort than it can ever be about money. Not so much “Do you have the means to live sustainably and shop local?” but “Do you want to take the time and make an effort to make better choices?” People use money as an excuse to cover for lack of effort. (And on the flip side, some rich people don’t care at all, despite the fact that they can afford to buy everything made right)

Are you hiding behind the
Are you hiding behind the “money excuse”?
  • Everyone can afford to shop less. I know they call it retail therapy for a reason, but come on, it ain’t working for you long term anyway. If you “have to” shop, remember it’s better to buy one imported sweater than four.
  • Everyone can afford to bring their own shopping bags to the grocery store.
  • Everyone can afford to say “No thank you, I don’t need a bag as I have about 20 feet of walking to do until I get to my car”. Guess what – all stores accept that. There will be no embarrassing fight!
  • Everyone can afford to use reusable containers for leftovers, lunches, veggies… instead of using a one time ziplock bag.
  • Everyone can afford to drink filtered water from their fridge, faucet piece or pitcher instead of bottled water from the grocery store and to say “no thank you” to straws and lids.
  • Everyone can afford to shop previously owned instead of new.
  • Everyone can afford to eat less meat.

Now; What does my made in USA clothes really cost? Good question!

I am happy to share, so I listened to a comment and added prices to the LookBook! Just for kicks I decided to calculate how much I have spent on clothes in the last 20 months. This number includes shoes, jewelry, scarves, workout clothes… Pretty much everything except prescription eye-wear. It came out to about 85 dollars per month. Is that a high number? Are the clothes I show in the Look Book expensive? I don’t know what other people spend so I’d love to know! To me, $85 sounds very reasonable. Maybe, behind my back, people are thinking my clothes look old and dated (since most of my wardrobe is 2011-2013), I don’t know, but I don’t feel like I’m that person. I like what I wear and I buy enough new things to feel good :)

I’m on this journey because I believe in it 100% so keep the comments and questions coming! It inspires me to write more great posts (how modest!)!

I will end this post with the wise words of super awesome, inspiring woman Kacey Musgraves. (You can define “cost” and “cheap”, below, however you want.)

“I’m happy with what I’ve got, ‘cause what I’ve got is all I need. Just ‘cause it don’t cost a lot – don’t mean it’s cheap.”

Also see my post from 2014 on this subject: All the Money you’ll be saving…!