Tea Collection has re-introduced their original Eternal Layette, well-known styles and prints from Tea’s first collection in 2002.
The entire Eternal Layette collection of baby clothes is now made with exceptionally soft Pima Cotton. The Chinese sweater jacket features a distinctive piqué stitch and mother of pearl buttons. The Lotus print in pearl pink and dove gray is inspired by vintage Japanese textiles. The Lotus collection includes a footed one-piece, a wrap jacket and pant, a baby onesie, and a swaddling baby blanket. Prices range from $29 for the footed one piece to $145 for a six piece set, making the perfect gift for new babies.
Living on a large creek that is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has made me very conscious of how my activities and choices impact the water we absolutely cannot live without. When I take my son on walks, I often pass right by the very sewage treatment plant that is used the treat the waste water from my own house before it is returned to a small stream just downstream from our house. I cannot pretend that what goes into our drains disappears and is magically replaced by pure, clean water.
I started making my own laundry soap so I would know exactly what ingredients I was dumping in my local waterways. It’s easier on our clothes, easy to make, and very affordable. Do a Google search and you will find a lot of different recipes out there, but this is the one I use because I can always find the ingredients and it is easy to remember.
1 bar Kirk’s Castile Soap
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
Grate the bar of castile soap to make little beads of soap. You can also use a food processor to grate the soap, but slice the bar of soap into thin strips before you put it in the processor. I’ve also heard that a salad shooter works well. Mix the soap beads with the washing soda and borax, and store in an air proof container. Use 2-4 Tablespoons a load depending on the size of the load. You can also use Oxyclean Free or any bleach-free alternative in place of the Castile Soap, and this would be a better choice if you are washing diapers. This recipe is perfume-free, dye-free, phosphate-free, and biodegradable. It is also the perfect choice if you or your child has chemical sensitivities.
For stains, I use a 50/50 mix of regular Dawn and Dr. Bronners liquid Pure Castile Soap. This works really well on oily stains. I like Biokleen’s Bac-Out for food or organic stains.
And of course, hanging your clothes to dry keeps them from fading and is generally, much easier on them and a much greener choice than drying them in a clothes dryer. I have an indoor clothes drying rack that I use in the winter, and a retractable clothes line that I use when the weather is suitable for outdoor drying.
At 3, my son loves helping with the laundry. I think getting our children involved at an early age observing and participating in our green choices will make for a greener future and a healthier planet.
As winter took one last punch at the eastern half of the US last week, we found ourselves traveling under unusual circumstances. My husband’s grandmother passed away a week short of her 101st birthday. With the funeral in Ohio and a reception in South Florida, packing proved challenging. We would be leaving our home in the Deep South for two distinct climates. I had some decisions to make regarding wardrobe; for starters, what should a baby wear to a funeral? I also struggled with how I would keep a baby with a southern winter wardrobe warm. I didn’t have to think long to come up with an answer.
Grandma was an amazing woman. Raised as an Orthodox Jew in rural Ohio, she saw her share of prejudice and hardship. She lived through the Great Depression and World War II. She saw her youngest daughter head south with her new husband, a Catholic no less, to tackle the Civil Rights Movement. That girl went on to have three sons, the last one my husband.
Through her 100 years, there was one thing her family and friends could count on. Grandma would crochet them an afghan. A woman with a sense of joy and much love, the blankets she created felt alive with her memories. She made them in all shapes and sizes, in all colors. We personally have six in our household and we love each of them. I feel overwhelmingly blessed that Annie P was able to meet Grandma and receive an afghan of her own. When we stepped out on a bleak winter day to say goodbye, Annie P wasn’t cold as she snuggled under her great grandmother’s gift.
We were fortunate to make it to Florida before the snow and got a couple of extra days down there as a result. But as the mourners returned to their homes in places up and down the east coast and the weather took a turn, they reached for their afghans. My husband’s mother and her sister received call after call from people to tell them they were finding comfort under their blankets, in more ways than one. Grandma left a legacy in her afghans, one we will hold onto for years to come.
This made me think about the things we hold dear. Some of the most prized memories of a family are woven, crocheted or sewn. The 103 year old dress Annie P wore for her baptism was first worn by my mother’s grandmother. The care we took in dressing, and undressing, her is a testament to the place the gown has in our family. After my wedding, I painstakingly preserved my dress with the notion that perhaps one day my daughter would take it out and want to wear it. Or just look at it.
Gloves, hats, quilts, tablecloths, pillow cases. Each woven heirlooms of what we’re made of, or where we come from. Sometimes when I’m dressing Annie P, I wonder which pieces of her clothing I’ll hold onto and why. Aside from aesthetics, maybe I’ll save the outfit she’s wearing when she finally walks, or her dress from the first day of kindergarten. Maybe a blouse I adore will be ruined beyond repair. So I’ll snip a small piece of it and save it in a drawer. Over time, it will become a part of a collection. Maybe I’ll turn that collection into an heirloom for Annie P And along with her afghan, I’ll keep them safe until she needs them.
I never was one to obsess about my style of dress, or for that matter, care if I even matched. My perspective on clothing certainly changed after a trip to Greece. From the picturesque side-streets to the amphitheater, everyone seemed to have a certain air of elegance about them. From time to time I could imagine ancient Greece around me in the very way the Greeks used to simply drape fabric around the human frame. Those ancient garbs certainly had an impact on modern day Greek style. The dresses and skirts that women were wearing seemed to float upon their bodies; the very clothes themselves had a life of their own. It seemed to be infused in the very air. I even got a whiff of it!
While in Greece I purchased an item of a stylish quality that I shall always remember. There was this pair of shoes that distinctly reminded me of the stylish icon Audrey Hepburn. They were these black, ballet inspired, backless shoes with just a hint of heel to entice the wearer. When I wore them walking around the streets of Athens, I felt divine, empowered. They had a certain understated romance about them that I adored. Perhaps it reflects the hint of confidence in Greek clothing that I had observed in the locals, understated, without airs, but decidedly striking at the same time.
It was at this moment that I saw the connection between art and fashion. Just as a painting can have an impact on the viewer, so can a beautifully draped dress or a fabulous pair of shoes have an impact on the wearer. Fashion is a state of mind, reflecting the very thoughts and beliefs of the one who wears a particular style. To obtain clothing from diverse areas of the world is to begin to have an understanding of those areas. Dressing our children in clothing inspired by styles around the world is a wonderful conversation starter about diversity, breaking the stereotype that one particular group of people must dress in a uniform fashion. Perhaps I cannot afford to take my daughter to exotic locations as of yet, but I can certainly bring some of it back with me via Tea Collection.
Lizzie, Daddy and I set out for a whirlwind tour of the east coast a few weeks ago. I knew exactly what to pack: a huge variety of Lizzie’s favorite Daily Tea pieces. For 10 days, I packed about 20 styles of dresses, shorts, tank tops, and leggings all from the Daily Tea Summer Collection. Because all the pieces are either red, white, or blue, they all match each other. This was a life saver as we traveled through airports, in rental cars, to Granny’s house, and in and out of welcome home parties. If Lizzie got wet (still a beginner with juice boxes), dirty (who can get a bib on a 20-month old?), or sweaty (yes, babies sweat in 100 degree weather!), I just quickly pulled out another great piece of Daily Tea and swapped it out to make sure that Lizzie was comfortable and stylish throughout our journey. Plus, Daily Tea washes and dries easily (no ironing), so all her clothes came out of the suitcase wrinkle free and even survived a washing in our family cabin’s 30 year-old washer! The knit dresses were especially helpful as we tried to keep Lizzie comfortable for the car rides, but still looking dressed up for her traditional Southern Relatives.
A great tip for the plane is to start with a layering tee, a tunic, and leggings. If the tunic gets wet or dirty, take it off, and your little one still has on a cute top and leggings. And, the tunic buttons up, so no fighting to get it over the head! Or, pack an extra pair of bloomer shorts. After flying in her warm leggings, we swapped out the leggings for bloomer shorts when we landed in North Carolina to give her an outfit that was better for hot, muggy weather. I will definitely be using Daily Tea for our little citizen’s next adventure!