This week was all about Wren’s birthday. She turned two on Tuesday and we celebrated with a little party at home over the weekend. It was very simple, just a couple of friends and we got the kids making pizzas. Wren was very lucky and got lots of nice presents; a Clothkits dolly and xylophone from her grandparents, some new crayons and books from friends and real, child-sized cooking equipment from us. It rained all day on her actual birthday, so we spent the day inside baking cakes and biscuits with her new tools.
1. Sprinkles. 2 & 3. Playing with new toys. 4. Party Fred. 5. Cloth Kitty. 6, 7 & 8. Baking. 9. Wren’s biscuits.
I bought our great party plates, cups and hats from Molly-Meg.
I am crazy about this new kids’ label Pala Mino! Designer Louise Coughlan, used to make costumes for Giffords Circus and now she designs magical children’s clothes. The pieces are all beautifully handcrafted using vintage fabrics and trims from Louise’s treasured textile stash. The styles are playful and fun, yet also timeless. They are pieces to be treasured for a lifetime, as they amplify the carefree nature of childhood. I interviewed Louise to find out more:
What inspired you to start Pala Mino?
I work freelance as a costume maker and I get most of my work from industry costumiers. In addition to the work room, they also have a large warehouse and I like to look through the rails at lunchtimes. I am always drawn to the beautiful fabrics and shapes of the children’s section, so I started taking patterns of my favourite pieces and it kind of went from there.
What is the inspiration behind the current collection?
I’m inspired by costume, film, pattern, shape, colour and fabric. I love films that transport you using pace, landscape and music. I often think of characters and imagine what their children might wear, Jane from Paris, Texas is a current favourite. I am influenced by my costume background but like to be inspired by a cinematic persona rather than a theatrical character.
What materials do you use?
Cotton, silk, wool, viscose. I prefer to use natural fabric. I have sourced vintage fabric through the years. I am usually drawn to print and/or colour. It’s the same with trims and buttons. I have also taken clothing apart and re used it for small pieces like a collar, facing or piping. I am a sucker for a graphic print and get a kick out an unexpected colour combo.
What is your favourite thing to do with your kids?
Have a lazy morning in bed at the weekend. If we have no plans, there’s nothing better than eating breakfast in bed. Then hanging out, reading, chatting, drawing, watching stuff on the laptop. It doesn’t happen as much as I would like though, we always seem to be too busy.
What is your favourite children’s book?
I think it is probably Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was the first book my eldest son loved reading by himself, up until then he would only read short stories.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Oh yeah, as long as I can keep making and being creative. At the moment I do all the making and dyeing myself, if it gets too much I already know very skilled people who can help out. The process is as important to me as the product, this is reflected in the price point but the garments are not throw away. I’m hoping that they will be cherished, well worn and handed down.
Louise can produce all the pieces in different sizes to order. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
How about Dahlia’s? They are one of my favourite flowers and remind me of old men tending allotments wearing dungarees. Plant some now for lots of late summer flowers that are perfect for cutting and bringing inside. I like the garish bright colours best, but these soft white ones are pretty too.
Photo by Kara Rosenlund
My friend Sarah has just opened a new shop called Magpie & Hen, which sells ‘preloved treasures for little ones.’ Sarah is a former textile designer and trend forecaster, who now uses her finely tuned eye to hunt down vintage pieces that are playful, graphic, decorative and nostalgic. The shop includes books, toys and clothes that would be equally at home in a toy box or designers’ studio. There are objects for play, display, and inspiration, including illustrated vintage books and wooden toys that would make great props as well as being fun to play with. All the objects are very well photographed and I particularly enjoy reading her detailed descriptions of each piece. Stock is updated regularly so please keep on checking back. Here are a few of my current favourites:
1. Vintage Brio pull-along wooden duck. 2. The Sun Shone on the Elephant. 3. Vintage Fisher Price 1978 cooker hob toy. 4. Vintage French glass. 5. Vintage wooden pull-along xylophone. 6. Vintage unisex cropped dungarees.