Category Archives: Uncategorized

End of Summer Sale & New Fall Arrivals

Woolen Season is Near! 

It seems as though summer has only just begun here in Colorado, and yet we already find ourselves daydreaming of crisp autumn days.  We feel it’s important to spend time outdoors every day, regardless of the weather, and so we look forward to pulling out our woolens and bundling up so we can all play outdoors comfortably- even our littlest family members!  

A warm wool base layer is the perfect way to stay warm outdoors during the fall and winter, and cozy wool outerwear is excellent for winter in cold climates.  

New Fall Arrivals

We’ve been working hard to add many exciting new arrivals before fall arrives.  Here are a few of our latest arrivals.

Ruskovilla 

We are very excited to introduce Ruskovilla’s beautiful & high quality organic woolens for the entire family & cloth diapering products.

Pololo Outdoor Shoes

Pololo outdoor shoes for toddlers and children have arrived!  Pololo shoes are made from natural, vegetable tanned leather with wool felt insoles.  They have just the right amount of flexibility for developing feet.

Engel Machine Washable Wool for Adults

Engel’s new line of machine washable organic woolens are now in stock in adult sizes & beautiful new colors.

End of Summer Sale

  

Now is a great time to prepare for the cool weather with woolens for the entire family!

Save 20% on your entire purchase, this week only.*    

Coupon code endofsummer

*Excludes Sale items, Ostheimer, Pololo, Nanchen, Expires 8/17/14

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Winter Woolen Essentials for Babies

As winter approaches, we receive many inquiries about which wool items are the most important as parents prepare their children’s wardrobes for fall and winter.  Browsing through the many different  options for wool underwear layers, outerwear, socks, hats, sleep sacks, and blankets, to name a few, can be overwhelming, so we have put together a list of favorite, essential winter woolen items that we hope will be helpful as you pull woolens out of storage and decide what new items will be needed for the snowy days ahead.   We compiled this list based on what we use for our little ones at home as well as feedback from our customers. 

Wool or Wool/Silk Baby Hat

engel wool fleeece baby hat

If you purchase only one woolen item for your baby for winter time, a good quality hat or bonnet is one of the best investments you can make.  It is so important for babies to have their heads covered, especially during the first few weeks and months of life.  Young babies have not yet fully developed their  ability to regular their own body temperature and have no way of telling us when they feel too hot or too cold.  A great deal of warmth is lost through a baby’s head.   In many cultures throughout the world, it is common for infants to have their heads covered most of the time, both indoors and outdoors, well into their first year of life.  A breathable hat or bonnet made from natural fibers is an excellent way to ensure that your baby stays comfortable and warm.

The Engel Organic Wool Fleece Baby Hat is one of our favorite all-around winter hats.  Wool fleece is probably the softest wool you’ll find, so it’s lovely for a newborn, and the hat is nice and thick for outdoor wear as well.  This hat will be large on a newborn, but a baby born in the fall or winter is likely to be able to wear it for two winter seasons.  Once your baby grows into it, the fit is snug, covers the ears nicely, and it has nice soft ties to help keep it in place when needed.   The Disana organic merino wool knitted bonnet is another lovely mid-weight option that is great for babies and is available in smaller sizes.

For a lighter option, a nice lightweight bonnet made from wool or wool/silk is also lovely for an infant.   Living Crafts makes a beautiful bonnet available in organic cotton or a wool/silk blend, and Cosilana’s popular baby bonnet is available in organic cotton, pure wool, wool/silk, and a machine washable wool/silk/cotton blend.

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For babies who have wool sensitivities, a pure silk hat is an excellent choice that has some of the same temperature regulating properties of wool.

Wool Tights

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Wool tights are an indispensable winter item in our family, particularly for the youngest family members who aren’t yet walking.  Feet are another crucial body part to keep warm for young babies, and while socks are necessary and an obvious choice for keeping little feet warm, they are rather notorious for being kicked off and magically disappearing into the depths of the washing machine.

A warm pair of tights keep not just little feet warm, but also ankles, legs, lower backs, and tummies!  Tights for babies are simply brilliant.  Pure wool tights are doubly wonderful because they require washing so infrequently.  Just like wool socks, as long as you allow them to air out between uses, you can go weeks, even months at a time, without laundering your baby’s wool tights.

One of the greatest things about wool tights is that they keep baby’s ankles and legs covered any time baby is lifted up.  Pants tend to ride up the legs, and so baby’s legs are frequently exposed to the elements any time baby is lifted in or out of the stroller or car seat, and also when baby is worn in a carrier or sling with legs dangling down.  If your baby is wearing a pair of wool tights, your baby’s legs will always stay warm, regardless of how high baby’s trousers ride up.

The wool tights found in our store have nice high waistbands and generally are spacious enough to accommodate cloth diapers, even wool covers.

For an even softer texture without compromising warmth, tights are also available in a wool/cotton blend, and for babies with wool sensitivities, tights in pure organic cotton.

Woolen Base Layer:  A Baby Bodysuit 

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A woolen underwear layer for babies and children is essential for families in any region with cold winter weather.   These single layer, lightweight garments are breathable and soft and are snug fitting to be worn on their own in mild weather or layered underneath regular clothing on the colder days.

Woolen underwear is available in the form of a bodysuit, shirt, or a pair of leggings, and while all options are wonderful for babies and children, in our opinion, a bodysuit is the most ideal option for an infant.  This is once again due to the fact that babies are lifted up so frequently that shirts and pants inevitably ride up, exposing baby’s skin to the cold outdoor air.   A warm bodysuit underwear layer solves this problem, keeping baby’s mid-section warm underneath regular clothing.  We often dress our baby in a long sleeved shirt or sweater layered over a wool or wool/silk bodysuit.

For cloth diapering families, it is important to note that most wool bodysuits available in our store DO fit over a wool soaker.  When in doubt, sizing up is always a good option, but generally speaking, European manufacturers are sure to leave room in the diaper area for a bodysuit to be easily snapped over a thick wool soaker.  A wool or wool/silk bodysuit is excellent in this regard because it adds yet another layer of absorbent wool to help keep baby dry in the case of leaks.

Underwear layers are available in pure wool, a wool/silk blend for some added softness, and even a wool/silk cotton blend for a machine-washable option.

Wool Baby Sweater

I had to update this post to include a wool baby sweater because just a month into the autumn season here in Colorado, we have pulled out the wool knitted baby sweater more than any other apparel item we own (other than the wool hats, of course!).   For babies, a warm wool sweater is the perfect solution to a chilly day and provides just enough warmth for outings in the car or walks in the baby carrier without over-dressing baby.  On a crisp October day, we typically dress our baby in a wool/silk bodysuit layered underneath our favorite knitted wool sweater and a warm pair of wool leggings or cotton pants.  I love the wool sweater because it can quickly go on and off over any outfit, and it’s trim-fitting enough to be kept on in the car seat, keeping baby cozy when a thicker jacket needs to be removed.

A few of our other favorite wool sweaters are the Disana Organic Knitted Sweater and the Engel Organic Wool Fleece baby sweater.

Wool Bunting for Outdoors

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A wool bunting is often more appropriate for an infant than a jacket, since the bunting keeps baby warm from head to toe without exposing any skin.  Buntings are available in soft organic wool fleece or wind resistant, boiled (felted) organic wool lined with organic cotton.

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For something a little lighter that can be worn indoors or outdoors, a pair of wool overalls or a wool romper is also nice to have on hand for a baby.   The organic knitted wool overalls from Disana are wonderful for this purpose and can be worn indoors on their own or outdoors with a warm jacket or sweater.   The organic knitted wool romper with optional feet from Reiff Strick is another excellent choice that has the added benefit of foot coverage when needed.

Wool Sleep Sack

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Most parents become quickly aware of their newborn baby’s need for warmth to stay comfortable, particularly while sleeping.  It can be challenging to keep babies warm while sleeping, especially if they are asleep alone in a bassinet or crib.   As babies become older and begin exploring the world around them, they often pull blankets over their faces or kick them off entirely.   A wool sleep sack helps tremendously and is an item that can be used beyond the first year as well.

Wool sleep sacks come in all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of warmth, so the decision will depend primarily on your baby’s age and how low the temperatures go at night in your home.  While any wool sleep sack will keep your baby warm and will help regulate your baby’s temperature while sleeping, the warmest options are the long sleeved wool fleece and knitted wool sleep sacks from Reiff Strick, followed by the sleeveless wool fleece sleep sacks from Reiff Strick and the boiled wool sleep sacks from Disana.

For a mid-weight option the Disana Knitted Wool Sleep Sack is lovely, and for a lighter weight option, the Engel Organic Wool Terry Sleep Sack is another favorite in our home.

What have been some of your most treasured woolen items for your baby during winter time?

Woolens for Babies During Wintertime

It’s Woolen Season! In this article: 

  • The Benefits of Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children
  • Which woolens are best for underwear?
  • What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?

As the cooler months approach, wool is flying off of our shelves faster than we can keep up with it.  And it’s no wonder- wool is nature’s perfect fiber to bundle up your baby for the winter months.  Wool booties, wool hats, wool sweaters, wool leggings, wool overalls, wool mittens, wool blankets, wool diaper covers… and a well-kept secret, wool underwear. There is no better way to keep your baby at a perfect, consistent temperature while playing outside in the cold and snow, going for walks, hiking and camping, riding in the stroller, sleeping…and just about anywhere!

Woolen Underwear for Babies & Children: The BenefitsWhile there’s nothing like a cozy wool sweater, hat, or jacket for playing outside in chilly weather, it can be easy to overlook the tremendous benefits of how your child is dressed underneath her regular clothing.  It’s incredible how much extra warmth is provided by a simple, single-knit wool shirt or pair of leggings.

  • Wool is breathable.  Unlike a synthetic long underwear for winter, a high quality wool base layer still allow your child’s skin to breathe, keeping them from overheating or sweating.  This is excellent for newborn babies who are unable to regulate their internal temperature or let us know when they feel too hot or too cold. This also makes wool excellent for sleeping- babies sleep comfortably in wool, as their skin can breathe and they are not exposed to synthetic materials, which are not breathable and can easily cause overheating.
  • Wool is temperature-regulating:   Woolen underwear are wonderful for those crisp fall days when the weather could turn any way the wind blows.  If the day is warmer than expected, the temperature regulating properties of wool will prevent your child from overheating.    A lovely single-knit wool shirt or leggings are perfect for use on their own as well when the weather warms up a bit.  For very chilly days, a snug layer of wool or wool/silk blend will keep your child insulated underneath regular clothing.
  • Wool is very absorbent:  Wool can absorb up to 40% of its weight In moisture before it will begin to feel wet.  This is extremely beneficial for an underwear layer because if your child is very active and begins to sweat,  the wool will absorb the moisture but will take some time to feel damp, thus keeping your baby feeling warm and dry.   Even when wool becomes wet, since it regulates temperature very well, it does not feel cold.
  • Wool is self-cleansing:  Wool has naturally antibacterial properties, so it does not need to be cleaned frequently.  The lanolin that is naturally found in sheep’s wool helps to remove odors as the wool becomes damp.  This is beneficial for underwear layers because your child can wear them again and again, through sweat, urine, and dirt, and you will not need to wash it frequently!

Which woolens are best for underwear?

Single-knit Organic Merino Wool.  A single-knit, pure, 100% organic merino wool shirt and leggings is excellent for underwear during winter, and it is also perfect on its own for spring, fall, and even for summer camping trips!  Our son wears his pure wool shirt from Engel year-round, and his favorite time to wear it is for summer hiking an camping trips.

Wool/Silk Blends (Single-Knit).  A wool/silk blendis also a lovely choice because these garments have not only the beneficial properties of wool, but also the benefits of silk.  This lightweight, breathable, temperature-regulating fabric  makes an excellent combination with pure organic wool.  This blend keeps your child warm and cozy without overheating, it is easy to clean, and most importantly, these natural fibers are safe for your baby.

Photo courtesy of Living Crafts

Choosing garments that are single-knit as opposed to thicker, double-knit  garments enable you to dress your baby in other clothing over the wool.    You can also dress your baby in a single-knit garment on its own, but they are thin, so while they are wonderful for moderate weather, if the weather is quite cold, it is ideal to add an extra layer over the woolen layer or to dress your baby in a double-knit or thicker, felted wool garment.

What other wool garments are good for babies for winter?

Wool pajamas.  Investing in a high quality pair of footed wool pajamas will allow your child to sleep comfortably year round.  Wool terry pajamas are excellent for the cooler months of the year, as they are slightly thicker without being too hot, and you can still layer a single-knit layer of wool underneath them or add a thick pair of wool socks for the coldest nights.  If your baby does not like sleep sacks and still kicks the blankets off, wool pajamas will keep your baby at just the right temperature without any blankets at all.   For the warmer months, a single-knit pair of wool/silk pajamas is ideal.

photo courtesy of Engel Natur

Boiled Wool Outerwear.  Boiled wool is the warmest wool we have found, making it ideal for outdoor wear during the colder months of the year.  Boiled wool is essentially felted wool.   Water, heat, and friction are used to break up the wool’s structure, resulting in felted wool that is half the original size of the wool in all directions.  During this process, thousands of tiny air bubbles are trapped in the material, which forms an entirely natural barrier against both hot and cold temperatures, keeping your baby’s temperature constant even in very cold temperatures.

Photo courtesy of Disana

Boiled wool is soft and light, so it is very comfortable for your child to wear.  Boiled wool protects your child against the cold, is almost entirely windproof, and like all wool garments, helps balance hot and cold temperatures.   The result is a fabric that keeps your baby warm and dry while allowing your baby’s skin to breathe.

A Homemade Learning Tower to Nurture the Senses

The kitchen for me has always been the most important room of every home in which I have resided.  The center of so many activities, it embodies warmth, love, nourishment, and now, for my son, a place for learning.

We stand together in the kitchen, side by side.  I carefully chop onions while he “chops” cloves of garlic with his wooden spoon and cutting board.   We assemble the dish together.   He pours the ingredients into the bowl.  He mixes.  He improvises.  He adds a little salt here and there, perhaps where salt didn’t really belong.  But that doesn’t matter.

He dances with joy when he sees what we have created.  I no longer feel the need to explain to him every step of what I’m doing, filling the silence with meaningless words as he tugs at my leg from below, desperately curious to understand the mystery that takes place above him at the kitchen counter.  Now we experience this magic together, in the silence, and our experience is shared.

This type of experience has become routine for my inquisitive toddler and me, and the one component that has made this possible is a simple, homemade structure that now stands in our kitchen.  This is what is known as a “learning tower,” very appropriately named.

Every parent becomes well aware during the early years of their children’s lives that young children learn a great deal through imitation.  As a parent, it is truly incredible to experience this phenomenon on a daily basis.

There is simply no better way for your curious toddler to learn than by observing you and helping you with your daily activities, especially when it comes to chores around the house and preparing food in the kitchen.

This wooden tower has created an environment that nurture his every sense.  He watches, tastes, listens, smells, touches, mimics, and explores.

A few minutes spent observing a child in this setting undoubtedly proves that this experience is so much more valuable than plopping a child in front of a lifeless TV screen while you prepare dinner.

Rather than finding another activity to keep your child busy, finding a way to involve your child in household chores is incredibly rewarding for both parent and child.  This is one of the most essential and powerful tools in a child’s development, and it is truly the easiest form of involvement and ‘education’ he can have at this stage in his life.

We are peacefully engaged in these activities together.   I do, he observes, he mimics, and we do together what must be done.

I will confess, preparing dinner takes a little longer this way.  But since he and I are engaged in dinner preparation together, I don’t consider it time wasted.  In fact, this is some of the most cherished and valuable time we have together each day.

A New Year & Our Path to a More Sustainable Life

There’s something about the start of a new year that brings out the dreamers in all of us.  Hope for a brighter future, dreams about all that can be achieved in life.

The growth of our business has been the focus of our energy over this past year, and we have been blessed to experience the beginning of something truly wonderful- along with an amazing community of like-minded, loyal customers.  We are left with the feeling of hope, and exciting anticipation of what lies ahead for our family and our little store this year.

As we pause for a moment to breathe and reflect following our busiest holiday season yet, we take time to consider our own goals for the coming year.  Our realization of late is this: all of our goals lead us down one path- the path to a more sustainable life.  We invite you to follow us as we explore these goals, make  new discoveries, and experiment with both the planned & unplanned events that will lead us to our ultimate goal.

As we dream and plan for our future, here is a glimpse at what we are up to as this new year begins:

Planning our 2012 garden.   The garlic is in the ground, old seeds have been saved, new seeds have been purchased, herbs are wintering in the greenhouse, and the new garden design plans are underway (with the help of a pencil, paper, and our tiny helper)

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Wool Care Part 3: Lanolizing a Wool Cloth Diaper Cover

You should lanolize your wool cover if:

  1. You purchase a brand new wool cover (Lanolizing is an important part of the “prepping” process and should be done up to two or three times with brand new wool covers); OR
  2. You notice that your wool cover is no longer keeping your baby dry and has begun to quickly soak through each time your baby is wet (you do NOT need to lanolize every single time you wash your wool cover, especially if you use a wool wash that contains lanolin)

To lanolize, you will need the following items:

  1. Lanolin (we recommend any type of solid, pure lanolin- many women use the same pure lanolin they used on their breasts during the early days of breastfeeding)
  2. Very hot water, either in the sink, heated up in a bowl in the microwave, or poured into a glass jar
  3. Wool wash (this helps break up the lanolin when you melt it)
  4. A sink or basin filled with lukewarm water
  5. One or two clean towels
  6. Some sort of flat drying rack or surface that allows for air circulation

To lanolize, follow these steps:

  1. Heat up the water until it is very hot but not boiling. You can do this in the microwave, over the stove, or directly out of your tap if your water comes out hot enough. The water must be hot enough to melt the lanolin.
  2. Put a small amount (1 tsp- 1 tbsp) of pure lanolin + a small amount of wool wash or mild baby wash (about 1 tsp) into the hot water and stir or shake it until the lanolin is completely melted.   Make sure the lanolin is melted and that there are not bits still floating around.  (we like to do this inside of a water-tight container such as a glass jar, which we fill halfway with hot water, 1 tsp of lanolin, and a small amount of wool wash and shake vigorously)
  3. Add your hot water/lanolin/wool wash mixture to a sink or basin of lukewarm water (or, if you are using the tap water method, simply turn on your tap again and add some lukewarm water to the mixture).
  4. Turn your wool soaker inside out and gently press it under the water. Very gently, swish it around a bit under the water so that the lanolin will be evenly distributed over the wool.
  5. Let the wool soak for around fifteen minutes. Drain the water while supporting the wool.
  6. Lift the wool from the sink, supporting it with both hands, and gently press the excess water out . Do not wring the wool out.  Supporting the wool, gently lay it down on a clean towel. Reshape, and then slowly roll it between two layers of a clean dry towel. Repeat several times until excess water is removed.
  7. Lay wool flat to dry on a supportive, flat drying rack. The wool can take between 24 and 36 hours to dry, depending on how thick the wool is and how humid the climate is. Turn the wool inside out at least once during the drying process to speed it up a bit.

Gardening with Your Baby

With a backyard overflowing with garden beds, a sustainable greenhouse, and not an inch of yard to spare, I would venture to say our family’s love for gardening is perhaps more than just a hobby.

And so naturally, when our first baby was born, we were determined to include him in all aspects of our love for gardening.   I envisioned myself pulling weeds with my baby happily and unobtrusively by my side, gently pressing seeds into the soil while my baby peered out peacefully from the folds of my sling, and admiringly watching my baby brush his tiny fingers through feathery green carrot tops and furry tomato leaves.  I later discovered that such a scenario was slightly more difficult to attain than I had hoped…

As the months went by and my baby flew through the lovely dependent newborn stage and became an intensely curious, independent, and sometimes defiant, tiny human, my hopes for gardening-with-baby seemed nearly impossible.  During several failed attempts, the peaceful scene I had envisioned turned into chaos as I watched my little angel stuff handfuls of rocks and soil into his mouth, recklessly snap new growth off of the cherry tree, and overturn and destroy trays of newly emerged seedlings.

Gardening with babies (or at least with my baby!) seemed destined for failure.  I soon became only a very part-time gardener who ran outside to catch fleeting moments in the garden each day, usually only while my baby napped.

After a few weeks of this, I knew something had to change.   I longed to open my baby’s eyes to this spectacular world of seeds that miraculously sprout into green shoots that reach for the skies and somehow defy gravity to create new life and ultimately provide us with fresh, wholesome food.  How could I not share this miracle with my baby?  I didn’t want to wait until he was old enough to know what to do with a rake and a spade.  I had to find a way to involve him right then and there.

And so I did.   And so should you!  There are challenges, of course, but sharing the gardening experience with your baby is worth every minute.

 

And it can be done, simply! Here are some ways to make it happen:

  • If you practice the art of babywearing, give it a try while gardening. While you’ll be slightly more limited than you would without your baby, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish (and you’ll have two hands to do so!)  Once you feel confident wearing your baby in a sling or carrier, watering your garden, trimming trees and shrubs, and even squatting to pull a few weeds will all become a breeze.  Plus, your baby will love coming along for the ride and observing gardening chores from your perspective.
  • Step back and give your baby some freedom to explore the beauty of nature.  Find a shady area of soft grass and plop your baby down on a blanket to enjoy the fresh air while you garden nearby.  Your baby might pause to watch your every move, emphatically pull blade after blade of grass, become mesmerized by the leaves as they dance in the breeze, or simply stare up to watch the clouds float by.  Either way, your baby will be captivated by the sights and sounds of nature… and there’s really nothing more beautiful than that.
  • Explore various plants in your garden with your baby. Find plants in your garden that you don’t mind being torn apart by your baby’s curious hands, and share with your baby the textures and scents of fragrant herbs like thyme, mint, sage, and basil.   Who needs toys when you can rip sweet-smelling leaves to shreds?
  • Get down and dirty with your babyplay together in the soil.  A little dirt never hurt anyone, after all!  Babies love the feel of the earth in their hands and in between their tiny toes, and under a mother’s watchful eye, not even the smallest stone will make its way into baby’s mouth.
  • Most importantly: Modify your gardening objectives.  Accept and embrace the fact that gardening with a baby is less about being productive in the garden and more about surrounding your baby with the beauty that is the earth and the green life that shoots from its soil.  When you share your garden with your baby, your baby will begin to understand that the earth is alive, capturing that feeling of the energy of the earth and of each tiny seed that pushes upward to become a plant, so full of life.  Does a better education than this even exist?

Gardening with your baby is much more than just gardening.  It’s a way to share a love for nature and the vast amount of life that exists in nature.  This experience awaits you and your baby, whether it’s in a small container garden on your balcony, an array of raised beds and fruit trees, or even a local farm or nearby park.  You and your baby will both feel more invigorated…more alive…and more love.