Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ribbon Barrettes

It does not have to be a special occasion for your little girl to add a beautiful touch to her outfit. We are strong believers that it is important for young children to have fun getting dressed. Our new ribbon barrettes offer a pretty way to pull back your hair this winter.

The pair shown above are fabric #BA-101. Following are a few of the fabrics the barrettes are also available in. Please inquire for more options.







Thursday, November 5, 2009

Return to Center

What an interesting week! With fewer daylight hours, an afternoon of snow (oh yes Virginia, there is snow in New England) and a distinct crispness in the air to match the grey skies, we've found a few moments to gather with friends, share a few laughs and just enjoy each other's company. In the "craziness" of the past few days, we've found these moments of serenity make us more grateful for our lives than all the money in the world. To understand the joy of each day try this - listen to the crunch of leaves under your feet, breathe in and exhale - see your breath?, run your finger along a frosted surface, share a meal you made at home, knit brightly colored socks, and smell the smoke rising from your or your neighbor's chimney.

The positive side of what happened to the economy last fall (and through 2009) is we all had an opportunity to assess our lives. The happiest stories we've heard have been about people who were laid off, and with a family to support had not thought about taking a chance to do something they'd maybe always dreamed of. Now they were being given a chance. That's right, a chance ... like the man we know who was let go from a communications firm when they downsized and he went to work at a bakery. He loves it and while he is not making as much, he is rich with life. A woman we know lost her job event planning and has been walking dogs. Last time we saw her during one of our morning walks, her biggest concern - how to manage her time with so many clients.

So rather than shopping at malls or online sites for name brands, people are looking to craftsmen. The words craftsman and artist are part of our vocabulary now. At Children's Couture we are fortunate our clients (really our extended family), who have ordered from us since we opened shop, are knowledgeable about our distinctive edge as well as the attention to detail and quality we put into each and every piece. In addition, they know they are getting a "story" behind their purchase, one that will last as long as the piece ... which is for generations to come. Their children even notice, and like, the difference!

In addition, Mary-Alice listens to all who buy from Children's Couture. Some of the ideas for the items we sell come from customer requests, like our cool new hair ribbon barrettes. Have you ever heard of a department store creating an item just for you? Granted, those places serve their purpose but when gifting an item to a loved one, is there anything better than the experience conveyed by an apparel piece or collectible Mary-Alice has crafted in her studio/showroom full of color, fabric, and inspiration?
Garden Party Purse/Two-Tone with Hair Ribbon Barrettes

For those of you who are not near enough to visit the showroom in person (Thursday thru Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.), visit the Children's Couture website. It is easy to use, a few clicks of the mouse is all you need to browse the Apparel and Accessory pages to see all of our styles. Then a quick click on an individual image will bring you to the details for that piece; sizing, price and fabric suggestions. For the more adventurous types, explore the Fabrics page and use your imagination to combine any of the premium fabrics with the apparel/accessory style of your choice.

Customer service is a top priority at Children's Couture so never hesitate to ask a question, make a comment, or if you need guidance with your order, Mary-Alice is available to help. Enjoy!

Cozy Cord Handbag with Cheshire Hat

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Precious Little Things

This morning's walk was a treat for us and a chance to take advantage of the fewer daylight hours. Our walk was fun, full of love and laughter. We get so busy, so sometimes a morning walk is the perfect rebuttal. A precious little thing we can savor.

With November here (did you remember to set your clock back!??) our season is about to get really busy. With neighbors beginning to hang holiday flags, turkey orders being placed (or at least thought about), and Thanksgiving recipes abound in our favorite magazines it is time to break out the holiday lists. We are and so are our friends and customers. Who to get what for, sizes, favorite colors, and so forth and so on. Every year we get busier, but we love it. Mary-Alice is happiest while meticulously stitching and sewing, designing and brainstorming the next pairing in her design studio.

Lately she has been working on precious little things which seem to make not only her but her clients giddy. Children Couture's miniature hats have certainly been garnering a lot of attention lately. Originally Mary-Alice designed them as holiday ornaments, but we are told by customers they are used as well for dressing up a doll and attaching to a package. A wonderful surprise! An added bonus, the ornaments can be made in any fabric selection to go with one's home decor, express a personal style, or to coordinate with a holiday decorating theme.

Please come visit us. Mary-Alice would love to see you!! Showroom hours have been extended to include Sundays!! To accommodate clients during the busy holiday season, the Children's Couture Showroom hours are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or by appointment to fit your schedule.

Watch a master craftsman at work, purchase gifts for your girls and holiday ornaments for your home decor, then explore the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hamphsire.

Children's Couture is located at 445 Province Road, Route 107 in Belmont, NH. Showroom and Design Studio phone is 603-524-8801.

We look forward to seeing you!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Year I was a Fairy Godmother

This photo sits on Mary-Alice's living room shelf next to books from her childhood. It is was taken when she was in the first or third grade; who can remember!??! She'd managed to get the role of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother in the school play. Her mother sewed the costume; lace, tulle and a lovely hooded cape, then created a magic wand from a dowel painted silver, a doily and some glitter. Feeling so, so lovely she wore this for the following Halloween. Happy Halloween to everyone.

Stay tuned and see what Mary-Alice has been up to at work with Children's Couture ... next week we are back posting about the Studio and Showroom.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Extended Showroom/Design Studio Hours!!!

In anticipation of the approaching winter the folks at Children's Couture are splitting wood, airing out blankets, and oh joyous shopping time extending visiting hours to include Sundays!! To accommodate clients during the busy holiday season, Children's Couture has extended showroom hours to Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST or by appointment.

Watch a master craftsman at work and explore the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, one of the prettiest areas in New England year-round.

Children's Couture is located at 445 Province Road, Route 107 in Belmont, NH. Showroom and design studio phone is 603-524-8801.

We look forward to seeing you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do Good Feel Great

Some pieces are meant to be kept forever, held on as heirloom pieces passed down generation after generation possibly being lent to one's dearest friend or relative after time. Children's Couture pieces tend to be in that category. However, so many other pieces are not - relics taking up valuable space. Rental space one might think, and who pays rent on an unused space? Well, Mary-Alice finally decided it was a good enough time as any to tackle the clearing out of the clothes and shoes closet. The switch from summer to fall/winter can no longer be denied so into storage trunks go sundresses, sandals, short sleeve blouses, and capris. Into garbage bags went pieces that have not been worn in two years, pieces that no longer fit, and pieces that well just never did fit just right and/or fit the right occasion.

Rather than toss those garbage bags into the trash we carted them off to Goodwill. As the popular saying goes, "one man's trash is another's treasure," or something along those lines. Goodwill Industries accepts clothing, children's toys, furniture, computers and appliances in good/working condition.

A place we've donated suits to in the past is Dress for Success, a nationwide organization that provides professional wear for those who may not be able to afford the "polished look" for an interview. They also accept slacks, jackets, blouses/tops, shoes, and accessories.

Whatever you do, donate a piece or two and help someone out this season ... it won't cost you a dime and will provide someone else such a sense of "relief" ... that is definitely worth a million bucks!!

A few photos from the dearly departed Domino Magazine on taking advantage of closet space. Now that Mary-Alice knows which items she is sticking with she can have fun redoing her closet. Who knows what spring cleaning will find! Just remember to give, give, give to charities what you don't need. In good condition of course!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rare Bird of Fashion at Peabody Essex Museum

As creative individuals who appreciate culture wherever we go and are especially keen on those slanted in a fashionable direction we scan museum websites from time to time in search of the next show we need to see. We say need, because when you are as passionate about a craft as we are and respect so much what other designers and muses are doing it really is more of a need than a want. A new exhibit we were so excited to read about and as thrilled to share is at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA through February 7, 2010 is Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel

The exhibit presents more than 80 dramatic ensembles from the personal collections of legendary tastemaker and style icon Iris Apfel. Known for her eclectic mixing of haute couture with costume jewelry and exotic baubles, Apfel has inspired bold developments in the fashion industry through her spirited irreverence and pitch-perfect taste. Now in her 88th year, she continues to challenge visual culture with radical juxtapositions of disparate influences. These spectacular and unexpected wardrobe combinations are exhibited with inventive staging and playful displays that underscore Apfel's inexhaustible creative spirit.

Visit the website for details on visiting the museum and the fun interactive game where you get to create your own Iris inspired paper doll and print the results. So Iris and so fun!!

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Love the book, can't wait to see the movie. The two reviews we read, and we purposely don't read many, said the adaption of this children's classic will be felt by adults and "features moments of transcendent beauty and profound silliness." We're in!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quality vs Quantity

Recently a friend shared a story about shopping for boots. She had been looking for a pair of grey boots for a while, not intensely just now and then peeking into shops. The other night after dining with friends she walked past a shop with what she thought was the perfect pair and for only $59.00! Half-way to the register she paused and recalled a conversation we had not that long ago about investment pieces and put them back. They were not real leather and she was about to go on a trip where there could well be a shop with the perfect pair, albeit more expensive, and that pair would have a story attached. The purchase would become an experience and the feel of the real leather crafted by a master craftsman would add a personal touch.
We have a lot of customers who return to us for the same reasoning our friend used. They are choosing quality over quantity. Spending more, but investing in a piece that has an "organic" story behind it and will last a long time. Fortunately our pieces are reasonably priced and machine washable so our customers can enjoy them without even a tinge of guilt.
Recent economics have caused consumers to pay attention more than ever to what they are spending their money on. Rather than purchasing three blazers they can only get one, same thing with shoes, jeans... Each circumstance has cause for different reasoning, but in the end we hope fine craftsmanship and an experience/a story will win over the short term.

P.S. we got this photo from our friend who found the perfect boots in a small shop, finely crafted and real leather.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Touring the University of Virginia, Vacation Photo Album

While in Fredericksburg, we took a drive to Charlottesville, VA, home of the University of Virginia. David and Beverly's granddaughter, Jocelyn, is a first year student there and gladly met us for lunch, then provided a wonderful guided tour of the beautiful UVA campus. She has only been there for a few weeks but was so knowledgeable about the campus, architecture and it's founder, Thomas Jefferson. Impressive!

Photos from our tour with Jocelyn:

Boston Children's Museum

This sounds like fun!

October - December, 2009 at the Boston Children's Museum

Nature Explore Traveling Exhibits help children discover nature through multiple perspectives and will inspire them to get outdoors, explore the wonders, and develop connections with the natural world.

While visiting these exhibits, children can experience a glimpse of the wonders that await them outside their own backyards and neighborhoods. These interactive exhibits use multi-sensory and innovative visual spatial experiences to bring a taste of the outdoors inside.

The Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation have developed the Nature Explore traveling exhibits based on years of Dimensions’ research on visual-spatial learning, along with an understanding of what is appropriate for children ages 2 – 8.

Leaf & Slide Pile

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Visiting with Relatives

Mary-Alice here. After just one day at Bethany, we get back into the car for a sidetrip to visit relatives, David and Beverly Brumbaugh, in their new home in Fredericksburg, VA. Though I always tell them they are not old enough to be my parents, I do fondly refer to them as my "parents without punishment" as they have always been a part of my life and I am grateful for that. They recently moved from Arlington, VA to Fredericksburg, VA where we spent two days enjoying their gorgeous new home. It is beautiful, spaceous and not far from the historic downtown of Fredericksburg, with cobblestone streets, chic boutiques and charming restaurants.

Historic Fredericksburg, Virginia

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bethany Beach, Delaware

Bethany Beach sunrise ... what a way to start the day! A quick walk along the beach reveals many "treasures" thrown
up onto the shore as a result of a recent hurricane passing by out to sea ... shells, seaglass, rocks smooth as silk, and what appears to be a mini shipwreck. Taking time away is heaven on this beach.

Bethany Beach Sunrise
Miles to walk before I sleep
Oops...shipwreck on the beach

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back From Vacation

Please pardon our absence from posting the past two weeks as Children's Couture has been on vacation, at long last. Our destination: The Delmarva Peninsula, specifically Bethany Beach, Delaware, where Mary-Alice's relatives generously offered the use of their townhouse, just a block from the beach. With the car packed we headed south to Victorian Cape May, New Jersey (the southern tip of NJ), a charming town of Victorian houses and shops. But no time to sightsee here as our goal was to catch the the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which would transport us across the busy mouth of the Delaware Bay to historic Lewes, Delaware (the northern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula).
Full disclosure, Mary-Alice is not fond of long bridges and prone to motion sickness. Not to worry, the ride was uneventful. During the relaxing 90 plus minute ride we spotted dolphins and seagulls playing amongst the many tankards and shipping vessels that travel through these busy shipping lanes.
Prior to arriving in Lewes, Delaware, on the ferry, we passed a noteworthy spit of land jutting out into the sea; Cape Henlopen State Park. Once we depart the ferry, we headed out to explore the picturesque shoreline.

Let's Rock n' Roll (and roll!!)

Leaving Cape May, NJ

Delaware Bay Shipping Lanes

Another ferry heading north

That a way captain!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hat on Holiday

Our friend Sharon was kind enough to send us this picture of her on vacation in Maine wearing her new custom made Shaped Brim Hat. Sharon saw the hat on a child, got our information, and phoned us to see if we could make her one. Voila. Just a reminder we can make all our hats for adults. After all why should only children have fun hats!! Oh, and please send us pictures of you and your Children's Couture on vacation. We love receiving pictures!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Design for Charity

Starting this weekend Children's Couture will participate in New Hampshire ShowHouse 2009, an event to help raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region. A fun event, it brings together some of the most talented decorators and craftsmen in New Hampshire for a good cause. Creative talents working together with the intent of creating amazing looking rooms to inspire viewers. Between September 19 - October 18 the show home will be open to the public (buy your tickets in advance) so anyone can see the results, and of course do good! Depending on timing you might even score some good decorating advice for the price of admission. Not bad!

We are proud to be among the designers invited to help decorate a room in the house by providing apparel and accessories to use in the little girl's bedroom being decorated by Lorie Taylor of Lake Style Interiors.

The house is located in Laconia (The Weirs) New Hampshire. Please see the showhouse website for details on dates/times.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I am fascinated by Martha Stewart. During approximately the same time it takes me (Mary-Alice today) to get up and brew a pot of coffee, she has painted her kitchen, started a quilt and made puppets (and really likely designed a mobile puppet theatre). Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating and she only finished one puppet.
I consider myself a master gardener, but not the most cooking-friendly person. In a pinch sure I can help out and find it fun, a sort of expedition. With summer over and fall soon to be under way I'm looking forward to holiday festivities and cupcakes (don't the two go hand in hand??). This all said it seems like a good idea to share some of these "fancy cupcake" photos from Martha Stewart.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Devil's Food Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes