Today we're highlighting A Life Sustained sponsor Little Friends Co.!
Catherine handmakes children's clothing, slippers and accessories with recycled and vintage fabrics. In her words:
Hi there, I am Catherine Callahan, mother, wife and creator of Little Friends Co. I create children’s apparel primarily made from repurposed materials. I strive to live simply with strong values and lots of love. My approach to life is simple, if you approach it with an open heart and an open mind the opportunities are endless. Some of the other things that I love are cooking, sharing a talk with a good friend, exploring flea markets and thrift stores and traveling.
I am happily married to my best friend, Mark, whom I met in college. Together, we have three wonderful kids: two girls, ages 8 and 5, and our 3-year-old son. We live in a suburb just north of Philadelphia in Bucks County. We are close to the Delaware River…yes the one that George Washington crossed.
Tell me about your journey to becoming an artist/maker of things.
I am proud to have come from a creative family that respects working with one's hands. My aunt is a well-known bear artist. My uncle is a master carpenter in Canada. My other uncle was a wood carver. My mom sewed as a hobby. She made clothing for me and my sister as well as her friends. I remember sitting by her feet while she was sewing. I would play with the buttons and notions in her basket. Her mother was an amazing woman. In Finland, she raised crops and 7 kids. She milked cows, spun wool, knit, wove and baked the most delicious bread I have ever had. Through all the hard work, she managed to maintain a positive and humble outlook on life. I guess my journey as an artist, crafter and creator was inevitable. I attended Tyler School of Art where I learned to hone my creative skills and ideas.
Why is it important to you to use upcycled/sustainable materials?
Both of my parents grew up on farms, albeit on separate continents. My father grew up in southwestern Virginia. My mother grew up in rural Finland. Later, her family moved to Sweden. Because of their upbringing, there was a certain frugality toward resources in our home. We knew things could be reused or repurposed rather than discarded. Resources there were used wisely. Basically, I was encouraged to be happy with what we had and to use what we had. I was also encouraged to use my creativity and to explore the outside world. I have always cared for nature, the environment and the future.
What inspires you?
I take a holistic look at inspiration. Everything in life is a lesson, especially mistakes. I strive to observe the world around me. I look at my children to understand what they see and how they see it. Their fresh eyes are able to see things in a way that adults sometimes can’t imagine.
In regards to items I create, I am often asked how did I think of that. I generally can’t say. It’s usually an evolution, not an epiphany, that brings me to my decisions. For example, I took a fibers course in college. There, I learned the principles of working with wool. We learned how to dye, and turn wool into felt. In one of my classes, I made a hideous wool cape. It lives in my attic to this day. Later on, I had a cute vintage sweater that washed in the wrong load. It shrank and turned to felt. I didn’t want to throw it out so I decided to make mittens out of it. The mittens looked like potholders so I never wore them. They live in the attic with the creepy wool cape. Both were lessons learned which I put in my back pocket for a later time, but I went on with my journey.
Many years later when I had my first daughter, I was dissatisfied by children’s slippers found in stores. They were either too puffy and commercial or too cold and leathery. I thought “what if they were made some out of something soft and warm?” Wool came to my mind. I remembered that old sweater that was washed in the wrong load. I decided to make slippers out of another old sweater. Here I am years later making them for other people’s children all around the country and world. I truly love what I do.
Catherine is generously offering to one lucky A Life Sustained reader their choice of a pair of slippers from her shop!
And the lucky winner is...
Just the Two of Us
"These are the cutest booties ever! please count me in! crossing my fingers!"
Thanks Little Friends Co.!