Skye Little is an ecoceptional mum with a passion for sewing. In fact, she’s made 90% of her daughter’s wardrobe! We caught up with Skye and are thrilled to share her story…..
Where do you live and who lives there with you?
I live in Brisbane with my husband and two children, who are four and two. We are also expecting our third child in July this year.
I’m an occupational therapist and have specialised in injury prevention. I currently work in the healthcare industry.
Has eco living always been important to you?
Eco living has always been a strong part of my life, however its focus has evolved over the years. My Mum had a strong environmental focus growing up which she passed onto my brother and I. My grandmother was a ‘master’ recycler having seven children to care for. My aunts and uncles often recall clothing being passed down and recycled into numerous different garments. Everything that could be was reused or recycled to see another day.
Several years ago, I did a weekend course on energy conservation whilst living in Roxby Downs. This gave me a few different insights into how I could improve my own energy consumption.
Have things changed since having children?
As a new Mum, I had great ambitions to use cloth nappies, breastfeed and make homemade baby food (you know how it is as a first time mother). I think prior to children you can never be fully aware of how overwhelming it can be.
I feel being a parent I need to assist in educating my children on the impact their decisions can have on the environment.
Since having children I have gotten into sewing clothes – 90% of my daughter’s wardrobe is made by myself. I also try to make many of my clothes.
What typical day as an ecoceptional mum look like to you?
I’ve just been working with my two year old on her toileting so the clothes airer with cloth nappies is gone for now (however, it is full of general washing every other day especially when its raining). I am attempting to get more whole foods into my children – with varied success! I try to integrate everyday eco messages into our day where possible e.g. water use and energy use. When I can, I spend several nights a week sewing as part of my ‘me time’.
How does your partner support your eco parenting/living?
My husband has always been very supportive of specific decisions and goals I have set for eco parenting. I wouldn’t say he takes care of all the cloth nappy washing or cooking, but when I desperately needed some clothes airers to dry the nappies and other washing during the flooding periods we have experienced in Brisbane, he was quick to go out and set up whatever I needed to achieve my goals. He has never questioned me and has been 100% supportive which I am very grateful for.
What has been your biggest eco parenting or eco living achievement so far?
I found this question tough to answer. I think seeing my children integrate eco decisions into their own lives would probably be something I’m most proud of.
From my daughter’s birth I have made 90% of her wardrobe, minimising our contribution to ‘fast fashion’ and disposable fashion. It isn’t without impact on the environment, however it has been good to combine a hobby with an eco contribution. It has allowed me to give my children an insight into clothing production and what is involved in the production of clothing. As I only have so much time,it has also inadvertently reduced the amount of clothing my daughter has in her wardrobe.
As I have invested a great amount of time in making the clothes, it has also ensured I take care of them to extend the life-time of the garment. It has also influenced the styles I sew. Dresses which can turn into tunics and then tops have been fabulous as the wear time is greatly increased (as illustrated below – the dress Inez is wearing on the left as a baby has later been worn as a top as a toddler).
My son and daughter are both very keen to learn how to sew and it will be lovely to pass on these skills especially if it means they can extend the wear time of a garment or make repairs themselves in the future.
Any challenges along the way?
Doing it all. Sometimes you have to prioritise and some things fall by the way side. I found going out and about with cloth nappies difficult at first, however with practice and as my son moved out of the new born stage it got easier.
Have you suffered from eco mother guilt and if so, how have you overcome this?
Yes! Probably on almost every level. One specific instance was when my son had a dermatitis issue in his nappy region. After seeing a dermatologist I was advised to change to disposable nappies in combination with the prescribed treatment. Once it resolved we had no further issues with cloth nappies however I was very self-conscious about using disposables. In terms of overcoming the ‘self imposed guilt’, I weighed up my choices and knew I needed to prioritise in the short term.
Anything you wish you were doing but haven’t yet been able to?
Lots! Different eco cleaning strategies. I must have hundreds of different tips on my pinterest boards I need to try.
How do your family and friends react to your eco efforts?
I think friends were quite shocked when I started using modern cloth nappies, however this was mainly due to limited exposure to anyone else who was using them (2010).
What are your plans for the future – any eco projects coming up?
We are currently furnishing our new house and are slowing making conscious decisions on which furniture is most appropriate for our family lifestyle. I connect with the motto, ‘buy once and buy well’. I have been following a few local furniture artisans on instragram and hope to purchase a few pieces soon.
My son and daughter are interested in gardening so we are starting to plan our herb and vegetable patch.
I have lots of sewing plans for the future.
Our council is working towards a zero waste stance, I have been reading up on how we can contribute towards this.
What’s your advice to someone keen to become an ecoceptional mum but not sure where to start?
Start small and with something manageable. The rest will follow.
Thanks so much for your time, Skye – we’ve loved hearing all about how your are bringing eco-living into your home (and we’re pretty envious of your beautiful clothing creations!) If you or someone you know would be interested in being profiled for our Ecoceptional Mum series, feel free to drop us a line!
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