Friday, February 7, 2014

Handmade Gifts

I have a crazy idea in my head that I would like to make one handmade gift for Caroline (and hopefully subsequent children) for Christmas and birthdays each year.  There is something so special and unique about handmade gifts and I hope that I can at least pass an appreciation for all things handmade on to my children.  I realize that this is a lofty goal, especially as we have more kids, so I've decided I'm not going to feel guilty if I can't make it happen every year.  But this year I prevailed!

I thought I'd share this with anyone who might be interested, because both of these projects are very do-able if you like to craft.

For Christmas I made Caroline a personalized board book with the pictures and names of everyone in our family.  Since we live far far away from both of our families in the cold (but great!) land of Boston I wanted to make her this book so she could look at (and hopefully remember) the people in her family.  I used a company called Pint Size Productions to print the book.  It was really easy.  They sent me the template for the pages, I designed the pages in Illustrator (see Dad, I am using my graphic design degree), and then submitted a high quality PDF of all the pages on their website.  In about 10 days my book came in the mail and it was everything I hoped it would be.  And the best part is...Caroline loves it!   She could be sitting in the middle of all of her toys and she will grab this book first, which obviously fills me with joy.  :)

For her birthday present I cheated a little bit.  I started making these quilted stacking/nesting blocks for my niece's 1st birthday (she is now almost 3...oops!).  I decided I was going to finally finish the project.   I'll be honest - this project takes a lot of time.  But if you give yourself enough time the sewing is relatively painless and the directions are really easy to follow.  Overall I'm happy with how they look.  Caroline plays with them (which was the ultimate goal, right?) and they are cute.  Maybe if I get ambitious I will make a couple more.

Just a side note:  if I were to make these again I wouldn't do the patchwork quilting on all five sides of each block.  It looks too busy.  I would also pick about 4-5 coordinating fabrics and use those for all the blocks.  I used too many different colors and it became confusing to coordinate them all.  Also, at the end of the pattern she recommends hand sewing (using a blind stitch) the lining to the outside of the blocks.  I'm sure that makes these blocks look awesome, but honestly I didn't have time for all that hand sewing.   I just used my machine and sewed around the top, close to the edge.  I think they look great! :)