Handmade Gifts for a New Mama

If your name is Jen Curry and you’re my sister-in-law, stop reading now or else you’ll ruin the surprise!

 

 

 

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My sister-in-law just gave birth to her seventh son and she pretty much has everything she needs, but I still wanted to give her something special.  I asked her what she wanted and apparently she gave away her nursing cover (maybe she thought she was done having kids??), so that was her request.

Her last cover was the typical apron-style nursing cover that, in my opinion, doesn’t offer the best coverage and tends to scream “I’m nursing a baby!”  And while nursing a baby is nothing to be ashamed of, I for one prefer a bit more subtlety and style.

While pregnant with Adeline I purchased a bamboo nursing poncho and fell in love with it.  If I had known how simple the construction was I would have made it myself!  I have the mauve color, which I think goes with lots of things, and while I don’t wear it as well as the model, it’s very versatile and stylish.

I wanted to try something similar and purchased a silky jersey/rayon blend material in a pretty light blue.  I basically followed the tutorial for this DIY Modern Nursing Shawl, adding a bit of an allowance for seams on all sides and buttons along half of one side.

Since I wanted my sis-in-law to have options, I also made an infinity scarf that can double as a nursing cover.

Another of her requests was a set of clips that can turn any blanket into a nursing cover, used later to turn a towel into a bib, whatever.  Similar to these, I turned a set of mitten clips, D-rings, and some fabric into this little contraption:

These, in addition to a fabric nursing necklace I gave her at her gender reveal party, make some fabulous gifts for nursing mamas (in my humble opinion, of course).  A great go-along resource and the only nursing book I have is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Wanting to add something just for baby, I tried my hand at some baby shoes.  A pair for her little guy, then I kept on going with a larger pair for Addy.  See the little buttons on Addy’s floral pair?  She ate two of them while I was going through my button stash.  Oops.  I know at least one made it out the other end!

I love how they turned out!  On my to-do list, another pair in leather.

To top it off a wooden teether toy:

I love making things for babies!

What’s your favorite gift to buy, make, or receive for babies?

New Wooden Pretend Play Sets

For a while now I’ve been wanting to expand my handmade items to include wooden toys.  I have made wooden birds and other wooden things, but those are mainly for decoration.  My husband uses his woodworking skills to create beautiful game boards, and even though I don’t know how to turn and drill the wood pieces myself, I love the idea of working with the material.

We love natural toys (I could spend all day drooling over Waldorf toys!), so this came as a natural progression of my crafting process.  Since I’ve been in baby mode for a while now I made some wooden teething rings with fabric ties.  I made one recently to go with a baby shower gift and it was the icing on the cake!

Bunny Ears Baby Chompers

In addition to the peg doll gnomes I made recently, I also started working on some other projects inspired by things I’d see around the crafting community.  Since my kids love mini versions of real items – especially food-related things – I decided to start there.

Scoop the Rainbow | Pail of Eggs | Blueberry Breakfast | Nest of Natural Eggs

Gwen and Josiah helped me with almost all of the items – painting, sealing, and the all-important product testing.  As soon as the sets were finished they absconded with the pieces and had a “picnic.”  Phil and I looked at each other and joked, “Kid-tested, mother-approved.”

It’s important to me that I find a local – or at least American-made, ideally small-business – resources for my supplies, and I was lucky enough to find quality wooden pieces made in New England.  I fill in the blanks, personalizing the pieces with paint, sealing them with a beeswax polish and sewing cute little bags to store the items.  I particularly fell in love with the drawstring pouch that carries the multi-colored eggs and am trying to figure out how to work it into other projects.

These items (and more!) are currently available at Tula Tinkers in Richmond, RI.  Of course I’d love to take custom orders as well. :)  For more pictures of my handmade items see Gwendylicious.  

 

Shop Local

I was so upset recently when I found out Small Circle would be closing its doors.  Their shop was ruined when the pipes above froze and burst shortly after the holidays.

When Sarah Memoli initially contacted me through Etsy and inquired as to whether or not I would be interested in placing my handmade items in their store for the grand opening two years ago I was really excited. It was wonderful getting to know her and her husband John and sharing their passion for local, small-business products. I hope they open another location!

A bunch of my things got ruined in all the water from the pipes, but we still had some leftovers to pick up.  We came home with a load of unsold things.  Shortly after that we picked up some more of our things from Whimsies; they didn’t sell as well as we had hoped and the driving distance wasn’t economical.  I was so disappointed with the whole endeavor but decided to look into a lead that Andrea at Whimsies had given me.

She told me about a new place called Tula Tinkers in Richmond.  After a few e-mails back and forth with Alyssia, the owner, Phil and I drove there today to “hawk our wares,” as I like to say.  It was so nice to meet her and browse all the interesting treasures. It’s small, but the space is really maximized and has an eclectic array of items.  Tula Tinkers features over forty local artists (yay!), they have a variety of unique, locally handmade crafts, jewelry, gifts and more.

Alyssia loved our items and took the majority of them – keep your fingers crossed that people will love them and her shop will do well!  Shortly after arriving home I got an e-mail from her that a couple things already sold!  If you’re in the area, check them out; there’s always a holiday, birthday, anniversary, some sort of special occasion or “just because” around the corner!

GwendyLicious Branches Out!

I’m so excited – I’m selling my handmade goodies at another store!  I couldn’t believe it when Andrea of Whimsies in Warren contacted me a few months back, telling me she’d love to stock my items after seeing some of them at Small Circle.  At the time I was still pregnant and I knew it would take a while to sew up a batch of items, but I slowly got working on some inventory and finally dropped them off last week.

It was so nice to meet Andrea.  She has a cute little shop just off Main Street and sells an eclectic array of handmade items.  I love that she paints and restores many of the pieces, working on furniture as customers browse.

I always get a bit nervous about what kind of impression my things will make on people – they are, after all, an extension of me!  And I do realize that people have different tastes.  But I needn’t have worried – Andrea loved everything, and I already have some other ideas in the wings.

cedar sachets, aprons, cup cozies, therapy bags

Her favorite items seemed to be the mancala boards and orange spice wheat therapy bags.  Ironically, she sold one of each the next day!

I also made a drop-off at Small Circle – some wishing wands and dancing ribbons, which seem to be a hit.  Yay!

If you’re in the area stop by and check out the goodies and the wonderful people that own the stores.

*If you don’t live in the area and would love to purchase some of my items, browse my handmade posts and take a gander at GwendyLicious, where I have pictures of many of the things I make.  Then drop me a line!

Doll Diapers – another big sister gift

Poor Josiah… he often gets jipped in the gift department.  Girls are just so much easier to buy for!  Or, in my case, make for.

A while back I pinned these really cute doll cloth diapers – I love all the little details!  Now that Gwen will be a new big sister I thought it would be a great idea to whip up some cloth diapers for her dolls since we’ll be using the real deal with her baby sister.

I decided to find a simpler pattern and use flannel on the inside rather than the more-expensive chenille.  I used a 40% off coupon for a yard of flannel at JoAnn’s – just plain white so it would be versatile – and paired it with some of my cotton prints.  I got some inspiration from both Bee In My Bonnet and Probably Actually, both of whom utilized Skip to My Lou’s doll diaper tutorial.

For the first diaper I cut out the pattern pieces and sewed around with a small seam allowance, but found it was a little snug on one of Gwen’s bigger dolls.  For the rest of the dipes I did what one of the other mamas suggested – trace the pattern, leave it uncut, and sew on top of the pattern line, thus eliminating that extra allowance.  I ended up running out of velcro but tried to make it as adjustable a fit as possible with a long width of velcro across the front or two strategically-placed pieces, rather than two smaller spots on the sides.

They’re so cute!  I packaged them along with Gwen’s doll carrier – and an Angelina Ballerina book, since I got the whole set at a consignment shop and have been gifting them periodically.  She’ll be getting Angelina’s Baby Sister when the time comes!

In other news… I went to the doctor’s today and am 3 cm dilated!  Much better than two weeks ago when nothing was happening.  She decided to “sweep the membranes” to see if anything happens, during which she said she felt the baby’s fingers up near her head!  So weird.  She said I could go into labor today or tomorrow, but so far I feel fine.  We’ll see!