Thursday, May 15, 2008

Making Things for Friends

Since I started crafting every hour I'm awake ... I find that I make a lot of gifts for people. I can't explain how much I love making things (though I constantly debate my talent level - but I love it so much I've gotten over that!) and making things for people I love and care about makes it an extra special process for me.

One of the things I have realized since I came to the US is how hard it is to make new friends - especially as you get older (am I going too deep here?) I have a small core of very valued friends who are now scattered across the globe - and as I get used to living in the US for the rest of my years I realize that we all are growing up, moving through towns, cities and countries - leading our own lives in very different ways. I guess the thing that will sustain these friendships will be those experiences we shared and the great moments we spent together.

So I was thrilled to make this quilt for my friend Kristen. She is due to have a baby boy in about 4 weeks. Kristen and I used to work together in a place I will not mention - but the experience was such that I know no one else will be able to fully understand the now humorous (but at the time emotional) scars it left us with!

This project is a 2:1 - a wall hanging and a baby play mat.
The tabs are removable - so Kristen can choose to hang the patchwork quilt for decoration or her new baby can sit on it ... and maybe it will serve both purposes!
My step mum - Jennie - is a bit of a stitching goddess ... and she taught me many moons ago (I wonder if she will remember) to make a cushion with a padded duck in the middle of it. I used the same technique to make the padded heart and padded bunny on the quilt - after sewing the heart and the bunny onto the quilt - I cut a small hole in the back of the cotton - stuffed the shapes and then stitched up the cut. The shapes are very plushy and maybe the new baby will enjoy squishing them?
This bunny is showing how the baby might look lounging on the grass.
I wanted to make some of the squares crinkle ... I debated about stuffing them with a plastic bags - but I didn't know if this is the right 'technical' material to use - do you know what the crinkly material in baby toys is?


LizzieJane said...

It's lovely Miss Rachael Rabbit!
I also quite often wonder why anyone wants to buy, or even have as a gift, something that I have made.
When people say how nice something is that I have made, for some reason maybe I'm not seeing what they are seeing.
Sometimes I think we are to critical of our work, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling that way.
I guess I'm not so weird after all!!
As for the crinkly stuff, sorry I haven't a clue.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

Lovely baby gift - I love its dual uses! I made a cushion with some trapunto work nearly 20 years ago. What a great idea to incorporate it into a baby quilt to give it some 3 dimensionality. I always thought the crinkly stuff was cellophane.

Lily Boot said...

Oh Rachael, that's a lovely quilt! The squishiness will delight a baby. I'm with a spoonful of sugar - I think the crinkly stuff is cellophane. When Abby was a baby and did Gymboree, they showed us how to make a crinkly toy - we used a net onion bag (you know, the type they sell onions in at the fruit and veg) and filled it with cellophane and then tied the top of the bag with a knot. It was a toy for use under supervision - certainly wouldn't leave one in a cot! - but the babies just loved the shininess of the cellophane, the noise, and the holes in the onion bag they could poke their fingers into and get a good grip. So - I would definitely try stuffing with cellophane but I would make the pouch it is in removable - maybe velcro? - so the mumy can wash the quilt - because if you wash cellophane it dissolves being cellulose and all! :-) Well done on a lovely gift - and I hear you about making friends. When Abby was little, I found plenty of ready-made friends because you just befriended other new mums at playgroup or kinder etc. Now that she's older that opportunity is no longer there - but definitely joining some kind of group to do something on a regular basis is a good way - I know that sounds corny, but it's so true! Take care! :-)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful gift! I love the puffy heart and puffy bunny along with other details of the play mat. And you thought of mat/wall hanging and little bit of numbers and letters.

It's been ages sinces I've made new friends. My circle of friends are ones from 10 years ago. My best friend is my sister and I do hope she won't move away.

Leanne said...

What a lovely gift.. you would have make sure what you stuffed it with could be washed and dried. I know you can get plastic pellets to put in stuffed toys they would give a different feel but would not make noise.

Country Cottage Chic said...

It's gorgeous! I'm sure Kristen & the baby will be delighted with this charming quilt. I made one for my daughter when she was a baby (she's 18 now) & she still has it - maybe I should post a picture?

Handmade gifts are so special.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,
I love the play mat. Making gifts are wonderful and I find that people seem to really appreciate them in a super special way. I completely relate to what you're saying about making friends as you get older with life etc, so you really try to nurture the bonds you've made.

Hello Pineapples! said...

What a fantastic gift! It's an amazing looking quilt. Blankets have been one of my favourite things to give as a baby gift. I've knit a couple of cotton baby blankets that turned out to be a hit with the babies - and it's awesome when you find out that baby likes the gift (babies are so much harder to impress, as they have no trouble letting you know when they do or do not like something).

Jennie said...

It's a gorgeous baby quilt!

Hazel said...

Oh the baby quilt is just adorable! Giving home made gifts is one of the most rewarding things you can do, I feel. Also I agree totally with the importance of friends as we get older, wherever in the world they may be. I am so thankful for my computer to keep in touch with them on a regular basis.