July 28, 2012

They're Crafty...The Amazing Things The Grandmas Have Made For Our Kids

My family and I are blessed in many, many ways. We truly lead charmed lives and are incredibly grateful (though we may not always appear that way!) for all we have--health and happiness abound! Among the gifts we have been given is the gift of talented, creative grandmothers! Both Rolland and I have incredibly gifted, creative moms who love to bestow their talents on our children with amazing creations. I recently took it upon myself to photo-document the many beautiful gifts our moms have created for our kids so far (I fully expect more great stuff in the years to come!). And, as a way of pulling them all together in one location, I thought I'd share them here with you.

So, here we go...

My mother is an interior designer by trade, but I have always known her as a true creative person. When I was a kid, before she got into interior design, she had her own sewing and applique business with a friend. If it was today, they would have had their own etsy shop! They created all kinds of treasures. And I have many memories of Mom cutting, sewing and creating...of hours over a lightbox and in front of a sewing machine...using spray adhesive and and iron as she worked...and creating all sorts of wonderful things.
When my daughter was born my mom created a teddy bear and two blankets for her. The bear was eventually named Ny-Ny and, at three and a half, she still sleeps every night with Ny-Ny and one of the blankets. In addition to these cuddly wonders, my mom created another blanket using the antique hankies I collected when I was a kid...including some that belonged to my great-grandmother.
This is a keepsake so wonderful, and meaningful, I know that both Portia and I will cherish it forever.

When my son was born, my mother created lovies for him as well. This time an adorable blue dog and matching blanket. We will see what he names his dog as he gets older...Seriously, how cute is this little guy!
As Portia got a littler older, my mom created this beautiful stacking toy for her. It is on display in her room still and she finds all sorts of creative ways to include it in her growing, imaginative play--you'd be amazed by the many different ways you can play with soft, stuffed donuts!
Thanks, Mom!

Enter: my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law, Susan, is a retired grade school teacher and re-discovered artist. Now that she has time away from lesson plans and classroom bulletin boards and the like, she has blossomed as an artist (again)...and we are the lucky recipients of many of her creative endeavours. And every visit brings a new treasure!
This is the refurbished toy box of my husband's youth. It was once a quite plain, typical wooden toy box, that she re-imagined into this dress-up box wonder. It is the focal point of our sun room/play room and wins raves at every playdate!
Books. These are the five children's books Grandma Susie has created for our kids so far. The first was The Hippo Hunter, inspired by Grandpa Danny's love of hippos and collection of small hippo figurines that Portia played with on one visit to their house. Then came Walking Around Florida, about her first trip to Florida with her grandparents. Next was Tick Tock the Changing Clock, a result of Portia's love of Grandma's grandfather clock. Then came Finding the Perfect Present, and, most recently, Holden's first book, Horsing Around with Holden.
Above and below are pages from Tick Tock The Changing Clock

This is a page from The Hippo Hunter...Super Baby Portia!
What makes these books so cool, and so special, is not just that Grandma Susie wrote and illustrated all of them, but that she uses cut-outs of actual pictures of the kids and other family members for all of the characters. There is nothing a kid loves more than seeing themselves in books!
Grandma Susie also makes birthday t'shirts! Portia's she actually made for her to wear to Rolland's surprise 40th birthday party last year...of course she also wore it for her own birthday last year and on other random days when she just feels like it (like last Saturday). And Holden's was for his first birthday in May.
This is the sock monkey and black dog that Grandma Susie made when Portia was younger. They are cuddly little guys that live in the dress-up toy box.
You'll also find this super hero cape in that dress-up toy box! We have adorable pictures of Portia running around Grandma and Grandpa's driveway with this on at about 15 months old. And I think it may be part of this year's super girl Halloween costume.
Now, for the ultimate in dress-up chest wear, the Harry Potter robe and magic wand..."Ridiculous!"
It will be a few years before Portia fully understands the extreme coolness of these items, but she already loves them anyway. Though she has only seen choice scenes from the first HP movie, she already loves him and wanted her own wand. Grandma Susie was nice enough to make a complete family set, since Rolland and I are big HP fans too! I imagine a future with family wand fights and spells flying everywhere!
She made this lady bug pillow a while back...I can't even remember what the occasion was...it's possible it was a "just because we're visiting" gift...maybe birthday...I don't know.
Keeping with the ladybug theme...one of Grandma Susie's specialties is stained glass. This is the stained glass ladybug she made for Portia last year. And here are the three stained glass mermaids that swim in the corner of Portia's room.
She's also made a beautiful stained glass lawn ornament for Rolland, some butterflies that rest on our kitchen window, a beautiful stained glass wedding present for us, and other lovely items.
This is a tutu she recently made for Portia...I think this is the second tutu she's made for her. This one is particularly cool. As you can see, it has flowers floating in the skirt, and a button on the bow with Portia's picture on it.
For Holden's first birthday, Susan created this Horse theme. I already mentioned the book earlier, but she created a t'shirt, a stuffed horse and a stained glass horse to go with the book. By themselves, each of these is so wonderful/cool/special. But what really makes these amazing is that they are all based off a horse drawing that my husband did as a kid...the shaky, three-legged horse you see on the cover of the book, the t'shirt and the stained glass. This one actually brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. So beautiful. So wonderful. So sweet. (By this point, I know you all are incredibly jealous...hopefully you're also getting inspired to create cool things of your own!)
Grandma Susie also made cool dinosaurs for Holden's birthday! The blue and purple one is actually Portia's, but the rest are Holden's. His current favorite is the dinosaur egg with the baby dino that he can take out and put back in...awesome!
And some dinosaur "scrub" jammies to go with his dinosaurs. These match his new Holden doll's scrub jammies...which I'll explain below. Ready for this? Check it out...
These are, hands down, the funniest, freakiest, silliest, greatest of Grandma Susie's inventions! They are stuffed fabric dolls created using photos of the kids for the doll faces! (Notice, the Holden doll is wearing dino pjs to match Holden's.) Not only did she create the dolls, but their clothes (and slippers) too. Too cool! Thanks, Grandma Susie!

And that's not even everything!! I am sure I have left some things out. And when I come across them, I will update this. I will also update as we get new Grandma creations. For now, I will say this: I know we are amazingly lucky to have a couple of fantastically talented, creative and generous Grandmas on our hands. They definitely inspire me to get creative too. (They also inspire me to send them cool stuff I find on pinterest in hopes that they'll make it for me!) And I cannot wait to see what they will come up with next.

Hurray for wonderful Grandmas!

Hopefully they inspired you too.

P.S. Creativity is not restricted to grandmas in our family, either. Since I'm already sharing, I thought I'd share one of the many things my nieces, Katie and Lexi, have made for their cousins...
Though they have made many things, I think this is my favorite. And I wanted to share it because it's such a great gift idea, and something anyone could do. This is the alphabet book Katie and Lexi made for Portia.
Each page is a different letter with fun drawings of things that start with that letter. They did all the drawings, then my sister-in-law, Linda, had the pages laminated and the book bound. This is such a treasure and we play with it regularly as we work on Portia's letters. Love it!

Are you inspired yet? Now, go get your craft on! (I know I'm going to!)

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