Beautiful Day

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Handmade Birthday Love

There are so many reasons for me to love this time of year.  At the top of the list is that three of my children were born in this beautiful season.  I have the warmest memories of walks in fall sunshine illuminating brightly colored leaves as I prepared for the births of these dear ones.  It also means that this is a busy time of year celebrating birthdays (along with Reformation Day and Thanksgiving, and any other excuses to make apple or pumpkin "something" to eat!)

Nostalgic mama that I am, it is one of my greatest satisfactions in life to create handmade gifts for my children (and even my husband, though it's a bit harder to do).  I'll admit there are times, especially in this season of my life, that I don't finish all of the projects on time.  But I press on.  I still don't like that my baby's first year photo album isn't up to date yet (not even close, really).  But I am determined it will get done.  Maybe by Christmas?

I tend to receive many last-minute inspirations when it comes to celebration ideas, or gifts to create.  I'm not sure why it seems to come like this, but I accept it as a special gift from the Lord and now I start to look for how He will surprise me with an idea and it becomes great fun.  I pray for the ideas to come, even when it seems so last-minute, and I am amazed (I don't know why!) at what shows up.

For example, last week I was preparing a birthday cake for my Littlest Princess.  She had said for months that she wanted a fall garden party.  And she wanted a basket cake.  So my picture was something with a fall theme and autumn colors.  But this was not at all what she had in mind.  She was just thinking, "garden and flowers" and not at all fall colors!  To her, flowers come in bright pinks, yellows, purples.......all those delightful colors little girls love.  So I wasn't sure what kind of flowers I was going to put on her cake.  Especially when time was running low.

I was preparing the icing for her cake and needed to make a quick reference to the recipe.  I headed to my bookshelf to my trusty Wilton cake idea book and catalog (dated 1992!  The first one I ever bought).  As an aside, I am SOOOO thankful that I spent some time learning the art of cake decorating before I even had children!  It has served me over and over again for many years and is another delightful avenue of creativity for special occasions.  Back to the story.......I pulled out my idea book and on the front was just the inspiration I needed!  I turned to the page with the instructions.

I showed it to my Little Princess and she was delighted.  We just adapted the colors slightly and her cake was not heart-shaped, but round.  (And, of course, not as perfect as a magazine, but perfect to her, which is what counts).


I managed to get a skirt done for her, and paired it with some consignment sale finds for tops.  I have also passed on this handmade joy to my girls, so they are usually happily creating something too.  Country Girl knitted these lovely wool socks for the birthday girl.  The last pair she made are now outgrown and they were her very favorite socks.
Baby had a birthday too.  It was apple theme.  I had a lot of fun with his projects.  I knitted my very first garment (if you don't count fingerless gloves or scarves or diaper covers).  Or at least my first sweater.  Can you see that XOXOXO (hugs and kisses) pattern? 
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make one for my Little Princess too.  It's in progress though and didn't make the birthday deadline.
I may not be up to date on Baby Warrior's photo album, but he is my only one to get the special gift of his own fabric photo memory book.  It is full of love from all of the family to him.  I had this idea for months, thanks to this book.  But I couldn't seem to get it into the project queue and even have it come together until the last week.  The final project was just beautiful.  Everyone wrote special messages to Baby.  We love to look at it together.

Princess Girl embroidered this sweet little apple for her brother's book

Birthdays do tend to take me some time.  But I think it's a worthy investment into giving life to my family.  I think there can be a natural tendency, particularly as children enter their teen years, to let birthdays slide just a bit.  At least it seemed to be true when I was growing up.  I can still remember the day when it seemed my whole family forgot it was my birthday.  It was nearly heartbreaking to me.  I don't think it is always intentional.  I think it is just that, though...not being intentional.  When children get older, I think we can be lulled into thinking that it doesn't matter to them so much.  But I don't believe it's true.  Everyone wants to know that they are cherished.  And birthdays provide a perfect opportunity to give that reminder.  So I have made it my ambition to care for my loved ones in this way.  The time it takes is my small investment, my deposit if you will, into their hearts.  I bless them as a reminder that they are cherished by their Creator God...and by the family He entrusted their lives to.

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