This is a post about a project I made three years ago for my nephew. The stitches are uneven because the machine was new, the oilcloth was thick, the needle wasn’t up to the task, and the sewing machine’s tension was off. But the project still works! This was made as a big brother gift for my first nephew when my second nephew was born. Little did I know when I was making this project and writing the original notes for this post that I was pregnant myself. News I didn’t share outside my immediate family until the 22-week mark of the pregnancy. So, this post brings back nostalgia of when I was just a daughter, wife, and aunt…not yet a mother.
What do you get the toddler who is about to get a little brother or sister? What about a personalized Crayon Case? I looked online for pattern and design ideas and tutorials online, finding one roll and one felt pocket with strong appeal. Ultimately, I designed my own that incorporates the pocket‘s personalized applique and the roll‘s secure closure. Appliqueing his initial on it will add that special touch so even though he will soon be sharing EVERYTHING with his sibling, the crayon case is all his own (don’t worry, I’ll make one for new baby in a couple years).
I started by choosing the final size I wanted the case to be. Small enough to easily fit in Q’s toddler hands, but large enough to make it feel special and have heft, plus fit the crayons. I was determined to use a bit of padding to make it feel cushy and to protect the crayons if the case falls off the kitchen counter. Oil cloth lining was essential to help the case look ‘like new’ even after hours upon hours of coloring adventures. And the initial was a must so Q would feel special.
Made with sturdy canvas in shades of khaki and blue on white (lined with a little padding) and blue ribbon. Pinking shear edges give a rough-hewed look, suitable to a toddler’s crayon case. That and it was my first attempt sewing with oil cloth so I chose an easy method. As you can see by the stray stitches on the case, I have some more practicing to go before I’ve mastered oil cloth sewing, but I’m sure it is just a simple adjustment with my sewing machine and perhaps fusing or basting the oil cloth with the canvas and padding in the future.
Two rectangles of Velcro join the ribbons to keep the crayon case closed. Q may not know how to tie a bow or a knot right now, so the Velcro will do the job for him, but later the case will suit his big boy skills when he can tie the bow closed.
The oil cloth-lined inside of the case means wax marks won’t make it look worn and disheveled. The crayon pockets face one another so when closed the crayons can’t slide out, even if the pockets stretch over time.
I have every confidence that Q will be a wonderful big brother and am sending goodies to spoil the whole family. Also in the care package will be a tee for Q from the city where we live. For new baby C, some adorable onesies suitable for the warm summer ahead, a handknit R2D2 Fair Isle hat I made, and two ‘Lovey’ frogs (always good to have a spare). The Lovey frogs even went through alternations to make them under 19 inches square so when C is learning to walk with froggy tightly in-hand, the Lovely won’t be so long as to trip the little tyke. In the package is also a handknit Fair Isle Whale Watch hat I made for C. Here is a photo of the entire care package just before it was packed up and mailed.
Now, it’s hard to make such a bountiful care package and not reflect on the difference between handmade and store-bought gifts. I find such joy in handsewing, handknitting, and creating things for loved ones and friends who appreciate the result and the thought, skill, and love that goes into every stitch. This goes back to the words shared in my Handmade Baby Gifts post, “when you find a friend who appreciates something you’ve made, remember that person again and again. But when someone doesn’t truly value or understand what goes into a handmade or handknit gift, just let it go and buy gifts for that person in the future.” Good advice to keep in mind that will save you much disappointment. After all, it is not our friends who usually disappoint us, I often find it is our own unreal expectations that result in the disappointment, so enjoy the process for yourself and spoil the friends who appreciate it, but don’t waste energy worrying about whether something is perfect because anything handmade with love will be cherished.