Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Raining Babies, or what to give for a shower

I have been attending an unusually high amount of baby showers these past few months.  It seems like all of my friends are having kids again - or for the first time.  So I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite baby shower gifts and tips with you today.

I know when I had my little guy a few years ago that I registered for all sorts of things that after he was born ended up gathering dust like the diaper wipe warmer, really?  My tip is for baby gear get the essentials - bottles as always needed, bibs are great, diaper pad covers will be used in abundance! You can also throw in a little something extra to make your gift of bottles a little more special, like Le Bibble which helps clean up the milk that doesn't quite hit it's target.

Le Bibble in Le Lime $12 found via 20BestTwenty

I also received a slew of baby clothes that were sized 0-3 and 3-6 months which meant my 8lb 6oz and 21 1/2 inch boy wore them exactely once before growing into size 6-9 month clothes by the end of his first month.  So now if I buy clothing for my friends I buy 6-9 month or up to make sure their little one will actually get the chance to wear it.  I absolutely adore this handmade romper by the Measure,  I mean is there anything cuter than a ruffled bottom?

Chevron Stripe Romper by The Measure $49 found via 20bestTwenty

When I show up at a shower I know the best way to get some oohs and ahhs is to buy a handmade gift for my friends.  Something that you cannot find at Babies R Us which will become an heirloom item that the family holds on to for the next child - or even passes along through the family.  Of course since I make mobiles most of my friends want a little mobile so they usually get something like my 2 lovebirds mobile or little raincloud, both of which are perfect for over the changing table or placed in a corner of the room by a rocker where you will spend lots of time!  If I don't know the sex of the baby I will usually give this, since everyone needs a little rainbow in their life:

Dreamy Rainbow Mobile by baby Jives $49 

Some other items which I love are the handmade wooden teethers rattles like this one by Smiling Tree Toys, handmade by parents using organic wood so your baby is set to rock, rattle and chew to their hearts content.

Organic Guitar Rattle by Smiling Tree Toys $26 via 20BestTwenty

Another great idea is a handmade growth chart to measure how quickly that little person will grow. I love this one by Love From Nora featuring Vintage VW buses handmade from felt and personalized with your little ones' name (if you know it).

VW Bus Growth Chart by LovefromNora $52 via Etsy

Years later we still use some of our favorite handmade items on a daily basis, like the knit blanket my friend made for my son and the wooden chair that my dad made for me is now my son's favorite place to sit and of course my son says good morning to his bird mobile every day. So what about you - what is your favorite baby shower gift to give?

Friday, June 17, 2011

A year in review or how I got to be one year older

Today is my birthday.  I am not going to tell you how old I am but let's just say I am easing into my mid-thirties. I have to admit that for some reason the thought of my birthday kind of depressed me this year.  I don't know exactly why - maybe it's the fact that I have been struggling with a bunch of teeth issues which makes me feel like, "Gawd my body is not what it used to be" or maybe it's the fact that at my age my mother had 3 kids - one of whom was almost 10 (that's me).  Whatever it was I thought that I would take this day to look back a little on the past year and see how much I have accomplished to get rid of a little bit of that "Whoa is me - I am old" feeling and replace it with some "Wow is me - I am figuring out life". 

Luckily Percy Managed... by Cupcakes and Antlers $5

So I sat down and realized that one of the most amazing things I have done in this past year is to start my own successful home based business.  Never did I think last year when I sat down around this same time to start dreaming up my business that I would have been crossing the threshold of almost 200 sales less than a year later!  When I think of how successful my little dream of making mobiles as artworks has been I am humbled.  I am so thankful to be creating a product I am inspired to make and sending it out into the world with love so that it can be enjoyed by some many other people all around the world.  I feel blessed to be able to stay home with my son and run my business from the playground and during nap times (although I am getting to the point where he is going to have to start sleeping more or I am going to need to stop sleeping at all).  I love being part of a lively community of independent makers and dreamers who inspire me constantly with their commitment to filling the world with handmade goodness, not mass produced nonsense. 

Breath & Smile by the Wheatfield $15

When I realized how lucky I am to be making a living doing what I love and raising both my family and continuing my creative endeavors, that depression started to slip away.  I also got a book about holistically transforming your teeth to start giving my body the same attention that my dreams have gotten this year.  So I look forward to seeing what other amazing things this year will bring and move into my mid-thirties with a hopeful outlook again. 

And to celebrate I am offering free shipping on all purchases at Baby Jives in the US until 6/22- just enter the coupon code "LetEmEatCake" at the checkout and celebrate with me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Love is in the air

This summer it seems like we are planning most of our vacations around weddings.  It's the season for the roses to bloom and love to be declared among the birds and the bees.  So as we are planning out our travel I am also planning out my shopping list of some wonderful gifts I could get these lucky couples.  My husband and I were married pretty young so our wedding registry was somewhat standard, we went to Crate and Barrel and Macys and registered for way too many kitchen implements.  I mean when was the last time I actually used my mini cupcake pans and domed cake server.  Umm, never! 

The gifts that I ended up loving the most from our wedding were the handmade items that people selected for us from artists they knew of.  We have a handmade cutting board that I use almost every day with delight, a set of thrown ceramic nesting bowls that I use for serving up some beautiful meals, and a hand bound leather album that I have our wedding photographs in.  These are the things that years later I truly treasure.  So now whenever I get invited to a wedding I take a look at the registry to get an idea of the couples taste and color sense and then I go and get them a wonderful handmade gift instead.  I've never had any complaints and many folks tell me years after their wedding that our gift was one of their faves.  So here are a few ideas that I have for my friends getting married this summer...

AHeirloom's Vermont Plyboo Cutting Board, $40 found via 20best20
Two of my friends are getting married in Vermont this summer so I thought this would be a perfect gift to celebrate their union there.  A Heirloom also makes boards for all 50 states so they have you covered for a celebration anywhere.

Brookish's LOVE dishtowel, $11 found via 20best20

And this dishtowel could even make doing your dirty work an act of love - or at least remind you that you LOVE is always there to help you out!

Steel Ribbon's Metal Handbag Magazine Rack, $45 found via 20best20
Another couple is a fan of modern design and reads far too many magazines so I think a perfect gift for them might be this playfully elegant magazine rack by Steel Ribbon.

baby Jives' Lovebirds Mobile, $70
And last but not least one of my friends is getting a pair of kissing lovebirds from me to hang in their home.  They were actually the couple who were partly responsible for inspiring this design after a visit with them when they just couldn't stop cuddling and I jokingly called them smitten lovebirds.  So they are getting a little sculpture to hang in their home to celebrate their love.

There are lots more fabulous handmade gift ideas out there to discover at places like Etsy and 20best20 or your local crafty gallery. So don't just buy some bowls from a big box store for your friends, buy them handmade one of a kind bowls made by an independent artisan that they will treasure for years to come.