East or West, Handmade is Best

Having a baby and keeping things simple is like telling people you’re going to get married and keep your wedding simple. Somehow, as tidy as you intend to keep the new life being added to yours, you will end up with loads and loads and LOADS of stuff! 

Now, stuff is great, don’t get me wrong, and I have seriously been blown away by the generosity of people we know. There is absolutely nothing Evelyn could want for, thanks to friends, neighbors and family. Between hand-me-downs from cousins and new gifts, she has enough clothing for triplets (at least for the first 6 months or so, then it dwindles down some)! There are so many really lovely things, too, things that are a shame if she won’t get to wear them more than once or twice! But I digress…

Out of all the amazing things people have given us, though, I thought I’d take a moment to note all the handmade things we’ve received. In an age when it’s often cheaper AND easier to buy machine-made clothing and accessories, handmade things really stand out to me as something special. This is even more apparent to me lately because I attempted to knit Frank a scarf for Christmas, and even though I began it in October, he still got about 12 inches of black knitted wool and a ball of yarn wrapped up under the tree with a “to be continued” note! So I am especially appreciative to the handmade items Evelyn has received, whether purchased or created, from the quilts and blankets to the clothing and toys, all lovingly assembled around the world and sent here to her little nursery. 

Here are a few pictures to show you what I mean:

Knitted and crocheted blankets – the yellow ones from our next-door neighbor, and the green and white one from a friend of the family . 

The quilt on the left was designed by my sister Caroline in China and the quilt on the right was created by the ladies from the Dr’s office where I work and assembled by my old manager, Siobhan. 

A teeny tiny cardigan from the lady next door.

A traditional Irish pram cover, made for us by one of the patients at the Dr’s office where I work. 

One of several great onesies designed by our friend Claire in Indiana – the set also includes a giraffe, an owl, a whale and a bear.

A hat and shoes from Caroline in China – the typical dress of children in the town where she lives.

One of my favorites – a very fancy lavender pram cover and accompanying Catholic medal from our neighbor. 

A gorgeous Christening shawl from our neighbor – I’m not sure what to do with this one as we won’t be having Evelyn christened! Would it be blasphemy to put it over her Easter dress? 

My mom has sent these handmade wicker rattles to my sister and me both when we had our babies – they are great! A lady in my hometown of Bozeman, Montana, makes them and sells them at the Farmer’s Market. 


Funnily enough, it seems the only homemade thing we did NOT receive over the last few weeks was anything food wise!!! I guess growing up in Small Town America spoiled me with expectations of casseroles and cakes whenever there’s a big life event! I know, it seems petty (I mentioned this to a friend recently and he could not stop laughing about it), but speaking from personal experience, it was all Frank and I could do to scrounge up a sandwich those first days at home after Evelyn came along. 

I guess that’s a lesson for me, then – I might not be so great at knitting, but next time a friend of mine has a wedding/funeral/birth/etc. I will be on the doorstep with something nice from the oven! I would heartily recommend you do the same. 


3 thoughts on “East or West, Handmade is Best

  1. Pat King

    Hi Maryann,
    Wow! What beautiful handmade heirlooms Evelyn has received! Having spent part of today looking at yarn and patterns to knit an afghan for our first grandchild (due mid-June) I’m definitely feeling like a beginner knitter after perusing your photos.
    As for food, I’m with you. Friends were very generous and helpful in that department when our babies arrived…I even remember one friend bringing a casserole when the baby was 6 months old because she considered that time frame to be “crazy” as the baby gained mobility, especially if older siblings left toys around with small pieces:)
    No, I don’t think it would be heresy to dress her in the christening piece at Easter:)
    Take care, Pat

  2. Bonnie

    Wow! That is a lot of amazing stuff! I loved the handmade gifts too…but you know all I can make is food! Wish I could send some across the ocean….

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