My very lovely friend Laura (who blogs over at Circle of Pine Trees) gave birth to her third son recently. I wanted to make something nice for him. (I also wanted it to be ready on time, but you know how that’s going to end, don’t you?)
Before my sproglet was born, I came across this wonderful free pattern at Made by Rae for what might be, quite possibly, the cutest baby trousers in the world. They were so adorable that I thought I’d try the pattern again for Laura’s new baby.
He’s baby number three, so I thought he deserved three pairs. Plus, I couldn’t quite settle on which of these fabulous fabrics would be best, so I decided to go for all of them.
This one is a Liberty fabric from the V&A quilts exhibition. I know Laura saw the exhibition, and likes Liberty print as much as I do, so I’m pretty sure she’ll like these. (Let’s face it, clothes for a newborn baby are really for their Mum, aren’t they?)
I made these rocket men into a burp cloth last year and liked the fabric so much I immediately bought some more. It’s been sitting in my stash since then and this seemed like the perfect project.
And I can’t quite remember where these red elephants were from, but I do think it’s nice to have boys not only in blues, so this was added to the mix.
Of course, since they were made by me, all of these trousers are far from perfect.
I decided to sew a French seam for the crotch seam because hey, I watched Sewing Bee and I now know what a French seam is I thought it would be less scratchy on the baby’s legs.
This was a definite case of a little knowledge being a bad thing. When making this decision, I totally forgot that babies tend to be wearing this little thing called a nappy most of the time, and therefore the likelihood of a seam scratching their bottom is pretty slim.
In fact, all the French seam did was add extra sewing time, make the waistband a little too tight and make the crotch area needlessly bulky.
Of course, the sensible thing would have been to make one pair of trousers completely and then go on to the next one, in which case I wouldn’t have repeated the french seam mistake. But I didn’t do that. I did each part on all three trousers at once, like my very own little assembly line. So the bulky seams are in all three…
I also decided to use a white thread for all the seams, which I thought would look quite nice and contrasting to the busy fabrics. Unfortunately, this rather showed off my wibbly sewing and the way I haven’t cut the pattern pieces out very intelligently. Ah well, the baby won’t notice.
Despite the flaws, they’re pretty sweet and diddy, aren’t they?
And Laura sent me the cutest photo of them in use by baby E yesterday. Such adorable feet!
Whether it’s the memory of all those agonising February 14ths at primary school, hoping that someone would leave a card on your desk, and the crushing disappointment when nobody did. (The only year worse than the barren years was the time someone did leave me a card and a heart-shaped rubber (that’s an eraser, of course, not the other kind) and then hid behind a bookcase while the rest of the class chanted that we were “sitting in a tree, k.i.s.s.i.n.g…” An early lesson to me that getting what you wished for doesn’t always make you happy as I cringed in embarrassment and rubbed out the page where I’d written our names festooned with hearts.)
Or the memories of all the meals out as a student in a relationship, where we played grown-ups and sat in a hushed restaurant full of couples, all eyeing each other and paying over the odds for the special Valentine’s menu that came with a glass of bellini.
Or the times early in a relationship where I’ve tried to avoid the schmaltz and ended up going to see a depressing film at the cinema (The Pianist one time) and felt a bit jealous of all the other happy people having a meal as we caught the bus home, miserable after the harrowing experience we’d just been through.
Even now, with a fiancé and a baby, and no option of going out to do anything, I still object to the huge commercialisation of the whole thing. The main aim of the day not to show our love for someone, but to line the coffers of the high street.
And every year, I say I’m not going to do anything for Valentine’s Day this year, because it’s so commercial, yadda yadda yadda. And every year I crack at the last minute and do something.
Well, what’s the other option? To be that grumpy bugger who can’t even tell their partner how much they love them on Valentine’s Day.
So, with two weeks to go until the big day of love, this year I’m ahead of myself and I’m going to make something really nice for my partner. Something homemade. That I’ve thought about. And which doesn’t take too much time or money.
So, here’s my round-up of the ten best homemade Valentine’s ideas that I’ve seen out there on the internet. I hope something here catches your eye.
1. Love bugs
I suspect these bugs by Dandee are the all-time best Valentine’s present that has ever been created.
Schmaltz-free, funny but still super cute. They’re meant for children, of course, but my insect-crazed partner would absolutely love these.
You can get a printable pdf for the jars on her blog and then it’s just a question of hitting the toy shops for some suitable beasties…
(And who wouldn’t want to start their Valentine’s Day preparations by staking out the toy shops, rather than battling the hordes in a florist for some flowers that seem to have mysteriously trebled in price over the past few weeks.)
2. Felt envelopes
I first saw these adorable miniature felt Valentine’s envelopes by probably actually last year, a little too late to do anything with them.
The hand-stamped name on the front is an especially lovely touch, along with the felt heart sewn on to the card.
Who knew a Valentine’s card could be so romantic and classy at the same time?!
Head over to probably actually for more information: Be Mine.
3. Funny Valentine
I absolutely love the blog Delia Creates. Its author, Delia, somehow manages to juggle looking after three kids (one of them still a baby), with making the most amazing projects, taking the most stunning photos, and writing it all up for her blog. With just one baby of my own, I read her articles in awe and wonder what on earth I’m doing with my own time. (Yes, I guess I just answered that question, ha ha.)
She always makes really appealing projects for holidays and these Funny Valentines boxes are no exception. In bright, cheery colours, each box has a joke on the outside and some sweets inside.
See all the details, including a template for the boxes, here: Funny Valentine.
4. Felt hearts
It seems like felt and Valentine’s Day just go hand in hand; here’s another cute felt project from the Purl Bee.
These fluffy hearts are a really simple sewing project that can be filled with sweets, trinkets or even a little love note.
I think even the most inexperienced sewer (ahem, *raises hand*) could manage to stitch these together.
As ever, with the wonderful Purl Bee, the instructions are super clear and illustrated with lots of great photos. See the tutorial here: felt candy hearts.
5. Hanging hearts
My Valentine’s surprise for my partner last year was to fill the small room bedroom in our temporary apartment in Hong Kong with hundreds (okay, maybe tens) of hanging origami hearts. It looked amazing, but it did take me all day to complete (and sadly I didn’t take a photo…)
These wonderful heart garlands by dottie angel, however, sound far simpler to make and would have an even more dramatic effect as you really could completely fill a room.
(I have to say, being a serious bibliophile, I couldn’t bear to chop up an actual book to make these, but a magazine or newspaper would work just as well.)
Okay, as I’ve called this blog post the “top ten” Valentine’s presents, I feel a bit arrogant having included something of my own in it, so let’s just rename it now the “top nine presents, plus something I made,” instead…
I am pretty pleased with this idea though: a paperweight with a vintage map inside that shows the place where you first met or first went on a date or got married.
It doesn’t look obviously Valentinesy, but has a lovely romantic significance.
See my post Valentine’s paperweights for more info on this one, along with some other ideas for images you could put inside the paperweight.
7. Heart cake
A homemade cake for Valentine’s Day would please most people. A pink heart nestling inside is just the (wait for it…) icing on the cake. (Aaaay thankew.)
This cake looks amazingly impressive to me, but Kara’s explanations of how to construct it on her Butter Hearts Sugar blog make it sound like (wait for it…) a piece of cake. (Isn’t that one of the most appealing blog names you’ve ever heard, as well?)
So there you have it. Ten homemade projects sure to put a smile on your Valentine’s face.
For even more suggestions, take a look at my Pinterest board Valentine’s sweetness. And if there’s a great project you think I should have included, do post a comment below and let me know about it. I always love to hear from you…