the vintage carrot, a sewing story

I sew. 

Little known fact about me.

I rather enjoy the challenge of creating something with my hands.  And usually it's a toy of some sort, or something that will look adorable in a child's room. But I didn't always like the sewing machine! I was a little intimidated by it. 

A few years back I decided I would like to learn how to sew. I sat down and sketched out some ideas and started by hand. I think one of the first things I sewed were fabric letters for Oliver's room. They were adorable and I still have them hanging in his room! Since the letters I moved onto whales and loved hand stitching the plush little toys to sell on my Etsy shop. 

I took a break from sewing somewhere in between having two boys, but came back the past year with a renewed interest for it. I love children's toys, especially hand made ones. I was reminiscing about some of my favorite toys when I was a child when I remembered one that my grandma had made for me. It was a fabric carrot with little felt bunnies inside of it. I actually found a vintage pattern online that looked like the very one I had played with when I was little. I was so excited to have found the very same pattern I bought it and decided I was going to make the same toy for our own son. It was kind of a crazy move since I really wasn't familiar with my sewing machine, or reading a pattern. But I was determined that I was going to make that carrot! 

My own carrot from days gone past had disappeared (or so I'd thought). I couldn't wait to make a new carrot for our own family. Well the pattern came and I tackled a couple of new things, learning my sewing machine (thanks to You tube for posting videos for me!) and reading through a pattern. I wished I had my mom and grandma close by to help me with it but I was able to call my mom, message some sewing friends and just figure it out. It was a wonderful learning experience and I came through it all with a finished carrot and bunnies! And the knowledge I took away from it all made it worth the experience. I had learned how to sew on my machine and I'd become pattern literate! I think it's wonderful to challenge yourself with something you don't know because it helps you grow!

When I started making the carrot toy, I decided that I would give it as a gift to our son Aleksandr, and I would also tackle another project–a felt pizza with toppings for our oldest, Oliver. That Christmas I had both toys wrapped under the tree, and it was rewarding to see their little faces light up with the handmade toys. I'd love to keep making toys for them annually as our own tradition.

This summer I was talking with my sister about the carrot and how my own carrot was long gone and to my surprise she told me she had the very carrot I was talking about! Somewhere through the years she had taken it to have her own kids play with it and it had long since been packed up in a box. To my delight we received a very special package in the mail a few weeks back. 

Opening up my toy from childhood was so exciting! It was a step back in time, and it was the neatest thing to hold the very toy that had inspired me to make my own. The pattern on it was a little smaller and the leaves were different but it was as I remembered it in my childhood, right down to the detailed little clothes my grandma had hand sewn onto the bunnies. It's now an heirloom piece to me, because my beautiful grandma has since gone to be with the Lord. I am so thankful for this piece to remember her by, and to be reminded of what a reward it is to do something for others, and to work hard. I love handmade things, because they have so many stories behind them. And now our carrot has it's own story!