Starting Traditions: Handmade Gift

frances at 5 weeks
Frances at 5 weeks. Romper from Boden.

I can’t believe how quickly the past weeks have gone by! Frances is already so big and weighed 12 lbs at her 1-month check-up. She’s so sweet and we love her to pieces.

We’re getting ready for Christmas (urg, still need christmas tree). I’ve really wanted to start a tradition of making Frances one handmade gift from me each year. I planned on knitting her a garter stitch hat and a matching simple baby blanket from Rose Quartz yarn I bought this summer at Swans Island in Maine. But with 12 days to go I’m nervous I won’t get the projects finished—the hat is the only thing I have on the needles! For back-up I picked up a hat and mittens handmade from Misha*Puff in Maine. Maybe it’s cheating but I figure I should cut myself a break with a newborn? And it’s more important for me to enjoy this time with her then to run myself ragged. Other traditions on my list (so far):

– Make a gingerbread house together for Marblehead’s Gingerbread Festival
– Make homemade sticky buns to snack on while we unwrap presents (We started this one a few years ago)
– Make homemade Christmas stockings
– Cut down a Christmas tree on my birthday (dec 9th and we already missed this year!)
– Open up one present on Christmas Eve (tradition from my childhood)

We have some house projects coming together in the next few weeks—my Christmas presents! Stay tuned for details on how to install a washer/dryer (essential with a baby) in an old house and building a simple bookcase to hold all my design books for this room on the wall we found the mummified squirrel.

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  1. Merry Christmas! I just made the swans island blanket for my new granddaughter born in Nov. and will tell you it took a LONG time!!! But it is the most beautiful blanket ever(I used the natural) and she came home from the hospital in it.
    All the best,


  2. What a beautiful Christmas angel – sweet baby Frances! As important as family holiday traditions are, spending (relaxed) time with your new baby trumps all. Enjoy every precious, fleeting moment with her.


  3. Okay, first, get OUT — my birthday is December 9 too. This makes my whole, “huh, we have a lot in common” thing that much crazier. Anyway, I love this post, as Christmas traditions are really important to me. My favorite is the advent calendar I do with my kids every year. It’s felt with numbered pockets, and instead of little presents or chocolate, I put a handmade note with a holiday activity we’re going to do each day — buying gifts for Toys for Tots, making cards for grandparents, watching a Christmas movie, making a gingerbread house, ice skating, etc. My kids LOVE this. We also do matching PJs on Christmas Eve, cut down our tree (sometimes on my birthday!) at the Rocks in NH – beautiful, and I buy a little antique trinket for each of them (though I lovvve your homemade gift idea). There are a few more, but arguably, I’ve used enough space! In any case, enjoy your first Christmas with your beautiful Frances and happy belated birthday!


  4. What a lovely baby – use all your time to enjoy her – you can start your traditions next year. That is one darling and very funky suit she has on – I think babies prefer stronger colours and strong contrasts and look so nice in that sort of thing. Right now I’m knitting a brilliantly patterned against black baby sweater inspired by Kaffe Fassett’s knitting patterns – wow!
    Enjoy your first Christmas with Frances and don’t overdo – fatigue is a real problem with your first baby – take care! Janet


  5. yes, cut yourself a break! one of the traditions i love from my childhood was that my mom bought my sister and i an ornament every year–seems really simple and small, but each year she would tell us the story of being young, newly married, and totally broke. she didn’t want us going into adulthood unprepared! this is the first time i’ve gotten a tree on my own in my tiny place, and i loved pulling out all the wacky ornaments from my childhood. granted, a lot of them have my name on them, and not all of them are things i want to look at, but i’m so glad i have them! i am going to restart the tradition with myself, buying a pretty new thing for my tree each year, and growing my collection.


  6. First of all, that romper is just darling! Frances is such a sweet baby, you can see it in her eyes. Making new Christmas traditions is so exciting, and I love your idea of making one gift for her every year. Opening a gift on Christmas Eve is a tradition my family has, too. So much fun! I don’t think the purchased handmade hat & mittens is cheating at all. You absolutely deserve a break this year :)

    Happy Christmas, Katy!