The first baby, a boy, was born to a co-worker of my husband's. Thus, I decided to make a couple of simple toys, both in the school colors of the college where my husband and his co-worker teach:
As you can see, I made a simple doll and a ball (the ball rattles due to the jingle bell inside). These were easy and fun to make. I was glad I had that piece of blue and orange striped fabric! It's a perfect match of the school colors. As you can see with the ball, I used different tones of blues and oranges.
I can't say I had fun with the doll-making I attempted for the second baby, a girl born to my brother and his wife. I started out by using a pattern out of an old Christmas magazine. The directions were rather vague; the magazine staff of that era (mid-1960's) probably assumed that women who wanted to make dolls as Christmas gifts already knew how to craft one.
After careful cutting, pinning, sewing and stuffing, I ended with a doll who looked somewhat like a stuffed turtle. Ugh.
Round two: I followed a commercial pattern (thrift store find, of course). It turned out cute enough, but I'd mistakenly sewed one leg in the arm section - which meant that I also sewed one arm in the leg section. Consequently, the doll ended up a little misshapen. I actually like the rather funky look, but wasn't sure if my brother and his wife would.
Round three: I cobbled together a doll pattern of my own to make it easier on me. It still looks a little misshapen, but I decided to give it as a gift anyway:
The doll has finewhale corduroy arms and legs, pink broadcloth head with hand-embroidered face, and a body cut from an Ikea pillowcase (thrift store find for a quarter). I had used most of the pillowcase to make a tote bag, but there was enough left to use for the doll as well.
The doll rests on a baby blanket I made from a commercial pattern. Very easy to make - flannel and cotton rectangles were sewn together to make the blanket. Although it is a basic gift, there was significance to the use of the pattern and the flannel: both were found in my mother's sewing things after her death.
My brother's new baby girl will never know her paternal grandmother, but at least she'll have a part of this grandmother with this blanket!