How do you welcome change?

Voting, sewing, writing - plenty to do on election day 2010.

Today is election day. Where I live we’re voting in both the General Election and also in the local council elections, so there are four crosses to be made. Blog entry by Nicola Baird (see pic left).

When I was little handwritten letters ending with crosses carried coded meaning – one was love, two hate, three like and four adore. At least that’s how I read it, and 40 plus years on it’s still a hard habit to break the kiss cross code. In the same way I know that I adore voting (women in the UK only got the opportunity to vote in 1928) but I may not be so thrilled by the ultimate election results…

Baby daze

Making a decision to have a baby, and then actually having that baby there in the room with you (all the time) has a certain life-changing similarity to changing political parties after an election. Just like the voter it doesn’t feel as if that one little cross (aka a baby) can change your own and 100s of lives. But anyone who has had a baby will know that even a 7lb cutie will unfailingly manage to change your life.

Gather together needles, pins, tape measure and cotton to create a simple sewing kit.

That’s why I’m loving the renewal of a kind and creative trend that sees family and friends of a soon-to-be mum get together and spend time creating a quilt to welcome the new arrival. For the participants it’s a way of sharing, showing-off and learning sewing skills, introducing school aged children to patchwork and a way to ensure that there is a team of supporters set up ready to help out the new mum. For the new mother – once the quilt has been made and presented – they have a physical reminder (perhaps on the bed, perhaps hung on the wall) of how many friends care for them. If someone can make you a quilt patch then they can certainly help you out with a meal, give a buggy a push or be willing to reassure you if support or advice is needed.

Look for deals on this book at Amazon.

If you have any good ideas how to support a woman in the first few days/months of coping with a baby please do share them here. Or you can have a look in my soon-to-be-published book (1 July 2010), called Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

How to make a welcome quilt
Super simple instructions follow – use YouTube links if you need more precise detail.

1 Aim to build a rectangle shape by suggesting participants decorate a cereal box sized bit of material. Or make it 4cm wider all round so you have plenty of overlap to stitch it together.
2 If friends can’t or won’t sew then suggest they cut out some brightly coloured fake fun fur/fleece as these are nice materials for a supervised baby to feel.
3 Allow creativity to rule – this kind of quilt is an art project not safe bedwear. So if an eight year old wants to attach a field of buttons or a Bratz doll (or something not very easy to wash) in the middle of their special quilt square, let them.
4 If the finished quilt isn’t large enough, just attach your completed squares to a patterned backing sheet for a speedy expanison of your gift.
5 If it’s better for display (eg, there are objects on it that a baby could swallow) then sew on a ring at each of the top two corners and provide a straight hazel stick (or bamboo) to make it easier to turn into a wall hanging.

This quilt would make a lovely christening/humanist gift too.

Thanks for reading this, X X X X you…


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