Handmade Birthdays & A Handmade Life

little girl flower birthday, felt flower wands

Jessika Hepburn, Editor

I’m going to go all weepy on you here, I know it. Today was my youngest daughter Sela’s second birthday & I have spent the last few nights up late crafting & planning her party + our special family day. Birthdays are important in our house and I believe in handmade gifts/days. Here is a little peek at our day & how I celebrate handmade in my life. I think this fits into our ethics month perfectly since my ethics are so tied up in my parenting. I want my children to have lives filled with love, beauty, art and simplicity. So today along with singing & dancing, we played games and made art. Ila & Sela played with their flower wands that are favors for the actual party day and that Ila helped make. My mama came for dinner and we had pretty cupcakes, then Sela opened her one present from me…our family hand-stitched out of wool that I dyed last summer.

lemon cupcakes blueberry frostingI think handmade ethics are so much a part of who I am and how I parent. I like owning every part of what I give to my family from creaming the butter to crafting the gifts. While I love to support other handmade artists birthdays are mine and I can show off how much I love the people close to me by giving them something made with my own hands and heart.

All week I have had this one line from my favorite Raffi song stuck in my head, “all I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly and love in my family.” I hope that is what I teach my girls about life through handmade, we don’t need a fancy house or lots of money or possessions to be happy or successful. We need to do what we love, feed our bodies & hearts + love and be loved. When Sela opened her gift she hugged all of her little dolls to her so tight then made them all kiss each other while saying our names over and over. Then her and Ila took them to bed where she snuggled them as she fell asleep. Seriously, sometimes life is so beautiful. Yep…I went all weepy there for a minute.

Here’s our family-handmade style:

family dolls, felt dolls, felt family,

A big thank you to Sherryl of Lizzie, Izzie + James who sent the lovely flower headband and clip that the girls are wearing. So cute! We’ll have a feature with her later this month & lots more pictures so be sure to check back.

Do your handmade ethics influence your parenting or your gifting? I would love to know! Hopefully you enjoyed this little peek at our lives and a bit of why I love handmade.


  1. Joanne says:

    Well, you got me all weepy too! Your girls will always remember their handmade birthdays and whose hand it was! ( My daughters are repeating it now.) Beautiful felt family and darling real girls!

    • Jessika says:

      Joanne you’re the sweetest! I bet you make some lovely handmade gifts now for your grandchildren too. I love the idea of these handmade values being passed on through the generations and being able to look back and know that we have given not only the gifts but a way of life too. Your daughters must adore you & are so lucky to have such a talented mama.

  2. Anna @ IHOD says:

    Oh my goodness. What an incredible gift to give your daughter….all these handmade details. She will cherish those dolls when she is grown too!
    And I LOVE that song by Raffi;) That is the only person my son listens to in the car!
    Happy birthday to your little one!

    • Jessika says:

      Thank you so much Anna! With every stitch I made on the dolls I thought of her growing up and gifting them to her little ones (which made me cry)-one of the things I love about handmade & that I really try to include in all my work is the idea of crafting heirlooms & making memories. And Raffi is just genius, I remember loving him as a kid too: )

  3. Joy says:

    Oh, I LOVE this! How fun!

    We try to incorporate handmade into our gifting – I don’t normally make all the stuff, but I do buy a lot of my gifts from Etsy… One of these days, when I have more sleep, maybe I’ll attempt those delicious looking cupcakes!

    You are one awesome mom and I’m not sure how you do it all!

    • Jessika says:

      Joy you are so lovely! The truth is I really don’t do it all I just don’t get mad at myself when I drop balls or mess up: ) And I also stay up until 4am fueled by strong coffee!
      But the cupcakes-so easy, I have this great no-fail cupcake recipe & the icing is a simple buttercream with a homemade food colouring made by pureeing cooked blueberries & straining them through a sieve. Let me know if you want the recipe!

  4. Viv Smith says:

    Happy Birthday to your little girl!
    I’m trying more and more to make handmade a part of my life for all the reasons you say. I love gifts with meaning and thought and you don’t get much more thoughtful than handmade. We all want to be loved and putting ourselves into our gifts by handmaking it, or comissioning a bespoke piece, lets the recipient really know they are truly loved and valued.

    Absolutely love your handmade family – it’s such a lovely gift and I’m sure it’ll be truly cherished for years to come.

    Enjoy your party!

    • Jessika says:

      Thanks so much Viv! I love your point about commissioning a piece too-that is a great way to put time & attention into a gift even if you don’t have the time or ability to handmade something. One of my favorite gifts is a ladybug tutu I had made for Ila’s 5th birthday, the mileage she has gotten out of that gift is amazing!

  5. Sherryl says:

    Happy birthday to Sela! I am so happy that your girls liked the clip and headband! And those dolls that you made – oh my! They are gorgeous and so one of a kind! Must get your no fail cupcake recipe and frosting – you should post it!

  6. Janet W says:

    Thanks so much for sharing a big piece of your heart in this blog post, Jessika! Oh my goodness, what a wonderful, thoughtful mother you are.

    Happy birthday sweet little Sela!

  7. Katie Stangler says:

    Loved this post! What a beautiful sentiment you are passing to your children! I am trying to raise a tribe of gentlemen to respect the time and effort of handmade items. It melted my heart when my 4 yr old passed on store bought valentines to prepare for his pre-k party and asked if I could help him make his own because it would be more special to give those to his friends!

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