When a young mother could not bear to discard her first baby’s clothes, she decided to make them into a keepsake for her daughter. That baby was my granddaughter, Hollie and three years later, Hollie was joined by Imogen.
Laura, their mother, kept everything… making them gorgeous family scrapbooks, patchwork quilts, and stuffed toy keepsakes with their outgrown clothes and special outfits. Not only was I impressed by her skill with a needle, I loved how much care she put into the designs, cherishing each memory for future years in a very practical way.
Laura writes, “I was on maternity leave after the long-awaited arrival of my daughter, Hollie Olivia. I wanted to keep hold of as many memories as I possibly could. So when it came to her outgrown clothes, passing them on wasn’t an option. Living in a one bedroom maisonette at the time, there was nowhere to store them. That’s when I decided to make her a teddy and a blanket. Fast forward three years… we moved into our first house together, the little one is now at playschool and in summer 2017 our family of three became four and we welcomed our second daughter, Imogen Lucie.”
Friends and family saw the stuffed animals and quilts and, thinking it was a lovely idea, they passed bundles of clothes to Laura from which she crafted teddies, reindeer, blankets and a whole menagerie of animals. Each keepsake is personal, most are hand embroidered with names, dates and special messages. At first, it was all about new babies, but then she was asked to create keepsakes of other special events, like weddings and birthdays. The most touching were the memory bears she made for those who had lost loved ones, crafted from items that were known and loved too.
I have watched her skills grow, from the first hand-embroidered gift tag on the home-made chocolates she and my son made as Christmas gifts many years ago, to the beautiful things she now makes, each one crafted with just as much love. She takes each story personally and I have watched her smile and weep as she has shown me what she has made over the years.
Knowing the difference it can make to a child to have a parent at home, the idea of using her skills to help her daughters in a more practical way began to grow. In today’s world, both parents are often obliged to go out to work, but a possible solution was right at Laura’s fingertips and, with the proud support of my son, With Love Keepsakes was born.
Laura has just launched her new website and shop. There are many pictures of her work and a brochure that tells her story, and I hope that some who read this will visit her site and fall in love with her work. What the brochure does not tell is the personal story behind the keepsakes. She called it ‘With Love’ because each unique keepsake really is made with love, both that of the person who chooses one and that of the young woman who makes them, and it is the love of a young mother for her daughters that brought the idea into being.
Visit Laura’s website at With Love Keepsakes