If someone were to ask about the purpose of my sewing room, I might say that it moonlights as a noble and fierce Toy Factory, churning out gifts for worldwide domination over the sinister toy industry empire. And then I’d laugh. It’s a loser’s game and complete hubris, but I’ll take it.

As a new mother, I was swept up in baby toy fads and child development gimmicks until the force-feeding of those trinkets became insufferable. I jumped off the plastic hamster wheel and decided to face off with the toy industry: our toys would either be thrifted or handmade.

For 10 years, my son and I managed to make birthday presents for every single party he attended until the tween phase forced us to pivot to gift cards. It was an impressive run – at times, exhausting. But while I enjoy the respite of those harried days, I also miss... [read more]