Labor of Love

A labor of love. Hm. It’s a strange term, or at least I think it is, because when I do something for someone I love, it doesn’t feel like labor. It feels…well…kind of wonderful…as though I’m doing something meaningful, something that will last. Here’s an example.

Back in the 1980s, I was a stay-at-home mom (aka a woman with a 24/7 unsalaried job and considered herself the luckiest woman in the world). I loved to sew, and that’s what I did with any spare time I could carve out of my busy schedule. In those days I made most of my clothes and a lot of clothes for my kids as well. I also did lots of crafty stuff, and when I came across this Butterick pattern for a child’s travel bag, I fell in love with it and knew my daughter, a preschooler at the time, would love it too.

So cute! And here’s my interpretation.

On the front of the bag there’s an apple tree, and the apples are stitched to Velcro so they can be picked and tucked into the little basket on the ground next to the tree. The barn door is also a pocket that’s home to a felt horse finger puppet.

Inside the bag there’s a bed on the left-hand side where a sweet little ragdoll sleeps, and on the right there’s a zippered pocket for my daughter’s nightgown and a change of clothes for the next morning. And you can see that the doll and my daughter had matching nightgowns!

There’s also a little zippered case for a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and hair elastics, and any other little things a child will need while she’s away from home.

At the time I was making this charming little travel bag for my daughter, I was reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to her. In those stories, Laura had a ragdoll named Charlotte and that’s the name my daughter gave to this one. How sweet is that?

After all these years, I’m impressed that this little travel bag and all of its components are still intact—even the doll’s little nightcap! The only thing missing is one apple from the tree, but I can easily make another.

Best of all, my now-adult daughter is really grateful I kept this for her. She has even agreed to let her adorable little niece (aka my gorgeous granddaughter!) play with it when she comes for visits! For me, it’s rewarding to know another generation will get to enjoy this not-at-all-laborious “labor of love.”

And now it’s your turn. What do you love to do for your loved ones?

Until next time,

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