I absolutely loved Alice Cantrell's post on handmade toys (seen here on her blog A Number of Things). Like Alice, I spent a good portion of my childhood "making things," whether it was a fabric wallet, a purse with a zillion compartments, clay figures (with everything they would need to make their home comfortable), drawings, or even little 3-D scenes set up in tiny boxes (such as the one I made for Easter one year depicting the Resurrection). In other words, I made a LOT of stuff.
As pressed for space as we are around here, I want my children to have the same sort of freedom I did -- the access to plenty of "craft supplies," whether fabric, paper, or boxes, and the room to display and cherish their works of art. (believe it or not, I still have many of the things I made when I was younger). I think it helped me tremendously to have parents who "cheered me on," and gave me the space I needed to display my creations proudly, and I would like to provide MY kids with the same opportunity.
We love homemade stuff around here, and I had to smile when I read her words about the uniqueness and love that goes into handmade toys. My kids have all expressed a desire at one time or another for Mommy to make something special for them. For example, there was a time when "The Toy that Saved Christmas" (from Veggie Tales) was Reilly's favorite movie. Her favorite character, of course, was Buzz Saw Louie, so I had to make one for her:
Likewise, Thomas has been on a huge Three Tales of My Father's Dragon kick for quite some time. (I think we're going through our 3rd or 4th reading of it now). He talked incessantly about "the stripey dragon," so one rainy afternoon I sat down with some fabric and did my best to recreate one while a very excited little boy danced around the sewing machine:
(I know I didn't get the face right, but I was a bit pressed for time!)
The point is, handmade toys, whether amateurish or not, are cherished by our children simply because of their uniqueness and the love we poured into them. They are one-of-a-kind toys made for our one-of-a-kind child.