I took a break from KCWC and garment sewing to finish off this cot quilt for the girl baby, because it's her birthday tomorrow. I was actually super organised and bought the cot (it's an antique one) back in May, but it's taken me until the last few weeks to get around to sanding it back and painting it, and the last few days to do the bed linen and quilt. Nothing like a deadline!
Here's a before picture:
I sanded it and did a couple of coats of a semi gloss water-based paint in a pale mauve colour. And then some bedlinen - this was fun, because I went through the scrap bag and found some pink, yellow and green scraps, and a bigger piece (50cm) of a pretty pear print cotton that I bought in Japan before we moved back here, and made a fitted sheet, a pillow, a pillow case and a small quilt. Because it's a doll quilt I didn't fuss over fabric placement as much as I usually do, so that made it quick and fun to put together. Lots of the scraps are old favourites, so it was nice to use them up and remember where they came from and the other projects I've used them in.
This birthday is the first time Milla will been given real "girl" toys. She has a tea set she plays with, and a toy hospital, but both of those were Ali's. To be honest I've avoided it for as long as possible. Last year Ali brought a toy catalogue home from preschool as a fundraiser and it had pages labelled "Boy's Toys" which were full of toys for playing out doors and exploring, and then "Girl's Toys" which were pink plastic irons and things like that... even though I know that the pink and blue aisles in the toy departments are meant for boys and girls, it made me feel a little bit sick to see it spelled out so clearly, especially since the girls toys seemed so rubbish.
I find it hard to articulate exactly why the whole "boy toy" and "girl toy" thing bothers me so much. I think it's because it seems to be funnelling children into such clear (and stereotypical) gender roles very early on. I know that older children are often very aware of being boys or girls, and want the associated toys, and peer influence starts to be a factor too, but I really believe that little kids should just be able to play with good quality toys they enjoy and are interested in, and it shouldn't have to be a "boy toy" or a "girl toy". The cynic in me suspects that a lot of it is marketing, to sell more toys, because if you bought your daughter a "Laugh and Learn My Pretty Learning Purse" (click on that link at your own risk, I won't be held responsible for any ensuing nausea) and then had a son you might buy him a different Fisher Price "Learning Toy" because the purse is a "girl toy". Whereas if it was a gender neutral toy you'd just keep the same one for both children.
But, having said all that, Milla does seem to be interested in the "girl toys" so I feel like it would be mean to keep them out of the house just because of my ideological angst. She's been making beds for her teddies for ages with cushions and tea towels, and she makes a beeline for the toy strollers and prams whenever she sees them at friend's houses or playgroup, so I know she'll love playing with this. And it makes me feel a tiny bit better that it's homemade and not a plastic and polyester version.