Stories of You

Nicki: Handmade With Love

The clock ticks over one. The neon glow of the alarm clock casts shadows across the walls. She paces. With each step she takes down the dark hallway she wills her tiny newborn to sleep. She needs him to sleep. For it is when he sleeps that she can start. This is Nicki. This is her story.

Nicki: Lovingly

“I was in a rut. These four walls were closing in on me.”
“I needed something or else I was going to go crazy.”

Nicki’s four walls are covered in photographs. They are black and white moments of her, hubby and her two boys. Book shelves stand against the walls, filled with toys, children’s books and more photographs. Yet at the top of one of the book shelves, Nicki’s sewing box, inch tape and pin cushion sit as a tiny glimpse into her story.

Nicki: Lovingly

“There was always something missing in my life. I have lots of friends with business on the side, they do things from home, and I kept seeing the pictures on Facebook and thinking there was just something missing. I needed something for myself.”

One weekend, in the middle of her house renovations, Nicki stumbled across a box of old crochet blankets in the back shed. All the blankets had been destroyed by rats. Throwing out these hand-made blankets, that had been passed down through family generations was the spark that awakened something in Nicki. “That moment opened up a whole new world.”

Nicki: Lovingly

Nicki was taught to crochet by her mum, when she was only eleven. “My mum taught me the most basic stitch. That is all I knew.” But with YouTube and her online community of yarn addicts Nicki now has a new baby. Her store and brand Lovingly.

In the middle of the night once her boys fall asleep Nicki crochets. Most mothers would spend this time sleeping themselves, yet Nicki finds that with eight, six or even four hours of sleep she functions the same. “I’m still going to be tired. I am still going to be on the go. I am still going to need to do things.”

Nicki: Lovingly

With each stitch and ball of yarn she turns over another row is added to her story.

She has a growing collection of hand-made blankets, booties, beanies, scarves and bags in her store. Yet, it is the tiny little hats she crochets for premmie babies that catch Nicki off guard and swell the voice in her throat. “It is not about fast money.” She says holding the tiny hat in the palm of her hand. “I’m doing this because I love it.” And it is that love that extends to the families of premmie babies. Nicki crochets premmie beanies as part of a pledge to the neonatal intensive care unit at her local hospital. Nicki offers all her premmie crochet range to her customers – free of charge. “I can’t charge them, I can’t bring myself to charge them.”

Nicki: Lovingly

Nicki’s four walls have not changed. The clutter of toys, the nappy changes and the midnight feeds have not stopped. But the weight has been lifted. “The four walls are more colourful since I started to crochet. Women go gaga for baby stuff and these are items you would keep forever, pass down through generations.”

Nurturing and caring for a little baby can be overwhelming and isolating. Yet a crochet hook and yarn has given Nicki the chance to feel connected again. “Everyone has a story.” Nicki tells me as she hands me the hat and gloves I ordered. Turning over the soft, delicate crochet in my hands I realise that this is only the beginning of Nicki’s story.

Nicki: Lovingly Nicki: Lovingly Nicki: Lovingly

Nicki is generously giving away a $50 voucher to her store Lovingly.

 

To enter the giveaway:

Like always Josefa on Facebook.
Like Lovingly on Facebook

Answer the question:  What is the one baby item you will pass down to the next generation?

All responses must be entered as comments below.
This is a game of skill and the winner selected from the answers below.
Please login with your email address.
You must like both pages and answer the question to be eligible for this giveaway.
One entry per person only.
The giveaway is for Australian residents only.
The giveaway closes on Wednesday August 7, 2013.
The winner will be announced on Thursday August 8, 2013.
The winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by cuddles from a new born, tickles with a three year old and Nicki’s generosity to allow me into her home and share her story. 

If you would like to nominate someone or yourself to be part of Stories of You, please email me directly at josefa@alwaysjosefa.com. I’d love to meet you over coffee and hear your story. Read the other incredible stories from the Stories of You collection here.

  • http://www.fullofbeansandsausages.com/ Holly Hollyson

    Boo! I am not in Australia, but I will answer anyway…I have so many knitted baby clothes that my Mom made for me. I would love to pass those down through generations of babies! This was a beautiful blog post by the way!

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    What a beautiful competition. Thanks to Double Up Friday I stumbled across the creations by Nicki. At first I just shared her page with all my crocheting friends who I knew would love it. Then I decided I should ‘like’ your page Nicki, as I admired your creations from afar. I’ll never forget at my baby shower, a friend from school gave me the softest warmest pram blanket I’ve ever felt. It was covered in browns and yellows and pastels with beautiful giraffes, hippos and other animals. I remember lovingly tucking her in on both sides as we walked our endless kilometers in the pram during the cold winter and the feelings of friendship and warmth this beautiful blanket embodied each time I looked at it and cuddled my little girl in it. It’s now tightly packed up safely in a cupboard for my favourite things for whoever is lucky enough to be tucked up in it next.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Pip! Its amazing how we have such great memories attached to various items! Such sentiment xx

  • LydiaCLee

    Lego (the kids have mine) – not quite where you were heading…our baby stuff is long gone!

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com/ Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    I haven’t kept anything. I’m not remotely sentimental. But my father was very funny and I inherited that from him. I have pass it onto my girls and I know they are going to pass it down. Houses full of laughter and smiles is what I pass down.

  • Esther Chanie Dushinsky

    Babies’ first shoes.

  • Sophie Allen

    Lovely story! We have crocheted blankets that my Grandma made. My sisters and I each have one, and she then made each of our children one when they were born. My Grandma will be 94 this year and she can no longer crochet. Those blankets are so special to us and we will never throw them out, they will go to each of the boys when they become fathers.
    And another tradition that my mother started when she became a Grandma each time was to buy each baby a teddy bear. My boys each have an alpaca wool teddy.

    • Nicki Grech

      That’s what I love about handmade items. You and your boys will cherish them for years and years xxx

  • MissMandy

    Hi Nikki, I’m a crochet addict, have only been crocheting for about a year or so. I can totally relate to the sleep thing. My hubby says go to bed if you’re tired. but when do we get to stop and do something for ourselves otherwise and yes, even if I did go to bed then I’d still be tired. what a lovely thing you’re doing for those families.

    • Nicki Grech

      Oh I totally understand! And yes, it is an addiction =) But I believe we all have to have something for ourselves too =) xx

  • Chantel

    She has such lovely stuff. What a beautiful story :)

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Chantel

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    See, you guys are just too clever with all this fancy home-made stuff. Adore!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit (and entered).

  • http://mylittlesunshinehouse.com/ Zanni Louise

    Beautiful story and beautiful items. I will hand down the silk wool baby blanket my friend crocheted for Eve. I will also hand down the little baby blanket my god mother made me and I slept with it and carried it everywhere. X

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Zanni =) Silk wool is just devine isn’t is? xx

  • http://www.mummywifeme.com/ Renee Wilson

    What a lovely story! It feels amazing when you find your passion, doesn’t it, Nicki? My Grandmother, now 92, still crochets. We have so many amazing coloured blankets which will definitely be passed on through the generations. I asked her to teach me to knit once and I was no good at it. I remember her saying, ‘Why can you not get this?’ Lol.

    The one baby item I will pass down the line is a knitted baby dress that my mother knitted for me. I have worn it and so have my first and second daughters, albeit for a split second photograph. I would love it if their daughters could one day wear it too!

    • Nicki Grech

      It does feel amazing Renee, especially when other people get to enjoy my creations also! I always wanted to learn to knit, it is my list of things to do when I get some time xx

  • Wyverly

    Beautifully told by Josefa. A nice story indeed Nicki. Its a hobby turned into a business. Well done Nicki and your crochets are beautifully made with great materials too.
    Ive passed on a teddy bear to little miss 8 months and cutains to little miss 2, I had them since I was young.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Wyve xx

  • http://www.randomactsofzen.com/ Lisa @ Random Acts Of Zen

    Beautiful Josefa, thanks for introducing us to Nicki. These little pieces are so gorgeous, and the fact that you make the premmie hats for free is just wonderful Nicki. x

    • Nicki Grech

      Thank you! Making people smile is priceless and I think those acts of kindness can be lost in todays money hungry world xx

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    What a gorgeous profile piece and how talented is Nicki! Id love to be able to knit or crochet, they are gorgeous.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Jodi =) Crochet is one of the easiest crafts in my opinion. Grab yourself a cuppa, some yarn and a crochet hook, look up some youtube tutorials and you will learn it in no time! xx

  • marypreston

    I have a bunny rug my Mother made that has been carefully put away for future use and hopefully generations. Gorgeous items at LOVINGLY.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thank you so much =) xx

  • Twitchy

    I love seeing what people can do with their hands and a few basic materials. I keep buying art supplies as a promise to myself for ‘sometime’ but I’ve yet to get there.

    • Nicki Grech

      So do I! I just bit the bullet and did it! What have you got to lose?! xx

  • http://essentiallyjess.com/ EssentiallyJess

    Good on her for finding her passion, and a way to use it to help others. She must be such a blessing to those who need it.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thank you Jess. Nothing makes me more happier than other people smiling xxx

  • vkmason

    My Christening outfit that was knitted by my Gran,
    will be past down all lovingly made by hand.
    The wool is so delicate and soft against a baby’s skin,
    I long to place another cherub in this dress and matching cardigan.
    It made my Gran really happy to make beautiful things,
    and continuing to wear the pieces would just make her heart (and mine) sing.

    • Nicki Grech

      A Christening outfit is on my list of things to crochet next…. I must say it is a very long list =) Your Gran must be so happy xxx

      • vkmason

        I think after my mother had three boys it was lovely for my Gran to get to crochet a girl’s outfit!

  • Danya Banya

    I’ve kept JJ’s first pair of soft leather shoes from when she was about 6 months old. Because she was pre-walking, they are still in really good nick, but you can just see the outline of her footprint in the leather at the bottom. I think I’m going to hole punch (or perhaps rivot) a hole in the back of each of them and loop through some ribbon to turn them into Christmas decorations. That way they’ll be brought out and cherished year after year, and can be passed down to JJ when she’s ready for a tree of her own.

    • Nicki Grech

      What a great idea! I’m thinking of making a quilt out of all the boys old clothes for something different! I think I need to lean how to quilt first though =)

  • Rachel Kriss-Newell

    When we lost our precious first baby my mum crocheted the most gorgeous baby rug in honour of our little one. This I treasure and I will pass it onto her brother and sisters so they can use it as an heirloom for their children. A very special gift from their ‘Auntie Katie’, looking over them from heaven. She will never be forgotten if she remains acknowledged and a part of our family. (rm.newell@bigpond.com.au)

    • Nicki Grech

      How beautiful Rachel. I know you will cherish the rug in memory of her forever. Amazing xxx

  • Mrs Holsby

    What a gorgeous post. I love Nicki and her store. I wish I could crochet, but I don’t need any more obsessions at this time!
    My Nana had knitted some beautiful blankets for my son, but her hands were too arthritic by the time my daughter was born. They’ve been passed down once, and I’ll pack them safely to pass down to them when they have children.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thank you! I know what you mean by too many obsessions! I have definitely opened up a can of worms here ;-) xxx

  • Emily Morgan

    Hi Josefa! Glad I could comment at last!! Lovely idea for a series, and such a great lady – I won’t enter the comp, not having a baby on the way or anyone in my immediate vicinity, but I hope she gets everything she’s hoping for with her business and personal life. :)

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Emily! Such nice words xx

  • Rita

    I think a crochet blanket is the best item to pass from generation to generation. I discovered Lovingly not long ago and the items Nicki has are wonderful! Thanks for sharing her story Josefa and best of luck to Nicki.

    • Nicki Grech

      Hi Rita! Thank you for reading my story xx

  • Loree

    What a heart-warming, real life story.

  • Rebecca Thompson

    My sister gave me a quilt that she hand made for my son. We have kept it to pass on to his children. It is truly beautiful :)
    Becc

  • https://www.facebook.com/NannaJ2012 Jeanette Latter

    A christening gown hand sewn from generations ago.

  • http://www.havealaughonme.com/ Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    What a gorgeous story – and you are very lovely to give them away Nicki! I’m sure the knitted baby jacket and booties, made by my MIL will be given to my children for their children when they are young :)

  • kerry santillo

    My childrens christening gown. I would love to pass it on to my grandchildren as this was homemade and is very special. My grandmother made it and as she is no longer with us it would be so nice :)

  • staceyshailer

    A tiny little pair of white booties. I went to a private Catholic high school and became good friends with some of the nuns that lived and worked there. Even 10 years after graduating, when they heard I was due to have my first little one, they knitted a little set of white booties for my bub :)

  • Dannie Wallace

    The baby blanket for my grankiddies sometime ~ But not too soon! *sigh*

  • Robyn (Mrs D)

    LOVE that orange scarf that you’re wearing Nicki, it makes your face light up. I so love that everyone has a story……..xxxxxx

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Robyn! I believe we all need bright colours in our life! xx

  • Karina Lee

    My mini Air Jordans. It’s still in tip top condition and costed us $50 – for newborn shoes!

  • bubble936

    A handmade quilt made with pieces of clothes that my baby wore during the first month of his life. Its so gorgeous and very special for me. I would definitely pass it to his baby.

    • Nicki Grech

      This is what I want to create also! Such a great idea =)

  • Nico Harry

    When my daughter was born, her Godmother gave her a Christian Dior, white cotton dress with tiny handmade strawberries on each sleeve. It was worn a handful of times but too special not too pass down.

  • Jessie Hay

    I am lucky enough to have an absolutely amazing woman in my life, she has always been there for me and I have all the time in the world for her- in fact I go to her place every Sunday afternoon to sit and listen to stories from her long life. She is my grandma and I love her to bits! :)
    She has lovingly knitted a beautiful lacy shawl for each of her grandchildren to keep our children warm and all of my 12 babies have used it. I have looked after it because it is just so special and something that will be passed down to my grandchildren :)

    • Nicki Grech

      Beautiful. I salute you, as so many people get lost in their busy lives (myself included) and we forget the very important people in our lives – our grandparents. It is so important to make time for them. Thank you Jessie =)

      • Jessie Hay

        Thankyou for your lovely reply :) I wish I’d received a notification of it.
        We have that time slotted in every week and I think that makes it easier to catch up regularly. I love our Sunday afternoons, couldn’t think of anything I would rather do :)

  • Leanne Winter

    Nicki, your things are so beautiful. When my sons were born my sort-of-mother-in-law crocheted each of them a wool cot blanket allowing me to choose the colours. The boys still go get “Grandma Peg’s” blankets when in need of a bit warming up on the couch. I hope I get the chance to pass them on to my own grandchildren one day.
    Thanks for including Nicki’s story, Josefa.

    • Nicki Grech

      Thanks Leanne =) Isn’t it great that your boys remember the blanlet?! So precious xx

  • Kim@spiritedmama

    So beautifully told, and how gorgeous. I think handmade crocheted baby items are the best. I had a little beanie for poppet bought by a little lady who visited the hospital. x

  • Nicki Grech

    Thank you for all your kind messages. It has warmed my heart and inspired me even more xxx

  • http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/ NewLifeOnTheRoad

    Oh wow Nicki that is gorgeous what you do. I have a “Baby Blanket” that has been in my hubby side of the family for ages. I want to pass it down to the grandkids one day.
    And we have a Christening Gown on my side of the family that my Great Grandmother wore. Its gorgeous :)

  • http://samanthastone.com.au/ Sam Stone

    LOVE! Nicki, you are simply fabulous at what you do! I totally relate to how you were feeling, that something was missing and the four walls were closing in on you. I started blogging and I love it! Congratulations on your store too, I am heading there now to check it out.
    One baby item I would pass onto the next generation is the quilt my Aunty made for my daughter, it is so bright and colourful. It really captures the essence of my Aunty, who is a wonderfully giving, loving lady.

  • http://freshhomecook.com/ Jodie@FreshHomeCook

    What an awesome write up Josefa! I am such a big liker of your Nicki – have been following along for a while now. Your pieces are just incredible. We have a blanket that a friend’s mum crocheted for our first bubba that I will hang on to & pass on – it is just beautiful & knowing it was made especially for us makes it feel even warmer! :)

  • Grace

    Love crochet pieces. Love them more when they’re made with love. Nicki’s story and generosity is inspiring! x

  • http://www.middleagedmama.com.au/ Janet aka Middle Aged Mama

    Beautifully written, and what an inspirational story. I already like both your FB pages; I’ve saved the outfits my babies wore at their christenings. Mr 19 wore a pale blue velvet onesie that my in-laws brought back from Paris (and being strict Catholics, they were horrified that I dressed my son in it for his baptism. Apparently he should have been wearing all white, but nobody told me!). My best friend knew this story, and that I was sad about not having a proper christening gown, so she made one for Miss 16 :-)

  • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

    This is a beautiful telling of part of Nikki’s story. LOVE that blanket shown in the last image. Gorgeous. Congratulations on the store and for making a difference for those families who experience such a difficult start to life for their little ones.

  • http://www.kympiez.blogspot.com/ Kymmie

    Oh what a clever girl! So inspired by this story, and these beautiful pieces! x

  • http://www.coalvalleyview.blogspot.com/ Mel @ Coal Valley View

    Beautiful story! I learnt to crochet last year and I’m completely addicted now so I totally relate to Nicki’s passion on the crochet front. I also relate to staying up at all hours in the evenings doing a bit of crochet or knitting when I should probably be sleeping but if I haven’t done something creative I get a bit cranky with the world. I would pass down the baby blankets that my grandma made for me as well as the one I made my baby boy last year. All the best Nicki!!! Mel x

  • http://www.simplelovingthoughts.blogspot.com/ LYBliss

    what a beautiful story (and beautifully written Josefa !) Those teensy premmie hats are gorgeous and heartbreaking at the same time. I would imagine that something handmade would be treasured in the neo-nate units when so much else is stark white and sterile.
    We have a gorgeous woollen shawl that was knitted for my husbands father. It is so finely knitted it is like spider web in some areas. All our babies have been wrapped in it for their first outing. It is now carefully packed away waiting for the grandbabies .

  • Wendy Sutcliffe

    I wish I could crochet, my mum tried to show me a few times but I just don’t have the patience.

    We have baby quilts, totally hand stitched by my mum which will be passed down, made even more precious by losing mum to cancer last year.

  • TheCrone

    A beautiful delicate crochet bunny rug it is absolutely amazing, and one that can not leave the family

  • Bonne Necole McLendon

    I made a handmade blanket for my little ones I want them to be passed down to my grandchildren. I sew them by hand the old fashioned way and made a wish for my lil ones life for every stitch that I put into it. I want those well wishes passed on down the line. Eek I am in the US but wanted to share. You are awesome for doing this and I wish everyone luck.

  • Cath

    I started knitting a hooded jacket for my first daughter when she was about one. I finished it when she was about two. It was a labour of love – my hands, my shoulders and my arms ached with almost every stitch. I should have stopped, but my desire to knit something for my child was so strong, particularly when I looked at photos of myself in knitted jumpers that my own mother had made for me. My daughter finally wore the jacket in the winter that she was two and a half. It sadly didn’t fit for long. She had grown more and more excited by each row that I added, and even chose the ladybird button that graced the neckline just below the hood. I can’t bear the thought of passing it on, so it will be carefully packed away, in the little dusty box in the top of the cupboard, waiting for the next little family member to wear it one day.

  • Elise

    I have a little bonnet, it was mine when I was a bub. Its such a traditional little item, but it was the one piece that my mother kept from my babyhood, because it trimmed delicately with lace and embroided flowers. There is a photo of me wearing it at 6 months, and each of my girls have worn it too and had photo’s taken. Looking at all of our round chubby faces with wide eyes looking up at the camera is so special – it amazes me how much we look alike, and the bonnet is packed away again now in tissue paper, waiting for the day that a little grand daughter comes along to wear it too.

  • http://coffeetalkwitherin.com Erin @ coffeetalkwitherin

    I’ve gotten a bit addicted to crochet and knitting myself and love the thought that my kids will have these hand made (not so perfect) gifts from me in their memory boxes for life. I’m making my daughter a knitted capped sleeve cardi right now and a throw rug (if I ever finish it) for myself. So meditative isn’t it? I love that Nicki is so generous with the premmies. Gorgeous x

  • http://www.maxabellaloves.com.au Maxabella

    Nicki is gorgeous, just gorgeous. She’s wise too – so true that we don’t get enough sleep so why bother trying? I love that she fills her time so well. x

  • Cate

    The one item would have to be the baby blanket my Nanna knitted for my Mum (and her twin brother). My Mum then used it for me and most recently, I used it with such pride for my son. So special! (I had to laugh when the first thing that came to mind was my son’s ‘Nanny blanket’- a woollen baby blanket, with embroidery by my Mum. It’s commented on all the time and is ever so special. But if it’s used half as much as my nieces and nephews (aged 10 to 14) there won’t be much to pass on!)

  • http://www.alwaysjosefa.com/ Josefa @always Josefa

    The Nicki: Handmade With Love giveaway is now closed.

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