Reader’s Note: If you’re coming over from Crazy Mom Quilts, I want to give you a head’s up that this post talks about loss, specifically the celebration of the first birthday of my son, who was born still. If you are triggered by pregnancy loss, neonatal loss, or child loss, I will completely understand if you skip today’s post.

MeekManor_PBirthday_Handmade_GiraffeThe Saturday before Patrick’s birthday, Lloyd and I went on a shopping adventure. I wanted to find the perfect first birthday present for Patrick. We started at Things Remembered. I didn’t like anything. We went to the Lego store. I didn’t like anything. We went all over the mall. At Pottery Barn Kids, I had a meltdown. They had a darling giraffe towel and slippers set, and it was just more than I could take. I really wanted to buy it, but kind of couldn’t see the point. I’d never want another child to wear it, so it would just collect dust. I couldn’t do it, and we left the mall with no present for Patrick.

The next Tuesday I pulled out the cupcake wallhanging and celebration pendents I made as samples while working at Quilter’s Way. I had always imagined I’d hang those for my kids’ birthdays, and it seemed wrong to change that plan. As I pulled them out, though, I started to cry. I had also always imagined making birthday crowns for my kids. Each year I’d put a new charm or button on the crown to show how old they were. I cried. No, I sobbed. I didn’t know if I should make a crown for Patrick. At what point was I just becoming silly?

I texted a fellow loss mama, and she called. We cried together, and she told me that she thought the crown was a beautiful idea, and I should make one if I felt up to it. She also pointed out that she wasn’t surprised in the least that we weren’t able to find the perfect birthday gift, because there was no such thing. Nothing would ever be good enough. I so appreciated that validation. We talked for an hour, and I felt a little better, though exhausted. I decided I’d make a crown after all, though I hadn’t given myself much time to get it done.

I pulled out my felt and was paralyzed trying to make color and design decisions. I set the project aside.


On Patrick’s birthday (Thursday, April 2nd), Lloyd hung the pendants and wall hanging, and sketched birthday chalk art while I finished the floral arrangements for the doctors and nurses. He did such an amazing job, and I just loved seeing all of the handmade elements come together.

Bless my brothers, who made donations to First Book in Patrick’s name. So many donations have been made to First Book in Patrick’s name, and that brings us great joy. There are children all over the country getting their FIRST books to hold and own because of our sweet boy. Many thanks to those who have given. It means the world to us.


While we didn’t have something to open for Patrick, my mom and dad did. They got the fluffiest stuffed giraffe, which is just darling, as well as a silver box with a “P” engraved on it.

MeekManor_PBirthday_Handmade_Crown3 copy

I finally found the strength to make Patrick’s crown today. I’d pulled out the felt numerous times in the last week and just couldn’t figure out what exactly I wanted to do. But, today when I grabbed my top choices (lime green bamboo felt, a baby blue wool felt, and striped bobbles from the Happy-Go-Lucky fabric collection), I remembered my charms and beads I’d collected for Patrick’s scrapbook. Among those, I had a silver giraffe and orange stars that were perfect.


I chain stitched the “P” (using the modified chain stitch tutorial from Sublime Stitching) with Aurifil 12-weight thread (#6729). It’s my favorite crown I’ve made yet. I look forward to pulling it out each year for Patrick’s birthday and adding another charm or button to it.


We love you, sweet boy. We wish you were here to wear your crown and snuggle your giraffe. We’ll always celebrate you.

Project Info


Cupcake Wall Hanging:

Birthday Crown:

Linking up to Finish it up Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts.