Last Christmas Eve, Emily Harper Beard’s water broke, and she found herself in labor all of Christmas Day. In the wee hours of Kwanzaa (the day after Christmas), baby Avett Otis was born. Needless to say, Christmas will remain an extra-special event in the Beard household.
With Avett almost one-year old now, Emily—a working mom and visual artist—has found herself with a mobile toddler and babyproofing everything. Even their Christmas tree.
“I began pondering how a Christmas tree could coexist in a small house with my wild little toddler–outside of placing the tree in a playpen or guarding it with a child gate.”
Emily said she had seen a number of Christmas tree activities for toddlers on Pinterest and that the idea of an interactive Christmas Tree Tent grew from there.
Liking the size of a child’s tent that Emily’s mother had gifted to Avett, she used it to pattern the “tree” in felt fabric for Avett’s playroom. She used fabric stuffing for the pillows and star topper. She then added Christmas lights to add that magical touch in the evening hours.
“I would love for him to grow up with the tent as his own holiday tradition,” she said, “And I envision him even camping in it on Christmas Eve nights while waiting on Santa.”
When Emily posted her end-result on Facebook, she was met with an overwhelming response. She quickly received over 400 Likes and many comments asking if she would make more to sell.
“I was definitely surprised by the response the Christmas tent received on Facebook, but more so the amount of comments I received encouraging me to figure out how to market my idea. From that, I do have intentions of figuring out how to create a version of the tent to sell next Christmas…hopefully at local shops (I LOVE my local vendors) and on Etsy. I don’t think I’m Shark Tank ready just yet.”
The tree is not just adorable, but educational for a toddler to exercise creativity and coordination.
“Using felt for my Christmas tent was inspired by the felt tree activities I had seen on Pinterest. And, believe me, Avett LOVES playing with the felt ornaments on his tent. This felt activity, however you chose to create it, gets two thumbs up from this mama, for sure.”
This is not Emily’s first attempt at creating something beautiful, interactive and educational for Avett. She and her husband added a second story to their house pre-baby, which included an open-concept staircase. Once pregnant, Emily had to figure out a way to childproof once again. Check out her beautiful Activity Wall, also inspired by Pinterest:
She also has developed a new interest in videography and, after watching Baby Einstein videos, thought: “’How fun would it be to create art-educational videos of your little nugget?’ I’ve only created a video about color theory thus far, but I definitely intend on creating a series of educational videos for Avett as he grows. It’s a creative outlet that is just as much fun for me as it is—hopefully—for him.”
It’s no secret that the BabyPage Team is obsessed with Pinterest, and the creativity it can ignite. But it’s incredibly inspiring to see a fellow mother who is creating so much educational art for her little one. For Emily, it’s little Avett that drives her creations:
“Ya know, as an artist, it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve been genuinely inspired to create anything as much as I have since my son was born. He is truly my muse. I just want to build a magical world around him.”
To learn more about Emily, visit www.efharper.com
Image Source for top featured image: http://makingmemorieswithyou.blogspot.com
All other images: Emily Harper Beard