Don’t you love when fate intervenes and paints you a picture of your child’s favorite childhood stuffed animal? No? That’s never happened to you? Well, it just happened to me and I am tickled pink.
A few months ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a wonderful artist, Erin Chainani. Turns out, Erin went to Yale around the same time as Chris and she even studied in his same school. Only, she took the artistic track and he took the technical track. Erin has recently opened her own small business called First Friends and it will just make your heart melt.
Erin paints portraits of your child’s favorite childhood stuffed animal or toy. Look how sweet these are…
I instantly fell in love with her paintings after spending just a few minutes on her website looking through her gallery. I love that she offers a gift certificate option, too, so that you can purchase a portrait for someone else. And I love that she offers a variety of sizes (including a new, affordable 4×6 option). And I love that she offers custom matting and framing, too.
And I’m not alone. She’s building a fast reputation as a first friends artist and she’s caught the attention of a few of her local media sources, like Miami.com and MiamiMunchkins.com. But even without her growing business, I was sold on just one portrait. Just one.
IT’S MR. BEAR!!! SHE PAINTED MR. BEAR!!!
And could she have gotten it any more perfect?!?!
She got his floppy arms just right. She got his deflating little belly. And, my favorite part, she got the little dimple in Mr. Bear’s head where Bean chews on him.
I mean, really. Could it be any cuter? I cry every time I see the portrait – which is often because it hangs on the wall above Bean’s changing table.
Bean loves it, too. He lays there while I’m changing his diaper, pointing to the painting and saying, “One Beeyah, Two Beeyah…” He thinks it’s funny that now he has TWO Bears.
As the mom of a rapidly growing toddler, it’s these kinds of keepsakes that I know I will always treasure. It’s these kinds of keepsakes that I already treasure. Because it’s these kinds of keepsakes that instantly take me back to the first days we had Bean home from the hospital and Mr. Bear was right there beside him, bigger than Bean was at the time. It takes me back to Bean learning to walk and dragging Mr. Bear along behind him across our kitchen floor in his jammies. It takes me back to Bean’s first days at a new daycare and knowing that even though I had to leave him with strangers, at least Mr. Bear was there with him.
And then, I start to cry. Like I’m doing right now.
I know that one day, Bean will outgrow his old friend. He’s already leaving Mr. Bear at home more and more now. And though I try to tell myself that it’s a sign of his feeling secure and independent, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t break my heart just a bit when I walk into Bean’s room and see Mr. Bear in a corner somewhere, temporarily forgotten. Of course, bedtime comes around and Mr. Bear is center stage again.
It’s for all these reasons that I already treasure this portrait. It floods me with all those emotions every single time I see it.
Which is why I am so darn excited to tell you that Erin is hosting a giveaway for all of you today!! She is generously giving away a framed 6×9 portrait of your child’s favorite toy. Or, it might be YOUR favorite toy from your own childhood. Or, it might be your niece or nephew’s favorite toy from their childhood. Or, it might be your grandchild’s favorite toy from their childhood. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS AND ERIN CAN PAINT THEM ALL!!
To be entered to win this awesome giveaway, leave a comment below telling me whose toy and what toy you’d want to have painted. Also, for a second chance to enter, visit the Cribsie Awards and nominate Erin for a Cribsie Award for best baby product! She’s up for nominations and would love the support! Once you vote, come back and leave another comment telling me that you voted and you’ll be entered twice for a portrait!
The giveaway will close at 8:00pm EST on Friday, February 4, and a winner will be announced sometime over the weekend whenever I get my act together.
A very special thank you to Erin for our new family favorite portrait of Mr. Bear and for hosting such a generous giveaway!