Grandma Bag


When an unexpected opportunity to “take the baby” arises,  I like to be ready.  So rather than make the routine diaper bag transfer from Mama to Nana, I keep my own Grandma bag at the ready.

In my humble opinion, this home made cheerful carryall beats the plain Army green or khaki canvas so popular today.  Where’s the fun in plain olive drab?

Some might argue that it is the contents of the bag that are important, not the bag itself.  Well, hear me now and believe me later, this bag carries all the basics and more.  But if you are challenged to amuse a baby for 25 minutes in the doctor’s waiting room, I’ll betcha dollars to donuts that this bag will keep that little one quieter longer than the Army bag.

And my, oh my, the contents!  There are miracle products that make today’s grandmothers green with if-only-I had-had-this-when-you-were-a-baby  envy.  More on new (to me) amazing baby products later.


grandma bag Back CC


The Grandma carryall began as a purchased white canvas bag. I planned a simple embroidered front and back, but as usual, the project grew like Topsy.  In a short time, I realized that my ultimate goal was to make an entertainment bag for Baby.  That’s when I knew that it would have been easier to start from scratch,  since I had to disassemble the entire bag to add the embellishments I wanted.





First the bag was embroidered, front and back, with the darling Camp Grandma collection from Bernina.  I added  chenille rick rack for color and textural interest.

I lined the bag with lime green  seersucker and added a divider with a few pockets. To give it body and make it washable, I used a sheet of plastic needlepoint grid.  Yellow gingham ribbon lined the straps and big bright pink polka dot grosgrain ribbons anchored each handle.




The feature that holds a baby’s interest longer than anything is the dingle-dangle border at the top of the bag.  I carefully selected a variety of charms and buttons from my novelty button collection, choosing many that had special meaning–a football, sewing machine, log cabin, a heart, an airplane.  Others included a frog, ballet slippers, gingerbread man and two jingle bells for sound.   All these and more were strung – with 1/8” ribbon then knotted.

Finally, with the same bright pink gingham ribbon that I used to hold the inside pockets in place, I ruched it up to create a ruffled effect.  I slipped the ribbon ringed buttons under the ruched pink gingham ribbon and stitched it down along the top edge of the bag.

Of course, I stitched them VERY securely, aware of the choking hazard.  But the babies only played with this while sitting on my lap with full time adult supervision.  The bag has been washed several times and not one of the buttons has come loose.

When my grandchildren were very small, they enjoy rubbing their fingers over the chenille rick rack and even over the embroidery and ruched ribbon.

But my, oh my, the products available today!  My bag is stocked with disposable high chair tray covers!  Who knew?  That removes any questions about cleanliness at Joe’s Greasy Spoon.

Then, when Baby graduates from the high chair to a booster seat in a fast food place, I pull out my package of Clorox wipes and give the table top a once over.  I’ve even used it once in the playground area of the fast food place when a snotty nosed little guy wiped the slide as Robert was on his way down.  I restrained myself from Cloroxing that child’s nose and hands but it was hard.  Then we left.

I keep insect repellent wipes for buggy days at the park and disposable plastic baby spoons—can you believe it?–for eating out.   Also, baby sunglasses, sunscreen and sunhat are packed with the standard diaper bag gear: diapers, a change of clothes, burp cloths, bib, baby wipes, a tube of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (ever hear of that?  It’s a great diaper rash cream.),  zip locked baby washcloth and a bottle of water for drinking or for wetting the washcloth, sweater, booties, change pad, a zip lock bag of Cheerios and/or teething crackers, sippy cup, unopened bottle of apple juice and a plastic bag for soiled diapers.  Then I throw in whatever else seems appropriate for the moment.

When I come home, before I do anything else, I restock the bag with anything that has been used up.  Dirty sweater or baby clothes are replaced first and then the soiled ones laundered.   All the while, I  chant the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared.

Whether it’s babysitting or a playdate, taking a grandbaby out is such fun.   With my Grandma bag, I am as prepared as grandchild #3 Alastair’s Eagle Scout father.  Except for the pocket knife and matches.

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