Fab Finds, Giveaways, Wall Decor

Giveaway: Custom Toy Portraiture From First Friends

“Gou-gou” means, dog in Chinese. It was my eldest son’s first word thanks to his grandma. It is also the name of his cherished lovey. Dear gou-gou came to us from an old friend and Pottery Barn Kids. He’s worn, tattered and just plain beaten up but only because he is dragged, kissed and squeezed daily. It will be bittersweet the day my growing boy gives up his gou-gou. And while I plan to one day package gou-gou away in a box (can’t help but think Toy Story here), how sweet and symbolic would it be capture my son’s best friend in a custom portrait? After all, gou-gou is kinda like family. He sits at the dinner table and has enjoyed every family vacation to date!

Artist Erin Chainani has cleverly created the Miami based business, First Friends, allowing us sentimental mommies keep precious childhood toys and the “gou-gou’s” of the world alive! Erin is a mom of twins, former NYC costume designer and Yale trained artist.  Taking cue from the excitement her own children expressed when she painted portraits of their favorite toys, Erin has made purchasing a one of a kind portrait a convenient online transaction. Simply submit payment, email your subject’s photo and expect to receive a beautifully hand painted, original work of art.

Erin’s one of a kind custom portraits start at $65 unframed and are turned around in approximately two weeks. We truly believe her art makes the perfect keepsake gift and gift certificates are also available.

SAVE! Mention “ProjectNursery” at check out for your unframed order and receive complimentary custom framing!

WIN IT!! Artist Erin Chainani will custom create a 9×12 framed toy portrait of your child’s choice (a $165 value). Enter by commenting with the story behind your child’s favorite toy or cherished lovey. We can’t wait to hear about it! Contest ends March 18th, 2011 at 11:59 PST.

EXTRA ENTRIES

1. “Like” Project Nursery and First Friends on Facebook and tell us you did with a comment below.

2. Follow Project Nursery and First Friends on Twitter, tweet about it and tell us you did with a comment below.

3. Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter or let us know you are already a subscriber with a comment below.

Contest Closed. Congrats to Sydney S who wrote:

“My 2 yr old son had no attachments to any toys or blankets, until he received this stuffed turtle from his grandma. You would swear he thought it was his long lost brother the way he *gasped* and *Oooo’ed* over seeing it for the first time. It is with him at all times. Bed time, breakfast, dinner, brushing teeth, potty training…you name it & turtle is THERE. I think he would go bonkers over a painting of his turtle. What a great idea.”

159 Comments

  1. 1

    My little guy got his first car for Christmas and he is now obsessed with all moving vehicles. He plays with it every waking moment and a portraiture of it would be a forever keepsake.
    whitlav at yahoo dot com

  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

    Our family received an Edible Arrangement last year at Christmas, complete with a mylar baloon and plush snowman. My son instantly latched onto the snowman and has yet to give him up. He goes almost everywhere and is a pre-requisite for bedtime.

  6. 6

    My oldest sons favorite lovey is a Chick Fil A stuffed cow. We gave to him after we went to a Grand Opening of Chick Fil A in our area. He has been sleeping with his “Moo Moo”, he calls it, since he was 10 months old and he is now 4 years old.

  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13

    my daughter’s favorite toy is her Build A Bear she got to make herself. She sleeps with it everynight:)

  14. 14
  15. 15

    I also recieve your weekly updates and really enjoy them too!
    michelletripper(at)yahoo(dot)ca

  16. 16
  17. 17

    My little guy is only 5-months-old, but he has this Douglas puppy that he already loves to cuddle with and he tries to give it kisses!! It’s adorable!!

  18. 18
  19. 19

    My 2 yr old son had no attachments to any toys or blankets, until he received this stuffed turtle from his grandma. You would swear he thought it was his long lost brother the way he *gasped* and *Oooo’ed* over seeing it for the first time. It is with him at all times. Bed time, breakfast, dinner, brushing teeth, potty training…you name it & turtle is THERE. I think he would go bonkers over a painting of his turtle. What a great idea.

  20. 20
  21. 21

    My girls all have their childhood Cabbage Patch dolls sitting on the dressers of THEIR daughters and my son loved his Alf doll-even after it lost its talking ability in the pool-

  22. 22
  23. 23

    My eldest son’s Turtle was made with love for him by his Auntie. Turtle is always dragged around the house!

  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27

    My 14-month-old son has a dog lovey that he takes everywhere. We had to buy two extras (one for our house and the other for his grandmother’s house). I didn’t think he would every get attached to a lovey since my 4 1/2 year old daugther didn’t. I’m not ready for the day when he can’t take lovey to school with him.

  28. 28
  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
  34. 34

    While I was pregnant my husband and I went to Paris. We bought our soon to be bundle of joy a little stuffed Lion at the cutest little baby store and his name was Norbet… our little man LOVES his Norbet and it is so special to mommy and daddy too!

  35. 35

    My 2 year old son’s very first toy(s) was two little stuffed animals given to him right after birth by my mother. One was an elephant and one was a giraffe. I have them both on display on his bookshelf. They mean so much to me, just like he does!!

  36. 36

    The first gift I received for my 18 month old, Osker was given to me two years ago. Doggy was the softest stuffed animal until the loving began one year ago. Doggy goes everywhere my little man and I travel. Every once in a while, Doggy even takes a bubble bath with Osker. Sadly, I have searched online to find Doggy’s twin, and first impressions has stopped making our special lovey. Needless to say, Doggy cannot be lost and will be patched up when the time comes. Osker’s first word was, you guessed it, “Doggy”. A portrait of Doggy would be cherished for a lifetime.

  37. 37

    My 10 month baby boy’s very first toy was a Build A Bear brown teddy bear that his older brother got for him. It is precious, just like he is.

  38. 38

    I want to win this SO BAD! This is what I want for Mother’s Day – a portrait of my Gaga from childhood (a stuffed yellow duck) and my son’s Gaga (a yellow duck lovey) How awesome would that be?!?

  39. 39
  40. 40
  41. 41
  42. 42
  43. 43

    My daughter, who just turned 5 years old, received a Cabbage Patch baby for her first birthday from dear friends. This was the start of an ongoing friendship. Within the first week, she was calling her “Baby.” Then, my daughter soon added the CPK name so that she became “Baby Madison.”

  44. 44
  45. 45
  46. 46

    I would love a painting of my “bear on fire” my grey bear and pacifier. My mom bought me the Snuggle promotion bear at the supermarket checkout to quiet me down when I was 6 months old and I still have it (hidden in my moms house because my husband threatened to throw it out) 28 years later! That bear, and big yellow pacifier on a red yarn ribbon went everywhere with me as a child. There are so many pictures from my childhood where you can see a little grey fur with and red ribbon peeking in. It survived hospitalizations, hotel laundry, lots of trips and excursions, and lots of hugs and tears. Even in highschool I left it on the corner of my desk. Now it’s missing and eye and barely any fur, but the memories I still cherish.
    My children have had lovies, mostly they have come and gone. However, there is one stuffed duck attached to a pacifier that my son loved. We called it “suck a duck” and he carried it around for the 3 1/2 years of his life. It became his badge and it was at his side when he passed away. We framed it next to a picture of him in my bedroom. A year after he passed away my friend bought an identical one for my daughter when she was born. She’s 3 and still sleeps with her “duck duck”.

  47. 47
  48. 48
  49. 49
  50. 50

    I knit a little lamb for my baby a few months before she was born, and my hubby and I kissed it every night to fill it with love for her. We brought it to the hospital so we can tell her she’s had Lamby since the day she was born (we made sure to take pics of them together to show her later). She’s three weeks old now, and I hope she comes to love Lamby as much as he’s sure to love her.
    <3 =)

  51. 51

    My son’s favorite lovey is a stuffed rabbit. My parents actually bought it for me when I was little, maybe 5 or 6, and I passed it on to my son when he was born. It definitely has a well-loved look to it, but we both adore it!

  52. 52
  53. 53
  54. 54
  55. 55

    I thought about this as we were putting our son down for bed tonight. He has 3! He had “Mr. Froggy” that stays on his crib & he reaches for him every time he goes to sleep and then there is the lion that arrived as a birthday gift & he loves to hug & kiss him..too cute! AND, the most special is a Teddy bear that his great grandparents brought all the way from England for my husband when he was a baby … It has been saved and kept in great condition, my mother in law sent it with a beautiful note when she found out we were expecting and this Teddy bear sat patiently in the nursery awaiting our sons arrival and now watches over him every night!!!

  56. 56
  57. 57

    My daughter’s most cherished toy is a gray stuffed hippo, aptly named “Hippo-paw-hammus” (hippopotamus) or “Mee-sir Hippo” (Mr. Hippo) for short. She was just over a year old when she picked him up off a store shelf and wouldn’t put him down. I knew right then that she had found a forever friend, since she wasn’t (and still isn’t) the kind of child who easily warms up to just any unfamiliar toy. Almost three years later…”Mr. Hippo”, fur not nearly as soft, with a tendency to slouch and a tattered tush tag that she absolutely refuses to have cut…is still her trusty, very well-loved shadow. She’ll be four in May and I know that she would be over the moon to have a painting of him. It brings tears of joy to my eyes just thinking of a day in the future when she’ll look fondly at the painting of her very first best friend and be flooded with so many wonderful childhood memories.

  58. 58
  59. 59
  60. 60

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea. My eldest son has a little monkey that he sucked his fingers with and had to have everywhere we went. He named it “Night Night” when he was little and he still sleeps with it – he is 7 years old! It is pretty worn and might not hold out until college! :) I would love to have a custom portrait of his Night Night – such a beautiful idea.

  61. 61

    Wow-my son’s lovey is “Bear” and we put him in his bed at 4 months old. He’s 3 and a half now and sleeps with him every night. He has been on all our vacations and helped during many a sick day. We actually looked for backups of this tiny blue bear, but had no luck. He is tattered and torn (and sometimes stinky…), but couldn’t be more loved!
    Jennifer Coons

    Follow both on facebook!

  62. 62
  63. 63

    For my 2nd birthday I got a newborn Cabbage Patch doll and a kitten. I named the doll Cabbage and the kitten, Feep. Creative, right? ;) The kitten was stolen a few years later by a crazy neighbor, but now in my mid-20’s, Cabbage is still a loved member of my family. She even stays in the guestroom (aka future nursery!). Her fabric body has several fudgcicle stains from the early 1990’s.. Her nose and ears were ground flat by a treadmill accident in ’96.. That sme year she had her first wardrobe changed when my little brother was born and I stole one of his newborn outfits.. In school when we talked about fire safety and how it’s important to get out the house right away and not to bring anything, I would protest in horror–Cabbage would NOT be left behind to burn! She survived my summer trips to Kansas where my German grandmother insisted she needed a bath as soon we stepped off the plane. My grandmother would kidnap her while I wasn’t looking, place her in a pillowcase, and wash and dry her. I would cry and pout, worried sick! Everytime I talk to my grandmother she still, to this day, asks me how Cabbage is and when the last time she had a bath was. I would LOVE a little painting of her for my nursery, I think it would add such a special, meaningful touch.

    I follow you both on Facebook: kaelielyse@yahoo.com

  64. 64

    For my 2nd birthday I got a newborn Cabbage Patch doll and a kitten. I named the doll Cabbage and the kitten, Feep. Creative, right? ;) The kitten was stolen a few years later by a crazy neighbor, but now in my mid-20’s, Cabbage is still a loved member of my family. She even stays in the guestroom (aka future nursery!). Her fabric body has several fudgcicle stains from the early 1990’s.. Her nose and ears were ground flat by a treadmill accident in ’96.. That sme year she had her first wardrobe changed when my little brother was born and I stole one of his newborn outfits.. In school when we talked about fire safety and how it’s important to get out the house right away and not to bring anything, I would protest in horror–Cabbage would NOT be left behind to burn! She survived my summer trips to Kansas where my German grandmother insisted she needed a bath as soon we stepped off the plane. My grandmother would kidnap her while I wasn’t looking, place her in a pillowcase, and wash and dry her. I would cry and pout, worried sick! Everytime I talk to my grandmother she still, to this day, asks me how Cabbage is and when the last time she had a bath was. I would LOVE a little painting of her for my nursery, I think it would add such a special, meaningful touch.

    I subscribed to the newsletter =)

  65. 65

    Crumbles the bear came to us when my daughter had her tonsils out on her 3rd birthday. Just like her, he was very brave in the hospital, letting the doctors bandage him up and then helping her eat icecream cake afterwards! She is now 6 and the longest they have been apart is when she goes to school each day. Although he does often come along in the car to see her off and pick her up. He came all the way from the UK to Australia and I often worry what would happen if something happened to Crumbles, as I am not sure we could replace him. He is starting to show some signs of wear and tear now, after three years of being dragged around everywhere – but this only adds to his appeal!

    I also liked both your pages on Facebook! And tweeted about it from my business page… (the inspired occasion)

  66. 66

    Love this!

    My daughter’s lovey is a teddy bear she named “Teddy” (real creative, I know) who she carries around EVERYWHERE. She used to be white but for the life of me I cannot get her to be anything but a tarnished gray. Capturing her in her original white condition on the wall would be lovely! :)

    VW

  67. 67
  68. 68
  69. 69
  70. 70
  71. 71
  72. 72

    Oh my goodness! I love this! My nephew not only carries around a stuffed Mickey Mouse everywhere he goes, but FEEDS him! I have to clean poor Mickey’s mouth out every night, as it is constantly full of cookies, french fries, and goodness knows what else! Mickey even has his own chair at the table, as Cooper insisted that Mickey be able to eat with the family (He is a part of the family, after all). I would love to win one of these for his bedroom, as we are planning a Mickey overhaul while he visits his great aunt and grandma in Kansas in a few weeks. I already LOVE project nursery, and now first friends on face book. I also now follow both on Twitter, and subscribe to the newsletter. *Fingers crossed that I win for Cooper and Mickey*

  73. 73

    My son’s favorite toy is a Winnie the pooh stuffed animal that he received from his foster care mother before we adopted him. He sleeps with it every night, and it is getting a little worn as a result!

  74. 74

    My daughter has had “Ticky” a yellow plaid blanket since birth. When she was 3, she tripped over Ticky while walking down our stairs and was told he had to stay in her room. At 3 1/2, we went to my brother’s and realized Ticky was left behind. At 2am I heard something and went to where she was. She was laying in bed, tears streaming down her face. I asked what was wrong. “I miss Ticky.” At 12 (and she was still sleeping with Ticky under her pillow) her father asked what she was going to do with Ticky when she got married. “He’ll have to love Ticky too!”
    Now she is 25 and has left home. Has a great job as an RN. To this day, when you go to her room here at home, you will STILL find Ticky under that same pillow. He’s ratty, we’re scared to wash him, some of the binding is gone, but she still loves that blanket!

  75. 75
  76. 76
  77. 77
  78. 78

    Out of the three boys, I would have to pick my middle child’s baby monkey he’s had since he was born. A dear friend started a “monkey” tradition with us, giving each child a stuffed monkey as a newborn gift and our 4 year old is still clinging to his as I type! It would make a gorgeous piece of art work I’m sure! THX!

  79. 79
  80. 80
  81. 81
  82. 82

    My toddler loves his “Zaya” raggedy boy-dall together with the Lightening McQueene. It’s a combination that puts a smile on my face! His “Zaya” came to him as a gift from my husband and me when he turned one. And for the past 2 years, my baby-toddler cherished this toy amazingly. “Zaya” has been washed many times, but keeps his head up and the colors did not fade a tid-bit!

  83. 83
  84. 84
  85. 85
  86. 86
  87. 87
  88. 88

    My 5 year old son’s favorite toy is a stuffed lemur named Sebastian. We got it on a family trip to New York City and I almost didn’t let him get it! Luckily Grandma (aka Ya Ya) was there to indulge him! It really is adorable!

  89. 89
  90. 90
  91. 91

    My daughter loves her OSO (bear in spanish) it is pink and worn out and we have already had to replace the fabric on the paws because they fell apart. No one can touch her little baby!

    Im a subscriber on all!

  92. 92
  93. 93
  94. 94

    My son has a soft well-worn stuffed dog, which he named Jonova (he made that up…don’t know WHERE it came from!). He’s 6 now, and the 2 have been inseparable for about 4 years! In bed at night before he falls asleep, he and Jonova have a talk about the days events. It’s a bit like Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon…..my husband and I set outside his room and listen in. It’s very entertaining….and very sweet!

  95. 95

    My 2 year old son’s favorite toy is a handmade stuffed dinosaur we recieved as a gift before he was born. He has worn it out so much, we recently had to seek out the lady who made it and had her make an identical one so we could switch it out with the one that is falling apart. I was afraid of my son’s reaction but he seemed pretty excited to see “Dino” looking so fresh and new again!!

  96. 96
  97. 97
  98. 98
  99. 99

    Oh, I LOVE this idea!

    I am 32 years old and I’m going to admit that I STILL sleep with a stuffed lion my brother gave me when I was a kid.

    My son sleeps with Hello Mr. Zebra which is one of those blanket lovies with a head. My twin daughters have Bob and Leafa which are a stuffed camel and a stuffed zebra my husband sent them when he was deployed to the desert. Our youngest sleeps with a soft baby doll.

  100. 100
  101. 101
  102. 102
  103. 103
  104. 104
  105. 105

    Our little girl has this tiny little blanket with a Winnie the Pooh head on it. She lights up and squeals everytime she sees it! If I’d anticipated that she’d like Pooh this much, we’d have decorated her whole nursery with Pooh.

  106. 106
  107. 107

    I’m a subscriber and follow on Facebook. My daughter is in love with “Tat” her stuffed cat that looks like our pet. Tat lost his wiskers early on from her pulling on them but he’s still perfect. He goes everywhere and has even been in our family portraits.

  108. 108
  109. 109
  110. 110
  111. 111
  112. 112
  113. 113
  114. 114
  115. 115

    My son has a stuffed dog that he adores. He got this dog as a gift before he was even born. It was one of those things I never thought much about and stuck in his closet. It was a white stuffed dog with black spots. One day when my son was about two he drug this stuffed animal out of the closet and started palying with it. Eventually he started sleeping with it. Soon he named it…Spot, very original. Eventually spot was our family pet. People would tell my son about their real, live animals and he would in return tell them about Spot. Yes, we felt bad that he thought of a stuffed dog like other people thought about their real dogs and eventually we got a real dog. My son is now 6 years old and even though he loves his real dog, Spot is still very special to him. Spot has been to show and tell days numerous times, he has been on all his overnight trips, he has been in numerous school drawings, stories, etc., and Spot has a house in the playroom that has been specially built for him. Spot goes to bed with him every night and comes downstairs with him every morning. My son always knows where Spot is. My son loves this stuffed dog as if he was real and over the years our whole family has come to embrace this stuffed dog like a family pet as well. Silly? Maybe…but it brings my son great joy and that is what really counts. To have a portrait of Spot would be priceless.

  116. 116
  117. 117
  118. 118

    My granddaughter is in love with “Elmo”. She has her stuffed toy Elmo, Elmo clothes, shoes ,dishes and silverware all Elmo themed. She constantly wants to watch Sesame Street to see Elmo!

  119. 119
  120. 120
  121. 121

    This is a great giveaway! But I don’t know if my baby boy has a favorite. He loves all his toys, a whole lot, he smushes them all into his face out of love :)

  122. 122

    My four year old’s love of his life is “eet-eet”, the monkey. Before he could talk, he could make the sounds and that is how eet-eet came about. When he was a baby, he tried wrapping his blanket around his head and we got nervous, decided to switch out the blankie for a lovey and it has been going strong since. We bought three “eet-eets” just in case of an accidental “misplacement.” But, thankfully, the original is still in play, and actually, now – he knows the difference between the three, obviously. Funny, it actually comforts me to look at him sitting snuggly, with “eet-eet’s” tail wrapped around his hand and his thumb in his mouth. I know that we have to start to limit his “eet-eet” time, since he is now four years old. But I do believe that I will have a hard time giving him up, a portrait would be a perfect memory…….beautiful work!
    -Erica

  123. 123

    Oh how neat! I would love one made for my new niece due April 3. My sister has a zebra lovey and I think it would be perfect. Thanks so much!

  124. 124

    Wow, just looking at these portraits makes me a little weepy. The thought of having my 3 year old son’s beloved “Monkey” beautifully painted, no matter how tattered it currently is would make him so happy. He got his first Monkey at 6 months old and loved it so much we went ahead and bought a 2nd and then a 3rd. This way they go in and out of rotation and when one is being washed, there is a backup. He doesn’t really know at this point that they are different but he’s catching on. :\ Sadly, Monkey #1 was lost a few months ago but Monkey #2 quickly took it’s place! Sure hope we win!

  125. 125
  126. 126
  127. 127
  128. 128
  129. 129
  130. 130

    I would absolutely adore a portrait of “Duck Duck”. He has been my daughter’s constant companion, from her trip home from the hospital until now, almost 6 years later. He is tattered, faded, and his bill is a little longer than it should be from all of the extra lovin’. A portrait would be something that she would love to have hanging in her room now, and something she could pass down to her children too, since I seriously doubt that Duck Duck will be much more than threads by that point! I am already a fan of PN on facebook, and after some searching, I found First Friends on there too :) Thanks so much!

  131. 131

    My sons comfort item is the tags on his favorite blanket and a stuffed dog. I would love to have such a wonderful reminder of them before they get tattered beyond recognition. Such a lovely idea! Thanks for the chance.

    blaskey1186 at yahoo dot com

  132. 132
  133. 133
  134. 134
  135. 135
  136. 136
  137. 137
  138. 138
  139. 139

    My baby Kenzie loves her “elm”, watches elmo on youtube and knows that sesame street comes on at breakfast time =)

  140. 140

    My son has a rubber bouncy horse (Roddy brand) named Honey. He loves her. He plays like they’re both super heros and Honey has to wear a cape, too. He plays cowboys and both have to wear a hat. He would sleep with her if his bed was big enough. LOL

  141. 141
  142. 142
  143. 143
  144. 144
  145. 145

    when #2 was born, #1 gave him a teddy bear as a welcome gift. He loves that bear and we take his picuture with it every month so we can see how the baby grows… or how the bear is shrinking!

  146. 146
  147. 147
  148. 148
  149. 149

    I bought my daughter an elephant looking thing when she was born. it was bigger than her(my dd was the size of a ty beenie baby). we named it snuffy why i dont know. to this day she has it on her bed she is 11
    willdebbie97 at yahoo dot com

  150. 150

    I love this idea. My2 yr old daughter has a stuffed cat she named Meow Meow. Meow Meow goes everywhere with us and is very loved. She is a very unique cat. She is purple with polka dots. So cute. I would love to have a framed picture of her to hang in my daughter room. It would hold very special memories for years to come

  151. 151
  152. 152

    my son’s lovey is a stuffed baby penguin he loves to take for naptimes in his crib- it used to be a stuffed shark we called tibby, but tibby has been displaced!

  153. 153

    my twin granddaughters both love their sock monkey! They are still babies, but they won’t go to sleep until they have it!

    jagar0047 at yahoo dot com

  154. 154

    I “Like” Project Nursery and First Friends on Facebook as mary gardner

    jagar0047 at yahoo dot com

  155. 155
  156. 156
  157. 157

    My little girl has a stuffed duck toy that she just loves! I found it a secondhand shop. She doesn’t always have to have it, but when she sees it her whole face lights up!

  158. 158

    My daughter’s first toy and friend was a stuffed Barney. She carried it everywhere with her. She finally got to see Barney in person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *