The heartwarming reason why this will make the perfect gift for your family

''It keeps me occupied when I can't shut my brain off.''

By Anita Lyons
When looking for that perfect gift to give to a growing family, it's hard not to go down the route of a Bond's onesie or a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
And when it comes to that perfect gift with a difference, finding the right thing can be extremely daunting.
To help you out, we've found an incredibly personal and stunning keepsake, which is perfect for any family of any size; and while these make the perfect gift, the heartwarming story behind them will make you want one even more.
Melbourne-based Joanne Basile, who owns the online business Stitch it By Jo is the creator of these stunning framed cross-stitch pieces.
Designed on her home computer and then stitched by hand, Joanne's designs are truly gorgeous - however, the story behind them is what makes them so special.
You see, Joanne, a mum-of-two, suffered from severe anxiety before she had children and used the craft to "stop the overwhelming thoughts" in her head and then, six months ago, was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder.
Then, when her son Christian, 9, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), her hobby turned into a "calming" coping mechanism.
In an exclusive chat with Now to Love, Joanne opened up about how her small business has helped transform their lives.
The cutest little keepsake for a growing family. (Source: Instagram/StitchitbyJo)
"It was something that kept me occupied and kept me from thinking too much because I'm an anxious person," Joanne revealed. "When I'm not doing it, and I try to sit down and not do nothing, I can't."
"I decided to stitch these little people," she added. "It calms me and it's 'my thing'. You know, I'm a mum, I'm a wife, but this is something that I can do for me."
Some days in the Basile household can be particularly difficult, especially when Christian's schedule is disrupted.
"Over the weekend, we had Christian's first communion and that was a very overwhelming experience for him," she admitted. "It was something completely different. Routine is the key with Christian, so we try to keep things the same for him as much as possible."
In fact, routine is so paramount for their son, that Jo and her husband, Joseph, have to check out restaurants in advance to ensure that the environment is suitable - and this type of meticulous planning, along with the day-to-day highs and lows can be mentally exhausting for everyone.
Joanne with her family. Christian, 9, Zara, 6 and husband Joseph. (Source: Instagram/Joanne Basile)
For the Basile's other child, Zara, this is "normal life" as she "doesn't know any different".
"We do feel guilty sometimes," Joanne said about her young daughter. "Especially because we have to take him to OT sessions and psych sessions; and we focus a lot of our time on him, but we do try and focus on a lot of things she's interested in, like dance. It's about trying to find that balance."
Jo also says that co-parenting is key when it comes to their children, and both partners try to spend an equal amount of time with their kids. If one is taking Christian to the doctors, the other is spending some quality time with Zara.

Earlier this month, Jo created a gorgeous piece for her son which depicted Christian holding an electric guitar next to superstar Ed Sheeran.
"Life without guitar would B-Flat", the cross-stitch said.
This particular project was very special for Jo, especially because Christian had specifically requested it.
"For him to express something like that, was a really good feeling," Jo said.
"Life without guitar would B-Flat". Jo's cross-stitch for her son, Christian, featuring Ed Sheeran!

Stitch It By Jo

For more information, you can find Stitch It By Jo on Facebook and Instagram.
NB: The current wait time is approx 13 weeks.
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