Incredible Local Artisan: Cheeky Monkey

This week I received the most INCREDIBLE gift for Henry that I had to share. People have been so overwhelmingly generous and kind in thinking of my little guy, especially people I don’t even know like Holly Johnson of Cheeky Monkey Home.  When I unwrapped this pillow I nearly fell over- especially when I turned it around and saw the incredible stitching of Henry’s name and birth information on the back!  Made of the most luxurious merino wool felt, I knew the minute I touched this pillow that it was a true work of art.  I was so touched and am going to treasure it forever.



So I went to her website and was blown away by her talent- and so excited to see that she was local!  There are so many gorgeous patterns, all of which would make the most amazing gift for a baby shower, child’s birthday or even just for a friend- and having a name or date of a momentous occasion added to it just makes it all the more special. You can purchase your own through her Etsy shop.


Look at this handiwork- all cut and stitched by hand locally in Belmont.  I just cannot rave enough about how magnificent the craftsmanship is!


Look at the little carrots on the back!!!

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Some patterns are fantastic for people of ANY age. :)

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This horse and otomi inspired pattern would be so sweet in a girls room.

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Some Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard options that are SO cute!

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Bold bright pillows (and some cheeky monkeys!)


Nautical themed options…

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And some more pretty patterns…

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I just LOVE these. :)

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A “Starry Night” themed pillow for an aspiring artist and a koi pond one as well.

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I hope you will check out her shop!


  1. Erin I love your blog, but I just want to make a comment about yesterdays comment regarding the prices of some of the things you list. I don’t think that the woman yesterday was judging you. I think she was trying to tell you that with your success you are becoming less relatable to the readers who make less than you. I don’t feel that way about all your posts. But I would just remember that people read your blog because they can relate to you. Posting how you need $2000 worth of strollers and carrier’s is just hard for most people to relate to.

    1. Y’all, Erin is an interior designer, not a writer for Consumer Reports.

      I would much rather she post about things that are authentic to her experience rather than suggest a less expensive product that she did not choose. Perhaps, rather than criticizing her choices based on money, examine why she made the choice she did (light, easy, pretty, and functional for her family – it’s written in the post!) and apply that to your situation at the price level you can afford.

      As someone who is renovating her home, I also do not have the budget she has had for her home – and the idea of designing my own furniture gives me the heebie jeebies. But, THAT’S OKAY! I am able to take ideas from her blog and apply them to my own design. I fail to see how her baby-rearing posts are any different in this regard.

    2. As a mom with a young toddler, I thought I’d point out that almost 100% of the baby gear we own were gifts. When you have your first baby, most people get showered with gifts from friends and family. While wonderful, it’s honestly more than you need at times. I too have a $1000+ stroller plus lots of other ridiculously expensive baby gear. But guess what?!? I bought none of them myself! Just something to keep in mind before you judge others on how they spend their money.

    3. If you want to see price points that the masses can “relate to”, go to Amazon. If you want to see authentic, curated, used-by-a-real-working-stylish-mom, stay here.

      1. “This whole donation thing is another way of saying I “shouldn’t” have all this stuff and is a product of jealousy”

        Wow, Erin! I find this whole conversation kind of ridiculous. Yes you should of course buy what you want and make genuine recommendations regardless of price. But I don’t understand the conclusion that because a couple people thought a stroller pricey that they are suddenly jealous and shouldn’t think you have this stuff. And recommendations for donations are important. I think I won’t be having any more children which is a sad conclusion to come to, and making sure my kids used items (whether it’s $5 or $500) go to a good place where they can be used and appreciated helps with coming to the conclusion that that stage of their lives is over.

        A few days ago half of your post (as some of your awards posts in the past) was composed of blatantly judgemental comments about what some accomplished people choose to wear (clothes created by [fashion] designers like yourself who probably put a lot of work and energy into it). Did they ask you your opinion? What would they think of those negative comments? Just wondering before you call some readers who enjoy your blog and are simply chiming in with an opinion jealous and wanting you to donate all your stuff.

        I’m sure I’ll take a lot of heat about this but I enjoy your blog and was sad to read that comment yesterday.

      2. Christina, I thought calling those moms jealous was a bit harsh too. Everyone knows Erin works hard. No one said she shouldn’t have them. It’s the internet – you can’t accurately guess someone’s tone. And a lot of moms DO donate strollers when they have another kid and upgrade to a double. But hey, the newborn stage is tough and she’s probably not getting enough sleep.

        Cait, I hope you’re not implying that moms who spend less on baby gear – or other things they own – aren’t stylish.

    4. I have been a lurker here for quite a while, but I am a first time poster. I have never felt compelled to comment before now. It is difficult for me to understand how comments (especially ones of the passive-aggressive variety) criticizing money spent on baby items are warranted. Jenna is spot-on–Erin is being authentic to her experience. How can she recommend something that she has no experience using? I am equally confused by people who are so intent on bringing up the donation issue, as if Erin plans to dump her high-priced baby items at the first opportunity. It feels like she JUST had Henry five minutes ago–she will be using these items for a while (especially if trying for a second child is a possibility for the Gates family).

      Cloaking a comment in feigned nicety and an “I’m just looking out for you–I’m sharing this only because I care” attitude, does not take away the sentiment of your comment: You are judging Erin, in a passive-aggressive way, and there is NO WAY that is helpful or beneficial to her.

      I look at it this way. If you have read Erin’s blog for any length of time, you know Henry’s birth story and everything that was involved in being able to have the blessing that is Henry. Why on earth would you begrudge her getting the best she can afford for her son?! In the design world you hear all the time, “Buy the best quality you can afford and are comfortable with spending” when it comes to important pieces in your home. Why would Erin not do the same for her son? Why would any parent not do the same? I think it is unfair to assume that the best quality/comfortable spending limit should be universal. It simply never will be.

      Blessings to you, Erin. I am thankful for you and the service you provide to your readers.

      1. Exactly! You took the words right out of my fingertips. Can’t believe this nonsense has continued for a second day. Oh, fabulous pillow find, Erin! I am placing an order for my own kiddos.

      2. Amen, Jenna and Kimberly. And I’m sorry to post this on pillow post (they are so gorgeous, for the record), but I am completely exasperated on Erin’s behalf that people are STILL giving her a hard time. For goodness sake, if you are so put off by how not relatable Erin’s posts/product recommendations are (to you) then stop reading.

        What gets me the most is the immediate assumption that Erin is NOT going to pass along/donate her baby items when she’s done with them (and good grief, Henry is only 2 months old!). She wasn’t even given the opportunity to respond to a question of that nature, it was judgemental lecturing cloaked in “feigned nicety” (as Kimberley so perfectly put it) from the very beginning. Quite frankly, it’s nobody else’s business what she does with her baby gear when she’s done with it.

        Erin, I’m so sorry you still have to deal with these types of comments (feels like Mommy-shaming at its best). I certainly can’t afford all the amazing products you recommend but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy your posts. You’ve worked damned hard to be able to afford those things. Be proud and don’t apologize. Hugs from a long time reader and fellow Mom!

    5. The pillows are absolutely beautiful and special.

      But wow you ladies remind me of girl on the train…backing up Erin and making up what she would do and acting like you are her best friend. Erin is a nyt best selling author and decorator. Her blogs are part of her work and allowed her the opportunity to write a book….. She needs to be able to take constructive criticism as she is a professional. If she can’t then perhaps she should just blog for her friends and family.
      She is *gifted* many expensive items (2000 crib, 2000 dresser, etcetc) and then posts on her blog… Which is fine. The items are beautiful and it’s always nice to see high end opposed to low end let’s be real. But why shouldnt we challenge her and ask her to give back or help her loyal followers give back. Like hey I was gifted a crib maybe I will gift 2 ikea cribs for charity bc it’s the right thing to do and I would I have spent money on a crib anyway.
      Anyway bottom line get a life ladies and this is her job.

      1. Sue and others – Maybe she does a ton for charity that she doesn’t acknowledge on her blog. Let’s face it, she talks about a stroller that was gifted to her and the first comment is “you should donate it”. How is she supposed to take that? “Oh, thanks for explaining the obvious to me while at the same time implying that without that I would just go on living my perfect life without and concern for “the little” people”.

        This whole thing is absurd. It is a blog people! A design blog with some fashion and personal items thrown in. Why do people have ruin it? Just say you like it or don’t. But get over yourself thinking you are the Erin police. She is just fine and you only see a small slice of her life. You don’t know her like you think you do.

    6. You know what? Why are you even leaving a comment here about that? This post is about adorable pillows. STHU about anything else.

  2. Wow, these are amazing, thanks for sharing! my baby boy is due in 5 weeks and i bookmarked this site :-) I also loved yesterday’s post.

  3. I have adored these cushions since Cheeky Monkey began designing them, not to mention the many accessory items this artist creates. Friends are forever asking me where I got my felt laptop cover and IPhone case. And I love the quality of the felt. My grandchildren have beaten some of the big ones around for years, standing and lying on them and rolling them around the living room. They hold up incredibly well! I regularly check the Cheeky Monkey website to see what new designs the artist has come up with. They make me smile.

  4. These pillows and designs are extraordinary! Lucky you, and thank you for sharing such talent. I adore the diagonal zipper placement on the back of your pillow.

    1. Holly is incredible, in many ways. We cherish the pillows she made with silhouettes from our boys, so special!

  5. What an adorable gift, those bunnies with the carrots on the back melt my heart!
    p.s. I hope Lindsey updates us on her home reno soon! I cant wait to see how the space turns out!

  6. Wow, these pillows are absolutely gorgeous. What a unique, special gift. A real treasure! Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  7. Erin, keep on doing what you’re doing! I’ve been reading this blog for eons and love all of your posts. Remember, haters gonna hate. You like what you like and you keep it real. Don’t let a couple of people upset you with their opinions.

  8. These are absolutely precious! Thank you for posting! I absolutely love following your blog… Your style is absolutely stunning!

  9. Love this post Erin! Holly’s line is extraordinary. Her creativity, bold use of color and meticulous craftsmanship are truly impeccable. She takes utmost care with every single gorgeous design! I have enjoyed giving gifts of her inspiring pillows and phone cases, all met with delight. I also have the pleasure of knowing Holly , and to top it all off, she is an extraordinarily lovely person. It is so nice to see true artists receive this wonderful praise.

  10. These are super adorable and unique. I love all the varieties offered. What a wonderful keepsake.

    As for the other comments, I too think it is extremely tacky to ask someone when they are going to donate their baby items, especially two months after giving birth, under the guise of looking out for poor Moms. None. of. your. business. There is one group of people in this country who think everyone should be equal. Get over it. Also, I would think by now everyone would have an idea from reading this blog the price point of the items Erin purchases. Don’t like it, don’t read her blog. How simple is that.

  11. Each pillow is a piece of art. They are amazing to the touch and eye. They will surely last a lifetime!

  12. Been reading last year, huh, about some oriental art and now seeing that elephant pillow I just remember about the Ganesha’s elephant head who brings happiness, joy and prosperity. I also love the patterns design. Thank you for sharing this.

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