Make a Sentimental & Creative Baby Shower Gift
Making a high quality baby gift is easy even if you are not "crafty". There are two main rules to remember when making a shower, birthday or Christmas gift for the special baby in your life:
1. Make something you either have the skill to make or wish to learn.
2. Keep in mind the amount of time you have to make the baby gift.
Many of us have a sentimental family heirloom that has been passed down and around. How did it become a beloved item? Someone took the time and care to make something lovely that could be enjoyed by all. Although many of you are thinking in terms of traditional crafty baby gifts, this list is a starting point to accessing the creativity that you are capable of. Even if you can't draw, knit or sew, you can still make something with love that will be cherished for the thought you put into it.
Needle Arts - Knitting and Crochet
Many times when I find out someone close to me is pregnant, I whip out the knitting needles and my pattern book. I save patterns I love from magazines, and now from web sites, and put them into a 3 ring binder for later use. If time is short, I usually end up crocheting something because, for me, it is faster. Knitting takes time and patience to finish a project bigger than booties or a hat, while I can crochet an entire baby blanket in about 5 hours. I have stitches I really love, and I usually make a pattern from scratch using a favorite stitch and sizing the gift as big as I wish.
I have sewn many baby gifts in my time, including baby clothes, quilts and bedding sets. Sometimes you can get extra fabric in the same pattern as the baby's nursery theme and make something unique like a diaper holder or wall hanging. I actually made a carseat cover for my own child because I couldn't find one I liked. You can also sew stuffed animals. My sister made a lovely family of elephants for my baby because the nursery theme was elephants. Don't box yourself in to just clothes and blankets though. I also made a replica of a palm tree light that I saw in a pricey baby shop.
I love to add embellishments to just about anything to make a special baby gift. I have purchased plain picture frames and added little bits and pieces that match the nursery theme. I have used nursery themed fabric to decoupage a lamp shade. Add little ribbons and bows to barrettes, clips or plain headbands for baby girls. Or use fabric paint to make plain tshirts into matching dad and son shirts. Add bling or ruffles to any plain tshirt or onesie with hot glue, fabric glue or by tacking with a needle and thread. With all the scrapbooking, crafting and sewing embellishments available these days, you can get all kinds of creative!
Draw or paint a picture if you have the capability. If you can't actually draw well, find a paint by numbers or any iron on pattern that works with the nursery theme. Personalize it with the family name, or the baby's name if you know it already. Use a computer program to generate a special finish on a picture of the baby or mom and dad. Or download some clipart and color it in a program such as photoshop or with watercolors. Another alternative is to hire an artist to paint a special portrait or picture, that matches the nursery, for the baby.
Write a Story
With the advent of desktop publishing, nearly everyone can write and publish a story. What a lovely gift for a baby to write a personalized story! Or to write some memories of baby's Mom and Dad that will be a treasured bit of history for times to come. You can even interview several relatives and put together their thoughts about the baby coming into the world. The book can be published on fine paper and bound, or you can put the pages into sheet protectors so baby can "read" the book.
Sew or Glue a book
Many children's books are available in fabric. Cut out the pages, put batting in the middle and sew to create a soft baby book. You can also use fabric glue if you don't know how to sew! If you can't find a premade book that has the story you want to tell, but you can find fabric, make each page using "wonder under" to iron on the designs to a blank page. Use a fabric pen to write the story in your best handwriting, or print it from your computer using iron on paper. You can do an ABC book with examples that are specific to the baby's family such as A is for Auntie, B is for Brother, and iron on the corresponding pictures.
Make a Mix Tape
You can record pretty much anything these days - so even if you want to do an interview with the relatives, and their thoughts of the baby it can become a special baby gift that lives in infamy. Some recording media can be added to as you go along, so you can create a special story for just you and the baby to share and add to it as time goes by. Record some of your favorite childhood stories on a cd or other media. Read them as if you were reading to the baby. Or, make a mix of some songs that hold special meaning to you and the baby's parents. If you play an instrument, you can play a special song for the baby, or even write a tribute.
Toybox or Toys
I have made several toy boxes for baby gifts. The first time I attempted to make a box, I did not have a lot of money so I actually cut the wood with a hand saw and assembled a box. I painted it white and added a padded top, using fabric that coordinated with the baby's nursery. Then I used an iron on pattern (because I can't draw!) and painted some characters onto the toy box. By the time the next baby came along, I could afford to buy the box, but still painted, added a top and embellished with my iron on characters. If you can't find an iron on, try coloring books or pattern books and use tracing paper to transfer the design to the box. You can also make a set of blocks or the baby's name out of wood letters and paint using the nursery theme and colors.
We all have received many beautiful invitations and birth announcements throughout the years. If you are sentimental like me, you have a box full of them! My Sister in Law, for the birth of one baby in the family had the birth announcement framed and gave it to the parents as a baby gift after the birth. Most parents probably don't even think to save one for themselves, but this is a beautiful way to preserve the baby's info. You can also do a whole shadow box, with a sample of the favors from the shower along with the invitation and pictures of the baby, Mom and Dad.