How I covet the handcrafted baby gifts friends and family have made for us over the years—the knit hats and blankets, the oh-so-perfect quilt, the tiny pants, the booties. Every time I open a package containing a little work of art, I vow I'll be prepared with something just as beautiful and artisan and heirloom the next time I'd like to give a baby gift. And then the time comes and I haven't learned to knit or sew or quilt, so I end up buying something generic—cute and useful—but generic. And then I feel utterly uncreative.
For Nora's 1st birthday, I wanted to make her something special. Instead of being disappointed that I haven't gotten around to perfecting my nonexistent needlework skills, I decided to hunker down and use the skills I have. Nora loves paging through the board book of family photos I made the girls for Christmas, naming everyone and giving us big, sloppy kisses.
So I decided to make another board book, but instead of using existing photos and the printer's software to design it, I would take photos specifically for the book and do the design myself in Photoshop. Since we're always looking for attention-grabbing educational books, I liked the idea of creating a themed counting book.
We have a fantastic children's museum in Durham, NC, called the Museum of Life and Science, where we spend a lot of time. Life and Science has a huge range of exhibits, from trains to an outdoor dinosaur trail to live bears and lemurs; with so much variety, it seemed like the perfect backdrop for the book photos. And it was. I brought my camera on several visits to the museum and took tons of photos, so I could be sure to have something usable to represent each number from one to 10. (I'll admit I had to get creative for the higher numbers!).
Spoiler alert: When I finished the book and saw how much Nora enjoyed it—she’s kind of obsessed, actually—I realized I could print copies of the book when I need baby gifts for friends. Sure it's not snuggly and soft, but it's a fun way to translate my skills into a unique present. (If you're interested in purchasing a copy, just send me an email and I'll provide you with pricing.)
Does creating a board book sound like something that's up your alley? Give it a try. I used Pint Size Productions this time and was very happy with the print quality.
Need more DIY ideas? Click here.
I'm Julia Soplop. I've spent my life documenting the world around me in writing and photography. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.