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, writer and photographer. 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.
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