My Answer to Traditional Baby Books

I decided to forgo a traditional baby book for Kate.  I figured I love scrapbooking so I’ll just keep a really detailed one.  Understatement.  I had to split her first 12 months into 2 separate books and they are still way too big.  Her second year books don’t seem to be shaping up to be any smaller either.

Of course this did leave me with a dilema.  Where could I write down things like when she got each tooth?  It’s not like I’m going to make a scrapbook page for each tooth coming in.  (Largely because she wouldn’t open her mouth and let me take pictures of her teeth.  I totally would have done a scrapbook page about at least the first one or two.  Especially because her teeth came in out of order and she looked like a little jack-o-lantern with checkerboard front teeth.  Too adorable.)

Then I hit on the idea to include a calendar layout each month.  That way, no matter how much or how little ended up in the scrapbook for any given month, I would have a detailed record of what we did every day.  I thought it would be a really neat thing for her to be able to look back on as an adult.  I had planned on only doing it for the first year, but now I can’t stop.  It’s a sickness I tell you.  It’s a good thing they are super simple.

I cut 2 strips of patterned paper 2 3/4 inches wide and adhere it to the outside edge of 2 12×12 sheets of cardstock.  For this layout I’m using some really yummy Christmas paper.

Then I cut out squares that are 2 inches by 2 inches.  One sheet of cardstock will yield 36 squares which is more than enough for a calendar.  I generally only cut off one or two squares from the last strip so that I have some paper left over for the title.  Usually I use a coordinating cardstock, but I’m running low today so I had to improvise.  I went with a lightly pattered paper from the same line as the edge pieces.  Once I have a nice stack, I draw a line around the edge of each square and write down what we did that day.  Be sure to include first teeth/ words/ food etc.

Then I glue them down in a calendar pattern.

Now, you’ll notice there is a blank spot to the left of the calendar blocks.  My husband wanted to take a photo of Kate once a week for her first year of life.  (She was born on a Wednesday so every Wednesday we took a picture of her on this giant orange beanbag that we have.)  This seemed like the perfect place for the Wednesday photos!  We stopped doing the weekly photos when Kate turned one so now I use that space to include random pictures that end up on her blog but that I’m not going to scrapbook.  Usually they are camera phone pictures.  I turn them all landscape, make a collage in Picasa and then print them out as a single 4×6 print.  Then I cut them apart and adhere them to the layout.  It’s the perfect way to showcase some “random” photos that don’t warrant a page of their own but that you still want to include.

Next up is a title.  Usually I cut them out with my cricut, but sometimes I mix it up a litte with some chipboard letters or Thickers.  I particularly like the foam ones.  Of course I am always missing one letter, in this case an E.  The solution?  I put a chipboard star in place of the E.

Last up is something to jazz it up a little.  Maybe a rubbon or some more chipboard in the extra square?  Or some ribbon?  How about both.  🙂



Felt Alphabet

I’m always looking for cool crafty toys.  If they are educational even better.  I came across this Etsy Listing for an embroidered stuffed felt alphabet about a year ago and promptly decided that there was no reason I couldn’t make those myself.  There was a fair amount of cussing involved, but I was quite pleased with the final result.  I made the first set for Raptor’s 1st birthday and they are still a big hit in our house!

I finished a set last weekend for a friend of mine and I think she’s going to be pleased with them.  Because she’s awesome, I threw in an extra L because her son’s name is Will.  She is getting a set of numbers too.  Each number has an embroidered star that corresponds with the number because that seemed like a cool idea at the time.  It seemed less cool when I was trying to squeeze 9 stars on the number 9, but they ended up looking great so I’m glad I stuck with it.  This has been a fun project!

Hmm…  I just pulled them all out to take some pictures.  Kate was intrigued by the addition of more letters.  I think the pictures are going to have to wait.

Notice anything?

Um, yeah, I embroidered the J backwards.  Whoops.  And the X appears to have disappeared into the black hole that is my living room.  Maybe Kate ate it.  She is a growing dinosaur after all.  Guess I’ll be working on some more tonight.  Since I’m redoing them anyway, I’ll add a quick tutorial.  🙂

I have some old bulletin board letters from my teaching days which I traced onto felt and cut out.  Cut out 2 of each letter.

I’ve learned a fair amount of embroidery in the past few years working on Christmas stockings and I watched a few YouTube videos to fill in the gaps- namely the blanket stitch.  Make sure that you’re not embroidering them backwards.

After embroidering the front of the letters, I blanket stitched them together and filled them with polyfill.  Usually I stuff it with a knitting needle, but in a pinch the scissors work too.

They’re not quick to make, I figure it’s takes me about 2 hours per letter, but it gives me an excuse to watch junk TV while I work on them.

You could probably do the embroidery by hand and then machine stitch them if you wanted to make them quicker, but I enjoy hand stitching.  What can I say- I’m a sucker for documentaries on Netflix Watch Instant.  Then there’s the fact that I can barely thread my sewing machine.  Yeah, I think I’ll stick to hand sewing for now.  🙂