Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Shower Chic

The impending arrival of a new niece has had me happily crafting for the last week. My brother, Nathan, and his wife, Shana, are expecting little Kadence Marie next month. I can't wait to meet this little one!

For the baby shower gift above, I hoped to deliver "chic frills" to suit Nathan and Shana's modern style. For my palette, I took color cues from Kadence's nursery. Nathan has painted the bottom half of the walls mocha brown and the top half apple green. A wide stripe of pink separates the two colors and adds a touch of femininity. Shana and Nathan prefer clean lines to fussy details, so for their baby gift I exchanged sweet florals for sassy geometrics and kept finishes simple. The resulting combination incorporates several of my favorite baby gift-giving ideas.

A Tisket, a Tasket. I love to give gifts in baskets! New moms can always use extra storage. Whether Nathan and Shana use this cheery green basket for storing clothes in the closet, keeping books by the rocking chair, or stashing diapers and wipes in the family room, I know they will find a great use for it.

Getting Personal. Naming a child is a great privilege, and this task is usually approached with purpose and care. So gifts bearing the baby-to-be's name or monogram are usually received with appreciation. The one thing I have learned in this area is that confirming the spelling is worth spoiling the surprise. When my aunt had her first granddaughter, I asked the baby's name over the phone. I embroidered a lovely blanket for little Farrah, and only realized my mistake when I delivered the gift to my aunt and she asked, "Have you seen pictures of our sweet little Sarah?" Now whenever possible I confirm the spelling in writing because a personalized gift is priceless, but only when it bears the recipient's name.

For Baby's First Leftovers. Burp cloths are a practical gift for new and experienced moms. Fabric, trims and embroidery dress up this baby essential. You can find directions for making fabric-paneled burp cloths here. Pastel-colored take-out boxes from the craft store make a cute presentation for a single rolled burp cloth, or tuck one into a padded envelope for an easy gift to ship. I embroidered several burp cloths for Baby Kadence, but my favorite design was a green K encircled in pink and brown polka dots. I designed this with embroidery software by centering a letter on my design page and placing a circle around it. I then spaced alternating colors of bullets around the circle. And when I was satisfied with the look, I deleted the underlying circle from the design. I was so pleased with the way this design turned out, I embroidered it on a fluffy pink blanket as well.

Taking Notes. Personalized note cards are a great gift for mommies-to-be. Simply print the baby's name or monogram on a small piece of card stock, and glue it to a larger piece of card stock. When I made note cards before daughter Emma's arrival, I finished off each design with a soft pink bow. To make assembling the cards easy, I centered two bullets above her name in my document. Then after I printed the cards, I punched holes through my guide dots, slipped a ribbon through, and tied a bow. For niece Kadence's cards, I layered pink, brown and lime green papers. A few polka dots add the finishing touch. Tied together with coordinating ribbon, Kadence has her first stationery set!

Add a Little Life. I love tucking fresh flowers or greenery into a baby gift as a subtle way to acknowledge the new life we celebrate. Potted flowers were a sweet addition to the Easter basket I made for my friend Joely's spring baby. For Nathan and Shana's autumn blessing, shiny green apples added the punch of color I needed to finish off their gift basket.

The Great Frame-Up. I got the idea for framing a baby's monogram when my friend Allison did this for her daughter. Parents can hang the frame on the hospital door to announce the baby's arrival, then display the piece on the nursery wall. For Kadence I cut a funky piece of scrapbook paper for the 8-inch square frame, then cut a smaller piece of card stock and printed my niece's monogram on it. I glued the monogram to the paper, using a clear ruler to assure perfect placement. A bow hot glued to the top of the frame completes the look. This is a cute way to frame photographs as well, so down the road my photographer brother Nathan may want to replace the monogram with a photo of the baby.

I hope Nathan and Shana love their baby gift. I tried to incorporate their color choices and design aesthetic to create a gift they would appreciate. And I hope I struck a pleasing balance of fun and function, trends and tradition, sass and sweetness. But most of all, I hope that Nathan and Shana realize their basket was packed with hope, filled with love, and given with a prayer for Baby Kadence.

Tucked into a cheery basket, thoughtful treasures tell the little one, "You're the apple of my eye!" How do you like to welcome a new baby?

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