Now that Andrew is well on his way to his second birthday, I often find myself in a weird place. On one hand, I want to give away the clothes and toys he’s grown out of, but then on the other hand, I find myself wanting to hold on to them just a little while longer, with the hope he will stay my sweet little baby boy instead of a curious toddler growing exponentially fast before my eyes.
I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels this way. It seems like when you are pregnant, time crawls at a snail’s pace because you are so anxious to meet your little person and then once they arrive, it seems like time moves in hyperdrive and before you know it, your little one is getting on the bus for their first day of school.
In order to hold on just a little bit longer to those memories of babyhood, I keep trying to find ways to preserve or repurpose baby items that hold a special place in my heart. Over the holiday break, I finished one of those projects, and I’m so pleased with how it came out! From there, I wondered if any other moms have done something similar with baby items and got some neat responses from some of our contributors!
Receiving Blankets Are New Again
One of the most used baby gifts we received were adorable flannel receiving blankets. You know those super soft little square blankets that are perfect for laying over baby as he naps in the car seat? We used them up until Andrew was about 8 months old, and then he really didn’t have much of a need for them. I held onto them because I couldn’t bear to let them go. Then I had an “a-ha” moment and remembered that rag quilts are made of flannel!
That’s when I realized that my mom and I could totally turn these adorable flannel blankets into a rag quilt! (Of course, I had to volunteer my mom to help with this as my sewing skills are rudimentary, at best). With the help of google, I found a great tutorial on how to make a rag quilt, and so the project was born!
Over the holiday break, Mom and I carved out an afternoon to get working on this project and with some teamwork, we completed the quilt! What is great about it is that we had enough squares to make a quilt that is likely big enough to cover his toddler bed when he takes that next step. My biggest hope for it, though, is that Andrew holds onto it and someday, he can use it with his own children or at least treasure it for years to come.
The project wasn’t terribly difficult. We cut the blankets into squares, counted the squares, laid them all out in a cute pattern and then made little square “sandwiches” with fleece in the middle (instead of batting) to make the quilt thick and warm. Once we had it all laid out, we sewed the squares into rows, leaving a 1 inch seam around the edge and then sewed all of the rows together. Once it was all sewn together, I clipped the raw edges of the seam and then ran the quilt through the washer to give the quilt it’s “rag” look! My mom and I were so pleased with how the quilt came out, and it was a great way to create a one of a kind gift for him!
Now that I’ve completed this project, I keep wondering, what else can I do to preserve those baby memories that seem to be flying by? Some of our fellow moms blog contributors were kind enough to share some of THEIR own clever ways of preserving baby’s memories.
What to do with all those photos?!?
Linzy and I are both fans of photo books. Every year, for her daughter Annelise’s birthday, Linzy creates a Shutterfly photo book with pictures from the past year. On the last page, she includes a listing of favorite foods, toys, people, talents and events from the year. Not only are they fun for the parents to look through, but kids like seeing themselves in a book. Shutterfly often runs coupon codes for FREE or very inexpensive rates on their 8×8 books which make great keepsakes.
On the same note, if you are more into scrapbooking, you can always create a great memento with beautiful papers, stickers and photographs handmade by you. Or, if you want a baby book with a more local flair, you can always invest in a New Orleans Moms Blog favorite, the Lil’ Squirts Baby Books that are tailored to local kids and feature all sorts of great page ideas.
Shadow Boxes and Frames
Our newest contributor, Karen, preserved birth memories of her little guy, Weston, by creating a shadow box of his newborn memorabilia. A simple project, she included a sweet card, his hospital bracelet, some newborn photographs, and another bracelet in a simple shadowbox. Similarly, you can buy frames that offer a slot for baby’s newborn photo and hospital bracelet or that come with a stamp pad for preserving baby’s handprints and footprints at stores like Babies R’ Us or even Bed Bath & Beyond.
Like the shadowbox idea but don’t have small items? Another keepsake idea is to frame a favorite item of clothing that baby wore for a special occasion. Do you have a special christening gown or bonnet you’d like to display? Want to frame baby’s going home outfit? Michelle, boy mom and the blogger behind Everyday Celebrating gives a tutorial on framing a favorite outfit as a gift for a friend or just as a project for your own child.
Tiny Fingers, Toes and Clothes
Ashley, one of our founders, creates prayer hands for each birthday. For Thatcher’s first birthday, she took handprints with paints and then included a prayer for his upcoming year. This is a very sweet and clever way to capture not only Thatcher’s emerging personality, but also to treasure those fleeting moments of toddlerhood. Ashley also had additional footprints and handprints taken when Thatcher was born and included those in tiny little frames to include in his nursery as well.
If you like the quilt idea, but don’t have receiving blankets to make a rag quilt, you can always use some of your favorite clothing items. Many of us local NOLA moms love applique and monogrammed clothes for our little ones and there are quilt makers like Marion Grendel who will turn all of your baby’s personalized items into a one of a kind quilt that you can treasure for a lifetime.
Books to Last a Lifetime
Books also make great keepsakes. At our house, we are a big fan of books in general, and Andrew loves having a book for special occasions like a birthday. We only bring out his birthday book on the big day to make it extra special and for his birthday, we had guests at his party sign a message to commemorate the occasion.
In the midst of preparing this post, we were coincidentally contacted by Joni Rubinstein, author of The Night Before My Birthday Book. Joni was kind enough to send us a copy for review, and we loved it and were excited to include it in this post. The Night Before My Birthday Book is another excellent way to create a keepsake for celebrating your child’s birthday with an adorable rhyming story. The idea is that you read it every year on the eve of your child’s birthday, and the back of the book includes pages to chronicle the occasion every year! The story is sweet and flows well, and the artwork is beautiful. What’s even better is that Joni was kind enough to include a copy for us to give away as well!