Handmade gifts for babies

It’s a bumper crop of babies here in Iowa, with roughly 90 percent of the women (only a slight exaggeration) I know set to give birth in the next few months, or having just named newborns. Exciting!

I’m totally behind on my crafting (sorry new baby nephew Nico!),  but I wanted to share a few things I came up with to celebrate a few of these little ones, and ideas I’ve pinned for future projects. Making something for tiny people is a lot of fun, and I’m improving on my sewing skills although I still don’t love measuring or doing binding.
Project 1: Quilted Baby Sleep Sack

You know what sleep sacks are, right? Somewhere in between a swaddle/straightjacket/blanket. I got it in my head I wanted to make one from scratch, without a pattern, and quilt it. Clearly this was for the first baby in the bunch, because the project was insane.

I made it for little L, Amy’s baby, because I know Amy has a huge appreciation for handmade and it’s her first girl. The finished product isn’t  perfect, but I’m really proud of how I kind of eyeballed the pattern and hand-stitched hearts all over the back and inserted a zipper all by myself. I really need to work on binding, though! Joe made fun of me for bringing my quilting to the I-Cubs games this spring.

Project 2: Handwritten story book

I would say that these are the baby craft I feel most confident about. I purchase an 8×8 album from Michael’s (typically for about $8, after some sale they’re having) and then a bunch of craft paper. I have a giant stash and don’t actually scrapbook, so this is what it all goes toward. I like to write a story starring the baby as a kid, and then I illustrate it with cut-out paper and stickers.

The four books I’ve done for kids so far all have a lesson in them, too. The first was about my friend Bethany’s son, Strummer, going to his first concert (“Strummer Takes the Stage”) and then I did one for my niece, Caroline called “Caroline Bakes a Cake.” Inspired by my friend’s daughter, Pippa, I wrote “Pippa Packs Her Bags,” since she’s half-British and has family overseas. The latest is “Ami & Mari’s Goodness Garden,” to celebrate my friend Theresa’s kids, Amelie and Mariella. (Prettiest names ever, right?)

I really get in the zone with these, and after the story is written, can complete the book in about a day, with paper strewn all around the dining room table. Joe loves it when I craft. Ha.

Project 3: Pinwheel/Nautical Quilt

I’m upping the ante on my quilting difficulty. My mom was in town when I started this project, and she’s been taking some classes, so we opted to try a pinwheel border for the quilt I decided to make for Arin’s little boy. Arin’s dropped some hints that his name has nautical connotations, so I appliqued an anchor in the center. This technique for making pinwheel blocks is awesome and a huge time-saver.

I hand-quilted the center when we were down at the farm over Labor Day from a freestyle design I drew on with pencil. I’m definitely not a perfectionist with my quilting because if I tried to be, I’d probably melt my brain.

Project 4: Eric Carle Brown Bear onsies

I am obsessed with this fabric, which I picked up at the Quilt Block in Valley Junction. I used it to make my first quilt for Caroline when she was born, and I’ve wanted to find a way to use the scraps. So for my friend Megan’s baby, I cut out a couple of the cutest characters and backed them with fusible webbing to make them sturdier.

Then I hand-stitched around them with embroidery floss and did some details on the collar. This was a pretty stress-free craft, and you could easily do an iron-on, no-sew version, too! I paired the onsies with a gift bag full of medicine cabinet must-haves, like a thermometer, Baby Ayr, Baby Powder, etc. that are not the fun things to shop for but really can come in handy. (It’s a practical idea I stole from my friend Sara, who stole it from Darcie, so it has to be brilliant.)

Other ideas I’d love to try:

Tiny shark hoodie!

Busy/quiet books

Dinosaur softie

Baby Toms


Filed under At home

2 responses to “Handmade gifts for babies

  1. Meredith

    In an odd, only-in-Des Moines type connection, I had a Strummer in water babies last year. I can’t imagine there are multiple baby Strummers, so I ‘know’ your friend Bethany. (Only as Strummer’s mom and over a year ago, but she seemed super nice!)

  2. Kristin

    Ha! I love the “I’d probably melt my brain” comment. That’s probably why I suck at crafty things — I’m too much of a perfectionist. 🙂 I LOVE the scrapbook story idea. That’s something this non-quilter could do. 🙂

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