There are many occasions in life that have us reaching for our wallets, and welcoming a brand new life into this world is one such occasion. We want to shower the little Prince or Princess with gifts of love, and give a gift to the new Mother that will hopefully make her life in her new role just a little easier. But what happens when we reach for that wallet, open it, only to see moths fly out? Uh-oh! We can’t be the only ones in this little person’s life to show up without a thoughtful gift to show our love. Hmm… time to get crafty!
I was in this situation recently so I am happy to share with you what I created to welcome a special little man into the world. I began making his gift before we knew if he was a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ so I went with the trusty safe colours of lemon and mint. A few years ago when I had my daughter, out of all the gifts we received (I’m still going through the seemingly endless supply of Johnson & Johnson’s Shampoo) we only received 1 pram blanket. Once upon a time I would never have considered giving a pram blanket as a baby shower gift, in fact I have to show my ignorance here and confess that prior to my pregnancy I had never really heard of it… I mean I know what a pram is, of course, and a blanket, but I didn’t realise there were designated blankets for the pram, I figured you just grabbed a blanket and used it in the pram. But I’m sure most mothers would tell you that some blankets designed for cots etc. are just too bulky for this purpose. The beautiful minky pram blanket we received from my in-laws was just the perfect size for use in the pram or stroller and wasn’t too bulky if needed to be carried in the nappy bag.
So for as practical as the good ol’ pram blanket is, we only received one… and it was white… any Mum can tell you how often a white baby item requires washing. So those times when the pram blanket had to be washed, a folded bunny rug had to suffice but it wasn’t as nifty or practical as our perfectly sized, soft and snuggly pram blanket.
So I figured the new Mum would most likely received a good stash of cot blankets and bunny rugs (I know I ended up with a heap of handed down muslin wraps and bunny rugs, as people seem to be keen to offload their excess stash onto new Mums) but I recalled that I only ever received 1 pram blanket. When it comes to the arrival of a new baby I like to give a practical gift as I know that was most helpful to me when I became a new Mum. So I decided on a crocheted pram blanket in lemon and mint. This was my gift to the new baby, something warm, snuggly and comforting.
I was delighted when I finally got to give this gift to the new parents (due to certain circumstances I was unable to deliver this present until about 6 weeks after his birth), and to have them say that they were only just saying they could do with some blankets of a smaller size. Since pram blankets tend to be more square shaped than rectangle, for this particular blanket I crocheted in a traditional granny square fashion until I was happy with the size, then I added borders. You can use either a half double crochet or double crochet (or whatever you wanted really) to create the border… I started with one round of single crochet first to give a foundation for my border and finish off the granny square part. The edging around the border is simply interweaving chains (8 chains long each). The edging I just played around with until I came up with something I liked. Of course, if you are a knitter, you can do what suits you, to achieve a similar result.
So that was baby sorted. What about Mum? I remembered that one of the most nifty useful items I had with my daughter was a nappy wallet (again showing my ignorance, I had never heard of one until I had my daughter). If, like me, you have never come across these handy doo-dads before, they are essentially a ‘wallet’ big enough (about the size of a clutch purse/handbag) to fit in a couple of disposable nappies, or if like me you used cloth, then 1-2 modern cloth nappies, plus a packet of wipes. These are really handy for those times when you are just ducking out for a short trip (such as to the shops) and don’t want the arduous task of packing and carrying a fully equipped nappy bag, but you know that if you don’t at least have some wipes and a spare nappy or two that you will inevitably get caught short with a perfectly timed epic poo-slosion if you dare to duck out of the house unprepared.
So once the baby’s arrival was announced and we knew we were welcoming a beautiful little man into the world, I could do away with gender neutral colours (however what I ultimately chose works just as well for a girl). Knowing that both the new parents were animal lovers, I searched my fabric stash and came out with some fat quarters in a dog print and a chook print. I will say it now (if I haven’t already previously) I suck at reading patterns of any kind (which tends to surprise people). I’m a kinaesthetic learner and to me, a pattern may as well be written in jibberish for all it’s worth. So I pulled out my old nappy wallet and studied it intently. I took some measurements and once I was satisfied that I had at least a vague inkling of what I was doing, I set about cutting and sewing the fat quarters until they somewhat resembled the nappy wallet I owned. I added a metal snap for closure, mine had Velcro but I liked the ease of snaps to apply (though I did stuff it up the first time by attaching it back to front- I’m gonna chalk that one up to Fibromyalgia brain fog). See the pictures below for the finished product, I used approx. 2 fat quarters for this project, one for inner lining and one for outer.
Now, I picked up a ready made card at my local discount store but if you have the time and the inclination you can put those scrapbooking skills to good use and make a beautiful personalised card. Though I got the card, I did my usual trick and gave very little thought to gift wrapping. Luckily I had some sturdy brown paper bags on hand as these seem to be becoming popular for stores to use for your purchased goods rather than give you an environmentally unsafe plastic bag. These brown paper bags are brilliant, they are quite hardy and the best part is you can decorate them and dress them up however you like to repurpose them as gift bags. See my example below.
So all in all, a thoughtful gift that didn’t break the bank, in fact all the materials I already had in my stash. I think my next blog post should be around the importance of building a stash and how to do so on the cheap. This gift didn’t cost a lot of money but was valuable for its time and thoughtfulness.
Until next time, stay crafty folks!