Monday, March 16, 2015

Shadow Boxes for Baby

I'll never have a completed baby book for either of my boys.  I tried with Nathan, but it just didn't happen.  I plan to keep a memory box for each of them with special items from their childhoods, but that's probably the best I can do.  It's sad, because I always thought doing the baby book would be the most fun activity - but I have found my priorities are different and I just haven't made the time to do them.  Plus, it's a LOT of information to find and fill out!  I mean, who knows the price of milk when their baby is born? 

One of the projects I did want to do, though, was this shadow box.  The onesies were gifts from their grandmother, and I picked other small items to include from their birth of just after.  So, here's how I did it. 

They came from Hobby Lobby.  I kept an eye on the sales until I found them 50% off, so I was able to buy them for cheap.  :)

I really struggled to figure out just the right background for these.  In fact, Nathan's had black felt as a background for two years, but I never really felt right about it.  So, when I got ready to do one for Nicholas, I pulled Nathan's down and revamped it.  I'm completely happy with the result.  I decided to go with a receiving blanket for each one as a background.  I would love to tell you it was the blanket they were brought home in or something special like that, but it wasn't.  I just picked a blanket that I thought would look best with the items I had in mind for the box.  For Nathan's I chose a blue one with white elephants on it because the print on his onesie was blue.  For Nicholas, I didn't have a green receiving blanket, but I did have a great white one with beige dots that I think works well with the other colors.  I cut the blankets to fit the backing exactly and then attached them using double sided tape. 

For each boy, I used their birth announcement, a diaper out of their first pack from the hospital, their first pacifier, a tiny baby hat, and a photo of us.  I had a little extra room in Nathan's, so I put in a photo of just him in the hospital.  The hospital gave us the cute button with his footprint on it.  I wish the hospital we used for Nicholas had done that, but they didn't.  They did, however, have little old ladies who crocheted hats for all the newborns, so I included that.  It wasn't the first hat he wore, but it was one of the first. 

Honestly, it was all about how to fit everything in without it looking too cluttered.  Using the larger birth announcement for Nicholas really took up a lot of room and I may eventually pull it down and substitute one of the small ones instead.  I used straight pins to pin each item to the backing.  Be careful not to push the pin all the way through, or you will have a nightmare on the back of your frame.  Your fingers will thank you for keeping it angled and shallow!

I hung them on the same wall, side by side, with a decorative wreath that we were given when Nathan was born between them.  I may move them later, but I liked having them on the same wall, beside each other, so I can look at them together. 

Some Tips
  • Don't put too much in there!  I know you want to preserve every little memory and item, but remember that this is a display and if you cram every little thing in there, you won't be able to see much.  Pick the most important pieces and do something else with the rest.
  • Choose a good background.  I love the idea of using receiving blankets, or even those striped blankets from the hospital.  We had a million little blankets, so it was easy to find and cut two.
  • Do include a special onesie or outfit.  Remember that you will forget how tiny they were.  If you use the outfit you took them home in or something that they wore during their first week of life, it helps you remember just how small they were.  I love these little onesies with all the stats.  You can find lots of vendors on Etsy who do them, or go with someone local the way my mother in law did.  
  • Do include a diaper.  I know it sounds gross, but putting a diaper from their first package is such an amazing way to show how little they were and how much they have grown up.  I look at that tiny diaper that Nathan wore and I think, "no way did he ever wear that."  But he did.  And it was actually too big for him at the time.  
  • Do include a birth announcement.  If you had them made.  Or a photo of the baby if you didn't do birth announcements.  
  • Have fun with it! 

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