The omnipresence of social media technology—facebook, pinterest, or instagram, among others—has had important consequences on some of the celebration “staples” that I embrace. The old-school niceties of snail mail birthday cards or hard cover baby books have given way to Picasa photo albums and e-greeting cards. What a shame.
As people gravitate toward the simpler options of sharing pictures and memories, even finding a traditional baby book is something of a challenge. Over the last few years, on several occasions, I have sought out high quality, unique baby books and found very few choices! I have trolled the internet and pounded the pavement only to find generic books or baby books heavily influenced by Walt Disney or Hallmark. So when I was trying to help a friend find a nifty baby book for the newly adopted daughter of a close friend, I fired up the glue gun myself.
The photos below represent a simple baby book with some carefully chosen “extras.” The book was made of handmade paper and binding created by a women’s crafting community in Zimbabwe. I had previously volunteered with Eco Africa social ventures, so I was very happy when I could purchase one of their books for this project. Using standard “baby book” questions and entries that I plagiarized from a commercial book (with appropriate modifications for an adopted child), I went to work. Each page has a particular theme and focus, and by interviewing my friend, I was able to learn about this young family—the romantic story of baby Sally’s parents, the ethnic ancestry of the child, religious preferences and personalities of the new Mom and Dan, and so on. And, so I rummaged….and rummaged….and rummaged through my card making “stuff” to find perfect complements for each page. I drew inspirations from vintage cards, postcards, and gift wrap, old jewelry, stamps, coins, and contemporary items from my local Michael’s store.
This was a time-consuming process, but a labor of love on my part. I do hope that the family enjoyed the memory book with each and every entry they make as Sally grows through the years. While this was certainly an ambitious project, one can certainly scale it back.