Thursday, April 27, 2006

Turn a Scrapbook into a Baby Record Book

Contrary to popular belief, scrapbooks have more than one purpose. You don't have to fill them with photos; in fact, you don't have to add many photos at all. Let's say you're planning to buy a baby book. You might want to consider making one, since already-made books often include information that may be irrelevant to you. The idea is simple: combine the fun of choosing scrapbook papers, stickers and letters, but instead of making it a photo scrapbook entirely, try making your own baby book!

There are many ways you can start this project. You should probably have in mind what size of book you want. From tiny 6x6 albums to huge 12x12 albums and even larger, there is a wide selection (even though you will mostly find the more common 12x12 and 8x11 sizes in stores). Other sizes can be ordered online. If you intend to add greeting cards, birth announcements or certificates, you probably shouldn't choose a small size of album.

Want a great fixer-upper for that plain scrapbook you purchased? Try rub-ons. They're easy to do and look like they've been there all the time. You simply choose what images you want on the back or front of the book, press it against the book, and use a stick to transfer the picture. You can transfer pictures, letters and tiny decorative elements, and it makes an ordinary "blah" scrapbook look great. It also helps you personalize it with your very own style.

You might want to make a page with baby's first photo. Sometimes a simple background, a frame and a photo are all you need. Remember, since this album is serving as your "baby book," you may not want to go all out and be wild and colorful like you would in other scrapbooks. A page set aside for baby's birth certificate is a great idea as well. Do not glue the certificate in permanently, try sticking photo corners on the page and inserting the paper. If you ever need to remove it (and you will over the years!) it will slide out easily from the corners. Even though tape is often used in ordinary baby books, it's not a good idea if you have a scrapbook for this purpose. Acid-free glue should be used to secure items on your pages.

The great part about making your own baby book is that you can write down information that is relevant to *you* and make it more personal. Write down how baby's name was chosen, when he or she was born, birth weight, visitors, etc. Write down when your child's first teeth come in and if or when vaccinations were given. You can either write down this information by hand or type it up and print it out in any font you like. I recommend using plainer scrapbook paper backgrounds, inserting a pastel center paper, and writing your information at the proper places. Voila! You have the same information as would appear in a regular baby book, but you created the page yourself and added your own facts!

Some baby books have place for photos and journaling concerning the child's first birthday party. Invitations, photos of favorite gifts, anything goes. What else would you find in a ready-made baby book? There would probably be a space for the child's favorite foods and toys, when he or she learned to talk, walk, and when potty training was completed. Write out all these questions by hand, and answer them either in direct writing or by pasting printed text.

Remember that the theme of the book depends of your own personal style. If you want your "baby book" to be bright and colorful like other scrapbooks, go for it. If you want to retain the more serious look baby books often have, you might wish to use plain background papers, tame fonts, and old-fashioned ornamentation with a spot of color here and there.

Consider having a page just for signatures. Ask siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and grandparents to sign. Perhaps you could ask them to add a little poem, insightful advice, or favorite memory as well. Have an extra lock of baby's hair? Make a page for that! Your baby book is a precious keepsake and anything you think you want to add, don't be afraid to do so. Do remember that some items will be too thick to place on a scrapbook page and would make the book difficult to close, however.

By Lacie R. Schaeffer