Make your own designer baby gifts on the cheap.
When new mom Abby Pecoriello had her first daughter, she knew she couldn't spend a fortune on designer baby products. So she started crafting on her own--everything from personalized picture frames to cloth-covered diaper wipe boxes. Now, author of the book, Crafty Mama Makes 49 Fast, Fabulous, Foolproof (Baby & Toddler) Projects, Abby explains why anyone--yes anyone--can do it too.
Momlogic: What prompted you to write this book?
Abby: I started a playgroup with some friends and their kids once a week. We were sitting around one day complaining how expensive baby products are, so we thought, 'Why not make our own?' Soon we were regularly convening at my house to craft. When my house became too cluttered with moms, kids, and art supplies, I started teaching an art class at a local community center. It became so successful that I decided to turn my ideas into a book. And here we are!
ML: What's your basic philosophy when it comes to designing?
Abby: As a mother of two, I don't have a lot of time or money to spend on gifts. So if I'm going to make something, it has to be quick and easy. I also think baby products should be personalized. When I design, I like to consider who my kid is. What is her personality? A product should always reflect a child's tastes and identity.
ML: Can any mom become crafty?
Abby: Absolutely! I want to make art non-intimidating to women. It doesn't have to be complicated--all you need is a hot glue gun, cute fabric and an imagination. I also always keep rhinestones handy for girl gifts and camouflage prints for boy gifts. When I was a teenager, my mother wouldn't let me buy expensive clothes or accessories, so I made my own. However, all my ideas are tailored for women who have never made anything before.ML: Have your kids been influenced by your success?
Abby: My 5-year-old daughter Lilly loves to help out and even work on her own designs. She says things like, "Mommy, today I would like to work with glass." She wants to join the family business when she's older. But for now, she assumes every mom spends her day making gifts. In fact, recently she went to a play date, found a piece of yarn on the floor, and asked her friend's mom to make her a doll!
ML: What's your advice to moms who want to give designing a whirl?
Abby: There are no rules when it comes to being artistic. Don't worry if a particular pattern or style doesn't 'work.' If you like it, it's art! And trust your instincts. Lots of women who wanted to design but were hesitant ended up starting their own craft business after taking my class. If they can do it, you can too!Want to learn three easy crafts? Follow these simple instructions:
Cut a roll of paper towels in half to get two mini-rolls. Remove the cardboard center from the inside of one half and place the paper towels in an empty wipe box. Mix 1 1⁄2 cups water, 1 1⁄2 tbs. baby oil, and 1 1⁄2 tbs. baby shampoo. Pour mixture over the paper towels. Turn the towels over so mixture gets on both sides, close the wipe box, and shake. Wait 10 minutes for the liquid to absorb.
•Hot glue gun
Cut the elastic from two mitten clips, leaving just the clips. Measure the ribbon by placing one end on your baby's left collarbone and running it around the back of the neck to the right collarbone. Pinch the ribbon there, add an extra 2", and cut. Thread one end of ribbon through the metal slit in one clip. Glue the underside of the end of the ribbon and fold it over to meet the back of the ribbon. Repeat with other ribbon and clip. Attach each clip to the corner of a napkin.
•15 yards 2-inch wide sheer organza ribbon
Measure and cut 28 24" strips of organza ribbon, cutting each end into an inverted V or on a diagonal. Wrap each ribbon at its halfway point around an elastic headband and tie into double knot.