I just completed a project for the daughter of family friends, who is pregnant and due at the end of this month. She and her husband recently announced that their unborn baby, a boy, will most likely need open heart surgery soon after birth. They will need to travel hundreds of miles to a Children’s Hospital, where she will deliver and their baby will receive the specialized care he needs.
I felt such an instant connection to their situation, not only because their story tugged at my heart strings, but also because I have been on both sides of part of the experience ahead of them. Not only was I an NICU nurse for 10 years, but our son was born 5 1/2 weeks early and required some special care in the beginning. I felt like having been on both sides of this life event gave me a unique perspective and opportunity to do/make something for this couple that might make a difference in the coming weeks. But what? It was actually in thinking back on my experiences that I was able to draw some inspiration, and I came up with the idea of a notebook. I know that their sweet baby’s care team is going to be giving them lots of information and updates, and it’s going to be important for them to have a place to keep track of all the changes. I wasn’t prepared when our son was born, and, looking back, I would have benefited from a notebook. As it was, I was documenting his information on the back of hospital menus, card envelopes, etc.
In thinking further about the notebook, I decided that a composition notebook would be the perfect choice. It has plenty of pages without being too bulky, and it’s the perfect size for putting in a bag or keeping out by the phone. Even more perfect is the fact that I had several composition notebooks in my supply closet, so out one came, and off to work I went to “dress” this book up for a very important job.
And this notebook was going to need lots of help dressing for success!! It’s about as far from sweet and charming as it could be! So I pulled out lots of papers and supplies, and here is the design concept I came up with:
a baby blue and yellow color scheme with lots of white scalloped accents, mama and baby elephants, sweet bitty dot yellow ribbon, and tiny navy hearts. This project is already taking on so much charm, and all I’ve done is gather everything in one place! I love putting all of the design elements together at the beginning of a project, and I know that if I get excited about how everything looks as is, that I’m going to love the finished product. I have a good feeling about this project, as this grouping just makes me smile!
I have altered/covered several other composition notebooks, but that was several years ago. I keep a file folder for certain projects, and my notes on covering a notebook said to cover the inside front and back covers first, before tackling the outside covers. It made trimming the inside covers easier. So, that’s what I did–I covered the inside covers first; followed by the outside covers. I used the solid baby blue paper on all 4 covers, and then used the yellow plaid paper for the spine of the book. Once that was done, the real fun began adding on all of the decorative elements!
Enough talking; let’s get to the pictures! I’ll start with the before and after of the front cover:
This is quite a transformation, isn’t it! I kept the decorative elements to a minimum, as I wanted the elephants to be the main focus. The elephants are so sweet, and having their trunks joined together with the tiny heart above helps to communicate that special bond between a mother and her baby. I also kept all of the decorations towards the bottom of the book to allow for someone to hold the book more in the middle.
Let’s continue the tour with the inside front cover, as this is probably my favorite page:
I made two little journal cards for the baby’s name and all of his birth information that the parents can fill in. I kept the color scheme the same, and used a combination of stamps, die cuts, and computer-generated words. I love the sentiment “born to be loved”, and I bought that stamp set specifically for that sentiment. It’s perfect for this project, and I was so excited to be able to use it!
Next we move on to the inside back cover. I made a pocket, which I thought might come in handy. I changed the position of the white scalloped border from extending beyond the edge of the yellow paper to on top of the paper. This way it won’t interfere with putting things in the pocket. I originally was going to use the word “stuff” on the pocket, but after seeing this project come to life, this book deserved something classier. So I changed the word to ETC., which I liked better–plus it gave me an opportunity to use a heart for the period. It will always and forever be about the little details for me!
Lastly, the back cover, which I kept very basic, as this is the part of the book that will be laying on flat surfaces. This cover might be basic, but it’s not plain, thanks to the white scalloped border.
There are a few additional accessories that I will be sending along with the notebook. I covered a binder clip with paper and added some ribbon to one of the clips. It will be helpful in marking the page and keeping the book closed. The silver clip is a pen clip. It could be clipped to the top or the side of the front cover. I also made one additional journal card to document when the baby arrives home–I envisioned the card going on the back cover, but didn’t want to put anything there yet. So, I have added double-sided tape to the back, and the parents can remove the protective film and place it where they want it.
This concludes the tour of the notebook, but…….I have one more thing to show you:
Since I had all of the supplies out, I decided to make some notecards as well. I wanted them to be very versatile, so they are sentiment free and blank inside. I plan to include the stamps with the cards, as well.
I have loved working on this project–it is so satisfying to create something that you know is meaningful and will make a difference for the recipients. It is for this exact reason that I continue paper crafting.
Thank you for letting me share this project with you, and, as always, remember:
“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”