The Story About TJ’s DIY Baby Book

A child’s life is full of delightful new experiences, especially during the early years. When I was pregnant with my son, I wanted something to document all these precious memories.

After searching around, nothing really spoke to me, even with some very expensive options.

We got gifted a baby book from the baby shower. It is one of those with prompts for photo spaces and milestone information.

But certain pages, I wasn’t intending to fill out, and it also lacked pages for other bits and bobs.

I was complaining about my frustration over being unable to find “the one” baby book to my antie Jane, who casually suggested a scrapbook might be the way to go.

Although I knew that she might be right, I just can’t see myself spending hours scrapbooking over fancy patterned paper and gluing decorative borders…

Our DIY Baby Book

Little that I know, that’s how TJ’s baby book began!

Documenting TJ’s “Firsts”

My auntie introduced me to her scrapbooking pal Kathy, who showed me how to document a baby’s “first” using a monthly square calendar digitally and print them out to make them into a scrapbook.

It looked simple enough!

I used Adobe Illustrator to make the generic monthly calendar pages. My hubby and I also created a list of TJ’s first experiences that we want to keep track of, such as:

  • His first word
  • The first time said “mama” or “dada”
  • His first solid food
  • His first swim
  • The first time he started to crawl
  • His first road trip

Throughout TJ’s first year, we tried our best to record as much as possible and collected sentimental items a long, like for his first haircut, we kept a small sample of his baby hair.

It felt challenging at times, but looking back, it was totally worth it.

We also recorded his height and weight every time we had a well-baby-visit with the pediatrician.

In addition to those first milestones for TJ, I also added some fun social events like close friends’ and family member’s birthdays, and holidays.

Some months appear to be relatively empty, others months that I struggle to fit everything in.

As the months went on, I began adding fancy designs and experimenting with different fonts for each month to match the season. I also expanded from just recording the events to adding more photo elements.

My plan is to document this for a full year until TJ turns 1, then I can start transferring the digital record to a scrapbook.

Making TJ’s Babybook

I purchased a scrapbook from Creative Memories along with a couple of bundles of blank white pages. I went for the 8″ x 8″ size, and a type of album that each page has a protective sleeve and allows to add of additional blank pages.

Since I’ve never done scrapbooking before, I was being realistic about how long it may take for me to finish the project.

In addition to being a full-time working mom, I didn’t have any of the tools or space for scrapbooking. So I gave myself a year to get the album done.

Thanks to antie Jane’s friend Kathy who kindly offered me to use her tools and workshop to do the project. I was surprised by how many tools I needed to do it properly and the space to lay everything out.

With the help of Kathy, I set off to create my first ever scrapbook page.

It was hard at the beginning to assemble everything on one page. Despite my years of experience in art design and background in illustration, it took me nearly 3 hours to finish my first page.

Here are the first 2 pages that I put together.

I printed out his birth story, which I placed in the green envelope. Additionally, we added Daddy’s visitor badge from the hospital and the visitor sticker that my mom wore as well.

On the right side, we kept small items from the hospital when TJ’s was just one week old. Things like his hospital bracelet, his “goggles to protect those little eyes from bright lights, the card taped to his isolette.

There is also a page with his footprint when he was born, his birth weight and lengths, and a birth announcement from us.

A few pages for his big first birthday party with a picture of his first cake experience (taken by Cari Hollis – Photographer & Birth Doula) and the birthday invitation.

The more I did, the faster I got. Over the next few months, I started to have a process of organizing the elements and laying them out on each page.

I also got better at printing the photos to the size that I need so they can easy fit in destinated space on the scrapbook page.

As TJ’s second birthday was fast approaching, my baby book still had a little over 20 pages left to complete. I pushed through (for the most part) with a weekend at Kathy’s.

The only part that I didn’t get to finish was his family tree, which I eventually completed a few months after his second birthday.

One of my favorite parts of the babybook was the last page which consists of three envelopes with a short letter each that I wrote him when he was six months, twelve months, and eighteen months.

Looking back, the final product was nothing like how I initially imagined, it was waaaaay better! It was a labor of love over months and years of making but I enjoyed every minute of it, and I am so grateful to have such a beautiful record of TJ’s first year.

I was totally skeptical about doing the DIY babybook at the beginning, but now I’m converted! Needless to say, I actually enjoyed the process of making the scrapbook.

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