{gifts with style} Beckett's Big Brother Kit

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A few weeks back, I shared a sneak peek of one of the special gifts I made for Beckett to give him when our new baby arrived - a custom designed board book featuring hand drawn animal silhouettes.  Today I'm back to show you the entire Big Brother Kit that we gave to him at the hospital after Cooper was born.

The idea for the Big Brother Kit started with my desire to make Beckett a special Big Brother shirt using iron-on transfer paper.  I bought a plain black t-shirt from Target and a cute pair of plaid shorts.  I designed the iron-on decal for the shirt to match the shorts, and used a a seam ripper to remove the pocket from the shirt in order to maximize the space available for the decal.  I also picked up a black canvas bag from Michael's and made a coordinating decal for the bag.

Beckett is really into Sesame Street these days - so much so that he'll sit and watch a full hour long episode without moving or saying a word.  Anything that can hold the attention of a 17-month old is like magic.  His favorite Sesame Street character is Elmo, and his favorite parts of the show include anything involving music and singing.  I found him a cute Elmo shirt to add to the Big Brother Kit, and also picked up two DVDs of Sesame Street musical skits.

Because Beckett also loves books, I found him a book about having a new baby in the house that was perfectly geared for his age and level of understanding.  Also, I had been wanting to make him a few custom board books for some time.  As you saw in my prior post, I made one book using the animal silhouettes that I drew for the quilt in his bedroom.  On Pinterest, I also found an amazing book created by Stacey at Life as You Live It Blog titled "On the Day I was Born."

I originally intended to take Stacey's concept and come up with my own spin on the book for Beckett, but then I realized that Stacey's book was so perfect I really couldn't improve upon it.  Stacey sells the templates on her blog, but because of Beckett's age I really wanted to make his a board book, instead a book with paper pages. This required a different page size than her templates, and company that I used to print the board book allowed fewer total pages than the templates.   So instead, I recreated Stacey's book as closely as I could in Photoshop using my own fonts, eliminating a couple of pages, and combining a couple of pages.

The book starts out by talking about Beckett growing in my belly before he was born - which is perfect because Beckett was very aware of my growing belly while I was pregnant with Cooper.  The book then talks about the day Beckett was born and all the people who loved him that day, with pictures of his dad and I, as well as his four grandparents, aunt and three uncles, and his four living great grandparents.  Then the book goes on to show how Beckett has grown since he was born and that he is now a big brother.  It's simple enough for him to understand and enjoy at his young age, but I also think it will become a keepsake that we'll continue to cherish over the years.

I printed the book using the custom board book printing option through Pint Size Productions.  I am thrilled with the results and look forward to making many more custom board books for my boys, including Cooper's own "On the Day I was Born" book. 

Coming back to Beckett's love of Sesame Street, I bought Sesame Street wrapping paper and filled the canvas bag full of all of his presents.

I packed the "Big Brother Kit" in my hospital bag.  It was really important to me when Beckett came to the hospital after Cooper was born that he first was able to spend a few minutes alone with just Scott and I before meeting the baby.  We wanted him to have some one on one time with us to see that I was ok, and to open a few of the presents.

Photo by Technicolor Vision

Photo by Technicolor Vision

Photo by Technicolor Vision
 We read his "On the Day I was Born" book with him, and talked to him about meeting the new baby.

Photo by Technicolor Vision
After we read his book, we changed him into his Big Brother shirt.  I just LOVE that silly smile he has these days when you ask him to show you his teeth!  This photo perfectly captures him at this age!

Photo by Technicolor Vision
Then we brought Cooper into the room and introduced Beckett to his new little brother.  It was an absolutely precious moment!  One that neither Scott nor I will ever forget.  I'll be back tomorrow to share with you some of my favorite photos of their introduction!


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  1. Angela, this is such a great idea!
    I will say that my earliest memories involve the day my younger brother was born. I remember getting a doll, and being VERY excited when my brother came home.
    Since then, I've always tried to make sure that when my friends have their second or third child, that the older kids get some special attention too. The individualized books and t-shirt are amazing and I'm sure Beckett will treasure them.
    Congrats to you, Scott and Beckett on your growing family!!!

  2. I'm super non-creative. We'd like to do this boardbook for our son who is going to be a big brother soon. Do you sell your template?

    1. Ryan, since the design of the book so closely mimics the original design of Stacey at Life as You Live It, I wouldn't be comfortable selling a template. But Stacey sells her templates (link in post above). She has seen my board book version and might be willing to modify her templates for you if a board book is what you are after. If you want to print it as a regular hard back book with paper pages her templates are already set up for that. I think she also offers the option of making the book for you.

  3. Angela,

    I, also, was wondering if you would sell your board book template? I am not sure I can resize and rework hers and make it work in the board book format. I would be using pint sized productions as well as I have used them before and am happy with their products. Any chance you would change your mind?

    1. Rachel, I am so sorry, but I just can't. I believe it would be a copyright violation for me to sell the template because the layout and wording is so similar. It is one thing for me to make a similar book for personal use and to credit her as the original designer on my blog, but it would be inappropriate for me to sell or otherwise share the template. Have you reached out to her to see if she might be willing to resize the template for you? I can ask her as well! Again, I'm sorry, but I am sure you understand that it's the right thing for me to do! Thanks! Angela

  4. HI Angela! I was trying to see if there was somewhere I could email you.. Hoping this post works. I'm due in 6 wks with my second child. I really wanted to do this for my 20 month old... I was hoping to purchase the template from the original designer. However, I really would prefer the board book application. I went to pint size productions site and I was very confused on what to choose.. and how it all works. Do I have to buy the template, download photoshop trial and then mess with it to fit the smaller book.. then go to pint size productions? I just don't want to have to re-do any work... can you help me along with the process and how you somewhat went about it? I'm not familiar with photoshop but I will figure it out.. anything you could tell me would be great! Please help! :)

    1. Sara, Congrats on the upcoming arrival of baby!

      Unfortunately, if you purchase the templates from the original designer, Stacey at Life As You Live It (http://lifeasyouliveit.com/blog/on-the-day-i-was-born/) I don't think you are going to be able to make them fit the board book templates (even if you were already Photoshop proficient). That is the reason that I designed my own rather than purchasing her templates (while I would have certainly prefered to buy them her for them). The template will only allow you to modify certain elements (text and photos), and I don't think it's feasible that you could alter all the proportions of the template to fit the completely different dimensions, bleed and trim requirements required for printing as a board book. Additionally, Pint Size Productions allows only a fixed number of pages - quite a few less than the template from Life As You Live It.

      I actually started from scratch and designed my own book to look similar to the original, using the blank board book template from Pint Size Productions (you just ask them to email you the blank board book template). You then use the Pint Size Productions template (with bleed and trim lines indicated) to design your own book. I explain the Pint Sized Production process / Photoshop design process in this post: http://blueistyle.blogspot.com/2013/05/CustomAnimalBoardBook.html.

      However, if you are not familiar with Photoshop, I don't think this option is going to work for you since you would have to design the entire book from scratch and Photoshop is a complicated program and not intuitive. But do you have a friend or family member who is Photoshop savy that might be able to help you?!

      If you don't want to have to redo any work, and aren't Photoshop proficient, I think your best option would be to print a regular book rather than a board book. I'm sorry to say that, as I know it's not your preference. If you choose this option, I would contact Stacey and let her do the work for you (her Option 2) http://lifeasyouliveit.com/blog/on-the-day-i-was-born/

      Aternatively, if a board book is a must, you could create a much simpler book by letting Pint Size productions do the work for you! You can choose their Simple Photo Book option which allows you to upload photos and simply drag to position them on the pages and type in your text (http://www.pintsizeproductions.com/boardbook-baby-simple.html). For this option, all you would have to do is upload your photos and then type in text. The look wouldn't be the same, but the sentiment certainly would! :)

      My last suggestion is to contact Stacey at Live As You Live It and ask her to consider offering a new board book option. I believe others have requested this in the past, but I am not sure what her response has been.

      Finally, if would like to discuss this further, you can email me using the email link at the top of each page of this blog (it looks like an envelope) or you can send me an email directly to blueistyleblog {at} gmail {dot} com.

      Best of luck, and I'm sorry I don't have a simpler answer for you! Angela

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