A baby shower offers the perfect opportunity to whip up a keepsake quilt, turning the gift-creation process into a group activity. The finished quilt, assembled at a later date, features fabric squares individually decorated with artwork or a message for the forthcoming child. Once the child is old enough to understand the sentiments, the quilt will take on special meaning as she enjoys messages and artwork created by loved ones before she came into being.
Enclose a line in the invitation informing invitees about your plan to create a keepsake quilt for the baby. Encourage each guest to be thinking about a message or special drawing to contribute. Explain a bit about how the process works for those who may be unfamiliar with the idea; guests do not need to bring anything for the quilt project.
Choose at least two colors for the quilt based on a color scheme for the baby's room, making sure one color is relatively plain and light enough to contrast well with art and messages. Cut squares from the fabric based on the quilt design you have in mind. For example, a two-toned quilt 36 inches square will use 25 6-inch squares of each color. Don't forget to cut 5 or 10 extra squares of the light color in case one of the guests needs to redo her design.
During the Shower
Use a large table or series of tables to hold stacks of drawing paper, pencils and fabric pens, along with a closeup photo or two of keepsake quilts so guests have a better understanding of the design and process. Ask guests to whip up preliminary drawings on paper, then hand out quilt squares and fabric markers so they can recreate their work on the real thing. Offer a few baby-themed stencils with images such as baby animals and baby bottles, or stencils matching the room's theme. Placing scrap cardboard or clipboards beneath the fabric squares helps ensure the ink doesn't soak through to the table.
If less-creative guests aren't sure what to write or draw, offer ideas, such as "To my favorite cutie, from Aunt Kathie" or a cartoon monkey holding a heart bearing the baby's name. Encourage guests to print their names on each square so the recipient will always know who designed what. Stress the importance of keeping designs away from the edges of each square so stitching doesn't cover their handiwork. If you don't know how to quilt, turn the finished pieces over to a friend who has agreed in advance to assemble the quilt, or send them to a keepsake quilt company for assembly.
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