Monday, February 3, 2014

Spring fever? It's time to make baby gifts!

The tallest "hill" is Harney Peak. It's the highest point between the Rockies
and the Pyrenees with an elevation of 7244 feet. Every time I look at it I think of the
day my dear husband and I climbed to the top.
I love going to Walmart.

No, I don't love the crowds, spending money, or fighting with my shopping cart in a snowy parking lot.

It's this view. If I remember to lift up my eyes, this is what I see from the front door of Walmart.

(I have to confess. I cheated a bit and drove to another part of town for this picture. I wanted you to see it the way I do...ignoring the parking lot full of cars and the houses that are between the store and the Hills.)

With a view like this awaiting me everywhere I turn (you should see the hill out my window right now!), how can I ever concentrate on mundane things like cooking? Eating? Sleeping?

(Man, oh, man, you should see the sky at night! Stars upon stars upon stars.....)

You can tell Thatcher loves the view, too. (Actually, he's watching Wynter - they're out for their weekly run in a nearby park.)

But Spring Fever is knocking at my door. You can see how much snow we have here at the edge of the prairie...up in the Hills it's much deeper. It will still be a few months before we can hit the trails.

A handsome coyote we found while driving through Badlands National
Park on Sunday. Isn't he beautiful? I think he enjoyed
posing for his pictures.

But meanwhile, we're just bursting with babies around here!

No, not in my family, but in our little church. We've added four babies to our church family in the last year, and over the weekend we had a shower for the next little one - due in March.

So many babies means a lot of showers and baby gifts.

And don't we all just love shopping for baby gifts? Little tiny onesies, itty bitty booties, soft fleecy blankets.... {{{sigh}}}

I still like homemade gifts, though. I've tried to keep up with knitting baby sweaters, but these babies are coming too fast!  

So while the sweater is still growing on my needles (shh...don't tell the baby's's a surprise!), I decided to make my favorite alternate gift.

Someone gave me one of these hooded bath towels for a shower gift for our oldest, and I made additional ones for our other three children. They're too big for a newborn, but perfect once the baby outgrows those sweet hooded towels you buy in the store.

And once toddler-hood is reached, these towels become everything from tents to Superman capes. They're perfect for the beach or pool, too!

To make two of these, you need two bath towels and a matching hand towel.

Cut the hand towel in two pieces. Each half will be a hood for one of the towels.

This is the only cutting involved, and you have just that one edge that's unfinished. So now it's time to get out your sewing machine (or borrow a friend's.)

Say "hey" to Wynter. She thinks she's found an out-of-the-way spot.
Fold each part of the hand towel in half so that the right sides are together, and sew it up along the raw edge. You'll want to finish the seam so it doesn't unravel over the years. You can use a zig-zag stitch, a serger (if you have one), or you can make a French seam. The main thing is that this seam needs to be strong and durable.

As you can see, this hood is WAY too long...unless you're sewing for Jawas.

So fold the front edge back about three inches.

Now it's time to sew the hood to the towel. Pin the bottom edge of the hood to the long edge of one bath towel, centered and right sides together. Double check to make sure the hood will be attached the way you want it to be, and then sew the two pieces together. I always sew a double seam here.

Did I tell you my children used their towels until they were at least seven or eight years old? Durability is key!

Repeat with the other half of the hand towel and the other bath towel.

Now you have two shower gifts ready to go!

Or, in this case, one towel for the baby, and one for the big brother.

What is your favorite gift to take to a baby shower?


  1. This is AWESOME!!! I'm doing this! We had some hooded towels but they're really threadbare. Also, they have flowers and pink doodads all over them. My little boys love them but I'm sure they would love something soft and wonderful like this!

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

    1. You're welcome!

      Flowers and pink doodads? It's the price a man has to pay for having older sisters :) Yes, I think they need their own manly towels!

  2. I think Wynter was hoping you'd use her as a model to show off those beautiful hoodie towels. The colour would contrast nicely with her lovely coat. :-)

    This is a great idea, Jan. I'll have to give them a try. Definitely a unique shower gift -- at least it would be around here. Has anyone else found that shower gifts are getting ridiculously expensive? Or is that just an urban thing up here?

    I usually make flannel blankets...I take two really nice flannel swatches -- sew them together leaving a bit open at one end. Then I turn them inside out...or really so the outside is on the outside...slip stitch the opening and then do a decorative topstitch along the border to keep everything smooth and flat. It's like kind of a glorified receiving blanket. And I can't resist tucking a baby board book in as well. It's never too early to start reading to Baby!

    And can I just say that Thatcher cuts a dashing corgi figure? Such a dear little man. So glad he finally grew into those ears! :-)

    1. Yes, shower gifts are SO expensive...or they can be. Around here, a few friends will go in together for the pricier - but necessary - items, or give gift certificates to help buy something.

      The flannel blanket idea is so cute! Especially with the decorative topstitching. And this year, those babies need the extra layer of flannel!

      I'm with you on the book, too. I usually stick in a classic in the board book version. "Good Night, Moon" is my go-to for first babies :)

    2. I forgot to say that I sent that picture of Thatcher to the breeder. Her puppies go everywhere from working cattle ranches in Montana to families in California - and some stay right here in South Dakota.

      Her comment? "What a little stud! He looks so much like his momma!"

  3. P.S. What is that brown book with the gold letters behind Wynter? I'm guessing mid 1800's?

    1. That's the old family Bible. And you're right on target with the date - 1872. It's one of those that was sold door to door, and one of my great-great grandmother's (or g-g-g-great) bought it, wrote family dates in it, and it was handed down through the generations to whoever might be interested. It was one of the things I inherited when my dad downsized a couple years ago. I guess I'm the next keeper of the family lore :)

    2. Oh, wow! I was thinking it might be a Bible but wasn't sure what the bottom writing said. Must be the publisher? Great treasure!

  4. Jan, I never thought to make one of those! We received them as gifts, but I should try my hand at making one myself. My kids used theirs for ages, too!

    1. These are so easy! And how many baby gifts can you give that will be used year after year (besides books, of course)?

    2. Actually, the last baby gift I bought was a sweet children's book that made me sob in the middle of Kohl's! I was so embarrassed. LOL

  5. hmm luckily I'm outta the baby range and not close enough to anyone at church who's preggers (one woman in sunday school is but only saw her twice). I've had 2nd cousins having babies and a couple of cousins (yes my family's pretty stretched out with older cousins and younger cousins then their wating til different ages to start their families...) for my friend's kid I got a toy box that matched his nursery (though her sister ended up moving in and taking over the nursery but at least he had the cute toy box) and the others I made them I Spy quilts with novelty fabrics cut and put into a quilt top then lightly quilted onto fleece and a binding added. I think I got pretty much all but a few I never see not even on facebook...

    otherwise my favorite shower gift would probably be one or a combo from the cute onesies that come in a packages, disposable diapers, some of that burt's bees stuff, hooded towels(onesies and hooded towels my mom told me a loonnng time ago when shopping for a couple of baby showers are 'best' -she says she used those more than anything when we were little and that the cute little outfits are cute but that we never laid around in our cribs wearing them like we did the onesies....)..the burts bees from my friend saying it worked awesome and diaprs because every baby needs those (unless they're using cloth) and I also think I'd get the board book 'goodnight gorilla' since little dude loved that one and since I love to read might as well start them off right :-) now that I quilt I might make a quick quilt (HA!) if I have work I had to make my own rule of they must actually work in the lab with me ..was gonna make one for a guy out in the plant but then figured it wouldn't be too good since there were about 8 babies being born and um no way I was doing 8 baby quilts. will have to try this towel...I saw patterns for animal head hooded towels.those were cute too!

    1. After I got these towels made, wrapped, and on their way to the baby shower, I thought of making the hoods into animal heads! Way too late for this batch, but I'll have to look for a pattern. I'm sure there are plenty of ideas on pinterest!