This past year has been an exciting time of welcoming brand new babies into the world—my friends’ babies, mind you. Quite a few of them. It has also been an interesting time of discovering my capacity for making squeal-y sounds of delight over things like: tiny clothes hangers for itty-bitty baby sweaters; little baby shoes (which we all know aren’t actually shoes and are instead just accessories meant to make people like me make those aforementioned squealing sounds); and the clever feats of engineering involved in jogging strollers, carseat-stroller-babybucket combos, and those collapsible pack-and-play things. Seriously, the land of baby accoutrements is not unlike Alice’s Wonderland—I’m not sure how it happens, but after walking down one aisle in any store’s baby section, I’m trapped by all-consuming cuteness.
Now, when it comes to baby shower gifts, I’m sure most new mamas would technically like to receive a mountain of diaper supplies, coupons for babysitting, and a freezer full of pre-made organic dinners that take 2 minutes to prepare (along with a self-cleaning kitchen). And I’d love to be that conscientious friend who totally forgoes the fun present and instead gives her mother-to-be pal something totally useful. But that’s not my gifting MO. I can’t help but take the handmade gift approach (whenever possible), and leave the gifting of practical cloth diapers to someone else. I want to make you and your babe a plushy koala and hippo, an embroidered wall-hanging for the nursery, a pair of felt baby booties—I want to make you…finger puppets.
Yes! Finger puppets! Who doesn’t love those?! Raise your hand if, like me, you had to take 8-hour family drives with multiple siblings piled into the station wagon, and you eventually tired of your pre-packed coloring book and in-the-car crafts. Oh, and your brothers never actually sat still and you were the oldest and no one listened to you and there was a big carseat in the middle and they were always kicking and it was really just a melee of frustration. (Well, okay, maybe you didn’t have to endure that extent of car-ride-craziness, but bear with me here.) Enter: finger puppets. Instant story-tellers and adventure-makers. And the beauty is that they aren’t relegated to just one story or one story-teller: a parent could tell a story with, say, a set of woodland critter finger puppets that drastically differs from the magical tale told by a 5-year-old with those same woodland creatures. What I’m saying is, finger puppets are awesome, and they help a person read aloud, try out language, invent a story, or create a world (and placate crazy brothers in the car).
When it came time for me to look around for finger puppet how-tos and design inspiration, I discovered some really incredible resources—helpful, illustrated, and relatively easy (free) tutorials. [*This part is unnecessary because you already know it, but just remember: Don’t go stealing honest crafters’ designs, now. Use only those tutorials that are intended for free and fair use.] I’m filled with awe at the crafting community’s ability to create incredibly smart, thoughtful, engaging, and downright cool gifts for new mamas and new kidlets, and I’d like to share some of my finds with you:
(get ready for this)
Care’s Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets (from Obsessively Stitching):
The Wolf (see the earlier tutorial for the 3 Little Pigs)
See what I mean? These ridiculously talented, generous, and innovative bloggers are making it easy (and downright fun) to create great gifts and be an Auntie Beth. Happy gifting!