Today I’m sharing my newest favorite baby shower gift idea. Like many people, I love to shop for baby clothes and other fun baby items. I also have many many friends who have received far more baby clothes and other fun items (i.e. stuffed animals, toys) than their babies will ever possibly use. Practical gifts aren’t as exciting to buy, but they are often very much appreciated.
This past year I attended a baby shower for a very good friend. Part of my gift was basic laundry supplies, which she really loved, especially the mesh laundry bags. You can never have too many mesh laundry bags, particularly when you’re washing tons of baby socks and other small clothing items. This past month, I put together another large baby gift for another good friend and decided to stick with the laundry theme.
In addition to the obvious need for laundry supplies when you have a new baby in the house, there are a couple reasons I really like the laundry themed baby shower gift basket.
You use up laundry supplies. Again, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in toys and books. You’ll continue to use and consequently, use up laundry supplies every month and then need to buy more.
Laundry supplies aren’t gender-specific. The first time I gave the laundry gift, the recipient wasn’t finding out the gender at all. The second time, the recipient wasn’t sharing the gender with anyone but her husband. Buying a more practical gift, such as feeding or bath time supplies, instead of clothes or toys is often easier when you don’t know the gender.
What I included in my laundry gift:
Basic large white laundry basket
64-load baby laundry detergent (I bought the generic Target brand, but Dreft is also a great option)
In the basket, you’ll also see a set of baby towels and washcloths, which wasn’t laundry themed but was part of the gift. (I just really like giving gifts and can never seem to help myself from picking up one more item for someone.) I purchased all of these items at Target. Dreft also sells a laundry stain remover. I’ve never found it at Target and have never gotten my act together to order it online or check another store before a shower, but it would be a great item to include in the basket as well.
The second recipient was also very welcoming of the laundry gift. I know I’ll have many more opportunities to use the idea in the future.
Finally, some of you may be wondering how I wrapped the big laundry basket gift. Confession: I didn’t. I wasn’t able to attend the shower. I attended the recipient’s birthday party a couple days before the shower and gave it to her then exactly as you see it here. If I were going to wrap it, I would do something really simple and inexpensive like covering it with a couple garbage bags and decorating it with large cardstock polka dots.
Do you have any go-to baby shower gifts?
I’d love to hear your best ideas!
It wouldn’t be fall without a new slow cooker chili recipe, right? I know, everyone is posting new chili recipes and re-posting dozens of favorite old chili recipes. Why should you make slow cooker ground beef chili with corn instead of all the other chili recipes out there?
As I’m getting ready to switch out my seasonal items for fall, I’ve been browsing new fall prints for my square kitchen frame. I switch out my rotating kitchen pieces about once a month, so I like to have several prints for a single season. Several of the following free fall printables are in my regular seasonal rotation. Hopefully you’ll find a couple prints you can use for your autumn decorating as well!
Today I’m sharing a mini tour of our first floor powder room. It’s tiny and just perfect for the main floor of the home. It’s so convenient to have a bathroom on the main floor, and we don’t have the hassle of cleaning another large bathroom.
Our past two residences each had two bathrooms so we’ve had to outfit this bathroom with a few new items. Again, it’s really small and didn’t need any renovating when we moved in so the process has been pretty simple. I love the mirror, counter, and sink (it’s copper!) and selected a mix of neutral accessories to coordinate with them, which was fairly straightforward.
I’ve spent a little bit longer choosing art for the room. The inspiration for the Bath, England theme came from the postcard set. I’ve saved tons of postcards over the years and have been sorting through them since we moved for my kitchen clothespin display. I hadn’t thought about the Bath postcard set in years but was so happy to find it again. It fits the room so I went with it. I bought those postcards over 15 years ago so of course, I don’t have a link online. They’re done in a similar style to this watercolor postcard of Oxford.
Once I’d settled on the postcards, I knew that I wanted the other art pieces to be drawings or paintings (or prints of drawings or paintings). I have tons of photography displayed around the house, and it’s nice to mix up the wall art with a few other mediums. The drawings / paintings theme led me to A View of Lansdown Crescent, Bath. All Posters runs sales frequently, which means you can pick up this print (and many other prints) for 30-50% off or more if you watch their promotions.
It took me longer to settle on the final wall art. After months of combing Etsy and All Posters, I decided to search Pinterest, where I came across the artist Chris Lee. I was hooked right away. (You may remember me sharing this little story and mentioning the artist in a favorites post.) Of course, then it took me a couple more months to decide on a few pieces (Milsom Street, Sally Lunn, Lansdown) and get them printed and framed. But they’re finished now and up on the wall, completing this little space of the house.
Several people have commented that they think it’s fitting that the bathroom has a “Bath” theme. I promise this was a complete coincidence.
Thus far I’ve also shared home tours of our guest bedroom and kitchen wall art. Check them out if you haven’t already! I’ll continue to share one or two home tours monthly.
This photo is one of my first attempts at back lighting a subject, a brand new skill for me.
When I published 5 Tips for Improving Your Photography back in July, Natasha mentioned in a comment that an additional tip should be to never stop learning. Her tip is so fabulous that I’m devoting an entire post to the topic. It is way too easy to stagnate in any field, creative or otherwise. If you don’t make a conscious effort to keep improving your skills, you’ll flatline. Over time, bad habits may creep in and you’ll even decline. Regardless of your skill level, it’s so important to keep learning everything you can about your field.
Keep an article open on your smartphone
You never know when you’ll find yourself with a few minutes to wait while you’re checking out at the grocery store or your kid is finishing soccer practice. Using these precious minutes to read about photography is a great way to work on your skills and stay current in the field without a lot of effort. Save articles on Pinterest to read as you have time and/or bookmark sites with regular photography blog posts or articles such as Fstoppers or PetaPixel.
Keep a couple ebooks on your Kindle or other eReader
Personally, I find it refreshing to mix up reading longer fiction and nonfiction with shorter photography ebooks. It’s easy to read a couple chapters here or there without losing your momentum because there is no overarching story. Last year I bought a photography Ultimate Bundles pack, which is going to keep me set for photography ebooks for quite a while. I checked out the bundle because it included Tasty Food Photography, which is a must read for any photographer, even if you never plan to photograph food. More recently I picked up the first and second books in David McKay’s new series, both of which are great. (Of course, you can also read my photography ebook, too. No pressure.)
Subscribe to a few favorite photography YouTube channels and/or podcasts
Subscribing to a YouTube channel or podcast is a simple way to support a content provider while keeping up on their latest releases. Currently, the only photography YouTube channel I follow closely is Photorec TV. I know that you’re probably already sick of me talking about Photorec here, but Toby is awesome and I love being part of his supportive community. I also recommend KelbyOne and Tony & Chelsea Northrup. If you want to start listening to photography podcasts, check out this list from the Digital Photography School. There are also tons of stand-alone webinars and video photography resources such as this workshop from Shuttertalk.
Read your manual
DSLR and mirrorless cameras are extremely powerful. Most likely you don’t use quite a few of your camera’s functions. This could be a great opportunity to understand more about the light meter and how to use it or to learn back button focusing. If you don’t have a specific skill to work on or component of your camera that you’d like to understand better, read your manual anyway. You never know when you’ll pick up a new tip or trick to improve your skills.
If you don’t want to read your camera manual, think about reading the manual for your flash or another piece of gear. Again, flashes and other DSLR and mirrorless accessories are powerful and often feature manual settings that can really transform your photography.
Experiment with new gear
New gear is a slippery slope. Getting new gear is always fun. It doesn’t necessarily make you a better photographer, even if it’s a high-quality piece of gear. However, it can get you out of a creative rut or force you to try a new technique. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to work on your landscape photography but are lacking a wide angle lens. Or maybe you want to step up your portrait game but don’t own a high-end prime lens. Maybe it’s time to take the plunge.
Renting is a great way to experiment with new gear for a fraction of the cost of buying new gear. You can simply have the fun of playing with gear that’s way out of your price range or can try before you buy. Some sites, including both of the following sites, have opportunities to put rental charges toward future purchases. I’ve used BorrowLenses several times and been very happy with them. Their prices are competitive, and you can opt to ship your package to the local FedEx store right at checkout so you don’t have to worry about being at home to sign for a package. Lumoid is another great option.
Try a new editing technique
There are virtually limitless editing techniques and Lightroom and Photoshop tricks to learn. Search your favorite YouTube channel and watch a few videos you may have missed before, and do a general YouTube or Pinterest search for videos on a technique that’s always interested you but you’ve never attempted.
Seek out new photographers to follow on Instagram, Flickr, etc.
If you’ve grown tired of your current Instagram or Flickr feed or you just don’t feel like you’re learning much from the current mix of photos, add a few new accounts into the feed. One of my favorite ways to find new accounts to follow on Instagram is to check out the “following” tab under the favorites section to see the photos the accounts I follow are liking. The explore feature is another way to gain exposure to new accounts that may fit your interests.
Mix up your routine or find a new challenge for yourself
Virtually all of the previously mentioned suggestions will inspire you to mix up your routine or seek out a new challenge to help you keep learning new technical, composition, and editing techniques. If you don’t want to do something as involved as renting or buying new gear or learning a complex editing method, simply take a walk in a new area of town or challenge yourself to edit a whole set of photos in black and white. Look into opportunities to attend conferences and events, too. Connecting with other photographers may be just as inspiring as sitting through great presentations or visiting exhibition booths.
Do you have any tips to stay current in the photography field?
How do you keep learning new shooting and editing techniques?