Community Books

>> Monday, July 21, 2008

Another peek into past crafty activities...

A couple months ago, my current roommate mused out loud that for someone who is not a baby person, I'm pretty good at making gifts for them when they are born and remembering to give something to the older siblings as well. As for the latter, I can thank my mom, as she was always good at remembering the other children (that may be a function of being the oldest, as I too remember wanting to open presents when my younger siblings got things they couldn't even unwrap themselves). As for the former, baby quilts are fun to make precisely because they are small and relatively quick. They are very doable quilting projects, ones for which the path does not seem to wind its way through never-never land.

Yet as grateful as I know new parents are for baby gifts, it has always seemed to me that the parents are left out. After all, it's their life that changes most dramatically the instant they have a live baby for whom to care. I wanted to find a way to give them a gift, one that would aid them with the transition and also (this is the selfish part) keep them planted in my friend-group as people who still have adult, childless/free friends.

My solution was something I call "community books." These books hold small cards that serve as IOUs for things like dinners delivered to their house, babysitting, movie night at their convenience, help with laundry or other household chores. They also contain gift certificates -- to movies, restaurants, and other outings as well as for a massage for the new mom. For the two I've created thus far, I rounded up about 15 other people to contribute one service and $10 per person.

I know it's hard to see in the pictures, but the second page includes a note that explains the book and the last page has an index with all of the services and gift certificates. The recipients of the first book asked if they had to give the IOU coupon back to the giver, and my answer was "of course not." The giver knows what he or she has donated, and all the recipients need to do is call or email. The book's coupons just facilitate the process.


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