Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Babies Don't Keep" Print: Complete!

When we first started looking for a house to buy over the winter (we're still looking...), we visited a home where I saw a poem that really stuck with me.  It was done in cross stitch and hung in a bedroom that looked to be shared by three little girls (I see why this family was moving from their three bedroom home). Months later I was still thinking about that poem. Looking it up online, I found out that it was called Song for a Fifth Child, by Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton, and what I had seen was just the last verse. The full poem (found here) reads:

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread. 

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. 

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue, 
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo. 
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due 
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo. 

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew 
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo 
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
 Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue? 
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo. 

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow 
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow. 
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep! 
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. 

I read that the verses are often cross stitched, as I had seen. Searching turned up a couple of cross stitching kits on eBay and Etsy, but they weren't really my style.  I checked for prints too but didn't find much.  So I decided to design my own.

I'm glad this project is finally done! It filled the majority of my baby-free time for the past two months or so, from learning enough Photoshop to git 'er done (yay for the free trial period), to finding a place to have it printed (I went with, to getting the frame (from Goodwill) and painting it.  In the end, it turned out pretty much how I'd hoped.

Here's the finished product:

I actually gave this one to my neighbor, mama to two little boys, for Mother's Day.  I printed it with two different background colors because I wasn't sure how they would turn out and the shipping was more than an 8x10 print!  My copy is a bit more blue and has a slight gradient.  No photo of mine because when I was trying to take one I realized that the glass in the frame I kept for myself is crazy reflective. You can, however, see approximately what it looks like here (that's also a clearer image than above if you expand it to full-size).

Also, printing a smooth gradient over a relatively large area is hard.  Especially when the colors at the endpoints aren't that different.  Apparently a known issue in the graphic design world, it was news to me.  The first print I received had obvious streaking in the gradient that I hadn't noticed on the monitor, through no fault of the printer.  Google suggested using Photoshop's "add noise" feature to smooth it out, and that (mostly) did the trick.

The graphics are Photoshop brushes (you can think of them as re-sizable stencils) that I found online.  Credit for the butterfly brushes goes to coy-dreamer and to melsbrushes for the rest.

Here are a few pictures of E working on drinking. He loves drinking from my cup, even though he has a small-person-sized cup we get out at mealtime.

Don't worry, it was nearly empty when he started!

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