Skip the candles and bath stuff: Delight mom with Obaby and Cafe Press

Look, I have nothing against candles or bath products. Or coffee mugs or kitchen gadgets or flowers. It’s just that there are only so many candles, bath products, mugs and gadgets a gal can use. And flowers wilt.

Valerie Canon and Daughter Athena

You can do better. Not only that, but you can do it cheaper. You won’t find a lovelier gift that’s more budget friendly than Obaby – because it’s free!

Obaby, the photo app from Over, has gone free for Mother’s Day. Normally priced at $4.99, this special edition of Obaby, sponsored by Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets, has 22 beautiful, new illustrations for celebrating moms. Designed by artist Kelsey Cronkhite, these illustrations are sweet, stylish, fun, and well-crafted, like all of the art in Obaby.

“We made Obaby to celebrate little lives, and these special Mother’s Day illustrations celebrate all the moms who make those little lives happen,” said Aaron Marshall, the app’s co-creator and designer.

“Moms make beautiful baby stories. We love them. We’ve decided to thank them this year by giving them our app for free,” Marshall continued. “We also included artwork for everyone else to thank the moms in their lives.”

Robert Sagers, project manager at Over, is planning on using the new artwork in a picture including his mom and mother-in-law on his Instagram account. Sagers added, “I’m confident Aaron [Marshall] will have something to post… Perhaps of his wife, Nichole.”

Dr. Christine Brown and the author, 1986

Dr. Christine Brown and the author, 1986

I knew right away I wanted to use Obaby to create a unique printed item for my mom. While Obaby+ (the extended version of Obaby, regularly $14.99 but dropped to $9.99 for Mother’s Day) would itself make a great gift for moms of younger children, my mom isn’t a smartphone user yet, so printing something special was the obvious next choice.

I love the juxtaposition of modern and vintage elements in design, so I chose a photo of mom and me from around 1982 (notice mom’s amazing hair!) to pair with Obaby’s illustrations. Because of the composition of the photo, I gave it a Polaroid look (using Diptic) in order to ensure the illustrations would not only be visible, but featured. Then in Obaby, sizing and coloring the artwork was simple.

As a Louisville-headquartered business that just happens to offer a veritable plethora of design-your-own products, CafePress came to mind immediately. Jason Falls, well-known digital strategist and vice president of digital strategy at Cafepress, said their ultimate photo product is the art canvas. “That’s been our most popular photo product for some time. We even bought Canvas On Demand because we knew that was going to be a big deal,” said Falls.

“We also have jewelry (my wife has a sterling silver necklace with a picture of our kids on it already!), shower curtains, pillows and more,” Falls continued. “I’d encourage people to think beyond the norm … what product would look great with that picture on it? Throw rug? Duvet cover? Couch pillow? We can do that.”

CafePress has sales for Mother’s Day, too. The sales are different each day; Falls advised that email subscribers tend to get the best deals.

Each download of Obaby includes 300-plus custom-made illustrations in addition to the limited time Mother’s Day artwork, with another 350-plus illustrations available via in-app purchases. Obaby+ is just like Obaby except there’s no artwork to unlock: more than 650 illustrations, plus any future additions, are already included. Obaby+ may be gifted from the App Store by pressing the share button, then the gift button.