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Pinwheel Mobile

4.24.2011

I know…another baby project.  Yawn.  But while there are other projects going on that I just need to sit down and blog about, the cuteness factor of these is winning out currently.  And who does not love a mobile?  I know I do.

Just like the “what to hang above the crib” conundrum, the mobile originally stumped me a well.  I wanted something cute (obviously.)  And cheap.  And something that was as interesting to look at from the baby’s perspective as it would be from standing outside the crib.  And while our general nursery theme is going to be “animals”,  I not really stuck on that (hence the abacus).  I knew if we were having a girl a bird mobile would be in order, but for a boy I was worried it would be too feminine.  Oh and I wanted it to move a lot.

So I did an inspiration search on Etsy.  And if you do not want to DIY there are so many amazing mobiles there. 

But after drooling over all the possibilities, I came up with pinwheels.  They fit all my criteria minus the animal thing and I was OK with that as I do not want the space to become too themey.

I could have made simple pinwheels and called it a day, but no, I had to do a google search and find more interesting and more time consuming ones.  That’s the way I like to make projects take 5 times as long as normal people.

Anyway, I found this great pinwheel pattern from Heather Bailey.  And I basically followed the first steps.

pinwheel mobile

Her tutorial calls for double sided cardstock.  I ended up with some solid cardstock and some scrapbook paper that I glue sticked together to make it double sided.  I found this to work great.

pinwheel mobile

Then the time consuming part.  Copying the pattern piece onto the paper and cutting it out.  Each pinwheel takes two of these.  Since I made 11 of them, I repeated this step 22 times. 

Very long and boring….but an easy project to do while vegging out in front of the TV. 

I am not much of a paper crafter, so I had to buy a mini paper punch to make the holes.  It was another purchase, but it made the whole process so much easier.

pinwheel mobile

After you meticulously cut them out, slide them together and put a little glue around the center so they do not slide apart.

pinwheel mobile

For each of my pinwheels, one piece was solid and the other was pattern. 

pinwheel mobile

Then, like she instructs, you attach an eyelet through the center hole.  She says to put a second eyelet in to bring all the pieces together in the center to form your pinwheel, but I found this too difficult.  I could not maneuver the eyelet setter thing (I told you I was not a papercrafter) inside the pinwheel and bang the top with a hammer without totally crunching my paper or having some of the spindles fall off the eyelet.  Grrrrr.  So I bought some mini brads from the scrapbooking aisle and those worked like a charm.

Now that the pinwheels were all constructed, we just needed to figure out a way to hang them in a mobile like fashion.  My first thought was constructing something out of wire.

So Derek spent an evening trying to manipulate wire in such a fashion to make it look smooth and professional while being able to allow 11 pinwheels to spin gracefully.  This part of the project led to Derek’s frustration…..and three crumbled up masses of wire.  I thought about photographing that for the blog, but decided that it would not would have been appreciated. 

Onto Plan B….the old standby of dowel rods. 

IMG_3706

We decided to use one longer dowel rod as the base and then make two X’s with smaller dowel rods to hang beneath.  The X’s were secured with fishing line and wood glue and then spray painted.  Holes were drilled at the end of all the dowel rods in order to be able to string fishing line through to hold pinwheels.

And then the fun task of hanging the pinwheels with fishing line began.  This was a two person job….one person to hold the contraption and the other to string the pinwheels.  Or to play with the pinwheels and watch them spin while the other did all the work.  Not that that was me though.   I was focused the whole time.

Anyway, we used a bead strung through the eyelet hole to secure the pinwheels and allowed them to move freely in the breeze.  We constructed each dowel rod X separately with its pinwheels at varying heights and then put it all together to get this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

And the view from the crib looks like this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

They spin so easily…I almost made a video of them spinning.  But then decided that it may be the most boring video ever.  So I didn’t.  You’re welcome.

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

Hopefully he likes watching it as much as I did while we were putting it together.  Or hopefully half as much when he is not busy sleeping through the night:).

I think this is my Best Idea Ever

4.11.2011

At least that is what I told Derek as I was flipping through a CB2 catalog.

lairddeskjoechairFC10

The oversized abacus.  The perfect addition to what to put above the crib which had been stressing me out for awhile as I was very uninspired in this area for some reason.  Of course we were not going to spend $150 for the CB2 version when of course we could make our own.  I mean how easy….see any resemblance to another DIY project?

IMG_0613

It was meant to be, we already basically had made one in the laundry room without the beads and some hinges.

Ready for the how-to?

1.  Find 100 beads for you abacus.  I ordered mine from this website, Woodworks Ltd. They had tons of options and the beads came super fast.  I ordered 1-1/2" Round Beads, 1/2" hole.  Of course you could do a different number other than 100 if you did not want to be mathematically correct.

abacus making

2. Prime ‘em.  We used spray primer and it was quick and easy.  After one side dries, flip them and prime the other.

abacus making

3. Paint them.  I used cheap acrylic paint because….well I was being cheap and did not want to buy 10 cans of spray paint.   I may have regretted that decision as I was hand-painting the second coat on every.single.bead.    And then flipping them over.  When the baby gets older I am going to make sure he knows that his mom loves him so much that those suckers are handpainted.

abacus making

4.  Gloss them.  The acrylic paint was in flat finish so we added a glossy spray coat.

abacus making

5.  Make the frame .  We made ours thicker than the CB2 version so that it could be screwed into the wall.  That way if Junior decides he is more athletically rather than mathematically inclined, he will not be able to pull it down on himself.

Materials: 4 – 8’ 1x2; 1 – 10’ 1x3; 10 dowel rods, your choice as to size; 1 1/4” nails; 1 1/4” screws if you want to be able to take it apart.

a. For this size, cut 2 22” 1x2 pieces.

b. Clamp the 1x2 pieces together.

c. Drill holes through the middle of both 1x2 pieces every 2 inches so the holes match up exactly.

d. Nail the 1x2’s with holes as verticals with 2 33” long 1x2 boards to make the inner frame.

e. Add a second “outer frame” of 1x2 around the outside of the inner frame.  This allows the dowel rods to fit snugly in their holes and does not require gluing of the dowels.  It is important that you do not nail both ends of the outer frame on at this time.  If you nail both sides you will not have a way to get the dowels into the frame.   The long sides of the outer frame are 34 1/2” and the vertical sides of the outer frame are 22”.

f. Use the 1x3 to make a backing that will be used to screw to the wall.  You will have a slight overhang on the inside of the abacus to screw through.  Nail this to the back of the outer frame 1x2.   Long 1x3’s measure 34 1/2” and the short sides are 18 1/2”.

6. Finish the frame.  I was originally thinking of staining it, but in the end we went white.  So we used spray primer and paint. 

abacus making

7.  Install the beads.  Since we were thinking ahead and left the left side off, we just slid those babies on making sure not to miscount.  Because that would have been embarrassing.

abacus making

8. Attach the final side piece.  We decided to use screws so that it can be removed if I want to change the color of the beads for some odd reason.  Or if Junior decides to use a dowel rod as a pull up bar and it snaps.  Screws will make it easier to slide out and replace.  We filled the screw hole with one of those white caps.

abacus making

9. Hang it.  Like I mentioned before, we screwed it in directly to the studs and then filled the screw holes with the white caps.

abacus making

10.  Enjoy your functional art.  And the thought that somehow it will make the baby a mathematical genius in their sleep. abacus making

abacus making

Best part?  It was less than half the price of the CB2 version and it was customized to our colors, size, and more sturdy for screwing in the wall.    And if a nursery is not in your DIY plans, you could stain all the beads or paint them all one color to match a more adult room.

It is exciting to actually have something hanging on the wall…now I just need to get going on the mobile and those drapes.

Procrastination

4.04.2011

Some things never change….another baby quilt with not the best pics because I finished it minutes before a friend’s baby shower. 

As in pacing in front of dryer worried that we were going to be late after setting a new personal best time for hand sewing the binding.

I have not learned and maybe never will.  But on the bright side I now have baby accessories to drape the quilt on.  Maybe that will help the incredibly quickly taken pictures.

new wave quilt

new wave quilt

I used the New Wave quilt pattern that I found on Oh Fransson.  Since they are not finding out the gender, I picked the yellow, orange and green color palette.  Did I mention that I love how it came out?

new wave quilt

And the back….which only looks transparent because of the whole standing in front of a window thing.

new wave quilt

This is the first time I attempted free motion quilting on my new machine and I am happy with how it came out even without my standby free motion partner of red wine.

 new wave quilt

To make the patterned fabric stand out even more, I just did random loops in the white border areas.

new wave quilt

I also loved how it made the pattern come through to the back.

new wave quilt

Hopefully the new baby will love it and maybe next time I will learn my lesson. 

I wouldn’t hold my breathe though.