The Briar Rose Quilt

Sometimes it is nice to sew with some pink. And strawberries.  And frogs.

Briar Rose Quilt

And sometimes it is nice to make a simple quilt and let the fabric do the heavy lifting.  Especially when it is so pretty.

Briar Rose Quilt

I spent a lot of time trying what to sew up with my charm pack of Briar Rose by Heather Ross.  I had many ideas and a couple of them even made to the design wall. 

But I just did not want to cut it up too much.  Those frogs. 

Briar Rose Quilt

Briar Rose Quilt

And the other whimsical goodies hiding the patterns.

Briar Rose QuiltBriar Rose Quilt

So I ended up a pattern I have done before-this quilt by Elizabeth Hartman.  It is a great pattern for a beginner and the fabrics can shine.

Briar Rose Quilt

I quilted it with my favorite wave and backed it with some girly purple polka dot. 

Briar Rose Quilt

Since I do not have any little girls in my house and the little one who lives here already has plenty of quilts, this one is going to be a baby gift. 

Briar Rose Quilt

I copied my friend Jaime’s great idea and put the quilt label on the binding.  It is unobtrusive and easy. Perfect.

When the fabric line comes up later this month, I may have to get some more of those frogs.  And maybe the strawberries. In a couple of colors.

Christmas Card Photos

I know I know....Thanksgiving is not even here and I am talking about holiday cards.  But we are on a quest for a reduced-stress Christmas.  Which sort of sounds like a reduced fat Christmas, but assure you that will not be the case.  Even though it is probably at the top of my thighs wish list.

Anyway that means getting stuff done early.  The majority of the gifts are bought and even the handmade ones are almost done.  Maybe I won't be sewing all night Christmas Eve.  Said the queen of procrastination.

Getting a Christmas card picture was also on the to-do list.  I had grand visions of recreating some pictures I took last year.  With a cooperative and non-moving 5 month old.

So easy and cute.


This is what we have this year with a 16 month old running toddler.


Or this.

This is the best we got so far.

 I am thinking I may have to let go of the light idea.

But not having a picture has not stopped me from trying to find a card.  Since looking at all the pretty pictures on them makes my toddler photographing skills seem very inadequate.




All of these are from Minted.com.  I love all the shapes they offer and that the designs are products of independent designers.  And every time I look on their site I find another design to love. 
Now all I need is a cooperative toddler. Or someone to send a photographer to the house.

*Minted is supplying our Christmas cards this year.  All the opinions and writing are my own and I just picked some of my favorites to share with you.  But if you happen to receive a Christmas card from us, it probably won't be one of the above as there are just so many great ones to choose from.  But it could include a crying toddler on it.  Or his mommy.

I Spy Quilt

Now this quilt is not going to win a beauty contest…

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But someone is already a big fan.

I spy quilt

We can’t play “I spy” yet.  But the “eh?” game is fun.  In case you are not familiar with that one, it involves pointing to different pictures and saying “eh?”. 

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And if people do not tell you what it is, you keep ehhing until they do.  A little more strongly of course.

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Super fun.  Oh and making sure the car squares are still there is another super important daily task.

Awhile ago I participated in 2 swaps for different 5 inch novelty fabrics. I got lots of great ones and I knew whatever I made was not going to be a showpiece, but I wanted it to be as pretty as possible and tone down the busyness.  While still making it fun of course.

So ultimately I decided to do a simple pattern with Kona ash as the solid to hide the love I hope it will receive.

There is so much fun happening on the front, I decided to keep it simple on the back. 

I spy quilt

With some ABCs for some extra learning and ehhing of course.

I spy quilt

Since it was so busy, I also went with simple straight lines for the quilting.I spy quilt

I spy quilt

But my favorite part of this quilt is his insistence to look at it every day.

I spy quilt

And maybe even move beyond the ehhing game.

A Basement Playspace- In Progress

Babies come with a lot of stuff.  And toddlers add even more stuff.  And rumor has it that kids bring even more stuff.

Shocking information I know.

When we were planning our basement renovation we had kept that in mind, and the playspace there has its own corner to house a portion of that stuff.  

We wanted to make sure we made use of of the awkward space and had lots of storage.  Some open storage for him to see his toys and some closed storage to him (and guests) not to see things.  Like finger paints and crayons and markers for example.  Or possibly the book we have read 2846 times.

Originally I thought we would build something , but instead we came back to the old Closetmaid shelves that served us so well already as a craft table.  With the idea of making them look less closetmaid-esque and more custom cabinet-ish.

basement playspace in progress

So Derek started the construction.  And Carter looked like this…

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And he sat in one place and played without moving much.

Anyway to make room for molding to increase the custom look, the shelves were installed off the floor and way from the wall.

basement playspace in progress

We also added some store bought cabinets around the awkward soffit to give us some closed storage.

basement playspace in progress

And then the magic happened.  Carter turned into this-

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And some molding (and some toys) made it look like this-

basement playspace in progress

Disclaimer: It is impossible to take decent pictures in the basement that gets very limited light.  And this is completely unstyled.  Picked up…yes.  Made to look pretty…no.

We are only partially done.  The rug is getting a DIY treatment and things are going on the wall.  And see the track?  That is going to be curtains.  That currently look like this.

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Sitting under other projects.

But for right now it is functional which is all that matters.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

The counter is a piece wood stained to match the fireplace and then molding added to the edge.  And lots of coats of poly.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

So I have some sewing and DIYing to do.  But we are happy how well some cheap shelves look in the space.  And maybe if I bring my sewing machine and paintbrush down there, Carter will sit in one place again and play.  Right.

Happy First Birthday!

Wow what a year!editsWe officially no longer have a baby.  Even though he is always going to be my baby.  Which makes today a bittersweet celebration.

It has been a very good year.  Full of lots of learning, not much sleeping at times and more love than I ever could imagine.  The baby we brought home from the hospital is a totally different little guy than the one year old who has us wrapped around his finger.  And while I thought my heart would burst with love for the newborn, it is continued to grow month by month. edits1We have had our bad days (I am looking at you molars and our brilliant idea to see if he still needed reflux meds…he does), but this summer has been almost perfect and in a lot of ways going back to work in a couple of weeks is going to be more difficult than when I started back after my maternity leave.  Because now he says “mama” and give hugs and snuggles.  And I have gotten used to categorizing everything I do into '”nap” and “with Carter” activities.   And baby babbles.  And catching some more zzzz’s every morning in our bed…which would be something that should last forever, but for the next couple of weeks it is perfect.  And did I mention snuggles?

So happy first birthday to the best little boy a mom and dad could ask for…thanks for the best year yet.

I can’t wait for the next one.

Elephants on Parade

I have another quilt that I could not wait to share, but it had to arrive at a little one’s house before I could show some pictures.  His momma is one of my blog friends and I did not want give her a sneak peek and ruin the surprise.elephants on parade quilt

The quilt got sent to Henry Woodward (of The NewlyWoodwards fame) and I hope he enjoys it as much I did making it.

elephants on parade quilt

His mom also made him some beautiful quilts(check out this houndstooth) so I almost sent something else.  But one thing that Carter has taught me is you can never have too many quilts to play on when they are little.  Because three of them are usually in the wash with spit up on them. Or should be in the wash because you have dabbed spit up off of them 9 times.

elephants on parade quilt

I picked up the elephant fabric and blue shot cotton at a local fabric store during a quilting retreat back in April.  And I loved it so much that I almost made Carter another quilt.

elephants on parade quilt

But while he is good for quilt modeling, this one belongs to Henry.  I did buy enough elephants to make another one just in case I find some spare time.  Ha.

The back is simple with some polka dots and more snuggly shot cotton.

elephants on parade quilt

elephants on parade quilt

Welcome to the world Henry!

Burp Cloth Tutorial (Field-Tested)

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was start buying fabric for burp clothes.  Easy and cute and I finally had an excuse to buy some kids fabric besides giving it away to other people. There are precisely 23894 tutorials on the blogosphere for how to make them and I did the whole sewing fabric on a diaper method (don’t worry, I go into greater detail in the actual tutorial).

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They did look prettier before they were washed a million times.

burp cloth tutorial

I made over 20 like this and thought I was golden.  Because we were not going to have an urper anyway so they would just sit pretty in their box.

And then Carter made his arrival.  And he had reflux. IMG_7440

Which meant that burp clothes became a constant fashion accessory.  And that you did not get nice clothes on for work until you were literally walking out the door in case he erupted. 

You should be thanking me for not sharing a picture of him actually spitting up.  Because we have them.

Anyway with all the urping going on, the diaper burp clothes I made were showing their weaknesses.  Namely that they are too wide for shoulders and were constantly falling off. Leaving your shoulder in a vulnerable position.  Not to mention your back.

My friend Lauren made us some thinner ones which worked so much better (and matched his nursery too- bonus!).

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So taking her thin design and adding some flannel for some extra “stickiness” I have now perfected the burp cloth.  At least think so.  Now if I just find the time make some more of them…

Ready for the How-To?

Materials:

Printed Cotton Fabric (approximately 9x18- a fat quarter works well)

Flannel Fabric (double the size of the printed fabric)

Scissors or Rotary Cutter

Sewing Machine

Iron

How To:

1. Cut your fabric larger than the size you are thinking of making your burp cloth and pre-wash it to get the shrinking thing out of the way.

2. Cut your now shrunk printed fabric in a 9 in x 18 in rectangle.  This size can be varied, I cut the three burp clothes I made at slightly different widths depending on how much fabric I had.  This is not an exact science.burp cloth tutorial

3. Cut two flannel squares the exact same size you cut the printed fabric.

4. Line up your three squares right on top of each other with right sides together. (In the picture the three pieces are fanned out slightly so that you can see the order…when you sew make sure they are right on top of each other).burp cloth tutorial

5. Sew around the 4 edges, and stop before you reach where you started, leaving a three inch opening to flip it out.  I used a quarter inch seam.

burp cloth tutorial

6. Cut your corners of the sewn fabrics.  Be careful not to cut the seam. Press open the seams.

burp cloth tutorialburp cloth tutorial

7. Stick your hand in the opening and pull it right side out.  The second piece of flannel stays in the middle for extra urping absorbency.  Make sure to spend some time poking out the corners.burp cloth tutorial

8. Press well so it lays flat.  Make sure to press the flaps where the opening is in so that it matches the rest of the seams.burp cloth tutorial

9.  Edge stitch around the all 4 edges to finish it off and to complete the area with the opening.

burp cloth tutorial

10.  And you are done!  Super fast and easy.

burp cloth tutorial

One side is cute, the other side is sticky and the extra piece of flannel will help absorb the urping.  Not to mention it is skinny enough not to be sliding off your shoulder.

burp cloth tutorial

Tie it up with a bow and it also makes the perfect shower gift.

burp cloth tutorial

Happy Urping!

Quick Change Trousers

If you have ever shopped for baby clothes, you know that girls win it hands down in the cute category.  You have tutus and dresses and tights and lace and…then I have to remove myself to the boys section before he ends up in a skirt.  But whipping up a couple of pairs of Anna Maria Horner’s Quick Change Trousers from her Handmade Beginnings book helped.IMG_6431

Because every boy needs dinosaur pants.

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These were my first pair and I just used some cheap fabric from Joann’s in case I messed them up.  Well other than the scrap on the butt.  If you have an eagle eye you can see that Carter’s butt matches his quilt.  I so meant to do that.

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They are also reversible so if he is having a more stripe kind of day, no problem.

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They are also helpful for discovering your feet.

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And set off a plain white onesie quite nicely.  Because let’s me honest, if you are wearing dinosaur pants you need something pretty neutral on the top half.

Carter loved his pants so much I made some more.  Every baby also needs Christmas pants.

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Well I actually made three.  Not that Carter needed three pairs to properly celebrate the holiday, but his two baby pals needed some as well. 

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Carter decided the sock monkeys set off his Christmas drool bib and candy cane socks nicely for lounging around the house on Christmas Eve.  His dad thinks I am channeling MC Hammer, but nothing says “festive” like monkeys in santa hats.

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And they are super comfortable for bib eating…IMG_6603

As well as present opening wrapping paper eating.

And I have already bought some fabric to make some more…this time I am thinking bears with a shot cotton lining.  Only this time I will make the legs a little shorter and the waist a little bigger.  Yep Carter hopes those proportions reverse themselves as he gets bigger.  But for right now we are all loving on the pudge.  In animal pants especially.

Habitat Challenge

Last Thursday was the Habitat Challenge Reveal Night at Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Yeah!

The challenge?  We each received 8 fat eighths of Habitat fabric by Jay McCarroll (of Project Runway fame).  We could use any solid fabric or other Habitat print in addition to our challenge packet.  Here is what I came up with-

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I was planning on originally using the solid gray as my major background color.  But I happened to set the challenge fabric next to a blue shot cotton that I had planned on using for the lining on a pair of pants for Carter.  I loved it so much that the blue replaced the gray.  And Carter still has no pants.

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I then quilted it with random vertical and horizontal lines to mimic the lines of the inserted fabric.

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And the back is another Habitat print.

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As a beginner with the whole quilt thing, I love it when people share their process.  So here is how I got to my finished product.

I started with this….just strips inserted at right angles.IMG_5490

Yawn.

I knew I wanted to cut it up and re-orient sections but I worried about making it look awful.  I needed to do a test run before I started  hacking into the fabric.  So instead of using modern technology, I went the old fashioned way of scissors and tape.

I printed out the picture of the quilt and started hacking away.

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I took a picture each time I made a cut so I would remember the steps in case I liked it. 

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My picture was not square to begin with so I was not worried about things matching up perfectly.  I just wanted to make sure it would not be ugly.

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I was satisfied that it was more interesting than what I was starting with, so I started the same process with my quilt, but this time with a rotary cutter and a sewing machine.  It did not turn out like my original picture because more math was involved to make sure things would line up correctly, but it gave me a general idea. And I was happy with the random finished product.

There were so many awesome quilts at the reveal…it made for a super fun night.  Check out our Flickr photostream to see all the talent.

And for those you wondering if I have given up my procrastinator ways of quilting, the answer is a resounding no.   I was binding this baby until an hour before I left for the meeting.  After not getting much sleep the night before.

But it is complete and I think it is going to return to it’s roots of the craft room.  Carter has been playing on the pink Project Plume challenge quilt while I am sewing and he has requested something a little more masculine.

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Much better.

Now he just needs his mommy to get on those pants.

Coming Up Next…

I think we may be a little insane…

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Derek thinks it is insane that he is now responsible for hauling 2 pallets of tile into the basement.  Box by box by box.  Or just not use his side of the garage for a couple of months.  His choice I guess.

Yep we are starting another project.  The basement.  And from the beginning of this project, I am announcing that it is going to be the longest DIY project in the history of our house.  Because we now have a baby which infringes on marathon weekends of work.  And because we don’t need the space, so it will be quite easy to close it up and not work on it for awhile.  And we are starting it before we had originally planned meaning that the cash for the entire reno plus the furniture plus the electronics is not all there yet.  So expect a renovated space with old ugly furniture for awhile.  Unless we win the lottery.

So why the basement?  Well for two reasons…a sump pump and a baby.  If you remember we had a bit of a flood back in March

water damagewater damageThe good news?  The insurance company is helping contribute to the renovation of what was ugly carpet.  Back in March I was bummed that we lost the laminate we installed in the workout room as well as the timing of the whole thing.  Renovating a basement while you are 7 months pregnant and trying to juggle working full time and baby showers was not going to happen.  But actually the timing was a blessing in disguise as it gave us a couple of months to think about what we really wanted.  And to decide that laminate in a basement was a bad choice because a little bit of water makes for an entire new floor.

The baby’s role?  One he has a whole lot of stuff that has already invaded all parts of the house. Which we are currently trying to corral in baskets, but we know as he gets bigger the size and amount of toys is going to follow suite.  And the family room is not big on space for things like train tables.  And since Carter needs to eat about every three hours and he is lazy/slow nurser and I am currently on maternity leave, we are watching a whole lot more HGTV than usual.  The DVR is my new best friend.

Lots of HGTV makes me want to start new projects.

I have always loved Candice Olson’s designs.  Especially because she is not afraid to make beautiful basements.  I even blogged about it back in the early days.

So when I was watching an episode of Candice tells all, I was excited that she used a flooring choice that I had not thought of.  Vinyl plank flooring.  Waterproof and it looks like wood.  And if it was good enough to use in her designs, it was good enough for ours obviously.  Bonus?  It was cheap. And easy to install.

I tried my best to find a picture of this particular makeover or even a screen shot from a video.  However the episode “family room fundamentals” is not to be found online.  Sigh.  Trust me, it looked great, just like all her other makeovers.

Anyway…

So why then do we have tile sitting in our garage? I am getting to it.

Carter got to have his inaugural trips to Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators.  He was super excited.

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We picked up tons of samples of vinyl plank flooring to take home and consider. But since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to stop at our favorite local tile warehouse just to see what they had on closeout.  And surprisingly they had one of our former favorites, a gray quartzite, there at a much reduced price.  So then we had to consider this and make a decision quickly because we were dealing with a close-out and we needed a lot of it-

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Vinyl plank

Pros- Slightly cheaper, easier to install, easier to store until ready to install, could bring more color warmth to the room, and warmer on the toes

Cons- The product is waterproof, but if we had a flood like we did in March, we would most likely have to air it out and reglue the whole floor.  Would it be lost, no, but it would be a lot of work.  Also it is vinyl so no matter how good it looked, it was not real wood and that would be apparent.  Dog nails could also possibly gouge it.

Tile

Pros- Only true waterproof option, loved that it was a natural stone not an imitation of something, and pretty much indestructible

Cons-More difficult to install and could get a little cold underfoot in the winter

 

The winner?  (I know I already gave it away….pretend to be surprised)

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The water thing was the most important, especially to Derek.  I think the idea of moving a basement full of furniture and regluing an entire floor was not appealing to him for some reason.  And the fact that we loved this tile months ago, but until it was reduced to approximately the price of the vinyl, it was not an option.  Because when we need 1000 square feet of something price is very important. But on the flip side Derek scored us a even better deal because we were buying two pallets of it.

So there you have it…the first basement decision done.  Hopefully you don’t think we are crazy for going the tile over vinyl plank route. Unless of course you want to give two pallets of gray quartzite a good home.

Zig Zags

Another quilt is actually going to stay at our house.  Bringing the grand total to two. Both of which are residing in Carter’s nursery.  I wonder who is the current favorite at our house…

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I could pretend that this quilt was finished in the month since he joined us.  But that would be a lie as it has been sitting in the nursery and I just had not had time to snap pictures or blog about it.  Carter is a great baby who is sleeping wonderfully and is not fussy, but honestly “showering” and “take a nap” have been added to the daily to-do list so I feel just a little bit productive.  Quilting (and blogging obviously) have been neglected.IMG_4681

This quilt was my version of the Robert Kaufman No prints Allowed Challenge at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  We were given a charm pack of solids in a specific colorway and challenged to make a quilt using every single color in the charm pack as well as any other solids we chose.  I chose the bright colorway as I already had a place in the nursery in mind for the quilt.  And as I had already made a quilt using this charm pack and wanted to switch up the design to something more complicated.

There were so many creative ideas that people came up with…well in March when the challenge was due.  And I had the quilt top completed then and shared it with everyone.  I swear as there is even photographic evidence that will not be posted here.  I thought I looked cute and obviously pregnant when I got dressed that night…but really I just looked like I had been enjoying too many quarter pounders.

Back to the quilt-I decided to do opposing zigzags with my charm pack with a white background.   I strategically put the blue/green and orange zigzags on one side, so folded on the chair in the nursery they would appear to match the color scheme.

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For the quilting, I did zigzags that mimicked the colored sections and moved further and further apart as they moved away from the center of the quilt.

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My lines aren’t perfectly straight and I got really sick of repositioning my walking foot each time I had to change my angle, but I am happy with how it came out.

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The back is simple and cuddly orange flannel.

I love how it looks on the rocker and it already has gotten a lot of use at night when I am feeding the baby boy and freezing.

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Of course my favorite pictures of the quilt are these-

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Anything is more fun with a baby on it…well at least I think so.

Nursery Source List

As promised here is the source list for all the nursery items that got too long for the last post.  Frankly this post got a little long too, but I wanted to list everything as my pet peeve is wanting to know where that one little item came from and not being able to figure it out. 

As you can see most of items were DIY or came from a  non-baby store.  Let me know if I missed anything!

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Wall Color: Tame Teal by Sherwin Williams

Ceiling Color: Posy by Sherwin Williams

Trim Color: Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint in High Hiding White

Ceiling Fan: Lowe’s

completed nurserycomplete nursery

completed nursery

Dog paintings: Homegoods

Lamp: Wal-Mart and DIYed with orange spray paint

Lampshade: Target

Blue Frame: Target

Blue Tray: Target

Hourglass: Homegoods

White plate: Homegoods

Baby booties/hats- gifts

Dresser- hand-me-down.  DIYed with glaze detailed here.

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Glider/Recliner: Best Chair recliner special ordered at local furniture store

Pillow on chair: DIY  Fabric-Geo Grand by Daisy Janie

Ottoman: DIY using Amy Butler’s Gum drop pillow pattern (larger size).  Fabric- IKEA

Faux Sheepskin rug- Home Decorator’s Collection

Wall Bookshelves: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Quilt on Chair: Sewn by me (to be blogged about soon, just could not wait to post whole nursery)

Drapes: DIY- Fabric-Premier Prints Ele Village in Brown/White

completed nursery

Stump Table: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Books: Gifts

Agate Coaster: Z Gallerie

Flowers: our garden

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Crib: Target- Dwell Studio (no longer available on their website)

Pinwheel Mobile: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Abacus: DIY (how –to blogged here)

Stuffed Moose: IKEA

Pillow in Crib: DIY with leftover fabric

Quilt: DIY- Coming Soon pattern (blogged here)

Crib Sheet: DIY-Fabric- Central Park by Kate Spain (blogged here)

Crib Skirt: DIY- Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Orange Tub-Target or Wal-Mart (can’t remember)

Toys and Blankets in Tub-gifts

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Dog Butt Hooks: IKEA

Sign above Door: Homegoods

Backpack: Gift

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Convertible Changing Table: DIY from Ana White’s plan (blogged here)

Changing Pad Cover: gift

Polka-Dot Fabric Box: DIY (blogged here)

Blue Crates: Target, but they are the Closetmaid boxes you can find anywhere

Baskets: Homegoods

Basket Liners: DIY-Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Mirror: Homegoods with a DIY navy blue spray paint job

LOVE print: Made by Girl

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1: Watercolors found on Etsy from HamjArt

2: Mirror from IKEA (stained with MinWax Jacobean)

3: Enlarged personal pictures from San Diego Zoo

4: DIY initial- basically took a canvas and a wood letter, painted them and superglued.  Super easy.

5: Soon to be authentic hand/footprints mounted on a painted canvas

6: Soon to be hospital bracelets-currently the fortunes that Derek had in his cookies the day we heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time (both said “girl”)

Frames: Various craft stores (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Michael’s) and from my existing stash

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complete nursery

All pillow covers sewn by me and removable for easy washing.  Fabrics:

1:Herringbone from Modern Meadow line by Joel Dewberry

2: Color Beat by Jennifer Sampou

3: IKEA (on clearance at $2 a yard) over 3 inch high density foam from JoAnn’s

4: Bubble Burst by Anna Maria Horner

5:  Drawing Room Volumes by Anna Maria Horner

6: Woodgrain from Aviary 2 line by Joel Dewberry

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Dog Bank: Target

Baseball glove:  ?-this was a dad purchase

Books: gifts

Elephant: San Diego zoo

Cross: Vatican

Giraffe: gift

Train: Homegoods

7 weight: Homegoods

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Giraffe: gift

Frame: gift

Blankets: gifts

Silver scooter: Z Gallerie

Books: gifts

Toy: gift

Monkey: gift

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Closet Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Inventive Orange

Light Fixture: IKEA-rigged to make shorter to fit the space

Whew…who knew that much stuff would be for such a little baby?

Let me know if I missed something!

Nursery Reveal

We made it!  The nursery is officially complete even before he has decided to make his arrival.  It has taken a lot longer to put together than I envisioned back in January when we started this project, but considering the construction, all the DIY, our insanely busy spring and that I am the ultimate procrastinator, it is really not that surprising.

But before you scroll down to see what we put together, let’s walk down memory lane with the befores to see what we we were working with. 

What the space looked like when we moved in-

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And then what it really looked like for 2 and half years…..affectionately referred to the junk room.  Don’t know where to store something?  Throw it in there.  Need to paint some cabinets?  Scoot some crap around and have at it.

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And now here it is waiting patiently (unlike Derek and I) for it’s new occupant-

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completed nursery

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completed nursery

Back in the beginning when we were planning the space, my first idea was an orange and aqua color scheme but no real theme.  I figured once we knew if we were having a boy or a girl we could add blues or pinks to make it a more gender specific space.  Of course, I figured a lot of DIY and sewing was also going to be in the cards.

One of the biggest projects in the room (and our first) was the window seatcompleted nurserycompleted nursery

Because of the window configuration, limited furniture was going fit on that wall anyway and I thought that an architectural feature that was also functional from a storage and seating standpoint would make the room.

After the construction and painting was going, we started to pick up random items we found that we thought we be good fits in the space.  Hmmmmm…somehow we had a lot of animal things so that is the loose theme we decided to run with.  However, I am a big believer in adding things that you love and not just because of a theme. 

completed nursery

completed nursery

Items with personal significance were also something I wanted to incorporate in the space.  We have not shared baby boy’s name with anyone (but my mother-in-law has a pool going if anyone is interested).  However, the first initial is common knowledge.  So of course I had to incorporate that.  On the gallery wall are also photos we took at the San Diego zoo during our last vacation (technically baby’s first).  After he is born, the clip art hand and footprints will we replaced with his (and yes I realize my stand-in has a disproportionate hand to the size of the foot…I was just using those to make sure I liked the idea).

But personal items don’t end with the gallery wall as I wanted things that meant something to us, but not scream “look at my name" all over the place (although I know some curious family members that were voting for that tactic).

For example, I needed some bookends and I love that this has his birth month stamped on it.

completed nursery

Or that all of those blankets were handmade for him by generous friends and family.  And that the silver scooter reminds us of Italy.

completed nursery

And that cross from the Vatican in Rome was the very first thing we ever bought for, at the time, our future baby.  completed nursery

I won’t bore everyone with the personal significance of everything in the space, but overall I tried to have at least one item with meaning on every shelf.  However, don’t get me wrong, some things are in the room because they are fun and I like how they look.  Like this…

completed nursery

I guess you could also say that DIY was a major theme in the space.  The only pieces of furniture that were store bought were the crib and the chair.  We either made or “revised” everything else.  I have already talked about most of those projects as we embarked on them but in case you missed them check out the abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

The space also had to be functional besides nice to look at.  We have never done this whole baby thing before, but from what I have heard, they can be messy.  So every single cloth surface (minus the chair that is stain protected) can be thrown in the washing machine.  Every pillow and cushion cover is removable and the although it took forever to find curtain fabric that I loved and could be thrown in the wash, I was ultimately successful.

The curtains are also not just for looks.  I made four panels that stretch all the way across for light control.

completed nursery

I am still planning on adding black out lining to the back of them for even more light control, but I decided not to sew them together as I read varying reports about the washability of black out lining.  So it is getting hemmed separately and then just clipped behind the panels.

The cushions also remove from the window seat easily to access all the storage underneath.  In addition, the neighbor kids have shown me that they make great hiding places.  Maybe we need to drill some more air holes.

completed nursery

Also every item that is hanging on the wall in baby’s reach is securely fastened to studs with screws.

completed nursery

And the ultimate storage area also went through a little makeover.

completed nursery

Lots of clothes and other baby paraphernalia waiting for him, but we still have tons of room that I know we will fill in the future.

completed nurserycompleted nursery

And finally just some more pictures of details of the space that I love…

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserypinwheel mobilecompleted nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

abacus makingcompleted nursery

pinwheel mobile

So what do you think?   You can see from some of the pictures that a furry friend already likes to spend time in the space.  Although this is normal position…

completed nursery

…trying to will the stuffed animals that make noise when you squeeze them from the crib into his mouth.

Want to know where I got something?  Here is the source list for everything in the space.  Just got a little too long for a single post.

Missed the other nursery posts and want to see the DIY how-to?  Catch up with the window seat construction, abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

A Quilt First

This is the first quilt that I have ever made that is not going to be given as a gift.  That is actually going to stay at my house.   Can you guess where?

Baby J quilt

Actually it is quite a miracle I was able to finish it without a deadline such as a shower etc.  But the whole “finishing the nursery before he makes his appearance” deadline helped me complete it.  Not that the nursery is totally done or anything.  Almost.

Baby J quilt

I used the Coming soon… pattern from Camille Roskelley that I picked up when I took her class back in September.  It came together fast and I love how it turned out.

Baby J quilt

I did a very simple back with a soft brown flannel.  There is just something about flannel on the back on baby quilts.

Baby J quilt

I did a simple wave on the quilting which made it all crinkly and cuddly.  I incorporated some of the sheet fabric in the piece in the back as well as the binding to tie the bedding set together.

Baby J quilt

I love how it looks on his crib and makes me all the more ready for his arrival.  Just have to complete the nursery first.

(Disclaimer: I know the quilt, stuffed animal and pillow should not be in the crib when he is in there….but for right now it makes me smile and I like how it looks.  Once he is actually sleeping in the crib (which will hopefully be quickly since he is going to be such an awesome sleeper…wink wink), the crib will be safely empty.)

Want  more details on his other bedding? Click here.  Or the DIY abacus?  Click here.

Stumped

Do you ever come up with an idea that you think is awesome but everyone you tell about it thinks it sounds stupid?

Yeah this was this project.  Luckily my husband loves me enough to spend a lot of time on a project which he was convinced was going to flop.  Who needs diamonds when you have DIY?

Back to the beginning…..

I wanted a side table next to the rocker in the nursery to be able to set things like drinks, burp cloths, cell phone etc.  Problem was we did not have a lot of space.

shelf DIY

I looked high and low for a small side table that would fit and not looked too cramped.  And not be breakable.

This search took awhile and I almost did a ceramic garden stool because of the correct size and shape, but it was pretty light and would be easily knocked over and shattered.  It was during this search that I came up with the idea of a stump table.

Not that it was an original idea….West Elm sells one for $200 and Mrs. Brooklyn Limestone made one herself.  So why did every time I mention it to someone did I get this reaction…”A Stump?  Really?”

Even from my husband.  But being the good sport he is, he proceeded with the project as long as he “had veto power in the end”

Yeah!

So first task….finding a stump.  Hmmmmm.  Derek called lumber yards and tree removal places but was not very successful.  (Again, he must love me since I know he got a lot of incredulous “you wanna buy a stump???!” when he made these phone calls. Hasn’t anyone seen the West Elm catalog recently?)  So far no stump.  Maybe it was not meant to be.

Then on the Friday before Easter, a tornado hit very close to my parent’s house in St. Louis.  Miraculously no one was hurt. But by close I mean the damage started 6 houses from the entrance to my parent’s subdivision.  Scary stuff.  Their house had zero damage, but  they kept telling me that I just needed to come visit because there were tons of stumps everywhere around them. 

I laughed it off because I knew that they thought the stump table was dumb and was I really going to take advantage of a natural disaster to get my table?

But then we came into town a week or two later (unrelated to the stump I swear)….and they were right… there were stumps sitting by the road everywhere, just waiting for the city to pick them up and dispose of them.

I was still a little iffy on the tornado stump.  But from my parent’s perspective it was going to be gotten rid of anyway and a stump from there would have meaning unlike a random piece of wood from a lumber yard.  Like being thankful…and making sure you head to the basement when the tornado sirens go off.

So while I was napping, Derek did a little stump recognizance to find the perfect specimen and the stump was buckled in the backseat on the way home.  Would have been weird to explain that one if we had gotten pulled over.

The stump in all it’s glory.

Stump

Now what we he did to it to make it table-like:

1.  Using a crowbar and hammer remove all the bark.  According to Derek, this step was pretty easy.

Stump

2.  If your stump is uneven or too tall, even it out the best you can with taking off slices with a chain saw.

3.  The longest part…..sand.  And then sand some more.  And when you think you are done sanding do it again.

Stump

For this project, we became the proud owners of a belt sander.  Which I was told made the sanding go so much faster than an orbital sander.  He started with a lower grit sand paper and moved up to a finer grit to make it smooth.  He sanded it while the wood was still considered “green” as it had only been cut down at this point for a couple of weeks.

4.  Add wheels for easier movement (stumps are heavy) to help level it even more.  He used washers to help achieve this.

stump

5.  Since our wood was still green, we let it then sit in the space for a couple of months to dry out with plastic underneath in case it dropped sap.  As it dried it starting to develop cracks and the grain became more apparent….yeah!

stump

6.  You could leave it the natural stump color, but I knew I wanted it darker to match the other wood in the space.  But I was not sure how long had to wait for it to dry before it would accept stain.  We were at 2 months.  Google did not give me a definite answer, so I decided to test some colors and see how it took it on the bottom.

stump

It sucked it right up, so I decided to go ahead with the stain.  Worse case scenario, it looks awful and Derek can just sand it again.  I kid.

Derek gave it one final sand with a very fine sandpaper and I stained it with MinWax Jacobean. 

And this is what we came up with-

stump

stump

I love that it is not perfect and adds a rustic element.  And it is the perfect size and height for the chair.

stump

I am going to add polyurethane to protect it in the next couple of months, but for now I think it still needs to breathe and dry before I seal it.  Since I am a wood expert and all.  In the meantime we will protect the finish something on top like a piece of glass. 

And I am happy to report that “veto power” was not needed.  Which is good since he would have wasted all of that sanding for nothing.  And we got a new belt sander out of the deal.

DIY Changing Table

A while ago…actually a really long time ago…I asked everyone’s opinion about this little corner of the nursery and if we should refinish the dresser and use it as a changing table or make one ourselves. 

nursery progress

I got some really great suggestions and in the end we decided to go the changing table route because I was worried the dresser was too long.

I did not want to spend a lot of money on another piece of furniture so Ana White once again came to our rescue with free and easy plans that included the capability of taking off the top when the baby got older and using it as shelves.  Score.  So Derek whipped it up in the basement.  One positive about a flooded basement with no carpet….a lot more space to DIY.  Who knew?

Then I made him carry it upstairs to make sure I liked the proportions before we I spent the time finishing it. 

changing table

Luckily I did. Whew.

So he carried it back downstairs.  Originally I was going to finish it with both brown and white to match the dressers and crib that look like this.

dresser glazing

But there was no good place to start and stop the white/brown combo without it looking funny so I just went with plain ole white in Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint.

I have to say that painting was the most difficult part of the project.  Trying to get under those shelves when you have a big pregnant belly was a little challenging.  I am sure I looked ridiculous but luckily no pictures of this feat exist.  That I know of.

Anyway I used one coat of primer, two coats of paint and three coats of polycrylic since I am sure this thing is going to take a beating.  Coming up with this:

changing table

But of course the changing table itself was not going to be the only DIY project. 

It took me forever to find baskets that I a) liked b)were the correct color and c) fit.  Many baskets were tried and returned.  Finally I found the bottom brown baskets at Homegoods.  Small problem was that they had lids and ugly liners.  But after the lids were cut off and I used this tutorial from Make It and Love It to make some new liners, we were good to go.

changing table

Of course I could not follow the entire tutorial.  I made the liner a little smaller and did not do the ties because I wanted a cleaner look.  So they are a little snug, but I love how they look (and the fact I got to skip the tie step).

changing table

The other DIY project was this cute little fabric box to hold diapering essentials.

changing table

I used this tutorial from The Sometimes Crafter. (See a theme of being completely unoriginal and using everyone else’s ideas…it is either being really smart…or really lazy).

This one was my first attempt because I was not sure how the sizing would work in the space in the changing table.  It was super easy and luckily for me it fit.

changing table

I am thinking about making some more with a different type of interfacing (I used heavyweight fusible on this one) to make it thicker as they will also look cute and be functional on the bookshelves.

changing table

So here is the changing table as it stands today.  I am thinking about making some tweaks stylistically in terms of the pad cover and maybe three navy middle baskets instead of the light blue….and maybe a different fabric for the box.

But for now it is ready and functional.  And cheap.  And all washable.  From what I hear that is important.

Houston We Have Bedding

The nursery is still a work in progress, but now at least he will have a cute and comfy place to sleep if he decides to appear early.  His quilt?  Not ready to be in this post.   And the quilt is more for me to look at anyway since he won’t be sleeping with it for awhile.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

This whole being off for the summer thing is doing wonders for my sewing productivity.  Now I just need to start fitting in showers before the afternoon.

Anyway…

baby bedding

One of the most difficult things about the bedding was picking out the fabrics.  They had to be certain colors…and kidish…but not over the top kidish…and possibly go with our loose “animals” theme.  I had lists and lists of options and struggled with making a decision as there were so many cute things out there.  I finally gave myself a deadline and started ordering things.  And then it sat until I got around to actually sewing it.  I know you are surprised.

First up….the crib skirt.   The fabric I used was Metro Living by Robert Kaufman.

Not exactly rocket science but I needed to cover the ugly gap between the mattress and the drawers.  The metal brackets were visible holding up the mattress and the drawers of the crib do not have tops on them so you can see all the stuff in them.  I also wanted to make it adjustable so that when we lower the mattress as he gets bigger, I can make the crib skirt shorter. 

First, I prewashed the fabric and measured my opening.  I added a couple of of extra inches to the tops and sides and then cut out a rectangle of fabric.  I seamed the sides and added ribbon ties.

baby bedding

Then I tied the ribbon to the springy part of the crib (that’s the technical term) adjusting for height.

baby bedding

After a couple of reties to even everything out and get it to hang straight, I had this.

baby bedding

So as the mattress gets lower and the skirt needs to get shorter, I can just retie further up.    Super simple but I love how it turned out.

baby bedding

Now onto the crib sheet.

For some reason this project was intimidating to me so I have been putting it off for awhile.  I found tons of tutorials online with slight variations.  Which one to choose?  How do I know there and my mattress dimensions were similar?

I think my major anxiety came from the fabric.  It is Central Park by Kate Spain and when I ordered it months ago, that print in that color was starting to become difficult to find in the yardage I needed.  So I knew that after I procrastinated that it was going to be really hard to find if I had to replace it when I royally messed it up.  Hello new fabric choice or spending way to much money for it on ebay.  So it continued to sit.

I finally decided to on this tutorial from luvinthemommyhood.  From what I read reading comments on other tutorials, elastic all the way around the sheet was more secure than just the corners.  Since it was quilting cotton, my fabric was a little narrower than I would have hoped but I decided to take a leap of faith.  I am not going to do a whole step by step because I followed her tutorial pretty closely.  With the exception of measuring four times before I cut anything.  And marking and pinning all the cuts and trying on the mattress to make sure it fit before I cut and sewed.  So it took 6 times as long but oh well.  I was not going to screw up this fabric.

The only difficult part was inserting the stupid elastic.  Luckily for me, my bobbin ran out of thread in the middle of sewing the elastic pocket.  I cursed at the time but thought I would try to string it through halfway and see how it worked since I had to stop sewing until it was reloaded anyway.

I could have been executing her whole “attach a pin and let it slide through” method totally incorrectly but it did not work for me.  At all.

So I got out this doohickey (another technical sewing term) that I had bought for some other project that has never seen completion.   It came in handy for this one, so ultimately a good purchase.

baby bedding

I had the pull the elastic through in phases because the wire was not long enough, but worked so much easier for me.

After the elastic was in and sewn, I had the nerve wracking experience of slipping it on the mattress.  And really really hoping it fit.

baby bedding

It did!  Happy day!  And it turned out to be a easy project….time to make some more.

In case you were wondering what the underside looks like….

baby bedding

And the corners….

baby bedding

It is actually starting to come together.  Just a couple of sewing and DIY projects left!

baby bedding

Baby Bookshelves

The nursery is entering the home stretch…which is good because the baby is due in about 4 weeks.  But could come at any time…but probably won’t…but could.  Which is really messing with my whole “I want to plan and write things on a calendar” personality.

Anyway there is a whole lot of DIYing to go in the space (while the sewing machine is whirring in the background.)

I knew I wanted lots of books in the nursery because you know the whole reading to your child is a good thing.  Not to mention they could be used as a decor item as evidenced in this inspiration picture.  But of course cognitive and language development trumps decor….unless you can have both of course.

Elizabeth Sullivan design

Elizabeth Sullivan

I love that entire nursery but those floor to ceiling shelves made me swoon.

Unfortunately, I knew we were not going to have the space to replicate that, but loved the forward facing idea.  And those skinny shelves would be super easy to DIY.

Rumor has it that IKEA has similar shelves that would not require you to make them yourselves.  I would not know as I have lamented mentioned before, the nearest one is 8 hours away…and not worth driving for some shelves.

Here is what we came up with-

shelf DIY

My participation in the project?  Showing Derek the picture, telling him where I wanted them and placing books.  I even let go of control enough to let him try to my favorite self-leveling paint on his own (after a quick tutorial of course).  Here is what he did:

1. Cut a 1x2, 1x3 and piece of quarter round each to 36”.


2.  Put it together.  The vertical 1x2 in attached to the horizontal 1x3.  The vertical 1x2 is nailed or screwed into the ¾” side of the 1x3.  This should leave ¾” of vertical 1x2 exposed above the 1x3.  The
exposed ¾” of the 1x2 will be used to screw the bookshelf to the wall.  The quarter round is attached to the top edge of the 1x3 to create an edge for the books to lean against.  Use finishing nails.

shelf DIY
3. To attach to the wall screw through the exposed ¾” of the 1x2 into  studs in the wall.  By making the shelf 36” long you should have at least 2 studs to screw into.


4. Prime and paint.

shelf DIY

Super easy ( I am told) and super cheap.  And I love the fact that we screwed the wood directly into the studs so that junior will be OK if he decides to use them as rock climbing wall at a later time.  Plus the fact that we can rotate books and hopefully since you can see all the covers, even more reading will happen.  At least that is what I am hoping…

IMG_3880

Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

I love how some brown glaze can redo honey oak.  Like in the guest bath.

IMG_2852

But why should cabinets get all the love? What about other types of wood or furniture?  Like dressers?

nursery progress

Well I was going to find out.  These dressers were hand me downs from my family and they were solid wood and not oak.  Which were two huge bonuses in my book.  But considered that the cousin whose nursery they were in is now in college, the color needed some updating.  Not to mention that the bow and flower decals did not fit in our boy decor.

(For the full glazing how-to, please go to this post)

Of course we started with the worst part of the glazing process…the sanding.  Luckily for me in my delicate state, Derek took over this arduous task.  Two hours later it was sanded and Derek was very dusty (and will think again before volunteering for the next sanding project).

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

Then the glazing started.  We wanted the dresser to match the crib as much as possible, so we started with Behr’s Spiceberry mixed with the glaze like I described in original full how-to post.

dresser glazing

After it the first coat was dry, it looked too red and too light in relation to the crib. Hmmmmm….

dresser glazing

So to darken it up, I mixed a second glaze with Sherwin William’s Black Bean and put this on as the second coat.

dresser glazing

Much better.  And I loved that the two different color glazes gave the finish even more depth.  My color misjudgment turned out to be an awesome find.

I added 5 coats of water based polycrylic to get this finish.

dresser glazing

Perfect.  You can still see the grain and the finish is really close to matching the crib as planned (don’t worry that is not the mirror’s permanent home…..the floor is not exactly a child proof spot)

dresser glazing

The drawers were painted with my favorite paint….Ace cabinet and trim in high hiding white.  And then polyed for durability.

So happy how it turned out…..

dresser glazing

The lamp is not permanent….just a stand-in stolen from the guest room to figure out spacing until I find the perfect one.  Homegoods has been letting me down lately.

Anyway ignore the accessories and just enjoy the dresser….

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

What should I glaze next?

Pinwheel Mobile

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:).