Monday, July 16, 2012

Paint Chip Mobile

I had a hard time decide what kind of mobile to make for the nursery.  I didn’t really want a theme for the nursery, opting instead for non-traditional nursery colors with geometric prints.  Not saying I have anything against a theme, but there wasn’t anything that jumped out to me.  Most mobiles I’d seen online went with the theme of the nursery: clouds and raindrops, giraffes, owls, birds, airplanes, etc. However, I have constantly been drawn to the simple mobiles made out of colorful cardstock.  I wasn’t fully satisfied with anything I saw, so I decided to incorporate parts of a few different styles.

The first mobile (found on etsy) I really liked because of how full it looked.  With three different layers of colors, it wasn't as sparse as some other mobiles I'd seen.
The second mobile (also from etsy) I liked because each strand gradually switches colors, instead of all being the same.
Since I live in a town without a hobby shop of any kind, my only option for cardstock is Walmart.  So basically I have no options for cardstock.  Instead I decided to use paint chips, as I would be able to get the colors I wanted in a variety of shades.  So yes, I lingered around the paint chip aisle and took a sizeable stash.  But no, I feel no guilt.  This is my first paint chip project, and we’ve spent hundreds of dollars in the paint section at Walmart while fixing up our foreclosure.  Then I spent a good chunk of time cutting out circles.  I wish I had a circle stamp to quickly cut circles, but at least I had taken my mom’s scrapbooking supplies hostage, so I had a circle tool I could use to make perfect circles.  After cutting TONS of circles (I cut the turquoise ones in 1 ½”, 1”, and ½” sizes, and the yellow ones in 1” and ½” sizes), I was still left with circles with color only on one side.  So I got out my Elmer’s spray adhesive and glued all of the circles together so that I’d have color on both sides.  Not gonna lie, this part took forever.  But finally I was ready to actually assemble the mobile!

I don't have any photos of this process, so hopefully I'll get better about remember to take more pictures as I work on projects!

I had a lampshade in a closet that I’d bought at Salvation Army for $.50 but hadn’t used yet, so I took it apart and used the metal rings for the form of the mobile.  I figured out how many strands of circles I’d need and laid out the circles in a gradient pattern, beginning with the dark turquoise to light turquoise, then the darker yellows and finishing with the light yellow circles.  I got out some yellow thread and a sharp but thin needle and strung the dots together, with about an inch or so between circles (tying knots before putting on each circle so they’d stay spaced apart).  Then I tied the string around the metal ring, spacing each strand out evenly.  After finishing with all of the strands I was getting excited about how it looked, but felt like it needed to be a little fuller.  I used an old metal hanger to make a smaller circle to go inside the larger ring, and used up all of the leftover circles.
In retrospect I wish that I had painted the metal circle, but I can always go back and cover it with some paper or ribbon so that it blends in more with the turquoise and yellow.
Even though it took forever, I’m so happy with it!
To fill in that space to the left of the mobile I have an empty white frame and plan on putting a birth announcement in it.  I already made the birth announcement, but of course had to wait to actually have the baby so I had her information to put in...even though it already happened, I never had a chance to get it on the wall.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thrift Store Treasure

On a random trip to Salvation Army this past spring, I stumbled upon these two cute porcelain owls.  
I know owls are trendy right now in blogland, but I really bought them because I know that Dylan likes owls (and they were only $.99 each !).  They had some good heft to them, so I immediately had the idea to make them bookends for our nursery.  But leaving them as is wasn’t an option…I’m a bit clumsy, so I pretty much assume that I’ll knock stuff over at some point.  These would get broken the first time I reached for a book, not to mention what would happen when our little one becomes mobile.

First I found some 1x4 scraps in our basement, cut them to size, and made two L-shaped pieces that I would later glue the owls to.  To make the L-shaped pieces I made pocket-holes using my Kreg Jig and screwed them together.

After rounding the edges with a handheld sander, I wiped the pieces down and stained them using some “Jacobean” stain we got on clearance at Ace Hardware.  I put the stain on heavily, allowed it time to sink in, wiped off the excess, and put on a second coat.  I haven’t used this stain before, but I really liked the final color.  It was a dark brown without any hint of red, which is hard to find.  Two coats of polyurethane later, I was ready to attach the owls.

The owls were primarily white to begin with, but they had creepy, beady yellow eyes, so I gave them a coat of white spray paint (Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch White).  To attach the owls to the wooden pieces, I used an epoxy.  After allowing them the afternoon to dry, I put them in the nursery bookshelves.

They look so cute holding up those well-loved children’s books (well-loved at least by myself and my siblings, maybe even more generations!).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nursery Sewing Projects

Finding bedding or other nursery items was been difficult as I chose untraditional colors... dark turquoise and golden yellow.  I gave up any hopes of finding anything I would like already made, and as I have some sewing skills I decided to make everything myself.  I bought a few different fabrics from

First I made a crib skirt out of Premier Prints Indoor/Outdoor ZigZag Blue Moon.  I chose an indoor/outdoor fabric in part because I was able to find several prints in the same color that I liked, and partly because I figured it would hold up better over time.  Another nice bonus was that it was a bit wider than cotton prints (54 inches wide instead of 44 inches wide).  When I first got the fabric I was a little nervous because it was stiff and a bit scratchy, but after pre-washing everything, it was much softer and exactly what I wanted.

The crib skirt was a piece of cake.  I measured how far away from the ground the crib mattress springs would be when it is in its lower position, and added 2 inches.  One inch was for the hem, and one inch was to allow extra to fold over and Velcro to the metal mattress springs.  I got some cheap adhesive Velcro at Dollar General, 16" for $1, and it worked great.  I also measured how wide the front and sides of the crib were.  For the front panel it worked out perfectly from selvedge to selvedge with a couple of inches for overlap on each side.  For the sides, it was also perfect if I cut the fabric in half.  A nice perk was that since I planned on attaching the front first and wrapping the edges around (which would be hidden by the side panels) I didn’t have to hem the sides so I just left the selvedge in place.  For the side panels I hemmed only one side (where I cut it in half), which became the side that showed in the front.  The other side (the selvedge) wrapped around the back and out of sight.  Total time to make and attach to the crib: less than an hour.
I also made a changing pad cover out of some of the fabric I purchased.  For the changing pad cover I used Premier Prints Indoor/Outdoor Polka Dot Blue Moon.  I basically just followed the tutorial at Prudent Baby, and it took about an hour and a half.  I probably could make it faster, but I was distracted by watching Once Upon a Time while I made it.
It basically fits like a sheet.  It is fitted around the top and has elastic around the bottom so that it is easy to take off to wash.
Now that we've actually been using it, we realized how often "accidents" happen even while on the changing table.  We didn't want to have to wash the changing pad every time, so I cut out a rectangle of white vinyl to put on top so we can just wipe it up.  I found the white vinyl in the outdoor tablecloth section of Hancock Fabrics, and it was really cheap (I got a yard for about $4).
I love seeing the nursery come together!  I have a few more nursery sewing projects to share soon, and I'll have some pictures of the finished nursery!