Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#2....birdies for Marin's nest

You can probably tell by the bird lighting project from yesterday, that there is an underlying bird and nature theme to Baby Marin's nursery. My friend Robin fell in love with this Songbird fabric by Holly Anderson, and we chose all of the other nursery fabrics around it. There were several sewing projects that I did for the nursery including the crib skirt, bumper, quilt, pillows, and bench cushion. With the scraps leftover I decided to make a bird mobile to hang over the crib and a bird cushion for the glider. The mobile pattern is from Spool and you can get the pattern and instructions on how to make this adorable mobile here. It is so, so cute and I can't believe that the pattern was free! Here is a pic of Marin's mobile.

My Tips For This Project:

  • Read all of the comments about this project on the Spool website. There are really great tips about crafting the birds including how to stuff them, how to get them to sit upright, how to attach them to the twigs, and how to string up the mobile.
  • I don't know if I would consider this a sewing project for a new sewer, as the pieces of fabric are very tiny to work with and you need to be good at holding the fabric close to the machine needles while sewing around a curve to make the birds. Also there is an intersecting seam in the pattern where the bird breast fabric meets the bird body fabric. This can be tricky too, so don't get discouraged if it takes a couple stabs at the bird to actually get one that looks good.
This project cost less than $5 since we already had the scrap fabrics and the twigs came from a Crepe Myrtle tree in my yard. The only things needed were some fishing line and some small eye hooks. This project was completed in 5 hours.

The birdie pillow I made for the glider in Marin's room was inspired by a bird pillow for sale at Land of Nod. The pillow only came in orange, which did not work in Marin's room, so I drew a pattern and made one from the room fabrics.
In the spirit of Spool's free bird mobile pattern, here is my hand drawn pattern for this pillow. You should be able to save it, print it and enlarge it to your desired size to make your own. The above pictured pillow size is about 12" tall by 17" from beak to tail, but you can enlarge the pattern to create whatever size suits you.

  • Cut 2 body pieces from desired fabric.
  • Cut two wing pieces from different fabric.
  • Position the wing on each body panel and use small piece of fusible web to hold the pieces in place while you zig-zag applique stitch around edge of wing.
  • Cut 2 small orange triangles from wool felt or other fabric and 2 white eye ovals and 2 black eye pupils from felt. Position eyes and beak on each side of bird body panels and zig-zag applique in coordinating colored thread.
  • Pin two body panels right sides together and stitch around leaving bottom open about 4 inches to stuff.
  • Clip curves and turn right side out. Press, fill to desired fullness and slip-stitch bottom closed.
This birdie cost less than $5 because we used fabric scraps and only needed some Poly-fil. It took 2 hours to make this pillow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

#1.....let there be light

Back in January I saw this custom light fixture by Jim Misner on Design Sponge and decided to try to create my own version for my friend Robin's nursery.I found a similar drum style light on cb2 for $50, and got to work. Pictured below is my finished light for Baby Marin's nursery.

Here is how I made it:

Using one of Robin's nursery fabrics, I placed a fabric scrap on my scanner and enlarged the print. I printed out the enlargement on cardstock and made cut outs of the leaf branch and bird that you see on the light. Next I traced the cutouts onto the fabric drum shade very lightly with a pencil, creating a paint by number for myself. Starting with the branches, I used artist acrylic paint to color in my design. I wanted to thin out the actrylic paint so that it would not appear too thick on the shade, and to make it somewhat translucent to allow light to pass through the design. I used Liquitex Matte Medium to thin the pink acrylic paint. My ratio of paint to medium was dime size paint to quarter size medium. Sometimes I opt to thin my acrylic paints with water, however when painting on fabric (as in the case of this cotton drum shade) it is not a good idea to thin the paint with water, as when you paint it will bleed outside the lines of your design and wreck your fabric (or in this case shade). Medium will appropriately thin your paint, giving a nice translucent paint mixture that will not bleed outside your pencil marks.
I painted all of the leaf branches on and chose a darker pink for the birds, which I layered over the branches once that paint had dried. I did not worry too much about the fact that you can still faintly see my original pencil lines on the shade if you are really up close. It hangs from the ceiling and you can not see the pencil from the ground. (Again, trace very lightly with pencil when transferring your design)
Once the paint dried it was ready to hang. This particular light came with a plug-in cord that we simply converted to hardwire by removing the plug, and wiring directly into an exsiting ceiling electrical box in the room. The only part we had to buy was a ceiling cover plate (about $1 at home improvement store) to cover the electrical box. Additionally, I made a pink polkadot scrunchie for the lamp cord, which was slipped on from the plug end before hanging.
This project was completed for less than $70 including lampshade and hanging lamp parts, paint, paint medium and cover plate. It took about 3 hours to stencil and paint the shade and about 30 minutes to hang it. This was a stress-free project, with a great finished result, which in my book is a success!
If you would like to see more pics of this lighting project check out my flickr photostream here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The First Step Is Writing It Down

Sometimes I find myself in the midst of a project, (sewing, pottery, upholstery, painting or a myriad of other arts and crafts,) only to find myself making the same mistake I have made before. I have done so many DIY type projects that over time, I forget some of the simple lessons learned the first time. I've decided I need a DIY reality check..........

I am going to begin writing things down here to help remind me which projects were a sweet success, and which cost way, way too much in time, materials and stress. Hopefully, someone else out there will get inspired to make something too with the help of what I have learned along the way.