Dec 10, 2014

Nursery Project: Aspen Mobile

So while I'm busy doing things like snuggling the cutest baby alive and working on writing his birth story, I figured I'd share the nursery projects with you that I've been working on in the past few months to get ready for Lincoln's arrival. 

I don't pretend like I'm writing these up as I try to get spit up out of my hair, I did write them ahead of time in hopes to share them with you as I adjusted to being a mom.

I love these projects. Mostly because they're almost free and filled with love and easy. But also because I love how they came out.

So originally I planned to make a little mobile by taking apart the garland made of wooden carved things. I was going to hang the little moose and bear and pine cones by aspen tree branches and it was going to be very outdoorsy.

Then I decided I wanted to use the carved garland somewhere else. And I decided that the little wooden things probably wouldn't be as exciting as a lighter paper mobile that would twirl in the breeze. Right?

And then sitting at my desk one day I had the best idea! If the aspen twigs were going to be the 'base' of the mobile then why couldn't I make aspen leaves as the rest of the mobile.

I loooove aspen leaves. I love how they dance in the wind and look kind of like confetti or sparkles when they shake. Perfect for a mobile!

So I got some card stock and I got my handy dandy watercolor set out. This set is from first or third grade. If you look close you can see my skilled artistic work from third grade when I decided to paint little roses on the case. I actually bought a new one of these for when I hand painted my wedding invitations, you know, for like $1 and I've yet to open it. These things last forever.

I painted white card stock with a mix of green and yellow, but mostly green. I'm sure you could take the time to hand paint each leaf once they are cut but this worked out great. I hand cut each leaf so I didn't feel the need to spend extra hours painting.

I searched online for a good paper punch that would cut the card stock for me in the shape of an aspen leaf, but no luck. All the leaf punches had very different leaf shapes. So I drew the shape I wanted and glued a few pieces of card stock together to make the paper thick. Then I just exacto-knifed out a little stencil.

Then I got to tracing. I used a pencil so that if there were lines left on the leaves once I cut them, that I could just erase them off. I will add that my leaf stencil was not completely symmetrical (on purpose) and so I did half the leaves with the stencil face up and half the leaves with the stencil face down. You'll see why in a bit. I got about 25 leaves per page. And I got about 25 hand cramps per page too...

Then I had my cute little leaves. I made 50 green fronts, 50 green backs, and 12 yellow fronts and 12 yellow backs.

Just like my pennant garland, I set out the leaves before I started gluing to make sure I liked the way the leaves were spaced.

Then I got smart and realized I needed to put them on the ground white side up so I could just glue the 'back leaf' on without flipping everything over. I also realized I need to mark the yellow leaves so I could make sure their back matched yellow too. Learning as I went...

So now maybe you understand why I said 'front' and 'back.' Each leaf front was glued to a leaf back and the string was glued in the center of the two pieces. I realize I could have just painted both sides of one sheet of paper, but I didn't want the string to show. I ended up using 5mm clear elastic as my 'string.' I was going to use fishing line but I didn't have any in the house and I liked the way this came out. Because the elastic is so bouncy and light, the leaves fall and spin so nicely

When it was time to put everything together, I simply tied each string of leaves to one of the three aspen sticks I had. Then I found the center of the stick (using my finger as a balance) and I used one string to tie all the three sticks together. The balancing act took a little work, but because I used elastic and hadn't glued anything yet I just slid the strings back and forth until it was all balanced. If you look closely you can see the strings.

Note: You may notice that I didn't clip the ends off the strings yet. I'm 'test-hanging' the mobile now to see how well the knots stay. I figure if one comes untied that I'll need to change something. I will say that I used a screw with a little loop on the end to hang it from the ceiling. I tied my knots tight and I used proper 'elastic-tying' knots. I heard that I can use super glue to dot on the knots to make them stay tied so I may try that too if needed.

The big thing is that for safety, this mobile is hanging over the changing table. I didn't really want to hang a DIY mobile over the crib where something could possibly fall at night. I'm just too paranoid. But I have heard that mobiles over changing tables are great for giving baby something to look at while changing diapers. It's also close enough to the crib where baby can see it from the crib too.

They say you should look at your mobile from the bottom too to get a 'baby's eye' look at it.

It dances like the aspens in Colorado that I love so very much. I think it's wonderful. At least it's exactly what I imagined, so to me that's perfect.

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