DIY Baby Mobile

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my sister recently had a little boy – the first grandchild/niece/nephew in the family! It has been an exciting year and a bit watching her pregnancy and getting to meet my favourite person in the whole world. Nephew J is 7 months old now and absolutely the light of everyone’s lives.

My sister and her husband didn’t find out the gender of the baby before birth, so when it came time to make something personal for her baby shower, I had a hard time choosing what to do. I settled on making a baby mobile with bright colours which could be swapped out if necessary/desired.

In my many hours looking on Pinterest and Google for ideas, I stumbled on a picture of felt balls, which I felt could suit my needs. They look like this:

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They are extremely simple to make (about 2 hours for the whole mobile craft) and look gorgeous!

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You’ll need:

– 10 sheets of felt (2 each of five colours), 9 x 12 inches
– Two objects which can trace a circle onto your felt
– Twine
– Needle and thread
– Embroidery hoop – I used one that was 14 inches

How to:

1) Trace and cut nine circles per size for each colour – I used cups which were 2.5 inches and 3 1/8 inches in diameter and found that this fit perfectly on the felt I purchased. If you would like to increase the size of the felt balls, you will likely need to purchase more felt.

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2) Thread and knot your needle

3) Fold two circles in half, and then in half again

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4) Place one folded “petal” on each side of another one of your felt circles and put a few stitches in the corner of the petal/middle of the circle

5) Repeat until all 8 petals have been placed on the ninth circle

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6) Fluff the felt outwards in order to form the desired shape

7) Repeat with all ten felt balls

8) Cut 5 pieces of the desired length of twine for your mobile

9) Tie knots at the bottom of the twine and in the spot where you would like your second ball to be placed

10) Place the knots in the centre of each ball and stitch around it to secure

11) Tie four of the five strands of twine evenly to the embroidery circle – ensure that it balances!

12) Cut two more pieces of twine and tie them so that they form a perfect cross – hang the final set of felt balls where they intersect in the middle

13) Cut one more piece of twine and tie it overhead as a “hanger”. Use your discretion for the length of this piece and ensure it balances prior to knotting them to the embroidery circle.

14) Voila! You’re done!

Maybe Martha’s notes

– If you would like to make these felt balls for other purposes (I’m making a garland for an upcoming party!), you can speed up the process by using hot glue to attach the petals. I am quicker with a needle and thread, so have a feeling I will stick with that but I know there are a number of hot glue gun whizzes!

– In addition to preferring needle and thread, I felt it was important to sew the ones that I made as they are going over baby’s crib. I have a lot more faith in  numerous stitches than I do in the glue (though I’m sure both would be fine).

– My sister loved the mobile, but once they had the boy and had decorated the nursery, she asked if I could change the colours of the felt balls and also the embroidery circle. They have all mahogany in the baby’s room, so I lightly sanded the embroidery circle and stained it over two days. This was very easy to do and makes the craft even more versatile as it can really go into any room!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have a very happy week 🙂

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DVD Organization

Back in the day, I was obsessed with owning my favourite movies and TV shows on DVD. I still remember asking for the first Harry Potter DVD for Christmas and being completely thrilled that my parents had bought it for me…and spent $30 to give me the privilege of being able to watch my favourite movie four times per week (which I’m pretty sure I did). I amassed a large collection over the years, but I have recently found other things that I like to buy which I felt I could use the space for. Purses, shoes, my new KitchenAid stand mixer (!!!!!)…all of these things warrant the space my DVDs once held now that I am an “adult” (or so they call me).

Before I get into details, take a look at this before and after…

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I figured the best way store them was to get as many DVDs in as small a space as possible and I recalled that I always used to store my CDs in various CD “books”. However, the dedicated books for DVD storage are expensive and (usually) unattractive. So I decided to make my own!

I bought 1 inch binders with reinforced rings. I found that reinforced rings made the binders a slight bit more expensive (less than a dollar more per binder), but more functional given the weight that ends up on the rings. I also bought a full pad of scrapbook paper with attractive designs that fit my aesthetic. Finally, I bought DVD inserts to go in the binders.

When I had the idea for the project, I was still looking for a job and as such, was quite sensitive to cost. In short, this means that I started this project a year ago and just finished it on Tuesday after finally deciding that it was worth the money. The other implication of this is that I had a lot of time to research and get exactly what I wanted. I finally settled on purchasing these DVD sheets. They were not overly expensive compared to other options (only $25 for sheets with room for 200 DVDs) and also had the DVDs set in to the edge of the sheet. This means that the sheets won’t stick out the side of the binder, which helps keep it attractive on shelves.

The only actual crafting which needed to take place was creating the covers for the binders. The binders I purchased had a plastic overlay, meaning that I could alter the cover and side as I chose. I used the scrapbooking paper and cut it down to size.

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For a one inch binder, I measured 11.3 inches x 10 inches for the front cover and 1.3 inches x 11.3 inches for the side. Conveniently, 1.3 inches was exactly the width of my ruler which made measuring the side quite easy. Before you think that’s a typo, the 1 inch designation refers to the rings inside the binder, making the outside side of the binder over 1 inch (it caught me off guard as well!)

After creating my covers, I took a walk down memory lane and organized my DVD collection (alphabetically for my sanity).

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One Tree Hill was often a study distraction for me in university

I would recommend not putting more than 6 sheets in each 1 inch binder. This number can obviously be increased with larger binders, but I found that 6 sheets was the maximum for the width of the binder and the weight of the DVDs.

I was quite pleased with the end result.

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Much cuter and much less space – they easily fit on my bookshelf! I have also made two more binders with a 2 inch width to organize my bills and my recipes. All in all, a very successful craft!

Now to figure out what fun things I can do with those empty DVD cases…

Jewelry and Body Scrub: The first of many Christmas posts

For Christmas this year, I decided to “DIY” as many presents as I could. With very little money to put towards gifts, I thought this would be a good way to give nice and thoughtful gifts without breaking the bank.

Now that the holiday season is complete, I am happy to say that all gifts were well received and people were shocked at the quality of gifts I was able to create. To be honest – so was I. I had no idea it would be so easy to make some of these things and the effort that I put into them made me feel great about the inexpensive gifts I was giving.

One of the first things I did was make a couple of small gifts for my girlfriends. After perusing Pinterest, I decided on homemade jewelry and gingerbread body scrub. The scrub was simple enough to make and ended up looking great with some felt and a homemade label! I used this tutorial and mine turned out as follows.

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The jewelry was a bit more complicated. With a wonderful sale on at Michael’s, I ventured up to find many of my crafting supplies necessary for the holiday. I was able to find great deals on chains, lobster claw clasps and a huge amount of faux pearls perfect for the Bird’s Nest necklace tutorial I had seen online.

I had never made jewelry before but worked with wire and beading a lot as a child, which helped. I used a thicker gauge wire than I was used to (24 gauge) and it was difficult to twist as I liked. As a result, the necklaces were all very unique – some were more tightly wound and some were looser. This presented  nice effect and I was able to choose which style each of my girlfriends would like best. I found it very difficult to use a pre-made wire circle (used as the other end of the lobster claw) to create a necklace loop, so stuck with manipulating the wire as I found it laid a little bit more straight.

Here are mine:

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I was thrilled with how they turned out and all of my girlfriends loved both gifts. In total, I was able to spend less than $5 for each gift in total and it was very worth the time! I’ve already had requests from people who have seen them and I have been happy to oblige in making them. Maybe I should start charging…