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DIY Baby Mobile

2 Jun

…and seven months later, I’m baaaack! Wow – I just looked at the date of my last post which was October 22 – could it be? That was one day before this happened:


And here we are a half a year later:


Wow. Okay, moving along. Let’s talk mobiles! Back when I was still pregnant and LOVING putting together the nursery, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making a mobile for Eloise. Well, I didn’t know she was Eloise at the time – she was still just baby Rixen – gender unknown. Of course, not finding out the gender until birth meant keeping the nursery gender-neutral.

I didn’t have a theme per se, but after awhile a sort of “tree” feel emerged. I did some searching on Pinterest and decided to do a leaf mobile. Here’s how I did mine.


  • Three wooden embroidery hoops in different sizes
  • Fabric in several different patterns/colors
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Embroidery thread
  • Hot glue gun
  • Jute! (If you don’t know about my love for jute, click here)

My plan was to make make strings of falling leaves which might flutter easily. It looked great in my head, of course. Little did I know how much busy work it would be!

Here’s my fabric I chose (minus to reddish one second from the right):

photo 1

First, I pulled out the inside ring of the embroidery hoop. The inside ring is solid and complete – no hook to tighten.

photo 2 (1)

Next, I wrapped it in jute with the help of my sister, my mom and my niece one evening, securing the ends with a dab of hot glue. I toyed with painting the hoops, but I thought jute would give it a nice woodsy look. My name is Sarah, and I’m a jute addict.

Next – and this was easily the hardest part – I tied the hoops to each other with embroidery thread. Blegh – it was so hard to get them balanced perfectly. I ended up hanging them from our light fixture so I could adjust the different strings. I tied them in a single knot so they would slide (embroidery thread is pretty smooth) and adjust easily. When everything was balanced, I secured them with a spot of hot glue.


Next I cut out leaves. Lots and lots…and lots of leaves. I think I cut out at least 150. I learned quickly to fold the fabric like an accordion, then draw on the template and cut it out. Bam – like 10 leaves cut out at once.



I then started putting together my strings of leaves. It was sort of a leaf sandwich – leaf, interfacing, embroidery thread, leaf. Iron, repeat many times. I did half the strings with 5 leaves, half with 6 leaves.



The biggest problem with this is that the interfacing that poked out the sides kept gumming up my iron, so several times I had to turn it off, clean the glue off and start again.

Once I had all my strings of leaves complete, I started tying them to my hoops. To make sure it balanced out, if I added one to one side, I added the same to the opposite side, and so on. I just tied them once and secured the knot with a spot of hot glue.


Drumroll, please…the final product!



I am very, very pleased with how it turned out. I ended up putting this over the changing table instead of the crib because I had these visions of a leaf fluttering down and Eloise choking on it. Oh, the places my over-active mind goes. But she actually does like to look at it when getting those diapers changed, and when we hold her up to it, she practices her fine motor skills and tries to grab the leaves.


The whole thing was a challenge, both in getting it to balance right, and the amount of steps to cut everything out. I fully realize that now that I have a kid, this kind of project is a bit too intense to ever do again. So, let’s just say whenever second baby rolls around, he or she will be getting something either 1. more simple to make, or 2. store-bought. 🙂


Great Crate Table!

1 Feb

Ooh – I’m so excited to share this project with everyone!

Here’s a reminder of our previous living room setup and furniture from the console table:

Living Room with Old TV Console 2

At that time (back in November), we were waiting for our new couch and club chair to arrive. We sold the couch (which was mine from my single days) because it was not that comfortable, and the chaise because it was just too big for the space.

As far as the coffee table goes, I toyed with the idea of repainting or refinishing it because I’m not crazy about the orangey finish, but then I decided I didn’t really like the size of it anyway. It seemed a little too wide and a little too tall, and I wanted to open up the space of the living room. (I’ve got big plans for the coffee table. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but let’s just say it won’t resemble a table by the time I’m done with it!) I still wanted a coffee table, because both Ryan and I like one for putting up our feet, setting drinks on, etc. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to build a new one. I had seen a couple of coffee tables on Pinterest made from craft store crates, and I liked the idea of it.

So, I collected my four crates here and there because I used a 40 or 50 percent off coupon on each one to save a little cash. Luckily, I work right across the street from JoAnn Fabrics so was able to pop in and get one now and then on a break or lunch. I ended up paying $7 or $8 for each crate.

Here they are – unfinished and ready to go:


Here is how they will be set up: IMG_0700

Next, I stained them a dark walnut. I only put one coat on, and I actually didn’t wipe much stain off at all because it pretty much all soaked right into the soft pine:


Once the stain was dry, I started the build by first nailing the crates together. Ryan told me that it was time to buy an air compressor and nail gun since it doesn’t seem like I’ll be slowing down on my projects (teehee), so off we went to the store to pick it up. Wow – it made it SO much easier than nailing by hand. I only used the nail gun to nail the thick ends together because the nail gun is pretty strong and would have probably blown right through the slats that make up the sides of the crates.


For extra stability, I hand-nailed the slats to the thicker ends.


With the crates sufficiently attached to one another, I moved on to the bottom brace. It’s kind of hard to get pictures of me measuring, running out to the garage to cut, then back in, down the stairs…and so on. So, here’s a little rundown.

I used about five 1″x4″x8′ boards to make up the bottom brace and the top (more on the top later). I didn’t get the expensive boards because I wanted a bit of a rustic look to the table (I even looked for boards with some good knots). Each board was only about $1.40. Below is a picture of how I wanted my bottom brace set up. It took lots of measuring and lots of cutting, but I finally got my two long pieces and four shorter pieces cut using a miter saw. I clamped them to the crates so they didn’t shift when I screwed them together using the metal brackets.


Once the brace was built, I stained the top side (metal brackets go on the bottom) because parts of it would show through the slats of the crates.


I attached the brace to the bottom of the crates and added some small casters to the bottom. We flipped it over to see what we had so far. Here’s an idea of the size of it (it’s about 28″x28″).


The crate tables I saw online stopped here for the most part; however, I knew that wouldn’t work for us because the wood slats are too thin to even put your feet on. So, I knew I wanted a top of some sort. Ryan helped me with logistics at this point because I started getting crabby and annoyed. Shocker, I know. 🙂 I could not figure out how to build the top! I cut nine boards about 19″ each so there would be a slight lip on the outside edge. We started attaching the boards from the center (using the nail gun) and building out.


Yay! We have a top. I broke out the electric sander to soften the edges and corners, make sure all the ends matched up, and smooth out the top ridges a bit.

IMG_0743I put one coat of stain on the top, then put two coats of water-based polycrylic on the whole thing (top and bottom).

But…I wasn’t done yet. That hole in the middle…it wasn’t going to be a hole for long! I put a shelf in there by nailing in some simple braces made out of scrap wood (about 1/2″x1/2″x8″):


…and Ryan cut an 8″x8″ shelf that I stained and varnished:


It sets right in:


Here it the finished product with our new couch and chair.


I have some decorative balls in the middle right now, but we could put remotes or coasters in there. Endless possibilities! Okay, not endless…but there’s lots and lots of possibilities. 🙂IMG_0826

Yep, we like it, AND you can put your feet on it! IMG_0828

Whew – I’m spent now. We love our new coffee table. The wheels on the bottom make it very convenient to push it out of the way if I need space in the living room to work on projects. It took a weekend to put together, but it was worth every minute. And you can’t beat the cost of $50 in materials (crates, boards, casters, brackets)!

So, who here has built a piece of furniture from no plans? Do tell! Seems to be my MO these days. Unlike the disaster I like to call the giraffe bench, at least this one turned out. 🙂