Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nursery: Nearly Done

Oh how I love tacky glue

And now for the latest installment of pictures of crafty goodness used to enhance the former dining room of a one be apartment in our efforts to create an economically chic nursery. This week's topic: Wall Art.
Since we aren't supposed to pain the walls, and I'm not too keen on having to paint them back on the off chance the opportunity to move on presents itself, we've found less permanent ways to decorate.

Exhibit A: trendy fabric modern art display.
I used scraps of material used in other parts of the nursery, stretched over a a series of various sized embroidery hoops. Add thumbtacks on the wall, and voila. If I was ubber crafty, I probably could have covered the hoops with paint or ribbon, but I think they are fine as is. The hoops cost an average of fifty cents to $1.49 and are available at most craft stores (except the Jo-Ann's in town). The do make more colorful plastic ones, but I prefer the wooden ones anyway--not that I embroider or know the difference.

Exhibit B: Johnny's Fishing pond.

Rich's fear when I first explained the "grand plan" for the themed nursery was there would be too much green and not enough blue for a little boy's room. My compromise solution was to create fish for the wall behind the crib. Though I feel we certainly have enough blue, I do like the fish accents.
There are essentially 3 species of fish on these walls. Fish type A were made from cotton fabric. Two fish outlines were cut, sewn right sides together, flipped, stuffed and mounted with thumbtacks for eyes. Since I used scraps, I winged the outlines "on the fly" to best use the amount of scrap I had.
Fish type B were similarly created from felt. Since felt won't fray, I was able to sew right sides out, and provide more detail in the tails/fins. I also used some decorative stitching to create gills. The fabric for these fish was also scrap from another project, so my selection in color/size was limited.
Fish type C make up the majority of the school. They are only fabric on the outside. I started with fish "patterns" from online coloring sheets. I traced the outlines onto card stock (mostly display packaging material from the many shower gifts). I then cut a piece of fabric roughly a bit bigger than the cardboard fish. It needs to be big enough to cover the cardboard fish, but not too much bigger, since bulky fabric makes it difficult to tuck around details like fins. I then glued the fabric to the back of the cardboard, trimming excess as I went. These fish were stuffed with tiny fabric scraps and tissue paper before sealing the final section. The slight stuffing gives the fish a little more dimensionality than they would otherwise have. Rather than using thumbtack eyes, they are mounted to the wall with packaging tape. In the future, I may add ribbon details or button eyes, but for now, they are fish silhouettes that rise off of the wall.

Exhibit C: memo boards.

For these memo boards, I purchased 4 frameless cork boards. Originally, I was going to buy a pack of 4 cork tiles. However, I got a great deal on these frameless boards at Michael's (1.49 each I think) and they are thicker and more sturdy than the tiles appeared to be. I used leftover batting from the glider "reupholstery" project cut just slightly larger than the boards. I covered the batting and board with cute fabric. I would have rather had a staple gun or hot glue gun, but settle for craft glue to hold the fabric in place since it was what I had on hand. I used thumb tacks to hold the fabric snug until the glue dried. I added ribbons to the front, as well as more upholstery tacks at the intersection. Ribbons were secured with tacks and or glue at the back.
The memo boards currently feature cut outs of classic picture book characters. I found the images with google images and used a color printer. In the future, the boards will also feature pictures of Johnny, his family, and important reminders like feeding schedules.

Exhibit D: The pond mirror.
This is by far my favorite nursery addition. I wanted a mirror for the nursery, because every baby I have know (okay, probably older than newborn) has loved making faces at him/herself in the mirror. I liked the idea of tying the mirror into the pond theme, but didn't know how well it would turn out. Rich picked up a very economical mirror from Target for under $5.00. After some debate, we planned on taping the book character cutouts around the frame, and calling it a day. That is, until I decided to experiment.
Armed with my trusty gingher scissors and some solid cotton fabric, I began to cut reeds and cattails. Initially, I planned to sew, flip and slightly stuff the reeds. This seemed to be too much work for the effect I was attempting to accomplish. However, having planned on sewing, I ended up with two of each cattail, which allowed me to create a nice framing effect. I had to careful position the reeds so they weren't too obviously the same.
Now a more thorough crafter probably would have opted for double stick tape. However, since this was such an economical mirror, I didn't feel too bad breaking out the tacky glue and sticking the fabric pieces directly to the mirror and frame. My stroke of true genius came in the form of two green "hills" (aka scraps from cutting the reeds), which cleverly disguise what otherwise would be a messy looking knot at the bottom of the "pond."

Exhibit E: Window treatment
Nothing fancy here--more scraps put to good use. I created a pennant shape from paper then transferred to a more sturdy cardstock. I traced the shape on fabric and cut. The top tab was folded over ribbon, ironed to make the fold more likely to stay, then adhered with tacky glue. Ideally, I would have loved to have cut the edges with pinking sheers--though this project showed exactly how dull my current pair is.

Exhibit F: Burp cloths
Not exactly nursery decor, but fairly practical. I created 1/2 dozen burp cloths as they seem like a practical invention. My creations will hopefully prove both sturdy and absorbent. Side A features a soft but durable cream terry cloth, purchased for 1/2 price from the remnant bin at JoAnns. Side B features and even softer piece of flannel--mostly from scraps from previous projects, like the receiving blankets. They vary in size--due in part to the scrap nature of the flannel, or the remnant shape of the terry cloth--allowing me to get the most from the materials on hand. Ideally, I shot for 16x10, but some are longer/shorter on one or both dimension.

Exhibit G: changing table
Not one of our personal crafts, but still a semi-essential part of the nursery. Sure we didn't "need" one, but I am awful grateful to have received one as a shower gift. Considering the dinning room has no current storage, I like having the changing table to store many of our baby necessities. It's packed to the gills. We could definitely use more storage, but the debate as to how best to meet that need is still open for discussion.