Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Alice's Bird Mobile

Hi Friends! I know, its been almost a week since I last wrote...wait...this isn't a letter. Anyway, it's not that we haven't been up to stuff. We built a new garden bed last weekend, actually Chris built it and I have about 20 posts drafted up for you. It's just that my photos are so unorganized that I haven't actually finished any of them.

So while you wait, I present you with this oldie-- but its a goodie. Two years ago, when we were living in Montana, before our favorite Alice was born and while we were over flowing with excitement and anticipation for her entrance into the world, I put together a bird mobile for her.  And just yesterday, her baby brother, Thomas was born. Thomas you are our favorite Thomas, we can't wait to meet you!

So, I am almost positive that you have seen this before. Why? Because I think everyone has seen this before. It first appeared on the internet (as far as I know) over at Spool. And it is awesome, as is their website in general. Additionally, they made it really easy to duplicate because they provide the template for the birds. All you need is fabric, for which scraps work really well.

I actually didn't have much for scraps at this point, because I was just getting into sewing for the first time as an adult, so I bought a bunch of quilters quarters which are cheap and come in an array of colors and patterns, fun for little baby boys and girls. Here you see them from the top.

And here from the bottom.

After I made this first mobile I made a second one for another dear child, Athena, who also happens to have a sibling on the way. I learned a few things in the process. For instance, for the first mobile I hand stitched the birds. And it took FOREVER! The second time around, I used my sewing machine. If you are nervous about using a sewing machine, start by using scrap fabrics you aren't crazy about. It's really not that hard and it will save you weeks. I'm not kidding. Also, you can slip stitch the tail closed or just sew it closed with your machine using a colorful thread.

I found the wood for this mobile in a neighbors yard, snatched it up (i.e. stole it) and biked awkwardly home with it. I soaked it in the bathtub until the really coarse outside fell off, then I hand sanded the s*it out of them, cut them down to size and sanded the s*it out of ends so they wouldn't poke anyone's eye out. To attach the birds, I just threaded "feet" through the belly of the bird and down around the wood. It's kind of awkward to do, but you will get the hang of it real quick. Or not so quick, but you will have plenty of practice.

If you attempt this, you will find the real stinker is balancing the whole thing. The birds will sit a top their branches fine if you thread them real tight (and you can use a little super glue, or hot gun glue for support if needed, which I know I used for one mobile and not the other, but I can't remember which). I was not totally in love with how the final bird hung on the original mobile, so my solution to this was to use two strings to hold it in place.

Oh, and because I wanted Alice to know this was for her, I stitched her name in the back of one of the birds. I thought, perhaps, someday it might make sense to remove the birds and discard the branches, but the birds could be kept around as soft little toys. Actually, this bird is made from her Aunt Rachael's old clothes, which makes it a bit more sentimental. So, thanks Spool for this idea and so many others as well.

And one more shot, possibly the most important as this is the one the babe's see. Not too shabby. 

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