Sunday, September 15, 2013

Labor Day Weekend: I made a baby mobile!

School started.  It is fine.  I like my students.  I think I'm a bad teacher.  Labor Day weekend was very much needed after the longest first week of school ever.  Anyway, I've made no secret about wanting to have a baby, and my brother and his wife's baby was due September 1, and Labor Day has a birth-kind-of-word in it, and it was that time of the month that I was hoping I might be pregnant so over Labor Day weekend I made a mobile.
Ta da!
FYI, I'm not pregnant, and my nephew was born a few days later than his due date, and he is oh-so-cute from the pictures I've seen.  Being an aunt from 2500 miles away is not much fun, though.  Neither is finding out my nephew's name from FACEBOOK!  *cough* Kevin you kinda suck a little *cough* (Kevin is my brother who failed to tell me the name of my own nephew.  Of course my sister-in-law cannot be blamed for this oversight since she had just given birth and had better things to do...unless she specifically took time from cuddling her baby to force Kevin not to tell me so they could maniacally laugh together, in which case that was mean...but that's very unlikely.  She's not evil, you know.)

Anyway, some of my few readers may recall a certain bedroom I furnished in orange, white and grey.

I knew I wanted a mobile above the crib, you know, when we get one.  And my sister even gave me an old picture-hanging thing from her old room that could work as the hanging apparatus of said mobile, but I didn't know what to put on it.  Definitely not one of those chinzy pastel things you see with cartoony bugs and veggietales and nonsense like that.

This one is particularly classy-looking.  (In case you love it, it's from Target, also, sorry for calling it classy in a sarcastic caption.)
If I'm going to have a mobile, I wanted something either abstract like this (except putting glass over a baby's bed is not such a good idea.  I'm not stupid.)
Image from here.  Before you click you should know it's a lingerie store's website, but it does have a post on how to make this.  And don't judge me, I found it on Pinterest.

or something that actually belongs flying in the air, like planes, birds, or butterflies.  Also, I didn't want to stray from our orange/white/black/grey thing.  As you can see, my options were quite limited, especially because this room is gender-neutral, since, you know, we don't actually have a baby (or even one in the making) yet.  Planes scream BOY; butterflies scream GIRL; birds scream SCARY! (In case you don't know me, birds were never an option because I'm scared of them.)  Pandas fit the color scheme, but why would pandas be flying?  Also, why would I pick pandas?  Polar bears, zebras, cows and tigers were more of the same story: all fit the color scheme, but none of them fly, and I am not particularly in love with any of them, so I was still stuck.  But who cares?  I don't need a mobile.  I don't have a baby.  The end.

Then I saw this on Pinterest:
Pinterest linked me to this Etsy page
Sheep!  Sheep are black and white, so color scheme: check!

Sheep don't fly, BUT are commonly portrayed as jumping over beds being counted by sleepless people, so the flying thing: narrowly-on-a-technicality, check!
I'm not really obsessed with sheep either, but these ones are cute, so... okay!

However, there is no way I'm spending $80 on five tiny cutie sheep tied to a needlepoint frame.  Okay, a bare wicker wreath, whatever.  But I decided I could make something similar myself.  Even though I don't sew, I have a can-do attitude when it comes to saving mah moolah.  I'm crafty, right? I'm creative, right?  I have a slight artistic flair, right?  I'm stubborn and do what I want, right?  Given all my self-professed credentials, I thought I'd give 'er the old college try.

So I skipped along to Joann's and bought a yard of fuzzy baby blanket white stuff, and half a yard of black rib-knit cotton (overkill by the way, but I never professed to have done the math beforehand.  Because I didn't.)  It only cost me about $6.

I even took a picture of all the materials you need.  I'm so good I should start a blog!...wait...

Materials needed for sheep: White fuzzy fabric appropriate for fluffy lambs, black fabric, black thread, white thread, eye-colored embroidery floss (I made each of my sheep have different colored eyes which is why I have a bunch of colors), sewing needle, scissors, pins, batting, and some paper for a pattern.  And if you want to make a mobile, you'll have to figure that part out yourself.

I started by making a pattern:
Pattern for sheep face, sheep leg, and sheep body
I also needed ears and a tail, but I freestyled those with each sheep, because what can I say? I'm a rebel like that.

I actually cut out the face and legs with the fabric folded in half, therefore the pattern stayed folded in half, but it reminded me where to line up the folded fabric.

The little nubbin is the tail, the long thing at the bottom are the ears, at least the way I did them for most of the sheep.

After I had everything cut out I pinned the legs and the face with the ears where I wanted them, like so:

See how the ears are pinned inside the face?
In case you're bad at sewing like I am, remember to pin it inside-out. Then I just stitched around the outside of the legs and the face, careful to keep my ears where I wanted them.  I chose to do all my stitching by hand instead of using my sewing machine, because the pieces are so tiny, and I didn't feel like it was worth doing battle with my sewing machine over something I could do by hand more easily anyway.

Then I turned them right-side-out.  I found that using my scissors to push the little legs through worked well.

I had to put the batting in the legs at this point, but not the head yet.  Scissors worked well for that too.

I used leftover batting from when I upholstered the headboard, so it's blanket batting, not the clumps of stuff someone might usually use for plush toys, but it worked fine for me.

I set the legs aside and went back to my sheep's face.  After making a couple sheep, I realized that sewing the eyes before I put the batting in and sewed it to the body worked best.  I should have realized that from the beginning; I'm dumb, I know.  Anyway, I used embroidery floss for the eyes, and just made a few stitches for each one.  This sheep had brown eyes, but others had different shades of blue, green and hazel.
In this pictures you can see how his little ears were attached.

Looks messy on the inside...
Cute little eyes on the outside, and aren't those floppy ears adorable?
 After getting his li'l face and legs put together I had to stitch him all together. So I laid it out like this
I pinned the ears out of the way so they wouldn't accidentally get sewed to the body
I pinned the legs and tail to both sides, just pinched in the middle of the seam, but the head was pinned so it opened into the body.  Did that make sense?  Here are some pictures:
The legs and tail only have one pin, because it goes through both layers of white and the leg/tail.
The head had two pins, one for each side of white, so it won't be flattened when I turn it right-side-out.
Hopefully that cleared up what I don't know how to explain with words.  Also, just in case this post seems crazy, just know I am on cold medicine while I'm writing this.  The last time I took any type of medication was over a year ago.  I've been off all forms of medication, as well as sushi, caffeine and a bunch of other things since we've been trying to get pregnant.  But this weekend I have the king of colds and I know I'm not pregnant so I caved, and I feel a little weird, so I'll have to proof read this next week to make sure it's not too off the wall.  I've already caught a ton of weird typos, I can't imagine how many I've missed in my drug-induced state.  Back to the topic: sheep.

I stitched around the head

and then started at the tail and stitched to in front of the front leg, leaving the chest area open.

I used that to turn the sheep right-side-out, and then to stuff it.

Because I was using blanket batting, I cut it into squares and folded them to make it kinda lumpy.  Sheep just seem like they should be lumpy to me.  I don't know why.  I also used my scraps to stuff my sheep, so it cut down on waste, and sometimes white batting shows through stretch fabric, like I was using for the head, so the black scraps in there kept that from happening.

Then I just stitched him up!

The first sheep I did took a couple hours, but after that I could whip one up in about half an hour, so I would put on a Doc Martin on Netflix and make a sheep.  I made 2-4 a day and it wasn't bad.  In total, I made 10 sheep, because that's how many clips there were on the mobile thing I got from my sister.

Right now it looks like a quite a flock; it looks just like the real thing, see?

But I think it might be a good idea to switch it up by removing the clips and stitching them onto the little rings so it looks cuter, and then stagger them at different heights so they aren't so clumped together. I don't know. I've got time; it's not like I have sleepless baby desperately waiting to count sheep at this point.  It's not even hanging anywhere.  It's just clipped to a hanger in the closet.  Well, there's my mobile for now. Hooray!  Sheep!

Thanks to Littledale Farm for the real blackface sheep photos


Lindsey said...

I love it. A lot.

Georgia said...

What a great blog post! What a darling little flock of sheep!

You did a great job describing and showing how to make those darling lambs.

I had fun reading this post once to myself and then out loud to your Dad. We both loved it! We hope you are feeling better and able to be off your cold medicine and back to your ol' self again.

Love you! Miss you!!

Lindsey said...

Sorry about that, Dani. I promise it was unintentional--things were kind of crazy for a few days. You can name our next child. Haha.
I'm super impressed with your sheep! They turned out really cute.

Dani said...

Aw thanks! Don't worry, I know you didn't force Kevin to not tell me, and I know Kevin had better things to do too. I just get to give him a hard time about it now, because that's what little sisters are for.