Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Baby Room Design: Mobile

I have already posted a story about an owl mobile that I made for a friend of mine as a gift when her little man was born.  I used a similar procedure to make the mobile that hangs in Mini's room but I made chickens instead of owls.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted our baby to have inside references to the things that he was growing up with outside.  His window overlooks the chicken coop and as I hoped, he now wakes up during the day and watches the chickens doing their thing from his cot.  "Chicken" and "bird" were two of the first words that he spoke!  He loved the mobile hanging above his change table from an early age and it was one of the first things that he would try to track with his eyes.  Now he still watches it but instead of lying and chuckling at it he stands up mid nappy change and tries to pull it out of the ceiling.  At least he loves it I guess!!

As with the curtains I used a Dick Bruna chicken picture as my starting reference although you wouldn't know it to look the chickens on the mobile - they are somewhat unique!!!

I chose to make eight chickens in a two tiered mobile.  The lower four chickens were all to be in black and white, the colours that babies can first visualise and track.  The higher tier was to be the primary colours but using fabric off-cuts that I had in my cupboard.  It's amazing the stories that are associated with each chicken - family history that I can relay to my little one when he gets a bit older....."see that yellow chicken with the flowers?  That came out your Ma's linen cupboard at the holiday house.  It used to be a sheet but I cut it up and made a dress and then this chicken.  Ma was a seamstress when she was younger....."  I'm sure you get the idea by now.  I love having stories woven into everyday items around the house!  It keeps family alive.

These are the white chickens.  As you can see they are the reverse of each other.  

I decided to use felt for theirs combs and sew them onto the chickens once I had sewn and stuffed their bodies.  It meant that the hanging ribbon had extra reinforcing and I didn't have to fold out the more intricate stitching.  I used ribbons and beads for the legs for a similar reason.  It was going to be too difficult to fold out such small and narrow legs and feet.  Mini loves the hanging beads and they sometimes click together in the wind.  The wings are simply sewn onto the backing fabric of the chickens.  I decided that since the mobile was hanging and not being touched much the lack of hemming wouldn't be a problem.  I was on a bit of a time frame!  
The chickens are hung on pieces of dowel that my husband cut for me.  We decided this time that we would not drill holes in the dowel to fix the chickens as it's quite difficult to get the balance of the mobile right.  We (I should say my husband) tied the chickens into place on the dowel and we were then able to move them slightly if they were off balance.  Again it's not a problem as they don't get touched much.

I'm happy with the finished mobile and my baby is as well.  It's not the most perfect piece of sewing but each chicken has it's own character and they serve their purpose very well.  They also fit perfectly with the ''handmade" earthy feel of the room that I was trying to achieve.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Room Designing for Baby: room layout

As mentioned in my previous entry our new baby's room had only one wall in which there was not a door or a window.  It's amazing in terms of light and natural airflow but a little tricky when you are trying to find usable storage and functional space for important bits of furniture like cots and change tables.  We were very lucky and inherited a majority of our baby things from my older sister.  The cot was one of these things and it was lucky enough to find it's home with our beautiful new change table on the only solid wall in the room.  Placing the change table and the cot on this wall meant that there was a nice amount of "play on the floor space" left for Mini and he could look out the window when he woke up and se the chickens doing their thing.  When he wakes during the day he can often look out and find me pottering in the garden as well.  He loves his view from his cot!

We spent quite some time looking for a change table because most of the ones that we saw had the change mat thing at the top and then just open shelves at the bottom.  Knowing how messy I am this was not going to be a sensible option for our house.  It also meant that the change table really only had one purpose in its life - being a change table.  We wanted a decent piece of furniture that could be used after the need for a change table was necessary.  As you can see the ones we found are a chest of drawers with a removable change mat at the top so that when Mini is older we can take the cushion off and he will have space to show of his trucks, sticks, leaves, rocks, fish, dead worms, what else do little boys like to collect I wonder???

The really interesting part of tuning this room into a bedroom was storage space.  We had to find space for a wardrobe as well as room to store toys, books, shoes, too big clothes, too small clothes and what else do little boys like to collect???

This is were the very good spatial/ mathematical brain of my husband came into play.  We decided that we needed to find a piece of furniture that would fit under the window and then run up the walls on either side.  We did not have to finances to get in a custom cabinet maker so we went to IKEA and hubby's brain set to work.  I won't bore you with the details of how he made it all fit but we used the Expedit range of furniture.

I wanted Mini to have some mirrors down low so that he could look at himself in them - don't all babies love to see other babies in their room even if it is just their reflection?!  We also needed some storage boxes that could hide some things that didn't need to be seen.  We opted for the seagrass cubes as they fitted in with the more natural feel that I wanted to create.  We also left a number of the cubes empty so that we could store Mini's books and toys.  I love the fact that by placing the shelves under the window Mini can practise his standing and he can pull down whatever is stored there himself.  He loves that he can be independent in his play and choose what he plays with for himself.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Baby room design: curtains

As mentioned in my previous entry I was determined to have some handmade elements in our baby's bedroom.  I initially thought that I would make the curtains from a fabric that I found in a fabric shop but after taking many trips to different fabric stores I came to the conclusion that most curtaining fabrics were either very, very plain but embossed with ugly patterning or they were way too colourful with quite ordinary prints on them.  As I mentioned in my previous entry, I wanted the room to have a calming effect but also spark my little one's imagination as well.  I ended up purchasing some plain mushroom coloured curtaining fabric with big plans to make it suitable for a room for my new bub.

This project was a slow one. I took a long time coming up with my plan of exactly what I wanted on the curtains and then I had get into the problem solving aspect of how I was actually going to make my plan work.

My decision: I was going to create a scene of what my baby was going to see when we went on our daily walks outside.  We live in a pretty spectacular valley that is 10 minutes drive to the beach if you turn right and ten minutes drive to a rainforest national park if you turn left.  I decided however, that Mini's curtains would show the animals that live right outside his window on the hill and in the creek.  

I made felt or fabric animals that I then sewed directly onto the curtains or onto the background scene.  I also created a tree for some of the animals to live in.  Many of the shapes for the animals that I made were inspired by the Dick Bruna books. 

Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

I included a few of the animals that live on and in the creeks and swales


swamp hens


We couldn't have a scene from outside the window without the ...

koalas (we've been lucky enough to have one by the creek)
Mini is now over six months and I often find him looking at his curtains when he wakes from a sleep.  He loves the quacky ducks outside and has started reaching for them on his curtains.  He also loves the cockatoos and uses his bird sign to show me that he wants to touch them.  

I am happy with how the curtains turned out.  They were a labour of love and I was lucky that I had nine months to complete them.  Mini finds them interesting but they are not to bright and in your face for a room that needs to promote sleep.  It's fabulous to be able to talk to him about the animals on his curtains and then meet them in real life when we walk out the door.  

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Room designing for baby

When I was pregnant with my little man I spent many conscious and subconscious hours designing how his room was going to look.  Having been to a number of Nature Kindergarten professional development sessions with Claire Warden and Nikki Buchanan I was very conscious of the fact that I wanted his room to have a calming effect.  It had to be a "natural" space where his imagination could wander.  Being a bit of a "greenie" myself I also wanted him to appreciate his space, the things he had in it and not to be overstimulated with too many toys or colours.  I wanted him to enjoy and be able to see the amazing scene that plays out on the other side of his window - trees, chickens, flower gardens and often kangaroos and ducks waddling around.  I love handmade things and I was determined to make some of the elements that made up his room.  The two main things that I made myself were his mobile and his curtains.  I'll show you more about these and how I created them in later posts.

My ideas were complicated by the fact that there was only one wall in the room that did not have a window or door.  There were no permanent cupboards in the room either.  The room also had to be suitable for a boy or girl baby as we wanted a surprise as to the sex of our baby on our birthing day.  we ended up going to IKEA for most of the furniture in the room and came up with a few tricky solutions to best utilise the small space that we had available.  This is just the introduction to my baby room design blogging.  Stay tuned for some more detailed posts on how and the reasons why I designed my baby's room in this way.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Family days

Well a lot has happened since my last post many, many months ago. I'm sad to say my garden has been somewhat neglected as I have been busy coming to terms with the greatest achievement of my life.  Carrying and birthing my beautiful son and the subsequent chaos of finishing my study in between caring for him. What a year!  I still get jealous when I see women walking around with baby bellies. I loved the experience despite the ridiculous tiredness and constant nausea.  How can you beat feeling those kicks, the hiccups and the response to your touch coupled with the anticipation of waiting to meet your little person face to face?  Unbelievable and unbeatable!

We had a lovely day today taking the little man to visit his cousins at their holiday beach unit after his swimming lesson.  Our little man loves his older cousins and now that he is crawling, he loved following them around.  He also loved the beach.  Despite the fact that he's been a few times before this time was special. He could explore the sand at his own pace and move where he wanted to move. It was magic to see and I hope to see that wonder and excitement in all things continue as he grows.  There is so much to be learned about life by watching the joy of a young person experiencing our world.

What a wonderful morning we all had!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Six months of growing garden

While I'm at it I thought I'd add some pictures of the seasons as reflected by the flowers in my garden.  Although we live in a sustainable community that promotes the growth of native and productive plants, I have a love of all things flowery.  My excuse for planting these (and I believe it's very valid) is to encourage the bees to my garden to pollinate my vege garden.  My native bees also love any flat flowers whether they are native or not.  Soooooo not only do these flowers look pretty but they serve a very important function as well.  Here they are...

Iris and Daffodil in July

 Jasmine and Primula in August

Spring onion and Pandorea in September - check out my native bees ;-)

   Foxglove in October


   Artichoke and Violets in November

   Flowering Eucalypt and Paper Daisies in December.