Monday, July 29, 2013

Mobile Making MANIA.

Perhaps the title is a bit overstated.  But we did make a mobile.

Sarah had seen this mobile that she liked, and we decided to do our own modified version of it. We really like the whole mid-century vibe, so the atomic ball thing seemed like a great idea. A continuous thanks to everyone in Raleigh who keeps tearing down the few mid-century houses in town to put up your McMansion!

So here was the actual inspiration, from her Pinterest board.  Whatever that is.

This one was apparently made using a pre-bought picture mobile frame and then attaching Christmas ornaments to the ends.  Well, guess what?  It's July.  Good luck finding those.  Plus, we're creative people...we could figure out another solution.  So we went to AC Moore for about 20 minutes and brainstormed.  (It was a nice little Saturday.)

The supplies were surprisingly cheap:

  • a 2.5" diameter wood ball for the center
  • four 36" long x 3/16" diameter rods 
  • (1) pack of (18) 1/2" diameter balls for the ends
  • wood glue
  • fishing wire
Total came to about $12.

Sarah marked spots on the center ball where I was going to drill holes for the rods to come out.  I had also purchased a 1/4" bolt to attach the ball to a scrap piece of wood to hold it in place while I drilled these holes.

Look closely and you can see her marks, which she assures me are not "willy nilly."
And then I drilled in pilot holes about 1/4"-1/2" deep.  

One hole down.
While I did this (and clearly, after she'd taken the above pictures), Sarah was marking the rods into random lengths for me to cut next.

Also, apparently, not willy nilly lengths.
Then I just wood glued them into the previously mentioned holes. 
Check out the socks, hitched up due to the insane amount of mosquitoes outside.

Structure complete!  (For reference, all of this took about 45 minutes in total.  Including pee breaks. Three, to be specific.)

Then it was time to paint the structure white. And let me tell you - 3/16" diameter rods sticking out at random lengths make for a fairly delicate structure. I bet you're wondering how I managed to put it all together and apply several coats of spray paint without breaking it! Well, I never said I didn't break it. I actually only broke off one rod when I got too close with the spray paint and knocked it off the ledge it was on. I don't think the fall itself would've broken it. My trying to catch it did. After struggling a bit with how to fix this (note: tape isn't going to work), I cut off the little broken piece still glued in very close to the ball. Then I whittled, yeah - that's pretty much what it was, out the remaining bit from inside the ball. Well, enough to sharpen the broken end of the rod and jam it in there. It worked, and you can't tell which one it was.

While I was out somewhere, probably playing a show or working out if it was a weekend, Sarah took over. She ripped out pages from what appears to be a Victoria's Secret catalog to work inside, because it was July in NC and that means it was hot and really muggy and she is retaining water "like a friggin' camel" (her words, not mine). First she glued the smaller wooden balls to the ends of the rods.

Maybe it was a Coldwater Creek catalog? That's definitely not something I should know about at all.
That pack of balls we bought for the end had holes pre-drilled AND at the right diameter for the rods, but the holes went all the way through. And yes, I'm laughing every time I say balls, but I don't really have many other options here... should I have been calling them atoms? Protons and electrons? Nuclei? Balls it is! Being the master crafter she is, she filled the ends with wood puddy putty.

Time to paint the balls. Because there is a lot of crafting/artwork done in our house, there was already a lot of little bottles of paint around, and we wanted to try to match the colors in the alphabet print.

Rods were taped off at the end so as to make painting the colors way easier.
All end balls painted.
Apparently each color needed two coats to get a nice saturated look.  But once it was all painted and dried, Sarah gave it a layer of sealer to give it a finished look.

Had this on hand, too.  B/c my wife is a craft hoarder.

And all that was left to do was hang it! This took several weeks, because we had to do stuff like get the crib in place and continue living our fairly busy lives. I do realize the irony of calling our lives busy when our kid isn't even here yet.  But as many of you know, we had not one, but two plumbing incidents (one semi-major) in the house that took priority over the mobile.

We wanted it centered on the door as you walk in, and over the crib, so while I stood on a chair, Sarah told me where to screw the hook into the ceiling. I had already attached some 40lb test fishing line to this hook. After cutting the fishing line to a workable length, we got the mobile to a good height and I tied about 50 knots to hold it in place.
Belly shot!

And that was it! Our awesome ballsy atomic mobile was done!
Camera 1.
Camera 2.
Looks pretty good, if you ask me.  Sarah likes it most because nobody else has one like it.  She must be a hipster deep down.  It was nice to make something special just for our little dude.  One day I'll tell him about how we did it and we'll be all:

He'll be so impressed.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Update in progress...

Top o' the mornin' y'all.

If we waited to reveal the nursery until it was 100% complete, P-Nut would be 3-1/2 years old and begging for a big boy bed.  So we thought we'd keep showing pieces bit by bit as they get complete.  It helps us feel like we're actually making some progress, and hopefully keeps the 5 of you that read this blog interested in what we're doing.  (We're known for going weeks, sometimes months, between posts.)

When we last met, my hunka-hunka-burnin' husband had just written up a quick tutorial on how we added the herringbone feature wall to the mix.  We purposely didn't show a great after picture because...well, we didn't have one.  There was still crap everywhere blocking a good view and our OCD personalities were keeping us chained to the wall making tiny touch-ups here and there.  Well...there's still a lot about the room below you'll never see again, but it's a good start.

If you're finding yourself wanting to pet the wall, I can't blame you.
The high contrast of the white and navy makes me tingle.  Well, it's either that or the baby sitting on my sciatic nerve again. A little from column A, a little from column B.

And what's that colorful print I see?  As I mentioned before, my artsy fartsy husband was going to make a custom print for our son-to-be that we would be hanging in a salvaged frame from the beach.

I took the original art and mat out and gave it a quick coat of white spray paint to freshen it up.

It's balancing on a pile of trees and branches that came down in our yard that our landlord lovingly dumped to the side of the yard rather than removing.

Then I took the secondary mat that was underneath the white to create a border and painted it the same navy as the walls with some leftover paint.

There's that black & white test fit I mentioned a week or so ago.  

Once it had a few hours to cure, we put the color print in place with some tape and framed that puppy.  (By the time all this came together and got hung on the wall, it was night time, so that's why the color is a little off.)

Next time won't you sing with me?

I love that it's colorful, fun and bright but still modern.  And did I mention CHEAP?  I love finding old frames/mats at yard sales or Goodwill and giving them new life.  The wood of this frame was actually the perfect color and shape, but spray paint can do wonders in helping you integrate a wonky old frame into your chic abode.   Buying a frame and mat of this size brand new would have been dumb.  Yeah, I said it.  Dumb.

Speaking of making wise financial decisions...I think it's time to drop the bomb on y'all.

We have been searching for quite literally...the duration of my pregnancy (30 weeks now!) for the perfect nursery chair.  The criteria included:

  1. Comfort: Do I want to sit in this for an hour if needed?
  2. Style: If People Magazine were doing a feature of Best Dressed Chairs, would ours be the Gwyneth Paltrow or Tila Tequila? Who even mentions Tila Tequila anymore?
  3. Cost: We're not doctors over here.  We don't drop hundos like it ain't no thing.  We've been known to eat Ramen noodles to keep our budget in line.  It needed to be a steal.
  4. Longevity: Will we be able to use the chair after its life in the nursery?  Our beef with the gliders and rockers that a lot of folks use is that they are now stowed away in the attic, not being used.  We want to use this chair for as long as possible to get the most bang for our buck.

Me and Craig (of Craigslist) have become pretty tight over the past few months and we hang out on the reg. Well last Tuesday, the chair heavens opened up and we pounced.

Thursday afternoon, we scheduled a time to come look at the chair/ottoman combo taunting me from my computer screen.  We had a really strong suspicion we would be walking away with this treasure so we emptied out the back of the truck in anticipation and hit up the ATM.

To answer your question, you need at least $1,000 to make it rain.
The guy described his house as being in "West Cary."  Well Nick and I both grew up in Cary and the part of town we drove to was considered Kentucky when we were growing up.  Homeboy lived about 40 minutes from us.  But onward we pressed.

We walked into their house and were led back to the rear office.  I honestly think beams of light were emanating from underneath the door as we approached.  We both took turns sitting in it, kicking our feet up on the ottoman.  I got up and inspected all the leather and framing.  It was made in the 60's but looked almost new with the exception of a small rip in the ottoman.  

"We'll take it."  Nick handed over the $200 to the nice gentleman and we were on our way.  

The entire ride home we kept glancing in the rear view mirror or turning around at stop lights to look at her.  

"She's beautiful."
"I can't believe that's our chair."
"I can't believe he sold that to us for $200."
"You wanna stop on the side of the road and sit in it for a while?"

Into the house she came and we settled her into place in her new home.

I peed myself a little just looking at the picture.
So not only is she extremely comfortable to sit in...not only is she the most beautiful chair we've ever owned...not only was she 200 bones...but she will be a member of this family for many years to come.  Nick has already claimed her as his "record-listening, fatherly advice, counseling, general manliness chair" post-nursery use. 

Note: this is not an original Eames chair.  It is a replica.  It was made in the 1960's but an original Eames would be close to $4K.   The original Eames chair was not designed as a true lounge and typically is not as comfortable as their knock-off counterparts.  They were originally intended to sit in the corners of offices as art pieces...not for long term sitting.  

We have a lot of close friends who are artists of various mediums and I know a lot of them have strong opinions about knock-off/replica designs.  I have a lot of thoughts on this matter so I'd love to sit down and have coffee with you one day to debate.  You'll, of course, be buying the coffee because I'm clearly the cheapskate in this situation.

So that's the update for now.   I'm currently on the hunt for new bedding for the guest bed, dreaming up something to do to the side tables, and we're about half way through building this custom mobile.  Fingers crossed!