Ocean Nursery Update 4 – Under the Sea Crocheted Baby Mobile

We had an ocean themed nursery for our first baby, and we’re continuing that theme for our second. Since I crocheted O’s baby mobile, and since I think it’s still comforting for her to have it hanging from the ceiling above her bed (it has been there all her life), I didn’t think it was really fair to cheat baby number 2 out of a mobile of his own. Of course, I decided this way too late so I’ve been crocheting every night until my hands ache. But at least it paid off and I (just barely) made my deadline (yes, I’m hanging the mobile the night before my c-section).

So, first I needed to come up with a new list of colorful underwater creatures that weren’t entirely impossible to crochet. The first mobile had: a lobster, mermaid, humpback whale, octopus and a striped fish. After much debate and pattern searching, I decided on: a sea slug, angler fish, stingray, starfish and seahorse (lot’s of S’s strangely). After deciding on a way to hang the mobile, I ended up needed a few more creatures so I added in a penguin and more starfish (since they were easy and looked good in lots of different colors).

my sea slug

my angler fish

Don’t you love how my sea slug looks like he might also be going to an underwater disco? (I used Martha Stuart Glitter Eyelash yarn). On the angler fish, I used glitter safety eyes from this site and a cool lace for his teeth to make him a little more friendly. The stingray below has pipe cleaners in his “wings” and tail to give them a nice shape.

my stingray

my seahorse

my penguin

my starfish

If you’re crafty-inclined and want to try out some of these patterns too:

  • Sea Slug – $4 pattern from edafedd on Etsy (well written, easy to follow patterns!)
  • Angler Fish – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn, taken from the book 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral & Colorful Marine Life to Knit & Crochet.
  • StingRay (or Manta Ray minus the mouth flaps) – free pattern from Roman Sock
  • Blue Starfish – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn
  • Seahorse – free pattern from Mausica’s Magical Menagerie
  • Amigurumi Penguin – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn

And here are pictures of the original ocean mobile I crocheted for O (email me if you’d like links to the patterns I used for the first mobile and I’ll try to dig them out for you):

octopus (well, pentapus)

whale

lobster

striped fish

mermaid

O’s mobile

The second thing I had to figure out was how to hang the mobile. Ah memories… I remember giving my husband and his work friends the next to impossible task of drilling holes of equal height and equal distance from one another into a large wooden egg for mobile number one. I’m so proud of him for totally pulling it off! But I think he’s already has enough “fun” project memories from this pregnancy, so I wanted to hang this second mobile in a more simple way. I think the easiest hanging options are a wooden cross or a circle or maybe multiple tiered wooden bars (there I go getting complicated again). I found some hanging examples below on Etsy (and, by the way, if you click on the pictures, I linked back to Etsy where you can purchase them):

by LovelySymphony on Etsy

by Yarntoybox on Etsy

by Lovelygiftforkid on Etsy

But, as luck would have it, I came across a gray Pressa Octopus Clothes Drying Rack from IKEA that I’d had lying around the house for a while (it was in my Christmas stocking) and my mom suggested I use that for the mobile… brilliant!!! (and also – duh Nicole!!!). I took off all the clip hooks and I just used the existing plastic loops to hang the mobile pieces from.

Drumroll please…

Ta-Da!

And the all-important baby view of the mobile – a purple starfish is going in the empty spot

Advertisements

Ocean Nursery Update 2 – Turning the Mini Crib into a Toddler Bed

We originally bought a mini crib for baby #1 because we were living in a tiny one bedroom apartment and honestly couldn’t fit a full size crib  (I even gave up one of my 3 dressers to fit the mini – oh parenthood). Luckily my husband, Nick, and I are small people and O is no different, so we never felt the need to swap up to a standard crib. Little O is now 2 years old and still seems totally happy with it. Pregnant mommy, however, is no longer okay with lifting her into the crib anymore – ouch! So we decided it was time to convert her mini crib into a toddler bed. Unfortunately, this turned out to be more complicated than originally anticipated.

Our mini crib (and most others) will convert into a twin bed, but I thought that would be too big a change right now with baby #2 coming so soon – at least with 3 sides of her crib still up, she’d still have that safe, enclosed feeling she’s gotten used to and hopefully make it an easy transition. Now, lots of full size cribs have ready-made toddler conversion rails to turn a crib into a daybed, but after hours of searching, I’m almost positive they just don’t exist for mini cribs. My first thought was since the standard size rails look like a sideways letter P, maybe we could get one meant for a full size crib and just cut off part of the long stem to fit. But unfortunately the tall part that keeps you child from rolling out of bed (the loop of the P in my example) measured pretty much the entire length of the mini crib, so there’d be no way for O to crawl in. I realized we were going to have to make it ourselves.

Inspiration – the Muu Sam

I found the Muu Sam crib above while doing my search for the non-existent mini crib conversion rails and fell in love. My husband originally wanted to just cut the existing side that would be taken off anyway (which would mean the toddler rail would have slats instead of this pretty flat surface to paint on), but that side becomes the headboard or footboard when converting to a twin bed, so we’re definitely not destroying it (we will have to come up with something crafty to use the 2 short sides for though, when the time comes). Luckily, Nick is great at projects like these and has friends with big tools (thanks Greg!) so he got to measuring. We wanted to make sure the rail would line up with the original screw holes that were already in the crib to hold the 4th side up. We also learned O is obsessed with inserting pegs/screws/bolts into holes (you can see her toddler hands helping out in the photo below – time to get her a baby tool kit!).

Clearly so excited :)

Once the rail was glued and assembled, Nick painted it white – yes, unlike in the disaster of Nursery Update 1, we did it the right way this time – with 2 coats of Mythic zero-VOC paint. We still think better safe than sorry when it comes to paint fumes though, so I was ousted from helping with the large area painting (Nick was also doing coats of blue on the dresser). But I did pull out my non-toxic acrylic craft paint to do the sharks (in our open, well-ventilated garage with stretching breaks). And here’s the finished product:

Moon and Stars 2nd Birthday Cake!

There it is!  My daughter’s 2nd birthday cake, handmade by me and daddy (I’m not supposed to tell but awesome daddy rolled out and laid the fondant!).

Below is a picture of the original sketch of my idea – turned out the bottom layer of the cake wasn’t big enough for the extra star cookies or any sort of writing, but overall it still came out pretty close!

I planned this all out VERY last minute so I was limited to basically whatever I could find at Michaels the night before, but luckily it worked out pretty well – with some minor adjustments for time.

  • I decided to go with my grandma’s amazing carrot cake recipe because carrots are the one vegetable my daughter still refuses to eat no matter how many times I serve them or I try to dress them up or hide them – I thought it was both funny and appropriate.
    Two layers of cake made up each of the 2 cake tiers. And, due to time contraints and a failed “healthy” pineapple cream cheese  frosting that used up all the cream cheese I had on hand, I went with Pillsbury Funfetti vanilla frosting which actually tasted pretty good with the carrot. If you’re going to try this yourself, make sure you frost the top of the cakes even though you’re putting fondant there b/c any kind of fondant doesn’t taste very good.
  • I used Duff brand pre-colored blue fondant which definitely saved me a ton of time not having to try to knead in the color evenly.
  • For the outer stars, first I thought of getting cookie cutters and yellow fondant but that turned out to be the most expensive option and I’d have a lot of unused/wasted fondant. Then I thought about making smaller star-shaped sugar cookies to stick around the sides of the cake, but I didn’t want to spend all night decorating them. Finally, I found the perfect solution in a cheap plastic star shaped candy mold and 1 package of Wilton yellow Candy Melts. Making those chocolate candy things took literally less than 15 minutes and they looked great. I stuck them on the cake with a bit of regular frosting.
  • The giant star and moon cookie on top I baked using a regular sugar cookie recipe. I found an aluminum cookie sheet with 6 star shapes since all the cookie cutters Michaels had were tiny. And that pan definitely saved me the aggravation of trying to free form a perfect star shape out of cookie dough – although my husband did shape the moon by hand and I was surprised it stayed very moon-like after baking (I thank refrigerating the dough, the one thing that wasn’t started the night before). I frosted them quickly with Pillsbury Funfetti vanilla frosting and sprayed the star with Wilton Color Mist food spray in gold.
  • I wanted some “cloud-like” puffs around the cake layers but settled for the best I could do with a can of Betty Crocker decorative Cupcake Icing – not the best to use in this case because you have to press so hard to get the frosting out, it was difficult to be at all consistent – but that’s what I get for gathering supplies last minute. At least my 2 year old certainly didn’t know the difference.
  • I found some edible star shaped gold glitter and sprinkled that over the whole cake to finish it off. The wind blew it all away almost immediately but at least I got a picture of it first, haha. And added a normal grocery store #2 candle.


My daughter did not end up eating any of her cake, she did have a great time meticulously putting moon craters in it though, haha. Happy Birthday baby!

%d bloggers like this: