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Monday, July 20

Create: How to Make A Cloud Mobile (That lights up!)


For the longest time, I couldn't decide what to do for a mobile for the baby's room. My dream was, of course, this handmade felted one from Etsy


But as amazing as it is, $115 was a little outside of my budget ... just a little. And it's now sold out. 

There were lots of other mobiles on Etsy, Target had one that fit the sea theme, and I almost bought a shell mobile while we were in California at one of the shops. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to make something. And when I found this idea on Pinterest, I knew it was just the right level of easy and awesome. 


You will need:

  • Three paper lanterns. I bought this pack of three on Amazon for $9.99. I like that they're lacy, which allows the light to shine through even better.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Glue sticks that fit your glue gun (anyone want a big package of already opened glue sticks that didn't fit my glue gun? Lesson learned).
  • Pillow batting. I bought a small bag of batting at JoAnns, and still have plenty left to make some pillows.
  • LED Hanging lights. You'll need LED lights, because they don't get hot, so there's no fire hazard. I bought this three pack on Amazon for $20, mainly because I wanted the convenience of the remote control to turn them off and on. This one also allows you to adjust the brightness, and can flash slowly or quickly. I highly recommend it! 
  • String for hanging. Do not use thread - once you add the lights, these lanterns aren't super light. Whether you're using fishing line or string, make sure it's strong enough to hold them up.
  • Ceiling hook for hanging. We bought a package of two at Home Depot for around $2.


Step one: Fluff and glue. Once your glue gun is hot, squiggle some glue on the lantern. Grab a tuft of batting, and press it onto the lantern before the glue hardens. Work in small areas, fluffing and shaping as you go. 

You don't want to make the batting too thick, or the light won't shine through as well, but don't be stingy either if you want nice fluffy summertime clouds. Make sure you get the surface well covered, and add extra thickness where you want it.

It helps to hang them up temporarily so you can see them from all angles. 


Step two: lights, action. The lights I bought came with a lot of elastic string for hanging. I kept it mostly wound up, and left just a loop for hanging from the lantern. 

Oh, and make sure you put batteries in the lights before you hang them up, and test the remote.


Step four: up, up and away. Install the hook in your ceiling - Brian did this for me, so I'm not sure of the exact steps, but it didn't take very long, and there will probably be instructions on the package.

Using the strong string or fishing line mentioned above, tie the lanterns to each other at about equal distances, and then to the hook in the ceiling. 


Step five: glow time! Turn off all the lights and watch them glow.


Then try the different flashing speeds on the remote to create a little thunderstorm. 

video
Ta-da! 

There's lots of ways to adapt this - a bunch of these hung at different heights makes a great wedding photo backdrop, you can hang multiple hooks in your ceiling to adjust the cloud layout and add a rainbow for a child's bedroom, they would look great hanging over tables at a "twinkle-twinkle little star" themed baby shower, you can add battery string lights for light up rain  - so many ideas! 

Where would you use these? Comment below with your ideas, and let me know if you try this at home!


Saturday, July 11

Baby Conley's Nautical Nursery


Welcome! 

I'm excited to show you the progress we've made on Baby Conley's room. It's not really finished yet. For one thing, my mom is working on a baby quilt that will add some color and pattern and shake things up a bit. But let's just remember where we started, and soak in all the pepto-bismol pink glory: 


That was before we moved in - three walls were chocolate brown, one was the pepto pink. It took just a few coats of primer and paint to cover those shades. But here we are today: 


We found this dresser on the curb and paid $30 for it and the corresponding mirror a few years ago. Brian helped me sand and paint it. I absolutely love it.


Look at that hardware!

On top of the dresser, we have our changing pad, a box of sentimental things from the baby showers, nautical hooks, and shelf. Those little baby bonnets belonged to Brian!


The little booties were also his, and the New Testament, a gift from his great-grandma, and the crocheted balls, made by his great-grandma. 


That ultrasound picture is probably my favorite. He was snuggled up against the placenta, with one hand over his face. We couldn't get a 3D ultrasound as a result, but it sure was cute. 


All of the artwork in the gallery wall was free. Thank you Pinterest, and generous bloggers!


The navy heart printable is from Lemon Jitters (other colors available), the Ralph Waldo Emerson wanderlust quote is from Oh So Lovely (other colors and quotes available), and the hymn lyrics are from Danielle Burkleo. They read "Chart and compass come from Thee, Wond'rous Sovreign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me." 


The twinkle twinkle printable is from Lost Bumblebee, the ombre raindrops is from Blog Milk, and the map of the moon from Mr. Printables.


The two mini anchor prints in the middle are from Oh So Lovely, and the ship is from The Graphics Fairy.

I'll show you the details of the cloud mobile in a later post, but yes, it does light up!


I mentioned these blankets in my post about the baby showers - the crocheted blanket was made by Brian's great-grandma, and the embroidered Bambi blanket by his grandma. 

Below: the best seat in the house. You might also recognize the anchor from my last post - it decorated the drinks and desserts table. 

I picked up the crate in the corner at Home Depot, and originally planned to hang it on the wall and use it as a shelf. But then we actually bought a shelf. So now, I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Maybe it will hold books? We already have a cute whale toy box. Any ideas?


Sirius approves. 

Rug, chair, ottoman, whale toy box, striped hamper, changing pad and cover, crib sheets and crib bumper - Target. Dresser - DIY. Crib, photo frames, curtain rod - Ikea. Curtains - DIY from a Target shower curtain. 

For more nautical inspiration, including where to find a boatload of free nursery prints, check out my inspiration board on Pinterest. 

So, what did you think? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Thursday, July 9

Life Lately: Showers


July in Arizona is "monsoon season." Without warning, the winds pick up, the clouds roll in, and it showers. Then a few minutes later, it's moved on by.

But those sudden gusts of high winds and unexpected downpours can wreak a lot of havoc, including ripping off roofs and flash flooding.

This trimester has felt a lot like the weather. Physically, it's naturally been much harder than the rest of the pregnancy, but it's also been really rough emotionally. I thought I got off that emotional roller coaster after the first trimester, but not only is it back, but it's got a few more loops and steeper dives.

For example, I took that photo above of my breakfast at around 6:30 am one morning, after I'd been up since 3:30 am. I just woke up, wide awake, and couldn't go back to sleep. I've had some sleepless nights off and on throughout the last several months, usually tied to work stress, but this was different. I think the realization of how drastically life is about to change caught up to me. I've been struggling with anxiety ever since.


One way I've found to help with both work stress and baby anxiety is to make crafts. Art has always been my therapy. Plus, working on projects for the baby makes me feel more in control and prepared. Making my own actual clouds helps keep the metaphorical clouds away. 

But the best medicine is the reminder that I'm not alone, lots of people have done this baby-making/birthing/mothering thing before, and there's people who love and care about me. And that's what I felt after these baby showers. 

Baby shower #1: the church ladies outdid themselves with the nautical theme!


My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were able to come to the shower, and stayed with us about a week.


This cake. Chocolate ganache. I have no words to describe how good it was. And look how cute!


So many presents!

My in-laws have been busy - not only did they bring me all kinds of diaper bags and receiving blankets they made, they also gave me several of Brian's baby items, including two quilts, one crocheted by his great-grandma, and one hand-embroidered by his grandma, his receiving blankets, and his first outfits.


Brian went straight for the jogging stroller when we got home. He had it set up in minutes, and then he used Sirius to test it out.


Sirius was not impressed.

Speaking of Sirius, he hates swimming, but while my in-laws were here and we were spending every available moment in the pool, we taught him to climb onto this floaty, and now he lets us push him around the pool on it. 


We also enjoyed an Angels and Diamondbacks game with my sister-in-law. I mostly enjoyed the Sonoran Dog, a hotdog wrapped in bacon, topped with chili, pico de gallo, and sour cream. What can I say... the baby wanted it.


Sirius has been super cuddly lately, and he likes to stretch out and get comfortable on our bed in the mornings after Brian gets up.


It took some convincing, but I went to a pool party. My friend Lorne graduated from college this year (yay!) and had a pool party to celebrate. As much as I felt self-conscious about being so, well, pregnant, I ended up having a great time, and I'm glad I went!


Brian and I went to Restoration Hardware, just for fun, since I'd never been there before. How crazy/cool is this?


35 weeks!


Baby shower #2! The same Lorne I mentioned above threw a baby shower for me at work. Look at the cuteness! And she only had a few days between traveling for work to pull it all together.


More presents!


The party throwers - all who helped with the food, decor, and party coordination.


That was the beginning of week 36. A couple days later, my feet and hands swelled to previously unseen dimensions, and it wasn't going down overnight, even after swimming and chugging lemonade, a tip from my big sister, which used to always work.


That didn't stop us from having the youth group over for a 4th of July party on Friday though. And even though a storm blew up and it started raining, we played games for awhile inside, and then got back in the pool. I wish I'd taken some pictures, but I believe a great time was had by all, especially Sirius, who wore his life jacket and dutifully patrolled the edges of the pool. 

But I started having some dizzy spells, and then Saturday morning, my lips were swelling too. We were worried about preeclampsia, and technically, I probably should have gone to the ER, but ... it was the 4th of July. And I really didn't want to. So I just tried to take it easy and spent the morning in bed.


But I had a long list of things I needed to get done over the weekend, like shopping for the things left on our registry we needed, and getting a few things at Ikea for the nursery, which was still in progress after all this time.


And maybe a couple other projects ... like curtains for our bedroom, curtains for the office, a gallery wall for the nursery, repotting a fern, some office organization. Also, you can never have too many candles. At least, that's Brian's philosophy - he insisted on all candles. 

Then there's decorating the living room, cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, writing all the thank yous for shower gifts, finding a pediatrician and a daycare and a public cord blood donation bank ... just a couple things. 

Brian really did most of the work around the house, but Sunday, I was still feeling exhausted. I spent some time in the pool on the new flamingo Brian found for us at Target. How fun is that?!


I love our backyard!

Then I took a long nap, and woke up feeling incredibly stressed. Now I was behind on everything! It all sort of culminated on Monday night when I couldn't find a gift receipt from one of the showers, and had a meltdown. Like, a first-trimester-level-basket-case meltdown.

So, this week got off to a rough start. Thankfully, my boss agreed to let me work from home Wednesday through Friday to get some rest. After a day of working wearing comfy clothes, stretched out on my couch, drinking tea, I'm already less swollen and feeling all around much better. 

Beyond that, the biggest help has been texting my family, having dinner with friends, and spending some long, unhurried time in the Bible, and journaling. This week I've been reading Psalms 34, and verses 4 - 8 stood out to me: 

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. 
Those who look to who are radiant, 
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles. 
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"

When my head starts spinning with what-ifs about getting ready for the baby, what labor will be like, and what life will be like afterwards, I'm trying to take deep breaths, pray, and just let it go. 

(Cue Frozen soundtrack. Now it's stuck in your head, isn' it? You're welcome.)

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! We're almost there!