A KISS for Baby: DIY and Keep It Simple Silly!
It’s been nearly 21 years since I had a babies running around the house … they are all grown up and neither are ready for babies of their own. Frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready either!
Back in the day when I was expecting Antares, I knew from the get go I would NOT be buying into all that must-have-baby-stuff. There would be NO trips to the big baby box stores to purchase all the bells and whistles the Great Madison Avenue Marketing Monster tells all new moms and dads and moms and dads-to-be are necessary to make baby happy. Baby’s world is you; whether you’re mom or dad; a grand parent; aunt or uncle; even close friends. I’ll say it again – Baby’s world is you! They need the essentials of course … food, shelter and someone to clean their poopy diapers but what they need most is your love.
That said, there are some things that will make your life easier – after all, we are no longer cave dwellers!
Good To Have
1. Ask around; someone is bound to have a crib they’re no longer using
2. Make the rounds at garage, yard, tag or whatever you call them where you live
3. Go to your local consignment shop
4. Habitat for Humanity has RESTORE locations pretty much everywhere – in every state and Canada as well. Find and buy a crib there and not only are you getting a good deal, you’re also helping put a roof over another family’s head!
A word of caution …
Older crib models can be very dangerous, even deadly. Drop-side cribs and cribs where the bars are too far apart DO NOT meet current safety guidelines and have caused more than just a few fatalities. Consumer Reports has a list of potentially dangerous baby products; cribs top the list. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also weighs in with a detailed list of dos and don’ts. RE-Purposing an outdated cribs is a post for another day – oooo the things you can do!
I will confess, for Antares and Rigel, I DID use the crib my mom bought for me – at the Salvation Army Store in Brooklyn, NY – which was BEYOND outdated. There was just something so special knowing they’d be sleeping in the same little bed in which I first had my sweet dreams. I cleaned it up, refinished it, revamped AND reinforced it to make sure it was safe for my babies. It’s doable, but not recommended unless you know what you’re doing. If you are able, you can remove the track from a drop-side crib and install a immobilization kit. Click here for a quick video tutorial.
Again, make the rounds. You can always find someone who no longer needs one or some place to pick up a donated one. A changing table with 4 raised rails or sides is always a good idea … a BETTER idea is no matter what you are using as a changing area, never, NEVER take your hands or eyes off that baby! Another confession … When I was putting my children’s nursery together, I found and bought an antique dresser with a single row of 4 drawers, about the height of a standard changing table. I made a nice cushy pillow-top for the entire surface using fabric I had in the house and cotton batting which I did buy new at my local crafts store. I also put a shelf above the dresser, leaving room for a 24″w x 12″h antique beveled mirror on the wall between the shelf and the top of the dresser. My “diva in the making” Antares loved looking and talking at herself in that mirror!
All these years later, I still have both the dresser and the mirror being used elsewhere – of course – until the next generation of little ones makes its way home!
DIY Infant Mobile Tutorial
When baby is first born,they do not see color. They do, however see contrast which is why they are so quick to recognize faces, especially those all important ones! When Antares was a baby, I had one of those black and white mobiles hanging over her bed, black and white cards for her car seat, for her just about everywhere. Using primary colors also works. In fact, in my children’s nursery, I hung an antique white and red, block design quilt on the wall behind the crib. These types of mobiles are visually stimulating for baby and go a long way to begin developing that wee little brain they have – remember, it’s a blank canvas just waiting to absorb the world around them. While you can buy this stuff at any baby box store or boutique, they are just so easy to make!
Here’s what you’ll need
- Black, white and primary colored card stock, paint, thick markers or use the clip art on your computer.
- Old CDs – just about everyone has these lying around. I like using the CDs as they are sturdy and the size is just right. Cardboard, poster board, foam core (if you have it), old manilla folders cut into 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares or circles with a 4.5″ diameter will work as well. Anyway, you get the idea – there’s no need to buy anything new here.
- Fishline, thin wire or a strong – but thin nylon string.
- Kitchen ice-pick or an awl
- Spray Mount
- Dowels, tree branches or coat hangers for the base
Here’s what you do
1. To make holes in the CDs – first heat the ice pick over gas your stove or you can use a a blow torch, if you have one. I think a candle flame will work as well. Heat the tip of the ice pick over the flame and after only about 30-seconds, it’ll be hot enough to poke 2-holes in the plastic (ick) part of the CD.
2. Make your designs – here are some suggestions – mix and match colors, use your imagination … just keep the shapes simple. I created these with clip art on my computer:
3. Once you gotten your shapes made/printed, glue them onto your CD.
4. Trim the extra paper from around the CD.
5. Poke the paper where you’ve already burned in the holes on the CD
6. Thread your fish line or string through the 2-holes and tie it off on the reverse side. make sure you leave enough extra line so that you can then secure it to the base of the mobile.
Making the Base
Using dowels or branches
1. Criss-cross the wood and secure the pieces together with wire.
2. Tie a length of wire to where you’ve joined the two pieces together. This is how you’ll hang the mobile from above.
1. Just tie string or fishline to the hook in order to hang it from above. You can use 2 hangers side by side.
Simply tie each shape to your base at approximately the same distance from the base. On the wood base, put one shape on each end and one down from the middle. From the hanger, drop 4 or 5 down from the cross bar. Easy-peesie! Then all you have to do is hang one over the crib, one over the changing table, put a few shapes in the car … don’t hold back as this simple little project will begin stimulating your little one’s brain in a really big way! My daughter Antares – she was one goofy baby – would literally stare at these hanging shapes, engaging them in lengthy “baby-talk” conversations. She would happy read to her little brother Rigel; even if she didn’t know the words, she’s look at the pictures and just make up her own stories.
When I think about how she’d goo and gah-gah at those seemingly innocuous designs, I’m wondering what the heck she was talking about. To this day, she has NOT STOPPED TALKING! (…and I love that!) My son, Rigel … well, he was not such a happy baby – AIY! But today, he too is expressive and creative and just as smart as his older sister.
They turned out okay, even though they really didn’t have a lot of the baby “bells and whistles” so many young parents are told they must have to raise a healthy, happy well-adjusted baby. That STUFF is just not necessary!
Okay, another confession: At my baby shower, I did receive w baby wipe warmer; essentially a plug-in heating pad which wraps abound the packaged wipes and keeps them at a toasty temperature for baby’s bottom.
I used it.
Here’s the latest episode of The Green Divas Radio Show for more on green and healthy living…