September 25, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
As with most of us, my husband and I have a tight budget and try to minimize the amount we spend on gifts. It isn’t that we don’t love the ones to whom we give gifts, but rather that we know a gift is just that, a gift. I love giving gifts, but I love keeping a balanced budget even more. This holds true for our very own children.
Last year’s holiday round-up for three little ones was primarily accomplished with savvy Craigslisting and a little diy. Knowing that my daughter was to receive an American Girl Bitty Baby from dear MomMom and Pop, I was on the prowl for a doll cradle or crib. I found plenty of cradles and cribs via Craigslist, but none were in the price range I needed, nor the right size/scale. I knew I would probably paint the item and I wanted real wood, not the newer, assemble yourself types of doll furniture.
I lucked out. Just as I was getting more desperate with my doll cradle search, my good friend, Sharon, offered up a doll cradle on her facebook page. It was exactly what I was looking for and she was kind enough to sell it to me for $10. You see, Sharon is an avid bear collector and had been using the cradle as a display for some of her furry friends. Sharon was paring down her bear collection and no longer needed the cradle. I was thrilled! It was real wood and the price was just right that I didn’t feel horrible painting it. Of course, I did get permission from Sharon prior to painting. I didn’t want to unknowingly paint an antique or upset my friend by painting a perfectly good piece of furniture. Here is the cradle as it was on Christmas Eve.
You heard me correctly…, Christmas Eve. Yes, the eve before the big day that Santa was to have delivered a perfectly painted doll cradle under the tree. I primed and painted in less than two hours and placed it under the tree hoping it would be dry enough for little Claire Bear to enjoy Christmas morning. It was a late night. Here it is the obligatory ‘Christmas Eve’ facebook photo.
It was well received, along with all of the other items you see in the photo above. I try my best to give my children gifts that they can actually use. I’ll be filling you in on some of the other items with future posts. Anyway, my daughter’s babies found a lovely home tucked into their cradle next to Mommy’s (Claire) toddler bed. Here is the cradle being well-loved.
Although it was cute, it was missing something. I wanted to personalize it, but just wasn’t sure how. I love monograms, but Claire already had a few in her room, so I thought that might be overkill. Then I saw this in a Pottery Barn Kids (PBK) magazine and knew that I needed to do exactly this:
It was perfect! I just adore the addition of the baby’s name and weight to the footboard. Of course, the PBK’s version is a crib, so I need to think about also customizing the headboard on my cradle to have a balanced aesthetic. I decided that I would paint “Sweet Dreams” on the headboard and “Clairisse Madelynn” with her weight “6 lbs, 6oz.” on the footboard. I was insistent that I use Claire’s full first and middle name. After all, as her mother, I spent many sleepless nights deciding upon the perfect middle name and one rarely gets a chance to use his/her middle name. Also, I’d like for Claire to see that her middle name can be used other than when she is in trouble. ;) So after a few minutes of freehand writing and painting (using the darker purple used on Claire’s toddler bed and glider), it looked like this.
I told you it was free-handed. I also wrapped the cradle’s bottom board with the unused ‘nursery rhyme toile’ changing pad cover as though it was a sheet. I added the matching crib blanket as the cradle’s blanket. Fortunately, I had these baby bedding items left over from my first son’s nursery bedding. I find the scene and colors so soothing and sweet that I think I will never part with them. Here are a few more shots of the finished cradle.
Well there you have it. I’d say I rocked that buy, wouldn’t you? Total cost: $10 for the cradle. I already owned the bedding, the primer, and the paint. So, if you wanted to recreate this project and you don’t already have these items on hand, I think it could still be done for around $20 using a secondhand cradle or crib, paint samples (instead of the full quart or gallon), and fabric remnants/clearance baby bedding items.
Be sure to check out the link party where this item has been featured!