My friend, Joy, warned me not to wait until the last minute to finish Liam’s nursery, as her own daughter arrived three weeks early. While I tried to heed this advice, it just seemed difficult to finalize things—hence, the nearly-completed-but-not-quite-done nursery.
Walking into our house with Liam for the first time after leaving the hospital was not too chaotic, since our friend, Brent, came over while Window World installed new windows in the nursery (yes, that was scheduled for the day we gave birth), and while he was here, he put together our crib, which had just arrived the day before! Let me just say that Brent earned hero of the month for stepping in when we really needed it! Then, my mom came out for a week, and we were able to finalize the space—whew! I’m loving how the room feels spacious, functional, and soothing—all good things to feel when you’re changing diapers and nursing around the clock. Check out Liam’s new digs!
I found the rug at Homegoods, which set the tone for the pale blue and java brown color scheme.
My aunt added ribbon to the bottom of the roman shades, mimicking the curvy line of the rug. We also hung a few long linen curtains on the outside of the windows for a softer look.
I ordered this Chipper Eaton fabric online and used Stitch Witchery to create the curtain over the closet. Drawing back the curtain always makes for a fun surprise, as the inside of the closet is painted blue!
Then there’s the rocking chair that I pulled off Craigslist, along with the java ottoman that opens for more storage (hey, ya gotta make due with other means of storage when your house has only a few pea-sized closets).
Next to the rocker is the table that I updated with a fresh coat of paint. Underneath is a bin that stores Liam’s baby calendar and several books. I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the little clock on top is from Target. We have its twin in our bathroom, and I’ve come to the realization that I could probably have one in every room of our house (although I’ll restrain myself). I’m a clock watcher, and I love that this one has simple, modern features. Often clocks just seem gaudy to me…maybe that makes me a clock snob?
The crib is the Babyletto Mercer. I love the clean lines and the additional storage drawer at the bottom. To hide the gap between the drawer and the mattress (since we have the mattress raised for a newborn), my mom and I ran a crib bumper along the outside of the crib. Not the usual method for hiding gaps, but it works great, plus the crib bumper is from Pottery Barn Kids, but I snagged it at half off at a local thrift store for $2.50! It’s hard to find simple designs for baby items, and I love that it’s plain white with a touch of brown waving along the edge.
The changing table dresser was given to us by a family from our church. We just gave it a fresh coat of white paint and updated the knobs with these glassy beauts from Hobby Lobby.
A few baskets inside allow for easy diaper storage, plus a few OXO containers for wipe storage.
A colorful glimpse at some of our cloth diapers (which we’re still waiting to use, since Liam is pretty teeny and they would completely engulf him at the moment).
For extra storage above the changing table, we popped up a floating shelf from IKEA and loaded it with baskets from Target.
Our other IKEA purchase was the Expedit bookshelf, which serves double duty as a bookshelf and storage space, as we filled the bottom portion with more baskets from Target. It turns out that I’m slightly obsessed with the gray/brown baskets sold at Tarjay…
More storage in the form of an over-the-door hanging rack. It currently holds Liam’s many hats (one of the only acceptable male accessories—gotta take advantage of them!), diaper wet bag, diaper bag, and nursing cover.
And of course, we’ve dotted the room with simple art that I made using di-cuts of animals (hurray for the elementary school di-cut machine at work!) that I glued to blue scrapbook paper. Then I just plopped them in huge IKEA Ribba frames and we hung them around the room.
Then there’s my favorite elephant skeleton which we picked up at a quaint shop while babymooning in Taos, New Mexico. He’s hot-glued to a piece of scrapbook paper; again, I used a Ribba frame from IKEA, but I took out the glass so he could show off his 3-D shape. Ooh la la!
Ele-Skele is joined by his friends Whale (who, ah, happens to be an ashtray…didn’t realize that until my darling sister-in-law hesitantly pointed it out) and Owl—both spray painted by yours truly.
Inspired by Pinterest, I also created three additional pieces of art using paint chips, Scrabble letters, and a cloth tree that I found at JoAnn’s. Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to end up using them, as I feel like they might compete too much with the other art on the walls. I really like the room as it is, and I don’t want to overdo it. I have a feeling those three frames will find a new home in our “hallway” between the living and dining room.
We had loads of help finishing the nursery, thanks to a visit from my mom and aunt. Some action shots…
After…the whole kit and caboodle from several angles…
It was a little surreal when I walked into the nursery holding Liam for the first time. I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Welcome to your new room, Liam!” I wish I could say that he was really excited, but I’m pretty sure he was just thinking, “Okay, Mom, would you just change my diaper already!” And since Gma Mimsie and Company never seem to tire of Liam (also dubbed: Peanut, Tiny Tinkler, Bean, Little Man, Punkin, Sugar, Little Squeaker, and a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head…) pics, here are a few recent ones.
Happy Wednesday morning! I just finished grading my last online discussion posts of the year—whoohoo! Final exams…well, those will have to wait until next week. The end is in sight, ladies and gents! Although I’m not sure if any gents actually read this blog…maybe my dad? Little bro? If so, welcome!
Blogging has clearly been at the bottom of my list lately, but I thought I should update y’all on the nursery. It’s done enough that if a baby came tonight—gulp—we would be okay. In all honesty, we would have been fine if the nursery was mismatched and chaotic, so maybe I should say that I would be okay. Haha. Perhaps it’s more about the mom feeling prepared…
We definitely made our biggest strides when my mom and aunt came out, as they painted walls and furniture, bedazzled curtains, and decked out the room with frames for art. My mom was a whiz at painting the room! I’m pretty sure she did it all within about four hours, and that included two coats of paint, plus painting the inside of the closet. But this post is about furniture, so let me get back to the point. Our nursery consists of used furniture, which we were extremely happy to receive, in addition to making a few Craigslist purchases. Buying a new set just wasn’t in the budget for us, and when it comes down to it, I thoroughly enjoy the process of making used pieces feel cohesive and new. Plus, I love it when a room evolves over time. Take a peek into our progress…
Remember how I bought this rocker off of Craigslist awhile back? (I was air-drying the cushions after washing them…)
As it turns out, the cover was much harder to…cover…than I originally thought it would be. My kind neighbor was willing to help tackle the project, but in the end I decided that it wasn’t worth the headache, nor the extra cost of upholstery fabric. Thankfully, I was able to resell the rocker for the same price I paid for it, and then a few days later I bought another rocker for $30 off Craigslist. This time, the rocker was pretty much everything I wanted. The owners took extra good care of it, and they even had it recovered recently in a fabric that I was happy with. To top it off, they were super nice people and we spent about 30 minutes chatting before I actually paid them for the rocker. It felt right.
All I did was prime and paint the rocker white (actually, my aunt did it for me—thanks, AJ!). Tadaa!
The other piece of furniture that needed some TLC was a table given to us by some good friends. Apparently they swiped the table off of www.freecycle.org when they first got married, so I didn’t feel bad taking it off their hands for nothing.
My original idea was to paint the table white in order to match the rocker and changing table dresser, but it looked pretty washed out. Mom suggested painting the top a darker color, so we just wrapped a garbage bag around the white base, gave the top a few coats of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, by Rustoleum, and then a few coats of polyurethane to keep it from getting scratched and beat up. I love the final result!
The dark top really helps to ground the table and ties it in nicely with the other dark brown accents in the room. It makes me want to find more free tables…they have so much potential! Actually, some friends called us the other night to tell us about a free desk that was on the side of the road. I sooo wanted to pick it up and give it a second life, but I said no. It’s getting harder to maneuver myself into the positions needed to paint, I probably shouldn’t paint right now, and with a baby coming soon, I need to allow myself a little time to relax. I hope someone else decided to redeem that desk!
In other baby related news, my sweet 7th grade students and their parents threw us a surprise baby shower at school yesterday! They went all out on food, décor, thoughtful notes of encouragement, and gifts galore! It was a blast, and we were so blessed by their efforts. They even gave us a huge lawn sign that we can apparently stick in our yard when the baby comes. It has a place to write the name, weight, etc. I guess it’s an easy way to let the neighbors in on the action!
Nesting. It’s apparently all the rage when you’re pregnant, although I think that I tend to nest even when I’m not with child…which means my nesting is slightly more neurotic than most…hence, my freakish desire to combine closets.
Whoever built our little 1947 house decided that closet size wasn’t a major necessity, and while I would love to say that closet space isn’t important to me because our material possessions are not our priority, I have to admit that I like having space for my shoes. And clothes. Bags. Belts. You know…girly stuff. But at the same time, I love that having smaller closets forces us to pare down and not hoard tons of extra junk. If I buy something new, I tend to donate something old. But I’m rambling. The point is that we have two bedrooms with small closets, so when we moved into our bungalow, Matt took the back bedroom closet and graciously allowed me to take the master bedroom closet. This system worked fine for quite awhile, but now that the back bedroom is being converted into a nursery, I decided it was time to truly unite as a married couple—it was time to share a closet.
Now some of you might say that a newborn doesn’t need a closet all to themselves, that we could get away with keeping separate closets for awhile longer, yadda yadda yadda. But I’m not good at doing things halfway. It bothers me. At some point there might be two kiddos sharing that back bedroom and then we’d definitely have to make the switch, so why not do it now and learn to live with it? Even if the closet isn’t loaded with clothing, I already have lots of baby items that will be making it their home, as there is nowhere else in our house to put them. So last weekend we bit the bullet and spent a good portion of Saturday morning paring down, moving seasonal clothing items to the basement for storage, and rearranging the master closet.
Here’s what the master closet looked like when it was just little ole’ me using it.
The back bedroom closet when Matt was using it…
And the combined master closet…
Here’s the now empty nursery closet (notice that the hubs converted that funky removable plumbing wall into a hinged door—yay!).
My goal is to paint the nursery closet a fun color (actually, I’m planning to have my mom paint it when she comes out to paint the rest of the nursery), so we’re not filling it up yet. We’re also replacing that nasty bar with a new white one, since we’re removing the closet door and hanging a curtain instead. The door doesn’t shut completely, takes up valuable wall space, and I like the idea of a cute curtain hanging in its place.
As for our newly combined master closet, I have to say I LOVE it! I’m not sure if Matt would agree with me, but I really like storing only the clothes I actually wear in the closet at one time. I was shocked to find that extra space existed after we combined our clothes, belts, bags, and shoes. That deserves a woot woot! We do have two dressers plus a stand of wicker baskets that hold stuff like t-shirts, socks, and our unmentionables, but I was even able to give up two of my wicker baskets so that Matt could store his socks in them.
Ahhh…freedom from clutter.
So a few tips for organizing/combining closets:
1. Have garbage bags on hand, that way you can create a stash of items for the thrift or consignment store. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t worn it within the last year, I’m not likely to wear it again. Out it goes. Last year I experimented with hanging my clothes on backwards hangars; any hangars that were still facing backwards were clearly clothes I hadn’t worn in the past year, so they were thrown out (I made a few exceptions, but not many).
2. If combining closets with your significant other, be flexible and willing to share. This can be challenging, ladies, as you likely have a lot more stuff than your man. Thankfully, we were able to work together so it wasn’t too difficult. It also helped that we pared down to the items we are wearing this season and this season only. For Matt, that doesn’t change all that much throughout the year (guys have it so easy), but I definitely have different items for warm and cold months. At the moment, our closet pretty much contains only my prego clothes. Also keep in mind that you change over time, and therefore things that you used to wear may not be as important to you. For example, in college I wore a ton of bulky sweatshirts because I was always trying to keep warm on campus and in our old school apartment (love that tiny place). Now that we live in Colorado, I find that I wear more fitted fleece items which take up less space, keep me warmer because they’re designed better, and have basically replaced my sweatshirts. When I went through my stash, I ended up tossing several because I realized that my lifestyle has changed enough that I won’t likely be going back to sweatshirts anytime soon. I kept a few and ditched the rest.
3. Use the space underneath the hanging clothes. Several years ago we installed wire shelves on the lower half of the master closet, which provides space for stacking jeans and sweaters, along with stashing a few bins filled with hats, scarves, belts, etc. There’s even enough space underneath the shelves for storing a few pairs of shoes.
4. Don’t forget about closet walls. There are several inches of space around the edge of our closet, and we plan to either hammer in a few nails or a rack for belts and ties. It’s the perfect amount of space for hanging those long and skinny items.
5. Leave some extra space in your closet for adding items in the case of unexpected weather changes, the occasional new purchase, and simply because it’s far easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re not shoving aside a bazillion items every morning. A little breathing room also keeps clothes from getting wrinkled, which is certainly a plus in my book.
I was a bit ruthless when it came to my own clothing, but keep in mind that we’re still storing plenty of seasonal items in our basement, so I didn’t get rid of as much as you might think. Still, Matt did take an entire SUV full of stuff to the local thrift store (we pared down a few more items in the basement in addition to clothes and shoes). Part of me wanted to keep everything for a summer yard sale, but who am I kidding? I have a feeling a yard sale won’t be at the forefront of my mind when this child arrives… So we got rid of it.
And that’s the end—or perhaps the beginning—of our closet organizing adventure.
Happy Monday, all! Our weekend consisted of warmer weather, juicy hamburgers, games with friends, and a good old fashioned house cleaning. Oh, and I whipped up these tasty orange-chocolate-chunk muffins—one of my favorite combos. Hopefully you were able to relax and indulge in a bit of springtime activity. We’re thinking next weekend it’s time to tackle the garage, which is sorely in need of rescue…
While I haven’t written much about it lately, our nursery is progressing. It won’t be painted until my mom comes to visit in April (I’m actually saving up a bunch of mini-painting projects for her), but we’ve got some of the big pieces in place, which I’ll be sharing as they come into completion. This weekend I wrapped up the details of our changing table dresser. Remember this guy?
While I love cheery white furniture, I thought new knobs would add some pizzazz, plus the original wood ones were looking a bit chippy. I also wanted to cover the inside of the drawers in decorative paper for a fresh feel—and because who doesn’t love that tiny surprise of finding a pattern tucked into a drawer?
So other than giving the dresser a quick coat of white paint, I dallied in the details, which tends to be my favorite part of decorating.
During a trip to Hobby Lobby, I spotted these star-like beauties for 50% off and ran home to try them out.
Sadly, one of them broke as soon as it was tugged on, so I hunted down a new one on my next trip to HL and actually purchased a few extras just in case it happens again. Their tawny taupe color and slightly jagged texture definitely tug on this girl’s heart strings.
For the record, I’ve been having really good luck at Marshall’s lately—my second home—and found this self-adhesive drawer liner for a song. And it came in a two-pack!
I’ve been slightly obsessed with bamboo patterns recently and this was the perfect blend of bright, clean pattern to add to a boy’s dresser.
For some reason most of the drawer liners I’ve run across are floral and scented, which was not exactly the route I wanted to go. As a back up, I was prepared to go this route and use high quality wrapping paper with Mod Podge if necessary, but the self-adhesive liner worked like a charm. It was pretty easy to cut and lay out, since there was a grid to follow on the back, although it took some patience to make sure there were no stray air bubbles hanging around (I used our debit card to smooth the paper into place).
The final product…
Gotta love how those details give the dresser a unique feel. I keep opening the drawers and oohing over the “surprise” of the bamboo paper. (The knobs look really dark in the photo above, but they actually change color depending on the lighting, as they’re more of a translucent glassy brown.)
What are your favorite details to add to a room? Knobs? Drawer liners? Funky patterns? Lighting? A bold piece of art? Divvy up the details, please!
Walking through the elementary hallway of my school several weeks ago, I spotted sea turtles gracing the walls with their bright, cheery colors. I continued to walk past the turtles several times a week, until I realized that I really really wanted one for a piece of art in our ever-evolving nursery. It didn’t take long to track down the elementary art teacher, who handed me a leftover turtle from the previous year, saying she was glad I could use it. Free art!
At home I popped my neon green turtle into an 8×8 Ribba IKEA frame where it fit perfectly. I love the blend of chalky colors, the embossed outline of the shell, and the playful nature of the piece. It was probably the easiest art I’ve ever come by—all gained by making a simple request.
I’ve been browsing for more art ideas on Etsy, and it turns out I’m drawn to simple, funky animals, especially owls, elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, turtles, and the occasional friendly peacock. Below are a few of my favorites—many that could easily become DIY projects.
I’d like the art in our nursery to be an eclectic mix. I don’t want it to be too matchy-matchy, and I don’t want it to feel as if I went to Babies R Us and bought everything in a set. I prefer to collect and make art over time. How I wish I knew how to use Photoshop! It might help to own it first…
Have you made or purchased any art lately? Feel free to share!
I know that the love of money is the root of all evil, but I have to be honest. In the world of home decorating, it wouldn’t hurt to have just a little more. There. I said it. Sometimes it’s hard being on a budget, especially when Pinterest offers so many tempting images of posh baby nurseries. All that said, I know it’s good for me to have to think outside the box when it comes to decorating. If it came too easy, it would be boring and I’m sure I’d take it for granted. Obviously it’s a treat to have a cute room—not a right. Can you tell I have to keep myself in line? We all need some checks and balances in our lives, true?
When we first moved into our little bungalow, the soon-to-be nursery looked like this…
I know…those curtains seriously give me the creeps. Then we converted it to a guest room, and it took on a slightly country look that I was never totally satisfied with, although it was a major step up from its humble beginnings (somehow we managed to paint the walls the same color as the original shag carpet…not our best move).
It currently looks like this…
Several weeks ago, our friends moved into a new house chock full of bedrooms, and since they needed some furniture to fill the empty space, and we needed to clear out for Baby Braham, we loaned them all the furniture that resided in the guest room. It was great to empty out the room so we could start fresh, but it was also a tad overwhelming. It really didn’t take long to begin filling the space though, as some friends from church gave us this great changing table/dresser. I’m considering either painting or changing the knobs, and I’ve also thought it might be fun to paint the top a bold contrasting color.
and a few days later we snagged this $20 glider on Craigslist. Pardon the wonky cushions—they’re air drying after a good sanitizing wash.
Yep, that chair is ugly as sin. I have plans to paint it and recover the cushions (I’m hoping my talented neighbor will help me out, since she sews—which, by the way, is one skill I
sew so totally wish I had under my belt). At $20, it’s hard to go wrong, folks. I’d love to add some sort of ottoman eventually—maybe one with storage inside.
I’ve also been debating color schemes for the room. Here are few of my favorites from the always inspiring Design Seeds website.
The neutral lover in me is struggling a bit over whether or not to paint the walls a color. I’m currently on the lookout for some fabric, a rug, or a lamp shade that will inspire me one way or the other. I really think every room needs something that pulls it all together, and I’m holding off on any major decisions until I find that something. Ultimately, though, I really want this room to be gender neutral. While I’d love to go all out, it’s really more prudent for us to make this a space that two kiddos could eventually share, and that means it has to be somewhat versatile.
Since there is not much storage in our house, we’re hoping to add it via a bookcase, a crib with a pull-out drawer underneath, and some floating shelves. Here’s what we’ve been eyeing.
Next time Matt drives to Denver, he plans to stop at IKEA to purchase the Expedit bookcase and Lack floating shelves. By the way, IKEA definitely has the best deal on these shelves that I’ve seen so far. They are white (although they offer several other color options), chunky, and only $15! Woot! The bookcase is more of a splurge, so of course I’ve been seeking used alternatives at local thrift store and Craigslist, but so far I’m loving this guy, especially since he fits perfectly into a little nook in the room.
Now that I’ve rambled on about random aspects of the nursery with very little to actually show for it, I thought I’d give you some real news. On Tuesday we had our 20 week ultrasound, and it turns out that Baby Braham is…
a healthy BOY!! We are so thankful and excited that our future kiddos will have an older brother to look out for them—here’s praying that he’s a great role model! During the ultrasound, our wonderful technician said, “I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and even though I can’t tell if it’s a boy or girl quite yet, its hand is between its legs, which almost always means it’s a boy.” We laughed so hard we almost cried. A few minutes later she confirmed that our very active baby was indeed male. And for the record, this kid can kick! Oh, the adventures that lie ahead…
While we’re on the topic of boys, we’re all ears when it comes to parenting wisdom. Any thoughts on bringing up boys?
That’s right. Baby nurseries. Any guesses why?