I haven’t posted anything here in awhile but it hasn’t been due to laziness or even a lack of things to post. Late pregnancy has left me with very painful carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes it really hard to spend much time typing or even just tooling around on the web. It has derailed a lot of my plans for getting things done in the weeks before the baby arrives, but I have managed to catch up on watching TV, so there’s a small upside.
Anyway, before the big day arrives, I did want to get the photos of the completed nursery up. If there are typos or something doesn’t make sense, sorry, I’m working with some numb, sausage fingers over here and they’re not exactly good for anything but mashing and failing about at this point. Luckily, my midwife assures me that this awfulness will go away within a day or less of delivery, so let’s get a move on, baby.
This is our reading and rocking corner. The shelves are from Ikea and are loaded up with books we’ve gotten as gifts, at the thrift store, or that we had from our own days as kids. The chair was a gift (from Babies R Us), the ottoman is from Kohl’s, and the cute cloud pillow was a gift card purchase at Land of Nod.
This entire basket of stuff came from the thrift store and garage sales. All in all, I think I only spent about $8 for the two sock animals, basket, and blankie. Not too shabby.
Next to the glider is a low bookshelf from Ikea. It’s home to toys and books and blankets, as well as a few other essentials for a baby room like a humidifier and a sound machine. Some items will have to be relocated once she’s mobile, but they have a good while to hang out just where they are. Most of the things in this area I already had (lamp, all the decorative things, most of the stuffed animals) or were gifts (the hedgie nightlight), so aside from the shelf, the baskets, and the baby-specific things, not much was purchased for this area.
Here’s little girl’s sleeping zone! I made the mobile, the pillows, and the sheets (I highly recommend this. It’s tedious, but easy and cheap). The bed itself was a gift, but is a pretty inexpensive option from Target so it won’t break the bank. The bumpers I got at the thrift store for just $5, which was awesome because they are a fancy brand! The pillows and the bumpers are all going to be removed from the bed when she arrives so we don’t suffocate her, but I think they’ll be useful down the line for keeping little limbs inside the crib when she’s a bit older and not so weak in the neck. Though, honestly, if the bumpers don’t go back up it’s not the end of the world because they were so darn cheap.
While she won’t be able to use this for awhile, I couldn’t resist this table and chairs when I saw it at a garage sale for just $10. It was not so cute before but after a little paint, it cleaned up pretty nicely. I made a runner from the table to coordinate with the room from some Heather Bailey fabric I found on clearance.
I also made some teeny tiny pillows from a fabric remnant I picked up at the Needle Shop. Perfect for a tea party (or some arm wrestling) with Mr. Monkey over there (who was also an amazing thrift store find at just $2 since BlaBla stuff is very pricey).
He was really too cute to pass up anyway.
On the other side of the room is her changing table, which is really just an Ikea Hemnes dresser. It was probably the thing we spent the most on in the room, but because it’s so basic it should last for a really long time. The changing pad cover is from Land of Nod (also purchased with a gift card), the easel and the wall light from Ikea, and the little letter A from Joann (they come plain, you have to paint them). I also managed to snag that little Bumbo seat at a garage sale for just $10! The artwork was a wonderful addition created by my husband.
He also made these cuties for the other part of the wall.
We also kept the bed we had in here when it was just a guest room. Luckily, the bed linens already coordinated, so we didn’t have to do anything there. Just decorated the bedside table with some stuff from around the house. It’ll be nice to have an extra bed for late night feedings and in case we do ever want to have anyone stay at our house again.
Close up of the artwork I made for the wall over the guest bed. Frames are all from Ikea.
Here’s an overview that gives a good idea of where everything sits in the room. I think the space could use a cute rug, but it’s not in the budget at the moment, so boring old carpet will have to suffice!
Another overview shot. The curtains and bedskirt were made by me, though the white part of the curtain is from Ikea, I just modified it to be bit cuter.
I also made some modifications to the closet. I added another wire shelf, taken from our bathroom, so that there’s more room for little clothes. Clearly we needed it because our friends and family (and a few amazing scores at the thrift store) have ensured that this little lady is gonna be one fashionista.
Overall, we didn’t end up spending an insane amount of money to decorate her room, even though it is a pretty big space. Of course, a lot of that owes to some generous friends and family who helped with some of the bigger purchases, but it’s definitely possible to create a really great space for a baby or child on a pretty limited budget if you’re willing to bargain hunt, hit up thrift stores, and do a lot of the work yourself.
I had a super cute yellow pot that I wanted to put on a shelf in the baby’s room but didn’t really want to have to maintain a living plant in it. So, I decided to make a little felt mushroom that could call it home. This process is pretty easy and could be used to make a mushroom for just about anything: an ornament, a toy, whatever you want.
The first thing you need to do is to cut out a rectangle to use at the mushroom stem. How long you cut it depends on how long and how big of a mushroom you want, so that’s really up to your discretion. Once you’ve cut the rectangle, fold the long edges together and start sewing them. I just used a basic stitch, but I’m sure there are ways to make it look neater/cuter if you’d like.
When you’re done, you should have a little felt tube.
Next, cut out a circle to use as the bottom of the mushroom cap. I left this plain, but if you wanted to you could paint or embroider the little “ribs” that mushrooms have onto it. Once you’ve cut the circle, fold it in half and cut out another concentric but smaller circle in the middle that’s just wide enough to fit your tubular base.
Insert the base into the hole and sew the two parts together.
The next step is to cut out another circle, about the same size or a little larger to use at the top of the mushroom cap. I chose orange for this, but you could use any color you’d like. Sew the top onto the bottom of the cap.
Now it’s time to get to stuffing. I crammed a small amount of polyfill into the mushroom to give it some lift, but other kinds of fill could work better depending on what you want to use the mushroom for when you’re done. Because I intended to use the mushroom in a pot, I also inserted a small piece of balsa wood into the stem to give it some structure.
At this point, what you choose to do will depend on why you’re making the shroom. If, like me, you’re using it as a decoration, you’ll want to get some floral foam, put that in the container and stick the mushroom into it. Felt, dried moss, or other materials can be used to cover the foam and make everything look seamless. If you’re making it into a standalone mushroom, you’ll want to cut one more piece of felt and sew it onto the bottom to keep the stuffing inside.
I also opted to add some spots to the top of my mushroom. I just used fabric paint to do this, but for most purposes, acrylic paint will work fine, too.
I paired my finished mushroom with a hedgehog pincushion I made a few years ago (sans pins, of course) to make a little diorama of sorts for the nursery shelf. The little shell was a gift from one of my husband’s students, who wanted to give the baby something. So sweet, so we had to put it in the nursery.
From start to finish, this probably only took about 25 minutes, so it’s a great way to knock out something cute in a very short amount of time!
Everyone needs a little family portrait to hang up around the house, whether it’s a painting, photograph, or in this case, in cross stitch. I made a portrait of my husband, myself, and our cats awhile ago, but since we’re expecting a new addition I thought it could use a little modification.
I added in little Avery in between us. Not sure how I’ll adapt it if we expand further, but I’ll have to get creative.
I also made one for a friend of mine who recently had a baby. I think it came out super cute!
A word of caution to those who want to make their own: it takes A LONG TIME. Each of these probably took me a month or more to make, putting in a good 6 hours a week. On the upside, you can work on it while catching up on TV shows or watching a movie, which can make it less tedious.
Hallways are some of the most used spaces in a home but often get neglected when it comes to decor. That’s in part because they have to be so functional that sometimes looks fall by the wayside. We recently made some changes to our hallway spaces that help bring both together, I hope.
Our main, downstairs entryway was just not functioning well this winter. Big bulky coats and shoes were all over the place. So, I moved the coat rack down to a place where it made more sense: right in front of the door. I also got a new mirror for the top, and moved around the artwork we had on the wall. It gives the space a better flow and makes it much more functional.
Upstairs, I also made some changes. We had a little nook on our landing that was just wasted space (this really should have been a linen closet, it’s clear that not much thought was put into this when designing the house).
I ended up putting a shelf that was exiled from my office there. It’s a nice place to put things for the baby, kid’s books, and even some sheets.
In the future, I see it being a little reading and play space for kids, but for now it’s multipurpose. In my dream world, we could afford to have it made into a linen closet, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
One of the great things about Ikea is that they have stuff that’s really useful (and often quite attractive) for far less than other stores. One of the things I snagged for the nursery was this little easel where we can write messages to the baby and that she can use for art projects later on.
Unfortunately, like so many kids’ products, it came with some pretty bright colors, which didn’t really go with her nursery theme. But, thanks to the help of a roll on chevron contact paper, I never have to see that bright red again.
It gives the easel a whole different look! And just to take things to the next level, I decided to also make a little pennant for the top. It’s super easy and you can do it in about 10 minutes. No joke!
Start by cutting out little triangles of felt. I used pinking shears, but straight lines work just fine, too. Then, make two little incisions in them by folding over the top and very carefully making a little snip. This is the hole you’ll put the yarn or ribbon you’re using to string them with through.
Next step, string ‘em up! And you’re done. Seriously. That’s it. I ended up removing a few felt pieces to make it fit how I wanted, but if you actually measure out how much you need before hanging it you can skip that unnecessary step.
It’s a really great way to add color and fun without spending a lot or dedicating a lot of time!
Because I can’t see the point of spending a ton of money on clothes I’ll only wear for a few months, most of my maternity wear has come from the thrift store. Sometimes, however, it’s not quite what I was looking for right off the bat. I picked up a pair of cute, white maternity jeans for $4, but they were kind of wide legged which made them see a bit dated. So, I decided to experiment as I had seen lots posts online about people turning jeans into skinnies pretty easily.
It turns out that it is really an easy process. I just read several different tutorials on the process before starting to get an idea of what to do. It’s easy to find information on it, and step by step instructions if you’re not especially skilled at sewing.
I started by putting on the pants and pinning them to where I wanted them on my legs. Pretty easy and you can see how much extra fabric there is.
Then, I just sewed along this line on both legs. Really simple. I put the pants on to see how they fit, adjusted as necessary, and cut off the excess fabric.
They’re not perfect but they will work for a few months! Much better than paying full price for a brand new pair of skinnies!
Since I managed to not post anything to this blog for like five months, some major changes in our living room have gone unmentioned. One of the biggest is that we finally kicked out the big, white frumpy chair we had in exchange for this seriously adorable one from Ikea.
I also made and bought a bunch of new pillows. I think they help add more color and tie everything together. They live both in the main living area and in the other sitting room we have over to the side.
I also managed to snag this plant stand at the thrift store for only $5!
And, lucky me, I got this super cute basket tower from Urban Outfitters as a birthday gift. It’s such a great place to stash magazines, books, and perhaps baby paraphernalia in the coming months.
No major changes, but just little things that help the space feel more at home. I’m hoping to find some additional poufs and some different tables, but haven’t located anything cheap enough (or cute enough) yet. I also really, really need to get some artwork up on the walls in the main living room, but after our artstravaganza in the baby’s room, I’m a bit burnt out on making things for the walls so that will likely have to wait.