Posted on May 20, 2014
Beany’s nursery in our North Carolina apartment was a labor of love in a major way. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted the room to look like, and I spent months choosing fabric, sewing pillows and curtains, picking out furniture and putting it all together. Even with the mile-long to-do list, we had the room up and running at least a month before our baby girl arrived. Boy, how things are different the second time around.
When we moved to Boston last summer, we knew we’d have an extra kiddo in our roost come spring, but it wasn’t until fall that we found out he was a boy. As much as I loved all the décor we already had for Beany’s room, I was really excited for the chance to switch things up. Beany’s first nursery was decidedly girlie, and though I spent plenty of brain power trying to decide what colors or fabrics I could add to the existing palette to make it a little more masculine, I finally decided that our best option was to wipe the slate clean. We did already have neutral furniture for the room, so we weren’t starting from nothing, but we needed new colors, new art and a bunch of new fabric.
In incredibly atypical fashion for me, we let this space evolve over time. I tend to go headfirst into decorating and get as much done as quickly as I can, but Jared insisted we think about things a little more with this room. In the end, I think he was right. We built the space piece by piece until we felt like it was done, from the navy blue rug that was our anchor and jumping-off point (purchased nearly seven months ago) all the way to the poster-sized photo we put over the crib just a few weekends back. Because we took so long and thought so much about every detail, the end result is a room that makes us happy every time we walk into it (except during those bedtime battles, but that’s toddlerhood, right?).
Maybe going from purples to pinks doesn’t seem like the easiest way to boy-ify a room, but when paired with all the navy and blue, the palette balances out pretty well. Pink definitely reads stronger than the blue though, so it was important that we keep the pinks to accent pieces and let the navy show up in larger doses. That’s where the rug came in. We saw it in the store the day we found out Bear was a boy and brought it home that day. Instantly, the room felt less like an all-girl oasis and more like a little guy was getting ready to claim a bit of space for himself.
Beany is still very much a girlie girl though, and we didn’t want to squelch that just because a brother was on the way. By keeping large pieces like the rug and play chairs dark and boyish, there was plenty of space for all her favorite things.
This art wall is probably our favorite part of the room and another detail that’s grown piece by piece. And putting it together has taught me that there are few things I won’t stick in a frame. The Rudolph record was an antique store find a few years back. The brunette girl in the blue dress was the front of a box that Beany’s beloved doll Tessa came in. The princess on the purple background was a gift bag from my brother and sister-in-law for Beany’s first birthday. The little girl in the hood came on a shopping bag. The frog is a Crane’s stationery card. The Massachusetts map was quick DIY. The illustration at the top left is a poster from our new favorite Boston bakery. And the vase of flowers was painted by my mom when she was barely 11. Sprinkled in there, too, are a few bits of Beany’s artwork and a set of Peter Rabbit plates that were on my wall when I was little.
Fortunately we had the forethought to buy neutral furniture before Beany was born in case we had a boy later down the road. It means we’re always kind of working from a blank canvas, which leaves extra room for creativity when it comes to accent colors and accessories.
The tree in the pink pot started as Beany’s Christmas tree, but the girl loves it so much, we just couldn’t take it down. Beany’s bed is a calculated hodgepodge of patterns and pillows, all tied together with a love of pink. The flag banner was a fun evening project, just a bunch of fabric triangles sewn together and attached to quilt binding.
I swapped the colors on the poster I made for my best friend’s camping-themed baby shower to add another big splash of navy in the room. And the wreath was another quick DIY.
I loved this boat fabric and bought a heap of it hoping to make it into something fun. Between the crib skirt and the flag banner, I think there’s enough of it in the room to make a mark without going sailboat crazy.
Toy storage is an issue in any kid’s room, and it’s no different here. How do such small people acquire so much stuff? We try to keep things as minimal as possible, but we picked up a few storage bins (the pink/white chevrons and the blue/white waves) at TJ Maxx to corral the knick-knacks that needed a place to call home.
I’m sure things will continue to evolve as Beany and Bear grow, but for now we’re so happy with where it is. It’s the room we love most for the people we love most. And it doesn’t get better than that.
So without further adeiu, here’s the product list. I’ve done my best to make it as comprehensive as possible, but feel free to contact me with any other questions regarding items you see in the photos.
• Gulliver toddler bed, IKEA
• Throw pillows, DIY covers using this tutorial (fabric and trim from Jo-Ann Fabrics)
• Carter rug, Pottery Barn Kids
• Flag banner, DIY (fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics)
• Finley play table, Pottery Barn Kids
• Carolina kids chairs, Pottery Barn Kids
• Tree and pink pot, IKEA
• Xhilaration white floor lamp, Target
• Threshold drum linen lamp shade (on tall white lamp), Target
• Shine quilt, handmade gift from sweet friends in Columbia, Missouri
• Ribba frames, IKEA
• Simply White Retro Kitchen Oven, Pottery Barn Kids
• Shabby Chic dresser, Target (no longer available)
• Shabby Chic bookshelf, Target (no longer available)
• DaVinci 4-in-1 convertible crib, Babies R Us (Ours is no longer available, but this one is pretty close.)
• Crib skirt, DIY using this tutorial
• Lamb mobile, Pottery Barn Kids (no longer available)
• Wreath, DIY using this tutorial
• Sleep under the Stars poster, DIY (get the free printable here)
• Toy storage bins (navy/white and pink/white), TJ Maxx
• Aqua Harper My First Anywhere Chair, Pottery Barn Kids
• Stacking tree, Plan Toys
• Blue Go Car, Kid O
I’d love to hear your stories of decorating trials and triumphs! Kids’ rooms, playrooms, living rooms, you name it! How did you start? How did you finish? And how did it all come together?
Posted on January 30, 2014
This toddler-friendly Valentine’s Day craft really is easy enough to warrant zero tutorial for how to make it, but Beany had such a good time with her piles of pink hearts the other day, I thought I’d share our super simple project.
Basically, you just cut out a gazillion hearts of different sizes, supply your kiddo with some tape and crayons and then let them go to town.
The raccoon and cat required a bit more direction from me (though I bet 3- or 4-year-olds would have a pretty easy time with it), but the “heart with hearts,” as Beany calls it, was 100 percent her. She carefully colored and taped each of those things, and boy oh boy, was she proud.
We got a good half an hour of fun out of this, which for a toddler is pretty amazing. And I stuck a few pieces of magnet tape on the back of our creations once we were done, so now they’re living happily on the front of our refrigerator, where the tiny artiste can see her work on display any time she’s in the kitchen.
Are you crafting up any Valentine’s Day fun yet? Do tell!
Looking for more Valentine’s Day fun? Check out these DIY fortune cookie Valentines!
Posted on December 13, 2013
Well, we started the week with Beany’s favorite wrapping project, and we’re ending the week with Jared’s, though I’m not sure whether it’s his favorite because he loves how it looks or because he had a hand in the process. I originally planned to break pencils into small pieces, glue those together to make the tree shape and then wrap that in twine. Of course, that would require me to break loads of pencils into lots of pieces. Evenly. All the while trying not to get pierced by pencil shards or covered with lead. I was in my watch-me-use-my-super-strength-to-snap-this-pencil-in-half pose when Jared suggested I cut some cardboard into triangles and use that instead. The man is a crafting genius.
I must say, the little twine trees do make me pretty happy every time I look at them, but then again, I suppose that’s in their job description. Christmas trees are natural happiness makers, and never have I seen one that I didn’t instantly love. Twine wrapped or not, they’re certainly good at what they do.
What you’ll need:
• a few scraps of cardboard
• decorative twine or ribbon
• small red pompoms
• hot glue
• gift box
• white or brown craft paper (optional)
How you do it:
If you’re planning to wrap your package with craft paper instead of adding trees straight to the gift box, go ahead and do that first. Then cut your scraps of cardboard into four small and one slightly larger tree-shaped triangles (make sure that, when wrapped with twine, they’ll fit on the top and sides of your box).
Use a dot of hot glue to attach the twine to the back of your first cardboard triangle, down at the bottom. Once that’s held in place, begin wrapping the twine tightly around the triangle so as little cardboard shows through the front as possible. Add a few dots of hot glue on the back along the way so the twine stays tight. When you get to the top, cut the twine piece and secure it at the back with a last dot of hot glue. Repeat with the remaining four triangles.
To add a little something extra to the bigger tree for the top of the box, wrap a decorative piece of twine or ribbon around the triangle a few times. Secure it at the back with hot glue.
With your present wrapped and/or gift box closed, use hot glue to attach your twine-wrapped trees to the top and sides of the package. Finish them off by gluing a small red pompom to the top of each tree.
That’s a wrap on Wrapping Week 2013! I hope you found some inspiration to make your holiday gifts just as fun and special on the outside as they are on the inside. Happy, happy wrapping to all!
Posted on December 12, 2013
My love for paper is pretty intense, and I could probably be happy for an unreasonably large amount of time surrounded by cardstock and stationery. But no matter how strong that love might be, watching an hour’s worth of bow-making get crunched and smooshed by way of suitcase, mail or toddler hands is not my idea of a good time. It’s pretty, yes, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and get creative, if anything for the sake of your own sanity.
I know I said yesterday’s wrapping was the easiest of the week, but this one is nearly tied. The idea behind it is simple: uncrunchable, unsmooshable wrapping, complete with a bow. Decorative craft tape (Washi is my favorite brand) is so, so handy for projects like this — and loads of things, really — and is incredibly easy to work with. The tape also happens to be innately cute, so only a touch of cleverness need be involved on your end. By fashioning a couple different tape patterns into the shape of a simple ribbon, you’re left with a festive gift box that’s still flat, smooth and in little danger of travel-induced mangling. No broken bows! No last-minute fixes! Whew! Sometimes stress free is the way to be.
What you’ll need:
• two patterns of decorative craft tape (Available at most craft stores. Target, too!)
• gift box
• white or brown craft paper for wrapping (optional)
How you do it:
If you’re wrapping your gift box with separate craft paper, go ahead and do that first. Then using the first pattern of craft tape, wrap a straight piece around the gift box horizontally and another one vertically (they will form a sort of plus sign shape).
Take your second pattern of craft tape, and fashion a bow shape on top of the straight pieces you already put down. Because you’re working with straight edges, it’s easiest to make two small triangles that meet at points in the middle and then add two short straight pieces coming from the center (the ribbon overhang, per se).
Posted on December 11, 2013
The other day I was hanging up some laundry to dry and realized that between Beany and me, we could rock a polka dot nearly every day of the week. The entire doorframe of the master closet (the designated drying spot in our humble abode) was filled with a smattering of spots in varying sizes and colors. Shirts, jammies, sweaters, leggings: the list goes on. Apparently if it’s dotted, we’ll wear it. I suppose it’s only appropriate that our Christmas presents feel the same way.
This polka dotted wrapping paper was the easiest of the bunch this week and makes for a pretty adorable package in relatively little time. You could switch up the colors, too, for a fun confetti-inspired look (think a rainbow of polka dots scattered across the paper). Or you could dot them in a different pattern, maybe lines or waves. Let the polka dotting begin!
What you’ll need:
• white paint
• an old-school pencil with a new (flat) eraser
• craft paper
• white cardstock
How you do it:
Roll out a piece of craft paper large enough to wrap your package (you can weigh it down with something heavy on the edges if it starts rolling back up). Using the pencil eraser as a stamp, dip the flat end into the white paint and press it onto the wrapping paper in a polka dot pattern. Add as many or as few as you’d like. There’s no wrong way to polka dot!
Finish the look with a quick wrap of twine and a matching white bow. (For the pictured bow, I used simple white cardstock and followed the tutorial for making these shopping bag bows.)
Posted on December 10, 2013
Ever since I made these felt cookies for Beany and my niece last Christmas (which are holding up amazingly well and still favorite toys in our house), I’ve been toting around a ridiculously large supply of scrap felt. It’s like when you’re eating dinner at one of those gigantic-portions Italian restaurants, and no matter how much spaghetti you keep piling away, that magical bowl has no real end. Inevitably, after what feels like hours, you and at least someone else at the table raise the white flag and utter that oft-spoken line: “We really should have split this.” So, anyone care to share some felt?
Luckily, there are worse problems to have than a felt abundance, especially considering Pinterest’s dandy knack for turning any searchable term into an onslaught of DIY projects. The idea for this wrapping venture came from a quick shuffle through the felt drawer. A few cuts, a little twine and some quick gluing later, and someone’s getting a felt-happy gift box this year!
What you’ll need:
• a few small scraps of felt in various colors
• matching pompoms for the ornament tops
• hot glue
• a gift box and/or simple craft paper
How you do it:
Start with a plain gift box or fully wrapped gift. You’re basically just gluing the ornaments you’ll make to the outside, so it’s easier to start with the present already wrapped. Decide where you want the ornaments to be on the outside of the package, and carefully hot glue your pieces of twine in place, leaving a space for the ornaments to “hang” on the end.
Now it’s time to cut your felt scraps. For each ornament, you’ll need three equal-sized circles of felt (mine are each about 1 inch in diameter). Fold the first circle in half, and put a few dots of hot glue around one of the folded edges. Working quickly (but carefully! Hot glue is hot!), fold a second circle in half and press one of its folded sides firmly against the circle half you just glued. Make sure the edges are lined up, and hold in place until the glue is set. Repeat this step to attach the third felt circle to the other fold half of the second. When all is said and done, you should have three folded felt circles attached together (they should be able to open sort of like a folded-up fan), with one folded end of each outside circle still free.
Glue the two outside ends (the outside folded sides of the outside circles) flat to the gift box where you already glued your twine. When open, it should form a perfect fanned-out circle. Add a matching pompom to the top of each ornament.
Hope your week is going well so far! We’re due for more snow here this afternoon. Yippee!!!
Posted on December 9, 2013
We got our first real covers-everything-and-makes-the-world-look-pretty snow last night in Boston! Woo hoo! After living in North Carolina for two years, where we barely, barely got anything that could count as flurries for nearly the entire stay, I think Jared and I just assumed that moving to the Northeast would mean bunches and bunches of snow, as early as or earlier than anyone else. But our family in Missouri has had quite a bit already this year. Even Texas has been snowy! So now we can officially stop feeling gipped. The snow has arrived! And even if it will only last the morning, it’s a pretty sight indeed. And nothing’s better than hearing a tiny 2-year-old voice greet the day with a lot of: “Oh, wow! It’s nowing! It’s nowing! Mo! Da! It’s nowing!”
I finished up all five wrapping projects for the week yesterday, and Beany got to choose which one to share first. I shouldn’t be surprised that the Rudolph-loving girl picked the holly jolliest of the bunch. She loves the little pompom noses, and of course anything reindeer is a win with her this time of year. Get your tiny helpers in on the action, too! Never was a fingerprint too small to make a proper reindeer.
What you’ll need:
• washable craft paint in a few colors
• an inky black pen or thin marker
• small red pompoms
• glue (I used hot glue, but good ol’ Elmer’s would work, too, especially with kids)
• festive twine
• brown or white craft paper
How you do it:
Cut the brown or white craft paper into a piece large enough to wrap your package. Lay it out on a flat surface (it helps to weigh down the edges with something heavy), and get ready for painting. Dip your (or your kiddo’s) finger into the paint, and add a smattering of fingerprints in various colors across the wrapping paper. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, so add as many or as few as you’d like.
Once the paint has dried, use your inky pen to add two dots for eyes and two antlers on each fingerprint.
Wrap your package. Then use your glue to add a red pompom nose to each of your reindeer on the top and sides of the box. Add some festive twine, and you’re done!
Is your wrapping party in full swing yet? How are you decking the packages this year? Let’s hear it!