Stumped (Again)

When we last left the stump table in the nursery, it was sanded and stained.  And loved by me- but that is beside the point.  I was afraid to add poly to it because it was still fresh wood and it needed to cure some more.

Or so said my intensive google research.

And I am happy to say that was the correct decision.  Books protected the top from spit-up, drool and other baby related liquids.  I had noticed the cracks becoming larger as time went on, and one day during one of our early marathon feeding sessions, I actually heard a loud pop coming from the stump and saw one of the cracks had doubled in size.

stump table

So after it had cured for six months and we were actually getting sleep and thinking about DIY again, I restained the widened crack with a small paintbrush.

stump table

And then added a couple cots of polyurethane in semi gloss.

stump table

Much shinier.  And better protected.

stump table

So the stump is officially done.  I like the sheen of the finished product but if you are making your own stump and want it to look more natural, you could tone down the gloss.  Or rub in a paste wax.  I entertained that idea, but considering that a certain someone likes to chew on it now on a regular basis, I did not think that was the most prudent decision.  Not Derek in case you were worried.

This table has worked out perfectly in the nursery and has stood up beautifully to first the spitting and then the chewing and now the pulling.  Derek (who thought it was a stupid idea in the beginning) is now a big fan.  And being able to say “I was right” is a beautiful thing.  Especially when you have a great and cheap table to show for it.

Zig Zags

Another quilt is actually going to stay at our house.  Bringing the grand total to two. Both of which are residing in Carter’s nursery.  I wonder who is the current favorite at our house…


I could pretend that this quilt was finished in the month since he joined us.  But that would be a lie as it has been sitting in the nursery and I just had not had time to snap pictures or blog about it.  Carter is a great baby who is sleeping wonderfully and is not fussy, but honestly “showering” and “take a nap” have been added to the daily to-do list so I feel just a little bit productive.  Quilting (and blogging obviously) have been neglected.IMG_4681

This quilt was my version of the Robert Kaufman No prints Allowed Challenge at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  We were given a charm pack of solids in a specific colorway and challenged to make a quilt using every single color in the charm pack as well as any other solids we chose.  I chose the bright colorway as I already had a place in the nursery in mind for the quilt.  And as I had already made a quilt using this charm pack and wanted to switch up the design to something more complicated.

There were so many creative ideas that people came up with…well in March when the challenge was due.  And I had the quilt top completed then and shared it with everyone.  I swear as there is even photographic evidence that will not be posted here.  I thought I looked cute and obviously pregnant when I got dressed that night…but really I just looked like I had been enjoying too many quarter pounders.

Back to the quilt-I decided to do opposing zigzags with my charm pack with a white background.   I strategically put the blue/green and orange zigzags on one side, so folded on the chair in the nursery they would appear to match the color scheme.


For the quilting, I did zigzags that mimicked the colored sections and moved further and further apart as they moved away from the center of the quilt.


My lines aren’t perfectly straight and I got really sick of repositioning my walking foot each time I had to change my angle, but I am happy with how it came out.


The back is simple and cuddly orange flannel.

I love how it looks on the rocker and it already has gotten a lot of use at night when I am feeding the baby boy and freezing.

completed nursery

Of course my favorite pictures of the quilt are these-



Anything is more fun with a baby on it…well at least I think so.

Nursery Source List

As promised here is the source list for all the nursery items that got too long for the last post.  Frankly this post got a little long too, but I wanted to list everything as my pet peeve is wanting to know where that one little item came from and not being able to figure it out. 

As you can see most of items were DIY or came from a  non-baby store.  Let me know if I missed anything!

completed nursery

Wall Color: Tame Teal by Sherwin Williams

Ceiling Color: Posy by Sherwin Williams

Trim Color: Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint in High Hiding White

Ceiling Fan: Lowe’s

completed nurserycomplete nursery

completed nursery

Dog paintings: Homegoods

Lamp: Wal-Mart and DIYed with orange spray paint

Lampshade: Target

Blue Frame: Target

Blue Tray: Target

Hourglass: Homegoods

White plate: Homegoods

Baby booties/hats- gifts

Dresser- hand-me-down.  DIYed with glaze detailed here.

completed nursery

Glider/Recliner: Best Chair recliner special ordered at local furniture store

Pillow on chair: DIY  Fabric-Geo Grand by Daisy Janie

Ottoman: DIY using Amy Butler’s Gum drop pillow pattern (larger size).  Fabric- IKEA

Faux Sheepskin rug- Home Decorator’s Collection

Wall Bookshelves: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Quilt on Chair: Sewn by me (to be blogged about soon, just could not wait to post whole nursery)

Drapes: DIY- Fabric-Premier Prints Ele Village in Brown/White

completed nursery

Stump Table: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Books: Gifts

Agate Coaster: Z Gallerie

Flowers: our garden

completed nursery

Crib: Target- Dwell Studio (no longer available on their website)

Pinwheel Mobile: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Abacus: DIY (how –to blogged here)

Stuffed Moose: IKEA

Pillow in Crib: DIY with leftover fabric

Quilt: DIY- Coming Soon pattern (blogged here)

Crib Sheet: DIY-Fabric- Central Park by Kate Spain (blogged here)

Crib Skirt: DIY- Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Orange Tub-Target or Wal-Mart (can’t remember)

Toys and Blankets in Tub-gifts

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Dog Butt Hooks: IKEA

Sign above Door: Homegoods

Backpack: Gift

complete nursery

Convertible Changing Table: DIY from Ana White’s plan (blogged here)

Changing Pad Cover: gift

Polka-Dot Fabric Box: DIY (blogged here)

Blue Crates: Target, but they are the Closetmaid boxes you can find anywhere

Baskets: Homegoods

Basket Liners: DIY-Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Mirror: Homegoods with a DIY navy blue spray paint job

LOVE print: Made by Girl

completed nursery

1: Watercolors found on Etsy from HamjArt

2: Mirror from IKEA (stained with MinWax Jacobean)

3: Enlarged personal pictures from San Diego Zoo

4: DIY initial- basically took a canvas and a wood letter, painted them and superglued.  Super easy.

5: Soon to be authentic hand/footprints mounted on a painted canvas

6: Soon to be hospital bracelets-currently the fortunes that Derek had in his cookies the day we heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time (both said “girl”)

Frames: Various craft stores (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Michael’s) and from my existing stash

complete nurserycomplete nursery

complete nursery

All pillow covers sewn by me and removable for easy washing.  Fabrics:

1:Herringbone from Modern Meadow line by Joel Dewberry

2: Color Beat by Jennifer Sampou

3: IKEA (on clearance at $2 a yard) over 3 inch high density foam from JoAnn’s

4: Bubble Burst by Anna Maria Horner

5:  Drawing Room Volumes by Anna Maria Horner

6: Woodgrain from Aviary 2 line by Joel Dewberry

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Dog Bank: Target

Baseball glove:  ?-this was a dad purchase

Books: gifts

Elephant: San Diego zoo

Cross: Vatican

Giraffe: gift

Train: Homegoods

7 weight: Homegoods

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Giraffe: gift

Frame: gift

Blankets: gifts

Silver scooter: Z Gallerie

Books: gifts

Toy: gift

Monkey: gift

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Closet Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Inventive Orange

Light Fixture: IKEA-rigged to make shorter to fit the space

Whew…who knew that much stuff would be for such a little baby?

Let me know if I missed something!

Nursery Reveal

We made it!  The nursery is officially complete even before he has decided to make his arrival.  It has taken a lot longer to put together than I envisioned back in January when we started this project, but considering the construction, all the DIY, our insanely busy spring and that I am the ultimate procrastinator, it is really not that surprising.

But before you scroll down to see what we put together, let’s walk down memory lane with the befores to see what we we were working with. 

What the space looked like when we moved in-


And then what it really looked like for 2 and half years…..affectionately referred to the junk room.  Don’t know where to store something?  Throw it in there.  Need to paint some cabinets?  Scoot some crap around and have at it.


And now here it is waiting patiently (unlike Derek and I) for it’s new occupant-

completed nursery

completed nursery

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completed nursery

Back in the beginning when we were planning the space, my first idea was an orange and aqua color scheme but no real theme.  I figured once we knew if we were having a boy or a girl we could add blues or pinks to make it a more gender specific space.  Of course, I figured a lot of DIY and sewing was also going to be in the cards.

One of the biggest projects in the room (and our first) was the window seatcompleted nurserycompleted nursery

Because of the window configuration, limited furniture was going fit on that wall anyway and I thought that an architectural feature that was also functional from a storage and seating standpoint would make the room.

After the construction and painting was going, we started to pick up random items we found that we thought we be good fits in the space.  Hmmmmm…somehow we had a lot of animal things so that is the loose theme we decided to run with.  However, I am a big believer in adding things that you love and not just because of a theme. 

completed nursery

completed nursery

Items with personal significance were also something I wanted to incorporate in the space.  We have not shared baby boy’s name with anyone (but my mother-in-law has a pool going if anyone is interested).  However, the first initial is common knowledge.  So of course I had to incorporate that.  On the gallery wall are also photos we took at the San Diego zoo during our last vacation (technically baby’s first).  After he is born, the clip art hand and footprints will we replaced with his (and yes I realize my stand-in has a disproportionate hand to the size of the foot…I was just using those to make sure I liked the idea).

But personal items don’t end with the gallery wall as I wanted things that meant something to us, but not scream “look at my name" all over the place (although I know some curious family members that were voting for that tactic).

For example, I needed some bookends and I love that this has his birth month stamped on it.

completed nursery

Or that all of those blankets were handmade for him by generous friends and family.  And that the silver scooter reminds us of Italy.

completed nursery

And that cross from the Vatican in Rome was the very first thing we ever bought for, at the time, our future baby.  completed nursery

I won’t bore everyone with the personal significance of everything in the space, but overall I tried to have at least one item with meaning on every shelf.  However, don’t get me wrong, some things are in the room because they are fun and I like how they look.  Like this…

completed nursery

I guess you could also say that DIY was a major theme in the space.  The only pieces of furniture that were store bought were the crib and the chair.  We either made or “revised” everything else.  I have already talked about most of those projects as we embarked on them but in case you missed them check out the abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

The space also had to be functional besides nice to look at.  We have never done this whole baby thing before, but from what I have heard, they can be messy.  So every single cloth surface (minus the chair that is stain protected) can be thrown in the washing machine.  Every pillow and cushion cover is removable and the although it took forever to find curtain fabric that I loved and could be thrown in the wash, I was ultimately successful.

The curtains are also not just for looks.  I made four panels that stretch all the way across for light control.

completed nursery

I am still planning on adding black out lining to the back of them for even more light control, but I decided not to sew them together as I read varying reports about the washability of black out lining.  So it is getting hemmed separately and then just clipped behind the panels.

The cushions also remove from the window seat easily to access all the storage underneath.  In addition, the neighbor kids have shown me that they make great hiding places.  Maybe we need to drill some more air holes.

completed nursery

Also every item that is hanging on the wall in baby’s reach is securely fastened to studs with screws.

completed nursery

And the ultimate storage area also went through a little makeover.

completed nursery

Lots of clothes and other baby paraphernalia waiting for him, but we still have tons of room that I know we will fill in the future.

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And finally just some more pictures of details of the space that I love…

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completed nurserypinwheel mobilecompleted nurserycompleted nursery

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completed nursery

abacus makingcompleted nursery

pinwheel mobile

So what do you think?   You can see from some of the pictures that a furry friend already likes to spend time in the space.  Although this is normal position…

completed nursery

…trying to will the stuffed animals that make noise when you squeeze them from the crib into his mouth.

Want to know where I got something?  Here is the source list for everything in the space.  Just got a little too long for a single post.

Missed the other nursery posts and want to see the DIY how-to?  Catch up with the window seat construction, abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

A Quilt First

This is the first quilt that I have ever made that is not going to be given as a gift.  That is actually going to stay at my house.   Can you guess where?

Baby J quilt

Actually it is quite a miracle I was able to finish it without a deadline such as a shower etc.  But the whole “finishing the nursery before he makes his appearance” deadline helped me complete it.  Not that the nursery is totally done or anything.  Almost.

Baby J quilt

I used the Coming soon… pattern from Camille Roskelley that I picked up when I took her class back in September.  It came together fast and I love how it turned out.

Baby J quilt

I did a very simple back with a soft brown flannel.  There is just something about flannel on the back on baby quilts.

Baby J quilt

I did a simple wave on the quilting which made it all crinkly and cuddly.  I incorporated some of the sheet fabric in the piece in the back as well as the binding to tie the bedding set together.

Baby J quilt

I love how it looks on his crib and makes me all the more ready for his arrival.  Just have to complete the nursery first.

(Disclaimer: I know the quilt, stuffed animal and pillow should not be in the crib when he is in there….but for right now it makes me smile and I like how it looks.  Once he is actually sleeping in the crib (which will hopefully be quickly since he is going to be such an awesome sleeper…wink wink), the crib will be safely empty.)

Want  more details on his other bedding? Click here.  Or the DIY abacus?  Click here.


Do you ever come up with an idea that you think is awesome but everyone you tell about it thinks it sounds stupid?

Yeah this was this project.  Luckily my husband loves me enough to spend a lot of time on a project which he was convinced was going to flop.  Who needs diamonds when you have DIY?

Back to the beginning…..

I wanted a side table next to the rocker in the nursery to be able to set things like drinks, burp cloths, cell phone etc.  Problem was we did not have a lot of space.

shelf DIY

I looked high and low for a small side table that would fit and not looked too cramped.  And not be breakable.

This search took awhile and I almost did a ceramic garden stool because of the correct size and shape, but it was pretty light and would be easily knocked over and shattered.  It was during this search that I came up with the idea of a stump table.

Not that it was an original idea….West Elm sells one for $200 and Mrs. Brooklyn Limestone made one herself.  So why did every time I mention it to someone did I get this reaction…”A Stump?  Really?”

Even from my husband.  But being the good sport he is, he proceeded with the project as long as he “had veto power in the end”


So first task….finding a stump.  Hmmmmm.  Derek called lumber yards and tree removal places but was not very successful.  (Again, he must love me since I know he got a lot of incredulous “you wanna buy a stump???!” when he made these phone calls. Hasn’t anyone seen the West Elm catalog recently?)  So far no stump.  Maybe it was not meant to be.

Then on the Friday before Easter, a tornado hit very close to my parent’s house in St. Louis.  Miraculously no one was hurt. But by close I mean the damage started 6 houses from the entrance to my parent’s subdivision.  Scary stuff.  Their house had zero damage, but  they kept telling me that I just needed to come visit because there were tons of stumps everywhere around them. 

I laughed it off because I knew that they thought the stump table was dumb and was I really going to take advantage of a natural disaster to get my table?

But then we came into town a week or two later (unrelated to the stump I swear)….and they were right… there were stumps sitting by the road everywhere, just waiting for the city to pick them up and dispose of them.

I was still a little iffy on the tornado stump.  But from my parent’s perspective it was going to be gotten rid of anyway and a stump from there would have meaning unlike a random piece of wood from a lumber yard.  Like being thankful…and making sure you head to the basement when the tornado sirens go off.

So while I was napping, Derek did a little stump recognizance to find the perfect specimen and the stump was buckled in the backseat on the way home.  Would have been weird to explain that one if we had gotten pulled over.

The stump in all it’s glory.


Now what we he did to it to make it table-like:

1.  Using a crowbar and hammer remove all the bark.  According to Derek, this step was pretty easy.


2.  If your stump is uneven or too tall, even it out the best you can with taking off slices with a chain saw.

3.  The longest part…..sand.  And then sand some more.  And when you think you are done sanding do it again.


For this project, we became the proud owners of a belt sander.  Which I was told made the sanding go so much faster than an orbital sander.  He started with a lower grit sand paper and moved up to a finer grit to make it smooth.  He sanded it while the wood was still considered “green” as it had only been cut down at this point for a couple of weeks.

4.  Add wheels for easier movement (stumps are heavy) to help level it even more.  He used washers to help achieve this.


5.  Since our wood was still green, we let it then sit in the space for a couple of months to dry out with plastic underneath in case it dropped sap.  As it dried it starting to develop cracks and the grain became more apparent….yeah!


6.  You could leave it the natural stump color, but I knew I wanted it darker to match the other wood in the space.  But I was not sure how long had to wait for it to dry before it would accept stain.  We were at 2 months.  Google did not give me a definite answer, so I decided to test some colors and see how it took it on the bottom.


It sucked it right up, so I decided to go ahead with the stain.  Worse case scenario, it looks awful and Derek can just sand it again.  I kid.

Derek gave it one final sand with a very fine sandpaper and I stained it with MinWax Jacobean. 

And this is what we came up with-



I love that it is not perfect and adds a rustic element.  And it is the perfect size and height for the chair.


I am going to add polyurethane to protect it in the next couple of months, but for now I think it still needs to breathe and dry before I seal it.  Since I am a wood expert and all.  In the meantime we will protect the finish something on top like a piece of glass. 

And I am happy to report that “veto power” was not needed.  Which is good since he would have wasted all of that sanding for nothing.  And we got a new belt sander out of the deal.

DIY Changing Table

A while ago…actually a really long time ago…I asked everyone’s opinion about this little corner of the nursery and if we should refinish the dresser and use it as a changing table or make one ourselves. 

nursery progress

I got some really great suggestions and in the end we decided to go the changing table route because I was worried the dresser was too long.

I did not want to spend a lot of money on another piece of furniture so Ana White once again came to our rescue with free and easy plans that included the capability of taking off the top when the baby got older and using it as shelves.  Score.  So Derek whipped it up in the basement.  One positive about a flooded basement with no carpet….a lot more space to DIY.  Who knew?

Then I made him carry it upstairs to make sure I liked the proportions before we I spent the time finishing it. 

changing table

Luckily I did. Whew.

So he carried it back downstairs.  Originally I was going to finish it with both brown and white to match the dressers and crib that look like this.

dresser glazing

But there was no good place to start and stop the white/brown combo without it looking funny so I just went with plain ole white in Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint.

I have to say that painting was the most difficult part of the project.  Trying to get under those shelves when you have a big pregnant belly was a little challenging.  I am sure I looked ridiculous but luckily no pictures of this feat exist.  That I know of.

Anyway I used one coat of primer, two coats of paint and three coats of polycrylic since I am sure this thing is going to take a beating.  Coming up with this:

changing table

But of course the changing table itself was not going to be the only DIY project. 

It took me forever to find baskets that I a) liked b)were the correct color and c) fit.  Many baskets were tried and returned.  Finally I found the bottom brown baskets at Homegoods.  Small problem was that they had lids and ugly liners.  But after the lids were cut off and I used this tutorial from Make It and Love It to make some new liners, we were good to go.

changing table

Of course I could not follow the entire tutorial.  I made the liner a little smaller and did not do the ties because I wanted a cleaner look.  So they are a little snug, but I love how they look (and the fact I got to skip the tie step).

changing table

The other DIY project was this cute little fabric box to hold diapering essentials.

changing table

I used this tutorial from The Sometimes Crafter. (See a theme of being completely unoriginal and using everyone else’s ideas…it is either being really smart…or really lazy).

This one was my first attempt because I was not sure how the sizing would work in the space in the changing table.  It was super easy and luckily for me it fit.

changing table

I am thinking about making some more with a different type of interfacing (I used heavyweight fusible on this one) to make it thicker as they will also look cute and be functional on the bookshelves.

changing table

So here is the changing table as it stands today.  I am thinking about making some tweaks stylistically in terms of the pad cover and maybe three navy middle baskets instead of the light blue….and maybe a different fabric for the box.

But for now it is ready and functional.  And cheap.  And all washable.  From what I hear that is important.

Houston We Have Bedding

The nursery is still a work in progress, but now at least he will have a cute and comfy place to sleep if he decides to appear early.  His quilt?  Not ready to be in this post.   And the quilt is more for me to look at anyway since he won’t be sleeping with it for awhile.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

This whole being off for the summer thing is doing wonders for my sewing productivity.  Now I just need to start fitting in showers before the afternoon.


baby bedding

One of the most difficult things about the bedding was picking out the fabrics.  They had to be certain colors…and kidish…but not over the top kidish…and possibly go with our loose “animals” theme.  I had lists and lists of options and struggled with making a decision as there were so many cute things out there.  I finally gave myself a deadline and started ordering things.  And then it sat until I got around to actually sewing it.  I know you are surprised.

First up….the crib skirt.   The fabric I used was Metro Living by Robert Kaufman.

Not exactly rocket science but I needed to cover the ugly gap between the mattress and the drawers.  The metal brackets were visible holding up the mattress and the drawers of the crib do not have tops on them so you can see all the stuff in them.  I also wanted to make it adjustable so that when we lower the mattress as he gets bigger, I can make the crib skirt shorter. 

First, I prewashed the fabric and measured my opening.  I added a couple of of extra inches to the tops and sides and then cut out a rectangle of fabric.  I seamed the sides and added ribbon ties.

baby bedding

Then I tied the ribbon to the springy part of the crib (that’s the technical term) adjusting for height.

baby bedding

After a couple of reties to even everything out and get it to hang straight, I had this.

baby bedding

So as the mattress gets lower and the skirt needs to get shorter, I can just retie further up.    Super simple but I love how it turned out.

baby bedding

Now onto the crib sheet.

For some reason this project was intimidating to me so I have been putting it off for awhile.  I found tons of tutorials online with slight variations.  Which one to choose?  How do I know there and my mattress dimensions were similar?

I think my major anxiety came from the fabric.  It is Central Park by Kate Spain and when I ordered it months ago, that print in that color was starting to become difficult to find in the yardage I needed.  So I knew that after I procrastinated that it was going to be really hard to find if I had to replace it when I royally messed it up.  Hello new fabric choice or spending way to much money for it on ebay.  So it continued to sit.

I finally decided to on this tutorial from luvinthemommyhood.  From what I read reading comments on other tutorials, elastic all the way around the sheet was more secure than just the corners.  Since it was quilting cotton, my fabric was a little narrower than I would have hoped but I decided to take a leap of faith.  I am not going to do a whole step by step because I followed her tutorial pretty closely.  With the exception of measuring four times before I cut anything.  And marking and pinning all the cuts and trying on the mattress to make sure it fit before I cut and sewed.  So it took 6 times as long but oh well.  I was not going to screw up this fabric.

The only difficult part was inserting the stupid elastic.  Luckily for me, my bobbin ran out of thread in the middle of sewing the elastic pocket.  I cursed at the time but thought I would try to string it through halfway and see how it worked since I had to stop sewing until it was reloaded anyway.

I could have been executing her whole “attach a pin and let it slide through” method totally incorrectly but it did not work for me.  At all.

So I got out this doohickey (another technical sewing term) that I had bought for some other project that has never seen completion.   It came in handy for this one, so ultimately a good purchase.

baby bedding

I had the pull the elastic through in phases because the wire was not long enough, but worked so much easier for me.

After the elastic was in and sewn, I had the nerve wracking experience of slipping it on the mattress.  And really really hoping it fit.

baby bedding

It did!  Happy day!  And it turned out to be a easy project….time to make some more.

In case you were wondering what the underside looks like….

baby bedding

And the corners….

baby bedding

It is actually starting to come together.  Just a couple of sewing and DIY projects left!

baby bedding

Baby Bookshelves

The nursery is entering the home stretch…which is good because the baby is due in about 4 weeks.  But could come at any time…but probably won’t…but could.  Which is really messing with my whole “I want to plan and write things on a calendar” personality.

Anyway there is a whole lot of DIYing to go in the space (while the sewing machine is whirring in the background.)

I knew I wanted lots of books in the nursery because you know the whole reading to your child is a good thing.  Not to mention they could be used as a decor item as evidenced in this inspiration picture.  But of course cognitive and language development trumps decor….unless you can have both of course.

Elizabeth Sullivan design

Elizabeth Sullivan

I love that entire nursery but those floor to ceiling shelves made me swoon.

Unfortunately, I knew we were not going to have the space to replicate that, but loved the forward facing idea.  And those skinny shelves would be super easy to DIY.

Rumor has it that IKEA has similar shelves that would not require you to make them yourselves.  I would not know as I have lamented mentioned before, the nearest one is 8 hours away…and not worth driving for some shelves.

Here is what we came up with-

shelf DIY

My participation in the project?  Showing Derek the picture, telling him where I wanted them and placing books.  I even let go of control enough to let him try to my favorite self-leveling paint on his own (after a quick tutorial of course).  Here is what he did:

1. Cut a 1x2, 1x3 and piece of quarter round each to 36”.

2.  Put it together.  The vertical 1x2 in attached to the horizontal 1x3.  The vertical 1x2 is nailed or screwed into the ¾” side of the 1x3.  This should leave ¾” of vertical 1x2 exposed above the 1x3.  The
exposed ¾” of the 1x2 will be used to screw the bookshelf to the wall.  The quarter round is attached to the top edge of the 1x3 to create an edge for the books to lean against.  Use finishing nails.

shelf DIY
3. To attach to the wall screw through the exposed ¾” of the 1x2 into  studs in the wall.  By making the shelf 36” long you should have at least 2 studs to screw into.

4. Prime and paint.

shelf DIY

Super easy ( I am told) and super cheap.  And I love the fact that we screwed the wood directly into the studs so that junior will be OK if he decides to use them as rock climbing wall at a later time.  Plus the fact that we can rotate books and hopefully since you can see all the covers, even more reading will happen.  At least that is what I am hoping…


Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

I love how some brown glaze can redo honey oak.  Like in the guest bath.


But why should cabinets get all the love? What about other types of wood or furniture?  Like dressers?

nursery progress

Well I was going to find out.  These dressers were hand me downs from my family and they were solid wood and not oak.  Which were two huge bonuses in my book.  But considered that the cousin whose nursery they were in is now in college, the color needed some updating.  Not to mention that the bow and flower decals did not fit in our boy decor.

(For the full glazing how-to, please go to this post)

Of course we started with the worst part of the glazing process…the sanding.  Luckily for me in my delicate state, Derek took over this arduous task.  Two hours later it was sanded and Derek was very dusty (and will think again before volunteering for the next sanding project).

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

Then the glazing started.  We wanted the dresser to match the crib as much as possible, so we started with Behr’s Spiceberry mixed with the glaze like I described in original full how-to post.

dresser glazing

After it the first coat was dry, it looked too red and too light in relation to the crib. Hmmmmm….

dresser glazing

So to darken it up, I mixed a second glaze with Sherwin William’s Black Bean and put this on as the second coat.

dresser glazing

Much better.  And I loved that the two different color glazes gave the finish even more depth.  My color misjudgment turned out to be an awesome find.

I added 5 coats of water based polycrylic to get this finish.

dresser glazing

Perfect.  You can still see the grain and the finish is really close to matching the crib as planned (don’t worry that is not the mirror’s permanent home…..the floor is not exactly a child proof spot)

dresser glazing

The drawers were painted with my favorite paint….Ace cabinet and trim in high hiding white.  And then polyed for durability.

So happy how it turned out…..

dresser glazing

The lamp is not permanent….just a stand-in stolen from the guest room to figure out spacing until I find the perfect one.  Homegoods has been letting me down lately.

Anyway ignore the accessories and just enjoy the dresser….

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

What should I glaze next?

Pinwheel Mobile

I know…another baby project.  Yawn.  But while there are other projects going on that I just need to sit down and blog about, the cuteness factor of these is winning out currently.  And who does not love a mobile?  I know I do.

Just like the “what to hang above the crib” conundrum, the mobile originally stumped me a well.  I wanted something cute (obviously.)  And cheap.  And something that was as interesting to look at from the baby’s perspective as it would be from standing outside the crib.  And while our general nursery theme is going to be “animals”,  I not really stuck on that (hence the abacus).  I knew if we were having a girl a bird mobile would be in order, but for a boy I was worried it would be too feminine.  Oh and I wanted it to move a lot.

So I did an inspiration search on Etsy.  And if you do not want to DIY there are so many amazing mobiles there. 

But after drooling over all the possibilities, I came up with pinwheels.  They fit all my criteria minus the animal thing and I was OK with that as I do not want the space to become too themey.

I could have made simple pinwheels and called it a day, but no, I had to do a google search and find more interesting and more time consuming ones.  That’s the way I like to make projects take 5 times as long as normal people.

Anyway, I found this great pinwheel pattern from Heather Bailey.  And I basically followed the first steps.

pinwheel mobile

Her tutorial calls for double sided cardstock.  I ended up with some solid cardstock and some scrapbook paper that I glue sticked together to make it double sided.  I found this to work great.

pinwheel mobile

Then the time consuming part.  Copying the pattern piece onto the paper and cutting it out.  Each pinwheel takes two of these.  Since I made 11 of them, I repeated this step 22 times. 

Very long and boring….but an easy project to do while vegging out in front of the TV. 

I am not much of a paper crafter, so I had to buy a mini paper punch to make the holes.  It was another purchase, but it made the whole process so much easier.

pinwheel mobile

After you meticulously cut them out, slide them together and put a little glue around the center so they do not slide apart.

pinwheel mobile

For each of my pinwheels, one piece was solid and the other was pattern. 

pinwheel mobile

Then, like she instructs, you attach an eyelet through the center hole.  She says to put a second eyelet in to bring all the pieces together in the center to form your pinwheel, but I found this too difficult.  I could not maneuver the eyelet setter thing (I told you I was not a papercrafter) inside the pinwheel and bang the top with a hammer without totally crunching my paper or having some of the spindles fall off the eyelet.  Grrrrr.  So I bought some mini brads from the scrapbooking aisle and those worked like a charm.

Now that the pinwheels were all constructed, we just needed to figure out a way to hang them in a mobile like fashion.  My first thought was constructing something out of wire.

So Derek spent an evening trying to manipulate wire in such a fashion to make it look smooth and professional while being able to allow 11 pinwheels to spin gracefully.  This part of the project led to Derek’s frustration…..and three crumbled up masses of wire.  I thought about photographing that for the blog, but decided that it would not would have been appreciated. 

Onto Plan B….the old standby of dowel rods. 


We decided to use one longer dowel rod as the base and then make two X’s with smaller dowel rods to hang beneath.  The X’s were secured with fishing line and wood glue and then spray painted.  Holes were drilled at the end of all the dowel rods in order to be able to string fishing line through to hold pinwheels.

And then the fun task of hanging the pinwheels with fishing line began.  This was a two person job….one person to hold the contraption and the other to string the pinwheels.  Or to play with the pinwheels and watch them spin while the other did all the work.  Not that that was me though.   I was focused the whole time.

Anyway, we used a bead strung through the eyelet hole to secure the pinwheels and allowed them to move freely in the breeze.  We constructed each dowel rod X separately with its pinwheels at varying heights and then put it all together to get this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

And the view from the crib looks like this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

They spin so easily…I almost made a video of them spinning.  But then decided that it may be the most boring video ever.  So I didn’t.  You’re welcome.

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

Hopefully he likes watching it as much as I did while we were putting it together.  Or hopefully half as much when he is not busy sleeping through the night:).

I think this is my Best Idea Ever

At least that is what I told Derek as I was flipping through a CB2 catalog.


The oversized abacus.  The perfect addition to what to put above the crib which had been stressing me out for awhile as I was very uninspired in this area for some reason.  Of course we were not going to spend $150 for the CB2 version when of course we could make our own.  I mean how easy….see any resemblance to another DIY project?


It was meant to be, we already basically had made one in the laundry room without the beads and some hinges.

Ready for the how-to?

1.  Find 100 beads for you abacus.  I ordered mine from this website, Woodworks Ltd. They had tons of options and the beads came super fast.  I ordered 1-1/2" Round Beads, 1/2" hole.  Of course you could do a different number other than 100 if you did not want to be mathematically correct.

abacus making

2. Prime ‘em.  We used spray primer and it was quick and easy.  After one side dries, flip them and prime the other.

abacus making

3. Paint them.  I used cheap acrylic paint because….well I was being cheap and did not want to buy 10 cans of spray paint.   I may have regretted that decision as I was hand-painting the second coat on every.single.bead.    And then flipping them over.  When the baby gets older I am going to make sure he knows that his mom loves him so much that those suckers are handpainted.

abacus making

4.  Gloss them.  The acrylic paint was in flat finish so we added a glossy spray coat.

abacus making

5.  Make the frame .  We made ours thicker than the CB2 version so that it could be screwed into the wall.  That way if Junior decides he is more athletically rather than mathematically inclined, he will not be able to pull it down on himself.

Materials: 4 – 8’ 1x2; 1 – 10’ 1x3; 10 dowel rods, your choice as to size; 1 1/4” nails; 1 1/4” screws if you want to be able to take it apart.

a. For this size, cut 2 22” 1x2 pieces.

b. Clamp the 1x2 pieces together.

c. Drill holes through the middle of both 1x2 pieces every 2 inches so the holes match up exactly.

d. Nail the 1x2’s with holes as verticals with 2 33” long 1x2 boards to make the inner frame.

e. Add a second “outer frame” of 1x2 around the outside of the inner frame.  This allows the dowel rods to fit snugly in their holes and does not require gluing of the dowels.  It is important that you do not nail both ends of the outer frame on at this time.  If you nail both sides you will not have a way to get the dowels into the frame.   The long sides of the outer frame are 34 1/2” and the vertical sides of the outer frame are 22”.

f. Use the 1x3 to make a backing that will be used to screw to the wall.  You will have a slight overhang on the inside of the abacus to screw through.  Nail this to the back of the outer frame 1x2.   Long 1x3’s measure 34 1/2” and the short sides are 18 1/2”.

6. Finish the frame.  I was originally thinking of staining it, but in the end we went white.  So we used spray primer and paint. 

abacus making

7.  Install the beads.  Since we were thinking ahead and left the left side off, we just slid those babies on making sure not to miscount.  Because that would have been embarrassing.

abacus making

8. Attach the final side piece.  We decided to use screws so that it can be removed if I want to change the color of the beads for some odd reason.  Or if Junior decides to use a dowel rod as a pull up bar and it snaps.  Screws will make it easier to slide out and replace.  We filled the screw hole with one of those white caps.

abacus making

9. Hang it.  Like I mentioned before, we screwed it in directly to the studs and then filled the screw holes with the white caps.

abacus making

10.  Enjoy your functional art.  And the thought that somehow it will make the baby a mathematical genius in their sleep. abacus making

abacus making

Best part?  It was less than half the price of the CB2 version and it was customized to our colors, size, and more sturdy for screwing in the wall.    And if a nursery is not in your DIY plans, you could stain all the beads or paint them all one color to match a more adult room.

It is exciting to actually have something hanging on the wall…now I just need to get going on the mobile and those drapes.


Honey oak has officially been eradicated from another room.  The future nursery is oak free which feels nice. Now it only lives in some random closets that I have been too lazy to paint and the window in our second story entry that I cannot reach.  But I am just going to pretend that it is gone.



And current state:nursery progress

The construction is pretty much done and now we are getting closer to the fun part….decorating!

Some furniture has made its way in.  I am in love with our glider and all it’s orangeness.  Our color scheme is going to be aqua and orange.  Silly me assumed that orange baby stuff would not be difficult to find.  I was wrong, But nothing a little special ordering at a local furniture store could not fix.

nursery progress

And we set-up the crib in the midst of the construction.  As parenting newbies we did not realize that it was too large to fit through a doorway once it was assembled. So we had to cover it with a dropcloth and paint around it.  Live and learn.

nursery progress

The closet got a little orange treatment as well.

nursery progress

Is is bright?  Yes….but I promise not as neon as the picture makes it appear.  My new shopping weakness is also on display.  Who can resist buying cute baby things?

Now to the things I am stuck on and need some opinions.  The light fixture.

Because the sexy light bulb hanging from the wire is not permanent.  Very child friendly.

nursery progress

Option 1: a cute orange drum shade

land of nod

Pros: it is cute and orange and modern and not that expensive

Option 2: a ceiling fan


Pros:  It is practical for a warm room and babies seemed to be mesmerized by them (or so I have heard)

So what do you think?  Practicality or orangeness??  I am torn. 

While you are mulling that one over, I have another one for you.

The original plan was to refinish both of these dressers and use the long low one for a changing table.  Hence the changing table pad.  (ignore the baby unfriendly tool paraphernalia)

nursery progress

But after we got all the furniture in there and determined that this was the only configuration that would work, I got worried that the long dresser was…well too long.  And that the corner had too much “dresser” going on.

Not a lot of room in between the dresser and the glider for baby essentials such as a diaper pail, hamper, and ottoman.  I was also thinking a side table was necessary to set things while I am feeding baby.  Could get a little crowded.

nursery progress

Another option? 

A changing table that can be converted to bookshelves when baby is older a la

free furniture plans simple changing table 3

It is shorter than the dresser allowing more space for other stuff and it breaks up the whole 2 dresser corner thing. 

So what’s your vote….dresser or changing table?  And fan or drum shade? 

And then we can move onto more fun things….fabric!

How Hard Can it Be?

Thanks for all the well wishes from our little announcement!  We have started on the nursery, but a final after is a ways away.  We we have plenty of time and a whole lots of projects.

Honestly I had been thinking about the nursery since before we were even thinking about kids.  Because it is such a fun room and you can get away with cute things that would look silly anywhere else. 

In browsing all sorts of inspiration pictures, I knew I wanted some sort or built-in or architectural feature to add to our boxy room with two plain windows.


Since I knew the window wall was wasted space in terms of furniture placement, I came up with a “brilliant” idea of a built-in window seat.


Easy peasy right?

Well first the ceiling had to be scraped of the popcorn…and the stains.  Which, in my delicate state, I got to sleep through while Derek did the dirty work.

I did help him tarp everything though.

nursery reno

If you have never scraped popcorn, it is a very messy and gross job.  But it is also pretty easy.  Just dowse the ceiling with water from a garden sprayer, wait a couple minutes and scrape.

And it all falls down on you.

nursery reno

Or Derek in this case.

After we cleaned up that mess, it was time to make more messes with moving vents, light switches, and light fixtures to accommodate the new window seat.  Didn’t really envision that mess in the whole “hey let’s add a window seat” idea.

nursery reno

nursery reno

Luckily Derek’s step dad was along for this project and we could not have done it without him.  Drywalling is an art form we have not mastered and he took care of skim coating the ceiling, running new electrical, and patching all the wholes.  Not to mention the whole window seat thing.  He was invaluable.

After the drywall was done, it was time for primer and paint.  I planned a gender neutral aqua and orange color scheme, but I am sad to admit that I did not follow my own rule of painting a test spot on the wall and deciding on a color before buying two gallons of it.

Nope, I had figured I had picked enough paint out at this point that I could skip that step.  So I bought two gallons of my teal and let Derek handle the painting while I took another nap.

But after cutting in all the corners, he was very smart to wake me up because he knew it was not what I wanted.  A very pretty sage, but not a teal.  So we had to go buy two new gallons of paint.  I am never breaking my own rule again.  It is an expensive rule to break.  Here is the new teal on top of the wrong sage.

nursery reno

After the painting issue, the window seat was finally ready to go in. 

nursery reno

I wish we had a detailed window seat how to.  But it was so custom to our space and went through many redesigns during the install that it is not the case.  But I have lots of step by step pictures.

First the bookshelves went in…..

nursery reno

And then the facing pieces and the bottom (while it was blizzarding outside)…..

nursery reno

And then the lids and the crown molding.

nursery reno

The lids flip up for toy storage….

nursery reno

And there is a curtain rod built in behind the crown molding.  I plan on hanging full length drapes so the sides of the book shelves are hidden and I can try to hide that they are different sizes.

nursery reno

And I can pull them all the way across to block all light.  And when the baby gets older, the cushions can come off the tops and it can be used for a stage.

Now we are in the unglamorous section of the project of filling holes and painting.  Everything will be white including those windows. 

Ugh window painting…..

I think it is time for another nap.

Up Next

There is one room in our house that has not gotten much love on the blog.  We affectionately referred to it as the junk room.  Here is what we started with when we moved in:


And in all the junk room glory:


furniture that needs to be refinished?  check

random light fixtures?  check

painting supplies? check

bags of clothes that need to go to goodwill?  check

honey oak?  of course

popcorn ceilings? duh

So we thought it needed a to be cleaned out….not to mention a facelift.  The junk room has served it’s purpose of holding stuff and a cabinet painting location but it is time to move on.

Because we happy to finally share that we are expecting Baby #1 in July!

Many of you probably guessed by my long unexplained absence, and honestly the first trimester kicked my butt.  I have never been so sick and tired for so long.  I titled this holiday season the “Christmas of Lowered Expectations.”  Christmas card?  Nope.  Cookies?  Nope.  Decorating the house?  I watched Derek do a great job while I sat on the couch.  And it all turned out OK even though it was hard to give up control and let things go.  And while I am still not 100%, at least I am functioning again. 

Anyway….plans for the nursery.  We have already started construction and I can’t wait to share pics on Monday.  Think orange and aqua and window seats.  And no more popcorn ceiling.  And of course no more junk.