Monday, May 24, 2010

DIY Bright Modern Nursery

The nursery project has been in progress for about 6 months now and I have concentrated every nesting instinct I have into this teeny tiny room. We went back and forth, but finally decided to use this mini-room because it gets the best light in the house, has the best view, and using it meant we wouldn't have to get rid of our guest bedroom. It was definitely the right decision.

This is the "before" picture- taken from the doorway right before the painting process began...

Nursery before picture

And here is the after!

View from the doorway

The room doesn't have a theme exactly, but a few motifs. Circles and owls seem to come up a lot...

Nursing corner

Crib/changing table corner


Now for the details. The stuff that was bought:
1. The crib is the Gulliver from IKEA, which was chosen because it was the smallest crib we could find. Pretty much everything else we considered wouldn't fit into the room.
2. The changing table is also from IKEA- the old standby dresser everyone has in their house, the Malm.
3. The rocking chair is an antique that my parents found on Craigslist and gave us for Christmas.
4. The chest of drawers thing under the window was an amazing find from HomeGoods. It was on clearance for only $100 (marked down from $400!). I couldn't believe how perfectly it fit in the space.
5. The pendant lamp is also from IKEA- the Fado. I love it because it kinda reflects the circle thing we have going.
6. The vinyl wall decal is from Etsy, a shop called Surface Inspired. More circles there and of course the owl which I am obsessed with.
7. Eclipse curtains from Target. I had every intention of making curtains, but when I found these at Target and they were the kind that wouldn't let light through PLUS they had textured circles all over and matched perfectly, I knew it was meant to be.

Stuff we made:
1. The crib skirt. After hours and hours of scouring the web for the perfect material, I ended up finding it at Hobby Lobby. We started out with very plain flat panels but wanted to add a little something extra and ended up finding the rick rack in the craft supplies that I inherited from my grandma. I love that a piece of her is in this room. I looked all over the internet for a pattern for an IKEA crib skirt and couldn't find one, so we made one up. If people are interested, I will try to put together a tutorial.
Crib skirt close up

2. A valence and curtain pulls. I wanted something really flat for the valence, but I didn't feel like making a wooden box and hanging it up. The valence is two layers of fabric with a layer of interfacing in between to make it sturdy. There is also a cord running along the bottom inside to keep it straight and flat. The buttons on the curtain pulls are from the great stash given to me by Mema, so a great-grandma is also represented in the room.

3. Chair cushion and pillow. Material, stuffing, and pillow for these was purchased at Joann for 50% off. To make the chair cushion, we traced the chair bottom onto tracing paper to make a pattern. Cut out two fabric pieces, pinned 4 pieces of ribbon to serve as ties between the two pieces of fabric, sewed it all together, stuffed it with polyester stuffing, and sewed on 4 buttons. For the pillow, just cut out two fabric rectangles 1 inch larger than the pillow form and sewed them together.
Chair pad & pillow

4. Changing table pad. To be honest, this is still a work in progress. I made a pattern that would fit the curved sides of the contoured changing pad and sewed them to a piece of fabric that fit all the way around the pad, but right now it is pinned underneath until I can get help figuring out the best way to attach elastic.
Closet corner

5. I found the set of red number drawer pulls at Pottery Barn Kids Outlet for only $5! It was more difficult than expected, but Bryan drilled holes into the Malm dresser to put in the drawer pulls and I think it makes a HUGE difference.
Changing table

6. The owl mobile, of course, which is described in my last post.

So that's where we're at right now. We have 5 weeks before he's scheduled to arrive and I have a few more things I'd like to get done before then. I want to make a quilt with all the different materials we used in the nursery, but I haven't made a quilt before so it could take some time. I also would like to figure out something to hang up on the wall over the crib, but I am paranoid about hanging things because I'm afraid they will fall on him. I also have 2 or 3 knitting projects I'd like to finish before he gets here as well. OK, all that seems a little ambitious now that I write it out.

If anyone has any ideas for safe things to hang over the crib, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Owl Mobile

We wanted to create a modernish nursery that had no real theme but just had lots of bright colors and simple shapes. It worked pretty well, I think, but I did get a little obsessed with owls as I went along. Not enough to make it a theme I don't think, but you'll see owls sprinkled around a little.

I wanted to make a handmade mobile for the baby, but I sort of liked the idea that store-bought mobiles could move and play music. I got inspiration when I saw a mobile at TJ Maxx that was missing some pieces (it was also fairly ugly). In a move that is totally unlike me, I talked to the manager and asked if I could get it for a discount because it was missing the little arm covers that were shown on the box. The manager said yes and I got this mobile that winds up to move and play music for only $10.

I found these absolutely ADORABLE owl stuffies on Flickr and decided to make the mobile with little owls that are sewn from the fabrics that I used around the rest of the nursery. I made one test one and loved it, so I gathered everything I would need to make 3 more.

Materials for owl nursery mobile

Using the great directions in tutorials by Jenny the Artist and Moonstitches, I sewed these little guys up in just a few minutes. It was a little more fiddly to do the rest of the sewing by hand, but once I got that first one figured out it took no time at all.

I love each of these little guys so much I can't help but show you each one separately. It would be unfair to focus on just one.

Owl #4 for mobile

One major hint I would offer to anyone making owl stuffies (or any other stuffies for that matter) is to splurge on felt that has sticky glue on the back. It is SO much easier to work with the tiny little felt circles if they just stick where they are supposed to end up while you sew.

Owl #1 for mobile

I seriously don't have a favorite. I love them all.

Owl #2 for mobile

As always, my embroidery skills leave lots to be desired, but I tried to use a satin stitch for the little beaks.

Owl #3 for mobile

I threaded the red embroidery thread through the backs of the owls at an angle so that they were all facing down toward the baby. That way he'd be able to see the contrast, which is kind of the whole point of mobiles, from what I understand. It bugs me when mobiles are angled so that adults can see how cute they are but the babies can only see the boring bottoms.

Owl mobile for a modern nursery

For the base and the arms, I just measured the girth of each piece, added half an inch along each side for seam allowance, and cut rectangles. Then I hemmed the short ends and sewed the long ends together to form tubes. Slip the tubes over the base and arms and you have custom-fit covers. I did NOT want any ruffly or ruched-looking lines, so I tried hard to make the measurements as exact as possible so the tubes would fit on exactly and look straight and clean.

Owl mobile for a modern nursery

I'm thrilled with the results- this makes me want to squee every time I look in the tiny little room where our boy is going to live. I'll show you more sewing soon- I'm trying to figure out the best way to take pictures in such a teeny tiny space.