From Nursery

DIY Nursery Alphabet Art

For all intents and purposes, my maternity leave is over.  It’s sad, but true.  What’s even more sad but true is that I did not accomplish half of the things on my maternity leave wish-list during that time, namely polishing off nursery updates that resulted from adjusting the room to fit two boys.  I did keep a baby alive, though, so that must count for something. Right?

Despite being out of “free time,” I’m still chipping away at my list and this past weekend I finally got around to completing some artwork to hang over the crib.

Before I delve into the how-tos on this masterpiece, let me explain the back story.  Back when this was just a room for one baby boy, this wall was home to our yellow dresser/changing table, with shelves and hooks hanging above, like this:

Once we moved the dresser into the closet and took the shelves down, we were left with a pretty expansive space to fill.  The crib fits the wall perfectly, and the tissue paper poms and star lanterns I added helped fill up a lot of the space, but it needed something more.

(The poms are from PomLove, by the way, and they match the ones over Ike’s bed. The stars were made by my sister for our wedding!)

The truth is, I needed something to cover up the holes left from the shelves that I didn’t feel like filling!  The answer: artwork.

I pondered a gallery wall for a while but then decided on one large-scale piece.  Between our fabric-filled embroidery hoops and other wall art, I felt that more small pieces would make it too busy.  Of course, some may argue that adding a big colorful alphabet piece might make it too busy.  But, to each their own.  I liked the idea of the alphabet because it would be educational and decorative all at the same time.

Back in February, I picked up a canvas drop cloth and some acrylic paints at Home Depot.  I had no plan other than to make something big with letters.  The rest I just figured out as I went.

I started by laying the drop cloth on a table and ironing it.  Yes, I ironed right there on the table.  I didn’t cut a piece yet, just left it full size to see what happened.

This was the collection of paints that I found at Home Depot for just $2.97.  Such a steal!

I started by adding 32 yellow dots with a sponge brush.  I made them really rough circles so that nothing looked too perfect.  The artist in me was really coming out…kindergarten style.

The yellow was a bit too bold for me so I softened it up and added some dimension by mixing some white paint over the yellow dots.  It was starting to look a little funky.  But I kept going!

Then I picked my palette of colors.  What, you don’t put your acrylic paints on your glass plates?  I do.

Since I had 32 circles (four even rows of eight circles), I needed to fill six with something other than letters.  I chose to do randomly placed shapes, all painted black.  I made sure not to do a circle, since it looks so much like the letter “O.”  I didn’t want to confuse the tots, after all.

Once the shapes were in place, I started adding the letters, one color at a time…

…until all the circles were full!  I thought for sure I would put a letter in the wrong place since I was doing the letters by color instead of in order, but I got it right.

After I let my masterpiece dry, I trimmed around the edges with pinking shears (so I didn’t have to hem every edge).  I finished it off with two wooden dowels, one at the top and one at the bottom.  I folded the fabric around the dowels, pinned it in place, removed the dowels to sew the two straight lines, then put the dowels back through.

I forgot to take a close-up picture, but I just used two pieces of orange ribbon attached to either end of the top dowel, tied them in the center and used that to hang the artwork.  It was pretty simple.  I might need to add something sticky to the back once Lincoln starts standing up and grabbing things, but it should be nice and secure for several months!

As for the letters, I decided to go with all lowercase.  Ike knows all of his uppercase letters, so I thought this would be a good chance to practice his lowercase letters, colors and shapes all at once.  I found it helps him learn letters when they are different colors.  I can ask him to find the purple “b” and he can instantly narrow down the choices based on the color.  We’ll see if it works.  If not, at least it looks good!

So, what do you think?  Is it a little too bright and colorful for your taste?  Or is it something you would add to a kid’s room?



Bright new play area {nursery update}

I’m pretty sure certain that the nursery we designed for Ike back in 2010 is my most blogged about room.  Perhaps I was a little obsessed.  Perhaps.  Well, my friends, let the obsession continue.  We’ve been making some cha-cha-cha-changes as we update the room to fit the two—count ’em—two boys we now have sharing the space.

A couple of weeks ago I shared the section of the room that has Ike’s new big boy bed and DIY headboard.  Today I am here to share our updated play area (formerly known as the nursing-and-reading-chair area).  This is what the corner of the room looked like when we revealed the room back in December of 2010.

And here it is today!

When we decided that Ike and Lincoln would share the space, I moved the big arm chair and white table into a spare room across the hall (which would have been the second nursery, if we had gone that route.)  Although it took away a comfy reading spot, I just knew that midnight nursing sessions and diaper changes would be a bit too much for Ike to sleep through.  And, guess what, the best reading spot is now the big boy bed!

It was just as well, anyway, because we needed a bit of space for Ike to use as play space in his room.  Sometimes he likes to hang out upstairs in his room all by himself and read books and quietly play puzzles or cars.  It’s amazing.

The highlight of the space is the rocking chair…

The chair has been hanging out in the nursery by the book slings, but up until now it mostly held a variety of stuffed animals.  The rocking chair originally belonged to Chris’ grandmother and was passed down to us by Chris’ dad and step mom just before Ike was born.  Chris’ grandmother was a tiny woman and this chair is very small and low to the ground—perfect for little boys to use!

I can’t seem to find the “before” picture, but when we first got the chair, it had some stuffing and fabric wrapped and stapled to the seat with a cushion on top.  I made a new cover for the cushion using fabric that matches Ike’s quilt, but as you can see below, I still have some updating to do to the chair before it is fully complete.  Trust me, though, the chair is sturdy and safe with the cushion on top in the meantime!

As for toy storage, I spotted these totes at Target for about $6/each and snatched them up.  Aren’t they just perfect for our room?  I’m ridiculously proud of myself for finding them.

And there you have our nursery play area.

Want to come over to play?  Ike would love for you to read him a book. (He is forever saying, “Read the book, Momma, read the book.”)

What do you think?  Oh, and is anyone curious about how the room situation is working for us now that an infant and toddler have been sharing the space at night for a few weeks?  If so, I could whip up a post…


A Lazy Girl’s DIY Upholstered Headboard

Okay, so maybe calling myself lazy isn’t completely fair.  After all, this post is about me making an upholstered headboard when I was 9 months pregnant and finishing it when I had a newborn.  Maybe this is a mix of lazy and frugal.  Either way, this is the story of how I made an upholstered headboard for Ike’s big boy bed with as little effort as possible and without spending a dime, all in time for the winter edition of the Pinterest Challenge, to boot!

(The Pinterest Challenge is a challenge issued by four fun and friendly bloggers to get all of us psyched up to actually make something that has been hanging out on one of our Pinterest boards for all too long.  See more about our lovely hostesses at the end of this post! Oh, and you can follow me on Pinterest, too!)

The last time you heard about the nursery, we were making plans to adjust the room to accommodate our newest addition.  This meant moving Ike out of the crib and into a big boy bed.  We decided to go for a twin bed and set it up the weekend after Christmas.  He took to it instantly, and enjoyed jumping on it from the beginning…


We positioned the bed against the two walls to help keep the kiddo in place at night and tucked a piece of the old crib bumper under the sheet as a “rail” (so far so good), but since Ike doesn’t really sleep with a pillow, he was constantly hitting his head against the wall.  And so, a headboard was actually rather necessary.  

But here is where my frugality and laziness come in.  The way I see it, this room might very well make several transitions over the next few years as it houses a toddler and a newborn and then two toddlers.  I have no idea how long this headboard will be needed, so I didn’t want to invest a lot in it.  So, I looked for something simple to replicate.

This was one of my favorite inspirations on Pinterest (although more ornate than I planned to do), the original post for which can be found here on The Shabby Nest blog.  (If you like this image, please click through to the original site and “pin it” from there!)


Just as DIYers before me, I cut a piece of plywood to size, covered it with batting and then fabric.

Here comes lazy/frugal step number one: instead of buying more fabric to complete this project, I used scraps from our DIY cornices and crib skirt and pieced them together.  Yes, there are a few seams, but it works.

I wrapped the fabric tightly around the plywood and batting and stapled it down.

And here comes lazy/frugal step number two.  We just screwed this thing to the wall.  No special hanging gear and no tufting.  Nope, we just pushed two screws through into studs.  Chris and I did this part together when I was hugely pregnant and while Ike was climbing around our feet trying to “help,” so sadly our screws didn’t even line up with each other.  And the fabric got a bit twisted around the screws.  It didn’t look very polished.

And then it stayed this way for about a month and a half.

Do you think my toddler will be traumatized by his mangled headboard?  Me neither.

But alas, the Pinterest Challenge finally inspired me to finish this project once and for all.  In a third step of extreme laziness, I took a scrap of fabric from Ike’s quilt, cut it with pinking shears, and glued it to the headboard with fabric glue to hide the screws.  It took me less than 10 minutes.

No, this headboard won’t be showing up in a magazine any time soon, but it is functional, it was inexpensive, and it was easy.  And it works just perfectly for the potentially short time that our two-year-old little man’s bed will be in this exact spot.

Remember Ollie the elephant doll, the original inspiration for our nursery?  My mom made this for me when I was a little girl and gave the doll some proper boy clothes when we found out Ike was a boy.

Don’t tell Ike, but his new little brother was trying out the big boy bed.  While the cat is away, the mice will play…

And here is a wider view of Ike’s little nook, complete with the poms, stars and mirror that originally hung over his crib. He is still using the quilt I made for his crib, so I’ll eventually need to get proper big boy bedding.  But for now it is just perfect for him.

What do you think?  Are you embarrassed for me and my headboard?  Or do you agree that this will suffice until we figure out the long-term plans for this room?  I’m just psyched that I might have used the last of the yellow elephant and ikat fabric!

Now, if you want to be inspired, please head on over to the blogs of our four Pinterest Challenge hostesses and see what everyone else has been up to!

Want to follow along with more of my adventures? Check me out on Facebook, Instagram @domesticadventure and Pinterest!


A room for two

A while back I announced that baby number two is boy number two!  We’re pretty excited, to say the least.  One of the questions I’ve been getting most often is about the nursery.  As in, are we going to make a second one? You know I had way too much fun working on Ike’s nursery in the months before he was born, so there is a big, round, waddling part of me that really, really wants to work on another baby room.

But then there is the practical, exhausted part of me that thinks we should keep all the baby boy clothes, diapers, gear and toys in one place.  Especially since Ike’s room is plenty big enough for two.

And so there it is.  We are going to adapt Ike’s room so that our two baby boys can share!  This is where many bloggers would whip out their fancy-pants computerized rendering of the room-to-be.  Me, I’m sticking to graph paper and a pencil (per usual).

The big changes involve moving our changing table/dresser from the room into the super-sized closet and replacing it with a toddler bed for Ike.  I’ll also move the big arm chair across the hall to this generally unused room…

…which I imagine will be my nursing retreat for those middle-of-the-night feedings (I’m kind of in denial that those are going to be happening again).

We’ve been preparing for this change for a couple of months now.  I actually couldn’t wait to put my plan into action, so I’ve already re-organized the closet and moved the dresser (pictures to come some day).  We also went ahead and adjusted Ike’s crib to the toddler bed setting, so he is getting used to sleeping without a full side around him.  Which means he is experiencing some fun sleeping positions like this one.

(The transition to the toddler bed actually went surprisingly well.  The first few nights he experimented with getting out of bed, but it took only a few reprimanding shouts up the stairs (followed by running toddler footsteps and crying in bed) before he got the hang of the routine.  Now he generally climbs into bed after story time and hangs quietly until he falls asleep.)

The next big decision is what to do for Ike’s “big boy bed.”  It will have to be twin sized to fit into the room, so I am considering some options.

And we’ll have to get Ike fully prepared to share.  Tonight we asked him if he’ll share his room with the baby and he just said, “no baby.”  We’re working on it…

What do you think about two boys just two years apart sharing a room?  Any experiences (good or bad) to share?

The nursery dresser – a year later

It seems that my idea to paint someone’s old dresser a bright shade of yellow and turn it into a changing table was more than just crazy pregnancy hormones in action.  It seems like maybe it was a good idea.  How do I know?

Well more than a year after the nursery reveal, our brightly painted yellow nursery dresser/changing table continues to be one of the most popular items on the blog, generating many questions and pins on a regular basis (seriously, just look at all of the photos that have been pinned from my blog and see how many are of the dresser!).

So, in attempt to answer some of the many looming questions about this sunny piece of furniture, I offer you a Nursery Dresser FAQ.

(What, isn’t that what you wanted to spend your Friday reading!?)

How tall is the dresser?  Our dresser is 31″ high.  I am about 5′ 4″ and Chris is 6′ tall, and neither one of us has ever noticed or commented on whether the dresser is too high or too low, so it must be just right.

Where can I find the number pulls and did you paint them?  The number pulls were originally from Pottery Barn Kids and they were a glossy red.  I did treat them with spray paint (which is holding up just fine).  Unfortunately PBK is no longer selling this product, but if you look hard enough, you can find them on eBay (like here).

How is the paint holding up? Other than a spot on the top where a sticker from a piece of clothing took off some paint, the rest of the piece is holding up really well.  You can read more about the painting process here.

What do you store in the drawers?  We store disposable diapers in drawer number one, our cloth diapers in drawer number 2, wipes in drawer number 3, and then a selection of clothes, socks, and gear in 4, 5 and 6.  It seems to work for us.

Did you drawers smell musty and, if so, how did you get rid of the smell?  We were lucky that the drawers on our dresser weren’t too musty.  Other than giving the drawers a good washing before we filled them, I haven’t done much.  However, I’ve heard that wiping the wood with vinegar helps. Other people have suggested putting some kitty litter or baking soda in the drawers to absorb any scents.

Are you still using your changing pad?  Our little man Ike is pretty well behaved on his changing table.  He sits relatively still and even helps assist in dressing by putting his arms up or holding up his legs for socks, so this is our sole location for diaper changes and dressing.  In fact, it’s when we try to change Ike on the floor or bed that he really misbehaves and thinks its time to play.  It’s almost as if the changing table signals him that it’s time to get undressed or dressed.  It’s amazing that he is now as long as the changing pad, so it won’t be long before he outgrows it!

Do you use the shelves and hooks above the dresser? The hooks are a home run for us.  I hang pajamas there, or put out clothing for Chris to use when he’s dressing the baby.  The shelves?  Well, they look nice, but I’m not using them for much right now.  And now that Ike is bigger, I do run a small risk of bumping his head on them when I get him up off the changing pad, but there have only been close calls; no real incidents for his serious injury notebook.

And I think that rounds out all of the normal dresser questions.  Isn’t amazing how a single piece of furniture can elicit questions the whole year through?  Did I miss any questions that you’re dying to have answered?

Happy weekend!





Brightest and Best Nurseries – place your vote!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Ike’s Sunshiney Gray Nursery made it into Ohdeedoh’s Small Kids, Big Color contest?  Well, the votes are in and we made it into the finals!  You know what that means…I hope you’ll consider voting for me—again!

But, here is the deal.  Ike’s room is one of the nine awesome nurseries that made it to the finals, and all of them are worthy of your vote.  While I would love to persuade you to vote for my room, I’m asking you to take a peek at these nine and vote for your favorite.  If Ike’s Sunshiney Gray nursery happens to win you over, then color me super happy.

The nine finalists for Ohdeedoh's Small Kids, Big Color contest

Voting is only open until 12 noon EST on Dec. 13, so cast your vote now!  If you don’t already have an account with Apartment Therapy, it is easy to sign in through Facebook to vote.

Thank you for considering Ike’s Sunshiney Gray Nursery!