Tag Archives: Nursery

Thrifty Living: Toysplosion, Part II

28 Nov

I have been fighting the good fight over toy storage ever since before Isobel was old enough to go through the cat door. When her toys began taking over the living room we bought an awesome six dollar thrifted chest and begged the internet for help to solve this problem. Little did I know that the toy storage problem would never go away, just change and become difficult in different ways with time.

We’ve been slowly moving Isobel’s toys out of her nursery and into a room affectionately known as “the Pencil Room,” after the time that I stashed an enormous cache of colored pencils in that room. Which, nevermind. That’s a story for another time. Our plan is to move Isobel out of the nursery and into the Pencil Room, which will eventually become her big girl room.

After shopping around for toy storage and organization systems, I settled for thrifted tins and baskets, tubs for larger toys and collections, a few buckets and finally, some photo storage boxes bought cheaply at Micheal’s.

I really like the tins, even though you do have to remember what’s in them. But that makes them that much fresher to your child when they pull them out again. Sometimes the lids on older tins tend to stick, but that can be a good thing if it holds toys for your older child that you don’t want your younger kid getting into.

The main thing I’ve learned about toy storage and organization is you have to develop a little ruthlessness. Keeping the amount of toys at manageable levels, developing collections that will grow with your child, and donating the things that you child has out grown/doesn’t care a whole lot about/are duplicates of other toys has really saved my sanity. Especially when we have playdates. When we have Kingston over he moves from room to room, rooting out his favorite toys while he and Isobel dump everything out in the process. And that is totally fine! Kids! It’s what they do! I’ve sorted and pared the toys down to the point that I can clean up a toysplosion, I mean a total, house-wrecking toysplosion, in under twenty minutes. I don’t mean to brag. Getting to this point was a hard-won battle. But it is possible.

Advertisements

Thrifty Living: The Jellyfish Tent

8 Sep

At 7 a.m. my friends Angela and Melynda were putting the last items on the lawn of the yard sale. I rolled up, coffee in hand, and told them I wasn’t to take anything home. I was there to help. And then, of course, I saw this: a hoop of netting meant to drape gracefully at the head of a bed or even a cradle. Netting fine enough to see through but still keep the mosquitoes out. I knew I had to have it.

Anthony wasn’t so sure when I bought it home. He wasn’t as confident as I was that Isobel would like it and he was sure Poppy or Jupiter would tear it to shreds. He hung it up in the Pencil Room (soon to be Isobel’s big girl room) anyway.

Isobel, of course, loves it, and calls it her jellyfish. As Anthony was hanging it I remarked that it looked a little like a jellyfish trailing netted tentacles and the name stuck.

Mel was going to charge 5 bucks, which is a steal compared to what she paid for it, but in the end Anthony bought her a life-sustaining toasted bagel and mango smoothie and we called it even.

Originally I just shoved some old pillows under there after Anthony hung it in place, and that was fine for awhile. But the pillows were old and gross and I decided cute pillow covers were in order. Then while thrifting I found this felted blanket lined with pom-pom trim. God, am I a sucker for pom-pom trim. It was a dollar.

 

A quick but thorough Etsy search revealed these two pillow covers, and I couldn’t be happier. The gorgeous brown one is from this seller, and you need to check out her shop because this pillow cover is fantastic quality, came beautifully packaged, and the seller is one of the nicest I’ve met. Also, as if that’s not enough, look at this, this, and this. Such gorgeous covers.

I bought the pink floral case from this adorable shop. How can you not love a store called pillow happy?! Impossible. I wanted cases that coordinated without matching, and I think they look perfect together. She also has some really great stuff, like this, this, and the scrabble tile cases.

I couldn’t be happier with out they turned out, especially since those pillows were so old and mangy before.

I suppose I should mention I have not been compensated for those mentions, nor do those sellers even know who I am. I just love these pillow covers, and think that you should, too. Isobel, for her part, adores them.

It’s so calm and serene in the jellyfish tent. It almost makes me forget about the chaos just outside it.

Thrift Store Score: The Kite

2 Jul

How perfect would this be for a child’s nursery? Handmade from 1967. In the shop soon.

Thrifted Home Tour: The Nursery

13 Jun

I have put off writing this post for the Thrifted Home Tour for about a year now because of PPD, and although I’ve technically never done the library or the guest bedroom either, the nursery was the room I balked at. For almost two years my sister lived in our guest bedroom so that room was off limits, and our home library has needed a lot of work so I never really took pictures of it to include it in the tour, although I should just for the awesome green vintage filing cabinet alone. I did post photos of the office/library here and you can see years-old photos of some vintage goodness in the guest bedroom on flickr, including the trunk that came over with my family from Sweden. It held all their worldly goods and you can still see the address to “Amerika” carved on the side.  You can read the previous installments of the Thrifted Home Tour here.

(What is the Thrifted Home Tour? I’m glad you asked! I’ve decorated my entire home with vintage goods either passed down from family members or found while trolling estate sales or thrift stores. I am showing off different rooms of my house to display how thrifted items can be worked into the décor to be useful and inspiring items. Partially it’s because I’d love to promote my vintage Etsy shop, and partially because that’s just how I roll. I think more people should decorate their home with thrifted goods. Here’s why .)

I made these curtains myself from Heather Ross fabric I ordered from someplace online. They look horrible, and this is because I tried to make them after I went on maternity, and getting down on the ground with a giant belly to cut fabric was DUMB. Don’t try it at home.

The nursery set got a lot of views on flickr and I still occasionally get emails from people about something that was in the photos or if they can use a shot for something. It was featured on Esty, Ohdeedoh, and Spearamint Baby. I had the most fun creating this room and I can’t wait do to it all over again when the time comes. We had a miniscule budget but I managed to put this room together by shopping thrift stores, Etsy, and my own family’s hand-me-downs.

I guess I should start explaining things now since I’m several photos into the tour. The chair in the photo above belonged to my grandparents, as did the side table next to it. The chair itself is pretty gross one side. All the cats decided it was the perfect scratching post, but I chose that chair not for its looks but for its comfort. I’ve slept in that chair while cradling the newborn Isobel many times, as has Anthony and I think maybe even my sister and mother. The pillow in the chair was an old one I bought for my first apartment at MacFrugals. It is UG-LY, but I bought a ten dollar pillow cover from Etsy seller Lindylou2. I still love it.

The blanket that’s draped over the chair was handmade by a coworker’s mother, and the one draped across the crib was made by Anthony’s Grandma.

I bought some cheap album frames from CB2 and filled them with record album covers from the thrift store with the exception of Sgt Pepper, which was my parents. My mom actually saw the Beatles at the Cow Palace way back in the day and I talk about it at every chance I get. Because DUDE she saw THE BEATLES. The magazine holder next to the chair came from my grandparents and we filled it with storybooks that we now read to her at bedtime.

Anthony and I scored both the bookcase and the dresser from a yardsale from an old neighbor. My Dad painstakingly painted the dresser pink but we left the shelf the way it was. All told I think we spent about fifty or sixty bucks for the set. Our buddy Jose gave us the thrifted “How Things Work” books which are amazing and have since been saved for Isobel for when she’s older. I miraculously came upon some old, hardbound Highlights for Children books at a book sale, and one of the doll’s quilts was thrifted as well.

The vintage print was found in a Costa Rican fairytale book from the library. I made a color copy and framed it an an old frame from an Estate sale. I got the wooden mushrooms from Etsy seller craftsty. Isobel now uses them as part of her cooking set. I got the firefly jar lights from etaknamdoow.

The closet was filled with clothes that were gifts plus a few things I picked up while thrifting or were hand-me-downs. People’s generosity was so overwhelming, it’s bursting at the seams. I decided it needed to be organized so I made these closet dividers for it and I posted a tutorial here.

I created a template for these guys that’s available for free over here.

I still use these to organize Isobel’s clothes, though we’re running to the end of the sizes I made them for. They are really lovely,  but I’m not going to lie–they were a lot of work. But seriously, they are useful, so check out the closet divider tutorial and see if you can streamline the process for yourself.

The changing table we scored for I think fifteen bucks at my favorite local thrift store, and the baskets underneath all came from Target. You can find where to purchase the cloth diaper pail liner here, and the pail itself is actually an unused garbage pail bought new from Target. You can see the lovely pink dresser my dad painted, too.

The cats above the changing table were purchased for fifteen bucks at an antique store, and Isobel used to look up at them and giggle when she was just a few months old. The old hamper next to the changing table (the wooden one) was my grandpa’s and back then I used it as a table to store wipes, powder and other essentials. Once Isobel was mobile enough to get into them I moved them to the dresser. The hamper now stores all of her dress up clothes.

I got a lot of comments on Isobel’s crib, and I wish I still had a link for it. We bought it relatively cheaply from the Babies R Us website. It was a moderately priced crib, so maybe $250? Cute modern cribs were so expensive and after striking out on Craigslist we just went ahead and bought this one. The joke’s on us though! Isobel coslept for all but about three months of her life. Hopefully kid #2 will spend more quality time here.

We ordered the decal off Etsy but I’m not going to post a link. I didn’t have a great experience with that seller so I’m not going to link to them. A quick search for “vinyl decal” or “wall decal” will yield more results than you eve r thought possible, so scour Etsy if you’re looking for something similar.

There’s sweet Peachie, sleeping on the changing table. I miss him and Tinkerbell incredibly.

This butterfly mobile is so gorgeous. It was custom made for us by Etsy seller Khamm75 and in full disclosure I have to say that I adore this seller. We convo’d a bit and she liked my photos of the mobile so much she offered to buy them for use in her listings. I had my eye on this birth date print so we arranged a trade, and now when you click on mobile listing you see my photos. She is super nice, great to work with, and her shop is filled with gorgeous wares.

It looks amazing above the crib next to the mobile.

There’s my sweet Peachie boy again.

I found this vintage owl picture while thrifting and a friend of mine said the owls look really pissed off. I didn’t think that before but ever since she said that, I always think that and it makes me giggle. They do look kind of miffed. It  adds to their charm. Below it is this great vintage brass lightswitch plate purchased from Etsy seller lexigirlcreations. I looked through a lot of light switch covers (so that’s what I did with all that carefree, childless time!) and it was by far the best.

The woodland animal pictures were handmade a long time ago and I found them while thrifting for ten cents each. The first picture is a chipmunk on a mushroom and the second features a fox and some butterflies. I luff them. Below is a yellow thrifted bowl that I keep Isobel’s hair accessories in and a thrifted bowl decorated with babies playing ping pong on it. I use that bowl for storing the rubber bands that I used to keep infant socks together. The light is vintage Irmi from the seventies. It was actually in my nursery and my mom saved it! The gold frame was also thrifted but the adorable ABC print inside came from Etsy seller studiolyon. She was another fantastic seller to work with. I also spent an inordinate amount of time researching ABC prints because I had seen so many fantastic ones featured on design sites and they were all at least $50 before shipping. This one was awesome and nine dollars. I guess sales exploded after I put up the nursery set since it was featured at different places and she sent me an email thanking me. Which is ridiculous, because we should be thanking her for producing lovely art affordably.

I found this frame and the mushroom plaque while thrifting.

This is what Isobel looked like most of the time while in her crib: awake. Here she’s chilling next to some elephants a great aunt made for me as a baby.

Isobel’s closet was ridiculous from before she was even born. We got tons of clothes as gifts but got even more things handed down from cousins and friends. I saved some of the really cute gift bags from her shower and used them as closet organization and storage for things like slings and receiving blankets.

There’s my sweet Tinky, hiding in the closet.

I didn’t get this footstool till later on during a yard saling expedition, but it was nice to have.

And I’m going to end with a photo of Tinky, who probably slept in the crib more often than Isobel.

After Photos: Nursery

31 Jan

Remember when Anthony and I went on that organizing binge, and I shared photos of my Secret Shame? Well, I’m happy to produce somewhat-decent after photos. (I know, I’m as surprised as you are.)

I have done so much work in the nursery, and it sort of makes me want to butt my head against the wall when I show off these photos because, at best, they still look like we’re in the middle of a transition. Which, I guess we are, but for the amount of time and attention I’ve given this room, it should be spectacular.

The nursery is the sort of room that needs constant maintenance as Isobel grows and her needs change. The closet and its limited capacity to hold what seems like Isobel’s endless piles of clothes, has been an issue. I hate to pass on too many outgrown garments because at some point we do plan to have another and my pre-nesting instincts are wanting me to save it all in case we have a girl. I’m trying to meet my insanity in the middle: we keep some, we give some away.

Then there’s the toy situation. Actually, I should refer to it as The Toy Situation. When Isobel was a baby I put out a desperate plea to the interwebs: Excuse me, but how to we keep Isobel’s toys organized and store them neatly? The answers I received were nothing but helpful and polite, but I sensed stifled giggles. Silly mama, the interwebs replied, toys are an invasive specie and will  now take over your entire house. Resistance is futile.

It was the beginning of the end for me. My carefully organized house would never be the same.

 Nevertheless, I still try to keep some semblance of order. In this case, I weeded out all the old “baby” toys and reorganized her newer, big girl toys.

You might also notice the plethora of seating options. I’d describe this decorating style as “Goldilocks.” That’s because the white chair was kicked out of our bedroom when we moved the elliptical in its place. I don’t want to get rid of it till we are done having babies, much to my husband’s dismay. He wants to get rid of it but dude, I’m going to need a place to nurse. I’d like several options, in fact.

The little yellow chair was my Mom’s chair when she was a toddler. Behind that we have a stroller parking lot.

 We don’t have the option of spending a ton of money for storage in this room, so I used a bunch of thrifted tins and baskets. Isobel loves the tins, provided that she can open them herself.

The wooden hamper holds all of Isobel’s dress-up stuff, most of which she’s still too little for.

 There’s the closet. Behold, it’s not that bad.

 I found these lovely lime green tubs at the grocery store. At four bucks a pop, I pounced on them. They contain large groups of toys, including Isobel’s cooking gear. The white tub is all of her coloring accessories.

 A closer view reveals her thrifted cradle, with thrifted baby quilts, and her baby, “Kirk”, sleeping peacefully away. If only we had a tiny Picard! Then I could introduce her to the miracle of Sweet Sir Baby Picard Jesus from an early age. But Kirk will do. She can already say, “Captain Kirk,” by the way.

  Also, thank you, Brando, for the awesome Kirk doll!

 The polka-dot box holds baby doll clothes that we haven’t used yet, and the basket is full of finger puppets and smaller stuffed animals. The white basket is for Mama, and it holds wetbags and diaper pail liners.

Doing these after photos reminds me that I need to get on posting the nursery edition of the Thrifted Home Tour, but man. I can hardly look at those photos without getting all maudlin and weepy. Meaning, it’s coming (eventually).

Thrift Store Score: Autumn Collection

9 Oct

Normally I post a recent Thrift Store Score on Saturdays, but today I am working on getting a special Autumn Collection up in my shop. I hope to feature about 15 autumn-inspired thrifted pieces of decor and servingware and clothing. I have a baby shower to go to in the early afternoon but after that I’m planning a special photoshoot for this collection.

Welcome, fall. I missed you.

Sharing the Crafty Love

18 Aug

Before Isobel was born I indulged both my love of crafts and my love of organizing by creating closet dividers for the multitude of tiny pink garments we were receiving by the truckload. The project ended up taking up much more time and effort than I had originally planned, but I was fueled by the nesting urge and once I started there was no stopping me.

It was so much work I wanted to share the process with others who might be trying to create the same thing so that they could learn from my mistakes. You can find the tutorial here along with a handy-dandy door hanger template I made in Photoshop.

After reading the tutorial, head on over to Mommypalooza to see her back-to-school closet dividers for her two sons that share a closet. She’s used my template to create her own version and I’m happy she’s found a way to utilize the project that doesn’t involve hours and hours of cutting and laminating and cutting. Because seriously, that was a lot of work.  (That no one forced me to do.)

(Besides myself.)

(Because I was crazy.)

(And pregnant.)

(I’m not longer one of those things, by the way.)

(I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what do to with these when I don’t need them anymore. I put so much work into these things I can’t fathom throwing them away. I thought about selling them but let’s face it, they are used and could be sturdier. If I’m still blogging by the time I’m ready to pass these suckers down I’ll probably have a giveaway for them, so if you’ve always wanted the closet dividers without all the work, stay tuned.

Closet Dividers Tutorial

30 May

I received a lot of interest in my flickr series about the closet dividers I made for my daughter’s nursery so I thought I would post a little tutorial for those of you crazy enough (or pregnant enough) to attempt it. It has been suggested that I not post a tutorial for this and that instead I create these dividers to sell on Etsy. As fun as they were they were a whole lot of work and I’d feel compelled to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation so I think we’re all better off with a tutorial.

For those of you who remember, I received more baby clothes for Isobel before she was born than my husband and I own put together. I’m talking massive amounts of ittty bitty pink onesies, dresses, overalls, footie pajamas, socks; you name it, I had four of them. Including infant bathrobes. Which, shockingly, I never used. I folded them all neatly and stacked them next to my supply of infant smoking jackets.

My trepidation grew with my belly. How on earth was I going to keep track of all these clothes? All these sizes? All these hangers? (Note to new moms: you will never have enough baby hangers. Stock up when you can.) I decided to put my nesting urge to work with my obsessive tenancy to organize and came up with the perfect solution: homemade closet dividers.

These are a lot of work, a whole lot of work, and when I first began the endeavor I didn’t realize it would be as time consuming as it was. However, if you are pregnant and in the midst of nesting like I was, you will go to ridiculous lengths to complete this project.

I’m sure there’s more than one way to do this but I’m going to post the way that I went about it. If any of you figure out an easier way to do this, please speak up in the comments. I’m sure there are crafters out there who would be eternally grateful.

MATERIALS


Paper – The most obvious thing you’ll need for this project is paper, gorgeous paper that you love, and the thicker the better. I went to the store in my town and found a notepad of large square crafting paper. It was gorgeous and I think I used all but one sheet. It was expensive, though. I’m not used to spending twenty bucks on paper. You’ll also need printer paper or some other paper to use as labels. Of course, you could also use printer-friendly labels found at an office supply store. Your choice.

Cutting tools – By this I mean scissors but I also mean any other nifty tools that would help you cut out the circles from the middle of the hangers and any other tool to fancy up the paper. I used a hole-punch designed for making rounded edges on photographs for rounding the edges on my labels. I won it as a door prize for attending a scrap booking party one time, but I’m sure you could find them at the craft store.

Adhesive – I used rubber cement for this but I’m sure Mod Podge would work if you want to decoupage them. I’m sure other sticky substances would work, too. Just remember that Elmer’s glue can make paper wrinkle. Experiment and find out what works for you.

Door Hanger Template – I made this one in Photoshop and posted it on flickr. Enjoy, and feel free to make any adjustments you see fit!

Laminator – You don’t have to laminate these, but it really helps them last. As I mentioned, you can always decoupage them. Lamination services are available at some office supply stores or at copy centers like Kinko’s.

THE PROCESS

The first thing I did was figure out my closet organization layout to determine what labels I wanted to use. If I can figure out a way to post my labels so you don’t have to go through the headache of making them, I will. Because that was a lot of work and I sort of want to be your personal label-making savior. You do need to figure out how many labels you need to figure out how many dividers you’ll make. And then you’ll need two copies of each label because the dividers are double-sided.

Print out the closet divider template on some very thick cardstock-ish paper. After it’s all printed and cut out and ready to go lay it on the wrong side of one of your fancy papers and trace with a pencil (oops, forgot to add that under materials – pencil!). I was able to fit three dividers on each piece of fancy paper.

You are going to trace the template twice for each divider so count out how many you need and double that. Trace them and cut them all out. Once that’s done, you can begin the long process of gluing the dividers wrong-side together. Let them dry for awhile. I matched the dividers up so that they had the same paper on either side but now I’m not sure why I bothered. It would be just as cute, if not cuter, to have mismatched sides. No matter, cut ‘em out, glue ‘em together, let ‘em dry.

Attach a label to each side of the divider. You can get as fancy or simple with this as you want. If I can figure out how to post the word doc labels I made I certainly will, but don’t limit yourself. If you have great penmanship you can write directly on the dividers themselves, or create your own lovely labels in Photoshop or Word. Avery makes those labels you just run right through the printer and that always works, too. Like I said I just printed mine out from word, cut them to side, and then fancied up the edges by using a photo-corner-roundening punch.

After the labels are created and glued on and all dried you can decide whether or not you want to laminate them. If you do decide to go that route, leaving an edge of lamination around the dividers is a good idea. I did not and some of them started to come apart a bit. The big pain about laminating is that after all that cutting you then have to go back and cut them all up *yet again* before they are done. Honestly, however, if you’ve gone to all the work of making these you’re probably going to want them to last, so in my opinion it’s worth it. Plus, if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re a crazy pregnant lady hell-bent on nesting and nothing will prevent you from completing this task. That’s how it was for me.

TA-DA!

If you’ve followed these steps you now have your own gorgeous closet dividers perfect for you organizing the tons of baby clothes you’re obsessively organizing and then re-organizing at three in the morning. I’d love to hear from anyone out that who had the stamina to try this.

SO, TO SUM UP:

  1. Figure out what sections you want in your closet
  2. Print out the labels on printer paper, nice paper, or on self-adhesive, printer-friendly labels.
  3. Print out the door hanger template on thick paper and cut out.
  4. Trace template on wrong side of fancy paper
  5. Glue two fancy papers wrong-side together for each divider.
  6. Stick or glue label on each side of divider.
  7. Laminate divider
  8. Cut out divider

Questions? Experiences? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

The Toy Chest

6 May

Isobel is a lucky girl. Even before she was born she owned more toys that we know what to do with. It didn’t help things that as soon as I found out I was pregnant I let myself go a little crazy in the second-hand toy-purchasing department.

I didn’t know then if our little Peanut was a boy or a girl yet, but this awesome dollhouse was just five dollars. Five dollars! I figured if we had a boy who wasn’t into it I could give it to my cousin. And hey, the cats sure like it.

My friends have been more than generous to Isobel also. The day she was born my friends Stef and Dave were at the Zoo in LA and they bought her a stuffed gorilla we named Gogo. She loves that thing. Melynda was waiting till the day she was born to go to Build-A-Bear where she made her a unicorn named Unico 2 (Melynda owns the original Unico). I swear that unicorn is as big as she is. It’s so funny to see her carry it around the house.

The Waltons bought her this gorgeous ruby-red tricycle. I swear I had the same one when I was little.

And who could forget the baby showers! My coworkers were so generous.

Isobel was a much-anticipated baby.

Aside from thrift stores or yard sales we haven’t purchased any toys for Isobel–not for Christmas or her birthday. She has so many toys–a Mount Everest of toys! A Giant Pacific Floating Garbage Patch of Toys! An Asteroid Belt of Toys!

We couldn’t justify buying her more toys when she was way more interested in playing with a tooth brush.

And it was all so neat before she was born.

One of the things we’ve been doing is to organize her living room toys in a chest found at a thrift store for six dollars. It works well, holds a lot of stuff, and is stable enough that the lid does not slam down very easily.

Isobel loves digging around in her toy chest for toys and I like that everything isn’t all over the living room all the time. I like that some of it is out of sight. It all about the illusion of control, I guess. The latches on the outside of the trunk are also fun to play with and now that she’s more mobile she likes to sit on top of it, too.

I highly recommend scouring thrift stores for toy chests like this. We’ve actually gotten several compliments on it while closed–no one realized it was full of toys! And it was totally within our budget.

A couple things to keep in mind while looking for any sort of chest or case or even luggage while thrifting: always always always open it. Make sure you know about the lining or the condition of the inside first. It might be grosser than you’re willing or able to deal with. I got lucky with this chest. The particle board isn’t lovely to look at but it’s clean and stain-free. I was able to wipe out most the dust with a damp cloth then gave the whole thing a once-over with some mild disinfectant. If I had the time and money I would have lined the inside with some pretty contact paper. I might get around to it one day but it’s not high on my priority list.

Another thing you have to be really careful of when thrifting is The Weird Smell. Now anything that’s been closed up for any amount of time is going to smell off or stale or musty. It’s the overpoweringness of The Weird Smell that will tip you off. It will be strong and lingering. Trust me that no amount of washing or airing out will eliminate The Weird Smell and you’re going to end up resenting the piece, however lovely, for it’s scent. Pass it up.

Aside from this chest and the shelves in her bedroom we don’t have a system for toy storage and that’s really starting to worry me. I don’t like using bins. I know there are some that are not so horrible to look at but I think they are overall messy-looking.

I’d love to hear from other parents out there about your methods or toy storage and organizations. What do you do to keep it all under control? How do your toy storage-systems work?