Birds in the Sky… or the ceiling, whatever.

Just because it’s been quiet around here doesn’t mean we’ve not been busy! We are making good progress on the laundry cabinets and that thing is ALMOST DONE after so many touch-ups and additions and adjustments. I hope to show you what they look like by Thursday!

For now, I wanted to show you a sweet addition to the nursery that was made by my mom. Here’s the first clue:

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Yes, she’s looking up with a puzzled expression.

It’s a bird mobile!

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My mom did everything, from sewing the birds to gluing on the eyes to cutting down the branches (bought from Hobby Lobby) and hanging it all up on the mobile. Since she did everything, this is not a tutorial but more like a “Look, how cute! And I didn’t even have to do anything except hang it up!” thing.

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The colors she chose are perfect – bright blue/teal, yellow, orange, with touches of black and white.

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Janella is in love.

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She stares at the mobile when she lies down in her crib and tries to grab the birds when we hold her too close to it.

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Yes, a bird is missing a branch. The cats did it. Tala is my number one suspect.

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Since our goal for 2012 is to make the house FUNCTIONAL, it’s okay that the nursery isn’t 100% done even though Janella is almost 9 months old (how did that happen?). This nursery is definitely functional. It’s a happy place for all of us. Janella sleeps like a… well, a baby in there.

But I do have some things I want to finish up in there after we complete our laundry room and office to-do lists. For one, we bought three large canvases for that wall behind the crib and Nick is planning to paint a world map on them. I can’t wait for that!

See you Thursday for the laundry cabinets reveal, right? It’s a date, right?

The Case for Baskets

When I was preparing for the baby’s arrival, I knew that we would need baskets and boxes and all that stuff to corral ALL THE BABY STUFF but I didn’t exactly understand just what the STUFF would be, so I couldn’t just go out and start buying random baskets.

Instead, I waited and gave it a few months. It was worth it, because it helped us figure out exactly what to buy and what to skip. I’m not done yet and I know the STUFF will increase as Janella gets older, but this is a good start for us.

Come and visit, why don’t you. Check out the nursery closet…

orange closet green boxes organization

First – the clothes! Janella is six months old and obviously doesn’t fit in her newborn or 0-3 months clothes, but still fits in her 3-6 months clothes. Yes, she’s a thin one. 50% in height, 10% in weight.

The green box (from IKEA) on the right is filled with newborn and 0-3 months clothes. The one on the left is pretty much empty and waiting for the next batch of t00-small clothes. These little cute boxes do the job! No need for huge plastic bins. For now.

green boxes closet

Janella’s stash of toys were getting out of control, so we found a couple of spots around the house to keep them contained. These two cute purple mesh baskets were found at Home Goods and they store toys that Janella isn’t currently playing with (we rotate out toys).

purple wire baskets closet nursery

Okay, back up a little to re-enter the nursery. This little picnic basket with teal stripes were picked up at Target and holds all of Janella’s cloth diapers.

diaper basket nursery

I know what you’re thinking. A picnic basket?! But it is the perfect solution because I wash these diapers almost everyday and it’s hard to empty out the dryer with a squirming baby in one arm. With the picnic basket, it’s easy to just pick it up by the handles, dump the diapers in it, and transfer it back into the nursery. Plus, it’s cute and it will still be useful when I’m done with diapers. When will that be, by the way? I wonder…

I can’t move on without telling you about the colorful bag you see in the basket. It’s called a wet bag and it is an ESSENTIAL item to have if you use cloth diapers. It’s waterproof and seals in all odors. I can’t imagine using cloth diapers without these bags. You can find them at Amazon – we have three of this.

Okay, now turn your head a little to the right and you’ll find a cute green laundry basket with a cute baby in it.

green laundry basket janella

I have a confession to make: Janella’s not always in it. So, the basket isn’t always this cute.

Nick found the basket at Target and brought it home without consulting me. I was two weeks postpartum… It was a risky endeavor but he did a good job. It’s the perfect size for all of Janella’s tiny clothes and when it’s full, it makes a full load.

Lest you think that I’m some kind of organized guru with 1,000 baskets that hold all kinds of categories of stuff, let me show you what it looks like under the daybed in the nursery. (I haven’t told you about the daybed, have I?)

sad area under daybed nursery

Yep. Time to get some more baskets. I’ll measure the space and put the measurements in our iPhone to help us find the perfect baskets that’ll fit in there perfectly. For now, just don’t look under there. Thanks.

Since we spend a lot of our time in the living room, it’s where we store the majority of Janella’s toys that she plays with these days. For a while, we just dumped them in a corner or in a baby swing, but that got annoying fast. We realized that we had two old teal ottomans that were holding random things like old letters and blankets, so we emptied out one and chucked in all the toys in there. (I want to reupholster them, but you know, later.)

ottoman in living room baby toys

It’s perfect.

toy storage ottoman living room

At least, for now. The time will come when this little ottoman won’t be able to contain all of her toys. It will be a sad day…

The other ottoman is residing in the weird space between the TV set and our side table.

sad area in living room

It feels like wasted space. The space is actually bigger than what it seems like in the photo above. It would be great if we could fit in a chest under the window that holds blankets, toys, etc with a soft cushion to sit on. Something like this:

chest under window

via

If you’re looking for baskets, boxes, and that kind of stuff, some great sources include IKEA, World Market, Home Goods, and sometimes Target.

There’s a couple of green baskets at Target that I’m itching to get my hands on but I’m waiting for them to go on sale. Will I win? Or will I lose when they go out of stock without going on sale? I don’t like this game.

So. That’s the story of how I got my act together and organized everything. And by everything, I mean only a few things. I guess I need to buy more baskets and boxes.

Before I leave, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our family and friends for the gifts and hand-me-downs that you’ve given to us. You’ve been amazing and we’re so grateful. XOXO

Before and After: Janella’s First Dresser

This is definitely my favorite part of Janella’s nursery.

Why do cameras hate the color teal? The color never shows up right in photos. Our teal office looks blue in pictures, and the same goes for this dresser. I don’t know what the color of the dresser looks like on your monitor, but I’m looking at the above photo and it screams BLUE to me.

I heavily edited a photo to show you what the color really looks like in real life…

nursery teal dresser after 1

The teal color is very close to this:

teal bluevia

So – for the following pictures, just tell your eyes to stop lying to you and look at the dresser as if it’s teal, not blue. Got it? Good.

This project was all Nick’s doing… I was pregnant at the time, so he did all the work. I’m so happy I’m not pregnant anymore, I’m telling you. Not because I can paint now, but just because. Pregnancy = blah. But I will gladly do it again because… well, just look at her.

silly janella

Anyway.

It took several coats to get it to its final teal-ness. We tried out flat paint this time – all of our previous furniture painting was with satin paint. I’m not too sure I would recommend flat paint due to the amount of coats Nick had to do. But was that because of the flat paint or because the color is so saturated? Not sure.

The color is Behr’s Peacock Tail. After two coats of primer (which was white, not tinted, which might have also contributed to the need of several coats of teal paint?) and two coats of the teal paint, the dresser looked like this:

You could easily see all the brush marks and the color was uneven. But after two (or three?) more coats, the color finally looked right. Whew.

Nick, hard at work. Note the toilet paper on the sofa behind him. I had a cold at the time, OK? Also note how we taped off the edges with green tape. An important step – if we didn’t do that, the paint job would have looked sloppy on the drawers.

The painting wasn’t so bad, but the poly was a beast. Nick tried everything and we still could see streaks at the top from the poly. It’s not so noticeable anymore, but you can see the streaks in the next photo.

So annoying. I think we’ll go with wipe-on poly next time, or spray-on poly. But spray-on poly is sorta expensive and we’re sorta cheapstakes thrifty.

Then I couldn’t decide whether to keep the hardware brass or paint it silver, but after a vote on this and all of your helpful comments, we decided to keep it brass. But I’ll do some cleaning up to make them shine sometime later. Later. I love that word: LATER. I wanna try this nontoxic, homemade brass polish – it looks very nifty! Nifty, that’s another favorite word.

nursery teal dresser after

nursery teal dresser after

The dresser is the perfect size to hold all the STUFF that a baby requires. I’m really glad we didn’t go with a smaller dresser! Our changing pad also fits on the top of it perfectly, with space left over for other STUFF. What, I don’t know. I don’t have any experience with babies older than 3 months. I’m learning as I go here, people.

nursery teal dresser after

The nursery is nearing completion. What’s left:

– Finishing up the bird mobile that my mom made
– Creating a map canvas thingy to put on the wall behind the crib
– Washing our old orange shaggy rug
– Painting the daybed a glossy white
– Painting the mirror to be put up next to the bookshelves
– Painting the side table some color, to be decided later

Not too bad… I knew we wouldn’t finish the nursery in time for Janella’s arrival, but we made it functional before that big date and I’m glad we did! At least, hopefully we’ll finish it completely before Janella moves in there. When will that be, Janella? When? WHEN?

Check Out My Crib (Skirt)

Our crib skirt is really cute. I finished it over a month ago, I don’t know why I’m just sharing it with you now…

Oh yeah, because there’s a newborn around here. But I’m getting a handle on this new life and I think I’ll get back to posting at least three times per week. Let’s hope for the best!!

Okay, so, our crib skirt! I mean, Janella’s crib skirt. I guess everything in the nursery is now officially hers. Even though she hasn’t slept in that room yet.

I really liked this sweet polka dot fabric, Dumb Dot in charcoal by Michael Miller. I found it at Tonic Living.

The price was right – under $10 a yard. And the dots on the fabric were so helpful – they helped me cut in a straight line. This was so much easier than cutting the fabric for the curtains.

And it looks sweet with our white crib

Please ignore the green sheet. I couldn’t find cute and reasonably priced crib sheets, so we just went with what we found at Walmart. But after thinking about it, I’ll buy white crib sheets and keep the crib bright and simple.

There’s no tutorial here on how to make a crib sheet, because it’s a really straightforward process and I pretty much followed this tutorial, except I didn’t hem together the three pieces (the front piece and the side pieces).

Naturally, I hemmed the fabric with hemming tape. My sewing machine is STILL inside its box. Soon, it will see daylight. Soon. Soon. I’m hoping if I say it enough, it’ll happen.


But there was a problem. You see, I attached the crib skirt to the crib with Velcro…


…but the metal thing you see in the above photo was just in the way. It made the fabric stick up at the ends, like so:

Yes, I know. It’s a white people problem (even though I’m half Mexican), but it bothered me. So I found a ghetto solution… I taped it down.

Whatever works, right? You can’t even see it unless you look at it up close, and I don’t think anybody will. Except on this blog. But whatever! If it continues to bother me, I’ll add some kind of mesh backing to join the three pieces together and hopefully make everything nice and flat. For now, it works.

Why did I add a crib skirt when the Gulliver crib already looks good without it? I wanted to add some more pretty fabric to the nursery and also give us some extra storage space. If we ever need to, we could fit some boxes and things under the crib.

For now, it holds cats.


Vaquero loves to sleep under there. Sometimes he attacks my feet when I’m picking up or putting down Janella. Makes my life a little more exciting.

The crib’s in our bedroom right now, though. Good thing the crib skirt matches our bedroom!

Yep, white crib sheets will be better. (This is the waterproof cover… Am I a bad parent for letting Janella sleep on that instead of a sheet? In my defense, the sheet was being washed.)

On Cloud Nine With Our Closet

Another piece of the nursery puzzle is done!

While I’m sad that Baby doesn’t want to come out yet, I’m happy to have the extra time to finish off the closet.

Later on, when Baby is up and about, we’ll know more about what we need in terms of storage solutions (maybe a tiny Expedit for toy storage, for example, or shelves for shoes), but for now it is cute and happy and done!

Here’s what the closet looked like before – a blank slate.

Since the closet is between the crib and the upholstered chair/pouf that we have in the nursery, the door was kind of annoying to open and close. Plus, our AC/heating system is kind of wonky and it would get really, really hot in there if the door was closed. So, the first thing we did was to remove the door.

And you remember my caulking and painting job. We also didn’t like how the brown rods looked, so we primed and painted them white.

Our dresser, originally intended for the guest room, fit in the closet better and provided us a way to organize extra stuff.

Look up and see our boring closet light. How exciting.

We discussed a couple of different color possibilities for the closet, but the only one that made sense was ORANGE, BABY. We tested out a couple of orange colors and settled on Amber Glow – it’s a soft orange and went well with the curtains. The other colors reminded us too much of the Longhorns and if you’ve ever been in Austin on a Saturday, you know we have too much of that rust-orange color prancing around.

After painting the ceiling gray, the walls orange, caulking and painting the shelves, and hanging up the leftover fabric from our curtains, we were done!

I’ve always loved the closet in Sherry and John of Young House Love’s sweet nursery and how they used the curtain as the door, so that was what we did here.

Unfortunately, the fabric that we had left over from the curtain project did not quite reach the floor. Instead of leaving it as is and thinking of flood pants every time I look at it, we simply gathered it to the side with a ribbon (from our ribbon shades) and hung it on a tiny hook. So cute!

The ribbon was easy to make – all I did was to iron-hem the ends and add velcro. Ta-da!

We also tried to reduce the “flood pants” look by lowering the curtain rod as much as we could without it looking funny.

We really struggled with how to hang the closet curtain. YHL hung theirs on a tension rod, but we weren’t sure we wanted to go that route because we didn’t feel that it would be very secure. We thought of many different possible solutions that were all mostly stupid, but we finally found this thin window rod at Wal-Mart that worked perfectly! I don’t know what it’s called (bad blogger), but you can find it at Wal-Mart for around $3.

Come in and peek inside. You’ll see another tiny roller with the royal ribbon treatment. I also think this photo represents the orange in the closet the best.

What’s inside the closet? Not much right now, but I’m sure it’ll fill up quickly. Diapers, tiny clothes, a breastfeeding cover, and a couple of other essentials.

I know, we don’t have much baby clothes. We actually do have more plain white onesies tucked away in the drawers – and a few very cute gender-specific outfits that I don’t want to show you yet. The gender is a secret!

I don’t want to buy too many clothes before I know what size Baby is. I hate wasting money.

I had a lot of fun personalizing some white onesies with paint, though! I’ll talk more about that in another post, but you can see a few of them here – the KISS and the Phillies onesies.

And yum, could you just eat up that white white whiteeee shelf and rod? And the caulking is perfect. Yes, I’m proud of myself. That was an extra step worth taking.

Okay, on the other side – the dresser and the world’s cutest humidifier in the shape of an excited baby elephant. That’s pretty much it – for now. The dresser is stocked with blankets, towels, PJs, socks, hats, and cloth diapers.

But my favorite part is when you look up!

Isn’t that just adorable? That’s the cloud light, as I call it. Actually, it’s the SKOJIG light from IKEA. It’s the perfect light for the closet – it’s almost flush to the ceiling, so it doesn’t interfere with the shelves, but it makes the closet a more special place.

A word of caution if you’re considering the SKOJIG light – it didn’t really fit our… ah, I need to develop my electricity/lighting vocabulary. I don’t know what any of these things are called. I hope the photo below is clear enough for what I’m trying to tell you about…

Basically, it didn’t fit, so we had to drill new holes to get it to fit. We’ve had problems with the other IKEA light we have (in our office), so this might be an IKEA thing (European measurements?) or just something weird about our home? We don’t have any problems with other ceiling lights. Do you have any problems installing IKEA ceiling lights?

Anyway, despite a few tantrums from an unnamed person (not me), we got it to fit. And we love it. Especially when the light is on and the clouds smile upon us…

So that’s our little orange closet for our little colorful nursery for our little baby.

Officially one week late today. Nick and I are always late to everything, so I guess this is just a taste of our own medicine. It doesn’t taste too good.

Finding a Place for Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss, and Their Friends

We love books and we know our baby will love to read as much as we do. That’s why we asked our guests at our baby showers to bring a book along with a gift, so we’re off to a great start with piles and piles of books!

I cannnnnot wait to watch Nick read to our baby. (heart melts)

But how to store these books?

After searching Pinterest and blogs for ideas, I had several options:

Option #1: Use rain gutters as bookshelves.

pinterest (original source seems to be lost)

This would be a very economical route and it looks cute to boot! It doesn’t even look like rain gutters. But we would have to cut the shelves and do a lot of DIYing to put them up on the wall, along with spray painting them a nice white.

Option #2: Buy white RIBBA picture ledges from IKEA.

Sarah Jane Studios Blog

I loved this photo (above). The shelves look so clean and pretty. But we would have to shell out $15 per shelf… which isn’t really bad, considering that we wouldn’t need to do any painting or cutting whatsoever.

Option #3: Sew cute fabric into hanging book displays.

penny carnival

I really loved this idea – with a great fabric, this would be a really cute addition to any nursery. But all the supplies and work needed to make these things would add up and I wasn’t sure this would cost any less than the easy RIBBA picture ledge solution.

Option #4: Turn BEKVAM spice racks from IKEA into tiny bookshelves.

BLAH BLAH BLOG

Very, very cute! And cheap, too, at only $3.99 each. However, we would have to buy several of them, since they’re so tiny and we have loads of books. And we would also want to paint them white, so that would require us to purchase several cans of white spray paint. And primer…. and the time required to paint them all.

Can you guess what we went with?

Yep – we went the easy route with the RIBBA picture ledges! I’m hugely pregnant and he’s hugely tired of all the DIY projects we’ve been tackling, so it felt good to do something easy for once. Plus, we liked the modern look of the ledges AND they were reasonably priced since we wouldn’t have to buy paint or any other extras.

We taped everything off to determine whether we needed three or four shelves. We thought we could put up four shelves… see all the space available above the tapes:

Never mind the mess, please. I promise it’s clean now.

But when Nick put the shelves up, he didn’t measure too carefully (that’s okay, babe), so there wasn’t enough space at the top for a 4th shelf. We thought maybe we could put one near the floor, like so…

Not too bad… but we can just see the little kid attempting to climb the shelves. So it was a no go. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the fourth shelf. It’s currently hanging out in our game room, waiting for its fate.

Nick did a great job styling the bookshelves. No, I’m not sure what’s exactly in his mouth.

I love how it looks right now! I think it would be really great with four shelves (we still have a couple of books that need to find a place), but this will do for now. We might decide to move everything around later on and add that fourth shelf, but right now we’re calling it done.

However, that empty space to the left of the books isn’t done. We talked about putting up art or something, but we remembered that huge mirror that came with our dresser.

I think I like it!!

Then I saw Julie Bowen (of Modern Family)’s beautiful dining room at Honey & Fitz:

Honey & Fitz

Look at them mirrors – so beautiful, so unique! We already have some yellow paint from our dining room and lots of gray paint in our little paint collection, so I think this will be a great color combination for our huge mirror!

The only problem is figuring out how to hang it securely, since it’ll be right next to our daybed. I don’t think I will tackle this project until after Baby comes (40 weeks + 3 days now), so hopefully Nick’s dad, who is very handy and will be staying with us for three weeks with Baby Vita, can help us out in this area.

Is that cool with you, Dad Vita?

What about you, Baby Vita? If you’re even in there, that is. I’m beginning to think this is just a phantom pregnancy

P.S. Thank you all so, so much for your opinions and votes on the dresser handles! We agree with you all and we’ll stick with brass… and we’ll clean them up a little bit. Later.

Silver or Brass? Opinions Needed!

A quick post – I need your opinion! Here’s a small peek of our painted dresser for the nursery, but I can’t decide…

Should we leave the hardware brass or turn them into silver?? I have Rub ‘n’ Buff in silver all ready to go, patiently waiting for me to make up my mind. Nick has no opinion. What’s yours?

(The color is more teal-ish than what is shown here. Silly camera!)