Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Vintage, Baby!

Yea, I finally finished the nursery! Just in time to have my baby. He turned one 2 weeks ago. And while he will likely not be scarred for life due to his previously lackluster space and even though he is child #3, I still wanted a sweet nursery for him. The problem? No nursery budget. I repurposed the cream toile bedding, sheers, and valance but it needed so much more. What's a girl to do? No money for paint, prints, or accents. Providentially, my best friend sent me a link to Nesting Place months ago. "What's this?" I asked. "Mistreated windows?" "Celebrated imperfection?" "Shopping one's house?" I had always been a bargain junkie and was no stranger to thrift stores, but I cannot sew, I have precious little time to decorate, and I felt clueless. The Nester was just the inspiration / kick in the pants I needed. The end result? A cute vintage-inspired nursery that cost me all of $10.

Paint: a brand new can leftover from Brownie's nursery that I never painted. Sadly, he slept in a nursery with cotton-candy walls. This color is a lovely light blue and I wanted to work with what I had.

Crib & Bedding: Crib was found by my best friend, Lily, at a consignment sale for $40 (and paid for by my sweet mother.) The bedding has been used by all of my babies so I am very attached to it. It's also gender-neutral. Obviously I was going to work with it.

Art: These gorgeous boutique wooden plaques were the perfect way to tie it all together. Hee, hee, I tricked you. These are 3 sheets of 50-cent scrapbook paper that I bought before the baby was born. I loved this paper and wanted to use it in some way. The paper found its purpose one day as I visited the Nesting Place and saw an easy project where one simply mounts paper on styrofoam, paints the edges, and voila! Instant art. I attached ribbon to an upholstery tack and I think it's lovely.

Mistreated Windows: I loved my toile sheers and valance that I've had since my daughter was born almost 8 years ago. The problem? It just didn't pop. The solution? Get some red fabric in your attic, get a few dollars' worth of red pom-pom trim from Hobby Lobby, and "sew" (hot glue) yourself a pretty little trim on those old sheers. And while that hot glue gun is still hot and ready, throw some red pom-poms on the valance too.

Look how perfectly imperfect it is. I still haven't glued the hem and you can see the lovely frayed edges. I probably won't ever get to that.

Oops, I ran out of fabric. That's okay, this end is tucked behind the bed. (Nester, you have SO liberated me.)

  • Old sewing table for $5 at thrift store painted red with some old paint I found in garage.

  • Blue shelf from painted red (in first picture.)

  • Faded paintings with sentimental value from my grandmother but with undesirable brown oak frames. More of that red paint. Voila again! Vintage artwork that looks pretty against the pale blue walls.

  • I also mistreated a throw pillow. It's not as cute as I'd hoped. Actually, it looks sort of cheap and tacky. But it still adds a punch of red. The fabric was 50 cents in the remnant bin at Wal-Mart. The iron-on transfer is a Mary Engelbreit design purchased for 25 cents at a thrift store. The trim was in a grab-bag of trim and ribbon from the thrift store. 50 cents for the whole bag! The fabric is too red, the iron-on looks a bit rubbery, and the blue trim looks more purple than blue. But, I'm okay with such imperfection.

  • I already had the antique dresser, mirror, day bed, and mattelasse bedding. I've used it all for each baby. Our nursery has always doubled as a guest room so the bed, while large and a bit of a design obstacle for a small nursery, is a necessity.

  • And last but not least, a mistreated lamp. I glued some of the same toile fabric on the shade plus more red pom-pom trim. Cute. (In case you're wondering, I am not the Norwegian model you see in the frame, kissing my darling baby. I just have yet to print any photos of my now-one-year-old-baby.)

  • Oops! My laziness came back to bite me. Not lining the fabric (in order to cover up the 90's bold primary stripes) was oh-so-foolish. When I flipped the switch, the lovely toile disappeared, eaten up by the bright stripes. Maybe I'll just never turn on the lamp.

And there you have it. Vintage chic. Vintage cheap. I realize this is not a "high-end" nursery. You will not find it in a decorating magazine or a boutique. But I used what I had plus just a few dollars and I think it's a sweet and precious space. It's not perfect. I can think of lots of things to make it even prettier. A rug. Fancy throw pillows. A stenciled vintage alphabet across the top. But, done is better than perfect.

Sleep tight sweet Cupcake.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Get Your Garland Groove On...Nester Style

Okay, Nester. I'm doing it. My first real linky thing to your blog. You've inspired me in many ways but I'll save the mushy stuff for another time.

Exhibit A: Thrift Store Mantle Garland

Garland: $3. Junk to put in the garland: $3. Having my cheap & chic garland up the first week of December: Priceless.

The exersaucer in the corner adds a nice touch, don't you think?

Some thrift store pretties to stuff in the garland.

Tweet. I got this one just for you, Nester.

Exhibit B: Post-Christmas 75% off Pottery Barn Outlet Garland

It is not as full and fru-fru as the mantle exhibit but I love the simple bay leaf garland, wooden cranberries, and ornament bulb lights. All of this was probably $12 at the PB outlet several Christmases ago.

Exhibit C: Christmas Ragamuffin Garland

Yes, I've stolen all of your tricks. My daughter and I had such fun making this and tying kitschy knick-knacks and clips in it. I can't wait to make my next one. Probably $3 in thrift store fabric, ribbon, etc.

And there you have it. Garland for my own nest done 3 ways. Thank you, Nester, for the ideas and inspiration. If a homeschooling mother of 3, recovering perfectionist like me can deck the halls Nester-style, anyone can.

Blessings from my nest to yours!

P.S. Stay tuned for scenes from my mistreated nursery...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Many a blog post has been written by a weary mother lamenting the applause-less life she leads. The dishes. The laundry. The never-ending tasks to be repeated over and over again, with no one to thank her, no one to notice, wondering if she can continue day after day of this. Today, I am one of them. I've read the encouraging e-mail forwards and blog posts on how we're building cathedrals and how we're molding little lives. I know. I've heard it. And while I need all the encouragement I can get, sometimes I also just need to throw out (whether anyone cares or hears), "Hey, this is freaking hard!" And while I would not go back to work and I would not trade places with my husband, there are days when I am overwhelmed by the mess, by the ceaseless needs, by the bizillion and one things I do that go unnoticed. And while I love homeschooling and think it's super-cool, it is no cakewalk to teach a 7-year-old and 5-year-old the essentials of life while keeping a one-year-old (boy) from eating the rocks and bark fragments the older two have dropped while making a Pilgrim house (their idea, not mine.)

Today I was simply overwhelmed by my reality. It hit me at 2:12 p.m. I was still in my pajamas, teeth unbrushed, face unwashed, finally sitting down to a cold lunch that I refused to reheat again, certain that one more nuke would annhilate the few nutrients left in my leftover stir-fry. I had a big fat pity party. I cried. And because I wanted my pity party to be a really good one, I imagined a gospel choir singing in the background, Noboby knows the trouble I've seen. I toil endlessly all day long and yet I'm still staring at 3 loads of laundry that will not fold itslf. I have swept the floor seven times just today. The ironing. The dishwasher to unload. And then there's the master bedroom, that supposed retreat for the weary, the ostensible sensual sanctuary for me and my man...yet I'm greeted with a pile of baby toys, a folding table with a big ol' computer (lugged down from the attic because Brownie dropped my laptop last Friday and now it's dead), and the contents of my closet strewn about the precious little leftover space because I decided to gut the area last week, thereby begginning yet another project that remains to be finished. (Do you think that's a run-on sentence?)

A dear friend sent me this post from another blog. It's amazing. And it echoes way more beautifully and poetically everything I'm saying here...only there's a point to all of it. So, if you're like me and you're waving the white flag of surrender, click here...and know that it all matters.


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