1.30.2012

Playroom Revealed

Do you have a room in your home that you absolutely loathe setting foot in? The type of room that you keep the door shut to and only run in and out to get various items you need? Tell me everyone does. That was our basement to me for almost the last year.

When we moved in, we knew the basement was going to be one of the last spaces we touched. Over the year, it had become a dumping ground for anything we didn't have space for upstairs. Nothing was in order and it was certainly not baby-friendly. With the new baby coming in a couple months, I really wanted to have a space where Daphne could play and (hopefully) allow me to tend to the baby. While we have baby-proofed our main floor pretty well, treachery for a toddler still exists. Anything and everything Daphne can get her hands on in here are her toys. Toddler heaven.

For the first time in our lives, we actually taped up different paint swatches before we decided on the color. The light down here is low and we really wanted to see what it looked like under artificial light. Another requirement for this room was it's ability to double as a guest room. We do have a bathroom down here and now that all of our rooms upstairs will be taken, we wanted to have a place where people can sleep if they need to. We don't have a lot of space in the playroom, so we opted for the IKEA Manstad sectional sleeper. It opens into a full bed with storage underneath for sheets, blankets, and pillows.

This room is all about fun. I read somewhere that when designing a playroom, it would make a lot of sense to center the color scheme around the toys. This meant lots of color to work with. Daphne doesn't have much artwork to display just yet, but I was able to frame a finger painting she did a few months ago. I plan to add more ledges and more artwork through the years. The picture ledges are from IKEA. And for all the safety nuts out there -- the frames are all adhered to the wall to prevent them from falling off.


I made the pillow covers with my trusty new sewing machine. I have a tendency to go way overboard with throw pillows. Like to the point of people sitting on the floor because the pillows are taking up too much room. I really wanted to make more, but I refrained. I'm putting myself through throw pillow therapy.

One challenge we did face was finding something to fit the wall that separates the playroom from the office. In this space, we hung a TV and planned to have some sort of cubby furniture to keep toys. We wanted the cubby piece to fit the length of that wall perfectly. After some searching, we were able to combine two pieces from Target. Being the basket-freak that I am, we already had baskets to fit the open cubby holes. On top of the cubby piece, I have 4 boxes all labeled. One of them holds kid DVDs, two of them hold comedies we couldn't part with (we did a HUGE dvd clean out before we started this project), and one holds diapers and wipes. The basket next to the boxes houses our remotes and baby monitor. The whole thing is secured to the wall...and for good reason. I've caught Daphne climbing them.

You can see where the playroom opens up into the office. I put a tension rod up between the two rooms to give some separation and folded back behind the curtain is a baby gate. The office is not kid-friendly and is home to many sharp and dangerous objects. I probably shouldn't be allowed back there. The office is still a work in progress and won't be shown until a later date. It's coming along though and is looking great. I actually enjoy coming down here to do my work now. It's much easier to feel inspired in a space that oozes color and creativity. There are still things we want to do down here -- like add a large magnetic chalkboard and kid-sized table and chairs. But, we are happy with what this room has become and it is now serving its purpose. We all love it!

BEFORE

1.26.2012

DIY Nursery Mobile

Materials:
1 roll of clear jewelry thread
1 embroidery ring
4 different colors of cardstock
1" circle punch
2" circle punch
hot glue gun
sewing needle

There have been a lot of different variations of this mobile floating around on Pinterest. There's a paint swatch version out there, versions with more circles, less circles, ombre circles, scalloped circles, chain-linked circles...I could go on and on.

Side story: I actually made a paint swatch "chandelier" that was intended for use in Daphne's room. I used a 1" circle punch to cut hundreds of circles out of different pink paint swatches I had Brian swipe from Lowes. It took weeks to finish and in the end, I kind of hate it. I'm too proud to just throw it in the trash -- so it's currently hanging in my office.  Too soon to toss it. Two of the reasons I'm not happy with it: 1) despite following instructions, you can still see the text on the back of each swatch, and 2) each strand is very finicky and will not hang perfectly straight. Because of these two snafus, when I decided to make a mobile for baby boy's room, I went a different route. And this time I made up my own instructions.

I bought one embroidery ring, a roll of clear jewelry thread, and 4 sheets of scrapbook card stock (dark blue, light blue, grey, and orange) from Joanns. The total cost of these items was around $5.

I used the inner part of the embroidery ring and tied 3 long pieces of the jewelry thread to it so it can hang from the ceiling. (It was nice to have the ring hanging from something while I attached each strand of circles.) I considered painting the ring, but in the end left it as is because we are using a lot of natural wood elements in his room. Each strand uses 14 circles -- 7 circles double sided. 5 strands.
70 circles total.

You can recreate this mobile in any color combination. You can attach more than 5 strands, less than 5 strands. Strand lengths can vary, circle size combinations can vary. You could even get cray-cray and use a different shape other than circles. The possibilities!

P.S. The mobile will not be hanging from the fan once we get our crib in place. It's just the safest spot to keep it away from the cats. Jewelry thread and paper + our cats = stepping in jewelry thread and paper cat puke at 7am before my eyes have focused enough to not do so.


1.18.2012

Colorful Number Garland

Daphne likes to count. Or really, likes us to count while she repeats "sish" over and over...and over. "Sish" in our house, means "six", and that's the only number she likes to say. If she wants us to count to her, she'll "sish" us and hold up one finger. It's pretty adorable.

Because Daphne loves (us) to count, I thought she'd enjoy a bright colorful number garland in her new playroom. Since it's been up, she loves to point to the numbers and have us repeat them (yay for us!). Brian thinks its a coincidence but she usually points to the six and says "sish". He thinks it's merely the result of the six being the closest for her to reach and smack dab in the middle. I ere on the side of my child being a baby genius...

Anyways, here is how I made it. I designed each number to be a 3 inch square. My color theory for the playroom is anything goes. If it's bright and vibrant, it's allowed in. I started with bright red and ended with deep blue. From Joanns, I purchased 10 mini 3 inch square canvases. I had the numbers printed at Snapfish by grouping them in a layout that would print as an 11x14 poster. When the poster print arrived, I cut them all to size. I used photo adhesive strips to stick them to the canvases. Usually, I'd use spray mount for something like this, but the fumes are harsh and our unborn baby boy is very important to us. Once he's out, I'll go spray mount crazy.

I hot glued each canvas to jute I had laying around. There's a chance I'll change out the jute for something more colorful -- but for now I'm happy with it. Playroom photos to come, soonish.

1.05.2012

My First Sewing Success

Yep, I got a sewing machine for Christmas. If you told me a few years ago that I'd be asking for a sewing machine in coming years, I would have laughed in your face. Isn't it beautiful?

I don't have big dreams to become an amazing seamstress. I don't expect myself to pull off any amazing projects and I won't start making my children's clothes. I see this guy being used to make throw pillow covers, curtains, and other simple things like those.

I have to admit, I do have some experience with sewing machines. My parents bought one when I was in 4th grade because I wanted to be a Hershey Kiss for Halloween. They found a pattern and somehow pulled off sewing my entire costume (I wish I had a picture). Around the same time, I became very interested in making hair scrunchies. So, I made them. With our sewing machine. If I didn't have a hair scrunchie to match every single outfit I owned, I'd be very surprised.

I was a little nervous to start my first project. In fact, I didn't even open the box until just the other day. I'm not a big fan of reading instructions, but I knew I had to this time. While Daphne was napping, I opened up the box, pulled everything out, and started studying the instructions. Everything came back to me pretty quickly -- and even though it's been about 20 years since I last used a sewing machine -- I have to say, they haven't changed too much.

The first project I wanted to tackle was an envelope-style throw pillow cover. I've been known to switch my throw pillows very often and to be able to make my own covers would save us a lot of money. A while back, I found this tutorial on how to make pillow covers. The instructions were very clear and I had an easy time following them.

Right now, we are in the midst of decorating the playroom/office area in the basement. I have plans for lots of color in the playroom area (unlike the rest of our home) and I realized I had a fabric that would be perfect for a throw pillow in that room. Remember this post? We bought that fabric behind Daphne as soon as we found out I was pregnant. I thought I'd use it in the baby's room, regardless of gender, but have since decided on an entirely different plan for Baby Boy's room. Meet our new pillow cover, and my first sewing "baby"!

I swear I stared at this thing the rest of the day. I can't believe I made it! I think a lot of people wonder why I put so much time into making things myself -- and it's for that feeling of accomplishment. It makes me love the items in our home that much more.

And for the record, a few years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I'd say that.