Building Home & Family


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Nursery Textiles: Twin-Size Quilt for the Spare Bed

Would I be thrilled to find a well-made, inexpensive quilt that perfectly fits the palette I’ve selected for the nursery? Yes, of course. But, despite scouring the internet, I’m still empty-handed and have decided to sew a quilt for the spare bed to match the other décor in the room.

I started with the Market + Quilt pattern you can download for free on the Cotton + Steel blog website, designed by Alexia Marcelle Abegg (one of my favorites!).

PrintThen I customized it, adding some additional borders to increase the size and switching out the original pattern colors for my 8-color nursery palette.

building-home-and-family-market-quilt

The Cotton + Steel fabrics in the original pattern are gorgeous, and lots of other C+S fabrics also fit my palette, but it was less expensive to use plain Kona cottons, so that’s what I am doing. As a compromise, and as a thank you for the free pattern, I bought C+S fabric to back the quilt.

Now I just have to sew the darn thing before the baby is born! No small task with about two months left from the date the fabric is scheduled to arrive. But I really think one or two pieces will the full spectrum of colors will pull the nursery together.

What are some of your favorite DIY projects or customizations? I am continually blown away by the creativity I see online and love the idea of a personalized space, but I SO hope most projects will be less involved than this one!

A few notes on construction to speed up the process:

  • I plan to chain piece the flying geese (the B&W triangles) using this tutorial. I calculated how many big squares would fit on my fabric, selvage to selvage, then determined how many rows I would need to have the total number of flying geese in the pattern. I used this number to estimate the amount of fabric I’d buy. (Math! Not just for students!)
  • Similarly, I’ll use this tutorial to mass produce my half square triangles (HSTs).

If you’re interested in quilts, sewing, and other handmade projects, check out my blog on that topic, East Dakota Quilter.

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Nursery Inspiration

Our baby’s first home is an investment property and not our “forever home,” which means I have been torn as to how much time and money to put into our nursery. On top of that, space is limited, so I want to avoid bringing things into our home that will be used for only a short time – even if they’re adorable! This process has been full of compromise.

Palette
I am really bad at editing (in a room, quilt, painting… the list is endless). I love color and want to incorporate every item I like, even if it doesn’t match anything else I own. Step 1 for me was narrowing my palette.

Probably the easiest solution would have been to pair blush pink and gold. They are popular colors right now, and I’m having a girl. Easy peasy. But my mom decorated my childhood bedroom in pink and white – even making all the curtains, bedding, etc. herself! – and I hated it. It made me feel like I was supposed to sit in a frilly dress and not get dirty while I was more of a mud puddle princess. So… no blush pink and gold for our baby. (Even though I think it’s really cute now! Irony.)

I kept returning to one of my favorite backgrounds in the A Beautiful Mess iPhone app and decided was the perfect fit:

abm

From that background, I pulled a still-huge-but-at-least-cohesive palette:

building-home-and-family-nursery-palette

It even includes blush pink!

Having settled on an 8-color palette, I almost died laughing when I was reading Emily Henderson’s design blog archives yesterday and came across this gem (abbreviated by me for relevance):

“Tip #1. You can mix however many styles you want… as long as you have a consistent color palette peppered evenly throughout the space. This is the number one problem I see – not telling a cohesive color story through furniture and accessories. Now if you are a color genius, or an extremely confident diy-designer then of course you can do whatever you want – and I’ve seen rooms look great with 94 colors in them. But I warn that if you have a ton of different styles in a ton of different colors all thrown together in a room, it can look like a thrift store, or even worse, a big, busy, messy, cluttered mistake.”

Yes, that is Tip #1. Top designer Emily’s very most important design guideline. It’s like she met me and is warning me not to follow my instincts, and yet, here I am, plodding ahead as “an extremely [over-]confident DIY designer.” Haha… I will probably wish I had followed the advice, and yet, I just can’t help myself!

Furnishings
The nursery is approximately 10′ x 10′. It can fit a lot of furniture, but not without looking cluttered. My second goal was to determine what items are most important and try to eliminate everything else.

  • Crib – The baby needs to sleep somewhere. I’m not a huge fan of most budget convertible cribs (with accessories, you can reassemble a crib into a toddler bed and then a twin bed), so I plan to keep this item inexpensive and upgrade to a “real” bed when it’s time.
  • Dresser – In addition to storing clothes, blankets, etc., I plan to put a cushion on top so it can double as a changing table. (Yep, I know to never leave my kid up there unrestrained.)
  • Bed – This choice is less common than the others. I originally planned to include a chair for feeding the baby. Both a bed and a chair won’t fit, so it had to be one or the other. I realized it might be more convenient to have a bed so the parent on “baby duty” can catch some sleep. Plus, when the baby is small, we could keep a bassinet in our room and have the nursery double as a guest room. We anticipate more visitors with the baby.

In addition to furniture, I know I’ll need a rug. The hardwood floor will be beautiful when it’s refinished, but we won’t get to that before the baby is born. We won’t do it right after, either; it makes more sense to refinish the nursery floor when we refinish the other floors (economy in grouping like projects), but the process generates a lot of dust and would mean moving ALL our furniture from EVERY room out of the apartment. It might not even happen while we’re living there. Serious bummer. Bottom line: a rug will be key.

Based on palette and furnishing considerations, here’s my inspiration board for our baby girl’s nursery (sources below).

building-home-and-family-nursery-inspiration

Was there anything you wish you’d had in your nursery, an item you thought you could live without but couldn’t? Am I totally off-base not having a chair in the room, understanding I have some very comfy chairs in the living room that’s just a few steps away? Advice is much appreciated, folks!

Sources:

  • Ikea Hemnes bed frame; our goal is to DIY this bed frame when we have more time, so the Ikea frame is a temporary solution
  • Ikea Gulliver crib
  • Curtain handmade from a Target shower curtain, sewn to size (for a prior apartment) and backed with heavy Ikea fabric for light blocking
  • Secondhand dresser painted to suit
  • Looking for a budget version of this lamp
  • Handmade crib sheets (fabrics are Robert Kaufman Urban Zoology Ostrich in Charcoal, Windham Fabrics Handmaker Loom in Black & White, and Flannel gingham plaid in Black) – will share details later in case you want to make crib sheets of your own
  • DIY wall art based on this tutorial/inspiration (with colors and images to suit)
  • Rug- Still searching, but recolored this rug by Lulu & Georgia to fit the inspiration board
  • House shelves from Target with hand painted peg dolls of our family inside
  • Canvas hamper from Land of Nod

One final note for anyone still reading: I’m a little crushed not to incorporate more wood into the design, but we have wood stained in almost every finish in the unit now. I don’t want one more mismatched piece. But opting for white furniture does kill me a little bit, even though I think it makes the other colors stand out in a positive way. Natural stained wood is my absolute favorite.


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Reupholstering a Sofa

“I know how to sew. What could possibly go wrong?!”
-Famous last words that I use way too often

We have a ton of renovation work left to do on White House, the rental building we own and plan to live in for awhile during renovations. I should absolutely be focused on finishing those projects instead of the furnishings that will go in the place when the work is done. But I can’t help feeling that once the baby comes, I won’t have time for projects for at least a decade, and if I don’t want to live with something that long, I ought to fix it now.

So I bought 15 yards of upholstery fabric online today. Gulp.

I’m not convinced I can actually reupholster the sofa we own, a hand-me-down from my parents. Then I found a fantastic sale on fabric, meaning the price of failure is lower than usual. At least, I have very little money in the project. I don’t want to think about what happens if we have nowhere to sit because I screw it up and can’t even reassemble the couch. (Another hideous plaid sleeper-sofa like the one Johann and I had in our first shared apartment?!)

My goal is to have a durable sofa that can withstand the first five years of kids. Obviously, my kids will behave better than anyone else’s (haha)… but I remember a time or two running across a room and then flipping over the back of a sofa in my parents’ house with my sister when we were small. I was convinced I was doing “real gymnastics.” And spills… it’s hard to blame a kid for an occasional mistake if Johann and I are both pretty clumsy ourselves. I found a poly/cotton blend that should be stain repellent and a color that should be dark enough to hide most issues, with a little fun texture to boot.

eroica_cosmo_linen_graphite

I have struggled with palettes since I started sewing my first quilt (incomplete, fabric donated – but I’ve blogged about subsequent quilts here). Some of the colors I love most in theory, blues and grays, feel too cool/sterile/depressing to me when it comes to home décor. But I love when other people use them, so I’m hoping that if I use warmer tones and pair them with bright pops of colors, I can find a happy medium. It might also help with the longevity of gray décor since I know warmer tones are on their way in and gray has already had its 15 minutes of fame. Here are some of the rooms that inspired my fabric selection and will guide other choices for the new living room:

sofa-and-living-room-inspiration-building-home-and-family-blog

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Wish me luck!