Dressing the nursery.

When we purchased our new home two years ago, I had the pleasure of a few solid months of decorating, followed by a long stretch of just enjoying the results (with the occasional update here and there!). It was extraordinarily satisfying and gratifying to make a space that really suited my husband and me.

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Above: IKEA LERBERG shelf in dark grey; Union 4-in-1 Convertible Crib; assorted DiY frames & prints.

 

Now, with baby boy on the way, we’re finishing up one last major room… the nursery. We began choosing colors and major pieces before we knew the sex, wanting to go with a neutral color set that focused more on design and less on gender. We purchased Valspar’s Low-VOC paint in three colors: a pretty delicate grey called Owlet, and accent colors of dark navy Gentlemen’s Grey and a sunshine yellow (this was actually another manufacturer’s, the name of which I can’t recall!). The walls were completed with the Owlet light grey, and the yellow and navy accents show up elsewhere in the room, in addition to similar colors.

Furniture and fixtures, when they can’t be matched exactly, are at least in the color families, with accents of metals like the shelf above. As is our way, we’ve purchased a lot of items from Ikea, including the above mentioned standing shelf and the yellow metal wall shelf and star wall sconce below. We’ve felt really lucky to have access to Ikea for modern-look products at a really reasonable cost, even for baby!

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Above: IKEA BOTKYRKA wall shelf; IKEA SMILA STJÄRNA wall sconce; metal basket on clearance at King Soopers; art print from artist Mike Maydak, purchased at Denver Comic Con.

 

We also love unique and fun art – the rainbow house print from Mike Maydak was a purchase we made several years before we were even planning on having a child, but the whimsy and brilliant colors lent a brightness to the room we really loved.

Of course being a nursery, everything in the room is safely secured to the walls (such as the Lerberg shelf, which includes pre-drilled holes for securing to walls), including loose cords (the original Smila lamps were actually recalled previously due to a strangle risk with the cord). Though this little one won’t be mobile for some time, getting the safety taken care of immediately is reassuring, and was made easy with cord kits also from Ikea.

 

In which I paint stuff.

We have this marvelous open stairwell and entryway in our home.  It’s filled with light most of the day and was the first thing about this model that struck us as “home.”  While we love it, the height and volume of the space begs for some control.

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In the stairwell portion, I had the idea to paint the outer wall surrounding the window with a navy-to-white ombre.  I haven’t quite had the gumption to get that project off the ground, but I wanted something in the meantime to help anchor the space.  I’ve gotten excited about painting recently and decided to do a pair of large-scale paintings to add to the space and sort of test my ombre-paint theory.

Here’s the result!  The left is the navy to white I initially wanted, but feeling I wouldn’t be able to make a quality duplicate of it, I choose to go with a similar piece in yellow and white.  The yellow ties into some yellow highlights in the living room, and the two colors play nicely off each other.

I spent very little on this fun project!  The ‘canvases’ are simply thin MDF sheets that are readily available at your local hardware or home improvement store.  I ‘primed’ them with a little of the leftover house paint and simply used acrylics to smooth on the ombre.  They’re pushed away from the wall and given some additional structure by adding 1×2″ sections of wood to the back in an I shape – this also serves as the hanging mechanism.  I used E8000 glue, but with some foresight I would screw them on through the front then lightly patch any of the screw showing through the front before painting.

Do you make your own wall art?

The Subtle Nerd

I relish my nerdiness.  I delight in my geekiness.  I also like modern style and fashion and tend toward a more Anthropologie-styled look – very bohemian, soft, and layered.  My home tends to be similar as well, with a strong industrial-modern flair (I like to think our Bexley bar from World Market exemplifies our home style), but I still want subtle bits of our passion for fandom to show through.  While retailers like Black Milk have fantastic and quality garments, their sleek sheath dresses aren’t really my style and don’t work for my everyday school-wear as a teacher.

I am a scarf-wearing fiend.  So this multi-fandom organic cotton infinity scarf really tickles my fancy!  Featuring a whole host of beloved fandoms, it’s sure to delight any hippie-nerd (nippy?  herd?) with the aged print style and gauzy fabric.

My husband would not consider himself fashionable, but I like to pick up tee shirts for him pretty regularly, and nerdy shirts are never turned down.  His (and my) favorites are the subtle nerd humor styles, such as this “Ski Hoth” shirt emblazoned with a 70s style skiing advertisement.  Fortunately tees like this one are very trendy and can even be found at retailers like Target.

 

Retailer Her Universe specializes in geek chic for women and girls.  Envisioned by the charming Ashley Eckstein, actress and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Her Universe has put forth a great collection of clothes and accessories from all our favorite series.  I’m especially fond of their jewelry line, simple and elegant pendants that can add that subtle bit of flair to any everyday outfit.

 

My husband and I did the same thing with our wedding.  We wanted a very sweet, traditional event, yet we couldn’t help but include a few references here and there.  My “something blue” was a Jedi Order temporary tattoo in place of the more traditional garter; Nick gifted his groomsmen with Star Wars themes cufflinks.  I made the little wooden cake-toppers.  I walked down the aisle to “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts.

Finally, we received this absolutely perfect gift last Christmas from my sister-in-law, this adorable set of Han & Leia silhouette prints.  They now reside charmingly in our master bedroom.

How do you show off your nerd?

 

Doggy Dining

I’m excited to share this fun little project I did this weekend.  More modern-style raised doggie feeders are kind of hard to come by, so I decided to make a set of my own!  We have two retired racing greyhounds, and it’s recommended to feed them from elevated dishes to make them more comfortable and possibly reduce bloat, a medical condition that can be quite serious.

All the materials came from Ikea, so I suppose this could also be considered an Ikea hack!  I do apologize for the lack of progress photos – I’d just gotten the rotary cutter and I was so excited about it I forgot to take pictures. XD

I started with one $4 Ekby Tryggve shelf and four (red!) Ekby Stodis brackets for $.50 each.  Since the shelf was more than long enough, I used a circular saw to cut it in half – one half for each diner.  Then I used a newly-purchased Ryobi Cordless Rotary Cutter to cut out circles – just big enough for the bowls to fit and catch on the lip.  I added the brackets to the shelves first – normally I’d put the brackets on the walls and then add the shelf, but this made more sense as they were small and going to be low on the wall.  I anchored each of the screw holes in the wall just in case a dog gets excited and decides to step up on the little ‘shelf’, and then everything was installed!

I like these because they’re easy to clean by just wiping them off, as well as keeping messes off the floor (mostly).  Even if they do make a mess, with the open space beneath it’s easy to just swipe under there with a towel or broom (or to pick up the rug under Zelda’s because she still thinks the wood floors are lava =p).

The shelves are ‘permanent,’ but no more so than a screwdriver and a little spackle will take.  And even though they’re attached to the walls, they have a lower profile than the other raised dishes we had.

Cute, modern, and tidy raised dog dishes for just $3 each?  I’ll take it!

Now I present to you… Mr. and Mrs. Nerdy Geek.

I recently saw a post on Apartment Therapy about a couple’s video gamed themed wedding.  I loved all their little details, and it reminded me of all the little geeky details from our wedding.  As part of our first anniversary celebration, I’d love to share them.

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My husband gifted the groomsmen with Star Wars themed cufflinks (and himself, wearing the Rebel Alliance symbol).  Adorably, he gave the Darth Vader set to MY dad.

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For my “something blue” I had a temporary tattoo of the Jedi Order symbol on my upper right thigh, also partly in lieu of the more traditional garter.

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On top of our cake (or rather, our cupcake tower… saved us a lot of time cutting cake slices, tell you what!) were the little Leia and Han peg dolls I hand painted.  I love you.  I know.

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One of the most charming moments of the ceremony was our pastor starting his sermon by saying, “Ah…. nerds in love.”  The entire building erupted into laughter.

Our parents and the wedding party entered to the Final Fantasy Crystal Theme, a consistently beautiful piece of music.

I marched to “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts.  This song had been in my heart as my bridal march since the first time I heard it.

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Pre and post wedding ceremony, Nick was sure to constantly be in his Indiana Jones hat.

We and our closest friends appreciated the little details tucked carefully inside our beautifully handcrafted, unique wedding.  Nerdy enough to make us smile, traditional enough for everyone to enjoy!  It was the happiest day of my life, with so many more to come.

Our new house.

So the husband and I have been building a house in Reunion, Colorado for a few months now.  We should be ready about June for move-in, but we stopped by for the first time in two weeks this afternoon.  Somewhere magically over the course of two weeks it went from just concrete footers to an actual house with walls and a roof.

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It’s beautiful, you guys. It’s amazing, and more perfect than I could have imagined. And all it really is right now is exterior walls and studs, but it’s still a shape you can walk into and climb up the stairs and see the bedrooms and the views and… it’s really, really incredible.

Flowers from old patterns!

I don’t know about you guys, but I hoard patterns like they’re going extinct.  I even love to find vintage treasures once in a while.  But I also love the PURGE, cleaning out patterns I don’t need to make room for new.  I could recycle those old patterns in the bin with the rest, but here’s something much more creative and lovely!

Materials and instructions on how to make DIY Paper Flowers

Sewing Patterns, Ruler, Scissors, 24-gauge floral wire, Skewers (optional)

1. Stack 10 sheets of sewing patterns cut to 10″ square
2. Fold 1-inch wide sections of the stack, working into an accordion fold
3. and 4. Pinch, loop, and secure a 12-inch length of wire around the middle of the folded pieces. Round the edges using sharp scissors
5. Carefully unfold the layers of paper, fanning into a round bloom
6. A few gentle scrunches of the bloom will create the round “hydrangea” look that you want
7. If you will be arranging the flowers in a big bouquet using floral foam, wrap the remaining wire around a skewer. You can wrap up to three blooms around one skewers

Ta-da! And there you have it, a bouquet of stunning paper flowers!

Check out the rest of the article and more gorgeous pictures over at Wedding Chicks!

A new studio…

Nick and I are planning on purchasing a new home in the next year, and one of the most exciting projects for me is developing my studio space.  I expect to locate it in a ‘loft’ space immediately off the stairs on the second floor of the home, and it is subsequently open to the rest of the upstairs.  I want to be able to keep it very tidy and clean things up in a jiffy when I’m finished working, but I also want the space to be pretty!  I checked out a few options on a recent trip to Ikea and here’s my plan!

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The majority of items are from Ikea, with a few accents thrown in from Urban Outfitters.  The curtains are pieces that I already have (and got lucky finding images of the patterns online!).  I really want the space to be more than just a work space, also a place to enjoy relaxing, reading, playing games, whatever I’d like to do! The sofa is also a sleeper, great for those extra guests we may have.  I’m sure I’ll also be able to find lots of places for the kitsch I already have and any extra small storage I may need.

What do you find that you need in a studio space?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But what if it is?  Can you fix it?  Is it worth the DiY?

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This rocker was left outside another teacher’s room with a sign saying it was broken.  It looked in good condition, but after sitting in it (not necessarily recommended…  Please don’t risk injury, haha!), I noted that the only flaw was a loose right armrest due to a missing screw.  An extra screw and 30 seconds later, the chair was good as new and sitting in a place of honor in my classroom!  I’d been hoping to have a rocking chair for reading, and now I got it!

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Then there was this little table, sturdy and in good condition, but the top was a mess.  Even after cleaning, it was patchy and stained.  My solution?  Paint that tabletop!  Now it’s a great extra addition for the classroom, useful for students to use as a group learning area (also it fits neatly under one of the other tables, storage win!).

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What DiY projects have really paid off for you?