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.


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!


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.


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?


Dressing Ophelia – Part 1

opheliaI’m so excited about this project!  Ophelia is my absolute favorite John Williams Waterhouse painting, and one of my just plain old favorite paintings. I’m a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelite painters in general; I love the source material of classic legends, fairytales, and myths, and the deliriously beautiful figures and ladies.  I think this was fantasy art before fantasy art existed.

I’m going at this in a very specific manner.  I wanted really to work in ‘period’ fabrics, but as Pre-Raphaelite costume design has little-to-no real historical basis, I’ve let that one slide a little.  I was very interested in going with a dupioni silk (a rough woven, slubbed silk) in a pale gold and blue crossweave, but the color and style I wanted was very expensive.  I was willing to pay for it, until I came across a wonderful synthetic dupioni at a wholesale clearance at Wesco Fabrics.  It was only $3 a yard, had the crossweave colors I wanted, and was actually a little better that the dupioni I’d been considering – less shiny! – so I couldn’t pass that up!

The second fabric I went hunting for was the gold for the trim throughout the dress.  This was difficult, too, as I wanted a color well suited to the blue-gold dress fabric, needed something lighter that would be appropriate for appliqué, but wasn’t a shiny plastic metallic.  Here too I checked out a few more expensive silks, but finally came across this synthetic charmeuse in a warm, rich gold that went perfectly with the dress fabric.  It has a bit of a metallic sheen without being SHINY.

So I’m great for materials at this point!  I’ve ordered gemstone chips for the beadwork on the cuffs and hem; I still need seed pearls for the sleeves.  I’ve also completed my alterations to the pattern… here’s how that went!IMG_2362IMG_2364

This medieval style of dress would typically be known as a cotehardie, a closely fitted garment with sleeves.  There are LOTS of patterns for this style of dress, commercial patterns included.  I started with one – the Butterick 4827 – that has a good look, the fitted bodice and sleeves and flared skirt I’m looking for.  It also had the style of neckline I was looking for; while it’s possible to alter for that, it’s of course easiest to start closer to your final product.

However, one thing about the pattern I didn’t like… the super princess seams.  These are clearly absent from the painting (alas, there is a lack of seam lines at all, but I digress), and as princess seams areIMG_2366 considered a more modern application, I wanted to avoid it.  For me, the simple answer was to draft them out!  I did this by carefully folding and laying out the pattern pieces until the seam was matched up, much like one would while sewing them together.  Then I traced over the combined pattern pieces using tracing paper to create an entirely new pattern piece.  I did leave the princess seams in the back; while it’s only partially period, it’s also serving to keep that fitted appearance that I wanted while still being somewhat hidden in the back.  The curve of the side seams were deepened to accommodate for the fitting that was drafted out by removing the princess seams.

As you saw from yesterday, I did some additional fitting using some scrap that later got turned into a cute apron!  I wrapped the waist with a spare piece of fabric to check how the fit would appear with the belt on; it serves a great purpose of helping to cinch in the waistline for a better fit, as well!  I’ll also be adding a wider flare to the skirt at the hips to get that extra, dramatic fullness!

Next time: Dun dun dun!  Finding and creating the lion rampant appliqué.  Whew!  Lots of cutting.

I’m also thinking Tuesday posts will be costuming oriented… I do love a theme!