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?

 

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?

A calm blue ocean…

Blue is one of my favorite colors for decorating.  From a pale blue-green like antique glass to a warm tiffany blue, they all make exciting statements!

Blue is generally considered to be soothing and calming, but other blues can be exciting and impulsive!  Check out these examples!

source: Apartment Therapy

I love this bold teal.  It makes a great statement in a room filled with mostly other greys.

source: Apartment Therapy

This royal blue accompanies the warm gold and wood tones of the vignette in this room very well, balancing and bringing interest!

source: Apartment Therapy

This pretty pastel looks especially nice highlighted by the white trim and details.

What’s your favorite blue room?

Hooked on papering!

A recent thrift store find had me excited about making a new project.  This simple wooden hook hanger was a plain rust-color when I picked it up, but I’d had this great bird printable on hand, and decided to use it to embellish the accessory!

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I started with the hook, a small mirror, the printed sheet, scissors, and a little glue.

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I folded the paper around the edges of the block to figure out where the corners would be.  Then I snipped them a little so there wouldn’t need to be any corner folds.

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Paper will of course tend to wrinkle because of the moisture in the glue, so I used a small paint bottle to roll out the bubbles and wrinkles.

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I added the mirror on with a little more glue once the base dried!  Exciting!

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Not wanting the bare edges of the mirror to show, I picked out a few pheasant feathers to glue around the edges.  I carefully overlapped the tips over the quills so they wouldn’t show.

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And the finished product!

What finds have inspired you lately?

Fun With Chalkboard Paint!

I happen to have a theme for this week, and it’s dun dun dun… chalkboard paint!  I started out using it for speech bubbles for our engagement photos.  After that, I made some boards into regular old chalk boards, also for use at the wedding!  Those are all fine and dandy, but I wanted to see what else I could do with this versatile paint!  So I grabbed a few jars that I’ve been collecting and a few other cans of paint and went to work!

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Wax paper and painter’s tape helped me seal off the areas I didn’t want getting paint on them.  I did each jar a little bit differently!  One jar got a complete coat on the outside (after a base coat of regular spray paint), another got an interior coat of white and a fabric cap.  These two others are my favorites!

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A little squat salsa jar got a coat of light brown paint inside, but the cap got a few coats of the chalkboard paint!  Since I couldn’t get all the adhesive off from the original sticker, I covered it with some cute cute lunch-themed fabric and there you are: lunch money jar!

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The other I added a little chalkboard ‘label’ to!  First I blocked out a base for the label and painted with the same beige as the lunch money jar.  Then I blocked out a slightly smaller space for the chalkboard paint using painter’s tape.  A few coats later, and there we are!

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The adventures will continue Friday with more chalkboard paint stories…  Stay tuned!

Shiny!

Apartment Therapy reminded me this morning how much I looooove the shine and luster of lacquered furniture.  They featured a post about lacquered walls, but I thought to add a few pieces of furniture.  But seriously, isn’t this gorgeous?

source: apartment therapy

I like my lacquer to have a nice modern finish, like this bedroom set from Scandinavian Designs.  With very clean lines, solid colors, and that bright shine, it becomes the focal point of a room without taking away from anything else.

source: Scandinavian Designs

Shiny lacquered kitchens make me just shiver with delight.

source: apartment therapy

Lacquer accessories have always been popular staples in the bathroom, because of their brightness and ease of cleaning, but they can go anywhere!  Check out these from Nina Campbell!

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On a budget?  Try some resin options from Walmart!

Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

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Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

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Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

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crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!