Nora just moved from our room into her nursery. Eek! Now she feels so far away at night—until she wakes up and wants to eat and ends up back in our room.
This lovely name plaque, made by my uncle, arrived a few weeks after Nora's birth. You might recognize my uncle’s handy work from the numbers plaque he made for Cricket. We had pretty much abandoned the nursery the last few months but are now back tweaking some accents to transform it into Nora’s special place. Hanging this sweet little sign seemed like the perfect first step.
These photos not only demonstrate the sign's fine craftsmanship but also what happens when you place a foreign object on our floor to photograph it.
Above: The first shark circles, poking and prodding.
Below: The second shark arrives, with assistance, to begin her own investigation.
Below: Soon the sharks launch a coordinated attack, and you know you better remove the foreign object before they tear it to shreds.
Below: So up on the wall it goes—safe and sound and pretty.
See the full nursery tour here.
As Sunday evening approaches and the weekend slips away, I often feel anything but relaxed. How could a new week be about to begin when so many tasks lay unfinished--or un-started? This weekend I didn't shoot photos, clean the house or create something lovely with the lavender (above) I harvested from the garden weeks ago. But I did manage to head out on a few nice strolls with my family and go on a date with my husband for the first time since Nora arrived, to ones of our favorite restaurants, Zely & Ritz, no less. Really, what could be more important than those little moments we get to spend with our families?
Maybe next week I'll figure out what to do with the lavender...Any suggestions?
A few months ago, I developed the urge to plant a vegetable garden in our backyard. I envisioned an idyllic plot of peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes (yes, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit) that Cricket and I would diligently water and weed together. We'd pour through recipes and create delicious baked goods and salads with the bounty we'd harvest with our own hands.
Well, that didn't happen. (Maybe next year?) But we did manage to pick up a tomato plant at Lowe's. It's been growing fast despite the heat wave, thanks to Cricket's new-found obsession with the watering can, which she pronounces "wah-CANE." I now have a watering can obsession because I love to hear her say the word.
Last weekend our first tomato appeared, and I realized it just might be the first tomato I've ever grown. So while the girls napped this afternoon, I snuck out to shoot some photos of the little guy. Even one measly, potted tomato plant can be beautiful in the summer sun. And it smells heavenly, too.
It was one of those afternoons when nothing happened as planned; naps were skipped, fussing was abundant and rain poured and poured and poured some more. By the time Jeff walked in from work, I was about to lose it. So I handed him the baby and the book I was about to read Cricket for the thirtieth time, grabbed my camera and the spent the next five glorious minutes shooting the summer blooms around our yard. The sun made its first appearance of the day just in time for my little photo break. Those few moments of creative time outside were just enough to help me reset so I could handle the evening routine of bath time and stories and feedings. Thank goodness for summer.
Welcome to our nursery! We pulled this room together about a year and a half ago while awaiting Cricket's arrival, but the details are continuously evolving to fit her changing needs. I first wrote about creating a calming environment in the nursery here. Cricket will be moving into her new room in a few months, once the new baby is ready for her own room.
We chose a shade of pale greenish-blue for the walls that seemed restful but not too girly (Benjamin Moore Bali—no VOC). For accents, we went with neutral and light pink tones with a few splashes of bolder colors mixed in.
Above: The space is tiny, so selecting furniture that fit was a challenge. We didn't have room for one of those uber-trendy gliders, but this standard one in white and beige has worked well for us.
Above and below left: The bird artwork hanging above the glider is made from two canvas bags that caught my eye at Barnes and Noble, which were created from tile designs by Xenia Taler. I had custom mats cut at Michael's, then framed the bags using ready-made Michael's frames. (See basic matting and framing tips here.)
Below right: Our search for an affordable crib that was phthalate free with a non-toxic finish ended with the DaVinci Jayden in antique white. Despite the ever-changing bumper recommendations, we use a breathable bumper (not pictured) to keep little feet and pacifiers in the crib. I've never been comfortable with the idea of hanging anything above the crib.
Below top left: The dresser was in rough shape when we bought it at Shelton's Furniture, requiring several repairs before Jeff could even start sanding and prepping it for refinishing. (Again we used a Benjamin Moore paint with no VOC.)
Below top right: We got a little cheesy on the back, where we put our hand prints and the dogs' paw prints. We plan to add the girls' hand prints one of these days.
Below bottom left: The pulls are a splurge from Anthropology.
Below bottom right: After many, many hours of work, mostly on Jeff's part, we're thrilled with the finished product.
Below top left: We nabbed this antique bookshelf from one of our favorite shops, Market Imports.
Below top right: A handkerchief that belonged to my grandma.
Below bottom left: Birdie lamps from Land of Nod.
Below bottom right: One of my photos, Prairie smoke, from an alpine meadow in Colorado.
Below top left: Numbers plaque made by my uncle.
Below top right: Needlepoint made by my grandma.
P.S. I've been blogging for several months now and have learned a lot about the types of posts I enjoy putting together. It turns out that, as a nature/landscape/documentary/portrait photographer, I find architectural and still-life photography incredibly boring! It's also difficult to stage home photos with a toddler following me around, tearing apart everything I try to arrange. I'm not sure how this realization will affect my posts moving forward.
Depending on when the baby arrives, this may be my last post for a while. Oh, how I can't wait to share with you the news of our new arrival!
Welcome to Cricket's new bedroom! I've shown you pieces of the room as it's come together and am thrilled to reveal the finished product today.
Since we already have a nursery ready and waiting for the new baby, most of my creative energy over the last several months has gone into this toddler room. This poor baby isn't even here yet and all the worldly things awaiting her are hand-me-downs from her big sister! That's the life of a second child, I suppose. (I'm the third of four girls, so she won't get much sympathy from me...) It just feels different from the first time around when we focused all our energy preparing for our newborn instead of working to make a smooth transition for our toddler.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tour. One of these days I really will let Cricket try sleeping in her new bed. Just not today.
Paint color: Olympic Paint Big Cypress (C26-4).
Above: The upholstered bed we made, which I detailed in a previous post.
Below top left: The bed fabric is Valori Wells Wrenly Wildfield Cobalt Blue.
Below top right: Last summer I fell in love with a piece my sister bought from a Denver artist, whose business is called Soulful Home. I asked Soulful Home to custom-make these butterfly hangings to match both the walls in Cricket’s nursery and those in her new room. Cricket immediately became obsessed with the butterflies and visits them many times a day, waving her hands and exclaiming, "Flap, flap, flap!" The trick was to hang them high enough so she can admire without knocking them down.
Below bottom: I planned to recover the lamps on the dresser in this adorable fabric but made the mistake of admiring and purchasing it during early pregnancy when I was still incredibly sick. Now the fabric, like many other things I did, ate and thought about during that time, makes me nauseous to see. The lamps will probably have to come down for a while anyway when we start using the dresser as a changing table for Cricket. Hopefully by the time she's potty-trained I'll be able to look at the fabric again without vomiting.
Below top row: We found this gorgeous chest at Shelton's, a used furniture store. It was in rough shape, but we hired the shop's handyman to refinish it in a color that matches Cricket's eyes. (Jeff refinished the first dresser we bought there for the nursery and it took an unspeakable number of hours and coats of paints. When the handyman told us he would refinish this dresser for $90, we jumped at the chance to hire him.)
The photo hanging above the dresser is one of mine, Vibrant trail, which I shot last summer in Colorado. Jeff and Cricket were hiking up ahead of me, just around the bend. I can feel the mountain sun of my face when I look at it.
Below bottom row: We found this lovely garden piece at one of our favorite antique shops, Market Imports.
When we used this room for guests, I always filled the pots with fresh flowers. But I knew I wouldn't have time to refresh them on a weekly basis for Cricket so—for the first time in my life—I bought fake flowers. Luckily, she doesn't know the difference and keeps trying to smell them.
Below: This gallery wall faces the foot of the bed and sits on the opposite side of the closet from the bookshelf. For some background and DIY instructions, see my previous posts here and here.
Enjoy a few more blooms from our front yard. Top: azalea. Bottom: I'm not sure what it is but liked how it was dotted with spider webs.
Happy weekend! I snapped a few shots of the lovely blooms in our backyard while the little one was playing her heart out and feeding the dogs her Cheerios. Enjoy!
I'm excited to share this gallery wall we created in Cricket's new room. (I'm planning to show you a full room tour very soon.) You've seen several of these items in previous posts—all significant in their own ways. Now we have them displayed together in a place that's easy for Cricket to view but out of reach from her tiny and destructive hands.
You saw the "Oh darling, let's be adventurers" photo and inspiration here. Since I wanted to print the photo in a large square size (12x12 inches) and couldn't find a frame I liked in those dimensions, I decided to mount it on a wooden 12x12-inch plaque from Michael's. To make the sides of the unfinished plaque blend with the photo, I painted them a shade of beige that matches the sand. Then I adhered the photo to the plaque with mod podge. This project was my first attempt with mod podge, and the photo ended up bubbling a bit in the middle; I should have set a book on top of the photo as the glue was drying. Regardless, it turned out well and makes Cricket smile.
Back in February, I mentioned here that we were planning to build a twin bed for Cricket when my in-laws came to visit. (I use the term "we" loosely; Jeff and my civil engineer father-in-law actually built the bed and headboard. I forced them into it, chose the fabric and helped upholster both pieces.) Voila the finished project! (You can now view the toddler bedroom tour here.)
The bed concept was based on Design Mom's DIY toddler bed, though "we" adjusted the dimensions to fit a twin mattress, added additional supports to ensure the structure could hold the weight of an adult and built and installed a matching headboard. (Note: Measure your mattress before adjusting the dimensions of the bed. Our mattress was a slightly different size than a standard twin and even than the dimensions listed online for that specific mattress.)
I'll spare you the full details, because you can follow Design Mom's tutorial. Just shoot me a note if you'd like more information on our adjustments and I'll direct your inquiry to my personal builders. In the meantime, here's how it all came together:
First there were a few trips to Lowe's, JoAnn Fabrics and Mattress Firm. Then there was a lot of measuring, sawing, hammering and drilling in the garage:
Once "we" finished the frame, it was upholstery time. Now I can actually say "we" and mean it. We stapled the batting around the bed and headboard, and then went back around once again to staple on the fabric.
We made the headboard out of a piece of plywood. Jeff probably spent more time designing and executing a way to securely mount the headboard directly to the wall so Cricket couldn't hurt herself by pulling it down than he did on the actual bed. This resulting method employs four anchors bolted into the studs.
The bed and headboard sat in Cricket's room for about six weeks before we got around to ordering the mattress and bedding. During that time, she learned to scramble up onto the frame, where she'd play for hours. (See evidence below.) She also developed a love for snuggling her headboard, which made me appreciate Jeff's extensive headboard-securing efforts even more.
I'm not sure how Design Mom built two toddler beds for just $75. I lost track of the expenses along the way—I know, I know, I'm terrible at documenting DIY projects and vow to improve on this skill—but am fairly certain we spent between $100-200 on the bed, headboard and upholstery, excluding the mattress. I wouldn't recommend taking on this bed project if your goal is to save money.
We're always trying to create thoughtful, calming spaces for our little one(s) and look forward to adding this unique bed to Cricket's new room. Now it's just going to take some time before I'm actually ready to let her transition from crib to bed...
As long as the new baby stays put for a few more weeks, I'm planning to post tours soon of the completed big-girl room as well as the nursery, so please keep checking back.
Signing off for the night at 35 long weeks pregnant.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.