I've dusted off the contributor cobwebs and am sharing my first of three DIY's for A Beautiful Mess. This one was a labor of love over the Memorial Day weekend but I'm so happy with how it turned out.
Get the full tutorial over there! Also, I mentioned using a vintage aluminum chair and giving it a makeover because the webbing was falling apart but you could easily use a new chair frame as long as you don't mind cutting it up. Also, give yourself a good six to eight hours to finish one. Find a new Netflix series or get a new audio book started and you'll be done in no time.
Our current two-bedroom rental is big on living space but small on sleeping space so Smith, being child number three, has been allocated a corner of our bedroom until further notice. It's a bit compact but we co-sleep so all he needs for the next few months is somewhere to store his clothes and blankets.
The pine storage unit we had set aside for his gear wasn't proving to be as efficient as I'd hoped on it's own and Brett was having a hard time using our platform bed as a changing table so we went to IKEA and found a dresser that was deep enough to double as a changing table. It's so nice having the extra drawer space to hide the surplus diapers and wipes and clothes that don't fit yet. Also, our changing pad covers were in the mail when I took these photos. I wouldn't dare lay his unexposed southern end on top of sheepskin!
I wasn't going to let the lack of a nursery discourage me from making this space special so I did what I always do when restrictions are involved and took it as a personal challenge to make it work. Not only was I working on a small scale but we needed to keep it gender neutral and keep things feeling cohesive with our bedroom. I didn't want to invest too much money in this space since I knew we'd likely be switching things up in a few months so I shopped my closets for smaller frames and used craft supplies I had on hand to make a few things.
I was then sent some really special handmade pieces including the embroidery above from my dear friend, Ruthie, of My Trash and Treasure and the charming cloud wall hanging from the sweet Jahje of Baby Jives. Those girls helped bring this whole space together with their handiwork and I'm so thankful.
Since we wanted this baby's gender reveal to take place the old fashioned way, I decided to keep most of what I made or bought within a simple black and white color scheme with shades of minty blue and yellow-green. This felt really restrictive at first but now most things in Smith's wardrobe can easily be mixed and matched and even look good together sitting in clean piles on my couch/bed/dresser. Oh, the piles of clean laundry.
Since it's still chilly here in Colorado Springs I have a lot of blankets and swaddlers easily at hand in the pine shelf as well as the darling handmade booties gifted to us by Katrina of Calikatrina and the moccasins gifted to us by Susan of Freshly Picked. We got Ruby a pair when she was first walking and they were one of the only pairs of shoes that always stayed on her little feet so I'm so thankful Smith will have some as well. The bottom of that shelf has a basket that holds more blankets and nursing covers, etc.
Our dresser/changing table has three drawers that contain most of the rest. The top drawer has diapers, wipes, burp cloths, nursing pads, socks, pacifiers, grooming supplies, toys that he's too little to enjoy just yet, etc. The second drawer is full of clothes that fit or will fit in the next few weeks and the bottom drawer we use for stashing the diapers and wipes we ordered in bulk before he was born as well as the rest of his clothes that will fit this summer and beyond.
I must say diaper changes have become much less traumatic since I hung everything on Smith's wall. He's so attracted to the high contrast of the black and white (I'm assuming) that he will stop fussing when I lay him down to change him. What started out as a scream fest that had me racing through wipes and trying not to get peed on has become a much more pleasant experience for both of us.
Also, night time diaper changing has become much easier with the assistance of this little LED light from IKEA that is battery operated. I attached it to the pine shelf and it lights up all the necessary parts that need changed in the dark without waking up my sleepy husband!
Whether this sweet boy moves into his big brother's and sister's shared room in the fall or gets his own room in our next house I have a feeling all or most of the pieces we're using right now will transition with him.
Having limited resources shouldn't mean you have to miss out on the fun of nesting. I'd love to hear how you've made a small space work for your needs. How did you do it? Double-duty furniture? Hiding clutter with cute baskets? Do tell.
Details: Moccasins c/o Freshly Picked. Crocheted booties c/o Calikatrina. Baby pants and hats, handmade by me. Cream swaddle blankets with black serging, AGraffDesigns. Baby onesie c/o Hello, Apparel. Nightlight, dresser, sheepskin, black frames, ikea. Yellow shoes, gifted and from BabyGap. Afghans, thrifted. Crib quilts, handmade by me. Striped swaddle blanket c/o BusySpinningThread. Grey striped wrap c/o SollyBaby. Wooden and cloth teether c/o Baubles & Bits.
It's not hard to forget how small a newborn is upon arrival. My first two came out big enough to bypass newborn clothing after about three weeks of healthy nursing but Smith was a whopping pound-and-a-half smaller than both of them. His features were so much more petite. I never really saw the value of documenting their size in the form of a clay mold or paper cut out as a first time mom but standing on this end-knee deep in chapter books, school crushes, and feet almost as big as mine-I'm so much more sensitive to how fleeting these tiny days are.
One evening, after Smith was well fed, I got out the acrylic craft paint and a sketch pad and enlisted the help of my husband. I did a few test runs on one sheet of paper to see which angle was most effective and then ripped off a few new sheets to get down to business. I reapplied fresh paint and after about five takes had a footprint with all five toes that wasn't smeared. My professional foot stamping opinion is to set the paper on a table or counter and gently press your child's foot down like he/she is taking a step. It will likely take two people. Safety first!
As soon as I had the print I was happy with we washed the paint off of his foot. I suggest using something non-toxic. Then I took apart a frame from ikea and centered my footprint in my mat with room for some handwritten details. I added his first and middle name and his birthdate and then adhered the mat to my page. Then I trimmed off the edges with my paper cutter and framed it before adding it to the gallery wall arrangement.
I love that it's bold and adds to the graphic look of this wall but is also sentimental. The Denbow men tend to be on the taller side with big feet. It's hard to believe my little men could one day be wearing a size 13 shoe!
For more ways to add handmade touches to a baby space or customize something for yourself check out my Alpha Sticker Art, Mini Banner, and God's Eye tutorials. They're cheap, easy, and can be finished in two episodes of The Mindy Project.
I remember making God's Eyes when I was in a Brownie troop as a little girl. They may carry more meaning for some but I just have fond memories of making them in bright colors and feeling pretty accomplished with my new skill set. I decided I wanted to add one to the tiny little corner of our bedroom that this baby will be claiming until it's old enough to move into the kids' shared room. I used some of the same citron yarn that I've been making my cross blanket from as well as some more textured cream yarn and leftover binding from the abstract crib quilt. They have all been sitting in a pile together so it was an easy choice to combine them again.
1. I bought a dowel rod from a craft store and cut it down so that I had two equal lengths of about 8". As mentioned I used two different cream yarns, a citron yarn, and some leftover binding from a quilt. I've tried this technique out with torn strips of fabric sheets and it's a good way to add some variety as long as you fold your fabric in half so the frayed edges get overlapped with each new layer. 2. I tied a snug knot around the center of my two rods so that they could twist and be perpendicular without sliding out. 3. Then I wrapped my binding around one rod and then the next in a counter-clockwise fashion so that I made about four complete rounds. 4. Since the binding was so bulky I stitched it down to itself on the back.
5. Next, I added my first layer of yarn by tying a knot around one of the rods so that it was on the back and then wrapping the yarn gently around each rod in a counter-clockwise fashion again. You can adjust your pattern to make each layer as thin or thick as you like. Once I was done I tied off another knot on the back side of the same rod I started on and trimmed the ends. 6. Next I added my citron and did the same. 7. I continued with different thicknesses until I was happy with the size of things and trimmed my ends again. Once I'm done I'll add another knot around one of the rods with a loop long enough to hang it on the wall.
I'm waiting on a few things before I put any holes in the wall but things finally feel like they're transforming from a dumping ground of miscellaneous baby things into something special.
Did you make God's Eyes growing up or are they a part of your cultural heritage? I've seen them with tassels and beads attached as well as some pretty large conceptual ones used in store displays. I think my fourth grade self would be proud to know she hasn't lost her touch.
Sharing one way to customize your stockings this Christmas on A Beautiful Mess today. Head over to see how simple and inexpensive this little project was!
I was craving something different for our Christmas decor this year - a break from all of the vintage Shiny Brites in hot pink and teal that we've used the last six years - but didn't want to go out and buy a whole new set of ornaments and decor because, duh, baby on the way. Himmelis have been on my radar all year as seen here, here, and here. I love their shape and that they're new to me but rather traditional if you're Finnish. There's a long history of people making himmeli ornaments for Christmas or mobiles throughout the year from straws and brass but I wanted something sparkly and inexpensive that I could pump out in about an hour. Gold pipe cleaners! Yes!
1. Each ornament takes three pipe cleaners. You will also want yarn or twine to hang them. First, fold two pipe cleaners over each other to form an X. Don't just lay them on top of each other, they need to fold back so that they are two right angles that hook in the middle. 2. About 2" up from the center, fold each end up to the ceiling. 3. Take your third pipe cleaner and fold it around one of the bends about 1/4" as shown and then wrap it all the way around the next bend. Make it as tight as you can without bending everything out of shape. 4. Continue to bend that third pipe cleaner around each bend until you come back to the beginning. Fold over and trim extra if there's any. You'll want to make sure you're leaving an equal amount of space between each of the bends. 5. Take the shorter two pieces at the top of your open himmeli and fold over each other. 6. Then take the next two and fold over. Trim edges. Gently reshape any bends in the lines if you need to. Attach some yarn or twine to the top and hang.
I really love the way they look against the white tree. I've got no plans to get rid of any Shiny Brites but it's fun to have so many different colors in my collection that I can change things out every year or two. This year I added a finger-knit garland (only one half of it has been hung because I'm still working on the other half!), wrapped the tree in a thrifted afghan instead of fussing with yet another handmade tree skirt, pulled all of the gold bulbs from my stash, and made the tree topper out of leftover pipe cleaners. It was more of the same twisting and folding of pipe cleaners. I'll be sure to share more of our holiday decor in a future post.
Ruby got in on the pipe cleaner action while I was working and made herself a handful of candy cane pipe cleaner ornaments for the shorter white tree we have. We also made some twisty hearts and she climbed on top of that deer and hung them all near the top. It's quite charming.
The great thing about this kind of project is how versatile it is. You could string together a dozen or more himmelis to make a garland for your doorway, add them to a wreath, or make mini himmelis and attach them to presents. Feel free to link back to this tutorial to share your own!
The kids' room is getting a little makeover. If you've been following me on Instagram (@smileandwave) you've probably seen the slow progress of finally getting to IKEA, bringing home some new furniture, putting together a bunkbed, and piecing together new matching quilts for said bunkbed.
We spent most of two weekends ago clearing out and cleaning their room, switching dressers with them, rearranging both of our bedrooms to make sure things would accomodate space for the baby, and figuring out how to reorganize both rooms. Two full days of work still left us with a lot of work to do. My motto became 'worse before better'. This past weekend I hunkered down to start these two quilts for the kids while my sweet, sweet husband did loads of laundry and dishes, guided the kids in cleaning their room, took Sebastian out on a dude date, and never once rolled his eyes at my to do list. It's been weekends like these that I realize just how much I missed him while he was deployed!
Since we'll be in this two-bedroom rental with three children for about eight more months after this baby comes in March it's been important to me to rethink our limited space. The kids have shared a room since Ruby came along but the bedrooms here are a bit smaller than our last two homes so thinking about fitting a bassinet in our room and later on a crib in their room has been challenged me to think more creatively about how we utilize our square footage and storage options. We took care of most of that earlier this month so now the fun part of adding in new elements and reworking old ones has started.
Here's what we've tackled on the to do list so far:
* Switch twins out for a bunkbed.
* Switch dressers for more clothing space including a drawer for the baby.
* Switch shelving by adding an IKEA expedit unit and move old shelving to our bedroom to use for the baby's stuff.
* Add a rug.
* Bring in secondary lighting.
* Purge the toys and books they've outgrown that I don't want to save for the baby.
* Add a chair for bedtime reading or lounging.
Here's what I'm still hoping to accomplish:
* Finish matching quilts customized for bunkbeds.
* Possibly paint the bunkbed.
* Add purchased black and white artwork from online sellers.
* Possibly paint a chalkboard wall that we'll repaint white before we move.
* Add pully system and twinkle lights to the bunkbed.
* Give wooden dollhouse a face lift.
* Blow up a photo of the kids at Kinko's and use it as artwork.
* Adhere temporary white or patterned wallpaper to built-ins to lighten the space.
I'm planning their space to keep up with their current needs but I'm also making sure I can easily rearrange things once we add in a crib sometime next summer. The Expedit can double as a changle table area with at least one cubby for diapers and wipes underneath and baby clothes can be stored in one of the dresser drawers and in their closet. I'm also trying to coordinate the colors in their bedding without overly matching the kids' stuff to the baby's stuff but when things coordinate well even the messes are a little more tolerable, am I right?
Do I sound like a nesting mother? There's no rush to get this done before the baby comes but I do want to have it mostly finished before Christmas so we can go in to the new year with that under our belts. There are also other things on the horizon that will need much more of my attention so I'm trying to take advantage of this little window of motivation.
I'll be sure to share bits and pieces on Instagram and do a new room tour once it's all as it should be. There may even be a DIY or two involved. Of course there will be!
What's been taking up most of your to-do list lately? Lots of little projects, something big? Do you feel like you're just treading water trying to keep up with the essentials like dishes and laundry? By the way, I've never felt so buried in housework and unable to spend time on anything creative like I did during the time Brett was away. It's also made me appreciate how valuable that creative time is and all that it does for my spirit. I hope you get some of that time in soon!
I'm sharing an easy DIY on A Beautiful Mess this week. Head over to get the details on how to make your own color blocked mood board. Can we say renter friendly?
It's already helping me forget that my studio space is now in the basement!
I love having a mantle and fireplace in our living room even if it's just for looks because it's so fun to decorate through the holidays. To create a fall mantle I pulled some things I already had around the house, DIY'ed a little bat art, and added a variety of mini pumpkins.
1. Stick to a strong color palette-In this case, everything is black, white, or gold with orange as the standout color. If you want things to look cohesive choose three to four colors that repeat. It'll look good close up and from across the room. Too many colors start to compete with each other.
2. Layer, layer, layer-I have a large mirror to help frame the space and then stacked art work over that and then had pumpkins and books in front of that. Everything is slightly overlapped but not completely covering up the thing behind it. Another element in layering is staggering sizes of things. Larger to smaller, wider to narrower as you layer. It keeps your eye moving.
3. Texture is Important- I've mixed the hardness of glass, metal, and metallics with the softness of paper, flowers, and pumpkins.
These are all guideliness I keep in mind when I'm creating vignettes in my home. If you're feeling stuck just switch something out and look at it from the other side of the room. Leave it for a day or two and come back with fresh eyes and you might see what needs to be tweaked. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with flowers!
To keep this year's mantle feeling fresh even though I used a lot of elements I've had on hand for years I created some Halloween art. I found a chipboard bat silhouette at Hobby Lobby and painted it with black acrylic paint. Then I thrifted a frame and fitted it with a thick piece of white cardstock (also from Hobby Lobby) and mounted the bat with double-stick tape. It's graphic and was really easy to make.
Have you already started decorating for fall?