Tag Archives: nursery

Super simple DIY Pom-Pom mobile

Pom-poms! My friend Sarah just published a book that gives these whimsical crafts from childhood a cheerful & cheeky spin with grownup projects like a pom-pom cowl, pom hedgehog paperweights and other quirky crafts.

sarah pom

Sarah is the talented lady behind Craft-a-Day, and when she asked if I’d give a pom-pom project a whirl, I gladly agreed. These are the perfect craft-while-the-baby-sleeps, yarn-stash-busting ideas.

I imagined colorful poms would add a fun touch in Emmett’s nursery, dangling from the mobile. I previously had clipped Alphabeasties to a Kikkerland Hanging Photoclip Mobile. Although the cards are gorgeous, they’re not so much fun to look at upside down! Enter, fuzzy-wonderful pom-poms.


I worked on the pom-poms on the couch while Joe was watching football and Emmett was sleeping and was able to make enough for the mobile before Notre Dame lost. I used to make hundreds of yard dolls when I was a kid (a friend and I used to donate the proceeds to the local historical society), and so I opted for the finger wrapping method. Here’s my own dorky tutorial. (Click to enlarge.)


I made the same size of pom in a bunch of different colors and then just clipped them onto the gallery mobile. Emmett seemed to really like watching the fuzzy shapes. They’re so lightweight I’m not at all worried about them falling. In fact, I cam totally see us playing a game where I unclip them and he catches them as they fall. Free entertainment!


Merging the hedgehog pom-paperweight and pom-mobile ideas, I could see white sheep poms being totally sweet. (As in, counting sheep to fall asleep.) They’d just need little felt heads and feet.


Congratulations on a great book, Sarah! Check it out here.

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Filed under Getting crafty

Emmett’s room on AT

Eeep! I’ve been reading Apartment Therapy since forever and after documenting our dormer renovation and posting the finished nursery pictures, I decided to submit our project to the site. It’s up today as “Emmett’s Raise-the-Roof-Room.”


If you’re new to the blog and interested in seeing more of the process, I’ve included some posts in chronological order below. Special thanks to Matt Coen for letting us know the dormer addition was do-able, and to Woodland Fair, our contractors. Adjusting to life with a newborn has been a lot easier with such a pretty space to hang out in.

The room is definitely getting more lived-in now that Emmett is home, but the setup is working out great!


Trying to decide what to name your little bundle? AT posted a roundup of 100 “stylish names” based on kids names from rooms they’ve posted on the site.

P.S. The lovely Marissa from The Moon and the Honey announced she and her husband are expecting a baby in February. She always puts together the best nursery inspiration boards – can’t wait to see tiny Kephart’s space take shape!

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Filed under At home, House projects

Making room: Our bright, book-filled nursery

It’s hard to believe our former attic nook is now my favorite place to sit and read and watch birds and branches and the clouds roll by. I can’t wait to welcome our baby home.


I will admit, though, to shedding a few tears in trading in this lovely life for two to grow into a family of three. I’m a person who appreciates quiet time to herself, and I know being needed by another little human is going to reshape those moments forever. A child becomes like a phantom limb; s/he’s an extension of yourself that always holds a piece of your mind.

As we set about making space, it was a literal and figurative task: To create a bright room where there was none, and fill it with books and hopes and a bird’s eye view. To prepare for this next adventure of parenthood by way of paint swatches and nails and carpet and curtains.

It’s hard to believe our dormer addition nursery started out like this:


Our contractors took care of opening the roof to the sky and building out the structure, installing drywall and windows. We took on the electrical and hired out the carpet installation and did our own painting and decorating.

Want to peek inside? I’ve been so excited to share this space!

from hall

We started out by painting a gender-neutral, bright green, crushing on some animal decals and building up a lovely collection of books to base the room around. It turned out we incorporated quite a few pops of red, too.

door open

The radiator cover was a custom DIY collaboration built by my brother and Joe. It covers our heating and cooling unit and the top is hinged so we can open it up when it’s in use. They worked their butts off on it, and I think it really finishes the room.

dresser:shelf angle

I wasn’t sure where to start, but the whole inspiration for the room began with the safari animal wall decals that now peek out from different spots. I love their sweet personalities and Joe suggested we put most of them down low, so the baby can crawl to them.

Sweet zebra

Animal decals by gingiber on Etsy.

crib angle

The Jenny Lind crib was a great deal on Overstock,and gifted to us by my grandpa. This is the first great-grandbaby in the family and I can’t wait to introduce those two! The print at the head of the bed is by Kate Daisy. I am obsessed with her designs!

Dresser front rocker

These dressers were a Craigslist coup we re-painted. We decided to try an ombre effect on the middle drawers, using leftover paint with the samples we’d tried when choosing one for the walls. We’re using the smaller one as a changing table and tucked it in the closet to save space. I stuck some of the advice tags from my baby shower along the top.



The curtains are IKEA. I think they’re festive without being too circus-y, and they’re nice and thick and came super-long. The bookshelves are painted IKEA spice racks (Pinterest inspiration actually put to use!) Thank goodness for IKEA.

toy basket

My mom made the toy basket at a workshop in Wisconsin. She made it before I was even pregnant, which is kind of funny. Guess who’s excited to become a grandma?


The rocker came from Craigslist, too, and a friend generously reupholstered it with fabric we had on hand from an earlier project we’d abandoned. I was skeptical about needing a rocker, but Joe insisted and it’s probably the most functionally awesome part of the room. We’ve both been reading in there a lot. The red campaign chest came with our house and fits breastfeeding supplies inside. Cara knit the blanket we’ve draped over the footstool for optimal coziness.

crib wall

The Eric Carle ABC poster is Target and the hanging quilt was made by Joe’s grandma. Nobody had told her the color scheme and theme of the nursery, but when we opened it we knew it needed to be in the spotlight!


And the books! This baby will be well-read, and I love that.


Joe’s sister, Ellen, threw a sweet book-themed baby shower on Mother’s Day, which quickly filled the shelves. My friends at Ephemera made the most beautiful invitations, and each came with a customizable book plate inside. Joe’s sister Molly crafted the cool elephant bookends.

Invite Inside

I think the most special part of the room is that almost every element inside was crafted or gifted with love from someone in our lives. I am in awe at the talents and generosity of our friends and family, and I hope that this baby soaks up the values and lessons all of the smart, sweet people he or she will be surrounded with. The plan is for this room to someday get shared with a sibling, too!


Filed under At home, Baby, Getting crafty

Breezy evening

A few finishing touches and it’s all coming together. The windows went in, the curtains went up. It’s nice to catch a breeze (whenever I write that word, I think of how my mom calls me Breezer Weezer or Breezey Weasey sometimes) and soon the tree right outside the window will explode in pink flowers.


A friend reupholstered our Craigslist rocker, and little creatures are taking up residence on the walls:


Reality check: Wilbur has also decided that he should poop in the nursery. Naughty pup. He’s never gone in the house before, so it’s fantastic that he’s decided to do this now, with the new carpet in. Probably his doggy way of staking a claim. It’s a good thing we finally got the door on to keep him out! Any suggestions?

Two Buzzfeed parenting articles that cracked me up:


Filed under At home, Baby

Nursery update: Blank slate

The carpet went in, the carpet went in!


I’ve never been present at a carpet installation before, but I was working from home while they were putting it in, and the smell brought me back to the plastic animal Mold-A-Rama machines they had at the Brookfield Zoo. (Anyone else remember those?) Probably toxic, but I kind of love it. Joe wanted to take photos of me doing carpet angels.

Carpet angel

Now this feels like a room! We still have to get the windows replaced, per Des Moines city code egress mandates (whomp-whomp), and the exterior painted, but otherwise, we have our blank slate and have begun filling it with furniture. It’s a small room (165 square feetish? Not counting closet space), but the slightly vaulted ceilings make it feel open and there’s so much natural light. I love it.

Sneak peek at things getting arranged:

nursery progress

We went with gray carpet in a square kind of pattern, and green walls, so the palate is gender-neutral but maybe leaning a little boy-ish? Everyone thinks JamJam is a boy, and I’ve just had my first two boy dreams. All the others have been girl dreams. In the first boy dream, though, the baby was immediately talking (like Stewie from Family Guy) and had a full head of curly hair and freaked me out. I can feel entire slabs of baby pushing against my belly. A little rump here or what might be a head there. Sometimes I get a full-on inside out punch to the gut, which is my favorite.

Today is the baby shower for the Paluch 3-pack, and I’m baking that pineapple upside down carrot cake again. I crafted part of their present and am excited to post about it.

Last night, I made my favorite (chocolate chip-filled) banana bread. It smells cinnamony and is so good for this wet and dreary weather we’ve been having.


Filed under At home, Baby, Getting crafty

Room to remember


This baby is due on June 4, exactly nine years and 364 days after my father died. I remember the bright sunshine of that afternoon, and feeling helpless as I watched his life slip away on the driveway, under the bay of windows that looked out of my childhood room. It’s strange to teeter on the verge of parenthood now and the things that remind me of him.

I don’t think of my dad – Papa –  when I stand among pine trees on a hike, and the wind tickles the needles. I don’t see him in a Bluebird perched on a fence, and I don’t often visit the grave site where he is buried. Instead, it’s in things like spotting an Eames lounge like the one I used to get in trouble for twirling on as a kid. It’s in imagining his appreciation for the Saarinen-designed dorms at Drake, or wondering if he was on the S.O.M. team that designed Cap Square.

Kneeling to cover a corner of the new nursery in a coat of paint, a wave of missing him came over me like I haven’t felt for a long time. I took in the light bouncing off the primed white walls and imagined my dad in the space, assessing and appreciating as an architect would. I could practically hear him telling me to keep the walls white in the same modern aesthetic that never really worked in our house when I was growing up. (We were more handprint smudges and clutter and dust than a page from DWELL. I’m the same, still.)

In my early teens, I rebelled against the white walls in my room. I picked out a can of Martha Stewart Batter Bowl Green and my dad taught me how to roll it on by making V-shapes instead of going straight up and down. This weekend, I let the tears fall as I retraced that motion with a shade of green on the walls of the nursery.

I realized that, in a strange way, building this room has helped me to feel like my papa is a part of his grandchild’s life, even though they’ll never meet. I could almost imagine him alongside Joe and his dad, working on the electrical, or there with another paint roller, helping even though he disagreed with the shade. (The heather gray hall walls, I know he’d like.) My dad and I refinished a dresser together once, and Joe uses it in our room. I think I’ll have to play Warren Zevon’s album “The Wind” when I paint over the baby’s this weekend. I wonder what will remind my baby of me when I’m gone.

Warren Zevon: Keep Me in your Heart

Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile


Filed under At home, Baby, Life lessons

Thanks, Craig: Nursery furniture!

While our upstairs remains draped in plastic tarps (the drywall stage of our remodel is coming to a close), downstairs is beginning to resemble a stall at the Brass Armadillo.


Tail down = Wilbur is not pleased. But he’s been super curious, too.


It’s getting to the stage where we’re going to be able to start decorating the nursery in a few weeks. My grandpa has this tradition of buying beds for his grandchildren (I think I started it when he gifted me with my first real grownup person bed when I moved to Des Moines), and he’s keeping it alive for the first great-grandchild in the bunch!

I had originally planned on going with a modern crib, but then Jenny Lind cribs kept catching my eye. (This nursery is so incredibly lovely, it put an arrow through my heart.) Grandpa came through and our crib arrived this week. We haven’t set it up yet, but here’s the website image:


Reality is setting in that our new room is actually going to become filled with things, like furniture and a child.

I’m not the kind of person who needs to have everything new, especially considering the environmental impact of having kids, but I also know what I like. I had a vision of finding some of our nursery furniture on Craigslist. We hadn’t had much luck finding what we were looking for, but then yesterday ended up nabbing a glider and dresser set within a few hours of each other for supercheap. Score!


The glider cushions might get re-upholstered if I can figure that out, and a few paint touchups. The dresser will not remain that violet color. (Likely, it will go white. I tried painting a desk a teal color a few years ago and that was a total fail, so I’ll keep it simple/gender-neutral.)

The dresser has a mirror that gets attached on one side, and I think I’ll use the other side for a changing table. And it has a matching mini dresser that will likely go in the closet or something.


Pardon the sandwiching, but I wasn’t about to move furniture today.

We plan to paint the room a light spring green and decor is inspired by the sweetest wall decals that ever lived graced Etsy:



Filed under At home, Baby

A new view

The windows went in the nursery today! Four big windows overlook the backyard and the backyards of the street beyond, which we’ve never seen before. I can’t wait to gaze out when everything is lush and green, and I hope our apple tree fruits again this fall.


The boxed area below the windows is for the PTAC unit. I think we’re going to try to build a radiator cover for it, like this one. Home Depot has lots of pretty grates for them.

The framing went in for the wall that will divide our room from the landing, too. I love having high ceilings and I think the french doors will keep an open feel.


All the hammering and wiring and whatnot upstairs has me more excited than ever about decorating our second floor. We really kind of neglected our “master suite” for three years after we moved in, but now I’m feeling like we need to capitalize on its potential. I mean, the baby can’t hog all of the style, right?

It’s probably not a great idea to go too trendy, but the finishings upstairs allow for us to go a little more modern in our decor and I’m currently obsessing over honeycomb/hexagon-y things.

Kate Daisy print

Kate Daisy print

Apparently I’m not the only one, but Joe and I did get married on a beekeepers farm, so there’s that. Babble has this roundup of Honeycomb Awesomeness.


I’m especially loving the honeycomb shelving on “A Beautiful Mess.” Maybe for the hallway, in place of a big book case?

I have always loved the hexagons in the “Grandmothers Flower Garden” quilt. I got this one at a Valley Junction antique sale for a crazy deal:


This modern take has an almost scientific look to it, which I also like:

A hex hexagon upon me, I suppose.


Filed under At home

Meanwhile, back at the homestead

Yesterday was hole-in-the-roof day! From the curb, you can’t really see much. It’s like a mullet remodel. Still pretty business in the front.


But the party was getting started in the back when Joe and I popped home over lunch with some groceries so we could keep the crew fueled on what our contractor predicted would be one of the most intense days of construction.


It was pretty wild to walk upstairs and see the one-time wall exposed to the elements.


Remember that wall just the day before?

What was crazier was getting back to the house at the end of the day and seeing the room pretty much framed out.


Inside, we could really start to visualize how furniture would work out, and evolve from a crib to maybe bunk beds or something some day.


There will be a big bay of windows overlooking our little backyard, and we have to have a PTAC unit installed for heating and cooling because of the nature of our old house and how the HVAC is set up. Our room can get pretty toasty in the summer, so we wanted to make sure we were able to keep it cool on this side.


Wednesday night, Joe and I went on a dinner-and-Lowe’s date (pretty sure it was an excuse for him to try some of the new beers on tap at Rock Bottom) to look at some finishings.

We started to wrap our brains around carpeting options, although my boss recommended Louie’s Floor Covering on Ingersoll, which we’re totally going to check out. I’m not sure if this ceiling fan will be too big, but we’re fans (har har) of it because it seems to blend the craftsman and modern styles we love.

Wilbur, by the way, is being a champion about all of the pounding. He’s sequestered in his kennel in the extra room during the day, but the crew says he’s hardly made a peep and he just doesn’t go upstairs at night. Lots of treats for that pup these days for not completely freaking out.


Filed under At home

Raising the roof

Baby needs a new room.Well, baby would probably be fine in a bassinet/cozy corner for months, but I’m itching for a nursery that is more than a nook — a room that our kid can grow into.


We love our 1920 hippo house with its Sec Taylor history and location on a leafy boulevard, newish handmade backyard fence and not to mention awesome neighbors who frequently delight us with cheerful whistling and/or by giving us bacon. Long story short, we want our baby to grow up here. Maybe someday we’ll move, but not quite yet.

Still, Joe and I weren’t keen on having a kids’ room on the first floor with ours on the second, which is the case with a lot of old homes around here with converted attic master bedrooms. So, we started looking into additions. I have job crushes on architects, probably because I used to hang out in my dad’s office a lot playing with blueprints when I was little.

Papa architect

I needed a pro to tell me if I was crazy or not to think about adding on, so I called one of my favorite experts. Architect friend Matt Coen came over for a beer and a peek around the house to let me know whether or not an addition was do-able and let us know what we might expect to pay. When he told us we could probably add another room upstairs without changing the footprint of the house or totally breaking the bank, via a dormer addition, Joe and I got all sorts of excited. Matt doesn’t do the kind of work we need (although his firm does amazing work and he’s a genuinely great guy), so he referred us the names of a few contractors. No way in hellz I’d ever DIY a partial roof demo, let alone in winter.

Simultaneous with pinning dormer addition inspiration and nursery decor, we’ve been interviewing contractors and navigating the world of home equity loans. Long story short on that last bit, local credit unions are totally awesome and Bank of America will make you gnash your teeth.

If all goes according to plan, we’ll start the project at the end of the month and I’ll be able to chronicle our nursery from studs to finishing before baby arrives!


Semi-related in local homes news:

The lovely Marissa has an air date (April 11) for their episode of the new West End Architectural Salvage show, which debuts on Valentine’s night. I can’t wait to see her room reveal.

My dear friends Amy and Josh are selling their super-lovely 3-bed, 3-bath Windsor Heights home to move to Pella, where Josh teaches. Part of me is tempted to abandon our improvement project and snap up their house, because it is charming and well-kept and their yard is awesome and the price is definitely right. If you’re in the market, check it out!


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Filed under At home, Baby