Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Nursery

We're at 33 weeks with our twin girls! The doctor says we have, at most, 5 weeks to go and then we get to meet these sweet little girls, and our life will never be the same. :)

Everything I have read regarding twin pregnancies says be prepared early. You get big and heavy fast and this can lead to you having a hard time getting things prepared, not to mention I had a big fear that I would be put on bed  far I'm doing great and still working 6 hour days! Since the advice is get things ready early that is just what we did.

Before we knew the genders of these little ones we knew we wanted something gender neutral for their nursery. If we had been having one baby we would not have found out gender, but since it is twins we wanted to know to be more prepared. (No one likes buying you gender neutral clothes.) So our gender neutral theme is: BOOKS. Since I work in early childhood education I have a TON of paperback books so I knew we would feature these.

On Pinterest I saw many images of book ledges being used in children's rooms. I decided I wanted book ledges so I could feature all my books and keep them safe until our twins grew to care for them. So my dad got to work making them using this tutorial. (I also had him make 2 for our living room to use as picture ledges.) We framed the bedroom window with 4 ledges on each side, 36" long and 15" apart. There are at least 3-4 books behind each book you see on the ledge...I have A LOT of books!

We didn't paint the room since it was already a neutral and calming color from when it was our bedroom and I wanted simple window treatments. We bought a cheap roller shade at Lowes and I added ribbon  and rick-rack trim to jazz it up a bit. For the valance I simply wrapped a few yards of sheer navy fabric around the curtain rod. Below our window is a simple toy shelf: a storage cube unit purchased at Target with Ikea legs so that it could sit above the heat/A/C vent.

I also fell in love with alphabet collage walls I had seen floating around on the internet such as this one and wanted to feature the alphabet on one of the walls. This was the first thing I did in the nursery, weeks before we knew they were girls. For the letters I wanted to stick to things that started with that letter for the ones I put together, such as tree branches for the letter 'T' and a ruler for the letter 'I' (inches) and the 'M' is covered in a map of Nebraska. I found a lot of great deals on random letters at craft stores and online, others my family helped me piece together such as a $1 'R' my Aunt found at Goodwill.

My Aunt also found us a $15 changing table that needed some refinishing and a little fixing up. Since our dresser is so short we wanted something a little taller for the days my mom watches the girls. She is helping us out with childcare costs by altering her nursing schedule and caring for them Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not only does the changing table save her back, it also provides more storage space for cloth diapers (I know we are crazy!). My dad fixed the shelf and drawer on this Craigslist find, then painted it white to match the rest of the furniture and updated the drawer knobs. I wish I had a before picture, it looks so much better now.
I made a cover out of JoAnns fabric for our changing pad and added a shelf above the table for wipes and cream, this was left over wood we used in finishing the basement. The final touch was our book mobile that I created after seeing this one on Etsy. I used mini Little Golden Books from my childhood along with a dissected and pieced together Pokey Little Puppy.

For our cribs we went with mini-cribs purchased from Target. These were cheaper and will convert to Twin size beds when the girls are toddlers. These are a real space saver for us, unfortunately standard crib sheets don't fit so I got to make my own. :) I used this tutorial  to make the blue chevron sheets and another set in grey with white polka dots. For the crib skirt I searched Spoonflower for book fabric and came across this which is perfect with the books and owls! I splurged on this custom fabric and bought a few yards then used a straight panel for the front of the cribs with dark grey Kona on the sides. I attached it with tape, :) and as we lower the cribs I can adjust the length of the skirts. The left over fabric is folded in my stash to use for twin size quilts when our girls move into big kid beds. :)

The shelf between the cribs was a $10 purchase that I fixed up by painting the top and sides a turquiose blue to match the owl fabric and storage baskets on the changing table. This fits board books and small stuffed toys/puppets. Just above the cribs and shelf I stenciled 'Once upon a time...' To make this I printed the letters from our computer then cut them out and traced them onto the wall with a pencil. Once I had everything up and level I filled the pencil lines in with leftover grey paint from our basement.

A few finishing touches in the nursery were added to go with the book theme. I put some stuffed book characters all with their books around the room. My three favorites: Where The Wild Things Are, The Lorax and the Llama, Llama series are featured. The frames on the shelves will hold photos of the girls once they're born and we will spell their name out in blocks on each shelf as well. (We do have names picked out, but we aren't sharing, both sets of grandparents aren't too happy about this!)

We didn't keep track of our budget but I know it was on the low end for decorating this nursery. I think this is a room that will grow with our girls for several years too. When we convert the cribs to beds the dresser will get housed in the closet for extra play space. Our house is on the small side, but I think it will work until they are 8 years old or so. Then who knows, we may need to move to a bigger home or follow their likes and re-decorate. I'm so anxious for their arrival. Everything is ready, just waiting for them!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bee There or Bee Squares Finished!

Finally I finished this long lost quilt! It was started back in 2011 when I joined an online quilting bee. Then it was set aside. Then I got it back out over a year later, put the quilt top and back together and then set it aside once more. Last summer I pulled it out of the closet and made the quilt sandwich, intending to quilt it slow and steady until it was finished. However my free motion pebble quilting was taking FOREVER and the other projects added up so it was folded up on my quilting table and buried under other projects. That is until this spring, I was determined to finish it!

Each color block is made up of 36-2" squares of a particular color. These blocks were cut by me and then sent to quilting bee members to be pieced together along with a signature block for the back. I encouraged them to swap out squares for their own scraps and was treated with a few added color blocks including a favorite on one of the red blocks...a red house. :)

The white blocks between the colored blocks sandwiched in a square of colorful circle prints. I wanted them to be square obviously to go with the other squares but since I planed to do pebble quilting I wanted to incorporate circles too. I love this addition and the variety of circle designs and sizes in the different prints. For the binding I went with a circle print as well. The colors of the circles match the colors of the square blocks almost exact!

For the back of the quilt I did a dark grey background and put the corresponding signature block behind the quilt block. I love the back for the simplicity and texture of the quilting.  

For the quilting I did the pebble design and I changed the color of thread to match the color of the block. This was very time consuming...both the dense quilting and rotating colors with each square. This was the reason it sat on my quilting table for so long. I did not enjoy the quilting process of pebbles. This spring I decided to get it into gear and finish this sucker up. As I quilted I discovered a short cut: when I finished a color block and moved on to the white block and thread I did two white blocks then two color blocks. This saved time on switching thread colors. Although the quilting was time consuming it was worth it for the texture and color definition you see on the back!

Since I had this colorful quilt finished by summer I knew I wanted to use it for the maternity pictures we had done. We took it along to our photo shoot and did a family shot on it with the columns that we were married at behind us.

We did a few shots with books too, to go in the girls' nursery. (Photos to come soon!)

I loved our photographer, Nellie Smith, and encourage anyone in the Lincoln, NE area to use her for your photography needs! Her prices are unbeatable too. :)

What I learned from this quilt: keep at it! Quilting got easier and became faster as I went, plus I learned my wonderful short cut. :)
Now this quilt lives in our basement on our comfy couch. With the heat and humidity rolling in this is becoming my favorite place as we wind down this twin pregnancy!