Thursday, April 25, 2013

Preparing For Baby: The Nursery

For me, one of the most exciting parts of getting ready for a new baby is designing the nursery. I had so much fun getting Cohen's room ready when I was pregnant with him, and I knew I would enjoy working on this baby's room, too.

When I envisioned Cohen's room, I saw lots of sweet baby blue. And that's exactly what I ended up with. I loved it. It was the perfect baby room. That, however, is now the problem. Cohen is now two and a half years old and has rejected anything and everything he sees as baby. He's a big boy, now -- soft blues and cute monkeys have no business in his space. So only a few years after crafting his (very expensive, might I add) nursery, we are in the process of redecorating. Frustrating, to say the least.

With that in mind, I knew this time around, I didn't want to make the same mistake. I didn't want to put time and effort into this baby's room, only to have to do a complete overhaul a year or two later. I just don't have the money or desire to do all that. So as soon as I even began to suspect that he was a boy, I started thinking about his room -- I wanted everything in it to be something he could grow into, but I still wanted it to be a nursery.

After looking through countless nursery bedding sets both online and in stores, I became disappointed. Nothing I found met my criteria of 1. something he could grow in to and 2. affordable. I began to browse around Etsy for bedding ideas, and I found lots of really cute ideas, but each cute bedding set sent me deeper and deeper into sticker shock. I had to back away from the custom-made nursery sets quickly.

And then it hit me: I wonder if I could make this baby's bedding and nursery decorations? Surely if I started from scratch, this room could meet both of my criteria. Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means a seamstress. I use my sewing machine to sew basic things, so I knew this would be quite the endeavor. But I was willing to try.

Upon searching through Pinterest, I discovered many and different tutorials for sewing all of the items I would need to complete the nursery. The directions were right there in front of me, I just had to decide which ones I wanted to follow. And when I worked up the courage to return to Etsy, I discovered that while the handcrafted bedding sets were pricey, other items weren't necessarily expensive. I found tons of fun and original fabric that would be perfect for my nursery, and the cost wouldn't break me either.

So I chose a fabric and created a plan. And this is what I came up with:

Once I had the plan, I calculated how much fabric I would need for each project and purchased my supplies.

I purchased this Going Coastal Patchwork Plaid fabric by Michael Miller from Etsy seller PinkDoorFabrics for $40 including shipping (I bought 4 yards) and then bought that fabric with me to Hobby Lobby to pick out matching solid fabrics. I paid $35 for all my necessary fabric and thread at Hobby Lobby. I bought my mesh crib bumper for $5 at a consignment sale (they are typically $30 in the stores).

So if you're doing the math, I spent $80 on the supplies to make the bedding and decorations. That is a good $50 cheaper than a pre-made bagged bedding set and at least $200 cheaper than a custom Etsy listing. The time and effort required was a little taxing: it took me about a month of naptime and late-night sewing to get eveything done. But for a tightwad like me, it was worth it to put in the work to get a custom set at such a low cost.

Here are the links to the tutorials I ended up using:

Easy Adjustable Crib Skirt -- I love that this skirt can be adjusted to fit perfectly even after I have to lower the mattress in a few months. My biggest complaint about Cohen's pre-made crib skirt was that it was useless by the time he was standing in his crib at 6 months -- so in my mind it was a waste of money.

Easy Pezzy Crib Quilt -- I loved the style of this quilt, and it was a huge bonus when I discovered that she had a whole Beginners Quilting series on he blog that walked me through each step of creating this quilt. Kind of like quilting for dummies.

Chunky Crochet Baby Blanket -- When I saw this blanket, I immediately thought it looked unique -- I'd never seen anything like it. I was elated to discover just how simple it was to make. If you can do a single crochet, you can make this blanket in a matter of hours. I want to make more of these.

Custom Mesh Bumper -- No real tutorial for this. I saw it on Etsy, so I knew it could be done. I bought a bumper at a consignment sale for $5 and used my seam ripper to deconstuct the whole thing (taking the velcro and satin trim off the mesh). Then I used the satin trim as a template to cut out my new fabric, and I sewed the new fabric back on the mesh and sewed the velcro back on. Voila. A $5 custom crib bumper.

Crib sheet -- I bought a navy crib sheet at Target for $9.

Hot Air Balloon Mobile -- The paper pom poms were made by the sweet friends who threw us a surprise baby shower, and I used this tutorial to make the hot air balloons. Super fast, super easy, super fun, super cute, and super cheap. Just the way I like it.

Changing Pad Cover -- I ended up just buying the cover for $19 at Buy Buy Baby. I was going to use this tutorial to make a minky cover in green with my plaid fabric as an accent, but it just wasn't cost effective, and to be honest, I hate working with minky.

Fabric Bunting -- This was a fun and easy naptime project. I want to make more for the playroom and for Cohen's room. Every time Cohen walks into the nursery, he says, "I love Baby Brother's flags!"

Curtains -- I originally planned to make navy curtains with plaid accent at the bottom, but when I realized I could buy a legit black-out panel for $9 at Target, I realized making my own curtain wasn't the smartest idea. Instead, I used my new quilting skills to sew up a little plaid curtain tie-back. Cheap and easy and looks great.

Pillows -- No tutorial used here. I used my new quilting skills to piece the fronts together and sewed them up. They're stuffed with leftover stuffing I bought 2 years ago to make Cohen's first Halloween costume.

I also have these 3 prints that I need to print out and put in frames to dress up one plain wall. I haven't gotten to it yet, and I may not get to it before our little guy comes (just being honest here!). The prints ar 8x10 and will be put in navy frames (or I may spray paint frames navy and green and red, I haven't decided yet). Even though they're not up yet, they are a part of the nursery, so I figured I'd share them, too.


So there it is: Baby's room is ready and waiting on him! 

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