Brooklyn's Nursery

So many projects, so little time to blog them.  My resolution for 2015 is to devote more time to documenting my designs + DIYs so that you can see what I'm up to - you know, should you feel like creepin'...

Tuesday, January 13th marked the highly anticipated debut of Baby B to the world!  
As a princess would, she kept us waiting for over a week past her original due date. It was worth it though- she is an absolute doll!  Quite literally, the size of a tiny doll.  I am afraid I might smoosh her.
I am so glad to be able to share the story of how her lovely little nursery came together. 
Brooklyn's mom, Jenn, and I have been part of a close-knit group of girlfriends since high school. We grew up living around the corner and down the street from each other.  I am still a little in awe of the fact that we've grown up so much, that now she is a mommy. We have shared so many experiences together over the years and have been there for each other through many milestones in our lives.  I was incredibly flattered and happy when Jenn asked me to be a part of this one...

We essentially started with an entirely blank slate.  A blank slate that served as a temporary storage space for car parts.  I think it's safe to say, the '67 Camero sitting in the garage is not going to get much attention from Dad for the next little while.  Little B has already got him wrapped tightly around her finger.
Jenn's only requests for the room were to use a small chandelier as the main light fixture, hang some cute pictures on the wall, find a bookcase to sit in the corner of the room and somehow reuse an old rocking chair.   Other than that, she gave me total trust and free reign. (Yes! The perfect client.)  She had a pretty good idea and vision of how she wanted the room to look, she just needed a little assistance to steer things in the right direction.  

It all started with the chair.  
The rocking chair has been in Jenn's family for 3 three generations of babes! That's pretty incredible when you consider how much rocking it has done over that many years.  Needless to say, it was in rough shape. One could say it was 'shabby chic' minus the 'chic'. 
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'll be the first to try to refresh something that has lost it's lustre.  I believe they call that being resourceful, kids.  Take note:  Always try to work with what you've got.  Not only saving on the cost of a new chair, we improved an already cherished piece that the family will hopefully have for many more years to come.  


Which leads me to paint medium, fabric, colour and design choice...    
Although the crib and dresser in the nursery were already purchased in a rich, dark walnut stain, we decided early on that we wanted to mix the dark with white pieces to lighten and balance the overall weight in the room. As a result, the already comfortable space feels even more spacious. 
I DIY'ed the paint for the chair by making my own chalk paint, at a fraction of the cost of the real stuff.  Chalk paint is great because it bonds to a non-sanded surface (thank god for not having to sand down those spindles by hand!) is highly durable and has great coverage.  There are about a million recipes for chalk paint floating around on the internet, but I used: 

1 c. paint (CIL NO-VOC eggshell white) 
1 tbsp. Plaster of Paris (a carton of this stuff sells for $4.99 at Home Depot - score!)
1/4 c. hot water
- add the water to the Plaster of Paris and mix well until smooth 
- add the mix to the paint and stir until fully combined
- voila! paint away. 

I used a regular paint brush and also mixed the chalk paint in a tupperware container that I could store in the fridge between coats.  It took about 3 coats to get full coverage.  I wanted to make sure the paint was nice and thick to stand up to wear and tear.  After allowing the paint to fully dry, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic in Clear Satin. (A foam roller or brush works best for applying the poly, as it doesn't leave streaks)

Jenn wanted to keep the nursery a neutral colour so that the room can be used again for the next little one that comes along, whether it be a boy or girl.  We decided that a soft, medium-light grey would be perfect for the space.  I'll say this now: I am the worst at picking paint swatches.  I have been known to paint a room once...twice...and again a third time, because it was just not quite the right colour. (Third time is always the charm!)  I am a very visual person and I need to see a paint colour on a wall, in different light, in a magazine or photo before I can decide if I really like it for a space.  I advised Jenn to do this, to see what she liked best.  She chose the aptly named, Universal Grey which is a soft, calming tone.  Perfect for a place that will (hopefully) induce a lot of Zzz's.  

The rounded, feminine shape of the rocking chair, plus the pretty chandelier and a couple of other girly pink accessories that Jenn had collected and we had our jumping off point for the overall theme of the room:  elegant, soft, feminine and pretty. 
In keeping with the neutral basics in the room, I found the perfect fabric to recover the rocking chair cushions in.  A beautiful raw linen in a soft, grey tone from IKEA.  Normally, I would have taken on the task of recovering the cushions on my own, but since we were a little pressed for time- and I can't quit my day job- we hired an upholsterer to do the dirty work.  I didn't want to have the original cushions recovered, as the foam was quite worn and the shape of the cushions outdated, so I sketched a design for new ones, drawing inspiration from a plush tufted headboard, fit for a princess!  The new cushions would have fresh three inch foam wrapped in batting for extra cushion, rounded, smooth edges without piping and upholstered buttons in a diamond-tufted pattern.  Gorgeous!  I was so pleased with the final result, as they turned out to be just exactly as I'd envisioned. (Merci, FK Textiles!)

After searching high and low, Jenn found the perfect pink, white and grey damask print crib bedding from Carousel Designs (www.babybedding.com) 
We picked light pink, sheer curtains from IKEA and a white curtain rod, with a damask-esque finial (details, details!).  A tall, white IKEA bookcase sits in the corner of the room opposite the rocking chair, housing a few special pieces such as a Tiffany's pink and white piggy bank- a gift from Brooklyn's Aunt Sarah, a letter 'G' which was signed by guests of Jenn's baby shower, as well as an adorable pair of baby cowboy boots tied with a pink ribbon that Jenn had purchased and photographed to reveal Baby B's gender to family and friends.  A large, framed, rectangular mirror sits lengthwise on the wall above the dresser/change table, reflecting lots of natural light around the room. Jenn ordered an extra yard of the same crib sheet fabric so that I could make the sweetest little bunting banner to add to the decor in the room. 
Finally, the icing on the cake that is this room... the mini-gallery wall.  
This part was extra special to me because I got to create some original art work for a few of the frames. From left to right, the first frame is an oval shape which I used to frame out a single pink ribbon tied in a bow.  Simple and pretty.  The next frame is a B&W photo of Mom, Dad and Brooklyn's cowboy boots in a cluster.  Below that is a frame containing Brooklyn's sonogram. (The image below shows a wedding photo of mom & dad, as a placeholder for the sonogram)  Sitting in the centre of the gallery wall is a damask mirror from Winners.  Originally black, I spray painted it with white semi-gloss.  To the right of the mirror, a chrome frame of the phrase "you are loved" in hand-lettering which I did to resemble the waves on an Electrocardiogram (EKG).  Below that frame are 12 whimsical hearts that I painted in soft pink and a single one in glittering silver.
And, of course... B is for Brooklyn.  Sweet, dainty, beautiful, baby Brooklyn. 

Click on the photo below to scroll through more views of the nursery.

Photo Gallery of Brooklyn's Nursery  (Click on above photo)

Welcome to the world, sweet baby girl! 

Welcome to the world, sweet baby girl! 

DIY Tulle Skirt

Holiday Season is almost here... Bring on the sequins & sparkle! 
My day planner is quickly filling up with holiday events and parties galore.  All I can think about is, what should I wear?!  In an attempt to bring something new to the table - and my closet - I thought I'd whip up a tulle skirt a la Carrie Bradshaw.  In this case though, I like my money in my bank account, not hanging in my closet.  Hello, DIY!

| Shades of Grey | knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / grey faux leather moto jacket: forever21 / clutch: the shoe company / shoes: BCBGeneration / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

| Shades of Grey |
knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / grey faux leather moto jacket: forever21 / clutch: the shoe company / shoes: BCBGeneration / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

| Black Swan | knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / black tweed jacket: forever21 / clutch: the shoe company / shoes: BCBGeneration / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

| Black Swan |
knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / black tweed jacket: forever21 / clutch: the shoe company / shoes: BCBGeneration / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

| Raspberry Twist | knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / grey faux leather moto jacket: forever21 / clutch: forever21 / shoes: JustFab / raspberry lip stain: joefresh / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

| Raspberry Twist |
knit sweater: joefresh / statement necklace: etsy / grey faux leather moto jacket: forever21 / clutch: forever21 / shoes: JustFab / raspberry lip stain: joefresh / skirt: @saraashleyhome #diy 

This DIY is absolutely do-able for even the greenest of beginner sewers!
I made my skirt to be about knee length, but you can also make it longer - midi skirts are also so on trend right now. The best part about this DIY is that these skirts sell for $100+ but you can make it yourself for a fraction of that.  At around $25-30, you'll have leftover money to spoil your honey! 

| Supplies |
sewing machine 
***7.5 meters of tulle (54" width) - I chose a pretty light peach coloured tulle
1.5 meters of lining - I chose a light coloured thin polyester knit fabric (knit = no hemming!)
elastic band (approx 1 inch thick) 
zipper - I used a light pink zipper 7in/18cm long
scissors
thread
pins
measuring tape 
coloured chalk (to mark where to make your cuts)

***Have the sweet staff member at your fabric store cut your 7.5m of tulle into 1.5m lengths. This will make your life easier. Trust me.

| Step 1 |
Start with your 1.5m of lining fabric. Starting with it all laid out flat, fold in half lengthwise, and then in half again, so that you essentially have it folded into 4 quarters and if unfolded it would resemble a large square. 
| Step 2 |
Measure your hips. Divide that number by 6.28 in order to get the measurement for the waist/opening of the skirt. Now take that magic number and measure on the folded edge, down from the corner (which is actually the middle of the waist opening that you will cut out, leaving you with the circle where your waist will go) and mark this spot. Now swing your measuring tape from the corner, along in a radius/"pie shape", marking this measurement in increments as you go. (you will cut along this line for the waist opening)
| Step 3 |
Snippity snip! Cut along that line and discard the remnant. 
Now measure from the cut line down the length of the fold to your desired skirt length. (Have someone take your measuring tape and measure the distance from your natural waist, down to your knee or lower - whatever your desired length) Once you have this point, measure along in the same radial motion as you did for the waist cut out, and mark in increments. Then cut along this line and discard the remnants. 
| Step 4 |
Keep your lining fabric folded after cutting and use this as a template for cutting the tulle.
***This is where it will come in handy to have your tulle pre-cut into 1.5m pieces.
Each 1.5m piece will be one layer of the skirt.  See Step 1 to fold the tulle into the same shape as your lining. Lay the lining fabric on top of the tulle. (Work on one piece at a time, not all 5 pieces at once) Draw yourself lines or dots with the chalk, right along the edge of the lining fabric sitting on top of the tulle.  Snippity snip!  Repeat this step until you have 5 layers of tulle, all cut to the same shape as the lining.
| Step 5 |
Now you can open up each layer of tulle and lay it out evenly on top of each other so that the cut-out opening in the middle is all lined up. Take your straight pins and go around pinning the waists together as evenly as you can.  You're going to do a basting stitch through all of the layers at the waistline to join them all together.  
| Step 6 |
Take your elastic band and measure it around your natural waist. Don't pull it tightly, you'll need it to give a little. Cut it where you feel comfortable, and then stitch the ends together (I used a zig-zag stitch and reinforced it a lot to keep it secure).  Next you'll sew the lining fabric onto the elastic band. Use a zig-zag stitch to do this as well. I gathered my lining in random spots along the way just by creating a tiny fold in lining fabric and stitching over it. 
| Step 7 |
Once you have done that you should have something that resembles a plain old circle skirt. Of course now is when you add the fluffy tulle to make it look fab!  For this part, I put the skirt on my dress form and then slipped the tulle over top. It sits lower on the form because the tulle is not yet joined to the elastic and therefore the waist opening is much bigger than the gathered lining to elastic.  Here's where you can pull gently on the threads from the basting stitch in the tulle to gather and tighten it evenly all around until it matches up to the elastic band. Pin it all the way around.  Then you can sew the layers of tulle to your elastic! (Stick with the zig-zag stitch) 
| Step 8 |
You may want to try the skirt on at this point, but the reality is that you probably wont be able to stretch the elastic enough to fit it over your shoulders.  Enter pretty little pink zipper! 
Installing a zipper is super easy. There are many video tutorials via youtube that show just how easy it is.  Basically... turn the skirt inside out, then you're going to cut through the elastic and side of the skirt to the same length as the zipper. Don't be afraid! I know this seems scary but stay with me here!  Fold back about one centimeter of the layers on each side and pin temporarily. Open the zipper so that you have two separate pieces. Place the zipper face down and line one side of the open zipper up with one side of the folded fabric.  Pin together as evenly as possible making sure that you've pinned and attached through each piece of tulle. Do the same on the other side.  Once both sides are pinned then you should be able to see how they will fit together evenly once the zipper is attached.  Do a straight stitch down one side of the fabric + zipper, then again on the other side, making sure to turn the skirt when you get to the bottom so that you'll have a straight stitch squared off along the bottom of the zipper, and then go back up the other side.  Honestly, if you make a mistake, you can always always always go back and fix it.  A seam ripper can be your best friend. 
| Step 9 |
Once the zipper is installed and you have trimmed all of the excess threads, try it on!
Also, you may trim any excess fabric along the edge of the skirt, but I wouldn't be too picky- tulle is so forgiving and moves so nicely that no one would notice any uneven edges.  Plus, it doesn't fray. Hooray!!!
| Step 10 | 
Ta-DA!  With a little trial + error, you have made your very own tulle skirt! 

#sewmuchtulle

#sewmuchtulle