...because home doesn't happen overnight.

boys bedroom after 10

Did you happen to notice the yarn-bombed letters in the boys’ room? The answer is yes. Because they took me forever. I bought two paper maché letters (one for each boy) from JoAnn’s when they were 50% off. I had them for a while and as the boys’ room took shape I realized the brown paper finish was screaming meh. Or mumbling meh?

Anyway, I considered painting the letters but decided to wrap them in yarn for more texture. I thought it would be a quick and easy project. I mean, how long does it take to wrap some yarn around a paper maché letter? HOURS. It takes hours! And several hot glue sticks. (The ‘E’ was particularly mind-numbing.) Who knew and didn’t tell me?

I hadn’t planned on devoting an entire post to these letters. I wrapped the ‘E’ first and didn’t take any pictures of it in progress. I was so annoyed! For the most part, I really liked the way it turned out though. When I tackled the ‘L’, I was feeling more confident mostly because I knew what to expect (lots of time, yarn, glue and burnt fingertips) and also the basic ‘L’ shape was a lot less intimidating. In hindsight, I probably should have started with the easier letter. Oh well. Hindsight is 20 / 20.

I took some pictures of the ‘L’ in progress to demonstrate a few talking points. This isn’t a step-by-step tutorial because different letters pose different challenges. If you want to try this craft, my advice is to stare down your letter and come up with a plan of action before you start wrapping and gluing. (Remember, you want all sides covered!) Or just (re)name your kid something that starts with an ‘I’.

I came up with a design that would mimic a Hudson Bay blanket in the boys’ room: white with dark blue-black, turquoise, mustard and red stripes. I bought my yarn at JoAnn’s and tried to choose colors that weren’t too primary to keep with the Hudson Bay scheme. I also decided I wanted the end result to have only vertically wrapped yarn showing from the front. Keeping those things in mind, this is what I did…

yarn wrapped letters 1

1 – I started on the lowest part of the ‘L’. I cut several small lengths of red yarn and hot glued them to the side of the point at which you would normally end the letter’s formation when writing. I made sure the small lengths were ~1″ longer than I needed so I would be able to wrap (hide) the cut ends once I started wrapping back to front. (See step 6 below for an image of some not yet wrapped small lengths of white yarn to better demonstrate this point.) Once the side was covered, I started wrapping the letter back to front with red yarn, tucking and gluing the cut side ends as I went.

2 – Once I finished the red stripe, I continued on with the mustard stripe. It’s important to wrap the yarn snug!

3 – I always started and ended each color on the back of the letter with a little hot glue and added more glue on the back periodically as I wrapped to keep the yarn in place.

4 – The stripes are done! I didn’t measure the width of each one – just eyeballed them.

yarn wrapped letters 2

5 – I started a length of white yarn next to the dark blue-black and wrapped it to the interior corner of the ‘L’. Then I continued that same length of white yarn horizontally up the longer line of the ‘L’ to cover the sides.

6 – At this point, the majority of the sides were covered save for a small section at the bottom exterior corner. I cut several small lengths of white yarn (~1″ longer than necessary) and individually hot glued them to cover the exposed side. (Much like I did with the red yarn in step 1.) You can see the top of the ‘L’ is still exposed but I take care of that in step 7.

7 – I wrapped the longest line of the ‘L’ back to front with white yarn, tucking and gluing the cut side ends as I went. This step gave me only vertically wrapped yarn showing from the front and covered the exposed top too.

yarn wrapped L

The finished product! If you scroll back up to the first image in this post, you’ll notice that the ‘L’ turned out much better than the ‘E’. I was focusing so much of my attention on the logistics of covering all sides of the ‘E’ that I wasn’t pulling the yarn as taut as I should have been so some areas are a little sloppy. Whatever. I’m not doing it over.

Yarn-bombed letters. Man, they’re tedious but I do like how they turned out. They’re great for children’s rooms and nurseries. If I ever craft them again, I’ll make it a party so I don’t suffer alone. Someone will be in charge of bringing wine.

Have you ever started what you thought would be a quick and easy project only to discover it was way more involved than you had anticipated? I’d love to hear your stories.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

08.20.14 / The Nursery

The nursery we weren’t expecting…

nursery before

The before: not a lot to say here. Questionable green carpet, peeling paint, disintegrating baseboards but, LOOK!, a new window! This is the smallest of the three bedrooms (it’s not even 10′ x 10′) but it faces south and receives a good amount of natural light. When we bought the house, we had planned on this being Everett’s room. But a week before we sold our previous house, we discovered we were unexpectedly expecting. Surprise! In an instant, this room became the nursery. Well, not really in an instant. Mabrey was five months old by the time the room resembled anything remotely close to a nursery.

nursery after 1

nursery after 4

I don’t know about you but my number one goal for a nursery is to make it conducive to sleeping – the more, the better. I chose a deep blue-gray for the walls and Steve thought I was insane. (I was extremely sleep-deprived at the time so it wasn’t much of a stretch.) Once the paint was up on the walls, though, he came around. Somehow, the moody walls made the teeny space feel larger. There’s so much depth to the color, it’s as if the walls recede. It continues to be one of my favorite paint colors in the house.

nursery after 2

Along with a good amount of natural light, I used lots of white to brighten the space. I love the contrast. I chose pinks and corals as accents. In keeping with the vibe of the rest of the house, I added hits of texture with layered rugs, a woven shade and seagrass baskets. Since the room is so small, I chose a simple (and inexpensive!) crib that can be converted into a toddler bed. Two years later, I have nothing but good things to say about it. The quilt is a family heirloom. My great-grandmother made it. It was my dad’s when he was a baby then mine. I’ve used it with all three of my kids. It’s starting to show some wear but I think that only adds to its beauty.

I created the art above the crib using an old mirror frame, leftover tongue and groove planks (from our mudroom renovation) and paint. It’s reminiscent of a sunset. It’s secured to the wall with drywall anchors and 3M adhesive strips. Mabrey has never shown an interest in playing with the art but it’s nice to know it’s not going anywhere if she decides to make it her toy. (I know it looks substantial but it weighs less than three pounds.)

The room wouldn’t accommodate an oversized rocker so I chose one with a small footprint. A lumbar pillow and floor pouf (which now lives in the living room) made late night feedings comfortable enough. Luckily, Mabrey was a fast eater so I never spent more than 15-20 minutes in the rocker at a time. Today, it’s where we sit to read nap time and bedtime stories. We’ve made a lot of good memories in that rocker.

nursery after 3

A trio of floating shelves holds books, baskets and decorative items without taking up precious floor space. Two fabric bins on the floor corral toys for easy access and cleanup.

nursery after 5

A makeshift changing table sits opposite the crib. We’ve had the horizontal bookcase for several years and it has served as a living room console, playroom storage and media stand in our previous residences. It’s so versatile! I added a contoured changing pad, toiletry basket and lamp to give it a completely different function in the nursery. The bins and baskets hold the majority of Mabrey’s clothes and diapers.

nursery after 6

Just like in the other bedrooms, I removed the closet door. The door to the room opens up right in front of the closet and it was cumbersome having so many doors (if you can consider two doors “so many”) in such a small space. I hung a curtain panel from a tension rod in the door frame and called it a day.

The closet is super tiny. I put a standing utility shelf in it for extra storage. The closet primarily holds a few hanging items (like dresses, coats and jackets) that are currently in rotation along with hand-me-downs that don’t fit just yet. I keep a laundry basket in the closet and throw in things that are too small as Mabrey outgrows them. When the basket is full, I donate them. It’s a good system. The basket on the floor next to the changing table acts as a hamper.

nursery after 8

The curtains framing the window match the one hanging in the closet. The woven shade is mounted outside the window frame while a room-darkening roller shade is mounted out of sight, inside the window frame. The trunk under the window was a wedding gift from my mom. I tweaked an off-the-shelf dollhouse (it originally featured blue and orange accents) because I’m crazy like that. Sometimes we bring it out to the living room to play.

nursery after 7

nursery after 10

nursery after 9

nursery after 11

nursery after 12

nursery after 13

I caught quite a bit of flack in the online world for creating a dark nursery but I don’t regret it one iota. It’s actually a very happy place to play and sleep. I’m pretty sentimental about this room. I never thought we’d have a little girl in our family (and I was content with that) so I’m really grateful for this space and the amazing little person in it. She’s quite the firecracker and I can’t imagine life without her. Also, I’m already brainstorming ideas for a “big girl” room. It probably won’t happen for a year or so but, be warned, it’s coming. And then, technically, I won’t be able to call it a nursery anymore and I will sob. The end.

toddler transition 2

UPDATE: We converted the crib to a toddler bed. See the conversion here. I’m currently brainstorming a big kid room for Mabrey!

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore dark pewter
trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
ceiling light – Ikea, discontinued
curtains – West Elm, discontinued
curtain rod – Target
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
room-darkening roller shade – Levolor from Lowe’s
dollhouse – Plan Toys terrace dollhouse
trunk – gift
area rug – jute chenille herringbone from West Elm
sheepskin rug – Ikea
floor lamp – gift
crib – GULLIVER from Ikea
organic mattress pad – Amazon
crib sheet – Amazon
crib bumper – Amazon (white version unavailable)
artwork above crib – DIY
quilt – vintage
striped crib pillow – West Elm, discontinued
rocker – Amazon
lumbar pillow – etsy
floating shelves – Ikea
wire book bins – Kroger
various seagrass baskets – Ikea, Kroger
fabric toy bins – Target
resin deer head – White Faux Taxidermy
fabric garland – DIY
wall mirror – Ikea
table lamp – Morten table lamp from West Elm
extra long, contoured changing pad – Amazon
changing table – EXPEDIT from Ikea, discontinued
striped bins – Ikea, discontinued
doll stroller – Land of Nod

In case you haven’t seen enough of this itty bitty room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:


















*BONUS* – Mabrey’s birth story.

You can access this nursery tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking