...because home doesn't happen overnight.

girl nursery 1

So many times I get asked, “What if Mabrey had been a boy? What would the nursery look like then?” I thought it would be fun to turn my answer into a mood board and share it with you. Here we go. The nursery. Boy edition.

boy nursery

First off, the room’s layout would remain the same. It just works so I wouldn’t mess with it. There are so many items in Mabrey’s nursery that I love and would work well in a baby boy’s room, too. I would definitely keep most of the larger, basic items. The crib, the changing table with baskets & bins, the mirror, the wall shelves, the rocking chair, the trunk under the window, the ceiling light, the rug, the woven shade, the deer head…all that would stay. (For the sake of keeping the mood board simple, I show only a few of these items above but all of them would remain in the room.) The majority of this stuff hails from Ikea. The rocker and woven shade are from Overstock. The trunk was a wedding gift. The rug is from West Elm. The deer head is from White Faux Taxidermy.

I am still head over heels for the wall color. It’s Benjamin Moore dark pewter and I would use it all over again. (That’s saying a lot as I have been known to paint a room three times before I land on the perfect hue.) It’s a deep, moody gray blue with green undertones. It makes the small room feel oh-so-cozy and is conducive to sleeping. And I like sleeping babies – boy or girl. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with boys and pink but I think it would be fun to add red-orange, mustard and green accents against the dark walls along with a lot of white for contrast.

On to the items I would change. The pattern on Mabrey’s curtains is pretty feminine. I would hang these at the window and closet instead. As for the DIY art above the crib, I would probably DIY a gradient wood stain for the same effect but a more masculine look. So it would go from a natural to rich wood tone. But since you guys don’t have this exact empty frame hanging around at your house, I also love the idea of DIYing a big wooden Ohio and painting a small heart or star in the location where my baby boy was born. (The Ohio in the mood board is an ornament but you get the idea.) I would pair all white bedding with a colorful quilt. I really like this vintage kantha. And I would bring in more color and pattern with pillows (here, here, here and here) and scatter them throughout the room in the crib, on the trunk and on the rocker. Two or three green rope baskets (eek! They sold out in between creating the mood board and writing this post but they’re from Target.) would corral toys and sit on the floor below the wall shelves. To bring a little more life to the open shelves, I’d add green boxes and framed nature photography.

All that’s left to add is a bouncing baby boy! Don’t get me wrong, I love my babygirl and her room. But sometimes it’s fun to re-imagine a room for someone else. Or is that just me?

P.S. – A few more shots of M’s room these days…

girl nursery 2

girl nursery 3

girl nursery 4

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I’m on a roll! This is the fourth post in a series I’m devoting to all things closet at my house. {Find the previous posts here, here and here.} Today I’m taking you on a tour of Mabrey’s closet. Of all the bedroom closets, it is by far the smallest.

nursery closet 1

The closet is located behind the bedroom’s door when open which makes things cumbersome. I removed the closet door and replaced it with a curtain for easier access. I hung a curtain panel from an inexpensive tension rod. The closet curtain matches the panels hanging at the window. They’re from West Elm a few years back.

nursery closet 2

For consistency, I painted the closet the same color as the rest of the room. The walls in all of our home’s closets are textured or else I would have been tempted to trying something fun like wallpaper. When the curtain is open, the closet feels like a continuation of the nursery and I like the way everything pops against the dark background.

nursery closet 3

I utilized a freestanding shelving unit to keep items off the floor. The shelving once lived in the craft closet of our previous home. I was happy to be able to reuse it here. Since this is a nursery, I couldn’t justify the installation or cost of a legit closet organization system. This a closet that will evolve over time as needs change so the fact that the shelving unit is easily removable is a plus.

nursery closet 5

I line up Mabrey’s shoes on the top shelf. This is the only closet in the house that has shoes in it! All other shoes live in a shoe cabinet in the master bedroom, a basket in the mudroom or on a shoe rack in the garage. But Mabrey’s shoes are so little and rarely dirty that it doesn’t hurt to have them taking up residence in her closet. Plus, they’re cute! A side note: all the shoes you see here are hand-me-downs. Love.

I hide items with not-so-pretty packaging in baskets on the next shelf down. I use cloth diapers on Mabrey most of the time but always have disposables on hand for nighttime and outings. The baskets contain a small stock of disposable diapers, swim diapers and wet wipes. There are even disposable training pants in there that were handed down to us from a neighbor.

nursery closet 6

Below the diaper paraphernalia is the diaper bag and portable changing pad. I don’t tote them around regularly now that Mabrey is a toddler and requires less stuff. The bag works great as her overnight bag and I’ll grab the changing pad if I know we’re headed somewhere with less than stellar bathroom facilities. I keep a laundry basket on the bottom shelf for outgrown items waiting to be donated.

nursery closet 8

I hang dresses that fit Mabrey on matching hangers next to the shelving unit. The rest of her clothing currently in rotation is stored in bins and baskets within her changing table – an IKEA EXPEDIT. I find it easier to dress her and keep her room tidy by only having the things that fit her readily accessible. Little ones grow so quickly, I can’t see spending money on pricey, child-sized wood hangers. Instead, I have white plastic hangers from Target. $1 for a pack of ten. For the few dresses that have matching leggings or tights, I hang them on the Target hangers but keep the bottoms on the off-the-shelf piggyback hangers.

nursery closet 4

I store hand-me-downs that are too big in baskets along the top shelf of the closet. They are separated by size. Once they fit, I bring them down to the changing table to go into Mabrey’s regular rotation…and the “too littles” go into the donation basket. It’s a system that works well. No digging through piles of clothing to find something that fits. It also allows me to make a clear and concise shopping list for items Mabrey may be lacking. Thanks to our nieces {we have no nephews!} and generous friends, the list is usually short.

nursery closet 7

An item I keep in the closet that isn’t much to look at but might come in handy is the conversion kit to remove one side of the crib when / if Mabrey starts climbing in / out of bed. I taped the instructions to the bed rail because I know it will be a race to convert the crib should Mabrey decide to take up bed climbing.

nursery closet 9

And that’s it! A tiny but tidy closet. A few things before I go:

*This closet series is so effective! Even if you guys are getting nothing from it {I hope that isn’t the case}, I am. I am on a mission to whip all the closets in our house into shape. In fact, I painted the nursery closet and hemmed the curtain just this week. It only took me a year and a half!

*Now I’m itching to paint the other two bedroom closets to match their room’s walls. Since, you know, I repainted the rooms after we moved in.

*The open space under the hanging dresses is reserved for Mabrey’s toy vacuum coming this Christmas. Not a word!

*Little red cowgirl boots are UH-DOORRRRRABLE.

nursery closet 10

*So are naked toddler buns.

Put some clothes on, girl! Can’t you see I’m taking pictures of your closet to post on the world wide web?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Congratulations to Christine whom survived a toddler + dog + food coloring incident. I can’t even imagine.

*Thank you everyone for sending love and well wishes to our family yesterday. It was so comforting to read your similar experiences and know I’m not alone in my feelings of guilt and gratitude. Everett begged to return to school today so I think the worst is behind us.*

wft win1

The fabric circles chandy I made for the nursery didn’t stand a chance against Toddler Mabrey. The minute she was big enough to grab it from a sitting position on the changing pad, it came down. I tried rehanging it but the very next diaper change it fell to its demise again at the hands of one very curious toddler.

wft win2

So when the kind animal lovers at White Faux Taxidermy offered to send a mini Templeton my way, I had no shame in accepting. I knew just where Templeton should live. {Do you remember me mentioning WFT here? Well, they have their own site, too!}

wft collage

I hung the resin deer head with a drywall anchor and screw. The back of the deer has a built-in hanger and protective pads to make hanging a cinch. In memoriam of the fallen chandy, I stitched a few of the fabric circle strands together to make a larger, single garland and draped it across the deer’s antlers. The faux deer head only extends ~5″ from the wall so it’s out of Mabrey’s reach when I’m changing or dressing her. Which is a good thing. Mabrey wants to manhandle the deer every time she sees it.

The other good thing about the mini Templeton is…

wft win

…you have the chance to win one for yourself! See entry details below.

PRIZE: one mini Templeton {$45 value}

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address {no P.O. boxes please} within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: “Like” White Faux Taxidermy on facebook then leave a comment on this post proclaiming “OH DEER!”

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 15th. One random winner will be announced Monday, September 16th.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: Since we’re talking curious kiddos today…is there anything decor-related in your home that has been assaulted by the lil’ people in your house? Crayon drawings on the walls? Paint on the rug? Markers on the sofa? I shared Mabrey’s assault of the mobile I made for her but I’ll share another. About a year ago, Everett found a thin metal rod and used it to scratch up our stainless fridge. Kids. Gotta love ‘em.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Congrats to Sally who has an expectant friend in need of a cute-sy elephant bookend.

this age 3

I’ve always said my favorite age to experience with kids is the 16-24 months range. As most of you probably know, Mabrey was a completely unexpected addition to our family. She is the best surprise life has thrown our way. I feel so, so, SO fortunate that I am witnessing another little one as a young toddler. It is such a fun age! Of course, there are things with every age that I want to hold onto forever, things I could do without, things I worry about, things I laugh about and things I learn from. But watching my babies develop into bona fide little people does it for me. It’s fascinating to watch.

This girl doesn’t go anywhere without her Berry. My cousin gave the stuffed strawberry to Mabrey for Christmas last year and it hasn’t left her side since. She drags it around by one arm, props it up on the table while she eats, squeezes it when she realizes she hasn’t been holding it for the last five minutes, nuzzles it when she’s tired and spoons it while she sleeps. Mabrey gets very upset when Berry goes in the wash. Oh my! At our house, Berry is the bomb.

this age 4

Mabrey loves books. Upon waking, it never fails, she asks for a book before she’s left the crib. She pretends to read but my favorite is when she backs her little bootie up to me, sits in my lap and hands me a book. This is why I can’t get anything done. I would much rather feel that little girl in my lap than paint brick.

I love when Mabrey looks me dead in the eye and then erupts into a full-fledged jabberfest. I nod like I know what she’s saying and she will emphatically bob her head around as she “talks” to get her point across. She initiates wrestling matches with her brothers. She eats everything I put on her plate and then signs for more. She rarely cries when she gets hurt – just picks herself up, bloody knees and all, and keeps on going. She will say ‘dada’ all day long but only says ‘mama’ when she’s not feeling well. When I’m cleaning house, she’s at my side with a rag wiping up invisible messes. I have to keep the bathroom door shut or she plays in the toilet – something neither of my boys did. She likes to take things {dishes, toys, books, etc.} out then put them back, over and over. Mabrey LOVES to be outside. She hands me fallen leaves to put back on the trees. She has such a pure and innocent way of looking at the world around her. She excitedly points out every single dog, cat, bird and squirrel on our walks like it’s the first one she’s ever seen. She can spot an airplane in the sky as soon as she hears it. Girl has a lot of hair. It hangs right in her face. I can’t bring myself to cut it. Not yet.

this age 2

She can make a toy out of anything. Give the girl a stick and some dirt and she’s happy as can be. She prefers to be missing at least one piece of clothing at all times – either her bottoms or her top. When she’s tired, Mabrey grabs Berry, asks for her ‘bah-bah’, hurries to her room and stands next to the white noise machine waiting for me to turn it on. She knows the routine.

this age 1

Mabrey’s favorite time of day is right after lunch when Everett catches the bus to kindergarten. She stands in the driveway waving to him as he gets on and the bus pulls away. She’s happy when she wakes from her nap to find her brothers back home from school. She likes to steal Layne’s iPod and hide under the dining room table with it. She can turn it on and slide the arrow across but, so far, hasn’t figured out the password.

So, yeah, I love this girl. Especially at this age. We are lucky indeed.

this age 5

I want one of you to feel lucky, too. I’m giving away the elephant bookend seen above. Thanks for sharing this house-to-home/family-of-four-to-family-of-five journey with me. You’re pretty awesome.

PRIZE: one Zuny Abby the Elephant {retail value $50} This post is not sponsored. I just love ya!

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address {no P.O. boxes please} within the U.S. or Canada {!} to enter. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “LUCKY ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, August 25th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, August 26th.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: What’s your favorite age to experience with kids? I already shared mine and, I have to say, I’m kinda sad this will be our last go around in the 16-24 months range.