Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Nursery

As a perspective adoptive mother, I didn’t have the same experience as moms who carried their babies in their own bodies. In so many ways, I didn’t have a “normal” waiting experience. I craved that. I needed to nest. I needed to prepare and make this all seem real – even though I didn’t know what was going to happen – much less when.

(This is the BEFORE picture when it was just a play room for my friend's kids.)

I knew I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a nursery – and actually I spent VERY little on that room. Welcome the very cheap frugal nursery of our family.
Colors we chose: 2 tones of a sky blue, “margarita green”, and white. I found a sweet little Carter’s chenille blanket with the same colors.
We figured it would work perfectly for a boy and you know how “pink crazy” people get when you have a girl -- so I knew it would be pretty easy to “girlify.”
I decided on stripes – horizontal stripes. Am I nuts or what? I got my engineer husband to help me figure out measurements and pencil lines around the room with a level. (God love him.) I already had the paint. I am so cheap thrifty that, on many paint projects, I mix colors that I already have. (Pitiful, I know – but I usually get exactly the color I want and it’s super-cost effective and no one is the wiser.)
Oh – and I painted the ceiling too. AND…I painted clouds….I know…..nuts….and a very literal ‘pain in the neck.’ But the clouds are subtle and were worth the effort. Oh and I painted trim that didn’t exist. It was an afterthought and adding trim would have screwed up my measurements. * I have a friend with quadruplets and the baby bed came from them. I was thrilled. FREE!* I found designer bedding that was discontinued at a local baby store that was originally $450 – I got it for more than 75% off. CHEAP! (It matches the nursery very well – but I probably wouldn’t make the same choice again.) * The letters above the bed (DREAM) were a little over a buck each from Michael's. I painted them and added simple ribbon. The words underneath look like they’re painted but they are peel and stick from the DOLLAR TREE. $1. CHEAP!* Another friend was giving away his daughter’s dresser w/mirror. I took it, repainted it, decoupaged the drawers with gingham craft paper I already had and put a changing pad on top. FREE!
*One of my friends owns a catering business and they had an extra little boat from an event they were getting rid of. I painted it and use it as a library. (We are CRAZY about books.) FREE!* We took the closet doors off and I hung curtain panels which I tied back using extra fabric and the lace from old pillow cases. Those bi-fold doors are nasty little finger-pinches for wee ones!· I found canvas baskets (above) with my same color scheme at Lowe’s and scooped those up just a few bucks each and have gotten GREAT use out of them.

* This frame was one I had that didn’t match anything. I spray painted it white used scrapbook paper I already had to mat the pictures which I made black and white and printed them at home. FREE! * My friend was selling this picture at a garage sale for $1. She gave it to and when I took it out to re-frame it I discovered it was a signed and numbered print. FREE! · I had some very elementary looking artwork I did in an art class when I was younger. (I wish I could say I was a kid, but it was a college Art Ed. Class.) I framed it and it works. CHEAP and PERSONAL! · I re-used wedding frames that didn’t match my home décor (some I embellished, some I left as is.) FREE!

Above: Photos of my husband and I as babies.* We found beautifully made tiny wooden chair in Mexico which sell here for about $50 each. I got them for $10 bucks and stained them to match the crib. CHEAP! * You know those cheap little shelves you can buy at Wal-mart? I already had a few in a closet....FREE! (Lamp cost $10 at Tuesday was themed with ducks, so I just tied a ribbon around it and pinned a flower on it.)* I put them alongside a tiny little side table that I painted (FREE).· My parents saved my childhood rocking chair and I painted it dark brown to match the crib. FREE! I’m proud of myself for not feeling the need to display EVERY gift I received for Gianna. I put out some of the things that were baby-related or matched well and boxed up the rest for later. I’ll pull them out as we transform her room into a toddler room in a couple of years.
Unseen treasure: blackout curtain backers. I got simple curtain panels for $10 each at Wal-Mart and backed them with blackout panels. The BEST investment ($25 and I cut them in 2) and definitely one of the reasons she takes such good naps during the day. It darkens the room so beautifully and saves money on your energy bill. I have them in all my bedrooms.
Biggest regret: the rocker. I found a glider rocker with an ottoman for a great deal online. It’s perfectly adequate, but if I were to do it over again, I’d make that my splurge piece and get a large cushy chair that rocks that we could use for years. Oh well. I reminded myself of several things when I was making choices for the nursery:

· The nursery really isn’t for the baby – it’s for the Mommy (and maybe a little for the Dad). I figured whatever felt calming, peaceful and pretty to me – was going to work.· It doesn’t matter that my room doesn’t have the “latest” indulgences or look like everyone else’s. If it is created in love – it’s gonna work.· It’s important to not rely on the opinions and judgments of others. The nursery is for your family….not theirs.· It’s not important to be a great decorator…but it IS important to be a great mother. Focus on the important stuff.

I have to admit, the nursery we ended up with was nothing like the nursery I had imagined. I had either a Pottery Barn vision or some creative whimsical design in my head from the get-go. But I am SO glad I have a one-of-a-kind room that works for us and is so peaceful, functional, cost-effective and…well….special. Instead of thousands of dollars, it did not even cost hundreds of dollars.

It boils down to this: when the nursery was complete and I marveled at all our hard work and I peered into the empty crib, I knew that the ONLY thing that makes a perfect nursery is a baby. I’m pretty sure Gianna loves her room – but I’m just as sure that she loves it because her mom is calm, peaceful and VERY thankful for the long awaited miracle that now occupies it.
Gianna, by far, is the very best accessory in our nursery. :)
For a fun tour of other nurseries and kid rooms...check out Kelly's Korner.


  1. Beautiful nursery and beautiful story!

  2. the nursery looks anything but frugal! the colors and touches you found are delightful!

  3. love your nursery i came over from kellys korner and we are currently adopting if you wouldnt mind could you email me and share your


  4. I love how you made an amazing nursery for so little. It is so cute. Congrats on the little one. Waiting is hard...I know.

  5. An absolutely wonderful nursery! There's so much heart in there! And you're totally right that the baby is always the best accessory!

  6. Cute! I love all the little projects that went into it!

  7. Very cute! I love how the curtains look instead of having closet doors! Creative!

  8. The paint job is fantastic! And I love the happy ending!!!

  9. Precious room! Love your "story" even more! Also love your thriftiness!! I'm right there with you on that!!

  10. What a beautiful nursery...Love it...

    Just blog hopping today and enjoyed reading your blog...I am posting on our Disney trip so hope you will stop by. Also, the June giveaway starts today...all comments left in June will be in the drawing for the "June Card Box"! You will have to go down a few posts to read about the monthly giveaway. Happy Sunday!

  11. love the paint job!!! what technique did you use for the clouds??


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