Sarah's Nursery Tour (Before & After!)

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!  I don't know about you other mamas out there, but decorating a nursery became priority number one to me when we got our house! Not that a baby absolutely needs a decorated room, but there's something inside of us that just wants to make a sweet little nest for our baby birds. Or maybe we should all just admit that we're all suckers for cute things. Anyway, this room was the first room we've ever gotten to decorate for our daughter, so I'm really excited to share!

Sarah's nursery tour- before and after!When we moved into this home, the room was painted a pretty blue. I promise you—I didn't hate it (we left the inside of the closet blue), but the room only has one small window, and it felt very dark and closed in. Probably just because I'm a photographer, imagining taking photos in there with a flash just sent shudders down my spine. SHUDDERS. So we knew we would be going bright white with this room too (Valspar—Ultra White), except for our one coral wall (Valspar–Apricot Jam). And guys, it took 4-5 coats of white to cover up that blue. We painted this room every chance we got for a month! You wouldn't believe how dark it actually was! We also had to update the trim to bright white because once we painted the walls white, the trim looked dark tan.

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!                Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!               Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After! Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!     Whenever I post photos of Imogen's room on my Instagram, the two most asked questions are, "Where did you get that rug?" and "What about that chair!?" The rug was from Rugs USA but is sadly no longer available (sorry, dudes), but our Hopson chair from Joybird is an absolute gem. We loved our Hopson sofa so much (see it in our living room tour here) that we chose the same collection for our nursery chair and opted to go with leather (which I'm so glad we did—you would not believe how many spills this poor chair has endured already!). It's a comfy place to begin our day every morning with a bottle and a book, and it's where we crash in the afternoon when it's time for Imogen's nap. And I have to brag on my grandmother for a second, who made (!!) the really cool long caterpillar! It's one of the most special things in our nursery. We've ended up learning the value of a great doll too—some of Imogen's favorites are from Hazel Village, and our Blabla doll was a gift from our friend Georganne (if you happen to live in Phoenix, her shop Frances is the sweetest spot to shop locally for bebe).

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!    Over in our reading corner, our pear print is from Fine Little Day—it was one of the first things we bought for her room. And you know we love our greenery, but there's not very much in here because our little gal loves getting into plants now. If you have a little one that loves their plant grubbing, then you might want to check this post I did awhile back on child and pet-safe house plants. We've already had a scare where I caught her chomping down on a plant. Fortunately I knew it was non-toxic. Girl loves her ruffage.  :)

Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!   Sarah (& Imogen's) Nursery Tour - Before and After!Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!         Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!        Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!       Before IQ was born, it was time to get a crib, but we were pretty tight on cash. (Planning a long distance move from AZ to MO will do that to ya!) We chose this crib from Ikea, and it has held up amazingly, and I love the simple look of the natural wood! Pretty surprising for a $70 crib! Another thing that has held up well is this strawberry-stamped crib sheet I made. We've now been using it for five months and the colors are still as vibrant as ever, after dozens of washings. And our sweet Roxy Marj lion blanket was a baby present from Elsie + Emma, definitely a favorite around here. :)

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!      Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!     By now, you've already seen this amazing storage bench that Josh made, but just one more time, let's hear it for that guy! He's such a catch and IQ and I are lucky to have him! The layout of this room is a little hard to work with, with two corners of the room having low ceilings, so this bench ended up being perfect for what we needed, and functional on top of it.

We were a little divided on leaving the ceiling fan (practical vs. pretty, the great ongoing debate around here), but in this instance, pretty won out. And in the hot summer months we can always bring a room fan in, right? (This is the argument I used and it worked, FYI. Irrefutable logic!) I love this ceiling pendant we found at Ikea. It gives off a sweet, cozy glow at night.

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!    Decorating the changing table area was a hard one because now IQ is at an age where she is constantly pulling at everything/into everything! But we did manage to fit one of Josh's ice cream storm prints on our wall, and she hasn't taken a grabby-handed interest in it so far. The cloud and star mobile was one of our favorite gifts we received before Imogen was even born! It's going to be an heirloom piece for sure—it was made by our friend Jahje, and you can see her shop Baby Jives here. So I totally meant to put some backing or something in front of the frosted glass drawers to mask our disorganization because I'm a professional right? Just kidding. I'm just a parent who feels really proud that everything is even in drawers! If I could give myself an applause emoji right now, I would. :)

Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!   Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters!  Sarah's nursery tour - click to see before and afters! Thanks for letting me share our sunny little nursery here on A Beautiful Mess!  So parents or parents-to-be: do you have a nursery or a sweet little space for baby? Leave me a link or tag me on Instagram (@arrowandapple), I'd love to see! I love seeing everyone's ideas and how to make your space functional for kiddos. :)  xo- Sarah

Credits // Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photos: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Lillian and Calliope from The Lightroom Collection.

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12 Days of Giveaways: Win A Messy Ink Pad Set! (CLOSED)

Messy ink pad setIf you're looking to get more crafty in 2015, a great tool for you is our Messy Ink Pad Set. And if you're not looking to get more crafty in 2015... guys, where are your priorities at? Geez.

Today two lucky readers are going to win a Messy Ink Pad Set (this includes all twelve colors)! If you'd like to read more about our ink pad sets, click here

Ink colorsReady to enter to win? Sign up below, and you'll also see that you can submit more than one entry by following us or signing up for our newsletter. If you already follow us or have already signed up for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter/Pinterest, simply do it again below to receive the extra entries (it won't cause you to receive duplicate newsletters or anything; it's just so we can verify your entry). Good luck! xo. Emma + Elsie

2nd Day of Christmas

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Thank you so much for all your support! We'll be contacting the winners directly shortly. If you missed out this time, be sure to keep checking back!

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Dollhouse Pillow

DSC_6882 copyI made my first dollhouse pillow for one of our daughters when she turned two, and she loved it so much and used it as a sleeping bag for a long time. Five years later, it's still one of her most prized possessions and still gets a lot of loving from her. She doesn't quite fit in it as a sleeping bag anymore, but it makes a nice reading and play cushion. 

Today, I'm happy to show you how to make a much simpler version of my original dollhouse pillow. This would make a very special gift for a little one in your life! 

SuppliesSupplies:
-1 yard patterned fabric (pillow backing)
-14" x 16" yard of plain fabric (roof)
-16" x 18" patterned (house body)
-three 7" x 9" pieces of plain fabric (windows)
-4" x 7" piece of wool felt (door)
-decorative button
-black fabric paint
-paintbrush
-Poly-Fil

Tools:
-pins
-fabric pencil  

-sewing machine
-scissors
-rotary cutter
-self-healing mat

Seam Allowance: 1/2"

SuppliesStep One: From the 14" x 16" piece of fabric, mark the halfway point across the top of the fabric, about 8" in from the edge. Then starting 2" up from the bottom of each side, draw a diagonal line to the top center mark, and cut along that line. 

SuppliesStep Two: Line up the base of the roof with the top of the front interior fabric with their right sides together. Pin in place, and stitch together. Press the seam open. 

SuppliesStep Three: On your roof, paint your roof design, and on the pieces for the windows, paint on your windowpanes. Allow to dry completely, then press to heat set the design in place. 

Supplies
SuppliesStep Four: For your window pockets, fold down the top edge (the 7" side) 1/2", press, fold down another 1/2", press, pin in place, and topstitch. Repeat for the other two pieces. 

For each pocket, fold the remaining three sides of the pocket in 1/4" and press. Place each pocket on the desired spot on the dollhouse body (about 1 3/4" in from the edge), right side facing up, pin the folded sides in place, and edge stitch around the three sides. 

Place your wool felt fabric for the door 2 1/2" in from the right side and up 1" from the bottom. Pin in place and edge stitch around. Sew on a decorative button for the doorknob. 

SuppliesStep Five: For the backing, place the front of the house on top of the backing fabric, and cut all the way around the perimeter of the house. With the right sides together, sew around the entire perimeter, leaving a 3" opening for turning. Clip the corners, turn right side out, and press. 

SuppliesStep Six: Fill the house with Poly-Fil to desired thickness, and slip stitch the opening closed. 

DSC_6912 copyDSC_6912 copyDSC_6912 copyI love how bold the hand painted design turned out, and I love that blue with the bright coral. My girls were asking who was going to get the pillow, but we eventually all agreed to give it to their neighbor friend for Christmas. This pillow doesn't open up to reveal the inside of the dollhouse, but you can use the pockets to stuff special dolls and treasures. We made these easy softies to put in the pockets to give to their friend. 

If you do want to learn how to make a giant dollhouse pillow that opens up, I have full instructions and a template in my book, Let's Sew Together. Besides the dollhouse pillow, I share a lot of other projects you can make with and for kids! The book itself would make a great Christmas present for someone looking for more unique sewing projects, and I share additional activities to do with kids. Come on, let's sew together friends! -Rubyellen 

Credits // Author and Photography: Rubyellen Bratcher. Photos edited with Valentine from The Signature Collection

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12 Days of Giveaways: Win a Kelly Moore camera bag! (CLOSED)

Kelly moore bag giveawayCan you believe we are almost at the end of our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway series?! We still have a few days left (with amazing prizes!), but we've got to say, we have loved hosting this for you. You all are amazing, and we're so glad you come back to our site over and over again. It really means the world to us.

And today we are excited that three lucky readers will win an ABM camera bag from Kelly Moore! We loved getting to work with Kelly Moore to create this bag, and everyone at our office has one (because they rock). You can easily fit all your camera gear in this stylish bag (which comes in three colors).  We've taken them on lots of plane rides this year, and they hold up well. And there's even a diaper changing pad in case you plan to use this for more than just camera gear. :) Even if you've already bought one this year, you should enter to win because these make amazing gifts!

Ready to enter to win? Sign up below, and you'll also see that you can submit more than one entry by following us or signing up for our newsletter. If you already follow us or have already signed up for the newsletter or follow us on Twitter/Pinterest, simply do it again below to receive the extra entries (it won't cause you to receive duplicate newsletters or anything; it's just so we can verify your entry). Good luck! xo. Emma + Elsie

3rd Day of Christmas

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Thank you so much for all your support! We'll be contacting the winners directly shortly. If you missed out this time, be sure to keep checking back!

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Try This: Use Scraps for Creative Gift Wrapping

Creative ways to decorate gifts using scraps from your craft supplies'Tis the season for gift giving! And you know what that means! It's also the time for gift wrapping. Maybe you're the person who drops off gifts for your sister to wrap for you (Ahem... my brother!), but for me, decorating gifts is half the fun of giving them! I have certain friends that I go all out for when it comes to giving gifts. (You know the types—designers, wedding planners, florists...) This year I thought I'd delve into my craft supply bins and see what kinds of things I could use to make my gifts extra special, without heading out to the store to buy fancy gift decorating supplies.

Here's what I came up with! I hope you'll be inspired.

Use produce packaging mesh to decorate gifts!PRODUCE PACKAGING MATERIAL

I saved the orange mesh bag that my clementines came in and used it to break up the long expanse of this gift box. All it needed next was a simple bow across its "waist" and a tag. I used an old clothes pin from my craft box to attach a die cut snowflake to the ribbon of the bow, and the look was complete!

I purchased this Christmas tree patterned kraft paper from Marshalls this year, but you could easily stamp your own plain kraft paper to get the same look.

Use scrap pieces of ribbon to make a plaid design on your wrapped gifts.SCRAP PIECES OF RIBBON

I am 100% guilty of hoarding small scraps of ribbon that will never be long enough to tie all the way around a gift, much less into a bow. This small gift was the perfect place to use up my ribbon scraps! I made a plaid pattern by wrapping the ribbon over the top of the box and taping the ends together in the back. I topped it off with a pink tag and a large pom pom made with leftover yarn from my pom pom garland.

Check out this post to learn how to make large pom poms.

Make a little wreath to beautifully top a wrapped gift.LEFTOVER FLORAL SUPPLIES

When I got my first Christmas tree, I went all out decorating it. We're talking far too many floral branches spraying out from inside the tree and ornaments as far as the eye can see. I have less ambition when it comes to decorating our trees these days, which means there were plenty of glittery floral materials in the bottom of my Christmas boxes this year. Those scrap pieces of floral supplies would be beautiful supplies for decorating a gift!

I used tape and ribbon to make a small wreath to top this gift for my mother, but if you wanted to keep it simpler, you could simply tuck sprays of branches or flowers into a cute little bow. If you don't have scrap pieces of artificial flowers, why not head outside and trim some from a holly bush or evergreen tree?

Use leftover beads and twine to add whimsy to your gift wrapping.FABRIC, BEADS, YARN, & TWINE

This little gift sports a whole host of craft supplies I usually have in excess. I don't know why I keep all of those small pieces of fabric, but I do! Turns out they make great little wraps for plain wrapping paper. I adorned my scrap fabric with a few passes of twine, onto which I strung some beads I had leftover from this necklace project.

I topped it all off with a pom pom made from leftover yarn from this kiddo shirt project and another die cut snowflake tag.

Layer wrapping paper for a graphic color blocked giftWRAPPING PAPER SCRAPS & SCRAPBOOKING STICKERS

When wrapping small gifts, I'm never quite sure what to do with the trimmed wrapping paper. My mom would save those small pieces for wrapping stocking stuffers, but we don't do stocking gifts at our house. So I decided to get graphic with my scrap pieces of wrapping paper and layer them on top of plainly wrapped gifts for a fun little twist.

And how many of you scrapbookers have plenty of spare letter stickers to go around? I know I have quite enough to last me many lifetimes! Why not use those lonely letters to label gift tags and add a fun, typographic element to your gifts?

creative gift wrapping techniquesWell, folks, I haven't exactly cleaned out my cluttered craft supply bins, but I have at least eased some of the overflow a bit! I'm excited to finish my Christmas shopping and decorate the last of my gifts with even more scrap supplies. What kind of gift decorating ideas do you have? -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

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