Transitioning from Baby’s Nursery to Toddler’s Room

You may have seen my previous post about our son’s baby nursery design. Now that he is no longer a baby, I have made several changes to his room and wanted to do a follow up post with his updated room. One of the major changes was that I rearranged all of the furniture. I wanted to create a layout that gave him more room to play on the floor. Also, he started climbing up on the daybed to look out the window at the garden. Previously, the daybed was just on the edge of the window, so as soon as I saw him leaning over to look out the window, I started rearranging all of the furniture. We also found two cute rugs at Ikea that work well in the middle for a cozy play area.

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I wanted his toys to be organized and accessible for him, so I got the toy box at Ikea also, and ordered the toy hammock online to hold all of his stuffed animals (how did we accumulate so many of those so quickly?!).
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The picture frames are all empty for now, until I eventually get around to ordering prints (you would think we don’t have any pictures of our son or something with all of those empty frames!). The octopus kite was a cool vintage find in E’s favorite color, red. I let him pick out a plant for his room one day when we were out plant shopping, and he picked out a spider plant. 🙂
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This wall has new items, all crafty things that E and I have made together. The weaving was our first craft project together. He handed me nails and helped me make the loom on the back of an old drawer, and helped me pick out yarn from the stash of yarn that I used for his newborn photoshoots.
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These are a couple of activity boards that I made for him. The one on the left is a little magnetic board, that we use with magnetic numbers and letters for learning time. The rest of the time, I keep the letters and numbers packed away since they just end up all over the house otherwise. 🙂 The board on the right is an old cork board that I turned into a fun felt story board. I purchased some felt stickers of owls, fish, bees, and ladybugs at Joann’s Fabrics and then cut out some trees and a pond. I put Velcro on the back of the animals and bugs and E loves playing with them and moving them around. Sometimes the fish even end up in the trees. 🙂
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This branch was another project E and I made together. He loves trees, so I took a branch that I pruned from our yard and we covered it with fabric scraps to hang up in his room.
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His cloud bunting is still up, with the addition of a (temporarily empty) frame above it.
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We are still cosleeping at night, but I am trying to encourage E to use his crib for naps. He was never a fan of the crib, but since my husband converted it to a toddler bed, he is much happier with it. E is an awful napper for the most part, but I was beyond excited a couple of times recently when after playing in his room, he climbed up into his bed on his own and took a nap. 🙂
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E loves to pick out his shoes each day, so I have his box of shoes down low and accessible, along with plenty of books and a few toys.
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This vintage print was an amazing antique store find. 🙂
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That’s it! I also moved the changing table out of this room, into the hallway near my office for a couple of reasons (first so that my clients could use it without having to go into the the personal area of our house; second since it was not very much fun to play on the floor next to a diaper bin!). Pretty much everything else is the same. I try to keep things organized and keep clutter to a minimum so the room does not turn into a huge disaster. Our bedrooms are so small, so keeping them organized is so important! We may do a decluttering round soon on some of those stuffed animals. :-/

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Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Tour!

Yesterday’s post explained a little about how I got out of my creative slump a few months back, despite being on pregnancy bed rest. I originally had plans to design our baby’s room in a woodland style theme, with a large tree mural on one wall. However, once I started looking at pictures of baby rooms online, I realized that so many people seem to have had that same idea recently and I got pretty discouraged. Our neighborhood is named after all of the large mature pine trees here, and that is our favorite thing about this area. When we first saw all the trees in this neighborhood, we both instantly knew that this would be our home. 🙂

I wanted to create a nursery design that would reflect our love of the outdoors, and still show my unique design style. The idea of a tree mural had to be scrapped since I could not paint a wall while on bed rest anyway. My challenge was to find ways to reflect the look that I wanted, via projects that I could create while lying in bed. Normally, sewing and painting projects would be my first go-to option, but since I could not sit up and sew anything until recently, I had to use other methods of creating for most of the decorations. Even more of a challenge: I primarily had to use whatever supplies I had on hand in my craft room since I could not go wander around any craft supply stores for quite some time. In the end, I went with a nature/outdoors/garden/forest kind of theme, with a little inspiration thrown in from The Lorax (the mobile over the changing table has my version of truffula trees!).

Despite all of these restrictions, I absolutely love the end result. My husband did an amazing job redoing the walls, adding insulation to the exterior wall, and creating a custom frame for the window trim. We wanted to replicate the look of the trim in our old craftsman rental house. You can see the before pictures of this house here.

Some interesting items worth noting…the tiny rocking chair was given by my great-grandmother to my mom, then to me (I sewed the little “Rockin Cowboy” cushion). The hamper was a baby shower gift from when I was born. 🙂 I found the changing table for free on Craigslist and was originally planning to use it as a plant stand in my patio area outside. When I realized it went well with our crib, my husband sanded it down, repainted it, and made new shelves for it. The daybed was originally intended for our living room, but that didn’t end up working as well as we had hoped. I wanted to make sure that I have a pet-free bed to nap in after feedings, so we moved it into the nursery. The needlepoint pillow in the middle of the daybed was embroidered by my grandma, and sewn together by me.

The framed wall art is a mix of items. I found the vintage Winnie the Pooh prints at a thrift store a while back (actually during my first pregnancy just after we got married). I have been hanging onto them since them, waiting to be able to use them. 🙂 The owl prints were a free printable that I found via The Handmade Home. I sculpted the cross and made the yarn covered “E”. The round empty embroidery hoop on the wall is left intentionally blank for now. Once he is born, I will be making an embroidery design with his name and birth date. The prints with the Bible quotes and the quote from St. Francis are printables that I designed myself. They will be coming soon to the blog as well!

I am so happy with the finished room, and can’t wait for the little guy to join us in his room! The cats love the room so much that I have trouble keeping them out. 🙂 Two walls were intentionally left fairly empty to leave room for all of the photographs that we are bound to take of our little guy.  In the next few weeks, I will be posting tons of DIY instructions on many of the various projects I made!

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Baby Boy's Nursery Tour

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Shade Garden Update!

There are two last places in the front yard that have been needing some planting attention.  One is a bare area underneath the two large pine trees on the lower level (still yet to be tackled).  The other was the full shade area along the one retaining wall, under a bunch of trees.

The previous owners (or whoever they hired) had planted the worst possible items in this area…roses, some unidentified plant (possibly some kind of pomegranate), and an ornamental strawberry tree.  All of these plants were needing full sun, and were planted in full shade.  They all looked horrible.  I will show a before shot in an upcoming post, detailing all of their mistakes that I have cleaned up lately.  The strawberry tree and the mystery plant were also both sending out runners and seedlings, all over the lawn.  I couldn’t handle it any longer, so I took action.

I dug up everything along that wall except for the apple tree and the pine tree (obviously I wouldn’t touch those!).  I double dug the very compacted soil, and added tons of compost and fertilizer.  I planted a variety of colorful shade plants including an asparagus fern, sword fern, polka dot plants, coleus, heuchera, iresine, and caladium.  I love all of these plants for this area since they have a variety of bright colors and don’t require much sun at all.  There are literally no flowers in this section but it is full of color!

On a side note…We recently had some trouble with our sprinklers in the upper part of the front yard.  There are no sidewalks in our neighborhood, and the grass goes all the way to the curb.  Some neighbors (or their guests) kept stepping on the sprinklers near the edge of the curb and breaking them.  I was trying to water the grass by hand and with those little hose sprinklers until my husband had the time to fix the sprinkler heads, but it was quite difficult to get everything evenly watered this way (especially in the middle of the hottest summer ever!).

Much of the grass started to die off in the upper part of the front yard.  I was so discouraged since I had done so much work on this grass to revive it when we first moved in.  I started again with dethatching the dead areas, and used my cultivator to work in new shade grass seed and fertilizer.  I also poured my compost weed tea on the troubled areas.  After daily watering for a few minutes each day, the grass is back to full and green and lush!  I am so happy. 🙂

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Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Cleaning Up Someone Else’s Gardening Mistakes

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There were so many things wrong with these gardens when we bought the house.  It is really amazing that everything wasn’t completely dead since almost everything was planted with seemingly no knowledge or planning.  From what I have heard, the previous owners even hired a “professional” to plant and maintain everything.  To me, most of the things they did horribly wrong seem like they should have been common knowledge.  Since common sense is not as common as one would hope, I decided to detail a list of the problems that I have had to clean up in these gardens.  It is shocking that someone may have actually paid to have so much done horribly wrong!

1.  It is never a good idea to plant an extremely large cactus where it will reach over a walkway, gate, and stairs.  That is just dangerous and a lawsuit waiting to happen.  That cactus was one of the first things we removed.

2.  No roses thrive in full shade!  Nearly all roses need full sun.  There are a few varieties that will grow in partial shade such as white iceberg roses, but no roses will thrive in full shade, such as when they are planted directly under very large trees.  Sadly, there were numerous rose bushes planted in this manner at our house.

3.  The tropical “tree” shown above was being burnt in full sun, and will do much better in its new home in partial sun.  It was also getting too leggy and should have been trimmed down and re-rooted.  Besides all that, one random tropical plant stuck in with a bunch of roses and daisies is the strangest planting choice I have ever seen!  I gave this guy away for free on Craigslist…hopefully it is happier in its new home.

4.  The flowering mini tree also shown above should have been in full sun, and it was planted in full shade.  It also started sending out runners around it, trying to create little baby trees everywhere.  Thanks a million for this one…I am really looking forward to digging up all of these runners under the grass in the front yard where they have spread like a disease.  I really do not need baby trees popping up all over my lawn!  This was another one given away on Craigslist.

5.  Bushy perennials like the shasta daisies planted everywhere should be periodically dug up in early spring and divided so they don’t end up taking over everything around them.  I really enjoyed digging up years worth of overgrown flowers and trying to divide them.

6.  Flower bulbs should be dug up yearly (or at least on a somewhat regular basis!) and divided.  I found so many bulbs all smashed together in one spot.  Luckily for me, I will have tons to spread around for next spring!

7.  Flower bulbs placed ON TOP of the soil WILL NOT GROW.  They need to be buried in the dirt to grow!

8.  Short, low growing flowers like begonias should be planted toward the front of a flower bed where they can be seen, and not in the very back where no one will ever notice them!

9.  Ferns of all sorts should not be planted in full sun.  Pretty simple and straightforward…plant them in partial shade or full shade.

10.  There is no point in planting an asparagus fern or spider plant directly behind a rose bush.  No one will see it.  I do however, appreciate the free found plants that I have used elsewhere.

11.  Fig trees get tall.  Ridiculously tall if you let them.  They should be pruned periodically, and whoever thought it would be a good idea to plant a huge fig tree in a tall raised planter bed was crazy.

12.  Grape vines need to be pruned yearly when dormant.  I have a huge task ahead of me this winter.

13.  Flowers should be deadheaded when the blooms are spent.  Letting dead flower heads just sit there creates a messy situation in some cases.  I am not enjoying my battle with the very large shasta daisies growing in parts of the grass since they were left on long enough to go to seed and spread their seeds in unwanted areas.

14.  The large overgrown bushes that were previously in our backyard were a haven for wasps.  Those also had to go.

15.  The irrigation system previously set up here was the worst ever.  I will go into all the details in a later post, but having the timer set up to water the grass twice a day is a huge waste of water.  Furthermore, the best time to water grass is early in the morning, around sunrise.  The worst times to water grass are in the middle of the day, and late at night…the two times of day the timer was set to water.

16. Lantham flowers should be planted in full sun.  In our yard,they were  planted in the partial shade area and they were diseased and rotten looking.  I also removed those.

17.  Ivy is the worst thing to plant near a retaining wall.  The tentacles grab onto the mortar and slowly weaken the wall.  Getting rid of the ivy has become a long battle.

18. Putting down layers of sod over and over does no good if you make no effort to keep weeds from taking over the grass.

19. Furthermore, the existing layer of sod is generally dug up and removed before a new layer is planted.  I really enjoyed digging through two layers of dead sod when creating my vegetable garden. 🙂

20.  Placing a nursery container of flowers that has been taken over with weeds in the flower bed will still spread weeds throughout the flower bed.  Just because the weeds are in a container does not mean they will not spread.  Who buys flowers that already have weeds growing in them anyway?

How To: Plant Dwarf Citrus Trees in Recycled Wine/Whiskey Barrels

When I originally planted our current garden, I didn’t put a lot of thought into mixing in some of our dwarf citrus trees in with our vegetables.  Upon second thought, it wasn’t a very good idea.  While they may need similar watering now, they will not later on.  We also do not want the citrus trees to start cutting down on our vegetable bed area.  We decided to quickly move them out of the vegetable beds and into containers in the patio.

The trees that are planted in the grassy area are going to stay, and we are just moving the dwarf trees that are planted with the vegetables.  They haven’t been planted long, so luckily the roots have not extended much past their root balls yet.  We picked up a bunch of half wine/whiskey barrels, and got them ready for planting.

Step 1:  My husband drilled holes in the bottom of the barrels for drainage.

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Step 2:  I cut small squares of screen from our old kitchen window that he recently removed (to replace with a double paned window).

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Step 3:  My husband nailed the screens in place, over the holes, to prevent the soil from draining away.

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Step 4:  We filled the barrel with potting soil, and relocated the dwarf trees!

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