The Nursery: Decorative Sign

I love all the trend of the quote signs. Just basic letters with a quote or saying that reflects something important to you or a central theme. I knew I wanted one for Jack’s nursery, but didn’t want to spread $200 for some of the ones I found on Etsy, so I decided to make my own!

When I was little, my mom always sang “You Are My Sunshine” to me. It still think of it when I think of her. I have dreamed of the day I get to sing to to my own children. I thought it was very fitting quote for my son’s room.

So it seemed pretty simple. Buy some boards, put them together, paint and hang. Or so I thought….

I showed Michael some examples of the sign, and he pointed out that the sign we have above the fireplace is the same basic idea. So he looked at it’s construction. Three boards across with two boards to secure the others in place.

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So Michael bought 3 pieces of finished hobby board from Home Depot and cut them to the appropriate lengths, resulting in 3 long and 2 shorter pieces. Our sign is about 2 feet by 1.5 feet, because the wall we wanted to place it on the wall is not that big. If you have a larger room, you may want to make your dimensions bigger.

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Then Michael glued the the 3 longer pieces on the edges together with basic Elmers Wood Glue widthwise. Then he glued the smaller boards across on the bottom lengthwise. Similar to the image above.

Then I painted the front of the orange using the same paint we used for the walls (see baseball seam post). I only did one coat so the grain would still show, giving it a more vintage feel.

Then came the text…the stupid, stupid text. I have horrible handwriting so I knew I could never free-hand it. Michael has nice handwriting, but couldn’t make the fancy font I wanted. So I first came up the with idea of printing out the text I wanted and tracing it.

Then I realized that I didn’t know how to trace the letters without leaving big pencil marks or having tape pull the paint off. After some thought and consultation from others, I decided to print the text out again, but this time use the paper the letters were cut from as a stencil.

I did the first coat with Crayola Washable Kids Paints (the same I used for the wall letters), but it was not thick enough. So I used the same white we used for the nursery walls. The stencil did the basic job, but left the edges a little messy and uneven. So I went back over with both the orange and white paint to clean it up. Then I needed to paint the sun. For the circle, I just traced 8 inch pot. I free-handed the waves. The color is a mix of the white and orange painted I already used on the sign. About 70% orange to 30% white.

I let it dry for a day before I sealed with Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer Spray. I did about two medium coats. Just a word of warning, this stuff is potent. Please do this outside in a well ventilated area. And let it dry and defuse for several days before you bring inside.

Michael hung it up with a simple sawtooth hook on the sign and picture frame hook in the wall. We placed it between the two baseball seams, but not over the crib in case of earthquakes.

The Nursery: Wall Letters

Once Michael and I finally settled on the name Jack for a boy, I took to Pinterest again to get inspiration one cute ways to do a decorative letters or a name sign for his room. One of the first things that came up when I simply typed in “Nursery wall letters” was this:

Here is the Etsy Shop incase
you want to order the original. 
It was perfect, like someone pinned this just for me to find! It’s his name and a sports theme, just like we wanted. I just needed to change the color scheme and leave out the basket ball (we are both short, no delusions our son will be Center for the Warriors). 
We had some trouble finding decent letters, which surprised me because this is such a popular trend. There we either cheap looking, already painted, a weird font, or really expensive. I finally found a these basic capital block letter on Amazon
I used Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint. The main reason I went with this is because it’s inexpensive. Also, I tend to make messes…I didn’t think my husband would appreciate me getting permanent paint on the kitchen table. 

To keep with both the nursery theme and the design of the pin, I decided to paint the J black, the A a football, the C a baseball, and the K orange.

I did the base colors first, then added the stitches for the baseball and football. The paint adhered to the wood well,  but every color needed a few coats to make it even. It probably took longer to get even than permanent paint would have, but it was not that big of a deal.

After the black dried, I noticed that it looked more brown. I ran out of black to do another coat, so I had to mix together other colors to make more black. Felt like I was in preschool again! It was fun and it came out nice in the end.

Once the letters dried, I took them to the nursery to see how they would look against the orange wall. Then I realized that the orange K didn’t stand out enough. I didn’t want paint it another color and lose the theme. So I painted the boarder in the reddish brown paint to give it some pop.

Michael attached the letters to the wall with 3M Double Coated Foam Tape. We considered gluing or nailing them to wall, but we didn’t want to damage the walls.

You might be wondering why we didn’t put the letters above the crib. We thought it would look too busy with the baseball stitches. And worried they might fall off in an earthquake (the joys of living next several major faults).  

Why I Don’t Want a Big Stroller

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My shower invitations went out recently (thanks Kamille!).  Right away some of my close friends and family who want to buy the more expensive items asked why I didn’t have a travel system or a car seat combo stroller. I politely told them we already have a umbrella stroller for when he can hold himself up, and until then we are just going to carry him. Then they tried to explain how much easier it will be to take him places and let him sleep. I politely tell them again we do not want one, but thank you for your concern. They have been nice and understood, but still think we should get one.

These gigantic things. source

I am not some masochist who wants her torture herself by carrying around a baby until my arms are totally dead. I have two logical reasons for not wanting a travel system stroller.

Yes they do. source

First of all, they are public  nuisance . Have you ever been in a public place, like a mall or just walking down the street, and suddenly been plowed over by some lady with a double-wide stroller? And of course you can’t say anything because you know she is struggling to keep it together under the stress of taking a screaming baby out in public. But you give her a little glare as she continues to plow down the crowd as she makes her way through. Oh look, she just took out an old lady with a walker, who then fell on a 5-year-old. Or even at a restaurant–you are trying to simply walk to the bathroom and back, but are blockaded by gigantic strollers. And if you accidentally bump one while trying to navigate through, the parents angrily yell at you for disturbing their baby. I know parenting is hard and it’s nice to have your arms free to do stuff, but pushing a giant stroller around in public is rude. In fact, I think it’s very rude. There is a difference between the world becoming more kid-friendly (which I love) and parents just being selfish. Your baby does not need the giant stroller packed full of stuff. You don’t need it either—you just want it. You want to have everything stowed away for your convenience. The world should not revolve around you just because you had a baby. Have some consideration for others. I refuse to be this rude of a person ever, so this is my number one reason for not wanting a travel system stroller. They are just too big and impractical. Also, I have more compassion for the women who has a screaming baby in public if she hasn’t run me over with her stupid stroller. In fact, I would probably let her cut in line or something when it looks like she is about to burst into tears with her baby.

My senitments exactly. source
And I know someone is going to say, “But I got invited out to a friend’s birthday dinner at this great restaurant. If I don’t take the big stroller where she can sleep, I don’t get to go!” I know it sucks, but you are a parent now. Either hire a sitter for the night or tell your friend sorry, but you can’t go because your baby needs to sleep in her own bed. You have a greater responsibility to your child’s healthy and safety than to having dinner with your friend.
*I would just like to note, if you have multiples, a bigger stroller may be necessary. I understand and got no problem with that. But it doesn’t need to be GIGANTIC and you don’t need to take into a crowded place.

Secondly, it’s not good for your baby it be laying down all the time. I was browsing on Pinterest one day and came across an article with a Youtube Video about why/how you should carry your baby. Sadly, I cannot find that original Pin :-/ So I will link some similar ones below.  But essentially, a newborn’s spine is C-shaped. It’s weak and not very flexible. Your baby has been squished up inside you for nine months. Laying your baby flat on it’s back in a carseat for an extended period of time is bad. Their muscles are not strong enough to be uncurled and stretched out yet. This places too much stress on their delicate spine. As the baby grows, their muscles eventually get stronger. Then they can support their own heads and their spines to begin to develop a slight curve. And only when they learn to walk do they have the full standard spinal curvature. Until then, laying your baby down with it’s legs and spine spread flat often puts too much stress on the muscles and spine. It will interfere with the natural unraveling and strengthening of the spine.
Carrying either in your arms or in a sling properly does not cause such spinal stress. Newborns and older infants should be carried facing towards you so they are not leaning backwards (stretching out the spine) for support. The carrier should support the entire length of the back—shoulders down the back of the knees. They should be snug but not pinned in place. Their legs should be allowed to curl naturally and freely, to prevent hip displacement. Check the height and weight limits of your sling, and make sure your baby isn’t too big for it, which can cause spine issues as well.

Why wouldn’t you want to snuggle your baby? source

See, there is logic to not wanting a travel system stroller, both a societal issue and development concerns. These reasons are not based purely on research though, I have some practical experience too. I babysat for different families that have used travel systems, slings, or both. I found the big stroller annoying to luge around. And it bothered me that the baby was isolated down and away from me. I liked most of the slings (one family had a weird homemade one that hurt my shoulder). I liked the baby being close against me so I could make sure they were okay. My hands were free and my movements were not impeded that much at all.

Our stroller. Simple, light weight, and folds easily. source

And when he does gets too big or it’s impractical to take him in the sling, we did get an umbrella stroller. He can’t go in it until he can support himself upright though. It’s small enough that if we do need to take it in a crowded place, we won’t take out any old ladies. It’s collapsible so if we need to eat in a crowded restaurant, we can fold it up and tuck it out of the way. And it’s probably not comfortable for him to sleep at night, but that’s not a problem. He will not be staying out late just because we want to. I firmly believe that babies need a set bedtime routine in their regular bed. So if want to go out out, we will hire a sitter. Or sadly we might not be able to go out. That is something you have to accept as a parent.

Also, I actually want to hold my baby. I spent all this time and effort making him, I want to see his cute little face and rock him in my arms! And who knows, maybe after a month I will be calling my mom crying and saying I was stupid for not wanting travel system.

More info on proper baby carrying:
Strollers, Baby Carriers, and Infant Stress, Boba
How to Practice Safe Babywearing, Imperfect Homemaker
Benefits of Babywearing, Babywearing International

The Nursery: Painting Baseball Seams

When we first moved into our house, we discussed what wanted to do with each room. When we got to the bedrooms, we knew that the smaller of the two would be a nursery one day, so we left it alone for until that day. Well, that day came sooner rather than later!

The room used to be completely—and I mean baseboards to ceiling —a sad faded purple. It was in obvious need a of serious paint job no matter what the gender. I wanted to do a Gamma Phi Beta (my sorority) theme for a daughter, and we both knew it would San Francisco Giants baseball theme for a son.

The obvious answer was paint the black and orange. But the more I thought about it, I realized a black nursery might not be the most smooth thing for a baby. And the BRIGHT Giant’s orange would be too stimulating. Then I remembered the home jerseys: off-white cream and a lighter orange. That seemed more like nursery colors!

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After some inspiration on Pintrest, I came up with a two-toned wall idea. Then I saw another Pin with baseball seams on a white wall. Michael loved both ideas too.

There are a lot of organic, non-toxic paints specifically for nurseries, but they are really expensive. If you have the money, I really suggest getting them. We unfortunately do not, so we had to shop for paint on sale. If this is the case for you too, I suggest painting early so the room has months to air out all the fumes.

By the way, a friend asked me if paint was vegan….at first I thought she was kidding. I explained paint is made from chemicals mostly, so unless you are using squid-ink-based paint, then you are good.

Ideally, pregnant women should not paint due to the fumes. And, not to mention it’s exhausting and it’s already exhausting enough just being pregnant. My wonderful husband did majority of the painting. I did help a little bit, but made sure the windows were open and the fan was on first.

Now for the actual painting process….

He used a roller with an extension for majority of the walls and a medium-sized brush  (came in a set) for the corners.

We didn’t want the purple to show through, so we primed everything first. He used Valspar Interior Latex Primer High-Hiding from Lowes. We really like this primer and have used it in several rooms now. Not only did it cover the purple, it covered the dark wood panels in the living room perfectly.

For the colors, we selected Duration Home Latex Paint in Navel from Sherwin Williams and Behr Premium Plus Ultra Latex in Moon Rise from Home Depot. Both are semi-gloss finish.

The wall facing as you enter is orange, the rest of the walls and ceiling are off-white. And the trim, inside the closet and inside the door frame are orange for contrast.

He primed one Saturday night, then did most of the painting the next day. He went back a month later and did the touch-ups.

Then three weeks ago, my nesting instincts really kicked in so I asked him to please do the seams so the room is finished.

We started by having me point out how big/far-out I wanted the seams to go on the wall. Then he measured out that distance and cut a piece of string to that length.

He attached the string to a pencil. I held the string in the corner while he pulled it tight. He then drew a quarter circle from the based board to the edge of the wall. I suggest doing this with a colored pencil close to color of  the paint to avoid a black pencil mark from showing through.

Then, using a small angled brush,  Michael drew the first stitch freehand, and didn’t like it (though I thought it was fine). So he made a stencil so they would be more uniform and the process would go faster.

He ended up refining his stencil a few times, cutting it smaller so it did not smudge the previous stitch and create better spacing.

Then he repeated the process in the other corner. Once the stitches dried a little bit, he drew the seam line through the center of the stitches. He used just the very tip of the same angled brush.

Then the next day we touched up the edges and lines with some white paint.

I am very happy with the results! It’s not totally prefect, but if you really look at a baseball, not every stitch is exact. I would rather have a pretty good looking nursery done with love than a picture-perfect one done by some stranger or a machine.

I will do more updates about our nursery soon, including a review of the crib, the decorations, a custom sign, and wall letters.