Preparing a Gender Neutral Nursery Part 2 - Little Foxes

As some of you might remember, we are keeping the gender of our baby a surprise until his/her delivery day in April. I learned from the birth of our daughter that taking care of a newborn and trying to finish a nursery is next to impossible, so I will be creating a gender neutral nursery before our baby's arrival.

There have been lots of changes going on at the Muscari house this holiday break. My hard working hubby was able to take two weeks off and nesting was in full effect for our little bundle. My oldest finally graduated to a full size bed, and our soon to be middle child is out of her crib and in a toddler bed. So, this week is all about the baby's room. We got rid of the lilac walls in our spare room and painted it a white neutral from the Sherwin Williams Pottery Barn collection, Pediment. This is the color I have in my foyer and upstairs hallway, and we had enough left over to finish off the room. Decorating on a budget is in full effect. We will also be using the crib, changing table and upholstered chair from my daughter's room.

Last time we talked gender neutral nurseries, I shared with you my Nautical inspired room. While I still love this idea, I have gone in a little bit of different direction and settled on a Little Fox room.
fox nursery

The color scheme is going to be light blue, navy and orange with some natural wood accents. I think this leans a little bit more to the boy side as most gender neutral nurseries do, but I plan on adding some girly accessories if needed.

Like this chandelier:

AF Lighting 8682-4H Naples Mini Chandelier 4 Light Crafted

Or some flower pom poms for over the crib:

navy nursery decorations

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Flower Ball

I will be sewing my own crib bedding, so look for a future post on that. I have narrowed down my fabric choices and should be getting to work on that soon. I will also be painting a nightstand I have in navy- again post to follow. I can't wait to bring this inspiration board to life. I hope you will enjoy the process with me.

Anyone else working on redecorating a room? I feel like the new year always brings lots of inspiration and an inch for some change. I would love to hear about what you are working on.

Preparing a Gender Neutral Nursery

For those of you that might have missed my recent post, we are expecting our third child next April. Like we did with our daughter, we decided to keep the gender of the baby a surprise until his/her arrival. 

There is something very magical about being in the hospital with the anticipation of not knowing if you are about to meet your daughter or son. A little bonus is that it drives our family crazy. Is it wrong that we love to hear them complain and moan about having to wait? Maybe we are a little power hungry or something. 

Like I said, we did the same thing with our daughter, but I have learned a lot this time around. I waited until after she was born to put together her nursery. Since I had a boy already, I knew I wanted to do a totally girly and pink room if I had a girl, so I didn't do one thing to the nursery except get a white crib and changing table. I figured I would have time to put it all together once baby came. I must have been totally delusional. 

It took me about six months to get her nursery together, and in the meantime, I sat in utter chaos and a very starch, uninviting room to feed her three times a night. It just added to an already draining and difficult season. One thing I am sure of this time around is that I want a completed, cozy and soothing room when I bring our little baby home, so I can enjoy those late night feedings and snuggles without obsessing about needing to complete the nursery. And since I have one boy and one girl, I am a lot more open to having a gender neutral nursery.

I am going to bring you along for the ride as I plan and design my gender neutral nursery. Here is the first of many inspiration boards. I already have a baby blue upholstered and oh so comfy  chair and ottoman, so I am working on incorporating that into my color scheme. I could always make a slipcover for it, but my initial research proved that is going to be a time consuming project that I am not sure I want to commit to just yet. So here is my first thought...
The idea is too get the majority of this done before baby arrives. I think this idea leans a little more to the manly side, but I could add more girly accessories if needed. Here is some more great inspiration from around the Web incorporating the navy, baby blue, red color scheme featured in this inspiration board. 
By Georgette Westerman from Project Nursery
By Abbie at M is for Momma
I will be back throughout my pregnancy to share other ideas, but in the meantime you can follow my Gender Neutral Nursery board on Pinterest for more inspiration.

It's Not Too Late to Update that Outdoor Space and DIY Nautical Pillow

It might seem like summer just started, but the stores are already reducing their outdoor furniture and accessories to make way for those school supplies. If you are thinking of making any upgrades to your patio or deck, now is the time you could really get some sweet savings, and you still have plenty of time to get good use out of them.

In honor of the stores trying to push fall upon us, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my little deck upgrade with you. I am a huge fan of navy, but it totally doesn't fit in with the color scheme of my house. So, when I was looking for a rug and umbrella to spruce up the backyard, I thought it would be the perfect place to showcase some navy and nautical, two of my favs. 

The rug and umbrella are both from the Threshold line at Target. I got them at the beginning of the summer during a 30% off sale. They aren't marked down right now online, but check out your local store. My Target had all patio stuff marked down by at least 15% the last time I was in there. And, I refuse to apologize for my love of chevron. I know some people are totally over it, but I still love it.

Along with my antiqued flower pots, I wanted to do something else crafty for this space. I decided to make my own nautical pillow. I am a sewer, so I made my own pillow. But if sewing isn't your thing, you could paint on any store bought outdoor pillow which should also be marked down right now, too. If you decide to sew your own, make sure you get a pillow made for outdoor use that will resist mold and mildew as well as an outdoor fabric that won't fade from UV rays.

I started off by searching the internet for the perfect anchor. Then, I pasted it into a Word document and played with the size a little bit until it was the perfect fit. Next, I cut that bad boy out. 

After cutting, I taped the anchor to the location I wanted it in and traced it with a fabric marker. The color of your fabric marker doesn't need to match your paint. Go with a light color that will show up enough that you can see it without it being too noticeable. You can cover up the line as you paint.

You will need to use a fabric or all purpose paint, or you can add a fabric paint medium to a paint you already have. I selected Martha Stewart Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint in Citrine Gold which is an all purpose paint. You can find this in store at JoAnn's Fabric.

To finish my anchor, I filled it in completely with the paint and ended up doing three coats. I find it a lot easier to paint free hand than use a real stencil. I always end up getting bleed through and my image ends up looking sloppy. Anybody else have that problem?

Here is the finished product. I like how the navy pillow ties the pergola area in with the dining table, rug, and umbrella. 

I am hoping to finish another pillow soon and maybe put a compass on it or a sailboat perhaps. I also want to incorporate some other nautical items like rope. Any suggestions or fun nautical crafts you can share with me? Are you inspired to spruce up your outdoor space before summer passes us by?

Guest Post: Getting a Manly, Modern Finish with Chalk Paint®

Hi guys! I'm Bre and I blog over at brepurposed, where I find those hidden furniture gems that most people would toss and turn them into something new and exciting! My journey started last year after I got married and needed a new creative outlet. I hope you'll join me on my furniture adventures and follow along as I stalk Craigslist, thrift stores and friend's basements for whatever I can get my hands on. :)
Pallet Board Topped Dresser

After I bought my first supply of Chalk Paint, I wanted to paint everything with it. I hadn't gone thrifting yet, so I figured it was time to give something we already owned a makeover. The lucky winner: my husband's dresser! I've had it since I was a baby and brought it with us when we moved into our first place together. It was serving its purpose quite well, but it wasn't much to look at. If you've read my About section, you know we live in a tiny apartment, and it's definitely not our forever home. I have a hard time decorating, because I know we wont be here for long and that's why I like to sell my pieces as well. For this dresser, I kept it relatively neutral so we can take it with us whenever we move.

Here's what the dresser looked like before I started the transformation.

I don't mind the engraved design on the top drawer, but the hubs, not so much. This thing needed to be more masculine. I used Chalk Paint in Graphite, which I never would have known was a dark grey unless I had seen it in the store. It looks like Black on the website. It's still a dark color and I wanted to give it some contrast with a white border around each drawer. Since I was using Chalk Paint, no sanding or priming needed! First step was filling in that design and the holes, for new hardware.

I used Elmer's Wood Filler and had to do about three rotations of filling and sanding to get it to be completely smooth.

Time for the paint! I did two coats and after that dried, I used Frog Tape to tape off the white border. I used some leftover white trim paint I had laying around and did two coats of that as well.


Once the white dried, I used Clear Wax to coat the drawers. I'm still getting the hang of this stuff, and feel like this time around I had more trouble than the first. After applying, and buffing off, it looked a bit blotchy to me. Not sure if this had to do with the way I painted, or the way I applied the wax. Either way, applying some more and buffing in spots that looked untouched helped to minimize the blotchiness.

Due to the cold weather, I painted this baby right where it stood. I propped it up on some wooden blocks and painted the body of the dresser.

I used the rest of the pallet board I had left over that I used for my Tray and cut the pieces to size using my circular saw, in our kitchen once again.

I followed pretty much the same process that I used for my tray. 1.) cut 2.) sand 3.) glue 4.) wood stain conditioner 5.)  stain and 6.) poly.


Once the top was dry, and the dresser was ready to go, it was time to attach. I used some wood glue first, but some of the boards were a bit warped and didn't sit very flatly. To fix that we just used some regular nails and nailed the boards to the dresser securely.

I finished this piece a while ago, but originally had chosen different hardware. Once I changed my mind, Hobby Lobby was one short of the pulls I needed. I had to wait almost a week for them to get restocked and then I could take my pictures. Note: it takes Hobby Lobby 2-3 days to unload their truck, boo.

Now this is looking more manly isn't it?! The quote is from Eric Thomas, my husband's favorite motivational speaker. I designed it in Illustrator and printed it out for a frame we had laying around.
Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Thanks, Bre, for sharing this amazing makeover! What a girl after my own heart. She had me at Annie Sloan and Hobby Lobby. 

As you can see, Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan isn't just for distressed, shabby looks. Thanks again, Bre, for showing us how to get a modern, manly finish with my favorite paint. Don't forget to check her out over at brepurposed to see more of her projects. I am a big fan!

Guest Post: Five Space Saving Ideas for a Small Home

Hi, Pretty Distressed readers! My name is Krissy, and I blog over at Hot Commodity. I talk about reading, decorating, sewing, and home improvement. I am so excited that Christina invited me to share this post with you today. So without further ado, here are my 5 Space-Saving Ideas For a Small Home!

My husband and I have lived in a small home (1400 sq. ft.) for the last seven years. Over the years, our family has grown, but our house has not, so we have had to come up with some ways to use the space we have as best as we can. So here are five of my favorite space-saving things we have done in our home:

1. Save Floor & Drawer Space by Hanging Things Up.
Instead of having a pantry, our home has a laundry room right off the kitchen. It didn't take long for us to realize we needed a good place for storing cleaning supplies and other non-food items that we still want close to the kitchen. We bought wall hooks to hang our brooms and mops on the laundry room wall so they don't clutter up the floor. We also bought a wall-mount basket to store our aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc. so that it wasn't occupying any of our kitchen drawers. It's close enough to the kitchen that it is still convenient.

We have also saved a lot of space in the garage this way. Wall hooks hold our snow shovel, push broom, kids' t-ball set, folding chairs, and kids' bikes off the floor.

One last thing that we got off the floor and hung on the wall is our bedside tables. Instead of a traditional table, we use floating shelves. Just be careful how much weight you place on floating shelves. All we kept on them were lamps, clocks, and the occasional book, so it worked for us.

2. Lose the Closet Doors.
Our kids' rooms are quite small. In a small room, you run into a problem of not having enough wall space for the furniture. In order to give ourselves more space along the walls, we simply removed the closet doors from the kids' closets.

We store things that don't have any other home up in the top of the closet. Short dresses and shirts hang from the rod, then a shelf with drawers sits below. The right-hand corner of the closet (not pictured) is filled with extra blankets and the kids' laundry basket. Losing the closet door freed up the left-hand wall for my daughter's dresser. My son's closet is the same way -- boxes of baby clothes fill the top shelf, clothes can hang, then a similar shelf uses the closet floor space to hold clothes, books, shoes, and dress-ups. Losing the closet door freed up space in his room for his bed.

3. Install a Dimmer.
This one might not sound "space-saving" right off, but it has helped us save space. Instead of getting lamps, which generally need to sit on something (be it the floor or a table), we installed dimmer switches in both of our kids' rooms. I maintain that this was the best idea I ever had. It helped during night-time feedings when they were babies and it helps today when someone is afraid of the dark. The fact that you don't have to worry about cords, plugs, or batteries is just an added bonus!

4. Elevate the Furniture.
Obviously, this won't work for all furniture, but simply lifting beds a few inches can provide storage space underneath for seasonal clothing and decor, extra bedding, or anything else that can lay flat. We took a more extreme approach when my son graduated to a big-boy bed.

We got him a low-loft bed. This leaves usable floor space beneath it. His dresser fits under one end, and we purchased it with the bed so that it would be the right size. He stores most of his toys under the bed. The loft is high enough for kids to sit underneath it, but it's low enough that it's still fairly easy to make the bed. Plus, it makes a great fort when the kids are so inclined.

5. Get Combination Furniture.
Most of the furniture that we have purchased in the last seven years has served more than a single purpose. Our entertainment center includes drawers to store movies, video game consoles, and small toys.

Our desk is an Ikea Expedit Desk that attaches to a bookcase on one side. This was a life-saver when our second child was born and we needed to move our computer out of our third bedroom. The shelf holds office stuff on the bottom two shelves (file boxes, printer paper, cords, etc). The upper shelves hold books on one side and more office stuff on the other side. It serves as an excellent room divider so it doesn't feel like the computer is in the middle of the living room.

The last combo piece we added was a combination shelf/pot rack to go over our kitchen sink. Pots hang from it and our canister set sits atop it, which saves a lot of cabinet and counter space.

Bonus Tip: Don't Be Sentimental.
One of the most important things we have learned in our space-saving endeavors over the years is to stop being sentimental about our stuff. We do store some items we never use (like my wedding dress), and some things we hope we never need to use (like our 72-hour kits), but we have tried not to get sentimental about things that don't deserve it. If it's taking up space and not serving a necessary purpose, we don't hesitate to donate or sell it!

Do you have more space-saving tips? I'd love to hear them, so please leave a comment!

Thank you so much, Krissy, for your post today. I hope you all enjoyed it! Please make sure to visit Hot Commodity and show her some love.

Come back on Thursday, when Bre from brepurposed stops by to share a manly dresser makeover with us.