aiden's mid-century modern woodland adventurer nursery

Thursday, April 30, 2015

In the weeks and months before Aiden was born, I would go in his nursery and sit in the glider - rocking back and forth while staring out the window or gazing at the crib, just thinking. Thinking about what he would be like, what I would be like as his mother, imagining looking over at him sleeping in his crib... This nursery is my gift to him - I know he won't know it now, but my hope is that one day when he is old enough he will understand the amount of love that went into planning this room for him. Preparing a place for him in our home and our hearts long before he got here. 

Most of the pictures in this post were taken just two and three days before Aiden was born. The pictures with Aiden in them are from his many newborn photo shoots (a.k.a. mommy behind the DSLR) when he was one and two weeks old. To me these "before and after" photos have served as a beautiful parallel of the hope for my baby to soon arrive and the joy of new motherhood. Even as I write this, I am sitting in the glider in his room looking over at him from time to time as he drifts off into a quiet slumber...


Jason and I spent so much time on this room. For example, it was pink when we moved in until I undertook the most ridiculous, painstaking process of painting it an aqua-blue. (Click this link and you'll see what I mean.) I painted this room long before we knew it would one day become a nursery - it was originally our guest room! We made just about everything in the nursery ourselves as well. You could say I poured my whole heart into this room. (:

The design concept was mid-century modern with modern woodland bedding, decor, and artwork. I added in some vintage keepsakes from Jason and my's childhoods to tie it all together.

Be sure to read below each section of pictures - I'll be sharing what we made and the inspiration behind the projects too!

Now without further ado, here is Aiden's nursery!

sleep //

sleep //

silver star cut-out shutters: handmade by the people who built this house (the shutters were here before we moved in - we moved them in from another room)

rain cloud mobile: handmade by me. inspired by this search. I used black for the raindrops because babies like looking at high contrast colors like black and white. But I thought black raindrops were a little glum for my liking, so I blanket-stitched about half of the raindrops with shiny silver thread. It's kind of like my little play on "Every rain drop has a silver lining."* 
I really do believe in that saying. I'm a "half glass full and the waitress is coming by with the pitcher" kind of thinker. Keep your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
*(I know it's normally "every cloud has a silver lining". Yeah, yeah. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.)

sheets: handmade by me. I made four sets - two go on the crib at a time in case of a diaper leak at night and I need to change the sheet and mattress pad quickly. It's just a matter of pulling the top layer of sheets off. The second pair of sheets is for when the other pair are in the wash. I used this tutorial (with modifications to the measurements) to sew them.

adjustable crib skirt: handmade by me. This thing really is kind of genius. I used a combination of these tutorials to sew them. (one. two.)

woodland creature art: handmade by me. I used this template.

aiden's blanket: handmade by me. I made four like this (with different fabrics) using soft fleece material on one side and quilting cotton on the other. He loves how snuggly and warm they are! Around Christmas time, K-mart had fleece throws on sale for cheaper than I could buy fleece material by the yard, so...I bought four throws and cut them up to use the material for his baby blankets! I used this easy tutorial.

receiving blankets: (not pictured) I made ten using one layer of flannel in a variety of prints. I used the same fold-over binding method as used for his baby blankets. We use these for all kinds of things - lightweight blankets, car seat covers (for chilly and windy Minnesota this is a must! I mean, it snowed last week), and burp cloths. They have really proven themselves to be handy!

stuffed bear: Mine from my childhood. It has a little knob on its belly that you turn and it makes white noise and heartbeat sounds (similar to noises heard in the womb) to comfort baby to sleep. And yes, it still works! (: 
(I take the bear and blankets out of the crib while Aiden is in it. They were only in there for photo taking purposes.)

crib: DaVinci Highland. I can't tell you how long I spent looking for the perfect crib. A - because I don't know how long I spent and B because it would be embarrassing if I told you. But I love this crib! It truly is perfect to my liking.


play //

play //

bookcase: Ikea Expedit hack. I already owned this bookcase - just moved it to the nursery. We added dresser legs to this piece because the heat register is right under it. We did this as a safety precaution but I think it looks great too! The legs remind me of old school desks and chairs. And the natural wood color matches the natural wood on the crib spindles.

storage crates: (I'll write more about the crates later! Keep reading!)

white dog stuffed animal: This was Jason's favorite stuffed animal when he was a kid! I really love that Jason and I both have things from our childhoods in Aiden's room.

white rabbit stuffed animal: This is a special story. Last July before my family came to visit us, Jason and I were doing some last minute shopping for their stay with us when I saw this Easter bunny with a blue bow for sale on clearance. I thought it was so cute and something just drew me to it. "I kind of want to get this and save it for when we have a baby." It was only $1.79, so I was totally justified in getting it. Little did I know, I was already a few weeks pregnant. With a baby boy. That was due a week before Easter the following year. I'm telling you, I didn't know it then, but it was a God thing. We had so many of these "God things" happen around the time I became pregnant it's not even funny. Or maybe it is. It's something, I'll tell you that. I didn't go on to find out I was pregnant for another 3 weeks after we bought the bunny. I can't wait to tell Aiden that story one day!


nurse, rock to sleep & read //

nurse, rock to sleep & read //

hanging book racks: handmade by Jason, painted by both of us. I love the artwork on children's books. Using a rack like this to store Aiden's books allows for an ever-changing wall of art! Originally I was going to paint them white to match the bookcases and trim in the room and to keep the room fairly neutral. But we had this left over "oops blue" paint from a failed paint color-match that I thought might actually look nice. Turns out it did. I love that the bold blue adds a pop to the room and that the blue doesn't scream "baby!" the way white would. It'll make a nice transition color for when he grows into a toddler and wants more of a "big boy" room. Except, he's going to be my baby forever so we don't have to worry about that too much. We bought most of the books from a Once Upon a Child store. I was happy to find so many classics and most of them were only a dollar! Some of the books are also from both mine and Jason's childhood. I was inspired by various styles like these for the book racks: one. two. three. (The red one is what gave me the idea to try the bold blue!)

"your adventure awaits" art: Hobby Lobby. We bought this on my birthday which is why it's shown in some pictures and not in others. I was trying to figure out what I could do to fill in the awkward gap between the two pairs of book racks and this did it!

lamp and lampshade: Salvation Army find. The lamp and lampshade were brand new and we got it for a bargain! I think both pieces are made by Threshold.

glider: Salvation Army find. It's so comfortable and at twenty dollars it was a steal!

bookcase: Ikea Expedit. I already owned this bookcase as well and moved it to the nursery. In the open cubbies I keep books that won't all fit into the book racks, my pump and nursing supplies, and some "mommy books" for me to read while I'm pumping. There are also a few toys for Aiden that are from my grandma's house!

lamb stuffed animal: This was a gift given to us by Aiden's cousins! Isn't he cute? (:

red wagon: This was a project I made with my dad when I was a kid. The Home Depot would have days every so often where kids could build a project with their parents and you got a kid-sized Home Depot apron and everything, so you know it's official.

storage crates: handmade by Jason, painted by me. These are the crates I mentioned building many times throughout the bumpdates. Jason ripped a bunch of boards so we could make them fit the Ikea bookcases. We made six crates total and between the six crates are 150 pieces that all had to be cut, painted, and drilled together. I added rope handles to the front of the crates. I couldn't find cotton rope that was thick enough for my liking so I twist-braided some thinner rope to get the desired thickness. The wooden crates were inspired by these canvas crates from Land of Nod that I originally saw here. We used this tutorial to build them.

dapper days ahead // closet

dapper days ahead // closet

"kid, you'll move mountains" art: Hobby Lobby.

hamper: Home Goods find from a few years ago. It was originally the dark wicker color (the stripes) but I painted most of the basket white and left the stripes for a grain sack look.

hamper bag: handmade by me using the original hamper bag as a sewing pattern.

cloth diaper pail liner: handmade by me using this tutorial and custom measurements. I made two so while one is in the wash I can still have one in the diaper pail.

closet shelves and closet rods: handmade by Jason and painted by me. I have to give Jason a gagillion props for making these. I love how they turned out! I have plenty of room to hang Aiden's nicer clothes and have storage in the higher up shelves for bigger sized clothing. The one shelf is completely empty because I haven't figured out what to put there. It's kind of in the soak zone...if you will.

closet dividers: handmade by me. They may be hard to see in the pictures, but I have the clothes in Aiden's closet organized by size using decorative dividers. I used this tutorial to make them.

diaper bag: Aiden's diaper bag is actually a camera bag, haha. Back around Christmas time, I wanted a camera bag so I could bring my camera around with me without fear of it getting damaged. So I bought this epiphanie camera bag from a photographer because it's stinking beautiful and why not. I didn't realize how big the bag was until I got it, but since I'm not a professional and don't intend to be, I can't see myself ever having a gazillion lenses and camera accessories to fill it. And then I realized I would be needing a diaper bag at some point, and ta-da! The camera/diaper bag was born. 

Side note: I have never ever been into girly stuff. Trust me, I have tried. I've bought the make up, and the purses and dresses, but it's so not me. It feels forced. Even as a middle-school aged girl when buying purses at the mall every month was the thing to do because you just needed another one to keep all your lip glosses and cheap kiosk-bought sunglasses in, I couldn't find a point for using them. I mean I would literally be carrying around a purse with one tube of lip gloss and maybe a little wallet and that's it. But here's the thing: That's what your hands are for. 

This was true until we took Aiden to one of his doctor's appointments. I had my phone, chapstick, his pacifier, and a blanket. It was all kind of awkward to carry until I put it in his diaper bag. I said to Jason, "Wow! These purse things are kind of neat! They carry stuff for you!" To which he said, "So that I don't have to carry it for you?" 


freshen up // peg board wall and changing table

freshen up // peg board wall and changing table

peg board wall: handmade by Jason, painted by us both. I got the idea for Aiden's peg board wall by searching for various peg board changing table ideas.

changing pad cover: handmade by me. I made two (like just about everything else in his room) so that if one is in the wash, I have another that can go on in the meantime. I used this tutorial to sew them.

changing pad tray: handmade by Jason. This is the tutorial used to make it. This ensures that the changing pad isn't going to slip and slide on top of the dresser!

hanging storage baskets: eBay. I keep my flannel and terry towel cloth wipes in the larger baskets, and lanolin and diaper cream in the small basket. I made my cloth wipes using this tutorial.

"be brave" chalkboard hanging: heart-shaped slate! You can usually find these at craft stores. 

white picture frames: Ikea. These were frames from our wedding that we used for table numbers. I just printed off the pictures in the frames from the computer. 

handkerchief: A keepsake from Jason's childhood!

aKr monogram letters: If I remember right, the a and the r are from Michael's and the K is from Hobby Lobby. We used the K in our engagement shoot! (: The a and r used to be part of spelling out "dream" that I used to have in my bedroom back home.

embroidered deer hanging: I cut this out from an old leather jacket of Jason's. It was sun faded and it was actually his idea to cut it out so I'm not a bad wife I promise haha. 

pint-sized coveralls: This is an outfit from Jason's childhood! When I saw it I knew it had to go in Aiden's room. (:

dark brown photo frame: I cut out some leftover fabric from one of Aiden's sheets and put it inside the frame for a cute little forest scene!

dresser //

dresser //

I have Aiden's clothes organized by size and type. (Larger sizes in the bottom drawers, newborn sizes in the top drawer. Sleepers and onesies in separate containers, etc.) I have his cloth diapers in the dresser as well. I realize only now after having him, that actually stuffing the pocket diapers beforehand is probably a wise idea. 
Ah, so naive. Still am. But I'm learning.


Another of Aiden's sheet sets.

Thank you for stopping by! We sure loved having you! 
If I missed anything (sources, tutorials) let me know in the comments below!



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