Archive for the ‘Ikea’ Category

Alphabet Art for the Nursery

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Posted by Rebecca, June 22nd, 2012

Before Easton was born, I posted about my plans to make some sort of an alphabet print for his room. My original inspiration image hailed from Pinterest…

(from Free Home Decorating Ideas via Pinterest)

My previous post covers how I went from planning this out using paint and canvas, to printing on canvas, to finally just making it a print using Photoshop.

I’ve said this before, but I am no Photoshop expert. In fact, I have no clue of what I’m doing 99% of the time. When I posted about deciding to make the art using Photoshop, I figured Mike would make it because I was lacking the skils. Well, throw in a late baby, a husband who is busy with his own work and me spending hours in bed and guess what? I did it all by myself 🙂

I camped out in bed the last days before Easton came and one of the things I did was whip up a little art on my laptop. I started as just playing around to give Mike an idea of what I wanted, so that he could then do it better. As I played around, I realized I could do it on my own if I just kept tweaking it. It ended up being far easier than I thought!

I started with a rough draft… all I did was type some letters in Photoshop and change the font, color, size and location of each individual letter until I liked the way it looked. I was surprised at how easy this part was since each letter was it’s own layer and I could go back and tweak whichever letter I didn’t like.

My first attempt looked like this…

I liked it for the most part, but there was a lot of dead space. I had to figure out how the letters would look in the frame and make sure there wasn’t too much white space at the top and the bottom of the letters. We had picked up a large Virserum frame from Ikea before even starting this project, so that we were sure that we could size the print properly to fit the inexpensive frame. You may remember seeing the frame hanging around in some pictures…

The frame is 30 ¾” x 41 ½” and the mat opening is about 27 ½” x 19 ½”. I mentioned in my previous post that I saw on Shutterfly that I could order a print as large as 30″ x 20″, which was perfect. I would just have to make sure that my text was centered around the  27 ½” x 19 ½” size of the opening and that I made the image large enough pixel wise to print clearly.

So I set my Photoshop canvas to the size of the print (30″ x 20″) and began to tweak my first draft. A little bit of making fonts bigger, a little bit of overlapping letters and just playing around, then my final product looked like this…

I ordered it and it cost me a whopping $15 to print through Shutterfly. It was supposed to take over a week to come, but it ended up arriving in a few days and coming the day before Easton was born. If you remember from my birth story, I was already in labor at this point so Mike ran it upstairs to show me how great it printed. He put it in the frame just so I could see how it looked, but I didn’t snap a picture of it.

The large canvas size I chose worked because the letters were not at all blurry.

We planned to put it on the wall in between the giraffe sconces.

Since the sconces are white, the dresser is white, the frame is white and the mat is white, I thought it was too much white. It would look nice and clean, but I was just looking for a little more fun and contrast on this wall. So I decided to spray paint the mat navy blue.

I picked up this can of paint while I was in labor. I figured walking around Lowe’s would help, though I was in such pain that I could hardly walk and I had to stop and sit on a pile of wood. Whoops.

Finally this week, I decided to take the hour I had in between feeding, burping and cuddling to run outside and spray the mat. Hello backyard, I haven’t seen you in a while.

I just laid the mat on the grass because Mike was due to cut it anyway. The blue will be gone with one pass of the John Deere 🙂

It took several coats to make sure there were no white spots. My hand started cramping since the Valspar trigger was really hard to push down, so Mike took over.

Once we were done, the grass looked like this (which was actually really cool looking)…

But the mat looked like this!

Fast forward a few days after it completely dried and I had another baby nap to put the mat in the actual frame. Sidenote: Mike’s been spending most of his spare time working on the built-ins in the new office that we abandoned to work on the nursery. So I’m usually on baby duty and can’t work on projects, but I can’t complain because the built-ins are looking awesome 🙂

First I wanted to make sure the blues looked good together. The lid of the spray paint can looked more bluish than navy, but it was the most navy one I could find. Thankfully, it dried much darker!

I put it in the frame and I was surprised that he “glass” in the frame is plastic. No wonder why Ikea can sell such a large frame, with a mat for just $29.99!

We couldn’t find the hardware that came with the frame, so I just leaned it up against the wall to see how it would look.

And I love it. I’m shocked at how well the colors match the color scheme of the room. I really just tried to incorporate the blues of the bedding/curtains/ceiling, the greens of the bedding/closet/bookcase and the gray of the walls. This artwork was meant to be the glue that brought everything together, and I think it does.

The plastic “glass” of the frame made for some awful glare, so it was hard to capture pictures. I may actually just remove it when we mount the frame, at least to take better pictures for you guys 🙂

Though the glare does allow you to see the other elements in the room with the art, like how you can see the chevron curtains hanging out in this picture…

One more picture from the other side of the room!

Not to shabby for $15 for a DIY print + $29.99 for a large frame and mat. Oh and a couple of bucks for spray paint!

Since this post took me 3 sessions to write, Mike is actually at Lowe’s at the moment picking up some stuff for the office and some hardware to hang this bad boy. Hopefully this weekend we can both have time, at the same time, to hang it since it’s a two person job. Then we’re one step closer to actually being ready to give you a full nursery reveal and tour. I’m so excited 🙂

Update! Since I just completed this and I didn’t have time to tackle a new project, I decided to use this as project as my summer Pinterest Challenge entry, hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power, Centsational Girl and Ten June, all of which are some of my favorite blogs. 3 out of 4 of my Pinterest Challenge projects have been some form of wall art, guess you can tell what I like to do for fun…

Oh and we did get around to hanging this print on the wall, which I posted about here.

Tada! 🙂

Baby’s Dresser

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Posted by Rebecca, April 11th, 2012

Since we started planning a nursery, the Hemnes 8-drawer dresser from Ikea has been in my plans.

(via Ikea)

The question was the color. Ikea has a few options that would work– the black brown, the gray brown (pictured above), the white or we could paint it a bold color. The bold color was my choice up until we actually painted the room. When I saw everything all complete, I couldn’t help but think of a white dresser.

I figured this would be a piece of cake, we would just buy the dresser in white! But then I realized something– Ikea’s white furniture is not solid wood. Part of the appeal of the Hemnes collection was that (I thought) it was all solid wood. After selecting a solid wood crib that was made without the use of formaldehyde, I wanted to also have a safe dresser.

Our line of thinking around here has always been that we do the best we can. We knew that it would be impossible (or rather, out of our budget) to make a 100% eco-friendly, non-toxic nursery, but we wanted to make smart decisions where we could. I knew it would be inevitable that say, an upholstered chair and our hardwood flooring would off-gas somewhat, so we used no-VOC paint, solid wood molding for the paneling behind the crib, non-toxic construction adhesive and purchased an organic mattress and changing pad. We tried to cut out the chemicals where we could.

I also know that nearly no dresser is 100% solid wood. Unlike cribs, many dressers contain particleboard to make up the back of the dresser or drawer components, so I assumed this would be part of our “suck it up” off-gassing to account for. Still, I could not swallow the idea of a particleboard and fiberboard dresser. We started to look for other dressers that were white and solid wood.

I should mention here that my original, original thought was to find a secondhand dresser to refinish. I don’t know where all of these bloggers with awesome Goodwill stores and thrift shops live, but we looked for a few months and never found anything we liked as much as the Hemnes dresser. Okay, we never even found anything we liked, period.

In looking at other options, we quickly realized that no one can beat Ikea in price. Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod have high quality, solid wood furniture, but it is more than double the price of Ikea. $700 for a dresser was not in our budget. We also checked the usual baby furniture at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby, but we did not find a single dresser we liked there either… and they were more expensive than Ikea.

We decided to take a trip to Ikea to check out the dresser in person. We liked it. We scratched our heads. We talked in the dresser section for probably 20 mins. We said our mantra was always to do the best we can within our budget. Since we’re going over budget with our glider purchase, we knew we couldn’t do it again. We decided that I was just being neurotic and that plenty of people have non-solid wood furniture. We cut out where we could. Mike told me that if this purchase was going to bother me, then we shouldn’t do it. But we did it, and it did bother me even minutes after buying it.

I felt that maybe we should have gone with one of the children’s furniture lines because at least they have some sort of certification from the JPMA or whatever. So I decided to email Ikea and ask them if their non-solid wood products met any sort of emissions standards, specifically if they were CARB compliant in the state of California (the strictest emissions standards in the US). Their response shocked me. Part of the email read:

We have strict rules concerning formaldehyde, and we do not permit the use of paints and varnishes containing formaldehyde additives. For wooden products, we apply the German E1 standard and have done so for many years now. For textiles, we apply the Finnish regulations.  In both cases, these are currently the strictest within their field worldwide.

I googled around a bit and found that Ikea had run into some trouble with formaldehyde emissions in their furniture products back in the 90s. Since then, they have a policy that they will meet the strictest regulations that exist within their markets, which for furniture is currently Germany. That way, they don’t have to make a separate piece of furniture to sell in the US, Germany, Japan or wherever. Kudos Ikea!

My googling also let me to find that the second round of California’s CARB emissions should be more strict that the European E1 standards. Interesting and good for California! Now if only the rest of the country would catch on…

I have seriously read so many documents about parts-per-million, different types of wood and standards around the world that my head is spinning. I feel much better about my purchase knowing that it contains minimal amounts of formaldehyde (since formaldehyde does indeed occur naturally in wood and some off-gassing will inevitably occur in all pieces).

Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to email companies and ask them about their policies. Even if it just helps you sleep better at night knowing what you purchased, it’s worth it.

Very long story short: We have a new dresser and we are very happy with it 🙂

Some parts of the dresser are indeed solid wood and the drawers are lined with adorable yellow striped paper. These little top drawers are perfect for storing our cloth diapers.

We thought of changing out the standard drawer knobs, but I actually like them. The dark balances well with everything.

It’s amazing how quickly a room can get smaller when you add furniture. I seriously used to think this room was too big for a baby!

We love how classy the white looks in the room. We’re happy that it only cost us $299 for a brand new dresser and that it came with some morals. Thank you Ikea for bringing some non-solid wood standards to the little people, you get a bad rap far too often.

Okay, who made it to the end? 🙂

Organizing the Wrap

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Posted by Rebecca, March 13th, 2012

It’s that time again, time for Young House Love and Bower Power‘s Pinterest challenge! For the last two Pinterest challenges, I made paintings… one was the landscapes I hung in our dining room and the other was a pencil eraser monogram. I really had no clue what to make this time since we’re still in the middle of painting the nursery and not quite ready for any other projects in there. I also did not want to tackle any other large projects on our to-do list, since the nursery is our primary focus these days (considering we only have 8 weeks, eek!) I was honestly thinking I’d sit this one out when Mike reminded me that we picked up some things from Ikea a while back to organize our gift wrap. He’s a keeper.

Cue the Pinspiration!

(from BHG via Pinterest)

Up until this point, I’ve stored gift wrap in one of those Rubbermaid gift wrap containers. Problem was it didn’t really accomodate my ribbon collection or taller wrapping paper. Our wrapping paper has been hanging out in our guest room and this year I decided to use the Rubbermaid container exclusively for Christmas wrapping stuff. Considering the guest room looks like this as of our baby shower this weekend, this challenge could not have come at a better time….

This is only the smaller gifts… the larger ones are downstairs. Once the baby’s closet is all painted and done, we can move this stuff out of here. All the way in the corner was my wrapping paper collection, I rescued it from the sea of baby.

I decided to use another organizing method I found on Pinterest, this one from A Brooklyn Limestone.

(from A Brooklyn Limestone via Pinterest)

We picked up supplies to tackle this back when we were on a new office kick. We literally dropped everything to work on the nursery once February rolled around, so this got put on the back burner. We pretty much bought exactly the same supplies as the inspiration picture, with a few modifications….

3 Bygel rails

1 Bygel wire basket

1 pack of Dignitet curtain clips

4 Gruntal cutlery caddies

I didn’t take any in progress pictures except for this one, please excuse the mess all over the place. This room was our clutter and sawing area while working on the nursery.

The process was pretty simple and self explanatory. Some important things to note though, the bars do not come with screws. Also, if you go with the Grundtal cups, they screws they give you (or at least they gave us) were too short. So keep some spare screws nearby 🙂

Here’s our finished product (with crappy night photos because I got home from work late)

I know, the quality of that picture makes me cringe too. I tried 8 million times to take a better one but the room just has poor lighting at night. Anyway! We decided to put our wrapping paper up top since our door is super narrow and we had to work around the door knob.

Next, we put 3 cups with some Sharpies, bows and paint brushes for now. Once we fully move the office upstairs I will have tons more crafty things to put in these.

On the bottom we put a flat wire rack with ribbon in it and another cup full of colored tissue paper.

All in all, it was a super easy and cheap way to be able to see all of my pretty stuff. Plus it holds way more wrapping paper than I thought it would.

And the best part? It hides away nicely behind a door 🙂

Be sure to check out Sherry’s (Young House Love) and Katie’s (Bower Power) projects tomorrow. Plus, this time around they’ve teamed up with Cassie from Hi Sugarplum and Erin from The Great Indoors, so check out their projects as well. I shall be in all 4 places tomorrow 🙂

ps- maybe i can update this with better daylight pictures tomorrow!

Besta Husband Ever

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Posted by Rebecca, January 5th, 2012

Today is Mike’s birthday, yaaaaay!

But he’s not the best husband just for being born. Today the Philly Ikea got 17 units of the Besta cabinet bases that we tried to buy on Monday in stock. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but Mike left his full-time gig at Merrill Lynch just before Christmas to dedicate his life to SongMeanings. Since he wanted to put the cabinets together ASAP so we can get the new office rolling, he decided to go pick them up this morning. When I told him he should call just to make sure they had them his response was “well I haven’t moved my car in a few days and I should probably take it for a ride”. Ahh to work form home… especially when the wind chill makes it feel like 2 degrees out like it literally was yesterday morning…

Mike told me that Ikea was completely empty. Gloriously empty. He even considered stopping for some 99 cent breakfast, which strangely for all of our Ikea trips, we have never been in the cafeteria. Occasionally we’ll grab a drink or a frozen yogurt on the way out, but we’ve never been in the full size place. Instead he got his cabinets and cruised through to the register with his 2 bases. Hallelujah! We considered them to be a joint birthday gift since mine was last week and we decided not to exchange in order to save for the many larger purchases we have coming up (babies are mucho dinero).

Not only did the Besta Husband Ever to go Ikea alone on his birthday to buy cabinets, but he assembled them. Not only did he assemble them, but he made a video of the assembly then emailed me at work proclaiming that he had a video for my blog 🙂

Please note the Italy shirt and the fist pumping music in honor of the season premiere of Jersey Shore tonight! Of course he also included some Kanye and Jay-Z terminology. This may be the only house blog out there where you also receive an education in the latest rap music. The music he used is by will.i.am, which replaced his initial choice of Jay-Z and Kanye. When I played it, it was full of bad words. I had to remind Mike that my mostly female population of readers do not necessarily appreciate the eff word…. Thankfully, even on his birthday, he changed it up. Keeping it PG-13 around here 🙂

Anyway, seeing the cabinet frames together made us even more excited to get to work on this project!

The before shot, which is hard to see because of the lack of window treatments and dark paint…

The in-progress with some cabinets…

We played around with some configurations to see how we’re going to work this all out. By we, I mean Mike because I was still at work 🙂 He also added some paper blinds in an attempt to block out some of the daylight for the pictures. They failed.

When I got home, Mowie decided to give the new bench a trial run, despite the fact that it needs 8 million additions to be a bench…

Where Mowie is sitting will probably be the final placement of the cabinets. At least as of today. We’re going to have to tweak our inital plan and therefore, ditch the single cabinet we bought at the last minute on Monday. We plan to build small bookcases on each side (though at one point today we considered doing a center bookcase, or no bookcase). We also have to build a base for the cabinets and raise them up a few inches to add baseboard. Then we’ll need to add some filler pieces, paint everything, add crown molding, put the doors on, make a cushion… oh and do something with those window sills until it looks somewhat like this…

(from Plans Now via Pinterest)

This weekend should give us enough time to do all of that, right? 🙂 Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Project Planning

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Posted by Rebecca, January 3rd, 2012

We took it easy last week on the posting side of things because we needed to catch up on some project planning! With school, I didn’t have too much time during the past few months to tackle things on the weekends. Now I feel like a 500lb sumo wrestler has been lifted off of my shoulders and I have my life back!

We spent some of last week and this weekend getting back to house brainstorming. We have a slew of projects coming up and we finally took some time out to come up with a game plan of what to tackle first and how to tackle it. We started with an Ikea trip… or 3.

Remember how we said we wanted to make this built-in bench and bookcase combo in our new office (the one we just painted?)

(via Anything Pretty)

Well we decided to make the bench out of some cabinets so we went to Ikea yesterday to weigh our options. I also wanted to pick up some supplies to organize some gift wrap and general supplies in the office, a la this inspiration picture…

(via Brooklyn Limestone)

We figured this would be a quick trip and we could come home and organize some craft supplies that are hanging in a spare bedroom, then begin to assemble the cabinets and decide how to frame the rest out. We found a cabinet solution rather quickly– we decided to go with the Besta frame in white with shaker style doors.

 (via Ikea)

We swung by the kitchen hardware section to get the bars to hang the wrapping paper when we realized that they were completely wiped out. They had the bars but not all of the accessories I wanted, since they appeared to be marked “Last Chance”. Can I tell you that “Last Chance” at Ikea stalks me? I swear if I want it, it’s guaranteed it will be marked “Last Chance” and will send me on a wild goose chase. So we left the area with the possibility of heading to another Ikea another day and seeing if they had them.

So we proceeded to the furniture pick up area to get our Besta pieces. We picked up 4 doors right by the entrance then went to hunt down 2 of the double bases in white. But they were completely wiped out. Nada. Since Mike had his heart set on assembling these things during the week while I was at work, we decided to try another Ikea that was nearby…

There, I found what I needed to organize gift wrap, yay!! But guess what we didn’t find… Besta bases! Booooooo!!!!

We headed home after that. I learned a hard lesson while Christmas shopping that my pregnant body cannot walk around all day and survive. I go from zero to lightheaded with swollen ankles in a matter of minutes, so I had my first Sonic blast (I seriously had no clue there was a Sonic 5 mins from our house?!) and set to nap.

Mike wanted to head to a 3rd Ikea. Yes ladies and gentlemen, living in NJ smack in the middle of NYC and Philly gives us at least 4 Ikea options to shop. I agreed after sitting on the couch for an hour, which I figured was a sufficient time out me and the baby. It actually worked out well because since we knew we wanted the Besta cabinets now, we had an information sheet with the exact measurements and we could better plan out our bench. We decided we needed a total of 5 cabinets: 2 double bases and 1 single.

We managed to find the single base we added on but the double? SOLD OUT. Oh and this Ikea didn’t have the shaker style doors, so we’re down a single door now.

However, this was the first time where there was actually a “temporarily oversold” sticker on the double bases. At least then we knew someone else wasn’t running around the NJ/NY/PA area buying up the white Besta bases. After seeing the sticker, we asked a sales person what was going on with them and when they were expected in. She let us know that they would be getting a shipment next week. It killed Mike’s plans of assembling them this week and starting to build our base this weekend, but at least we knew that they weren’t discontinued or anything.

It sets us back a little since all of our projects seem to domino effect into each other. We want to get the office done now because we need to move the furniture from the former office upstairs in order to replace that carpet and make it a playroom. I figured the only time we have for this is now, because we need to get working on the nursery once we nail down those plans.

Speaking of nursery plans, it’s coming together…. in my head 🙂  We know the gender and I actually picked out and ordered some bedding this weekend. I know I know, I said I wasn’t going with a bedding set, but there was one I absolutely loved which met much of my criteria and the price was right with clearance. But it’s not gender neutral so you’ll have to wait about 4 months to see it 🙂 We also selected a crib this week but we still need to order it, so once all of that is settled we can start working in there.

We also have some serious plans for the baby’s closet that we stumbled upon randomly while at Lowe’s looking for cabinets for the office bench. I’m anxious to get started in there, since the little one is already acquiring some clothing and gear that I want to organize.

I’m super excited about everything we have planned and it’s nice to be back on the project wagon. Hi I’m Rebecca and I’m addicted to Pinterest, Twitter and making multiple Ikea trips in one day, remember me? 🙂

ps- Mike has informed me that the Philly Ikea will get a shipment of Besta bases on Thursday… maybe we can start this one late this week/this weekend? Hmmm…

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