Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post: Elliot's Nursery!

After all of the recent nursery talk, I've got something pretty special for you! Good friends of ours had a cute little baby last year and did an AWESOME job on the nursery. I have been hounding Bianca (the adorable mom of said cute little baby) to do a guest post on the room and I finally got my way :-)

So please welcome Bianca to LB@30 and enjoy!


Janice and I are kind of house twins: I live in an old Victorian in downtown Toronto and our layouts are pretty much exactly the same.  And like Janice, our nursery was previously our second bedroom and is literally the exact same layout, weird window placement, tiny closet and all.  

I had my first baby this past August.  Hello Elliot!

Four days old.  So long ago!

My husband and I decided that we weren’t going to find out what we were having, so we set out to design a nursery that was neutral and modern.  I was determined to create a space that I wanted to spend time in.  Something serene but fun, with no cartoon characters in sight!  We also didn’t want to break the bank as we were concurrently doing a major basement reno (as in digging down three feet, removing support beams, moving the furnace, new electrical and plumbing…) .   I think that what we achieved is a nice balance of splurge and save, modern and classic, calm and whimsical.  I’ve included a complete list of items and sources at the end.

I started my search for inspiration online, of course, and quickly fell in love with the Oeuf Sparrow crib.  This is hands down the biggest decision of the nursery as it may be the largest investment and its design is a big jumping off point. For us, it’s also the first thing you see when you walk in the room.  We loved the modern simplicity of the Sparrow crib and I especially loved the low profile design.  As I’m all of 5ft tall, I needed a crib that I could easily get the baby in and out of.   A bit of advice to all the pregos out there: test out cribs before your belly gets too big to get close!

We repurposed the rug from our master bedroom.  It’s easy to clean and looks pretty funky--plus we already had it!  It was a super cheap find at the Royal Winter fair in 2010.  The elephant laundry hamper was a freebie from my sister who got it at work.  I’d had it in storage for nearly two years and it was the first thing we had for the nursery.  In the picture over the crib (I’ll talk art at the end) you can see the reflection of the light fixture.  It’s an artichoke lamp that looks like this:

We found a very affordable take on the PH Artichoke original.  We’ve got the light on a dimmer so it’s easy to check on the baby at night without waking him and to set the bedtime mood.  The dimmer may just be my favourite room feature.

The dresser/change table is an Ikea special.  I wanted something that would match the crib but not the crib price.  Because space in the room is limited we needed something that would pull double duty as storage and change station.  Also, the change pad is removable so the dresser can grow with Elliot.  It doesn’t hurt that it bears a very close resemblance to the Oeuf Sparrow furniture!  We store the diapers, wipes and change necessities in the top right drawer, out of sight.  The lamp on the dresser is a Homesense find and I changed the shade to white.  I initially thought it was just a cute addition to the room but after all the diapers we’ve changed there, I appreciate it as necessary task lighting.

No nursery would be complete without a nursing/reading/rocking corner.  I was initially very opposed to the idea of a glider.  Much like Janice expressed in an earlier post, they kind of made me nauseous and most of them are pretty ugly.  I wanted something modern and comfortable (which is not always synonymous!)  I got very lucky at the annual Gus* warehouse sale and picked up both a rocker and ottoman for over 50% off.  Woot!  Let’s just say many sharp elbows were involved in the score and the chair is amazing.  The name of the chair is Sparrow, so it was meant to be!  We inherited the ladder shelf as a hand me down from my sister.  It was originally dark brown so hubby had fun spray painting it out white. 

The shelves have filled out a lot since Elliot arrived!  We’ve also added this toy bin to the corner:

The final touches to the nursery were the art prints.  We framed everything with Ribba frames from Ikea which are affordable and simple.  We sort of splurged on the set of three prints over the change table.  We loved the little French looking characters and the background colour of the prints matched perfectly with the wall colour, Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware.  I totally saved on the print over the crib.  It’s actually a sheet of wrapping paper which cost $5!  I love how the birds on the mobile look like they’re flying through the trees behind them.  Very Zen.

All of the pictures are pre-baby and we’ve added little things here and there:  cast iron doggie bookends on the book shelf, a set of aluminum initials that sit on one of the frames above the dresser, the box from the bottle of champagne we had when we brought Elliot home to store keepsakes…  We love the room more every day and most importantly, I think Elliot likes it too.  No complaints so far!


Thanks to Bianca for writing such a great post on her gorgeous nursery. I love how she mixed splurge items (Oeuf crib) with lots of Etsy finds and more inexpensive pieces (Ikea dresser). It really is a special place for a special little boy!

So tell me, what is your favourite part of the nursery? My favourite part is actually all of the accessories. They really make the room look professionally done and pulled together. Love it! For those of you who are interested, see Bianca's source list below!

Paint: Silver Sage, Restoration Hardware, http://www.restorationhardware.com
Crib: Oeuf Sparrow, Ella and Elliot, Toronto, http://www.ellaandelliot.com/Oeuf-Sparrow-Crib-P23.aspx    
Rug: Tandy Leather Factory at the Royal Winter Fair http://www.tandyleatherfactory.ca
Bookshelf: hand-me-down
Prints above dresser: Blanca Gomez, Ella and Elliot, also on the artist’s Etsy store, http://www.etsy.com/shop/blancucha
Print over crib: The Paper Place, Toronto, http://www.thepaperplace.ca/
Picture Frames: Ribba, Ikea, assorted sizes, http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/categories/series/16456/  
Alphabet print, elephant and bird prints on book shelf: Petit Collage, http://www.petitcollage.com/ (I bought them at Indigo)
Pillow: Tonic Living, http://www.tonicliving.com 
Rod and tie backs: Umbra Halo Tie backs, http://www.umbra.com/ustore/product/243280-764.store in metallic pewter (I bought them at Home Outfitters)
Fox Storage Bin: 3 Sprouts, http://www.3sprouts.com/collections/storage-bins (I bought it at Moms to Be and More, Toronto)
Elephant Laundry Hamper: freebie from my sister’s work
Lamp on dresser: Home Sense, shade, Ikea http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/20161285/


Monday, January 30, 2012

And I Thought the Baby Was Big News!

First up, thanks to everyone for all of the kind comments, emails and tweets about our little baby (still SO crazy to say that!). J and I are super excited and it definitely feels more real now that we know a little about who I'll be hanging out with in 4.5 months!

I did promise that today would bring big news though, and I hope that this does not disappoint. It certainly didn't disappoint me!!

So here it is.

Do you use Facebook? You know, that super popular social media site where you can connect with all of your friends (and randoms from high school) and even people that you would love to be friends with (ahem, celebrities who you 'like' their page)...

Well I use Facebook. And I 'like' a few celebrities.

Celebs like Sarah Richardson.

(are you freaking out right now?!)

Celebs like Sarah Richardson who post things like this on their walls:

Umm...HELLO YOU!! Single room that is cluttered and chaotic?



No cohesive design vision?

CHECK! (clearly, as shown above)

Requiring a decorating makeover?

CHECK! (recall, we have a BABY coming!)

I think I took all of 45 seconds before I sent off an email to Sarah (well, her team) saying that I had a messy room that needed to be turned into a nursery. After a few emails, I filled out an application and waited. And waited. And then I called J and told him what I'd done. (Don't look shocked, you would have done the same thing!).

I received an email later that night asking if some of the 'team' could come check out the room to see if it was suitable. OMG. This is really happening. I was sort of freaking out. The freakout increased ten fold when the next day, TOMMY SMYTHE got out of the car parked in front of my house and came in. To my house. (yeah yeah, OUR house. Got it :-)

That's right. Tommy. Flippin. Smythe.

For those of you who don't know (all 4 of you), not only is he a fantastic designer, but Tommy is a big supporter of Canadian bloggers and even came to last year's Canadian Design Bloggers event. It is an understatement to say that I'm a bit of a fan-girl.

I kept my cool (I think so anyway!) and Tommy, Lindsay (another one of Sarah's designers) and a story editor came in, looked around, asked a few questions and that was it! They were gone! It was all very surreal. And for those of you who are wondering, no, they didn't walk around my house oohing and ahhing over my keen design skillz giving me design tips.

2 days later we were told that we were picked to be the last episode of Sarah 101!!!!!!

For real. This isn't a joke, friends. Not only are we going to be on tv (which is SO weird), but our unborn child is going to have a super insane, tricked out nursery, designed by none other than the fabulous and inspirational Sarah Richardson, Tommy Smythe and their team.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Even better? It is going to be done in 2 weeks.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Place Your Bets!

So tomorrow is the big day, folks! I feel like we've been waiting ages to get a peek at our baby again as the last ultrasound was at 12 weeks (jeesh, that IS a long time!).

And...of course there is the excitement over finding out whether Baby Poutine** is a boy or a girl!

I don't really care - now that we are this far along, I am just hoping and wishing for a healthy baby, no matter  what the gender is. I have no reason to be concerned but I will feel a lot better after tomorrow I think!

I was going to do a fancy-shmansy poll for everyone to place their bets, but then I won't know what each of you thinks!! So if it makes a difference, here is a blurry sketchy bathroom shot of me today:

So there it is - I can't wait to hear what you think! BOY OR GIRL?! Place your bets!

** name based on the first trimester content of baby LB@30. All poutine, all the time.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remember the Wallpaper?

...the wallpaper that could have been a marriage-ender?

I actually get a lot of requests for where I bought it, etc. And you know what I tell them (after I say "Home Depot")?

I tell them to get a stencil. 

Royal Design Studio sells a stencil in the exact pattern of the wallpaper. While I think that using a stencil would be quite work intensive, I think it would be amazing because it is a solo job :-) No bickering over the thickness of the paste, the relevance of certain bubbles and whether we should just throw the whole thing out.

The amazing Mandy over at Vintage Revivals used the stencil in her home and it provided for some serious wow effect:

PS If you haven't checked out Mandy's blog and her amazing Master Bedroom, please do so. You won't regret it.

Um yeah - so I tell people to save their money and get the stencil.

In other news - I've been seeing this pattern a lot recently. I know it is a classic pattern that certainly didn't start with my wallpaper, but still. I thought it was cool :-)

Found a duvet cover at Home Sense (maybe this is the next Imperial Trellis?):

AND check out the carpet at the wedding I went to on the weekend:

Crazy eh?! It is everywhere!

Now - if someone could tell me what this pattern is called and where it originated, I'd be very grateful!

(And for those of you who were wondering, only ONE dress fit for the wedding. A summer dress that had an elastic empire waist. So I wore it. Ha)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Gliding Through Life

I have read probably all there is to read on the glider debate.

Did you know there was one? A glider debate? This is what the cool kids call a first world problem, right?

So the debate is basically about whether or not a glider is an "absolute must" in a nursery, or if you can use any comfy chair to nurse in.

I would say that from my online research, it seems that it is about 50/50. However, in actually asking some of my friends and family (I know, CRAZY right? Researching by asking people in real life? Woah!)...I'd say it is about 90% in favour of gliders as a MUST and 10% felt that any old chair would do.

Which is unfortunate, because gliders (in Canada especially) are extremely expensive. Like $800-$1500 each. I'm not kidding. We don't have the Target options (where you can get decent gliders from reputable companies for in and around $500 or even less) and are stuck picking from just a handful of options.

After talking to friends and trying out a number of gliders/rockers, here is what I'm looking for in a chair:

1. High enough back that I can rest my head.
2. Comfy arm rests at the right height.
3. Not too reclined - I've heard that you need to be sitting up for breastfeeding and I want to be able to get out of the chair easily with a (hopefully) sleeping baby in my arms.
4. Comfy enough - I am willing to sacrifice some comfort for the right chair, but don't want to sit on a hard plastic chair.

Glider Pros:
- the gliding movement is probably quite nice for babies (or so I hear)
- it is easy to make the chair move. Once you get them going they seem to move on their own
- since there is no rocking mechanism (the curvy legs), there is no risk of little fingers getting caught under the rocker (not sure if that ever really happens, but I'm trying to think of pros)

Glider Cons:
- hard to find good looking ones that have all of the features I'm looking for
- the movement actually makes me feel a bit nauseous. Not sure if that is pregnancy related or not.

Here are some examples of good looking gliders from Canada and abroad:

(from top to bottom: Monte Design "Luca", Monte Design "Vola", Monte Design "Joya rocker", Gus Modern "Sparrow" and Nurseryworks "Empire Rocker"

I also have spent some time looking at non-gliders that would do the trick and look great. That is when I fell upon the classic Egg Chair. How awesome would this look in a nursery? It doesn't glide/rock, but it swivels and I actually really like that motion (and don't feel sick from it!).

I found a picture of an egg chair in a nursery that also got me pretty excited:

Some others:

Love the look of the Egg Chair for sure. My office actually has 4 of the original chairs in a conference room, so I sat in one and loved it. 

Problem with the Egg Chair? This won't be a surprise to many of you, but I have a very narrow staircase and the chair won't fit! It is HUGE. I'm not sure we could even get it though a window!

Back to the drawing board....

So tell me - glider or no? How often do you actually nurse in the nursery? During the day I figure I'll sit on the couch, but at night, I'll be in the nursery, right?


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baby Cages

I'd say the most exciting part about being preggo (other than the BABY of course :-) is going to be decorating the nursery. Even if you aren't pregnant or haven't been pregnant, it is hard not to fall in love with the amazing nurseries out in cyberspace.

Case and point:

Um...hello LOVER! How nice is THAT?! I love the dark walls with the bright white trim. The grey Oeuf crib with the pops of bright colour coming from the accessories.

Anyways - we are waiting until the big gender reveal before we really start thinking about the nursery (too stressful planning out a boy and a girl option!), but one thing I've really fallen in love with is the Jenny Lind crib. Sure, we saw lots of modern cribs that we loved, but with the 1K++ price tag, it wasn't a slam dunk.

I'd gathered a lot of photos of Jenny Lind cribs prior to my first day of shopping, so when I asked a local supplier how much it would be, I was literately dumbfounded at how cheap it was. Not cheap - reasonable.

Here are some examples of some gorgeous nurseries with Jenny Lind style cribs:

Gorgeous, right?! I love that it would fit in quite nicely in our Victorian home, but can be paired with more modern items as well. I also love the idea of painting it too - but we'll have to see on that!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Random Thoughts in One Place

I wish I had something interesting and house related to talk about with you guys. Especially those of you who originally started following me because of the renos and the painting and the decorations. Hmm...sorry 'bout that!

Here is what I've got for ya:

1. I ran for the streetcar again today. Still isn't pretty. I've really got to stop doing that to myself.

2. Last night we went to a friend's place and we came home with PILES of baby stuff. Mostly maternity clothes (YAY) and today I'm wearing a maternity skirt. I now understand why women go on and on about how they never want to stop wearing maternity clothes. I feel like I'm wearing jogging pants.

Also came home with some other fun baby stuff which was amazing and "OMG" inducing at the same time

3. I've got a wedding this weekend so please, send some good vibes and pray that my 'winter weddings' dress still fits. I really don't want to shop.

4. I still haven't felt the baby move. I've heard this is normal. I'd like it to happen soon though :-) Mostly for my peace of mind. I'm getting fatter so I figure that is a good sign. Case and point:

19 weeks

5. T-8 days until the 20 week scan and when we get to find out whether I've been hanging out with a little boy or a little girl. Start mulling over your guess - I'm going to post a poll or something fancy like that shortly!

6. In house related news (shocker, I know)...I received a very polite email from my designer asking when I was going to get that mirror up in the bathroom.  It was very funny, actually. She wants to come take some pics of it (I imagine for her website) and the mirror is definitely holding that up. Made a good suggestion though and I have emailed Jesse at Lumsden Custom Cabinetry (the awesome guy who made the vanity) to see if he could take care of it. J and I had planned on DIY'ing the mirror but...well...we haven't done it yet. Hopefully I'll have an update soon!!

7. For those of you in Toronto, I had my first ever pizza from Pizza Gigi on Harbord Street last night (yes, the same place that got busted for selling pot to people). Illicit drugs aside, they make an AMAZING pizza. It isn't a fancy thin crust, but it is a delicious, food-coma inducing take-out pizza (which incidentally is my favourite kind!). If you haven't tried it, DO IT :-)


Monday, January 16, 2012

Sort of Like a Honeymoon...

I'm sure you have heard about the concept of a Babymoon, right? It is like a honeymoon, but you go on it when you are expecting a baby and have been convinced by anyone you talk to that this is your LAST CHANCE  to travel EVER before you have kids.

People who give advice can be scary, eh?

However, unlike the push present**, I think the Babymoon is just a catchy term for something that really should happen! I think people are RIGHT when they say you won't be able to travel as a couple for a long time once the baby arrives. Makes sense to me!

We waffled between an all inclusive vacation and doing something a bit more custom, like doing a non-all inclusive on Turks and Caicos or Grand Cayman and going out to great restaurants for our meals, etc.

Turks looks beautiful with an INSANE beach:

As does Grand Cayman:

However, for some reason I couldn't pull the trigger. While dining at awesome restaurants seems amazing (both T&C and GC are known for having incredible food), there was something nagging me.

Ultimately, I felt that maybe at 6 months pregnant, I wouldn't want to *think* on our trip too much. If I was sitting on the beach and wanted a drink, I don't think I'd want to get up and put on a cover up and walk down the street to the grocery store.

I also thought that planning and organizing where we were going to eat everyday might be a little too much. There is no way I could go and just 'see what happens' - I'd want to research every restaurant and determine what people say are the best restaurants to hit up.

So, we gave up and booked an all inclusive. While we are not totally AI people, I think that it serves a purpose for us this time around. No thinking. Pay up front and that's it. If I don't like what I eat, I can order something else. I can get all the slushy virgin daiquiris I want. No beady eyes from J over the prices. Perfect, right?

So we'll be heading to one of our favourite islands and will be chilling out here:

Nothing to sneeze at, eh? :-)

So - here is where we are.

Pregnant? Check
Babymoon? Check
Stroller? Check (thanks Mom and Dad!)
Everything else...X

Lots to do but at least we have this trip to look forward to!! Special thanks to my husband who will have to *suffer* through an all inclusive with his lazy pregnant wife :-)

** Push presents are something I may discuss at a later date. Extra points if you can figure out what side of the debate I fall into :-)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bumpity Bump

Morning everyone!!

Let me start off by telling everyone that today I had to run for the streetcar. Not just a job, but an all out, hauling of the ass, thinking OMG OMG OMG the whole way. It was also raining at the time. 

You see, I have one of those apps on my phone that tells me when the next few streetcars are coming and I like to check it before I leave the house. I was ready to go and checked my phone. I saw that the next street car was going to be at my stop in 2 minutes, and the one after that would be 20 minutes. 

TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES. During the morning rush.

So I had to make the 2 minute one. I literally busted my butt to get there.

Why am I telling you this? Well because I wanted to tell you that 2 minutes of 'sprinting' left me in a pool of mush, wanting to die. I am SO out of shape (I blame it on the whole pregnancy thing, but those who know me IRL know that it is because I don't work out). Can I blame it on the rain?

When I got to the streetcar, I could barely make my legs step up the three steps at a normal pace. The driver had to say "come on, just get on". 


Anyways, like I said, I like to blame it on this:

Yes, it is sketchy work bathroom pic of my 17 week baby bump! I can still fit into most of my regular clothes, except for a few pair of higher waisted pants, but it is almost time. A number of my work dresses probably only have a few weeks left in them before I'm going to bust right out of them. Which won't be pretty. Or work appropriate. Not that taking a phone into the bathroom is, but well...I have a blog to take pics for!

Knowing that I am about to have to start shopping for clothes to fit the 'new me' - does anyone have any suggestions on where to shop? What was worth it? What wasn't? My mom is in Arizona for the winter so I can order some stuff from US stores but obviously would prefer to stay local for the bulk of it. Haha. Bulk.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Somebody's Gonna Be Slow-Cookin' This Weekend!

First up, THANK YOU to Crock-Pot for supplying this amazing stainless steel slow-cooker for this giveaway. After using it multiple times over the last week or so, I can say that it is incredible. I had NO CLUE how much a Crock-Pot could do!

Second, can you BELIEVE how many entries there were? 96 of you put your names in the proverbial hat to win this awesome prize. I love free stuff, especially when it is something you will actually use and enjoy for many, many years to come (like a Crock-Pot!). :-)

And now, what you've all been waiting for! The winner!

I put the numbers into Random.org's number generator and the winner is....

Rachel Lapin! Congratulations Rachel - looks like you will be able to make some spaghetti sauce, chili, pot roast AND chicken in the near future :-)

Send me an email with your mailing address and a Crock-Pot will be coming your way!!

For the 95 of you who didn't win, thanks for entering and keep your eye out for sales on the Crock-Pot - I've seen it at Canadian Tire and it is worth it (even at full-price!).


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Last Day!

Today is the last day to enter the awesome Crock-Pot giveaway! If you haven't entered yet, click here to do so!

Good luck!

(PS, thanks to an email from a great reader, hubs made some amazing Crock-Pot ribs on Sunday that were delicious! This thing really is awesome!)