Team with the Theme

I really love the little saying:

USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO, OR DO WITHOUT…

It can be really hard to not get sucked in to the vortex of new, pretty and sparkly when it comes to all things baby. Especially first time around. But I’m really trying to adopt that mantra not only where it comes to Sweet Pea, but also my wider life in general.

I am the first one to love a good shop, but I’m also attempting to be a lot more mindful of whether I actually need something before I buy it. Easier said than done, but that’s that.

In saying all of this, we are extremely fortunate to have a lot of friends who have recently had babies and are willing to lend or donate us stuff. We visited some very good Melbourne friends on Thursday night and they sent us home with a huge range of things – from singlets, to boxes of unopened breast pads, a playmat and even a breast pump. I am very grateful for their generosity.

Ok, so this may make me unpopular around the traps, but I have to admit to having a good chuckle at some of the pregnancy and baby magazines that are out there – especially towards the back where they tend to focus on kids parties, baby showers and of course, nursery design. Do you know that there are people out there who actually consult interior designers to kit out the baby nursery? I don’t know whether to take those articles seriously or not. I have a lot of friends with kids and never have I heard of a nursery requiring a consultant. It kind of lacks the magic of choosing things that are meaningful and personal if it’s all organised for you by some crisp and efficient interiors person who wants to TEAM WITH THE THEME (sorry, Kath & Kim reference there).

I’m all for having nice surrounds and a warm, comforting and safe environment for one’s child, but to me this just seems to be symptomatic of the excess that is heaped upon newborns/children not to mention the expectations that often weigh down on the shoulders of future parents (er, let’s face it – I mean, “mums” not “parents”. I highly doubt many daddy’s-to-be get caught up in the hoopla of nursery furniture and colour schemes).

Some of the inexpensive ideas I’m using/contemplating to decorate Sweet Pea’s nursery (once her father actually clears out the room) are below.

We have re-invigorated a basket that my great-grandmother hand-wove for me back in 1980 (she knew I was coming in early 1981 but sadly passed away before I was born) – a quick coat of white paint turned it into a very cute storage vessel for baby creams/wipes etc for the change table/mat area:

Re-claimed "vintage" (circa 1980) storage basket

We are going to buy a new cover for an Ikea Poang armchair (in the charmingly named “tuna” print – blerghhhh!!). It’s currently in the basic cream but has seen better days:

Ikea Poang armchair cover in "Tuna"

I plan on stealing a couple of the cards that mum and dad received when I was born and framing them as a bit of a nostalgic but kitschy approach to nursery design and/or buying inexpensive picture books from op shops or raiding my own stash and framing the illustrations in cheap white frames (I absolutely adored Babar the Elephant, all of the Busytown Richard Scarry books and Peter Rabbit books as a kid, but I think we will stick with Beatrix Potter for Sweet Pea’s city nursery – i.e. mum and dad’s house as mum has already got some framed prints there):

Vintage Baby Card

Babar The Elephant

The Bunny Book, Richard Scarry

Purchasing little items that have a big impact and are either on sale (see the bird decals) or can be utilised for a number of years in a number of ways (see mexican bird garland which can be configured as a mobile or bunting). Both of these items were relatively inexpensive:

Bird Decals, $10 at a recent online sale

Citta Mexican Hanging Birds Garland/Mobile

And of course utilising mum’s handiwork to make cot sheets and blankets – she has sourced a gorgeous bird design that she will cut out and applique on to the edge of the sheets (she’s currently finalising a gorgeous quilt).

These are just a few ideas/concepts to get me started and also to personalise Sweet Pea’s room. I like a sense of history, continuity and a little bit of “make it do”…

4 thoughts on “Team with the Theme

  1. Hello there, I’ve found you via Miss Kitty Cat.

    Just wanted to say how much I love this post and the sentiments behind it. We are expecting our first and still in the uncertain first trimester so I’m not getting too far ahead of myself yet, just in case. I have been thinking a bit about the nursery though and I completely agree with you about “nursery design”. What tosh! In my view the little one’s room should be full of plenty of personal touches – I want to make my baby’s nursery a comfortable and calming little haven and not a sterile scene from an interiors mag!

    I like your idea of framing cards your mum and dad received when you were born. Sadly, though, in my case I think my mum threw them out long ago! However, as an inexpensive decorating idea, I’m a bit of a sewing and fabric nut so I plan to ‘frame’ some gorgeous fabrics in embroidery hoops for an effective wall feature (and one which will mean something to us as I’ll have lovingly picked the fabrics and will have created it all myself).

    Congrats on your pregnancy!

    Amy.

    PS. Am I right to think I remember you from the vogue wedding forums? I was there a lot in the leadup to my 2008 wedding; I was “fabuleuxamelie”. If not, just ignore that bit…!

    • Hi Amy!

      Thanks for your message – lovely to hear from you and congratulations on your news. It will be wonderful getting through the first tri. Hopefully not long to go now!

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this (I mean I know I’m not alone, but sometimes you get so bombarded by images and stories that you start to second-guess yourself and wonder if you are a bit of a freak for not wanting to spend several thousand dollars decking out a room that children spend so little time in beyond sleeping – especially in the early years!).

      Ha – my mum is lauding the card idea over me, as she’s saying it’s validation of her hoarding and re-purposing tendencies. Dad will be thrilled to get rid of some of it, I’m sure!

      The fabric idea sounds great. Unfortunately although I have an artistic/aesthetic appreciation, I’m not particularly skilled in those areas, so I’m very grateful for having a mum that is so brilliant at that stuff.

      Yes!! Was on the forums back in the day. Miss Classique… ;) And I remember you of course – we got married within a month of each other, I think! I’ll come and pay a visit to your blog! xo

  2. I honestly don’t think all the money in the world could buy something like a basket handwoven by a great-grandmother for a baby’s room. Much as I love a good decorating splurge, if there’s nothing ‘important’ in the room then the room has no life of its own. What a beuatiful thing for you to have and to pass down to your child.
    I also loved Richard Scarry as a kid – and often pick his books for as gifts for children today! Oh Lowly Worm! – and it’s those kind of things that are most important to surround children with: books, memories, curiousity, history, and connections to their loved ones.

    • Yeah, and what’s even more amazing about the basket, is that my great-grandmother was legally blind when she wove it!

      Glad someone else has an appreciation of Richard Scarry – I was watching ABC2 with the niece about 6 months ago, and there was an animated series!

      Love your philosophy on the nursery/children’s room – those are the things that really count for kids. Especially a sense of continuity and of belonging

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