Baby H’s Neutral Nursery Reveal

I’m super excited to share our finished nursery! I took advantage of the 30 cm of falling snow outside to stay in and do a little photo shoot with our new camera, which I’m still learning how to use. If you want a little refresher, check out this post for my style board and plan and this post for a progress report. I’ve been working on this room on and off for about 3 months and I’m really happy with how it looks. It kept me occupied between losing my job and waiting for baby to come, which I am grateful for! But enough of my nattering, here are some visuals.DSC_4809_DSC_4781_ DSC_4807_DSC_4778_DSC_4786_ DSC_4826_DSC_4793_DSC_4794_DSC_4797_This room featured a lot of DIY and craft projects, like the papier maché zebra head I previously posted about and the 2D cloud mobile I made, loosely based on a wooden one I saw online.DSC_4828__01
The wall art is pretty much all DIY, from the zebra head to the art prints I made with some free web graphics that I found online – I love how these turned out!DSC_4838_DSC_4843_We really tried to save money anywhere we could, like using coupons, shopping sales, and repurposing things we already had in the house (like the curtains). I really wanted some cute maternity photos to frame and to have as a keepsake but hiring a photographer was not in the budget- so we bought a new-to-us DSLR camera that was an upgrade from our 10 year old one and did our own photoshoot at a nearby park with a tripod and a timer.

DSC_4799_ DSC_4805_I may have gone a bit overboard with storage containers. It’s hard to know what we’ll need before the baby actually gets here, but I tried to give us lots of options for toys, blankets, clothes, diapers etc- all the various baskets and containers will help keep things as organized as possible!

DSC_4804_I really liked the idea of a shelf/organizer combo with hooks above the change table but couldn’t find anything I liked at a price I wanted to pay. So I made my own with an inexpensive shelf, wall hooks, and baskets. I think this will end up being really valuable storage and functional space for diaper changes!

DSC_4802_My favourite corner of the nursery is the rocker, bookshelf, and ottoman, and I’ve already been testing it out! Hard to believe that soon I will be sitting here nursing our baby, and later reading to them.  I love the little zebra stool which will function as a drink station for those midnight feeding sessions.

DSC_4819_If you’re interested in where we got everything and our budget, here is a handy little source guide with a price breakdown too! I’m pretty happy with what we ended up spending on this room.

  1. Crib – Delta “Waves”, Sears, $130 on sale
  2. Mattress – Simmons Peaceful Slumber, Sears, $75 on sale
  3. Linens – ÄLSKAD 4-piece set, IKEA, gifted
  4. Mobile –  DIY with supplies purchased from Michael’s and Fabricland, ~$10
  5. Rocking chair – POANG rocker with black leather cushion, IKEA, $219
  6. Macramé ottoman – HomeSense, $39.99
  7. Antelope accent pillow – Village International, gifted
  8. Zebra stool – Village International, gifted
  9. Book shelves – MOSSLANDA picture ledge, IKEA, $16.99/ea
  10. Floor lamp – HEKTAR floor lamp, IKEA, $79.99
  11. Wall art – DIY prints from free vector images found online in RIBBA frames from IKEA, $9.99/ea
  12. Accent stripe – Behr paint in Perfect Taupe, $18.97/quart
  13. Curtains – recycled beige and black panels previously purchased with added blackout liner, $30
  14. Curtain rod – RÄCKA rod with 3 brackets and BLÅST finials, IKEA, $19.49
  15. Toy storage unit – TROFAST storage combination, IKEA, $105
  16. Bone/enamel picture frame, Dollarama, $3
  17. Laundry hamper, HomeSense, gifted
  18. Papier maché zebra head – DIY, free!
  19. Wall lamp – RANARP lamp, IKEA, $29.99
  20. Change table/dresser – Kijiji, $80, with change pad, gifted
  21. Bamboo basket for wipes, HomeSense, $12.99
  22. Change table storage – EKBY shelf, $18.99, with SVARTSJÖN hook rack, $6.99, and NORDRANA baskets, $9.99; all IKEA
  23. Painted mason jars, Little Miss Mason, gifted

As always I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! Now we just need sweet Baby H to arrive to really pull it all together. 😉


Knockoff Anthropologie Zebra Head

I first came across this Anthropologie zebra head when I was searching on Pinterest for black and white decorated spaces, and I fell in love.

Anthro Savannah Story Bust

I’ve also seen some pretty cute examples of stuffed (TOY!) animal heads for kids rooms, like this one from We Lived Happily Ever After. Seriously, how adorable is this deer head with the floral crown?!


Anyway, when I decided to do our third bedroom in a black and white colour scheme, I knew I had to have that zebra as part of the wall decor. As I discovered when I was shopping for lighting, coveting things that are only available in USD can be very pricey for us Canucks… and I am not anxious to repeat that experience. I came this close to placing the order, but it would have come to over $100 CAD after taxes and shipping. Major sad face. At this point in time I just can’t justify that kind of expense for wall art, so I put my DIY thinking cap on and got to Googling.

Now, I have never been very good at art. The only things I could ever draw well were geometric patterns, and my sister is the painter in the family. I was apprehensive about how this would turn out, but I figured all I had to lose was some old newspaper and a few hours of my life! I found two great tutorials from Lil Blue Boo and A Sharper Focus that took me through the major steps, and then I adjusted as I went to make it look how I wanted.

lil blue boo animal head tutorial

a sharper focus tutorial

I actually can’t believe how well it turned out for being made almost entirely out of crap I had lying around the house- masking tape, newspapers, flour, and paper towels. The only things I didn’t have on hand were Mod Podge and black paint, but I managed to borrow them from a friend, so I literally did not spend a dime on this. I’m not saying it turned out perfectly, but for that price…


… I think it looks pretty damn good!

Do you have any great knock-off DIY hacks to share? It’s so satisfying to know I saved myself $100!



Some of you reading this might be wondering where my somewhat recent obsession with DIY came from. I’ve been reflecting on this for a while, trying to reconcile the seemingly distinct aspects of my personality: how exactly did I become a scientist who crafts, makes, sews, and bakes? I hate to get all psychoanalytical on you but I think the explanation lies in my childhood. My family immigrated to Canada when I was very young and for the first few years while my Dad started his business, we lived pretty frugally. My parents bought an older home and fixed it up gradually, room by room. Just because my sister and I were kids didn’t get us off the hook from helping them; we were given small jobs like changing out the old electrical outlet faceplates with new ones. Years later when my parents purchased a summer cottage, it was the same story- it needed a lot of TLC. I learned that a fresh coat of paint and a thorough cleaning can transform even the shabbiest of dwellings.

cathy working at 6

Probably not safe for a small child to have a screwdriver near an outlet, eh Mom and Dad?

cathy painting at 13

 Painting helped distract me from how horribly awkward those braces were

When I grew a bit older, I loved coming home after school and watching home reno shows like Trading Spaces with my mom, where we would talk about the things we did and didn’t like in the final reveals. My mom also taught me how to sew, and I would spend many hours making my own PJ pants, handbags, curtains, etc. My love of making things extended to the kitchen, where I was handy with a wooden spoon and mixing bowl. As soon as I learned how to make our family recipes, I pretty much became the designated family baker!

the cake

Super proud of baking a multilayer angel food cake

As much as I loved getting my hands dirty fixing things up, creating things out of fabric with a sewing machine, and concocting yummy things to satisfy my sweet tooth, I thought that I would have a hard time trying to make a living out of any of those things. So when the time came to choose a career path, I followed my other love: Science!


Attending my first conference and feeling like a grown up… taken before I tripped and wiped out in my heels

Completing a degree in Biochemistry was challenging and time consuming, and my creative hobbies had to take a back seat so that I could put the necessary time in to attend lectures, write lab reports, and study for exams. After graduating, I decided to gain more laboratory experience by completing a Master’s thesis. All in all, my university education took 6 years full-time, and 1.5 years part-time to complete. Once I finally defended my M.Sc thesis, I was elated! But when the relief wore off, I found myself thinking what do I do now? I was so focused on reaching the milestone of graduating and finding a job, and when it happened, I wasn’t sure what to do next. It didn’t help that I had also moved to a new city to start my career, and being far away from my friends and family meant that I was bored a lot of the time outside of work.

graduating with my MSc degree

I worked so damn hard for that piece of paper

I needed to find a hobby, something to fill my spare time now that I wasn’t constantly studying. I started attending craft shows, where you can find tons of unique items handcrafted by local artisans. But they are often pricey, and when I looked closely I realized that I lot of the stuff I liked, I could actually make myself! I looked online for help getting started and visited flea markets, where I found lots of inspiration for things I could try to make, like an old frame that I turned into a chalkboard. When my husband and I inherited some old furniture, we decided to refurbish it to better match our style by restaining and slipcovering! Planning our wedding also helped me to remember how much I enjoy making things. When I saw beautiful sashes and other bridal accessories and decorations that I loved but that were out of my price range, I decided to just make my own.

staining coffee table

Who cares if it’s the wrong colour? I do!

Since embracing the DIY mentality, I haven’t looked back! I find it so satisfying to plan a project and see it through to the final reveal. That’s not to say my harebrained schemes always work out- there have definitely been some “Pinterest Fail” type disasters, but I try to take them as learning experiences instead of getting discouraged.

I’m grateful to all my friends and family for being so wonderfully supportive of my blog and DIY adventures, and I look forward to sharing more with you! And thanks to my new blog buddies, I have found the blogging community to be pretty warm and welcoming so far!

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Whale Baby Mobile Tutorial

whale baby mobile tutorial from

After I made the felt fishies mobile for my nephew, I was itching to try another one- and a good friend of mine just happened to be expecting. I am so, so excited to finally have it done! I have been working on it for about two months now, a little bit each day. And I must say it turned out as adorably as I was hoping.

She wanted a whale/beach theme for the nursery, so we brainstormed and swapped pictures of mobiles that we found on Etsy and Pinterest. Since she knew it was a boy, we went with navy blue/light blue/yellow for the colours. She pretty much gave me creative control (hope she doesn’t regret it!) and I opted to try to recreate this one that I found from the Etsy shop hingmade:

hingmade whale mobile

I made a few changes to mine from the picture above: I used an embroidery hoop to hang it instead of the crossbars, skipped the fins and the water spouts (except for a water spout on the centre whale), used a thin white ribbon instead of white string to hang it, and used 6 smaller whales on the periphery instead of 4 large ones. And I am THRILLED with how it turned out!




I’m going to share how I made it, so you can make one too!

Whale Baby Mobile

Supplies you will need:

  • Felt in different colours of your choosing
  • Sturdy paper to print out templates
  • Pins
  • Thread to match the felt
  • Clear wax (optional but makes hand sewing easier)
  • Buttons for eyes, if using; or contrasting thread colour
  • Batting
  • String, yarn, or thin ribbon to hang mobile
  • Embroidery hoop (I removed the hoop with the screw and used the inner one, which I spray painted white)
  • Hot glue


  1. Cut out fish and whale shapes from felt of your choosing using the templates below. You can scale them to whatever size you wish- my whales were about 4″ long and the fish were about 3″ long. You will need 14 whale shapes (2 x 7 whales) and 14 fish shapes (2 x 7 fish). If your felt has a “good” and a “bad” side, make sure you flip the template to cut out each side.
    whale outline_watermarkedfish outline_watermarked2
  2. Match the two sides of each fish and fasten with a pin.
  3. Using a blanket stitch, sew around the edges of the felt shape. I started just before the tail on the underside, so it would be easy to stuff both the tail and the body and my stitches to finish it would be hidden (note that the fish in this photo is upside down).
  4. Stuff the inside with batting. Use a dull object to get batting into the fins (the eraser end of a pencil works great!). Finish your stitches to close it up.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with the whales, but add buttons or stitches for the eye details to the felt pieces first before sewing together.
  6. Using a canvas/leather or other sturdy needle with a large eye, thread the whales/fishes on lengths of thin white ribbon (I used pieces about 13″ long). Tie knots to anchor, if necessary. Attach each ribbon/whale/fish to the inner circle of an embroidery hoop, spacing them out evenly.
    2014-03-13 22.44.04_watermarked
  7. To hang the mobile, cut 2 long lengths of ribbon (I started out with pieces that were about 32″), fold both pieces in half together and tie a knot about 2″ from the folded ends to form a loop. This will give you 4 lengths of ribbon to use as follows: 3 to tie to the embroidery hoop and 1 to hang the centre whale. Adjust the lengths until the centre whale hangs where you want it-I was tying the ribbon to the frame at about 8″ from the centre knot. It was hard to take a good photo of this step so here is a pretty drawing instead:
    hanging the frame3
  8. Test out the mobile at this point by suspending it from the centre loop. If it needs to be leveled out, move the whales around until it is balanced. Once you are happy with the placement of the whales, put a small drop of hot glue on each knot you made.

And there you have it!


Tip for hand sewing: after a few thousand tangled stitches and much cursing, I discovered the secret: wax your thread! I used some old dental wax from my braces days, rubbed a chunk between my fingers til it was soft, and ran it along the length of thread I was using about 4-5 times. It made a HUGE difference.

Other than that, this project just took a lot of time and patience but was fairly easy and cheap to make. I’m pretty happy with the cuteness:effort ratio!
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My DIY Bucket List

Although there are many projects I have tackled (sometimes unsuccessfully), there are a few things that I haven’t yet been able to try. Mostly this is because we are in a rental and I don’t think our landlord would appreciate me knocking down walls or redoing the kitchen.

There are some really great DIY blogs that I have been reading lately, and their focus is mostly on home renovation. Although they are endless sources of inspiration, after a few minutes hours of perusing pictures of amazing transformations I start to feel sorry for myself. I want my own space so, so badly. Although my husband and I have been looking at houses for several months, due to circumstance we have had to put that goal on the back burner. But I’m trying to stay positive, people! Feeling bad about postponing our house hunt is getting me nowhere. Instead, I’m going to focus on all the fun things we can do once we are finally homeowners.

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So without further ado, here is my DIY Bucket List: the things I want to try but haven’t yet been able to. This list is not exhaustive, and I reserve the right to add/subtract/cross off as necessary!

My DIY Bucket List

1) Tiles. What exactly with tiles, you ask? Anything! Backsplashes, flooring, glass tiles, penny tiles,  subway tiles, you name it.

kitchen tile

The name of this style of kitchen on House Beautiful was “Spare Aesthetic” which I think is a great description of my style. I like a few eye-catching pieces but not too much clutter, with an emphasis on functionality.

bathroom tile

Seriously this bathroom makes me ache I love it so much. It ticks all the boxes for me– grey, clean lines, modern but not cold, with some warmth from the beautiful floating walnut vanity (that she DIY’d!). How awesome is that penny tile?!

2) Wainscoting.  Like wood panelling, but classy. When it’s done right, it instantly elevates the look of any room. Back in high school, one of my friends had a beautiful bathroom that her mom renovated with wainscoting and a claw-foot tub and I’ve been in love ever since.


Note that my obsession with grey continues.

3) Kitchen/Bath reno. If you can’t tell from the above pictures, I love kitchens and bathrooms! I helped my sister and her husband reno their bathroom a few years back, but I’ve never tackled one on my own (and been able to choose the colours, finishes, etc). Even if you don’t have a huge space, you can still use luxurious finishes to make your bathroom feel like a spa. Miss Mustard Seed’s master bath is a great example of this.

I really love the mix of styles in the kitchen pictured above. The white and black palette is classic and keeps the look fresh and bright, but the pops of colour and industrial stools keep it from being boring. I also love the added warmth from the hardwood floors and wood finishes. Gorgeous!

4) Upholstery. Sure, I sewed a slipcover for our mammoth sectional, and I have recovered our dining room chairs (twice). But I’ve never done a full-on reupholstering, with piping and the whole shebang. My mom had a gorgeous wingback chair in their old house and she gave it away when they moved because it needed to be reupholstered. I still haven’t forgiven her! I found this promising tutorial that I am totally going to use one day soon, I just need the right chair (and more space to put it in).


5) Roman Blinds. Not super sexy or exciting (I mean come on, blinds are no wainscoting) but this is definitely something on my list. My friend asked me to help her sew curtains for her bathroom and I suggested doing a roman blind instead, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while. That way, I can make all my mistakes on hers and then do it right on mine! Just kidding. Sort of.

roman blind

6) Banquettes. I’ve always loved window seats, and I can totally picture myself curled up on one of these with a book and my kitty, staring out the window. If you have limited space, it’s a great way to create a multipurpose area for lounging and eating.


I love the exposed wood beams and the globe light fixture in this photo too.

Well, that’s about all I can think of for now! This was a great way to try to look forward to all the things I can do when we do have a house, rather than feeling bummed about the things that we can’t do right now.

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As hard as it is sometimes, it really does help to be grateful for what you have instead of feeling bitter about the things you don’t.

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How about you? What’s on your list?