A Wander Through Brimfield

It has become a May tradition, taking a day to explore the vast fields that make up the Brimfield Antique Show. I’ve attended in every possible state; pregnant, with baby, alone, with friends and their babies, in rain and sunshine. This year I went alone with no agenda or schedule, just the day to wander…

Brimfield_20 It has become a May tradition, taking a day to explore the vast fields that make up the Brimfield Antique Show. I’ve attended in every possible state; pregnant, with baby, alone, with friends and their babies, in rain and sunshine. This year I went alone with no agenda or schedule, just the day to wander as I saw fit. The sun was shining, I had a hot cup of coffee for the drive, and I avoided all the show traffic by taking backroads. Yes, the stars aligned this year and I had a fabulous time. I usually end up leaving empty handed, but this year I came home with two incredible finds; a handmade dress by a small, Maine-based maker, Luksin Designs, and a gorgeous vintage-textile pillow from Rare Cloth. I’m sprucing up our bedroom a bit and this pillow is going to be the statement piece! Brimfield_14 Brimfield_7 Brimfield_3Brimfield_6Brimfield_12 In all my years attending Brimfield, I’ve never made a large purchase! Isn’t that kinda amazing? I guess it begs the question why I still bother to attend. The truth is I love wandering, people watching, and taking pictures. As I’ve spent the past year minimizing the number of possessions in our home, I have no real desire to bring in more. However ‘window shopping’ is immensely pleasurable to me and as I wander I enjoy speculating on the past life of all the various objects. This year I stayed in a good head space for the most part, and didn’t allow myself to become depressed over the sheer amount of STUFF. Brimfield_15Brimfield Brimfield_1 Brimfield, bread board Brimfield_16 Brimfield_5 Brimfield_18Brimfield_10 Brimfield_13If you’d like to go back and read about my previous Brimfield adventures you can find them here: September 2015, May 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011 (oh and this really cringe-worthy 2009 post!). I especially recommend May 2012 where I gave tips and recommendations, which still hold true! If you go back in time, take a look in 2015 and 2014 for that same quilt (blue with flower, in the right corner of above picture)- it is STILL for sale three years later. Now that does blow my mind! Brimfield_4 Brimfield_17 Brimfield_9 Brimfield_19 Brimfield_11

Brimfield, With a Mission

We’re nearing the end of a large kitchen renovation, and a new look for our living room and entryway.  The former living room was near and dear to my heart- I loved the colors and playfulness, and I loved that the furniture was all secondhand, various finds over the years- but to be completely honest,…

_MG_8053We’re nearing the end of a large kitchen renovation, and a new look for our living room and entryway.  The former living room was near and dear to my heart- I loved the colors and playfulness, and I loved that the furniture was all secondhand, various finds over the years- but to be completely honest, it was never a very comfortable room.  The chairs were low and uncomfortable, the coffee table was always tipping when the kids were around, and the couch was stained and floppy, having lost its fluff years ago.  It was time for a redo.

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_MG_8041We moved into this house 6 years ago when I was in my mid-twenties.  My style at that time was eclectic, thrifted and colorful.  It was super fun, but over the years, my tastes have changed.  Now I crave clean spaces, white walls and little to no clutter.  Simple.  Natural.  Cozy.  With this in mind, we painted the entire downstairs white, with the exception of the softest taupe in the dining room, and we sold off all of our living room furniture, save a lamp and an end table.  I chose a few new pieces of furniture and a new rug, but for the accessories I wanted some vintage finds.  So on the hottest day of September (not a fact, just a feeling) I headed to Brimfield in hopes of scoring some cute end tables and something really special to hang on the wall.

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_MG_8024Would you believe I came home empty-handed?  It was so hot, and I was so overwhelmed trying to find that “perfect” piece, that I pretty much gave up after many hours of wandering.  The one little table that I had my eye on was already sold when I went back for it.  So it is back to the drawing board.  Many of the pictures here capture the style that I am after, which I guess I would call “simple farmhouse.”  Linen, white walls, soft colors, clean lines, rustic wood.  I can’t wait to give you a house tour once it is all pulled together, though it seems that might be a bit farther off than I thought!

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Brimfield

Another year, another trip to Brimfield Antique Show (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).  I can’t seem to stay away despite my mixed feelings over the years.  This time I had a blast and I tried to keep my emotions out of it.  I didn’t buy a single thing, and honestly, I was…

_MG_3568Another year, another trip to Brimfield Antique Show (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).  I can’t seem to stay away despite my mixed feelings over the years.  This time I had a blast and I tried to keep my emotions out of it.  I didn’t buy a single thing, and honestly, I was only tempted by one item (an adorable white, distressed bench) but I couldn’t justify the purchase because I didn’t have a place for it in our home.  I was content just looking, and the part I enjoyed the most was getting the chance to spend the day with my friend, Sarah…and just the two of us!  For the past few years when we’ve hit up Brimfield, we’ve had babies in tow.  It was nice to take our time, wandering through the tents, chatting away with no demands on our time .  What a treat.  I’d love to show you some of my favorite captures of the day…

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_MG_3591It’s funny…every year there seems to be a “hot item.”  For a while there it seemed as though turquoise colored glass bottles of every shape and size were the trend to beat.  This year, it was giant balls of yarn.  They were everywhere!  Sarah and I were left wondering if we’d missed the memo that decorating with giant yarn balls was the thing to do!  Also, succulents and topiaries everywhere we turned!

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_MG_3586My favorite conversation of the day centered around two enormous concrete geese that had to weigh about 50 pounds each.  Overheard: “How much for the pair of geese?”  “$4200.”  “Great, and I’m going to need to ship them home.”  Wait a minute, let’s back up here.  $4200 for a pair of concrete geese AND you are planning to ship them across the country?  Whoa.  Just whoa.  Sarah and I got a good laugh out of that!

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_MG_3569It is always funny to see some of the exact same items that you saw the year before.  Remember the gorgeous quilt I had my eye on last year?  It was back for another tour of duty!  Same price and all!

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_MG_3593And finally, a less curated view, and a more realistic picture of what you’ll really see at Brimfield…

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Brimfield: Here We Go Again

As much as Brimfield throws me for a loop year after year, I simply can’t stay away.  I spent a whopping $2 this year on two little scraps of quilt, which I plan to make into potholders.  Any sane person would question my willingness to drive over an hour, line up a sitter and walk…

_MG_9506As much as Brimfield throws me for a loop year after year, I simply can’t stay away.  I spent a whopping $2 this year on two little scraps of quilt, which I plan to make into potholders.  Any sane person would question my willingness to drive over an hour, line up a sitter and walk for miles through tents of stuff just to find potholders (which I still have to sew!)…but I have never claimed to be entirely sane.

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_MG_9493Truth be told, I go for the pictures…and I am always drawn to the same thing, year after year.  The brightly colored turquoise bottles being my very favorite thing to photograph.  Random, I know.  Last year I battled with feelings of being overwhelmed.  The sheer amount of STUFF really got me down.  The year before that, I focused on bringing you some tips and tricks for shopping Brimfield.  But this year, I decided to have some fun and bring along a friend.  And since I can’t seem to escape having a baby in tow…she brought along her little one.  Brimfield and babies…it seems to be a habit I can’t quit!  I figure it makes things a bit more interesting.

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_MG_9531The amount of stuff still got to me…tent after tent, row after row.  And would you believe it- I saw some of the VERY SAME items that were there last year.  Not similar…but the same exact items at the same exact booth.  It kinda blows my mind that these items have been packed up and carted around for a year without being sold.  But the prices seem to get more outrageous every year…and you can forget bargaining.  My friend was lusting after a yard of gorgeous vintage fabric, nothing special except a cool pattern…and it was priced at $35.  When we tried to bargain, the seller clutched the piece to her chest and said, “I just couldn’t let it go for any less.”  Ummm…is that not why you are here?  To bargain and sell?  And so back the fabric went, into the mound of other fabric that will most likely not sell.  Hey, maybe we will see it there next year…marked down (or up) a few bucks.  It is all rather insane, is it not?

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_MG_9508Instead of focusing on the insanity of it all, let’s just rest our eyes on some pretty pictures!  Because this is what I love…capturing the patina, age and quirkiness of all this old stuff.  I have no desire to own it, just photograph it and wonder at its life.  Where has it been, what grand old home or scary hoarder den did it come from, and where is it headed next.  The life of stuff….simply fascinating!

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_MG_9515*I fell hard for that quilt in the middle…I think that fabric is the loveliest I have ever seen.  Only $625 and it could have been mine…holes and all.  Wah?!

Dreaming of a New Kitchen

I am feeling pretty darn uninspired to pull out my camera these days.  I have some fun knitting and sewing projects in the works, but nothing that is begging to be photographed quite yet.  Ho hum…winter.  Last week, we dreamed of a new spring wardrobe…what fun!  This week, how about we dream about a light…

291fffe22541e45583f8acd9dfe49cd8I am feeling pretty darn uninspired to pull out my camera these days.  I have some fun knitting and sewing projects in the works, but nothing that is begging to be photographed quite yet.  Ho hum…winter.  Last week, we dreamed of a new spring wardrobe…what fun!  This week, how about we dream about a light and airy spring kitchen?  We have been contemplating a new kitchen for the past couple months and I have a feeling a renovation might be in our future, but we’re talking years out at this point.  We are constantly working on our home, slowly renovating, fixing and touching up the never ending list of things that we want/ need done.  I’m guessing most homeowners do the same, but having a house that is over 100 years old certainly keep us on our toes.

d9f6ed72a583f8624755f2861553700bOur kitchen as it stand is functional, but it is not well suited for serious cooking.  It’s the room where I spend the most time (two hungry boys + writing a cookbook = serious kitchen time).  It is a dark space, with poor lighting.  If I had known I would have painted the walls white, but I got a bit too excited when we moved in and I painted them turquoise to match the china we keep in the glass fronted display cabinet.  Now I’m dying for white, white and more white.  I am craving a light and airy space, with a big island, counter space galore and lots of clever storage.  I would love to be able to cook while my boys color and play at the island.  We’re always in the kitchen together, but as of now, they just play on the floor at my feet.  Fine for little guys, but I dream of having my lanky boys perched at the island, working on their homework, talking about their day, and snacking away while I prepare dinner.  *sigh*

f6a6e5d6e2b82230f913b5e7c15c21f2We have a small space to work with, but I’m sure with some creativity (and a wall or two blown out) we could achieve a light and airy space with a large island.  Oh who knows…as of now, it is a pipe dream, but one I am happy to indulge.  Pinterest is a virtual rabbit hole for kitchen renovations…and I’ve been pinning my favorite here.  I’m thinking next week I’ll be dreaming of outdoor spaces, with an eye to sprucing up our front and back yard, as well as going to town in my community garden plot.  What are dreaming about these days?

Sources: 1/ 2/ 3/ 4

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Studio Tour

Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm over my India Pop-Up Shop– I’m almost sold out, but there are a few goodies left.  The shop will stay up until the end of the week- so if you have your eye on anything, jump over and grab it!  And now, for a studio tour! …

_MG_7396Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm over my India Pop-Up Shop– I’m almost sold out, but there are a few goodies left.  The shop will stay up until the end of the week- so if you have your eye on anything, jump over and grab it!  And now, for a studio tour!  This has been a long time coming, but it was hard deciding when things were finished enough to share.  There are still a few odds and ends to pull together, but for the most part, I’m thrilled with how my space turned out.

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_MG_7312_2If you can remember, I gave up my old studio space when Vik was born and it was then that I decided to redo the attic.  It took a few years, but this past summer, while we were visiting my parents in Northern Michigan, we had the attic painted and the skylights added.  It made a huge difference, as you can tell by the before picture.  I decided on a bright white, clean look which I love.  It acts as a blank canvas which allows me to create and brainstorm without distraction.  Above is my Ikea desk, which has room for both my computer/ writing area, and my sewing machine (shown with its cover on- make your own here!).

_MG_7342_2We replaced this window, which really helps to keep in the heat, and makes the space so much brighter!  I love keeping some live plants on the window sill- adds a bit of color and cheer.  Above is one of my two vintage Paul McCobb chairs, which I have recovered multiple times.  I often keep my quilts and handmade stuffed animals piled here for inspiration!  Lots of pink going on!

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_MG_7359Next is the sitting area, with my new Ikea chair.  It has a nice high back (which is great for tall gals like myself) and is very comfy for knitting and writing!  I just need to find an ottoman.  I want a cool tufted number that I can reupholster with a vintage quilt.

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_MG_7321_2I love bringing fresh flowers into my space…it makes me so happy to make this one place in the house a total girly getaway.  I could never get away with white walls and delicate accessories anywhere else in the house.

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_MG_7295_2If you can image walking up the stairs to an attic space with slanted ceilings and skylights- you turn to the right and there is my desk, window and chair, while right in front of you is my Ikea work table which allows me to work standing, and to the left, a few inspiration boards, my ironing board, and an amazing old chest that my mom gave me which now houses all of my treasured handmade possessions, including sweaters the boys have outgrown, old quilts and pillows, the very first quilt I ever made, and various other odds and ends.

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_MG_7377I am totally in love with the Ikea rolling drawer unit that I just purchased.  It holds all of my sewing supplies.  Seeing that I am organized (some would say to a fault)- this kind of thing just makes me ridiculously happy.  Everything in its rightful place!

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_MG_7372You can see the beautiful patina of my old chest- on top of which I keep a large, shallow basket.  I love to set out beautiful, inspirational vignetes all around my studio- like these block-print, hand-stitched notebooks that I brought back from India, along with a pom-pom scarf and knobs.  I’m planning of having a booth at the Squam Art Fair this June where I will be selling an incredible selection of notebooks, blocks and other fun things from India!

_MG_7367I’ve also been ridiculously inspired by this fabric that I brought back from India by the yard.  I don’t know yet what it will become, but I am brimming with ideas.  I would also be totally happy just wrapping myself in this fabric head-to-toe and taking a nap.  I am that in love with it!

_MG_7392You may be wondering where I keep all my STUFF.  Fabric, books, supplies, baskets of yarn.  I have a little nook behind this curtain where I keep my shelving unit.  It holds all of my crafting supplies.  I would show you more, but this little nook also houses all our baby clothes, luggage, infant car-seats, bassinet…it is kind of a mess!  But it is our only real storage space in the house- and once the curtain drops, you’d never know it was there!  And that’s about it- I can’t tell you what it means to have a space of my own again in which to craft, daydream, write and create.  I don’t get up here as often as I’d like, but knowing it’s there, just waiting for me, brings me such happiness!

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Thoughts on Brimfield

Oh Brimfield…once a year we meet, and you always kick my butt.  You really do… I find you exhausting, exhilarating, overwhelming and for the first time ever, a bit sad.  Let me explain.  I always block off one day in May to attend the enormous antique show known as Brimfield.  It is located in Brimfield,…

Oh Brimfield…once a year we meet, and you always kick my butt.  You really do… I find you exhausting, exhilarating, overwhelming and for the first time ever, a bit sad.  Let me explain.  I always block off one day in May to attend the enormous antique show known as Brimfield.  It is located in Brimfield, MA about an hour and a half from Providence.  I took Vijay when he was a baby, I went alone last year, very pregnant, and this year, I had Vik along for the ride while Vijay stayed home with a sitter (busy toddler + Brimfield does not equal fun).

It started out as a beautiful morning, sunny with a slight chill in the air.  Vik slept for the entire car ride, while I drank coffee and listened to NPR (did you know there is a whole wide world out there beyond babyland?!), and we both arrived feeling refreshed.  I loaded Vik in the stroller, and packed it to the brim with food, blankets, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, toys, camera, cloth bags, and my baby carrier.  We had a great time browsing for the first hour or two, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into the thrifting spirit (warning, if you want a happy Brimfield post, quit reading and visit last years post!).

And then it hit me- my feelings stemmed from the fact that so many of the vendors seem like they don’t want to sell anything- no bargaining, and shocking sticker prices.  What kinda kills me is they have piles of STUFF that they cart around from show to show, and when you offer them $10 under their crazy high price, they huff and puff and tell you how valuable it is.  And all I can think is- I’m pretty sure you would rather hoard this stuff than sell it.  Like the pretty turquoise Ball jars above- the vendor had hundreds of them, and wouldn’t budge off his $15 sticker price.  Can you imagine wanting to wrap all of those up and cart them to the next show, just to have them not sell again due to their high price?  I’m afraid I can’t quite understand that mentality.

I don’t want to be a downer, but I also felt overwhelmed by all of the STUFF.  I often have the same feeling when I walk into a Target, or other one-stop-shop.  In fact I rarely go to those places- I think my last trip was six months ago, and I broke out in hives on my chest.  No joke.  The environmental science nerd in me flares up, and I start thinking about all of the resources used to make all of the STUFF, multiplied by every big store across our country, and then across our world, and just thinking about all of that stuff, most of it plastic, and most of it cheaply made, and most of it destined for a landfill within a year of being purchased, causes me to flip out.  While I didn’t quite have that experience at Brimfield, I did feel almost saddened by all of the stuff- piles and piles of it.  Granted, buying secondhand is SO MUCH better than buying new.  But my goodness, with so much old stuff laying around, I can’t imagine why we need to make anything new (especially plastic stuff- there is almost nothing plastic to be found at Brimfield, all wood, glass, metal and tin…interesting).

Anyway…before I completely depress you, I will share pictures of a few of the things that caught my eye, as well as snapshots from a few of my favorite vendors.  They are friendly, their booths are artfully arranged and I always find a few beautiful little trinkets to take home (which I’ll show you soon!).

I loved that vase…and looking at it again, I am kinda kicking myself for not just taking the plunge.  Can you imagine it chock full of flowers?  Oh shucks, maybe I’ll have to go back tomorrow 🙂  I also thought the little metal basket for carrying mason jars would be charming to bring on a picnic (charming, but impractical with my boys!).

If I had the right knitting project, I would have bought a handful of those mother-of-pearl buttons.  They were gorgeous, as was that etched silver pitcher.  Sigh…loved it.  I also enjoyed browsing the small black and white portraits- wouldn’t you love to know a bit about each person?  What’s their story, who were they, and how did their picture end up at Brimfield?  I bought a few of the lavender sachets for $5 (not antique, but printed with antique images).  Perfect for little hostess gifts.

I really wanted a dress form for my studio, but I was a bit overwhelmed thinking about getting it into the car and home.  Same goes for the amazing dresser- I was this close to buying it, but I chickened out at the thought of transporting it with baby in tow.  Wouldn’t it be amazing for a kids room?  Too, too cute.  Anyone going to Brimfield tomorrow that wants to lug it home for me 🙂

I love the pressed tin framed mirrors- one day, when I have the right space, one of these beauties is coming home with me.  Mark my words.

Finally, I’m always so tempted by the children’s offerings.  That firetruck would have been a big hit at our house (but for $200 I couldn’t do it), as would the adorable buckets (again, too pricey).   But I do love browsing the kids stuff, and imagining how loved it once was.

I would like to share the names of my favorite vendors- many of them have stores, and websites, so be sure to check them out (and if they don’t have a website, search them out on the map if you visit Brimfield!).  They were so sweet, and totally cool with me taking pictures, and their kindness was much appreciated- Nesting on Main, Beth Hylan Designs, Cary Goodrich at Thoreauly Antiques, Eye Openers, Antique Therapy, Sage Farm Antiques.  Finally, if you’d like a peek at what Brimfield with a baby looks like, here you go….  and now you see why I couldn’t fathom buying anything bigger than a thimble!

A Yankee Christmas

I’m so excited to give you a peek at the Christmas story I crafted for this months issue of Yankee Magazine.  Last winter, with major help from my mom, I developed five different crafts, all tied to the theme of a vintage Christmas. In January, a team from Yankee came to my home to help…

I’m so excited to give you a peek at the Christmas story I crafted for this months issue of Yankee Magazine.  Last winter, with major help from my mom, I developed five different crafts, all tied to the theme of a vintage Christmas. In January, a team from Yankee came to my home to help style and shoot my crafts and decorations.  It was amazing watching my home turn into a picture perfect Christmas wonderland, and I’m thrilled with the resulting shots.

My favorite craft from the shoot was this wreath, which took forever to make…but is simply stunning.  It is crafted from about a hundred handmade pom-poms and several dozen felt flowers in different shades of white and cream.  The vintage mother-of-pearl button garland is also pretty grand.

Jump on over to my Yankee Christmas Pinterest board to see the rest of the crafts, including velvet wreath ornaments, and paper trees, and be sure to pick up the December issue of Yankee for the whole story, as well as step-by-step crafting instructions!

photos by Ira Garber for Yankee Magazine
styling by Caroline Woodward

A House Tour, and the Plastic Toy Debate

Earlier this week, our home was featured on Design Mom as part of her Living With Kids series.  I enjoyed answering the questions that Gabrielle came up with- they were very thought provoking, and helped me think about how we choose to live.  One interesting thing that came up in the comment section was a…

Earlier this week, our home was featured on Design Mom as part of her Living With Kids series.  I enjoyed answering the questions that Gabrielle came up with- they were very thought provoking, and helped me think about how we choose to live.  One interesting thing that came up in the comment section was a reaction to my way of dealing with the cheap plastic toys that seem to flood your way once you have kids.  I keep a box in the garage, and I fill it with any toys that we don’t need, or that I just don’t like- it turns out that these are mainly the noisy, blinking, plastic ones.  When the box is full, I take it to the Salvation Army.

I see this as a win-win situation.  The toys will find a new home where they will be appreciated, and we have to deal with less unwanted clutter.  Our playroom is pretty simple, with a careful selection of toys that encourage imagination and activity (blocks, wooden train tracks, balls and paddles).  It’s not that we lack gratitude for toys we are gifted- we always say thank you and write a handwritten note-  but we choose to live a certain way- and if that includes de-cluttering and donating unwanted toys- well, that is our choice.

I know I won’t be able to keep a lid on this forever- once the boys have their own wants and opinions it might be a bit more of a battle to keep a streamlined house.  But for now, we all seem happier when we have more space, and less stuff.  What’s your take on the plastic toy/ stuff debate?

Calm, Cool Nursery

I am quite thrilled with how our second nursery turned out.  I still love Vijay’s nursery, and he is a huge fan of his room, and I appreciate the things I have learned from watching him interact with his space.  I have found that for our family, less is more, even when it comes to…


I am quite thrilled with how our second nursery turned out.  I still love Vijay’s nursery, and he is a huge fan of his room, and I appreciate the things I have learned from watching him interact with his space.  I have found that for our family, less is more, even when it comes to babies and toddlers.

There are not many toys in Vijay’s room- only his very favorites- and other than his crib, bookshelf, dresser and rocking chair, there really isn’t much else.  This seems to create a calming, clutter free environment- which I think helps promote good sleep.  The one thing we do have plenty of…books!  He loves to read now, and I love introducing him to new books, so we don’t skimp on that department.

When it came to putting together this nursery, I kept it incredibly simple, and tried to use things we already had on hand.  I love the result- it feels incredibly light and airy, simple yet beautiful.  I hope our little man will love it as much as we do.

Vijay has been so curious about the changes in the room- he wants to get into the crib, and he is constantly peeking in, pointing to the crib and inquiring, “Baby?”  Oh what a surprise awaits him…!  Anyway, I would love to know what you think of our new space!

Nursery sources
Paint color: C2 Lichen
Crib: Ikea Hensvik
Large map: Ikea
Changing table (picture here): Pottery Barn Kids (Vijay’s old changing table, originally bought on Craigslist)
Changing table knobs: Anthropologie
Rug: Dash and Albert, Seaglass Stripe
Felt balls: Multi-mix from Handbehg Felts
Bedding: An assortment of bedding, and fabric (from which I made pillows) that I already owned
Little rocking chair: gift
Paper lantern with garland: used this project!
Baby booties: Gifts from the lovely Karen, owner of our local yarn shop, Fresh Purls (seriously, the sweetest gift ever!)