{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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I’d always envisioned sewing quilts and curtains, painting the walls, and lovingly preparing a nursery while waiting on our little one’s arrival. Instead, we had one week’s (tentative) notice. We brought the twins home to a mostly bare room with a few bags scattered around the walls and a box of loaner infant clothes from a friend. That first night Carl scavenged around the house for rocking chairs, a lamp, and a table, we changed the kids on a folded towel, and they slept in laundry baskets in our closet.  We’ve gradually been working on pulling together a more practical room for them using items from around the house, thrift store purches, and a few new items. Their room contains more storebought items than I’d planned because, it turns out, it’s much harder to craft those adorable baby items once the twins have arrived. With my arms full of babies, I made the decision to spend just a bit more than my normal penny-pinching temperment allows in favor of having a workable room sometime this decade. It’s not finished, but we have a rough framework – lots of “natural” touches like bamboo and baskets. Themes of navy, sage, and yellow that will grow with them as they get bigger. Furniture so mismatched it almost works. Here’s a quick tour, snapped in bits and pieces during the babies’ morning routine, and starting with the view from the doorway:



The breakdown, with links where applicable:

Rocking Chairs: Already owned. Originally purchased from thrift stores and borrowed from other rooms when we brought the babies home. I love feeding the twins and thinking about the 80 or 100 years of parents rocking babies in the same chair before me.

Pillows: A (Christmas?) gift from my parents, that ended up looking nice when plopped down in the nursery one day.

Jenny Lind Cribs: From Target/Amazon. We wanted a new crib due to all the old recalls and drop-side safety concerns. These were reasonably priced and non-bulky. We bought the first one on sale (can’t remember the sale price), and my parents gave us the second one as a baby gift when the twins got too long to sleep together. It pays to shop around – just day to day and store to store I found $20 price fluctuations.

Mattresses: One was a hand-me-down, one came from Target after the options at Walmart weren’t very good.

Sheets/blankets: Gifts from friends and neighbors.

Table: An old folding table from Walmart that we had around the house. $8 or so originally, I think? It’s not pretty and it doesn’t match anything, but it does it’s job holding dripping bottles, sticky medicine, and baby hair oil without causing worries.

Vaguely Ikat-ish Rug: From T.J. Maxx. They often have a great section of clearance rugs. I think this was $40 or so back in the fall. We had a nice oriental rug (a gift to Carl from his family years ago), but needed something that was easy to clean and wouldn’t cause stress every time our son spit up on it while we paced the floor.

Lidded storage baskets under the cribs: From a bulk sale at the grocery store. They mostly hold toys the babies haven’t grown into yet. We also keep the pack-n-play (baby gift from Carl’s family) under the cribs.

Geometric Navy and White Curtains: From Lowes. Around $22 each after the military discount. This is the kind of thing I’d prefer to sew, but after three months of not finding time I decided buying some was the better part of valour. Probably not a bad financial decision once you consider the cost of heavy fabric for drapes and the time invested…

Blackout material to back the curtains: We picked a material that is also designed to provide an environmental barrier since we have old single-pane windows that let in a lot of cold/heat. $6.99/yd, bought for half price so $3.50/yd at JoAnne Fabrics. My visiting mother helped cut out the material. Rather than sewing it on, we clipped it to the top of the curtains with the ring clips – so far it works and looks great. A nice change from jury-rigging a sheet over the blinds every night as we did for the first three months.

Curtain Hardware: Curtain rings, curtain rod, brackets, all from JoAnne Fabrics at 50% off. I don’t remember the price.

Bamboo Blind: Also from Lowes. The previous white slatted blind in the room frayed and broke, and had to be replaced after it no longer worked and couldn’t be fixed. I picked a Levelor bamboo blind with a privacy lining because I love the look and Levelor is a solid/durable brand. Around $70 after the military discount, I think?

Here’s the view into the other corner and along the wall:



Baby Swing: Hand-me-down from a friend at church. Very useful for feeding twins alone since the waiting/finished twin can hang out upright in the swing while I feed the other.

Dresser: Craigslist. I love dressers that are up on legs, so we jumped for this one when it popped up used at a great price back in the fall. I’d been planning on painting it and using it in our bedroom, but when the babies arrived we changed course. It had a deliberately distressed finish, which I suppose works well for something destined for toddlers… I’m debating changing out the handles.

Lamp: Hand-me-down. The base used to stand in my brother’s room. The red shade was Carl’s idea to keep the glare down at night and make things cozy and drowsy when feeding the babies at bedtime. He originally jury-rigged one with a red pillowcase.

Changing pad: Target. We haven’t bothered with a cover since we like the wipeable surface.

Diaper/burp cloth basket: Old. Used to be storage in my college dorm room. The little wooden basket holding the hand sanitizer and toiletries came as the holder for a baby shower gift.

Diaper Pail: Arm & Hammer. Bought with a gift card someone sent as a baby gift.

Trash basket: Old. Stolen from another room in the house. Originally 50% off at Hobby Lobby for $6 or so, I think?

So there you have it, our not-done but coming together nursery. The back wall not shown has their closet door, fan for white noise, laundry basket, and humidifier. Definitely not the most scenic part of the room…


Our baby smurfs, out on a family hike in the winter woods:




The challenge of collared shirts when you have enormous cheeks and no identifiable neck.



My parents came to visit, and my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins all drove up to see them and meet the babies. It was crazy but fun – we’re lucky the babies have so many relatives who love them (only a fraction of whom they’ve met). Most of the day looked like this: a swirl of people, with babies being passed from hand to hand at the center of it:




10 thoughts on “{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

  1. I love the cots you picked. They are really sweet. Your nursery is coming together so nicely – it must be much more difficult to decorate when you have to keep it neutral. Good call on the curtains too! My MIL has given me fabric each time I have children to make curtains; I might note after she has said she will provide the curtains (implying, I would have thought, completed ones). But she gives it around the 8 month pregnant mark (when crawling on the floor pinning and cutting is just a wee tad difficult) and it is just a little ironic that she always gets her curtains made for her when they move to a new house! Anyway this time, Tom Kitten was about 8 months old and his curtains still weren’t sewn – I spotted a phone number in the quilt shop window for a local lady making curtains and got them done in two weeks. Quite the relief.

    Also wonderful that your family was able to visit. Might I add that your kitchen is looking great. All that painting paid off.

    • Thanks Sarah! Trying to make curtains at 8 months pregnant does sound like quite the workout. “Providing the curtains” and “providing the fabric” are not quite the same thing :-).

  2. I think your nursery looks awesome! Love the curtains and window in general. You are so right to thrift things/find bargains and know your limits. And you did a great job! And what adorable babies!!!

    • Thank you! My Mom has been good about both helping me do what I can while keeping me honest about my limits. She is a very talented seamstress and do-it-yourselfer, but left our previous home with some regrets about not having time to address some of the rooms until we had to fix them up for resale. They were so nice afterwards that she wished she’d had time to enjoy them while we lived there.

  3. oh the collared shirt! too much!! 😀 its so funny about the necks, brian and i were just talking about that b/c one day you look down and realize, hey! now you have a neck! lol

    i love your nursery! its homey and functional and warm and not too BABYEXPLODINGPLASTICNEONCOLORS you know? lol and as for changing on a towel, 3 kids later we still do that 😉 never had a changing table!

    • Thanks! Yeah, we looked at the room and realized we’d be spending a lot of time in there so we might as well enjoy it. We went with things that are a touch more grown-up but bright. Funny on the towel – sounds like a smart choice. I was adamant about not buying a stand alone changing table that’s useless after babyhood, and was happy when we found the craigslist dresser + $7 foam pad so that it will grow with them. Originally I was thinking of just going with a towel all the way, but our son the tiny fountain kept soaking through them so fast we were running out of bath linens :-P.

      Also, funny about that day of neck discovery. Hopefully that will some day make it easier to wipe out the entire bottles of formula they store in the folds of their triple chins?

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