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Creating a Creative Nursery That Reflects YOU!

mod nurseryI always knew that a pastel-colored nursery of standard zoo animals was not going to be for us. I believe in bright, bold colors and interesting prints — especially considering newborns are attracted to stand-out patterns and colors. My jumping off point was an ad I saw in a magazine for crib bedding in a modern nursery. I loved the unique furniture and graphics for the crib bedding and wall art (although I couldn’t afford it). So I had an idea of what I wanted and my imagination took over.

We knew we were having a girl but I wanted to use my favorite colors: turquoise and greens with chocolate brown accents. I saw on a design show a nursery makeover where they painted a band of polkadots across the middle of the wall. I loved it! So we went with that idea but adapted it to us. The top half of the wall in our daughter’s nursery is a neat 1950’s green, and the bottom half is a similar blue, separated by a chocolate brown band with pokkadots of various colors. It turned out better than I imagined!

Our chocolate brown accents are reflected in our furniture–a beautiful crib and changing table/dresser with glass doors–that I found and registered for at Babies ‘R Us. Instead of children’s lamps we chose brown modern lamps that flank each side of the dresser and window above it.

Crib bedding was more of a challenge because at big box stores (which are more affordable) you will find your standard muted pastel colors. But we chose bedding that had ‘bolder’ pastel colors and various textures, including a satin moon (I love moons!) and cute animals that I adore like giraffes and owls.

I am so in love with our baby girl’s nursery that often I will just sit on our VERY comfortable glider — which is an essential in any nursery, by the way! — and take it all in with joy. It is a room that will continue to bring happiness to me and baby for years to come!

It is true that you don’t need to be an interior designer to create your own nursery. Paint colors, crib bedding, beautiful and functional furniture and wall art are really all you need. Just go with what makes your heart happy! Here are a few ideas and tips to get you started:

  • http://www.creative-baby-nursery-rooms.com/
  • Parents.com - a plethora of nursery articles and ideas
  • Unique baby room ideas by theme

Nursery Photos:

  • Parents.com - Actual nursery photos submitted by parents
  • Photo gallery of modern nurseries

Unique crib bedding and other dream nursery products:

    • Baby Supermall.com - drool city (plus gives coordinating wall paint colors)
    • Modern Nursery.com - where I originally drooled

    Belly Beautiful: The Art of Belly Casts

    Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. So much so that it draws strangers in grocery stores and sidewalks to hover right to your round belly as if rubbing it will grant a wish. I believe it should be worshipped in this manor and cherished, celebrated—perhaps even preserved into art.

    Belly casts (or belly masks/belly sculptures) are a unique and expressive way to preserve this special moment in your life and celebrate your body, as well as create a treasured keepsake for your little one as he/she grows older.

    Since I chose to memorialize my pregnancy by having a professional photographer take artistic photos of me and my belly, I had to do some research for this particular art form. It looks like belly casting has been around since the mid 1980’s and conceptualized by a former art student, Francine Krause, who eventually created easy at-home kits. No art background is required, though, for creating your own belly mask. It can be as simple as keeping it just the natural plaster color, or painting it and/or embellishing it your heart’s content.

    Moon cast
    My favorite part about my research for this was the wonderful online art galleries I perused! Since I am a huge moon and star fan, I liked this piece I found on Proudbody.com. They have such an extensive gallery that they divided the masks by “theme.” There are some stunning pieces! I also particularly loved this flowery one: Flower mask

    Some masks can be quite ornate, too, like those I found on RockABelly. I can see these hanging in high end galleries! My favorites were a hand-painted one to resemble an elaborate English pottery design, one with glass mosaic tiles, and one with an aged copper finish. Check it out! I also loved Belly Of Love where I found this fairy one. Fairy mask The possibilities are only limited by your own wishes and imagination!

    So now that you’re hopefully inspired, there are many at-home kits you can purchase online that streamline the process and make it especially easy and safe. Prices range from $20-$75 for these kits, and the process only takes about an hour.

    Budding artist or not, I think it’s a creative, wonderful way to treasure this glowing, unique-to-you time and celebrate your own belly of love!

    Saving Stained Shirts from the Garbage Heap

    You know when a favorite shirt gets a stain that won’t come out and you just want to scream ’cause it was so cute and you can’t believe that yet another shirt is ruined and you swear that you’ll never buy another light colored shirt again….

    Rocket_shirt_2

    Yup, it happened again.  This time it was a light blue T-shirt of Drew’s that looked so nice with his blue eyes that I couldn’t bring myself to toss it.  So I rescued it - with a rocket applique made from ripped jeans, an old sweater and fabric from a vintage apron. 

    The magic bullet for making appliques is Heat n Bond iron-on adhesive.  Iron it onto your applique, then peel off the paper backing and iron it onto the shirt.  It’s that easy!  I sew around the edges too because I like the look of the stitching, but it’s not necessary.

    My only regret with this project was that the edges of the jean material did fray a bit.  If I did it again, I would turn the material under.  Or pick a material that does not fray.  Now that I’ve got the applique bug I’ve got a big pile of old clothes and fabrics ready for action.  It’s a fun, creative and EASY way to salvage stained clothes and keep them out of the garbage heap!

    Music to Our Bellies

    As a long-time music lover, I always enjoyed hearing stories about pregnant women who played music to their bellies only to have that child later become a musical prodigy. One friend told me a story about a husband who played his guitar right up against his wife's pregnant belly and their son became a guitar whiz. Unfortunately, I only appreciate music, and besides my wishlist accomplishment of learning to play the cello for a brief stint, and my husband's attempt to learn the bass guitar, we can only play our eclectic mix of CD's like the best of them.

    Of course I want to believe that music-lovers and musicians will raise the same. And it makes sense, doesn't it, that if we expose our little ones to music of all types when they are dancing and tumbling around in the womb, they will come out as natural born appreciators of music. But I was interested to see if there were studies on this topic, and "hear" is what I found out….

    It is a common belief that if you play calming music or lullabies to your baby in utero–for instance, placing your iPod headphones on the belly–your little peanut will react by kicking and moving, or becoming suddenly still, especially in the third trimester. Some even believe that music played while in the womb will be remembered by the baby up to a year after birth.

    According to an article on SmartMommy.com , it is believed that in the 7th month of pregnancy, the soothing sounds of music in the womb can stimulate your baby's ear, brain and body development in preparation for sound and language comprehension. Thomas Verny, M.D., author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (Dell, 1994) said, "Musicologists seem to agree that rhythms, similar to the mother's heartbeat, have the most calming effect" on babies in utero. This can also be used as a tool to calm a fussy newborn.

    One woman reported to BBC News Health : "I used to have a daily bath and listen to Ella Fitzgerald at 6pm. It was my peace time. When she was born she was very fractious with colic. We used to play Ella Fitzgerald at 3am to try to settle her, and it really worked."

    But there are differing opinions on what is called the "Mozart Effect," which says that playing classical music to babies in utero increases brain activity and stimulation, which thereby is an intelligence and IQ booster. An online BBC article –Does Classical Music Make Babies Smarter? — states that "Numerous studies conclude that playing music to babies in the womb and in the early years helps build the neural bridges along which thoughts and information travel. And research suggests it can stimulate the brain's alpha waves, creating a feeling of calm."

    It's a fact that a fetus develops their ability to hear 5 months into pregnancy, and can therefore react to sounds outside the womb, but there is no hard evidence that proves that playing classical music is a direct link to higher intellectual development.

    In the same BBC article, Professor Paul Robertson, a leading expert in musicology, believes it's important the best music is made available to babies at the earliest possible stage of their growth.

    My thoughts are, whether my baby becomes the next little genius or not, it can't hurt to encourage her development with this great source of entertainment (that is far better than TV). If nothing else, it will be a way to bond with your baby before she arrives, and it will definitely be a way to share a fun and necessary form of the Arts for many years to come. So crank up that CD, go to Baby & Me music classes, and enjoy your happy time together!

     

    Reusing our Glow Mama bottles

    Lets start at the simple end of the creativity scale - around the house.  Here is a picture of my little guy with his new bath accessory.  I’m sure he’s not going to be I’ve been thinking a lot about getting Glow greener, and short of
    offering everyone a chance to buy carbon offsets with their purchase
    (I’ll look into it), I’d like to spark some discussion on re-using our
    empty Glow Mama bottles.  liaminbath.jpghappy when he discovers that his mommy plastered naked photos of him all over the internet - all for a good cause buddy! 

    bowling.gifIf you’re like me and you find that your flashy, colorful, expensive toys always seem to get abandoned for the phone, keys and remote control, then why not try imaginative new Glow Mama toys… rattles, instruments, even bowling!   The My Education Junction blog has some cool suggestions for bigger kids. 

    Back in adult for a minute, there are the desk accessories, garden and garage storage suggestions and even plenty of ideas for the fridge/freezer.  Why not fill empty bottles with the salad dressings or sauces you make from scratch or buy in bulk?  Just be sure to rinse it well first, unless of course you are looking for a bit of kiwi flavoring.  Freeze some water in an empty bottle (don’t fill it to the top) and use it in your cooler or lunch bag instead of a chill-pak.  Ok, that one might not be that appropriate for another couple of months. 

    Rachel from MN wrote to me with a great suggestion… "After I’ve finished drinking it, my husband rubs my Glow Mama bottle up and down my aching back and legs.  There’s something about me being 8 ½ months pregnant that has turned my husband into a sweet heart." 

    Then there are the extreme measures for reusing your PET drink bottles.  Check out these two boats made from old water bottles.  Anyone up for a Glow Mama canoe?

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