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Don't you love those last few weeks before your first-born arrives when you have time for little projects around the house? I realize my free time is fleeting, so I've been making the most of it by adding some finishing touches to the nursery. We didn't actually paint the room, since it was freshened up a year ago, so that left more time for the details. Read on for some easy DIY ideas while feathering your nest.

We finally found an affordable, simple white crib, which allowed us to splurge on a healthy organic mattress. And my sister passed her equally simple white change table on to us for $0.

These are old Ikea baskets I've had forever and they happened to fit perfectly in our hand-me-down change table. But I thought basket liners would make them more clothes-friendly. I didn't want a fabric that was too baby-ish, so I went with a simple aqua and white stripe. This way, these baskets could look right at home in a laundry room or basement, without having to sew new liners for them.

I have a very talented mother. No, I didn't sew these myself, but I did measure and cut the fabric for her. She spent the better part of a Sunday sewing these together. They're lined on all four sides inside, and then we attached aqua ribbon to hold the liners in place. Again, not too baby-ish or gender-specific.

I dragged my hubby to nearly every furniture store in the city looking for the perfect nursing chair. Gliders, recliners, rocking chairs... there are a multitude of options out there, but I didn't love any of them, and most were around $1,000. We thought maybe we could invest in an armchair that could be used in the living room post-babies, but again, we weren't sold on any one style. And I didn't think the modern shapes of most of them would suit the traditional style of the nursery.

Then we found this solid wood glider at a yard sale for $50. It was already painted white, but had two awful denim cushions that had seen better days. I gave it a fresh coat of white paint — although it didn't really need it — and picked up some inexpensive batting at my local fabric store to make some new cushions. (I didn't know just how old those denim ones were, so I thought it best to toss them.) My mom covered the batting in the same striped fabric.

There are several vintage gold lamps and frames in the nursery, so I wanted to tie in a bit of the gold with pillows, too. My mom had sewn these years ago for a bed, so I pulled them out of storage for the glider.

I hand-sewed the same ribbon on the back of the chair cushions to hold them in place. I love the traditional lines of this glider!

I come up with funny little projects from time to time, excitedly explain them to my husband, and receive a look of confusion in response. But once the bee is in my bonnet, there's no turning back. I was convinced this gallery wall idea would be great.

I still have lots of children's books from when I was young, but I couldn't imagine cutting them up, so my first step was to track down some old children's books. I headed to my favourite antiques market, Mizener's, and rounded up these gems. They're not so old that they're worth anything (most were around $1), but they're old enough to have illustrations that evoke that sense of nostalgia. You don't want to cut up books that are actually ancient, since their value increases, but most of these are from the 1960s.

I also picked up some old gold and aqua frames at Mizener's. (Okay, a couple might be from HomeSense, but I loved the colours.) I also had a few gold frames kicking around from our wedding last year, waiting in Rubbermaid bins to be repurposed. I played around with the arrangement until it seemed right.

Then I tore out book illustrations that reminded me of my own favourite childhood stories — this was the best part of the project! Narrowing it down to 10 was difficult, though.

I wiped off the dusty frames and inserted the illustrations. Most of these frames didn't have wall-hanging hardware on the backs, so I had to attach myself (tedious). I started hanging them from the middle of the arrangement and worked my way out to the edges (usually the easiest with a scattered gallery wall like this). I didn't want the grouping to look too tidy, so I played around with it a bit, but it's still a good idea to leave the same amount of space between each frame. The change table is at the bottom left (see the first photo above), so I had to build it up a bit higher on the left to make sure flailing arms wouldn't knock any frames down. Safety first! But I actually like how it swooshes from bottom right to top left. Now that the gallery wall is all put together, my husband has caught up with my vision.

And now my nursery projects are complete. What to do now?

I'm due in less than a week, so I suppose I should wrap up at work. Until next year, everyone...

Photo credits:
Gwen McAuley

Author: 

Gwen McAuley

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