The Nursery side of the Nursery/Office

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 2 Comments

The second bedroom circa February 2010

Our life was up in the air when this photo was taken; it was actually taken for a craigslist ad! We were trying to rent our apartment in order to find something more affordable. We had an unfortunate timing of unexpected unemployment, and it seemed at times that there was little hope. As luck would have it, the hubs found a job (and even more lucky – a job he loves!), and we were able to work something out with our landlord to adjust our rent, as rental rates in the area have suffered from the recession. The day after all of this was settled, we set out to paint!

The same wall, turned into a space for baby!

The color is a Valspar color called Sea Lily, but we had them mix it with Olympic’s zero VOC paint at Lowe’s. I wanted something that worked for a nursery and a creative office space. I think it’s pretty safe to say that aqua has been my go-to color for a few years now! I’m instantly drawn to it! Also, we know we are having a little girl. We know we will be inundated with pink stuff. And while I like pink stuff, I like it oh-so much better when it’s paired with aqua’s and robin’s egg blues and golds and fuchias and, well… you get the picture. Painting the walls a blue/green saves us from the overload of pink we might have to endure. We set up our DwellStudio crib, which was a gracious gift from my aunts and my grandmother, and bought wooden blinds and some closet shelves from IKEA. The blinds made all the difference in the world! It seemed no matter what I did before, I couldn’t make curtains work in this room. Also, seriously people; if you are having closet issues in your house, install a second closet bar for your shirts. It almost doubles your closet space and it is very affordable! In the office/nursery closet we installed a second bar, in addition to two shelves. The top bar is for baby clothes (which are SO CUTE all hung up and ready), the bottom bar houses some of my shirts and skirts I won’t be fitting into until baby weight is lost, and on the shelves occupy various baby items; diapers, hats, shoes, etc. The left side of the closet is for my long dresses. I can never seem to fit all my dresses in one closet >.

We went with the LACK wall shelves from IKEA in the room for display and to hold her books, things I designed from babystyle and the ridiculously cute owl bank (thanks Katie!). I figured 18 screws in one shelf and a lot of museum putty to keep things in place would be good, but the darn things still worries us, so we decided they call for brackets to go underneath them for extra support. It kinda kills the look, but we’ll see. If it doesn’t support well enough, we think we’ll move the shelves and get a small shallow book case to go on the left. We eventually bought the matching DwellStudio changing table, and I changed the knobs to the beautiful mint colored glass knobs from Anthropologie that are already in use with our office furniture. I also changed out the knobs on the little wall unit above the changing table to tie it all together.

Blabla’s handknit bird mobile, & the plush & nesting blocks I designed at babystyle

I am lucky enough to have retained a few things from my days as a designer at babystyle. I was gifted the blabla hand knit bird mobile from a buyer for inspiration, and it hung above my head in the office for about 2 years (I also had a knit centaur hanging from the middle of it… it was quite humorous…). I designed the stuffed bunny, cat and deer you see on the shelves, and the nesting blocks. They are all pieces from my portfolio, but they will probably end up in grimy baby hands… and that is where they belong! The aqua triangular goat was designed by my predecessor at babystyle and best friend since high school, Beth Albrecht of paired hearts and one of the founders of the WonderCraft.

A poster I designed for the nursery.

I have been an ELO fan since I was a kid. Call it parent-inflicted fandom, but I was hooked, and usually begged for Livin’ Thing (and occasionally George Harrison’s Got My Mind Set on You). I have always teared up during the line “Hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race” from Mr. Blue Sky; it makes me think of new babies. This wonderfully simple and beautiful statement sums up a sentiment I think belongs in a nursery, and thus I decided it’s a mantra that deserves to go on the wall ^_^. I made the vector art, and sent it off to Beth, who printed it for me on some great high gloss paper. The frame is from IKEA, and I had custom matting cut. People have had a pretty great reaction to it, so I’m planning on offering it through my Etsy shop. The fuchsia peony is an original water color I painted in January.  I wasn’t thinking of it for the nursery at first, but I thought it was just the right touch of bright pink the room needed, so I had it framed and my brother hung it for me while hubby was at work (my belly just kept getting in the way of everything…). Framing my own artwork is somewhat new to me. I enjoy it, it makes me feel like an all-growed-up artist.

Fuchia Peony – Water color, 9″ x 9″

Lastly, I made the quilt which has been previously documented and posted about. :) I took the large squares from the Square Dance panel, and put them under the crib mattress as a quick and easy coordinating crib skirt. I bought some pink sheets, and the minky dot bumper and changing table pad. The crib looks sooooo cozy, I wish there was one in my size!

While I’m pretty much done with the nursery side of the nursery/office, I still have a few things I’d like for the office side, which I’ll post about later. :)

Baby Quilt

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 3 Comments

I finished the quilt about a week ago. I have been debating on whether or not to quilt the alternate squares, but I’ve decided against it for now. I’m very pleased with how it turned out! My original idea when I thought about how I was going to design the nursery was to create my own prints and have them made on Spoonflower. Then I saw Anna Maria’s Square Dance in blue and I fell in love. It was exactly the sort of sweet I was wanting for the nursery, in the exact colors. When I considered that this would cost me less money per yard, my mind was set.

Top of quilt.

The back of the quilt

Now, remember I’ve never made a quilt before. I didn’t even know what batting looks like! Well, mainly I didn’t know how it was packaged, but still… I’m typically a quick learner, so I wasn’t intimidated. I didn’t use a pattern really, but the quilt was originally inspired again by Anna Maria (if you haven’t figured it out by now, she’s pretty much the closest thing I have to an idol. Do yourself a favor and go check out her blog, and drool over her beautiful creations, her adorable children, and buy yourself something pretty). She made a patchwork coverlet of the prints from her little folks voile series, and although the pattern is very simple, its beauty lies in its very simplicity (and not to mention, it’s very doable for a newbie like myself!). The Square Dance squares set the tone and the pattern, and the act of putting the squares at a 45° angle to the edge makes it dynamic and it becomes much more interesting than your standard patchwork quilt full of right angles.

Anna Maria’s patchwork coverlet.

The above quilt utilizes the larger squares from the Square Dance panel, but I thought the small squares worked perfect for a baby quilt. I played around dropping prints in and out of squares to come up with a print combination I thought really worked together. This was actually a bit more difficult than I originally guessed. I found myself being very particular about which complimentary prints I was using; the original 5 prints I was thinking didn’t work as well as I wanted, and I ended up with 5 totally different and new prints. I was choosing prints that were too bold and large scale at first, and there was pretty much no pink (gasp!). I really needed there to be some pink to make it more baby girl. It was the hardest, last, and least favorite print I chose, but it works. You’d think, with the multitude of pink prints out there I’d find something I like more! It was really just hard to find a good geometric print, and that’s what I needed. It’s also the only print I didn’t buy online (I needed it NAO!), but in a quilt store in Thousand Oaks, where my parents live. There are very few quilt stores in Los Angeles, believe it or not! And even fewer that actually carry modern designer prints. I usually drive down to Michael Levine, but parking can be a pain, they never have full stock of a designer… and of course, I’m still out a car until the hubs gets a replacement.  I have half a mind to open my own shop!

Lacey Knit Baby Blanket

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 1 Comment

The morning sun peaking through rain clouds shines through the lace.

I am very proud to say I have finally finished the lacey knit baby blanket I started in January… Sometimes, the length of how long you have been working on a particular project seems astonishing.

Hundreds of pins!

I used Andrea Tung’s baby blanket pattern for the pattern, and 4 skeins of Lion Brand microspun yarn in vanilla. A lot of people complain about this yarn splitting, and it totally does; but it didn’t bother me much. I used the microspun yarn primarily because it’s what I had lying about in the weight called for in the pattern, in a neutral color, that has a wonderful soft handfeel and is machine washable and dryable! However, this yarn is acrylic, and this pattern MUST be blocked in order for it to reach the correct dimensions (it went from about 15″ x 29″ to 29″ x 37″) and for the beautiful lace pattern to show.

lace stitch before blocking

lace stitch after blocking

Now, I’ve never blocked my knitting before. I’ve read that blocking acrylic can be difficult, and you must “kill” the fibers by applying heat to the the yarn while it is being blocked, but I also read that applying heat to acrylic yarn causes it to melt. Upon further reading, I discovered that you just need to apply heat, in the form of steam, indirectly to the blocked yarn. An iron set to steam held about 1-2″ above the yarn, maybe with a wet towel between the yarn and the iron should do the trick. I would have totally tried this, had my iron not gone caput on me 2 weeks ago… so, when I considered I don’t have a car to go replace my iron (I actually really just want it fixed. It is a nice orek iron that cost about $130! The part to fix it cost less than $2), I have the blanket all pinned out spanning my couch and a chair, and the baby is a day past her due date, I just want it done. I decide to improvise.

Enter the blowdryer. A blowdryer + wet towel should do the trick, right? Well, it didn’t seem to be doing enough. I eventually tossed the wet towel aside, spritzed the whole thing with water, and just held my blowdryer above it until the whole thing was dry. This was effective! I decided it was time to unpin it. It held it’s shape! I’m happy for it, but the edges turned out a little more wavy than I want, and I don’t think the stitches are as even as they could be. I think I’ll probably just go ahead and invest in a wire blocking kit, and redo it one day. For now I’m glad I have the experience of blocking in the more traditional way. Here is a recent tutorial about lace blocking!

Liberty of London for Target

Posted by Jesyka D'Itri Marés on 1 Comment

Granted, this post is coming a little late. Liberty of London for target launched March 14, and quickly sold out of most of the good stuff, at least on-line and (seemingly), in every Target in southern California, but I want to post about it anyway!

It pains me to think that people don’t know the history or the influences of the items they buy. I know it’s impossible to know everything about everything, but I just find it so interesting to think about the processes and events that led up to the creation of something. Liberty has a rich history, a history which I will absolutely not be doing justice here for I don’t have near enough knowledge about it. If someone wants to buy me a book about it, I would be highly interested. But I’ll tell you what I do know: Liberty & Co. was founded by one Arthur Liberty in London, 1875. This Regent Street department store has influenced generations of homes and wardrobes. I fell in love with liberty prints when I first began working in the fashion industry and learning about the history of textiles, and continuously seeing liberty (or liberty-esque) prints from vintage studios. The liberty department store is also synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement, (Alphonse Mucha anyone?! Yes, please),  so much so that it is synonymous to  Stile Liberty in Italy. (Art Nouveau or “New Art” was art and architecture’s response to industrialization and modernization. It was an attempt to bring an organic and more natural look to modern buildings. It’s roots lie in the arts & crafts movement of the late 19th century. Anyone else sense an arts and crafts movement happening right now?!) Art Nouveau aesthetics saw a revival around the 1960′s, and I think it has been going through a bit of resurgence over the last few years. Maybe it’s on a 50-year cycle instead of the usual 20?

stack of beautiful liberty of london prints

It’s not exactly easy to come across genuine liberty items in the states, which brings us to Liberty of London for Target. I fawn over pretty much every item w/ the label. My fondness for pretty prints leads me to enjoy anything, so long as it has said pretty print on it. “Oh! Look at these gardening gloves!!!” I particularly like the sixties print :

sixties print and the perfect chair

It works itself seamlessly into my new nursery/office. They even introduced a crib bedding set in this print right after I started my quilt! There is an Eames -inspired molded chair in this print that would have TOTALLY worked for the second desk, but alas, I didn’t even know it existed until after it was sold out. Now I’m bummin’ out, and the only way I can get one is to buy directly from Liberty’s UK site, and pay the ridiculous shipping charge to bring it to Los Angeles. I think I’ll just have to keep my eyes open and see if I can’t find one locally. As my grandmother always says “if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be”. This mantra applies mainly to men and to other objects of desire. :)

Liberty Nike Dunks! – not for Target, but I think they are too awesome not to post.

See great photos from the NY pop up here via cool hunting.

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