A Space-Themed Nursery for my Baby Girl: Retro, Handmade, Fabulous!

I chose “Spaceships and Robots” as the theme for my daughter’s nursery because I wanted to create a special environment that would inspire her to reach for the stars and “boldly go where no man has gone before,” so to speak.  When I started shopping for the room, I was a bit disappointed, if not particularly surprised, to discover that pretty much every fabric or nursery accessory available on the market with robots and/or spaceships only comes in blues and reds and screams “little boy”.

Determined to create a “space” that embraced the geek-friendly theme with a feminine flare, I put my sewing machine and embroidery needle into warp drive to fill the room with handmade and embellished items in shades of pink, purple and teal.  I also scoured the work of Chicago-area “renegade” crafters and found some inspiring pieces that made for fantastic finishing touches to the room.

So, without further ado………. welcome to Olive’s nursery!

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The mural was done by me using sidewalk chalk with a lot of help from my friend Vin (a graphic designer/brander/artist) and a little help by my hubby (he did the cool stars). I sealed it with Krylon Low-Odor Finish. It’s inspired by a poster of Saturn by Steve Thomas who has a whole series of retro-fabulous space-travel posters. I was just so thrilled when I stumbled across Steve’s posters – one of which actually featured a female space adventurer that wasn’t dressed like a vixen! And a delightful, steampunk-esque Venus poster which actually used some girly purples and greens!

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I actually pulled the 2 paint colors for the room from the Venus poster. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Zero-VOC paint line, Natura in purple lotus and orleans violet.

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I wanted the pallet to have a bit more sophistication than your average nursery. I used fabrics to pull in a wide range of pinks from hot pink to “berry“ to the more traditional baby pink. And then I threw in a few teal accents for spice.

My M.I.L., Laurie, gave us the two posters framed for Christmas this year, and they now adorn the wall opposite the Saturn mural:

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She also gave us the charming rocker which used to belong to her late father and she made the cheery cushions with Bubble Burst Berry fabric I found on the aptly named Sew Mama, Sew website.

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The little bench next to the chair was actually a bench given to me by my Uncle Jeff when I was a baby that I recovered with some scrap fabric.

In the shelves on this wall you’ll see one of my most recent projects – fabric Ikea bins with patches I made by embroidering felt using Jenny Hart’s amazingly fabulous Spaced Out patterns from Sublime Stitching.

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I came across these patterns at last year’s Swap-O-Rama-Rama Chicago when Jenny donated them to our event. I fell in love with them and recognized instantly that they were the ideal way to work in retro, space-themed imagery in a color pallet of my choosing! Hazzah!

I also worked the Sublime Stitching embroidery into one of my more elaborate reuse projects. These IKEA fabric pouches were originally navy and used as extra storage in the bathroom of a previous apartment. I threw them in some scarlet dye hoping to turn them deep purple – I got close, a color Vin calls burple (brownish-purple). To brighten them up I added the pink pockets with the embroidery. Not only do the pockets make them cuter, they also provide extra storage! Bonus!

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In addition to the things I made, I’ve included several wonderful pieces from local artists. Take this owl print by Amanda Breitenbach that I picked up from the amazing Madison, WI shop Absolutely Art. (Flower lamp from Target.)

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And, I’m absolutely in love with this tea towel print by Leah Duncan. It was super easy (and free) to turn it into a wall hanging using a little scrap wood, ribbon, paint and hot glue (I’ll do a how-to post on this soon). Both the print and the blue robot embroidery you can see on the closet door (see next photo for a better shot of the robot) were picked up at Chicago’s Renagade Craft Fair.

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I got this robot piece as a gift from my bestie, Maria. (If anyone recognizes the artist, please post in the comments!)

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Another wonderful gift I just love is the amazing space elf Kleenex cover that my friend Kerri decoupaged for me as a shower gift.

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(It was originally filled with her amazingly scrumptious cake balls… yum!)

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And finally, here’s the first project I made for the room – a felt mobile with lots of stars, a purple and pink jupiter, a hot pink rocket ship, a loving robot and a one-eyed, baby alien.

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I’ve got a few more projects in mind for the room, like a space-aged clock and maybe a pillow or something with this HUG BOT (a free Sublime Stitching pattern) stitched on it…

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…watch the blog or my Facebook page for new projects and those promised how-tos coming soon!

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