Hogwarts (Harry Potter) Nursery

What with Chloé coming early (and two days after my baby shower), her nursery never got the proper showing it deserves. So today, while she took her first daytime nap, I cleaned things up and took some final pictures. There’s still a few things I wanted to add (the star cover for the change table and some of the art from the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection hung behind the door), but this is done enough for me to be quite happy with it. I’ll try to source everything for you, in case you really like a piece.

Without further ado…

Harry Potter Name Art

Harry Potter Name Art by Brett Lillard on Etsy. Highly recommend.

HP Nursery Crib

Crib: Storkcraft Verona in Espresso. Crib skirt: handmade using this tutorial. Name Art: Brett Lillard

3D Star Close-up

3D Stars (Sorry, I don’t know the source, I’ve had these since I was a teenager.)

Harry Potter Nursery Cerberus

Cerberus (Or Fluffy, if we’re being all Harry Potter) Squishable: squishable.com (thanks again Joe!) Star Sheets: Babies R Us.

Harry Potter Nursery Change Table

Change Table: South Shore Savanna in Espresso Gilder & Ottoman: Storkcraft Hoop in Espresso/Beige Wall art by me (Crests based on WB’s Movie House Crests). Wand set is Dumbledore’s Army.

Harry Potter Nursery Art Close Up

Close up view of the art, stars, and snitch. (Stars, again, I’ve had forever. Snitch is from this kit.)

Harry Potter Nursery Sorting Hat Song Art

Close up of the Sorting Hat Song art. (This is based on a version of this done by Alan Tom.)

Harry Potter Nursery Bench

Flying keys & deacon’s bench by me. Gryffindor Pillow, Character Pillow, and knitted owl was all made by my SIL E’s MIL. Star and cloud pillows are vintage from my youth. The lamb is JellyCat. Beige Curtains are Eclipse panels. Shear curtains are vintage.

Harry Potter Nursery Flying Keys

Closer look at the Flying Keys. (And curtains, I guess.)

Harry Potter Nursery Keys and Art

Okay, this one is just because I like seeing the keys with the art. 😛

Harry Potter Gryffindor Pillowsa

Closer look at the Gryffindor set of pillows.

Harry Potter Sky Pillow Set

Closer look at the Sky Pillow set.

Harry Potter Nursery Armoire

Armoire: South Shore Savanna in Espresso Lamp and candlestick are vintage. Large owl: Chapters.ca Small owl nightlight (Thanks LC!): kinderglo.com  Hamper: Household Essentials Box to left of armoire is Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection

Harry Potter Nursery Moon Mirror

This is another piece I’ve had for at least 15 years. It’s above the closet…

Harry Potter Nursery Sun Mirror

…while this one is above the nursery room door.

And if you have any interest in seeing some of the “making of” for the nursery, you can see all the nursery posts here.



Nursery Preview – Deacon’s Bench & Sconces

I’ve talked a little about my Deacon’s Bench. It’s a handcrafted piece that was made for my birth. It’s traveled with me from Canada to Houston to Miami to The Woodlands to Austin to Vegas and back to Toronto. Thirty years and a lot of travel has certainly caused some wear and tear, but it’s held up better than one might expect.

When I was little I kept my toys in it. As I grew up it became a place for my clothing or towels/linens. And of course it was always nice to have an extra place to sit. (Sometimes it’s super awkward to have someone in your room only able to sit on the bed.)

I’m hoping Spawn gets as much use out of it as I did. But first, I had to make a few changes so that it would work with the rest of the nursery.

I’m not actually sure what colour it started out as, but back before I moved to Vegas I painted it a medium cherry wood. It was to match some other furniture I re-purposed and painted. I can’t swear to what I used, but I’m sure it was an all-in-one polyurethane type colour. I didn’t sand or do anything special, just painted and let it dry.

I knew this time I’d have to do more work. All my nursery furniture is in Espresso, and it’s a tricky colour to match. It can look almost black in low-light, but under close observation you can still see the grain of the wood. I was having a heck of a time finding a stain anywhere in Espresso. Eventually I gave it up and mixed two colours. (Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Onyx and Dark Walnut)

The first step was to strip the old finish off and sand down the bench to get a blank canvas to work from. I got a little over-excited and I forgot to take a photo before I started work. So, just pretend the photo below doesn’t have the stripping on the front.

Deacon's Bench Start

Once I managed to remove the old finish and sand it down, it looked like this:

Stripped BenchYou can clearly see the damage on the front, right-hand bottom foot. I was worried about this, and thought I might have to fill it, but it turned out fine without the extra work.

With the clean, finish free wood exposed, I applied my stain mixture:

One Coat BenchCertainly it was darker, but not half as dark as I wanted it to be. (You can see the arm of my glider in the upper left-hand corner. It’s a good barometer for how much darker I needed to go.) I applied two more coats, but felt as though the process was really going slowly. You’re supposed to apply the stain, let it sit for a given amount of time based on the absorption you’re looking for, and then use a cloth to remove the excess. I decided to try just leaving the stain on over night.


The flash makes it look lighter than it really is. It also showcases how ridiculously shiny it came out.  I loved the colour, but the shine was driving me up the wall. I took to the interwebs to find myself a solution. What I was really hoping to find was a Matte Polyurethane. Much like my Espresso stain, I had a very difficult time with locating a Matte finish. I spoke to several experts and most of them felt like a Satin Polyurethane would work to my satisfaction.

My other consideration was the hardware; two hinges and a purely decorative heart pull on the front. They were originally black, but had chipped and rusted in places. I looked around and didn’t find anything I liked better. I thought about refinishing them. Then it occurred to me that the finish I wanted to achieve (namely antiqued) existed naturally in the hardware I already had.

So I applied two coats of the Satin Poly, reattached the hardware, and am happy to say the bench has achieved new life.

Finished BenchVoilà!

I’m quite pleased with the finished piece. Still, if I had to do it all over again, there are some things I would do differently.

First of all, do you see those gauzy white curtains in the photo above? Yeah, I should have moved them out of the way. The one on the left has some small flecks of stain on it. Not anything you’d notice without looking, but it was such a simple thing to take the time to move them out of harm’s way.

I’d also recommend trying to find the stain and polyurethane in one. I should have just special ordered the all-in-one in espresso. Maybe it wouldn’t have come out as nice, but it certainly would have taken a lot less time to come together.

While I was staining the bench, it occurred to me that I had an opportunity to “antique gold” a couple of wall sconces at the same time. I’d had them for awhile, used for everything from holding art to hanging window decor. They are going to be a part of the crib canopy for Spawn’s room, but their off-white colour didn’t work for me.

Here’s the starting and finished version:

Sconce Before and AfterFirst step to making the antique gold was to use a simple gold pant.

Pre and Post Stain SconcesOnce that dried, I used my bench stain and some cheesecloth to rub all over the sconces.

It’s a fast and dirty trick to completely change the look of an object.

I did a lot of work on the nursery this weekend, and with the exception of the “soft” decor (sheets, change pad cover, blanket(s), rug, etc) it’s just about finished.

Should be able to show you the finished look soon. (I’m very excited.) 😀



Nursery Preview – The Art

I crossed over into 30 weeks on Sunday. I’m going to get into how crazy that is to me in a day or so, because I have other stuff this week I want to cover.

So you know what that means! Time for more Nursery stuff!

“On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard’s hat…A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth – and the hat began to sing…”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 7 – The Sorting Hat

The Sorting Hat‘s first song does a really nice job of laying out each of the four houses at Hogwarts and the type of person who belongs in each. It’s not exactly a nursery rhyme, but it works in a similar fashion. I saw a graphic version of this song done by Alan Tom. [He doesn’t have it on his website, but you can view it on my pinterest here.]

Being an upstanding citizen, (AKA a graphic designer that does not steal other people’s work) I emailed Mr. Tom. I told him about my plans for the nursery and asked if he’d be willing to sell me a printable file or, worse case scenario, a poster/print. I also mentioned that I was a graphic designer who could recreate the art with approval. Thankfully, Alan Tom got back to me rather quickly. The reason the Sorting Hat Song no longer exists on his website as a sample of his work is because Warner Brothers has given him a cease and desist. He gave me the okay to use his work as a jumping off point. So off I jumped. 😛

I had this printed on a photo-fabric type material with a light texture and a slight shimmer. It’s mounted on a wooden frame, much like a painting canvas would be. Finished size is 10″ x 30″ on a 2″ frame.

Sorting hat song

My other digital to print project started as a bit of a disaster. I planed on getting the 4 official house crests throws for Spawn’s nursery. This was to be the major source of colour in the room, so it was a vital piece of the overall look and puzzle. Once I finally started to measure out the wall space, however, I quickly realized that the large pieces would not logically fit. I could hang them from the ceiling, but that was about it.

So I rapidly reformulated my plan. I would design my own art, based around the various house colours and animals. I started with baby versions of each house mascot. It was cute, and it made the whole layout of the room younger.

Which…I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted. (Also, had a major time trying to track down a baby Raven to work from.)

On a whim, I tried the same background design but with heraldic animals rather than the cute babies. MFH and I liked my samples of this style much better. When I started to actually get to work on getting it together, I found that it was impossible to find a heraldic badger design to work from. I could have spent days working on creating one from the outline of a heraldic bear, but I wasn’t convinced it would work.

Frustrated, I went back to the beginning. The whole point of this art was the colours and the representations of the house crests. So why wasn’t I just using the house crests? Excellent question. So back I went. I still kept my background designs, but this time I put the theatrical crests on top of it. It worked. I could hardly believe it. MFH approved. I sent the finished proofs to Mom and LC. They both came back with positive feedback.

As with the Sorting Hat Song, I had it printed on the specialized fabric and mounted on a wooden frame. This time only a 1″ frame to better serve the 16″x16″ finished size.

Hogwarts House Crests

As much other work as we’ve done on and to the nursery, there is something about getting these off the pixels of my computer and in to real life paper and ink that makes me feel like things are really coming together. I think it’s the marketing manager in me; nothing is done until the posters are hung and media is running.

It’s safe to say I’m moving well past pre-nesting into a more full-fledged nesting.  I haven’t gone up the walls and started scrubbing things with a toothbrush, but I see things going that way soon enough.

But, for now, I will soothe myself with pretty pictures. 😀

Nursery Preview – Winged Keys

It was full of small, jewel-bright birds, fluttering  and tumbling all around the room…”They’re not birds!” Harry said suddenly. “They’re KEYS! Winged keys.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 16 – Through the Trapdoor

I knew early on I wanted to have flying keys in Spawn’s room.

It’s not like they are a major part of the Harry Potter cannon. They appear for a handful of pages in the first book as part of a challenge and then are never seen or heard from again. Still, they so completely capture the world of HP. Have a door you don’t want people to simply be able to get through? Not good enough to just lock it. You must lock it, give the key that unlocks it wings, and let it loose with hundreds of other winged keys. Catch it if you can. 😛

Making the keys was really concrete in my head. I’d seen a ton of examples online, but none of them looked how the keys had in my mind while reading the books. (The movie version failed me entirely by looking more like semi opaque dragonfly wings.) I’d seen the wings done in paper, shimmery fabric, papier mâché, and even stained glass. They all had their merits, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think of actually using feathers, but I’ve yet to see it done that way online.

I picked up two packages of medium sized quill-type feathers and an extra package of smaller downy-type feathers. Both were by Creatology™ and available at Michael’s. The keys themselves were a bit harder to track down. I ended up ordering a huge lot of mixed keys off eBay for about $10. Still have a bunch of tiny keys I have no idea what I’m going to do with, but there you go. I have both a high and low heat glue gun. I’d used the low-heat for the peacock feathers in my wedding, so I figured that would work well for this application as well.

First I glued the individual feathers together to make wings, cutting the ends down as needed. I didn’t bother much with one technique or style over another. My only focus was that they all to look different. After all, they aren’t supposed to be atomically correct birds wings…just magic wings. 😀

Once I had two sets of wings, I glued them one side at a time to the keys. (Letting them dry/harden completely before going to the next side.) If needed, I’d top off the top/bottom with a bit more glue until they were completely solid and could handling a bit of me flailing them around without falling apart.

If I’d really been thinking, I’d probably have gotten some wire for attaching the wings. Still, I’m not unhappy with the glue in the end.

Completed keys:

Winged-Keys-4 Winged-Keys-3 Winged-Keys-2Winged Keys 1

HP fans will know why I was so excited about making the blue winged sliver key with one broken wing. 😉

They’re colourful and the weirdest combination between soft (feathers) and hard (metal keys). I have no idea if I’m going to randomly hang them from the ceiling, put them on a mobile, or do something else entirely; but that’s part of the fun. They’re done, and that’s one thing I can cross off my list of crazy.

And seriously, I need less on my list of crazy. More to come soon…

*In unrelated news, I’m officially in my third trimester today. Have lots to say about that, but making the keys took up my evening so I figured I’d write about them first. More on that later.*

That’ll Learn Me

For the first time this whole pregnancy, I felt sick.

It was weird, not necessarily nausea, but a combination of back-of-the-throat pre-nausea and really super high in the trunk hunger pains. I felt, for lack of a better word, pregnant. And it was all my fault.

This past week has taught me that I really need to follow that food pyramid. Or at the very least, I need to eat one of everything on it, all the time. A day of too much carbs/starch seems to be just as bad as a day where I only eat salads.

Since last week, I’ve made sure that my snacks are just as likely to be a piece of fruit as they are to be a kashi bar. My dinners might be a beautiful and colourful assortment of veggies and protein, but I’ve learned to add a potato or small piece of bread. Otherwise, bad things happen.

I haven’t actually had the unenviable experience of true morning sickness, but I feel like this whole episode was a warning. One that I very much want to heed.

I’m going to go off on what will seem like a sidebar here, but I promise it’ll come back around to this.

So MFH has zero desire to know the Spawn’s gender before the birth. Let me rephrase that properly. MFH absolutely, 100% does not want to know the gender of the Spawn and will murder any who dare try and inform him.

I’m filing this in the same binder as him fighting tooth and nail not to see my wedding dress before I walked up the aisle to him. And, much like figuring out how not to talk about/show him the dress, I will have to do the same ninja work on this. Because besides wanting to know myself, my mother and grandmother (and perhaps the extended family as well) are desperate to know as well.

For Mom and G’mom, knowing the gender helps with anything they’d like to buy/make the Spawn ahead of time. But I also think it’s just exciting and something that feels like a little extra fun. I just have to be the one that reminds everyone to watch what they say around MFH’s hearing. Also the one that figures out where to hide anything gender specific we get as gifts. (Talk about first world problems, eh?)

That’s why our idea of having a Harry Potter themed nursery is so genius. I can work on it all while leading up to the birth…and no one will be the wiser about gender. (I’ll get into HP and why it’s perfect for us in a later post, but for now just trust me that it’s perfect for us.)

A few years ago, my laptop died on me. It totally sucked and left my hands a bit free for my liking, so I searched around for a project I could do while I waited for a replacement. I found a massive cross stitch of the Hogwarts school crest, and made it my new little (HUGE) project.

Well, soon enough I got a new laptop…then planned a wedding…and yeah, life. It gets in the way of things if you let it. My sad cross stitch sat always in the closet, waiting for me to get back on it.

Now that I’ve decided to do the HP theme, I have not only a reason to work on it, but I have a timeline to finish it.

Here’s what I have so far:
Hogwarts Crest Cross Stitch

And that brings me back ’round to our primary discussion.

Another thing I need to remember? My weekend naps are suuuuuper important. I’ve consistently taken naps all weekend, pretty much from the time I suspected I *might* be pregnant. It never occurred to me that the reason why I was able to make it through the work week without much issue was that I stored the extra hours on the weekend.

But when I was so furiously working on my cross stitch, I didn’t feel the need to nap.

Monday, I almost fell asleep at my desk. Several times. Never in my life have I felt so out of control of my body/mood. It was insane the difference a couple naps made to my day.

Last night I went to bed extra early, and it seems to have me almost back to normal. But man, have I ever learned my lesson.

I solemnly swear that I will mix up my meals and always take my weekend naps, regardless of how I’m feeling that day.

It learned me good. :p