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 – Odds and Ends

Most of the nursery furniture was set up yesterday, but there’s still some things to do with all of that. Figured I’d leave it for another post.

I have a few things for Spawn’s room that we’ve either picked up over the years, or are just small pieces that I’ve brought in to make everything else more special.

Without further ado….

Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 5 – Diagon Alley

Every Potter fan I know always laments that no one has figured out a way to actually use owls for delivering mail. Harry’s owl, Hedwig, in particular caused a huge issue when parents started buying their kids snowy owls as pets not realizing that owls are…not pets. Clearly, I was not in the market for a live owl. But a ton of the stuffed animal owls I’ve seen look…not good.

Then Chapters came out with a 12″ tall white owl with actual feathers. I couldn’t find it in stores, but when it went on sale online I picked it up. Just came in today, and I am so pleased with it.

Now we just need a name...

Now we just need a name…

…it was tiny, about the size of a large walnut. It was bright gold and had little fluttering silver wings. “This,” said Wood, “is the Golden Snitch, and it’s the most important ball of the lot.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone, Chapter 10 – Hallowe’en

Much like with the winged keys, I thought about making a golden snitch. Then I found a super cheap version (also at Chapters) and just figured I’d call it a day. It comes on a small stand, but I may just hang it from the ceiling. We shall see…

I got 99 problems, but the snitch ain't one...

I got 99 problems, but the snitch ain’t one…

[Hermione] pinned the piece of parchment with all of their signatures on it on to the wall and wrote across the top in large letters: DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 – Dumbledore’s Army

When MFH and I went to Florida for our Honeymoon, we wanted to bring back something that was 1. sort of over the top and 2. something we’d normally never spend the money on. We ended up coming home with a set of wizards wands. The Dumbledore’s Army set, to be exact. It used to hang in our entryway at our old place. Now, though, it’s going to Spawn.

I won't deny that we've occasionally amused ourselves by waving these around and shouting nonsense at one another.

I won’t deny that we’ve occasionally amused ourselves by waving these around and shouting nonsense at one another.

As if you needed further proof that we’re Big Huge Nerds, we also own the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection BluRay/DVD set. (Just to be clear, we did not pay $699.99 for it, no matter what that Amazon link says. Holy Christ that’s a lot of money.)

It was a Christmas present to ourselves (along with the Bond 50 Collection) when MFH walked away from his office’s Christmas party with a $500 Visa Gift Card.

It comes in a great big box that opens up and has random compartments with things hidden in it. Opened, it’s huge, but closed it’s still a great big box. It never fit well in our living room, so it’s fun to be able to place it somewhere where it can be showcased properly.

It IS pretty awesome...

It IS pretty awesome…

I may or may not end up using some of the other “extras” that are in the above collection. One thing that for sure will end up as part of the décor is the map of Hogwarts, the surrounding area, and other places of note. It’s big, fabric, and sort of ideal for hanging on the wall. As per the usual, not exactly sure where exactly it’s going to go. Just that it will be there somewhere…


So that’s about it for now. More to come soon…

The Planner (Counting Chickens)

I’m nothing if not a planner. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me personally (or anyone who’s followed along here from the beginning).

I always have a game plan for one thing or another. (Or several things, as the case may be.) Getting to University. Scheduling my University classes (I had all 4 years planned out before I graduated high school.). Getting an agent for acting. It was all done meticulously and with no shortage of planning. Most of the time, what I planned for happened. When it didn’t, or didn’t exactly to plan, that was still okay, because proper planning means you take alternate situations into account. That way a small thing goes wrong and you deal; the whole thing doesn’t implode.

For a few years my planning mechanism went faulty. (Let’s be honest here, a lot of things went faulty.) I look back on it as a time of learning about the darkness of life. I was more adrift then I’ve ever been (and hope to ever be). I was caught in this half-being. Not happy where I was, but also unsure about where to go or what to do to fix it.

I started planning again. Lo and behold, I set myself on a course that landed me in with new, positive friends, a change in career, and finding My Future Husband. I also found myself. I found my voice again. I remembered my own power to do and feel good. The darkness lifted.

It’s not that everything was perfect. I had several false starts and what have you, but days changed from mostly dark to mostly light. Just like I’d planned. 😛

Planning for Spawn worked out perfectly. Better than it should have, probably. I wish everyone who wanted a child had as easy of a road of it as I did making it happen. It doesn’t work that way, but I wish it did.

My pregnancy has been super easy as well. I’ve passed everything with flying colours. Until now.

My glucose screen came back high, so I had to go back and take the actual three-hour test. Because I’d planned for it, I wasn’t shocked. Doesn’t discount the fact that I was very disappointed.

I’m a bit resigned now that I will probably be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. There are a wide range of possibilities if I am. Depending on the severity, I may only need to stop eating sugar/carbs. Not ideal this time of year, but completely and totally do-able. Of course, the other side involves a lot of intervention, medication, and the possibility of actually losing my midwives.

And while I completely understand that transferring me to an OB/GYN will only be done because the risks of birth to myself and my child will have drastically increased, logic cannot overcome the fact that I really don’t want to give up the women who have gotten me through this pregnancy thus far. All the planning in the world hasn’t prepared me for that sense of loss. I will have to man through it as/if it comes.

But on to a much brighter topic…

Until I started all my pre-pregnancy planning, I’d never heard of having a baby shower after the baby was born. I’d been to a slew of baby showers, starting at a fairly young age. None of them had a baby present, just a big-tummied lady.

The first time I realized you could have a shower after the baby, was reading a blog of a Jewish mom. Now, I’m well aware that it doesn’t have to be a religious thing. Having said that, there is (apparently) a very strong feeling in the Jewish community that purchasing items of celebration before confirming there is an actual living baby to celebrate is major bad luck. There is literally the idea of not counting your chickens before they hatch…

Now that I’ve been pregnant for awhile, I’ve heard more and more stories of showers after birth. Besides the good luck/bad luck thing, I’ve also heard people express that showers are just so much better when there’s a baby to pass around and cuddle.

Sure that’s adorable…but it also really skeeves me out. Passing a one-month old around the room of 20 so-odd people who are eating and drinking? While I somehow try to divert my attention away from Spawn long enough to open presents and remember to show how grateful I am for them? Nightmares. Literally, everyone go wash your hands right now, please.

And here’s the other thing. Having a shower after a wedding makes more sense to me. For one, you’re sure the two are actually going through with the thing. For another, no couple is going to come home after the wedding and really miss the place setting they might have gotten before. [aside: I am VERY grateful for everything MFH and I received both at my showers and for the wedding itself. I need to be extremely clear on that point. However, I don’t think waiting until after the wedding for those generous gifts would have made a real difference in our lives.)

If you wait to buy baby things until after the baby, you could literally have to go and buy a mattress (or bassinet or something) just after birth so that the baby can actually be put down on occasion. Or blankets. Diapers. Does this not terrify anyone else?

Having a shower before means I can see what we still have to get before we have a Spawn to juggle. (Figuratively, of course. No juggling babies in my house.) I promise you, I am OCD enough that I will find a way to purchase all “useful” items long before February 23rd. My child may not have a single stitch of clothing that I have purchased at birth, but there will be sheets, swaddlers, and diapers at the ready. 😀

Maybe if I wasn’t such a planner, that would all be okay. There wouldn’t be this mad desire to ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS.

Yup, that's me. [Art by one of my faves, Alli Brosh. Seriously, if you haven't read Hyperbole and a Half, now's the time.]

                                                         Yup, that’s me.                                                  [Art by one of my faves, Alli Brosh. Seriously, if you haven’t read Hyperbole and a Half, now’s the time.]

As it is, I’ve had to willfully restrain myself from putting together nursery furniture before our huge Christmas party tomorrow. (Seriously, the day after? All that furniture will be together and in place. MFH is a saint to stay with me sometimes, guys.)

I’ve got a few other things in the works for the nursery, so don’t be surprised if you see more photos in the next week or so.

In the mean time, I hope your days are bright and your well-laid plans come to fruition.

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.*