What’s Black and White and Red All Over?

Yesterday I shared the early plans for Calvin’s nursery, but today I thought I’d share what could have been.

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

Months back, I was looking through my wallpaper samples while thinking about what I was going to do in the nursery. The Scalamandré zebras have been a favorite for a long time, and Eleanor had even requested ages ago that we use them somewhere in this house. So I thought, hey! Maybe for the nursery! But then, perhaps you remember what happened with a certain little boy and his wallpapered room? I was not eager for a repeat.

Soon after scrapping that idea, I’d spotted a really cute zebra rug. Maybe the room could be inspired by the wallpaper instead! I already had those pillows elsewhere in the house, so I gathered them together and brought them up to the nursery. I found a red that was similar to the background of the wallpaper, and I went out to pick up the rug.

It wasn’t coming together though. The room would have needed a lot of art on the walls to break up all of the red, since I wasn’t going to have the pattern of wallpaper anymore. I could have switched to a different wall color of course, but the bigger problem with the plan was that I wasn’t a big fan of the rug in the room. The wood floor isn’t in the greatest condition (some discoloration from water damage, wear and tear from when the room functioned as a kitchen), and the rug only called attention to it. Back to the store it went, and back to the beginning for the room. I had Calvin not long after, and now that we’re past the newborn phase, I’m finally feeling ready and able to take on the design of his room again.

I still think the zebras could have led to a great nursery, but it wasn’t right for our house.

Starting on Calvin’s Nursery

Calvin is three months old and still sleeping in our bedroom, but I want to finish his nursery so it will be ready for him when we transition him to sleeping on his own. Let me give a quick recap here of how we created his room, which started as a kitchen that was leftover from when our house had been split into three apartments.

Second Floor Kitchen

Second Floor Kitchen

There was no stove or fridge, but the sink was still there. The hallway on the second floor was divided by a built-in next to the bathroom, and you had to walk through the kitchen to get from the front half of the house to the back. We opened the hallway back up, closed off a few doorways, added a new wall, and relocated one of the existing doors to create a new entrance for the room.

Removing the Hallway's Built-in Storage

The Hallway, Newly Opened Up

Hallway Progress

Framing for the New Hallway Section

This was all super-fun chaos to live through while very pregnant and with two little kids underfoot! But now the room is done, the wallpaper has been stripped, and the walls are primed, which brings us to where the room is today.

Kitchen to Nursery Conversion

The Nursery, Before

Calvin's Nursery, Primed

I have made a few choices for the nursery that I’m keeping in mind as I decide on a wall color. We’ve had a set of four prints by Ryan Kapp, 4 Seasons in Chicago, for years. They’re a funny size that don’t fit in standard frames, and I never had a specific spot for them so I hadn’t gotten them framed professionally. I want to hang them on the wall behind Calvin’s crib, so I finally brought the prints to a local frame shop and I’m looking forward to getting them back and putting them up in the nursery.

4 Seasons in Chicago, by Ryan Kapp

The crib will be the same black Jenny Lind that Eleanor and August slept in. I have a light blue rug already picked out for the room, and the bedding too (a polka dot crib sheet and a toddler duvet in this print).

The Nursery's Fabrics, Art, and Rug

The windows let in a ton of light, but with wood flooring, wood trim, and a wall of built-in wood cabinetry, choosing the wall color has been tricky. I like our blue/gray bedroom color, but I also used it in the hall and I don’t want to use it in yet another space. I’ve been really drawn to a mustard/ochre color, but it’s too similar to the wood with its yellow undertones. I’m also not looking for a typical baby pastel. I’m considering black (like the parlor downstairs), maybe a deep, mossy green (like this), or white. I just need to choose so that Calvin’s nursery can be painted!

No More Excuses

Do you eat dinner together as a family every night? We do, but until a couple of weeks ago, we didn’t always finish together. Eleanor and August know that they have to ask “may I be excused?” before they leave the table. (I highly recommend teaching your kids to do this too, because once they’re in the habit and they do it in front of company or at a friend’s house, they look super-polite and you get a million parenting points. Grandparents especially notice.) The problem is that we started getting to the point where the kids would each finish their meal and immediately ask to be excused — leaving the rest of us still at the table. So now we’re trying a new rule where they stay at the table until everyone is done.

The pictures in this post are from a dinner we made over the weekend: blood orange roasted salmon, from Blue Apron.

Cooking Blood Orange Roasted Salmon from Blue Apron | Making it Lovely

I’ve partnered with Blue Apron before, and I’m happy to continue to do so. They deliver fresh ingredients to your door, saving you a trip to the grocery store, and delivering exactly the right proportions for each recipe. I like it because the recipes don’t take too long (40 minutes or less), and they push me to include extra touches that I wouldn’t think to add otherwise. Do I usually top my food with pepitas or use a blood orange in place of a regular one? No, and adding them made our dinner feel more special, like we were getting a restaurant-style meal at home.

Ingredients from Blue Apron

The recipe we made called for the salmon to be roasted, which meant cooking in our unpredictable antique oven. We’re pretty used to its quirks and we do often make fish in it, but I finally bought an oven thermometer so now we know that “Hot” actually means 500 degrees. (I suppose that’s why we’ve never seen the gauge go all the way to “Very Hot.” Can you imagine?)

Cooking Blood Orange Roasted Salmon from Blue Apron | Making it Lovely

You know the pink dishes I painted last week? I went and picked some up, and let me tell you — everything looks prettier on a pink plate!

Blood Orange Roasted Salmon from Blue Apron | Making it Lovely

Using gold flatware helps too, as demonstrated by my little hand model. She was a big fan of the salmon.

Blood Orange Roasted Salmon from Blue Apron | Making it Lovely

So, the new rule? It’s working so far! The kids are getting an exercise in patience, waiting until everyone has finished before being excused, and it’s giving us a little more time to sit at the table as a family and talk. Of course, a lot of that ‘talk’ is made up of little kid jokes that don’t make any sense, but it’s still nice. (And won’t the grandparents be impressed!)

hr 644

If you’d like to try Blue Apron, I have a discount offer to share with you. The first 50 readers to sign up via Making it Lovely get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order!

The service is available nationwide to over 80% of the country. The plans have changed a little since I last wrote about the service and they now offer two types: the 2-Person Plan and Family Plan. We use the Family Plan, which is designed for a family of four (or more, if your kids are little and don’t eat a ton at each meal). Each delivery has enough food for two meals to be served family-style, you can choose to receive either one or two deliveries per week. The price is $69.92 per delivery ($8.74/serving) but there’s also a 2-Person plan offering one delivery a week with three meals for $59.94 ($9.99/serving). The food arrives in a refrigerated box so the ingredients will stay fresh, and they have a Blue Apron market with kitchenware, should you find yourself wanting to add a few new tools to your arsenal. They add new dishes all the time, shipping is always free, and there’s no commitment — you can skip or cancel whenever you’d like to.

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