Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Welcome to the Hive: Alice Jane’s Bumblebee Nursery

Did you hear the buzz? We’re bringing home a baby bumblebee! Well, we brought our little queen bee back to the hive six months ago. We think she’s the bee’s knees, she’s bee-loved, and sweeter than bee vomit (honey)…okay I’m stopping.

I really love bees. In my team design class in college, which was the culmination of my civil engineering studies, we were to design an industrial complex with a recycling business capable of generating 20 megawatts of energy with a sustainable residential zone catering to employees and families of on-site industries. We were to propose and research five related industries and design the structural, geotechnical, environmental, and transportational aspects of the complex. I was quick to suggest an entomological enterprise, which integrated with our proposed greenhouse facility. Bees and butterflies provide a vital link in pollination and you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that an estimated 1/3 of honeybees have recently vanished. As Einstein (may or may not have) said, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

It is a dream of mine to someday have a hive in our backyard. It took great restraint not to invest in this amazing Flow Hive kickstarter campaign. I have even researched beekeeping classes in Illinois. For fellow Pushing Daisies fans (and if you’re not, you should be)…Chuck Charles is my spirit animal! THEN I came across this absolutely stunning room reveal on Pinterest, featuring an ombre hexagon wall in a citrus color palette, and it clicked! I knew that if we had a baby girl, I wanted to do a bumblebee themed nursery, heavy on the geometrics (another obsession of mine)!

We were moving the bed from our guest room into the basement and converting it into Alice’s nursery. The room already had these great olive green geometric floor to ceiling curtains my mom made to coordinate with the guest bedding and I didn’t really want to replace them. All bee themed nursery décor I found online was “blah” yellow and black, babyish, yuck…not what I was going for, so I knew I would be going custom. My next “ah-ha” moment came when I discovered the Sweet as Honey by Bonnie Christine fabric collection in the Autumn Harvest Palette. I could not have personally designed something better aligned with my vision! I quickly identified the “Orchard Blossom in Autumn” as the primary fabric I would use to make the crib sheets and changing table cover. I chose my four other favorite fabrics for a 4-tiered ruffled crib skirt, purchased some extra “Bee Sweet in Sunset” for a Boppy cover, and ordered a fat quarter bundle to assemble a small quilt, backed with gray minky.

We decided to create our own ombre hexagon wall behind the crib, although ours would not include the wooden hexagon grid like our inspiration wall. We measured the wall and I laid it out in AutoCAD to determine the optimum size and spacing for the hexies (how else would you do it??). Then I brought it into Photoshop and used the dropper tool to identify five colors from a jpeg image of my Orchard Blossom swatch that I would use in the corner of the wall. We took a trip to Home Depot with a print of this template, the Orchard Blossom swatch, and a swatch of the curtain fabric. In addition to the five hexagon colors, we pulled Behr’s White Clay, which we’ve used as the primary neutral color throughout our home, to paint the entire nursery and use as a background to the grid.

I made a hexagon template out of foam board and set about the painstaking task of taping off the grid. I was pleasantly surprised that it only took about two hours. After seeing it taped, I wound up altering my original design, just slightly.

We purchased sample sizes of each of the four accent colors, and started with the red since it was the only color to be used on a single row. The inside corner hexagon was easy because we just opened the jar and applied the paint. From then on, we poured the paint into a separate cup and mixed white paint to achieve the next desired color. This process wasn’t very precise and we quickly discovered we needed a lot more white paint than the sample size we had originally purchased. We used leftover gray paint from Malcolm’s nursery for the two gray rows, but it was a little too light once it was on the wall. Fortunately, we had some black paint leftover from another project and mixed black into the gray to achieve the two darkest shades.

The next big painting projects in the room were the crib and changing table. Malcolm’s changing table functions as his dresser, and we planned to leave the Restoration Hardware dresser from the guest room in the nursery to use for Alice, so we decided to purchase an inexpensive changing table from Ikea. We decided to transition Malcolm to full size bed and repurpose his crib in Alice’s nursery, but I didn’t think the pure white would look right with the existing furniture and color scheme. We decided to paint both the green color from the hexagon accent wall, which is Behr’s California Dreaming. I also found cute grey linen striped totes at Target that we use for storage under the changing table and end table.

I used the following internet tutorials/patterns for the bedding:

I used Lori Holt’s Hexie Half Ruler set to make the hexagon quilt. I modified the pattern slightly to suit my needs. I do not have a quilting machine, so I used a stitch in the ditch approach with my sewing machine to quilt two inner hexagons into each of the large hexies. Malcolm had hernia surgery in November before Alice was born, and I hand stitched the minky quilt binding while we were waiting in the hospital.

My last craft project in the room was the lampshade. I purchased this chartreuse rosette shade at Anthropologie several years ago to match the guest room bedding. I wanted to repurpose the same shade on this silver geometric table lamp from the Land of Nod, but it was not the right type of fitting. I wound up purchasing a simple white shade from the Land of Nod, removing the fabric from the Anthropologie shade, cutting away about three inches of fabric from the circumference, re-stitching it, and gluing it on the white shade.

We also purchased the grey honeycomb wall shelves from the Land of Nod. The glider and ottoman are from the same store, but we already had them in Malcolm’s room, we just moved them into Alice’s nursery to make room for his full size bed.

The three prints above the dresser, the felted wool mobile, and cast iron bee wall hooks were all Etsy finds. I was particularly fond of the monocled hedgehog and bee since I felt like the hedgehog gave a subtle nod to Alice in Wonderland! 

The Pottery Barn Kids Sweet Flower Rug in Crème was a gift to Alice from my Grandmother, and I feel like the neutral pop really tied the room together (any Big Lebowski fans?). 

This time I forwent making my own closet dividers (see Malcolm’s Dinosaur Nursery) with these pre-made ones I found on Etsy.

I think that hit all the highlights, but I’m happy to answer any questions! As with Malcolm’s room, we’re hoping we chose elements that can grow with her. Thanks for checking it out!

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