Monday, April 12, 2010

Retro Cowboy Nursery: Story One

I told you I had about seven stories to tell from my week in Alabama. So here we go with number one!

It's the story of making a plain Jane bedroom into a retro cowboy nursery.

Jamie and Thad had already painted the nursery and redid the floor. We got to come in to help with all the "fun stuff".

Above is one of the inspiration pieces for our grandson's nursery: a little set of pillows made by Becky of Sweet Cottage Dreams. She's a talented seamstress as you can see and this little set of pillows caught my eye one day because it matched our curtain fabric so well, I bought the pair. So precious and so perfect!

I love the trims Becky chose as well, to work into the pillow and add interest. Here's a link to Becky's ETSY shoppe. I know you'll enjoy visiting there and browsing her great vintage finds and her handmade items.

The crib set is a perfectly used Eddie Bauer crib set I found at a garage sale a couple years back for $ had everything and was just like new. It's perfect, it turns out, for a retro cowboy nursery.

The cradle has been in the family for a while, we'd bought it used. It last was used for our son Luke, who is now fourteen and a half, and then my niece Katie who is thirteen! Jamie took it all apart, sanded and then painted it white, and Thad picked out this Thomas the Train fabric for sheets and a blanket for the cradle, because he loves trains.

The baby will be in their bedroom for the first few months...

I am starting a "Little Golden Book" collection for our new grandson. I am having trouble finding them new in stores, and found a good selection on Of course I always buy nice ones at garage sales, but there were a few titles I had to have...that I didn't want to have to hunt for.

I remember when my kids were little, most department stores had a HUGE rack of Little Golden Book titles. Why not now? My kids used to LOVE to pick out their own titles with their first little "allowances".

The old train book shown here was an antique store find and is from the early sixties. I thought Thad would like it, because he loves trains and he can read this book about how railroads were made to his little boy soon!

Jamie picked up this little book from the late 1950's as an inspiration, too. I took it to a copy shop and got three of the full-sized illustrations copied to frame for the wall. They turned out pretty well! While I was there, I photographed the book to share with you on a "Story Time!" post. It's too cute!

The photos were put on a long narrow wall that faces you as you walk in the nursery door.

The curtain fabric was an accident that happened to us while we were in Alabama for Christmas. We were walking through Wal-Mart for a quick errand and poor Thad, Jamie and I decided to go through the fabric aisle " know how that can be: men hate it when their wives want to "browse fabric"! Well in two minutes we found this fabric: priced at only $2.97 a yard.

It was a complete bolt, never been cut. Jamie asked Thad if he liked it for the baby (we had just found out it was a boy that week!) and he said yes. It was meant to BE!

So we bought the whole bolt; ten yards. We thought we'd use it for curtains, and to reupholster the old rocking chair we used to rock our youngest son so long ago. There's plenty extra leftover for a toddler bedspread if that's what we need in the next few years.

I think it is perfect, with the robin's egg blue background, it's soft enough for a baby room and all the illustrations are purely retro. Jamie had a lot of retro cowboy items she'd used in her living room while she was a single girl and we knew a lot of those would look great with this fabric.

On the rocker, I centered the bull rider on the seat and on the rocker back. We treated the whole chair and the footstool with Scotch Guard, since the fabric is not meant for upholstery. I think it'll last, though, because it's not going to get rough use for a whole family, just a place in the nursery for mom to rock her little man or to breastfeed.

We all loved how it turned out; couldn't believe we actually did it! I can tell you I was a lot braver because my husband helped. I don't know how a person can upholster alone: there are so many times when you have to have the extra pair of hands to hold the fabric so that you can staple or tack, or sew.

This is the first piece we've ever reupholstered. We just took the chair apart, and removed the old fabric, cut our pieces the same shape and tried to put it back as we found it. (We should have used our digital camera to take pictures as we tore it apart, there were several times it would have been helpful!)

It took Lem and I ALL DAY, so let me tell you that your re-upholstering jobs you hire out are well worth the money, it's not an easy job, the pieces of fabric are big and our most annoying problem was finding a place to spread it all out to work on it and keeping the fabric pristine while doing so, because the underbelly of the chair and the inside workings are old and dirty!

At one point, we almost gave up. We didn't know what to do, the chair is very old and some of the nail holes have used up all the space in the wood where you'd attach the fabric. Fortunately, for us, this happened in a place where the chair wouldn't be used heavily, it was on the back of the seat at the top. My solution was to use HOT GLUE! It worked...just amazing what you can do with a glue gun.

The changing table in the photo above was another garage sale find: in perfect condition for $40...and it matched the crib! Amazing! All we had to do was wash it, buy a nice shelf liner for the shelves underneath, and buy a new changing table pad.

This dresser was a find! Jamie had been looking for a long time for something old, not too tall (so it wouldn't tip over on an active toddler) and reasonably priced.

After her baby shower on Saturday afternoon, we went shopping real quick. The town where her shower was held is a beautiful old historic town that all of the downtown is chock full of antique stores! (I have a whole post just to do on that town!)

They closed at five and we started shopping at 4:30!

Well, in the first five minutes, she found this old beauty for $175 and it's perfect! She also found the old nail keg, with the top still intact. It's perfect for holding her glass of water or milk while she nurses. Plus, it's just cute with the room, don't you think?

Jamie had this little lamp already, and I just picked up a new $7 shade at Target for it. The embroidered dresser runner was a find at an antique store well over a year ago. It's some of the best hand needlework I've ever seen; just perfect stitches.

It's just so much fun to put all the "finds" together and have them work so well.

The little crocheted cowboy boots in the photo below were a gift from her friend Donna, given at her shower. What fun they are, I think they were probably Jamie's favorite gift of the day! She says as big as the baby's feet are now, he'll probably be wearing these at the hospital! The little guy comes by those big feet honestly, from grandma to mom and daddy, too!

This little old stool has a lift top. It was something I had in the attic when Jamie moved south six years ago. It was well used and well worn. We reupholstered it, and added this fringe. Now she has a place to prop her feet while she's rocking if she wants it. The cute factor is just a bonus.

After we got the room done, I said "Why didn't I take "before" pictures of everything?!?!" I guess we were so pressed for time and had so much to do in a short time, I just didn't think to stop and take those pictures!

This piece houses a previously unused television that may come in handy during nighttime nursing sessions. On the top are two lamps she found in our half-hour antique shopping blitz after the baby shower, perfect for the room. (Click on picture for a better view.)

The antique toy horse in the center is a tin wind-up toy that my husband's dad, Levi used to play with when he was little. Levi was born in 1932, so it's a very unique and rare piece, and we loaned it to Jamie to use for the nursery. They're thinking of naming baby Levi Jack: Levi for Jamie's grandpa, and Jack for Thad's grandpa. So it's fitting that little Levi's nursery would have great-grandpa Levi's toy.

Lamp light is so much softer and better than overhead lighting, especially in a nursery. She thought these lamps had the 'look' she was going after.

Jamie and Thad picked up the pictures of John Wayne or "The Duke", a young Clint Eastwood and Roy Rogers and Trigger on various antiquing expeditions over the months since deciding to do a cowboy-themed nursery.

This photo shows my husband's first gift to his grandson: a Case XX jack knife that we bought at an old-fashioned downtown hardware store in a town nearby. I wish I'd had my camera for that hardware store, you all would have loved it.

Since we met in a hardware store, and our whole family's living has come from hardware, we love stopping in at old-fashioned hardware stores and this one was so similar to the store we met each other in, it was uncanny. We caught them just before closing but made it well worth their time with our purchases. It was a nostalgic visit for sure!

It was the dearest little store. They had the old Case XX knife display we used to sell from, so Papa had to get the little guy his first knife: it's a tradition with my husband's grandpa, dad and uncle: they all loved and collected pocket knives. This one is a soft yellow, and Papa has one just like it. (I thought it was so sweet....Papa is thrilled about his little grandson.)

Also on the dresser sits an antique sectioned baby dish, with farm animals all around the rim: a thoughtful gift to Jamie from her Aunt Mary. It's so cute, that when I saw the child's glass at a garage sale last summer with farm animals on it, I had to buy it to make a "set". I had given Jamie her baby silverware long ago, so little guy is all set for solids...and in sweet retro style, too!

On the dresser are a pair of Thad's old spurs, from his days of being young and foolish and thinking he could actually ride a bull. They sure look cute in the baby's bedroom!

Bryant was so funny, all week long, he would come into the room and look all around, checking to see if we'd moved things, and looking them over, sniffing them and generally patrolling the area. He knows something's up around the house, something big, I can tell. I can see him being baby's biggest protector. He loves to come in the room and lay down.

And, of course Daisy, she had to check things out, too. She doesn't have quite the same wisdom as her daddy, but she's learning. I can see her being the little guy's playmate, the dog he "grows up with" because Daisy's just a pup, too!

This is a picture of the detail on the rocker: it reminds me of the tooling on a leather western belt, that's why I was so thrilled it was able to be used again, especially in such a fun room!

A little set of cowboy boots, just waiting for those little feet to grow into...

Another pair I picked up at a garage sale a few years back, I've always know Jamie's kids would need cowboy boots, she loves them so much! If he never wears them, well they look pretty darn perfect just sitting in the room!

And this little chalkboard sign is one that Dee of "Farmhouse Country Style" sent in with my order of signs last year. I thought it would be cute on the nursery door.
How about that, Dee?! Here's a link to Dee's adorable SIGN SHOPPE.

Jamie had several little tin signs around with a western theme, we did a grouping of them over the crib for bigger impact. The crib is ours, from when Luke was a baby. Luke was the only one of our kids who had a "new" crib. We saved it and I'm glad, because it's a nice piece and you could hardly tell it was used. Jamie can use it for her babies and that makes it a sentimental piece, a family heirloom.

Here are some vintage toys I packed before we left so the little guy could have them in his room; they're my favorites from my collection. This little train engine is from way back, and is a pull toy. Hiding behind the train engine is a puppy from Fisher Price from 1961, a pull toy, too! Still works perfectly, the durability of those old toys cannot be matched!

The happy apple is a musical toy, when it wobbles, it makes chime music. The little daisy is a mirror on one side and a rattle on the other, also by Fisher Price, it just makes me smile!

Behind the toys is a quilt rack where Jamie has displayed many quilts and blankets made and given to her by friends and family since she's found out they're having a baby!

Jamie picked the little rocker up months ago, and it's the cutest thing, a miniature edition of the rockers seen on front porches all over the south land. (And, hanging in the closet are his little bib overalls and a miniature jean jacket.)

I hope you enjoyed the stories behind our little grandson's nursery. To me, the fun is in the hunt; in finding so many things from so many different places that all work with the theme chosen--all to make a room interesting and fun.

Pick a theme and go with it, and add to your little collection and over time you will have a room that just makes you smile, one that makes you so comfortable, and at home.


Bloggin bout my Boys said...

Little Levi will be in his GLORY in that room! All of the hard work and treasures you found have made it magazine worthy!! Best of all alot of them were repurposed or thrifty finds or family history pieces. LOVE that Lem got him that first special pocket knife! Can't wait for #2 of 7!!

Angela said...

My goodness, this is the most beautiful baby's room I have ever seen. Seriously!! WOW..I loved everything...oh that precious wee loved and cherished he is~! What a loving grandma...

Mandy said...

I think that is the cutest room ever! Love every detail!

Anonymous said...

O my o my -- I can't believe you were able to do so much so fast.. I have twin sons and their room was done in cowboy style too but not nearly as cutely done as your grandson's room -- I tell ya -- now a days there is so much offered out there you can do in no time and have such a cool room -- nicely done -- I really love love the footstool!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

WOW!!!! You girls have been SEW busy! (had to put that in...) The nursery could not be any cuter! I shared your post with my hubby and we are swooning over the rocker and dresser! Beautiful old pieces. Yes, the rocker does look like an old western belt. The little baby is going to have a rootin' tootin' time in his cowboy bedroom! The doggies must like it, too.

PS: Smiling ear to ear! Thank you for your kind words about the pillows! They do match!

mary your sis said...

OMGosh! This has to be the cutest, most adorable cowboy room evah! It needs to be in a mgazine. i think the magazine "Cowboys and Indians" needs to do an editorail spread on this and other cowboy bedrooms. But there could never be a cuter one!

Between You and Me said...

Thanks for stopping by...I loved looking at your REAL LIFE farmhouse!!!

I loved all these pictures of the nursery!

now a happy follower!

Connie said...

What a wonderful room for the new little cowboy! Great job :)

Donna said...

The decorating in that nursery is incredible! That grandson of yours is one lucky little fella!

FHCS said...

Joni....I love the room! It is just Adorable! The rocker is beautiful, and you all did an amazing job. I can't wait to see your sweet grandbaby in it! Oh, and the sign looks too cute in there, I love it so glad I poked in on your posts!