Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shopping for a baby

Since finding out I was pregnant I've spent a lot of time perusing different shops looking for baby furniture, linen, clothes etc. I thought I'd share some of the places I have found good quality items at good prices and hopefully it will help someone else out there!

Furniture

I was really fortunate to find the bassinet, cot and change table I admired but thought was completely out of  the question financially at a heavily discounted price for the floor model. I always thought of smaller baby shops as being more expensive than large chains and department stores but the lesson I learned is that perusing all kinds/sizes of shops definitely pays off. I purchased the bassinet, cot, change table, mattresses and canopy as a package for less than the normal retail on the bassinet alone (which is normally converted into a cot with the addition of extra pieces). 
I chose to buy Stokke because I liked the design, I liked that it could convert to toddler bed and the change table to a desk and most importantly I had confidence that the brand represented quality. My husband sat in a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair as a baby and we still have his chair today (after many more babies sat in it!) which we're happy to pass down to our child. 

To make the Tripp Trapp a bit more safe and comfortable for the baby I purchased a safety harness from a baby shop (approx. $40), plastic back support and fabric cushion from Ebay. I bought these items (which carry insane RRPs) second hand at very low prices and was really happy with them. 

Linen

One APPARENT downside to the Stokke bassinet and cot is that the mattress is the oval shape which means if you want a snug fitting mattress protector or fitted sheet you apparently need to buy Stokke linen. Stokke linen, in my experience here in Brisbane Australia, is outrageously expensive. 

HOWEVER I said earlier that the shape of the mattress was an APPARENT downside because I've found that every regular fitted cot sheet I've purchased has had elastic that was tight enough that a snug fit for the fitted sheet was achieved. So my advice is don't feel you HAVE to buy Stokke linen. 

I have found an Ebay seller who makes mattress protectors and fitted sheets to fit Stokke mattresses and I purchased a cotton mattress protector off her for the bassinet which I'm happy with and I'll most likely purchase a cot mattress protector too. I've also found Stokke brand linen for sale on Ebay second hand which is another more cost effective option if you want the genuine article and you're comfortable with second hand linen. And of course if you're good at sewing it would be easy to make some of your own linen! However I'm time and sewing skills poor and so didn't venture down that path... or yet anyway! 

One thing that did shock me about children's linen was the price many brands were asking for what I thought wasn't particularly good quality and often attractive prints were a polyester cotton blend which I wasn't happy with. In the end I found soft, plain dyed, 100% cotton percale sheets and cotton flannelette sheets at  Target (half price on sale), I bought some discounted printed sets and lovely cotton blankets from David Jones during their sale and Trade Secret and Peters of Kensington were also an economical place to find 100% cotton sheets (including department store brands like Bubba Blue) for half the normal retail. I should add that these places all had inexpensive cotton wraps/swaddling available at reasonable prices. 


In short my advice: Visit Target and if you see anything you like use the price check scanner - I have been pleasantly surprised by unmarked discounts on SO many occasions now! Check out Peters of Kensington because they also have good prices on 100% Cotton Bubba Blue brand linen. 

Clothes

Check out sales! David Jones and Myer frequently have discounts on baby clothes. Trade Secret had some amazing prices on baby clothes (including popular brands like Bonds and Marquise) and Target had great basics in organic cotton for less than I spent on morning tea. My mum bought the classic Bonds 'Wondersuits' for about $5 each from Woolworths supermarket which was a great price that only seemed to be available at her Supermarket - not at my local so be sure to pop down that aisle regularly in case there are discounts.


Beanies, booties, scratching mittens, bibs etc are ALWAYS going cheaply in the baby sections of department stores and chain stores so no need to pay full price!


Bathing 


Now baby baths vary in price dramatically! I've seen everything from a miniature version of our freestanding bath tub for over $100 to novelty shaped bath tubs, tubs on stands, tubs decorated with licensed cartoon characters etc etc. In the end I purchased the simplest, cheapest bath I could find because I felt it was sturdy, easy to clean and good quality. I purchased my bath for $5 from Ikea. The particular bath I purchased was blue but these days Ikea stock the same bath in white for $15. Obviously blue was a discontinued colour. 
At Target I found a set of 3 really soft organic cotton baby washers for only $1.88 and I purchased a few 100% cotton hooded towels from a linen shop in DFO... again heavily discounted. 


Baby Decor... the little extras 


I could have probably called this the 'Ikea' section because a lot of the decoration I've put in the baby's nursery was sourced at Ikea. 


I was given a couple of animal tapestries made by a relative that would be nice to hang to add a bit of colour to the white walls. I framed the tapestries using Ikea Ribba frames in a couple of different sizes. I think these are lovely frames and look very professional at a much cheaper price than professional framing. 



I bought a mosquito net to hang from the ceiling also from Ikea. I loved the bunting detail around the top and again thought it brightened up the room a bit... not to mention I'll be using it as an extra protection against mosquitoes in summer! We'll hang this over the cot but we'll probably remove it when the baby is more mobile so that it can't be tugged on etc. 



I also bought this cute Ikea lamp which is lightweight and gives off just the right amount of light that it won't shock the baby if I need to turn it on in the night. 
Mobile wise I plan to hang this brightly coloured Flensted mobile in the room (not directly over the cot though because it's fairly large)
Image from http://www.flensted-mobiles.com 
And finally our big splurge was this Eames 'Hang it all'. We really hope that this is something our baby can use throughout its entire life and may even come to appreciate the classic design as an adult! 


Image from http://modernfindings.com


Phew that's just about all the shopping I've done. In summary the best places I found for shopping for a baby were:

  • Target (who are actually starting a big baby sale tomorrow)
  • Peters of Kensington
  • Trade Secret
  • Ikea 
  • Myer and David Jones (during sale time) 

Other places worth a look are:

  • Ebay
  • Kmart
  • Big W
  • Best & Less 
  • Woolworths supermarket





Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A blog I just discovered and I'm loving...




Thank you for drawing my attention to these delightful textiles from Finnish company Kauniste

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An update... finally!

It's been a while... Fortunately there has been progress! On my Apartment Therapy 'Spring Cure' list of things to do from months ago (Spring in the USA that is... not Australian spring!) I wanted to update our guest bedroom. By the time we painted the study, hung the vintage destination blind, assembled the Ikea panel curtains and did a bit of a furniture revamp I'd pretty much run out of steam. On top of that something very exciting happened in the meantime that was a very pleasant distraction... I became pregnant! 

So we decided to take things a bit easier and hired a painter to paint the guest room (white... like the rest of our place) and finish off a few bits of painting here and there. It was money well spent with the job being done in a day and a half versus a couple of weekends which it would have taken us since we're just not that efficient with painting.

In the meantime I've been busying myself with getting a nursery ready for my baby which will be born in February. I'll be posting more about the nursery and shopping for baby soon! 

So what else is there to do now to complete the guest room project? We have to pick some new door handles for the bedrooms and a passageway, hang some venetian blinds, reassemble the furniture and I still need to paint those bedside tables! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Marimekko Kaiku

One of the jobs I aimed to finish during the Apartment Therapy Spring Cure (the deadline for which has long since passed!) was to  make a frame for my large piece of Kaiku fabric and stretch the fabric over the frame. 

Finally just under 2 years since I purchased the fabric we have it on the frame ready to be hung! I can't take much credit for this though. My husband did all of the construction work of the frame and lets face it most of the 'staple gunning' too while I watched. 

I love this fabric so much. It reminds me of the time my husband I spent together in Finland during our honeymoon. It was autumn at the time and the birch leaves were turning from green to lovely shades of gold and beginning to drop. I took lots of photos of them but in an unfortunate turn of events we lost them. It became a priority for me to buy this Marimekko fabric which really did remind me of the beauty of Finland. 

This is how we... well... he... did it :)

A frame was made which he joined using dowels (and wood glue) and reinforced the corners with small pieces of ply.



We covered the frame with cheap calico (about $5 a metre from Spotlight) using a staple gun to attach it to the frame. This was so that the Marimekko fabric wouldn't wear against the sharp edges of the timber and eventually rip and also because the Marimekko fabric was translucent and we didn't want the frame behind to be visible.


Finally we used the trusty staple gun again to stretch the fabric over the 'canvas' we'd made.


I'm very pleased with the results! Here it is waiting to be hung under the skylight in the main thoroughfare of our house (opposite our open-plan kitchen). 

FYI I purcahsed my fabric from Textile Arts in the USA who (at the time) had the best price on this fabric and shipping that I could find. Honfleurhome also stock Marimekko fabric and I have also purchased from them online before. Both companies gave excellent customer service! 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meetup - Apartment Therapy


Reading Apartment Therapy today I noticed that there were going to be Apartment Therapy meetups all over the place in July. I wondered if Brisbane would have one and headed over to meetups.com not expecting there to be one but lo and behold little ol' Brisbane is having an Apartment Therapy meetup!

See you there?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I would very much like a yard that looks like...

...any of these images.

Lovely stepping stones...


A water feature that doesn't look so complicated that it's unachieveable...


More stepping stones and plenty of places to sit...


I'm really starting to notice a trend for rectangles/squares and places to sit...

I'm fairly sure all images are via Apartment Therapy
If I'm wrong I apologise and I'm happy to give credit where credit's due!




Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Cure Success

As I said previously I didn't quite get my guest bedroom finished which I was hoping to do in the Apartment Therapy Spring Cure but I am really happy with my study. I've already posted some pictures below but I wanted to post what I'm most happy with - the vintage tram scroll which we have displayed on our wall.

Last year, my Dad who is a rescuer of many interesting things gave me a vintage trolley bus destination roll/blind from Brisbane (my home town) which he had been given years ago and held on to.


I love vintage, nostalgia and typography and I have sentimental interest in many of the destinations listed on the blind (they represent where I live, where I have lived and where many friends and family currently live). So I wanted to display it in my house - the problem was that at just under 4m long at full length it was far too long to display on a wall in one piece. I really didn't want to cut it up into pieces so we scratched our heads about it for a while but we came up with a solution we were happy with.


We bought two Ikea TUPPLUR blinds and attached the blind to either end and fixed it on the wall. We removed the ball chain from the bottom roller but kept it on the top so that we could 'scroll' through the destinations. This solution meant we didn't have to cut the blind and so could display it in one piece. In fact we can change the destinations displayed.

Destination blinds have been given a bit of a bad rap lately with people saying they're becoming a ubiquitous item of decor in peoples' houses (or more specifically in the Apartment Therapy home tours!) but even if it's not your thing this is an idea that could be applied to other long items you want to display - artworks, fabric, banners etc.

Overall it was a simple solution, not horribly expensive and we're very happy with the result :)