Nursery Up North – by Alisun Abbott

Michelle Raven and I met a few years ago when I was making the pivotal transition in my life from full-time corporate dweller to full-time dreamer, thrifter, and DIYer. As a savvy thrift store shopper, Michelle created an innovative (and free!) personal shopping service offered exclusively at Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores. I work as one of Michelle’s guest stylists and it is one of my favorite creative jobs. I find it so rewarding to help clients achieve their wardrobe goals, all the while benefiting Arc’s charitable mission.


In the past few years, many major life changes have happened for both Michelle and me. Since I’ve known her, Michelle has gotten married (check out her thrifty backyard BBQ wedding!), bought a home and is now a new mother to her sweet son Sawyer!


I was honored when Michelle asked me to collaborate with her on upcycling some thrift finds for her brand new baby’s nursery! Keep reading to see how I transformed some everyday finds into unique statement pieces that fit Michelle’s cabin-themed nursery, along with my ideas for simple DIY projects that can inspire and transform!


Here are two projects I took on for baby Sawyer’s nursery:


Birch Dresser and Changing Table:

Michelle purchased this white three-drawer wooden dresser at Arc’s Value Village in Richfield for under $25. It’s the perfect height to be used as a changing table, and the drawers allow for lots of extra storage. When creating beautiful, functional spaces, I always look for multipurpose & multifunctional pieces. In small spaces, this is especially key.


The birch design detail on the front of the dresser drawers was created by simply applying this patterned project paper (found at JoAnn Fabrics), which was adhered with a generous layer of Mod Podge.


First, I measured the dimensions of the dresser drawers. I then flipped the project paper over so that I could draw the drawers’ dimensions onto the non-decorative side as a cutting guide. I used a wooden yardstick to be sure the lines were straight. I placed the project paper on a large piece of scrap cardboard to use as a working surface. I then cut along the lines I’d drawn with an X-Acto knife.


Once I had the three pieces cut, using a foam sponge brush (you can find these at any craft store for a few bucks), I applied an ample amount of Mod Podge to the drawers’ front surfaces. To ensure a smooth surface, I used a squeegee (you can pick one up at any hardware store for cheap) to eliminate any ripples or air bubbles.


This project took a plain white dresser and turned it into a “wow” piece that fits the nursery’s woodsy theme perfectly. It took only a few hours from start to finish and, including the dresser itself, cost under $40!


Adventure Awaits Globe Lamp:

You can always find unexpected treasures at Arc’s Value Village that, with a touch of DIY, can add creative interest and character to any space. Michelle found this lighted globe for under $5 at the Richfield Arc’s. She was inspired by a similar painted globe she’d seen on Etsy, selling for over $200!  With that as my inspiration, I set out to recreate it for Michelle for far less!  I painted the phrase, Adventure Awaits with white multi-surface paint across the thrifted globe. You could use stencils or print free-hand, depending on the look you’re going for. As an added touch, I also glued rustic twine to the base of the globe to disguise the brassy, reflective surface that didn’t seem to match the rustic charm of Sawyer’s nursery.

This crafty project transformed a basic thrifted globe into a piece of artwork. It took a steady hand and just a few hours to complete – and a bonus, the lighted globe serves as a soft light for cozy late night snuggles. Between the cost of the globe itself and the supplies I used, this project cost under $10.

When I’m thrifting, I keep an open mind. A well-made piece may look drab at the store, but with a little paint or updated fabric, it can be totally reimagined!  Michelle purchased this wooden shelf from the Arc’s Value Village in New Hope for $5.  Her brother helped her sand it down and give it a fresh coat of brick red paint to give the room a pop of impactful color.  Michelle created a gallery shelf to display family heirlooms (vintage duck decoy & child’s toy), thrifted trinkets (wooden MN cutout and Gone Fishing sign both from Arc’s Value Village), and art print from DogFish Media, purchased at Junket Tossed & Found.

This wooden rocker was a family heirloom, passed down from Michelle’s mother-in-law (who also made the rustic flannel chair cushions for Michelle). The barrel, tipped upside down and used as a small table, was a thrift find from Arc’s Value Village and the vintage lantern was scored at E’s Emporium.


Throw pillows bring instant and inexpensive style to any space. Pictured here, a burlap pillow (from Arc’s Value Village) and the other throw pillow is from Rank and File’s shop at Mall of St. Paul.


Michelle created a simple gallery wall in the nursery by framing color-copied pages from one of her husband’s favorite childhood books. You can use pages from a book that’s special to you, or scour the children’s book section at Arc’s Value Village to recreate a similar wall art cluster. The custom wood sign was made by Michelle’s friend and client William Dohman of Oh Dier.


What’s old is new again. Macrame wall hangings were popular in the 70s and there back in favor now.  Michelle found this little gem at Arc’s Value Village for just a few dollars.  What a hoot!


One man’s junk is another man’s treasure as they say. On an out-of-state junking trip, friends of Arc’s Value Village, Erica and Jennifer of The Vintage Studio found this vintage plaid pail and knew it would fit right in with Sawyer’s nursery theme.  What a generous little gift!  In a small room, any extra storage space is a plus!


This “bearskin” rug was handmade by one of Michelle’s loyal personal shopping clients, Lorri. I mean, does it get any cuter!?


What cabin is complete with a deer mount? Michelle found this one-of-a-kind wall mount made of reclaimed wood at Scout Vintage Collective.

And this rustic wood hook – Michelle found it in her backyard! With a little creative vision, almost anything can be turned into something decorative or functional, or both!  P.s. How darling are the curtains Michelle’s mother-in-law made for baby Sawyer’s room!?

Thanks again to Michelle for allowing me to be a part of this very special project! Sawyer’s got the perfect cabin-themed nursery to call home!  I can’t wait to see all the Adventure that Awaits you, little baby Sawyer!


Congratulations to the Ravens on their new addition!


Your Friend,

Alisun Abbott

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