Young America Blog

Oct 17

DIY Craft: Bohemian-inspired Trays for a Teen Girl’s Room

Bohemian influences are everywhere right now, in interior design and fashion. Boho is all about looking individual and natural with splashes of colors like orange, green, and magenta. So in keeping with the trend, we created a boho-inspired bedroom, perfect for a tween or teen girl.

We mixed patterns and textures with some global, Moroccan influences…

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Shown above: Crosspointe Beacon Bed, 2 Drawer Night Stand, Single Dresser and Mirror.

We then created some beautiful DIY boho chic trays as decorative accessories for our bohemian-themed bedroom.

To craft our trays, we first went thrift shopping around town. We found a great mix of metal and wooden trays, perfect for re-inventing…

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Then, we searched for art papers with bold color and rich, globally-inspired patterns. We struck gold at World Market with their beautiful gift wrap paper …

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Finally, with a little Mod Podge, time and creativity, we made some one-of-a-kind trays.

Here are a few images of our final works of art…

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Here’s a quick step-by-step to our DIY Mod Podge bohemian trays:

1. Collect trays from flea markets, thrift stores or your grandmother’s attic… or re-purpose one you already have.

2. Wipe tray clean and give it a fresh coat of spray or brush-on paint if you want to show edges. We chose a champagne-colored spray paint for ours.

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3. Select your art paper and cut it to size; we used a combination of an x-acto knife and scissors to get clean lines. If you use fabric, allow an extra inch for shrinkage.

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4. Apply a thick, even coat of matte finish (glossy is available too) Mod Podge onto surface where you intend to place the paper. Visit modpodgerocks for great pointers for your project.

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5. Place paper on top of Mod Podge and smooth out by hand or use a tool like a brayer (hand roller) to avoid any bubbles. Good quality paper makes this job easier. When the paper is positioned and smooth, allow to dry.

6. Once paper is affixed and amply dry, apply an even coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper to seal and give it a polished finish. We brushed on several layers for a finished sealed result. For our second tray we layered the papers in a collage format to cover the tray completely.

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7. Tweens and teens will enjoy these bohemian trays for organizing all kinds of items, from perfumes and jewelry for a dresser…

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…to pencils, trinkets and paperclips for a desk workspace…

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Boho is colors galore. Notice how we layered-in bright colors, ethnic decor, collections of colored glass and candlesticks to give the room an eclectic vibe.

Share this DIY craft with your tween or teen daughter(s) and their friends… they may want to make the trays themselves. And there are limitless other objects (boxes, notebooks, binders, mirrors, lampshades) to decorate with this unique style. Great as gifts too… please share your ideas.

Oct 04

Design Idea: a Bohemian-inspired Girl’s Bedroom

Bohemian style is a trend that’s here to stay. We love this eclectic, earthy, globally-savvy design for a girl’s room, especially for a tween or teen.

So for a recent photo shoot of our new Crosspointe Collection (coming soon on youngamerica.com, order a catalog here) we created an inspiring Bohemian room, layered with pattern, texture and color.

Take a look…

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Layers, layers, layers…that’s what this style is all about. Mixing organic elements, natural textures, bright colors and Moroccan-inspired influences. You can read more about it at BeSoStyle, our photo stylist and interior designer, Patti Borrelli’s personal style + design blog…read more.

We started with a rich, deep blue paint color and this amazing Schumacher wallcovering. Then, we layered rugs, including this vibrant ethnic-dyed rug from NuLoom and a natural sisal from PostandGray. We added boho-chic accessories like the pouf from pier1, the yarn spools from anthropologie, painted candlesticks from homewithheart … and a collection of colored glass from World Market.

This room features our new Crosspointe collection, including a Beacon Bed in Heron, Night Stand in Bliss, Single Dresser in Heron, and Mirror in Bliss (Crosspointe is coming soon on youngamerica.com, order a catalog here.)

Take a closer look at our collection of colored glass and great global finds (elephant + chimes are also from pier1)…

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A collection always makes a strong statement. Colored glass groupings sparkle with vivid colors, defined shapes and rich textures; they all work together to create an inspiring Bohemian feel.

We recently added a few Do-It-Yourself decorating ideas to our Bohemian-themed showroom space too. Here’s one to inspire you, the new upholstered Blake Bed with a Boho canopy.

Keep us posted on your latest design ventures. Don’t forget to keep in touch via facebook and twitter.

More design ideas from Patti Borrelli soon to come.

DIY Craft Project: Shape Streamers

Kid Style is all about FUN! …and nothing says fun like a party.  So why not decorate with some festive party-like décor?

For this year’s Fall Market we added layers of FUN + COLOR to our High Point showroom with SHAPE STREAMERS! 

We also added strands of shape garlands to deck-out this young girl’s room for a recent catalog photo shoot, featuring our brand new upholstered Blake Headboard (coming soon on youngamerica.com, order a mini-catalog here). Take a peek at the results…

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These colorful shape streamers can be found via Etsy artist, Zinzee Parade, but you can also easily create your own by threading together shapes cut from card stock.

Here are some great links with helpful how-to hints: PaperBlog, MommyNeedsaBreak and TheElliBlog each have templates and step-by-step instructions for crafting your own shape streamers.

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Aren’t they fun? They really pop against the chalkboard-black wall and white-framed windows. Windowsill props add some color too… a slinky, jars of bubblegum balls and red-and-white striped straws are nostalgic and playful.

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The following image we found via pinterest, was our original inspiration. We love the paper lanterns layered in too.

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Why not add a little PARTY to your child’s room decor? We hope this inspires you too.

Sep 25

Best Books for Kids 9-14 and their Grown-ups

Finding or creating time to read aloud with children can be a wonderful sharing experience. Once kids reach elementary school age, they are ready to step up to the next level from picture books to novels (aka chapter books). And there are countless good books to choose from. Many of the best books have endured the tests of time; they’ve been passed down generation to generation. Some are more contemporary, but equally rich and captivating. All good stories have strong characters, both human and animal, who experience the challenges and magic of life in real and imaginary places. Having an adult to read these tales with encourages a child’s reading and opens the door to conversation and learning.

We found a great article highlighting the Top 100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14 and picked a few to give you a sampling. The list is long and the variety is great, so there’s something for everyone.

Most good books can be found at your local library in print or digitally. Borrow from a friend or visit an independent book store. You can also get them new or used online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other websites.

Sep 23

Books to Read Aloud: Froggy

FRRRROOGGGYYY!   Wha-a-a-a-a-t?

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Some characters in children’s books are loved, revered - even cheered for. Bright green, wide-eyed, flat-footed Froggy is one of those; he’s a kid just like his readers - except that he has an appetite for flies! He’s a kid who has everyday childhood and family experiences. What’s so special about that? Froggy makes them FUN!

Brightly-colored illustrations with lively aliteration and word sounds are completely engaging for preschool through 2nd grade readers. Froggy’s enthusiasm and zest for life are irresistible, even contagious. Fortunately, there are scads of these popular Froggy stories, so the fun doesn’t have to end with one or two. Froggy books can be read and reread over and over.

Here are some of our Froggy favorites:

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You can find these wonderful books by Jonathan London online or in your local library.

Sep 10

Baby Safe Wall Paint and Window Decorating Solutions

Baby safe wall paints? Yes, you learn something new every day. When we searched for safe, healthy ideas for decorating baby nurseries and kids’ rooms we discovered valuable information about how to choose safe wall paints. What’s a safe wall paint? One with minimal VOC’s, the chemical fumes that may increase the likelihood of your child developing asthma, allergies and other health issues. Reduced VOCs is, of course, “greener” and better for the environment too.

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Today there are many wall paints in your local paint shop that are healthier alternatives to basic commercial paints. There are Low VOC paints and Zero VOC paints. The price will be greater, but the health benefits may be too. Here’s a sampling:

Low VOC Paints
Benjamin Moore Waterborne Paint
Benjamin Moore Aura Paints

Zero VOC paints
Benjamin Moore Natura Paints
Sherwin-Williams Zero VOC
Olympic Premium
Valspar

Selecting a safe wall paint is better for your child’s health, better for your family’s well-being, and better for the environment.

In addition to what goes on the walls, another important consideration in nursery and bedroom safety is choosing window treatments. All natural materials are the current hot trend (see this HGTV trend report), but be sure to read carefully to ensure the purity and safety of your selection. The Daily Green and Green Home have comprehensive checklists of what to consider when choosing window treatments.

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We love the simplicity of natural, organic window treatments for a child’s room, like this fabulous baby nursery via decor pad… Notice the bamboo shades mixed with natural linen draperies…a great option for keeping the room healthy. Sustainable materials, like bamboo are a perfect choice for covering windows. Natural woven shades are more readily available than ever, from custom choices at The Shade Store, Smith + Noble to big-box stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s (see thefind.com for pages of ideas).

Natural honeycomb shades are a great option for windows too…

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This room features the Young America Abigail Collection with a Built to Grow Gala Crib. All our cribs and beds are Greenguard certified.

As we’ve looked for more ways to keep your family safe and environmentally-friendly, we’ve come across a few good reads on the subject, like these two by Dr. Alan Greene, M.D. available via Amazon

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…and several helpful blogs that focus on the subject, like Happy Green Baby and the Go Green blog.

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Let us know what choices you are making to keep your baby and whole family safe and healthy.

Why Do Parents Love our Dresser Drawers? Safety

What’s more tempting to a toddler than opening and closing drawers? The satisfying slamming and bamming puts a big smile on an innocent face, until his or her hands or fingers are caught and pinched. Ouch!

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We found a simple, toddler-proof solution to protect those curious little fingers. It’s a Soft Close drawer system with a fancy name: the Quadro self-closing slide from Hettich. It’s purpose? It prevents drawers of casegoods (aka: dressers, armoires, storage drawers, bookcases) from a slamming close. The drawer hardware puts the brakes on, slows the drawer and closes itself. Even the mightiest toddler will be hard-pressed to get a good slam. Better yet, our drawers are QUIET.

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Grace Crib shown with an Abigail dresser and hutch.

Details, Details:

What’s so great about the Young America Drawer System? Our cases feature a 4-piece solid wood drawer box made of sustainably harvested North American hardwood with English dovetails in all 4 corners; our drawer system reflects a standard of American craftsmanship that is hard to find today, especially when paired with Soft Close Hettich Quadro self-closing drawer glide hardware; an under-mount, ball bearing design that facilitates the smoothest, most even open/close possible. This unique combination of superior materials, construction and advanced engineering means safe, high-quality furniture parents can trust, for many years.

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One More Drawer Safety Feature to be Excited about. The Soft Close Quadro self-closing drawer slide includes a dynamic load capacity of up to 55 pounds and a maximum safety extension, which limits how far drawers can be pulled out to reduce the possibility of tip-over accidents. We also include an anti-tip kit with each casegood (dressers, armoires, storage drawers, bookcases) to further protect against your adventurous toddler’s attempt to climb the furniture. Rest assured we always have your child’s safety in mind.

imageDrawers, drawers, everywhere drawers: Fanfare Crib shown with a Boardwalk dresser and bookcase

Here’s a little drawer glide demo:

Sep 04

Going Green for Baby’s Health and Safety

"Going Green" is about health and safety for your baby. By choosing "Green" you are reducing your baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins. You’re also making a choice for a healthier home and a healthier environment and that’s important for your whole family.

Making “Green” choices for your baby’s nursery is of vital importance (think low-voc paint; natural bedding, wall and window treatments; lasting furniture.)

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Selecting your baby’s crib and nursery furniture is a good place to begin “Going Green”; choosing high-quality, safe furniture that will last and transition with your child throughout his or her growing stages is a smart investment and a savvy “Green” choice.

A Young America Built To Grow Laurels Crib (shown above) is a good example of a product that is not only Greenguard-certified, but also can be converted to a toddler bed, then full-sized bed when the time comes. Young America stationary cribs (see the Grace Crib below) can be converted to toddler beds too.

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We even added a nature-inspired look to this toddler’s nook with a hand-painted tree mural near a Grace crib (above) converted to a toddler bed. Create your own tree mural with our DIY project.

We also found valuable information on the Daily Green website regarding ways to create a safe, healthy baby nursery, from non-toxic paint choices to natural fiber area rugs, like these from flor.com

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…to chemical-free bedding and beyond. Plus, we discovered Naturepedic is a good source for natural crib and kids’ mattresses, an important purchase to consider when planning your baby’s bedroom.

We also love the concept of treating your baby to the safety of beautiful, all-natural cotton linens, like these sweet baby blankets from etsy.com

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…and then there’s the lure of organic cotton baby clothing like these finds at kate quinn organics

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And once baby is clothed and resting in a safe, healthy place, you may want them playing with toys that are toxin-free as well. There are countless sources of “Green” baby and kids’ toys out there, including environmentally-friendly ones made from recycled materials like greentoys.com or all-natural and organic toys from a website like oompa.com. Visit local stores in your area too.

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…or look at gogreentravelgreen.com for their “top ten” list of “green” toys, most of which can be purchased on Amazon.

The JPMA , the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, is a valuable resource for baby safety information and tips too.

We are always on the look-out for ways to “Go Green” for your baby’s safety. We hope these suggestions give you some new insights on how to create a happy, healthy home for your wee one.

Happy baby safety month. Happy September!

Sep 03

There’s a Good Reason to order Harbor Town and Mix Now

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There’s a good reason to order Young America Harbor Town and Mix now. They had their days in the sun, but now the sun is setting on Mix and Harbor Town.

If you’ve been considering a purchase from either of these collections, including the Built to Grow Encore Crib and Kudos Crib and you must place your orders with your Young America retailer or online before October 4, 2013. After that date, it’s good night Mix and Harbor Town.

Sep 02

Protect your Baby’s Health with an Organic Crib Mattress

Young America cribs are GREENGUARD certified to protect babies from exposure to potentially harsh chemicals. Cribs that are not GREENGUARD certified or crib mattresses not certified “Organic” may “off-gas” and be unhealthy for a baby.

The term “Off-gassing" refers to the evaporation of synthetic compounds used in manufacturing products, from cars to computers and toys to tennis balls and cribs and other home furnishings. Two identifiable types of off-gases are the “new car” and “new carpet” smells, but they can be odorless too.

What are the Health Risks of off-gassing?
Exposure to or inhalation of these airborne gases may cause asthma, coughing, rash, hives, watery eyes and compromised immunity. To avoid the health risks of off-gassing, we recommend pairing a Young America crib with an organic crib mattress to ensure a pollutant-free nursery and indoor environment. You will also want to be mindful of other elements in a baby’s living space, including carpets, wall paint and even toys.

What is an Organic Crib Mattress?
Mattresses made with organic, non-toxic materials, without conventional chemicals (ie: formaldehyde, polyvinyl chloride or PVC) and meet strict standards. The mattresses are, of course, not 100% organic as 1) they are not an agricultural products and 2) you probably do not want a biodegradable mattress, but they are made with the highest percentage of non-toxic materials available and meet strict standards for health and safety.

Why Choose an Organic Crib Mattress?
Parents and physicians recommend an organic crib mattress as an important way to avoid unnecessary exposure to the off-gassing of toxic chemicals.

What are the Certification Standards for an Organic Mattress?
Organic mattresses, like other certified products made with organic fiber and textiles, are certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The largest U.S. GOTS approved certifier is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO).

In particular, the GOTS standard requires that all fiber and fabrics, with limited exceptions, must be made from certified materials that meet the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standard and are processed in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

All other components (such as innersprings, fire protection, etc.) must meet stringent Federal standards for health and safety.

Are Mattresses labeled “Eco” or “Green” good too? Not really.
"Eco" and "Green" are not regulated terms and can be misleading. For example, plant-derived or soybean foam used in many eco mattresses are vastly petroleum/chemical-based and not really made of soybeans. Likewise, bamboo fabric found in eco models is typically made using environmentally-toxic chemicals with no trace of bamboo plant in the finished product. Many of these eco materials may sound enticing, but are not truly natural or green and are certainly not focused on eliminating harmful chemicals.

Where to Buy an Organic Crib Mattress?
We recommend two companies as organic crib mattress sources - made in USA - as healthy companions to our GREENGUARD certified Young America cribs:

Naturpedic
Colgate

Naturpedic and Colgate mattresses are broadly distributed or may be ordered directly via their websites. FMI contact a Young America Signature Shop or retailer in your area: Young America Store Locator