This week we had a good start to home schooling, we survived several days without seeing Julia, and Anna Kate suddenly decided to attack her room. She started with the white shelf above her bed. I found her gazing at it, looking uncertain. I said, "Well, maybe some of your printed cardstock would look good on the back of it. Like wallpaper." "That's what I was thinking," she said softly. "But I didn't know if it was a bad idea."
Gulp. This is where my strong and vocal opinions on decorating get me into trouble. I want my kids to be free and creative and confident. I said, "Honey, go for it! I am no expert! Don't be worried about what I think."
After she papered and re-displayed the shelf, she painted her bedside table. It just needed some touch-ups, but she was desperate to paint something. Then she found a new (old) lamp lying around, and she painted that, too. She moved the photos around, she changed the things on her dresser, and she tore the closet apart and threw a bunch of stuff away.
That, my friends, is the secret to a pretty room. Be willing to throw things away. The less stuff I have, the better my house looks. We had a little pang when we found her baby teeth, but full of resolve (probably bolstered by recent viewings of "Hoarders") she tossed those, too.
Here are the results. I have to admit, it was a tough week. Not only was Julia gone, but the paint and paper and general mess that this decorating generated made me cranky and nervous. My daughter's room looks great, but my kitchen is another story.
Painting the bedside table and the white lamp. The aqua color is called "Aquatint" by Sherwin-Williams. I found the table for about $3.00.
The three hatboxes are another storage idea that has stood the test of time. Each one is painted with an American Girl doll name, and contains that doll's clothes.
These too-short curtains need to be lengthened. Curtains should kiss the floor. At some point I'll sew a pink or aqua band along the top (or hem) to make them the right length. But they've been this way for about eight years, so clearly I'm in no hurry here.
My little photographer fixed the photo shoot by adding another pillow sham. We've had these forever, but they're Pottery Barn and they still look good.
Here you can see the "wallpaper" cardstock on the backs of the shelves.
Anna Kate, heady with paintbrush power, also painted the two empty frames. The dark one is done with chalkboard paint, so she can scribble things on it. (She thought of this! I am so proud of her!)
The top of the dresser. She found a vintage cupcake tin, decorated it with paper, and filled it with accessories.
The cupcake tin.
The painted lamp and a deconstructed lampshade.
In the flurry of throwing things out, a few items stayed. Here they are, in case anyone needs little-girl birthday gift ideas. Above, a pretty journal. She wrote the funniest things in it. We howled with laughter at the Magic Tree House story she tried to write in first grade.
Decorative initials. Just plain cute.
If you know a child's favorite book or movie, that's a great gift idea. She still watches these over and over.
This little cash register really works, and she played with it for hours. The belt moves, the drawer opens, and (as long as Daddy keeps fixing it), the microphone speaker sounds legit. Here is Malachi, breaking the microphone yet again.
This has been in steady use since she got it a few years ago. This week, amidst the stress of everything, Anna Kate and I made brownies. We did not have to turn on the oven, a real boon when it's 97 degrees out. With Malachi's help, we ate every brownie. They go down so easy when they're bite-sized!
Les Junc occasional store in Zimmerman, MN (where I found the dresser)
Junk Market (open twice a year) where we got the tin ceiling tile on the wall
Salvation Army (cupcake tin, lamp, table, and frames)
Pottery Barn (curtains, toy cash register, pillow shams)
JoAnn Fabrics (hat boxes and card stock)