Sunday, April 10, 2016

Oasis of Prettiness - The Girls' Room

At last, we have moved out of the "shipwrecked" phase of decorating.  The shipwrecked phase of decorating is when you have just moved into a place, and you need to insulate yourself from expectations of having a showplace home.  You tell yourself, "It's okay that the books are piled, pell-mell on the office shelves--we've just been through a shipwreck!  It's okay that the upholstery on the dining room chairs is torn--we've just been through a shipwreck!" Meanwhile, you studiously avoid the home decorating blog that you once avidly followed, and steer your eyes away from the home and garden magazines at the grocery check-out isle.  After all, those publications are not intended for people who have just survived a shipwreck.  When you have just survived a shipwreck, you are thankful to have tea cups and running water and beds for each of the children.  You are intensely grateful for your sister-in-law's hand-me-down couch, and the foot mats that your parents parked in your basement after they downsized their household.  You are not to think critically about said couch or foot mats--because they were providentially saved from the waters of oblivion and landed on your shore to become useful items.

At last there comes a times, when you have stowed the items that fortune provided and find yourself more or less surviving.  It is now that you begin to seek a higher level of sophistication.    Perhaps you've even made small corners of order around the house--the spice shelf and the bathroom closets actually contain spices and toiletries respectively.  This is when you begin seeking small oasises of prettiness around the domicile.  In your search, you find boxes of unhung art. No longer protected by the shipwreck defense, these boxes have become offensive and onerous to hide.  It is now that you find the hammer and, in short fits of recklessness and impatience, you actually hang things on the walls.

And so  I thought I'd share the current state of the girls room.   When the beds have been made, and the piles of discarded clothing, toys, and paper craft have been pushed out of the frame, it is one of our larger oases of prettiness in our homely house.

This is the view that presents from our second floor landing.  

Louisa's side of the room has ended up being the more brightly colored, while Maria's is more subdued.  I learned from our rental apartment in France, that when selecting colors for a child's room, it is good to include bold colors, hence the inclusion of the red.  If you try for a subdued or muted palette, then practically every toy or book that enters the room, will violate your color scheme.  Choose some nice primaries, and save frustration. 



On the wall in the little silver frame is the Infant of Prague illustration that I made while in France.  The large picture is made from two Japanese paper dolls that my mum had framed while we lived in Korea in 1988.  I still remember visiting the framing shop and choosing the colors.  (In particular, I remember the black under the craftsman's fingernails, and how it contrasted with the bright silk that he was handling.)  I love that this picture now hangs in my girls' bedroom.  Aside from memories of my girlhood, the dolls remind me of Rumer Godden's wonderful book, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.  The light wood frame and the the red plaque have banker clips attached so the girls can easily switch out the artwork.  The larger of the two clip frames came from Ikea.  It had a yellow background, which I covered over with scrapbook paper.  The letter "L" is actually a book that has been cut into that shape.  (It came from Michaels.) We plan to use the book to write little notes to Louisa through the years.  Right now, it has one note from Donnie.  The gist of the note is that Lulu should use her power for good, not evil.  




Here's Maria's side of of the room.  I love that her name is hanging again.  Those letters were decorated at a baby shower that a friend threw for me while I was pregnant with Maria.  I love to look at the letters and remember the lovely ladies who decorated them.  Below the letters are more clip frames (from Ikea, with added scrapbook paper background.)  On the right, hangs a mirror that my parents brought from a trip to Italy, along with some illustrations from the girls' baby books and one landscape from Dominic's Gift.
 A green exercise mat from Ikea serves as a landing rug.  It's also good for pre-bedtime summersaults and for when the girls want to camp on the floor.  The wall-mounted reading lights are also from Ikea and and were presents in the girls' Easter baskets.  We are enthusiastic about these lamps; Donnie and I have a pair in our bedroom.  It's easier to get into bed when there a cozy pool of light waiting for you.
This wall still looks neglected.  The huge clock was part of the optimistic "a clock in every room" project that I hoped would make us more punctual as a family.  The punctuality thing hasn't materialized, but it is nice to have a clock in every room.  Perhaps after the girls learn to tell time... The stars were from the same baby shower that produced the "Maria" letters.  The clipboards on the right have morning chore lists; another project embarked upon with great optimism that has produced mixedresults.  The battle for order is always uphill, is it not?

And that is our little oasis of prettiness!  Thank you for stopping by.

This is the bedroom, as it was when we moved in.

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