little girl

It Started With A Simple Stencil

I’ve been wanting to repaint Vista’s room since before she was born.

In fact, I had this whole beautiful nursery planned out.  But V had other plans with her early arrival.

And so her room went unpainted.

Instead I stuck up some Winnie-the-Pooh decals and, later, Disney Princess decals.  But anything within her reach was quickly pulled down.  So, her room was a very stark and drab, with it’s beige walls and white furniture.  And it’s been like that for 4 long years.

I finally decided I was sick of looking at it and made up my mind that this summer we were giving her room a paint job.  It was way past time she had a room fit for a little girl.

So, I did what any geek would do.  I scoured the internet looking for ideas.

The only thing I knew was that decals were out, as far as decorating went.  Other than that, I was at a complete loss as to what to do with her room.

After months (yes.  really.  months) of looking, I finally settled on a design of pale green walls with pink and white accents.

But, once again, V had other plans.

I was looking at a wall stencil site one evening when Vista crawled onto my lap.

She immediately pointed to a picture.  “That.  I want my room to look like that.”

I brought up some other pictures for her to look at, but she wasn’t budging.  She wanted fairies on her wall and the walls better be pink… or else.

So I did what any parent would do.  Caved and bought the stencil package  (never mind the fact I’ve never stenciled anything in my life).

And things just went downhill from there…

This is what the room looked like before we started (well, we had gotten as far as clearing stuff out of her room, removing the horrid shelving units from her closet and wall cubby and patching holes before we had an ‘Oh crap…we need before pics!’ moment)

 


before1 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Her armoire (complete with tacky Disney Princess decal) and bed.  Her bed was one of those crib- to -daybed-to-full bed deals.  I love her bed.  She, of course, hates it.

 

 

before2 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Her massive dresser and the weird in-the-wall cubby hole.  The cubby in the far corner originally had a wire shelving unit in it. It came that way when I bought the place and I just never bothered to remove it, despite my intense loathing for the thing.  I figured since we were pulling it out to paint, it could stay out.

 

 

before3 It Started With A Simple Stencil

The closet also had a horrid wire frame shelving unit in it.  Buh-bye.

Vista’s room is fairly small, with several large pieces of furniture.  Too many large pieces.  One of them had to go.  Which kinda made me sad because I really like her furniture.

We made the decision to take the armoir out and got it as far as the living room before realizing that the thing weighed a billion pounds and there was no way we were going to be able to carry it downstairs to the spare bedroom as we had originally planned. We *might* have had an ‘Oh shit’ moment before Bil came up with the genius idea to put it in our kitchen as an extra storage pantry.  Since our appliances are all white, it fits in nicely.  And also makes me want to redo all the kitchen cabinets so that they’re white too.  And maybe refinish the kitchen table.  It’s funny how projects snowball, isn’t it?

Well, Vista’s room was no exception.  It started with a simple stencil kit.  It ended up being a total room makeover.

After pulling the armoire out, we decided it was probably time to get Vista a full sized mattress.  She’s been complaining that her bed it too small for a while.  She’s also been begging me to paint her bed pink.  I really, really, don’t want to do that. Really.  Like I would cry if I had to.  So instead we headed to Ikea to look at new (cheap) beds.  Because we’re giant suckers and our daughter is spoiled.  Oh, like you wouldn’t do the same.

We wandered around the kids bedding section at Ikea for an hour.  The single beds were ugly.  The full size beds would be to big for her room.  Well…this wasn’t working out how we had planned.

We saw a loft bed that we thought might work, but the reality is we would have to make huge modifications to it in order to make it safe for V to go up and down right now.  That sounded like work.  And effort.  Neither of which I’m terribly fond of.  But, wait! We found out that same bed can be flipped upside down!  Twin bed today, loft bed if she ever get’s coordinated enough to handle it.  Those crazy Swedes.

So we had our new bed.  And then we decided, oh what the heck… lets find a shelving unit to go in the closet while we’re here.

And of course a new bed means new sheets and comforter.

Oh, and then we saw this adorable light fixture that was just PERFECT!

(You see where I’m going with this…right?)

Yeah.

That $80 stencil kit turned into a $1500 complete room reno.

Which we are going to invoice her for on her 18th birthday.  Plus the cost of labor, because ZOMG it was a lot of work.

So….

*drumroll*

This is how the room turned out (and it’s still a work in progress).

 

 

after1 It Started With A Simple Stencil

The new bed.  I hate the canopy on it.  I wanted to do some pretty pink drapes or something more feminine.  V and Bil love the ‘tent’.  I totally got out voted.

The walls look like a pale pink in this picture…they’re actually quite a bright pink.  I had a bit of buyers remorse on the paint once we got the second coat on, because, ZOMG, it’s a lot of pink.

On the to-do list is to paint the wooden bed frame in either a dark pink or white (what say you, my readers?).  I just ran out of time this weekend.

 

 

after2a It Started With A Simple Stencil

The ugly cubby was painted a darker pink and turned into a little reading nook.  I still need to find and put up some little book shelves on the far wall of it.

We ended up, with taking the armoire out and the new furniture arrangement, being able to put V’s toy kitchen in her room.  And she still has more floor space then she had previously.  Bonus.

 

 

after2 It Started With A Simple Stencil

A close up view of the cubby and the wall stencil.  V was totally head over heals in love with this mushroom stencil.  I’m pretty sure that means she’ll be a drug addict when she’s older.

 

 

after3 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Rather than a shelving system, typical of closets, we opted for a wooden bookcase type unit.  I like how it recesses into the closet, but still has plenty of storage space.

 

 

after4 It Started With A Simple StencilThe stencil as you walk into the room.  I have to say I’m really happy with the look of the stencils.  They can be a bit of a pain to place on the wall properly, then time consuming to paint (especially if you want to layer them).  But the final results are amazing and totally worth the effort.

I only had time to get a couple stencils on the wall, but I will be adding more in the weeks to come.

Overall, I’m happy with how things turned out (I could have done without the attached price tag, though, but hey).

Now… to do something about those kitchen cabinets…

 

 

In The Mirror

I lay out her new barrettes for her to pick from this morning.

“These ones mommy.  They match my shirt.”

I pick up the ones with pink polka-dots and clip them into her hair.  First one side, then the other, so her sides are pulled back and won’t fall into her face while she’s playing.  She hate’s having hair in her face.  But at least we’ve graduated from wearing hats all the time to putting barrettes in.

I adjust the one on the left so it’s more secure, and then look at her reflection in the mirror.

My heart skips a beat and I can feel the tears pricking my eyes.  She’s growing up so fast.  No longer a baby.  And hardly looking like a toddler.

She’s definitely a little girl now.  And all girl.  Pinks and purples.  Dresses are her favorite.  And having clothes that match are important.  Very important in her world.

Her blond hair and blue eyes tell me we’ll be in trouble when she’s older.  She has the same deep blue eyes as me.  People are always surprised when they meet us in person.  No, I don’t photoshop our eyes to be blue.  They simply are.

She meets my gaze in the mirror and gives me a big smile.

“You happy Mommy?”

“Yes, sweetie, Mommy’s very happy,”  I lie.

I can see the independence in her eyes.  I recognize it.  It is my independence.  And I know trying to keep her safe in a bubble with just make her fight harder to get out.

At three, I have a glimpse of the girl and woman my daughter will become, as I look back at my own reflection.

VistaSept2010 In The Mirror

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