Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hazel Finishes a Project, for All Intents and Purposes, with Caveats

Hello! Feeling good, lots on my mind. Here's my belly this past Saturday.

Blueberry is now (estimated) 37 weeks, which is full-term. Yay, Blueberry! I half expected that she wouldn't make it to week 37 before her arrival because that seems to happen to a lot of people I've met. I get the impression, naive though it may be, that she doesn't intend to come out anytime soon. It's just business as usual with her and me. She kicks/punches/headbutts me when I eat delicious food, and also when I sit down after being on my feet for a long time. She gets hiccups a couple of times a day. She's not giving me any trouble. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come, except for the kicking/punching/headbutting: I would like that to stop once she is on the other side.

We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you did, too! Here is our tree on Christmas morning.

Santa wrapped most of the gifts in recycled paper. This is because back in October, Stanley received a fishing net for his birthday from Amazon.com that came in a huge box, most of which was filled with a 45-foot sheet (measured with my eyeballs and lots of arm-flailing) of 30"-wide brown paper. A monstrous waste of materials, with the only upside being that it was recyclable. I wanted to save it for a decorating project or something, so it was still around when Santa used it to wrap gifts. And yesterday, the recycling company picked it up from the curb, presumably to recycle it again. It felt good not to use regular wrapping paper this year, and I hope to do something similar next year. Here is a blog post that gave me some cute, clever ideas for environmentally friendly gift-wrapping. And somewhere, I can't remember where, I read a good method for eco giftwrapping:

1. Use brown paper, random fabric, a shirt, newspaper, old tissue paper, old maps, a credit card application, or whatever; doesn't matter how ugly, as long as you are saving it from being thrown out.
2. Tie it with pretty ribbon or some unexpected type of material, such as twine, yarn, or a daylily leaf.
3. Tie on a random object as a "garnish", such as a pinecone, a gnarled twig, a piece of potpourri, a Christmas ornament, or something related to the gift, such as a wine bottle stopper or a baby rattle, or an interesting piece of card stock with a hole punched in it, and write the recipient's name on this "garnish" if desired.

Apparently, if you follow this method, you "can't go wrong" and your giftwrapping skills will be praised.

Okay, here is why I really wanted to blog this evening. The nursery is DONE!! At least, it's done for all intents and purposes, not taking into account the fact that one is never really done with decorating, and also the fact that I am not highly skilled at decorating and equipping a nursery, and ALSO the fact that you might have an opinion that leads me to change/add/remove something. If so, PLEASE share! Here are the pictures!!!

First, for full effect, the "before" pictures:

We were using it as a dressing room, and not very well. But once we learned that Blueberry was on her way, I thoroughly embraced the task of designing the nursery. It was a lot of fun and I'm totally thrilled with it! I was inspired for the decor decisions from a book I had as a child (and still have):

I love the poems and illustrations and I used my interpretation of them throughout the room as best I could. The first step was adding insulation to the ceiling, which was not much fun for Stanley, but the room definitely got warmer. Then, Stanley's parents helped us install three can lights in the ceiling to replace the low-hanging, butt-ugly, two-and-a-half-watt, single light fixture that failed miserable in its attempt to shed light along the 20' length of the room. Just the lighting change by itself was a big enough improvement to make me feel like the rest wasn't necessary, except of course clothing and furniture. But, we carried on, and I'm glad we did. We spackled and caulked a lot of large holes and cavernous gaps along the ceiling trim and walls. I actually had to stuff plastic grocery bags into some of the trim gaps so as not to use up an entire tube of caulk in a bottomless gap. Then, Stanley kindly covered the ugly putty-colored paint with "soft cream" on the ceiling and "sawdust" (buttery yellow) on the walls. Then, we furnitured and accessorized. So, maybe I should show some "after" pictures?

Voila! YAAAY I'm so happy and excited to finally be posting this! The shutters on the left were from some unknown window and were stored in the basement when we bought the house, so I wanted to use them somehow. This was an afterthought that is probably going to be fraught with good hindsight. A one-year-old will likely yank them out of the wall. But for now, they are staying up because of all the effort and grunting it took to hang them straight and all trips up and down the stairs for more appropriate tools and supplies. And ta-da! A fake window! For no reason! Woo.

Rocking horse: $10, yard sale, which I embellished with a simple fabric saddle and mane and tale ribbons.

The reading nook in the back of the room:

As Dale demonstrates, it's comfortable. The two framed pictures are my favorite illustrations from the book. I ordered the same book off of eBay for pretty cheap and cut it up to make art for the room. The above photo also shows the three fabrics I used all over the nursery. They were each inspired by the illustrations in the book. Another flash of hindsight: after I spread these fabrics all over in pillows, the curtain, lamp shades, dust flap for the crib, and basket liners, I read in a design magazine that a sign of an amateur decorator is that they take a fabric and use it in several places rather than just one. I had no idea, because I'm an amateur and this is my hobby! I have no training and I don't get paid. But, I like to think that I am learning by doing, which is part of the fun.

Here is the view looking back at the door.

I will eventually be replacing that chair with a glider rocker that is currently in the guest room on the main floor, because the guest room is probably where we will all be sleeping for the first week or three while I recover and try to get used to Blueberry's care and feeding. By my request, Stanley's dad kindly installed an electrical outlet near the floor and another light switch on the wall so that the lamp can be turned on by flipping the light switch. This way we don't have to get blinded by the highly photonic ceiling lights or go fumbling for the lamp switch for 3:00 a.m. feedings. There was some reason he couldn't make it a double switch rather than two separate ones, but I don't remember the reason, and it looks a little strange but I like the functionality.

Here's the changing station:

We'll see if it does the job. And across from the crib is a stenciled verse from a poem from the book, and a mural that I mostly copied from an illustration in the book:

It felt really good to get that painting done but I might want to add to it. The picture in the book has a little more going on, such as a bumblebee above, and a tiny little boy floating on a leaf looking up at the scene. I think that would add some important features to it, and help it relate to the poem better (click on the image if you can't read the poem), but I don't want to try painting a little boy. I don't do hands or faces, and without hands and a face, the little boy would be kind of creepy.

Going from other pictures from the book, I might paint (in other spots in the room such as near the chairs) a robin's nest in a tree with big pink blossoms, or a garden with lots of flowers. I don't want the all the random painting to be too distracting or jarring, though. So, I might be done. We'll see. Depends on how I feel if week 41 comes along. Also depends on your input!

Other than the nursery, I've been doing a lot of organizing and purging throughout the house, which feels really good. I could be "nesting" but I also might be indulging my natural inclination to organize since I have a good reason now. One project in progress is to make our back hallway into a bona fide miniature mudroom, despite the fact that it is surrounded by four doorways, two of which open into it, and is only 3' X 6'. I have a plan and we'll see how it goes. If it works, we won't have to use the back bedroom as a mudroom anymore.

And finally, it's cold and icy and I don't want to go outside because I might fall down and that would suck.

Happy New Year!


Amacrine said...

Gena! This room is lovely! Such a great improvement. I really like it. I wish I had a nursery now. I love the poem and mural. You did a great job. calesses. Speaking of which, are you waiting for the birth to unveil the name?

Tanya Cothran said...

Wow! The before and after shots really enhance the effect. You have both done so much to make that room super cute and cozy. I love how the mural turned out! You did a really great job. I saw that Blueberry has "17 more days to go" - I can't believe it!

Louise said...

It looks wonderful! And you're looking great! Congratulations an making it to 37+ weeks!

Hazel Spupspe said...

Amacrine: Yes, we are waiting to reveal her name after she's born. We have our top choice in mind but are reserving the right to change it if it doesn't seem to fit her.

Everyone: Thanks for the sweet comments!