Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Naughty or Nice, at Least She's Flexible

While waiting for the bus, a conversation with Cholita:

"Mom, can you tell me on the day when we get to December so I know when to start being good for Santa?"

"Shouldn't you be good all the time?"

"I guess, but it's important in December."

"What if you get coal in your stocking?"

"Mom, I know Santa might do that to me, so what exactly IS coal?"

"It's like a black, messy rock."

Cholita pauses to think for a moment.

"Well, if I get that, I'd just use it to draw with, so whatever."

Don't be fooled by the sweet face.
This girl cannot be broken.  
Not even by Santa.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sweet 16 Room Reveal

I am so tired.  

You know how it's hard to find a present for a teenager?   Well, I had the not-so-brilliant idea that for our daughter's special day, we'd gift her with a room makeover.  We'd have her friends here for a sleepover and they could walk her up to the third floor to share in her excitement.  Really, it wasn't such a bad idea, it was just a bad idea to give myself only 2 weeks to get it done.  Painting, sewing, shopping, refinishing furniture, building doors, framing pictures, hanging light fixtures, the whole shebang.  In addition to being a mom to five kids.  The night before the big reveal party, we were working until three am and then were up at six.  Those "reality" programs when they finish a whole room in a weekend?  Some corners are being cut, I guarantee that.

Lucy had picked out the paint colors--Benjamin Moore Summer Shower for the ceiling and top part of the walls and Chantilly Lace for the lower walls and trim.  She mentioned that she wanted something sophisticated and maybe European and maybe with a touch of bling.  Once we got things going, she was banished from the third floor until last night.

I'll first show you where this room was in 2005.

When we moved in, Lucy's attic bedroom was forest green with dark blue carpeting and except for the slanted attic ceiling, had not much character.  Lyle added trim around the room where the ceiling met the walls, built 4 adorable little cubbies, installed a built-in desk and window seat, and cut into the wall to add a closet in the wasted space under the eaves.

I painted the room cream and sage green, and made pillows and curtains.

Then in 2006 our giant dog Olaf had some sort of major intestinal distress and exploded onto Lucy's carpet.  There are some things that are so terrible, they just can't be cleaned.  This was one of those things.

Our "big" kids (who were so little back then!) helped us remove the carpet and tack strips and we did some research to find a cheap non-carpet option for the room.   We wound up buying plain old pine shelving boards which we screwed into the floor and then plugged, sanded, and tung oiled.  We have loved this unique, rustic floor.  Since it's such a soft wood, it's not something I'd use in a room that get lots of traffic, but in a third floor bedroom, it was perfect.

The armoire in the room was something I'd painted and distressed and crackle-finished and since we were doing this room re-do on the cheap, I decided to refinish it.

This took a LOT longer than I anticipated!  First, even with the electric orbital sander, getting off all the old crackled paint took hours.  Then the painting (Benjamin Moore Province Blue) needed several coats, and then the varnish.  Oh, the varnish.  I'd read that when painting furniture, it's better to do a matte finish with the paint and then add the shine afterward with the varnish. I had no idea that varnish is much trickier, stickier, and smellier than paint.  And that if a stray hair or fly or dust or whatever happens to fall onto your furniture during the varnishing process, it's a royal pain to remove it.  It did turn out fantastic, even if I did lose some brain cells due to fumes.

The other big project was the closet door.  Curtains were fine, but I knew that a sliding barn door would be better.  Barn door hardware can be ridiculously expensive, but Lyle accomplished the whole project for about $100 by going to our local farm store.  The track is very industrial looking, but since he covered it in trim, no one will be the wiser.  I had Lyle add the mirror just for the practical reason that Lucy wanted a mirror, but hadn't anticipated how much it opened up the room.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of this chair.  I priced out chairs all over our county and couldn't find anything new that was within budget.  I found this one at an antique/thrift store for $20.  It was very sturdy and well-built, but the wood finish and fabric were seriously bringing it down.  I had decided that some pops of yellow in the room would be a nice touch, so I spray painted and recovered the seat and absolutely love it.

I also spray painted a little table we already had and then took the lid of the spray paint can with me to the framing shop to get mats cut.   There's a HUGE difference in price depending on where you go.  One framing shop said one mat would be $23.  ONE mat!  I found an awesome little local shop that charged only about $6-7 per mat, and even cut them while I waited.  Maria at Old Town Framing is awesome!

I knew I didn't want to spend very much on artwork, so I looked on-line for some non-copyrighted images that would work in the room.  Lucy had mentioned wanting the Eiffel Tower, and I found the most amazing vintage pictures of the 1900 Paris Exposition.

I absolutely love them--the colors, the women walking with parasols under the Eiffel tower, the old-world look.  On the left is the Belgian Pavilion at the exposition, and then of course the Eiffel Tower, and then on the right is the United States Pavilion.  I love the old world's fairs.

My friend, Teresa helped me cut out the fabric for the window seat and I made a pillow with the chair fabric.  I still have some other pillows to make, but with my not-so-realistic time crunch, those didn't get done.   The curtains were from Target and then I used the extra that was cut from the length to make the Euro cushions for the bed.

On the bed wall, I initially painted it white, but then the white headboard was kind of lost, so I painted the headboard blue, which was a bad idea, and then I painted 3 coats of white to cover the ill-advised blue and then I painted the walls on either side of the now-white-again headboard the same Province Blue as the armoire.  And I was happy.  Or maybe just too tired to re-think it for the umpteenth time.  The duvet cover came from Ikea as did the plug-in wall sconces.  I still need to tack down the cords so they look a little neater and get some side tables and rethink the old dust ruffle.

But the absent throw pillows and the lack of side tables weren't huge issues for the big reveal.  What WAS incredibly frustrating was another item from Ikea.....

The chandelier.  

Gorgeous, but I had NO idea that the bulbs were something so funky that they cannot be found anywhere locally.  The party guests were coming in an hour and we were calling everywhere to find E12 bulbs.  No luck and Ikea is an hour and a half away.  Sweden's even farther.  So, it was disappointing that for the big room reveal, at night of course, there was no light from the chandelier.

But she noticed all the other little touches and was completely blown away by the transformation.  

She adores the room (even with the low light that was stinky for picture-taking) and her friends were giggly and adorable and added to the fun.  

Fun that went late into the night.

Now I'm going to sleep.