For My Girls

There is always so much to be done in preparation for a new baby.  I realize that there has been a shift for me with recent babies though, in that those preparations often focus more on my other children.  After all, the new baby won’t actually need much, mainly just me.  So in order to make myself most available to take care of her, I need to know that everyone else is taken care of first!  Makes sense, right?  I spent about a week going through everyone’s clothing, a huge job.  Twelve or so bags went to Goodwill, and I bought everyone anything they needed for summer.  Swim trunks for the big boys, summer dresses for the girls.  I even found affordable shorts for my tall skinny Keats, so difficult to fit.  (My three big boys are all taller than me now!)

Between making sure that everyone would be clothed, and that my bedroom was in good shape for recuperating from birth with my new baby, I didn’t think there was much else major that I should reasonably expect to get accomplished in the house.  This time of year, the outdoors and all the projects there demand our attention.  We have the garden to work in, baby animals to care for, swarming beehives to deal with, etc.  This baby is joining us during a very busy season!  All the more reason that I have worked hard to tie up all the loose ends, and get my little space prepared.  I am kind of a maniac (you guys know this) and have a very hard time sitting still.  Relaxing is not my favorite activity.  But, I do think I’m nearly set to enjoy taking the time I will need to take care of myself and my new little one through the early weeks after her she is born.

We have family traveling up from Georgia to help out later this month, starting with Jonny’s older sister and our niece who will come stay during my time in the hospital.  When Jonny first shared this news with me, and the fact that they would be sleeping in the little girls room, my eyes got big as I said, “But they can’t!  That room is in terrible shape!”  Within hours, I was at the paint store.  Time to finally deal with the girls’ room!

When we moved Seth and Gabe out of their tiny downstairs bedroom and the girls into it, there wasn’t time to do anything but swap out belongings.  The walls were a medium blue, with plenty of dirty handprints.  The boys’ bunkbeds were falling apart, so we found a “new” set on Craigslist.  They were sturdy, wooden, and masculine.  But most importantly, free.  I figured I would paint them, eventually.  I found Larkspur a desk, also on Craigslist, also planning to paint it some day.  Then we moved in a bookcase that Jonny built years ago, and Sarah’s bead cabinet.  Over the past year or so, the girls have done a very good job of cluttering up their tiny space and the ugliness of it all has really bothered me.  Not enough to do anything about it though, despite the fact that I really wanted my girls to have a prettier space.  It’s hard to make time for all the things.

So here is what we did along with details:

It’s not perfect, and it’s not totally finished yet (And it may never be, so I better just go ahead and share what IS done!)

The walls were painted Benjamin Moore’s Queen Anne (HC-60).  I am terrible at choosing paint colors, but did an internet search, looking for a peach toned pink.  Benjamin Moore historical colors seem safe.  When we first painted it on the girls were really skeptical.  Everyone said it looked too peachy, not pink enough.  (It took two coats of primer and three coats of paint–Jonny says that’s because I buy hippie zero VOC everything.  Really, it’s just hard to go from blue to a light color, I think!) Now that it’s finished and dry, I can say that we all agree the color is perfect.  Exactly what I wanted.  The bunkbeds got two coats of primer and then two coats of General Finishes milk paint in Snow White.  They are going to get dirty and nicked up, but white seemed the only way to go.  Larkspur’s desk and Sarah’s bead cabinet (this was the cabinet that Sarah stored her clay beads in progress in, and it’s very special to us) were both painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg blue, paint I already had on the shelf.  Larkspur was hesitant to have me paint Sarah’s cabinet, but I assured her that Sarah would approve.  She  would!  The color is almost the same as what it was before.  I dug through quilt listings on Amazon.com (and several other sites) for hours, almost like pouring through racks at Goodwill, searching for the perfect, yet affordable quilts for the beds.  (Neither girl even had a quilt on her bed before now, just blankets.) I ended up with these.   The colors are absolutely perfect, pulling in a deeper shade of the peachy pink, and the blue of the desk and cabinet.  They did cost more than I wanted to spend, and they are kind of cheesy in that the pieced aspect of them is just printed directly on the fabric.  But they are otherwise perfect, and I love them.  I found inexpensive but soft sheets that match perfectly at a discount store.  The white lamp was a Goodwill find.

And maybe most exciting for the girls, Jonny finally put a doorknob on their door!  Of course now they want that door painted too.  For some reason they have a problem with the old wood with green paint streaks on it!  Picky, picky.  Jonny also needs to re-do the trim around the window and we need to buy new plugs for the screw holes in the upper shelves, but those are minor details, right?

I still have several bins of treasures/junk/stuff, whatever you want to call all the things that the girls hoard, to deal with.  And they will soon clutter up those upper shelves, but right now, their room is so pretty!!  And why, oh why didn’t I take a before picture?  I always forget those.  I just don’t like taking pictures of ugly stuff, I guess.

The Making that Happens

This weekend was kind of nuts.  We spent Friday working on Larkspur and Beatrix’s room re-do (Last minute crazy pregnant lady project.  So much painting involved.)  Friday night Jonny set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. so he could travel with Keats and Gabe (Silas and Job in tow) to an out of town baseball tournament for the weekend.  We fell into bed close to midnight, and I woke up shortly after with a nasty headache, and that stomach bug feeling.  Thankfully, the bad stomach passed, but the headache remained.  I was still awake when Jonny and the boys left.

Saturday was meant to be spent working on the girls’ room, but I was feeling kind of terrible so instead I did the logical thing and started a new cross-stitch project.  (Alicia Paulson’s Florabella from the first issue of Making Magazine.)  I think this was just my natural reaction to having Lark and Bea’s stuff exploding all over the downstairs and feeling too crappy to deal with it.  Hide from the mess, make something pretty.  (There are so many pretty things to make in that magazine!  I already have yarn for three of the knitting projects.)

Saturday night things went downhill as Beatrix started feeling sick and Weasel felt like he needed to bark non-stop, I assume because Jonny and the boys weren’t here and he was nervous about that.  I emailed Jonny at 2 a.m. with the subject line, “Horrors” after getting Beatrix situated after a puke session.  He replied around 7 a.m. letting me know that Job was now throwing up in the hotel room.  Such good times.  Who needs sleep?

Anyway, despite the fact that my habit is to start cross-stitch projects and then spend ages actually getting around to finishing them, Florabella was completed over the course of the crazy, sick, bedroom re-do, menfolk traveling weekend and it’s hanging on the wall over my desk now.  Such a lovely manageable project and maybe the reason that I didn’t lose my mind over these past couple of days.

I ordered the linen called for in the pattern, in antique white, along with Weeks Dye Works floss in Bluecoat Red and a 4″ wooden hoop from 123stitch.com

Oh, and that red yarn!  It’s a skein I dyed for a friend with madder root.  It matches the cross-stitch!  The photos of Bea (in hot pink lipstick–maybe she’s attempting to graduate from markers to real make-up?) and Silas are from last week.  They were painting with these paint sticks that Silas got for his birthday.  They have been very popular with my kids.  And, some of you asked about the colored pencils in Silas’ birthday post.  We’ve used these pencils for years and I recently restocked.

Girls room details soon.  It’s such a tiny little closet of a room that photos are hard, but I will do my best!  I’ve been painting bunk-beds on our disaster of a front porch for two days.  Almost finished.