For the Love of it! Decorating with Themes

There are interests, hobbies and crafts that we all do just for the love of the creative process it entails.  Decorating is one of mine.

Though I studied Architecture and Interior Design in college, it does not compare to actually doing it in your own home, and especially for your own children!!  Decorating, depending on how involved you get, can combine many creative outlets.  Being the type of creative person I am- I insist  on doing it all!! I enjoy learning new processes, like when we remodeled our home, I decided to learn how to tile and lay wood floors, but thats another story!

In decorating my children’s rooms, I have employed sewing, painting and furniture refinishing.   I love to decorate their rooms in themes that they like, to give them a feel of owning their space in our home.  Amazingly this also inspires responsibility for their rooms, which they take more pride in and try harder to keep clean. Yes! it really does work!

We have had many themes through- out the years: Paddington Bear Nursery, a Teddy Bear Picnic Nursery, a Garden Nursery.

Then as they grew up, for the boys, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Harry Potter and now  a Beachy/ Nautical theme due to my boys involvement in Rowing for Crew.

Many times we have used the redecorating of a childs room to help them transition into a new phase, like giving up the crib and moving onto the toddler bed

This was Andrew’s transition from the Nursery above- “Teddy Bear Picnic” to  a Woody theme with a special “Woody” Toddler bed, since we needed the crib for his baby sister.

In Andrew’s Woody room I tried color washing the walls, that is why they look a different hue in places. It adds a softer touch of color and has an aged look.  Then I stenciled the “Woody” motif and rope design.  On the bed I used a wood graining tool to add that western feel.  He was so excited about his “new” room and bed!

My daughter progressed to a Tinker Bell theme.

I used a wavy vine to accent the top of the wall as a boarder so that the flowers would stand out more, then I sketched out the flowers using a Tinker Bell coloring book as inspiration.  These walls were also colorwashed, I just love the soft layers of color that come through with this method

Now being all of 8 years old,  she is requesting a more sophisticated “Paris ” Theme, with all the Glam of course!!

I have learned many painting techniques through-out the years; Pickling, Weathering, Glazing, Crackling, Ragging, Sponging, Color washing, Stamping, Stenciling and Woodgraining, using them on walls as well as furniture. Unfortunately, due to a computer virus we lost a lot of our family pictures, so I only have a few left to show.

Our latest transition was from a Harry Potter theme to a Beach theme.

Here we tried a new technique called “weathering” usually done on furniture, but my son wanted his walls to look like an old weathered Beach shack. Along the way through all our redecorating,  I have taught my children how to do it as well.  The boys started as young as three years old.  There is nothing as exciting or scary as handing your three year old a loaded paint roller or brush and telling them to “go to town!”.  At eight and thirteen my boys learned how to pull up carpet, nail strips and three layers of old linoleum, they loved the crow bar action!!   Meanwhile my daughter was working on coloring my bedroom walls with her crayons!  So she was given a paint brush too!

The only downside to inspiring my childrens creativity this way, is that they frequently come up with new ideas for their rooms.  they love the process so much that they want to do it frequently!!

I am always on the look out for  inspiration and ideas for decorating with new window treatments or accents that we can work on together.

These are two of my favorite books that have inpired me:

Rooms your kids will love, by Paige Gilchrist and Mary Engelbreit’s,  Childrens Companion

I hope this has inspired you to collaborate with your child on a room of their dreams. I promise you it is a rewarding teaching and bonding experience.  Have fun exploring your creative urges together!!

Kerry ♥

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My Creative Studio

Lately there has been a big trend in creating your ideal work space, notice it is NOT referred to as an office!!  Creativity in any form or medium is the hottest thing going!!  So of course we must have a place or, as they say, “space” to do it!!  Personally, I have become addicted to the STUDIOS publication, or the Creative Spaces magazine, where I can browse through the pages and see how others have organized  and decorated their “spaces”, many of them make me drool!

When I first started my creative business, I had one sewing machine,  a sewing cabinet and a storage box of fabric. Fast forward 10 years and I had  a sewing machine, serger, a whole bookcase of scrapbooking materials, tools, two closets worth of fabric and a cabinet of craft supplies. At this time we did not use our dining room as we had an eat-in-kitchen, and with the kids being so little- that worked best.  So the dining room was mine and I even built my own work table set up 3 1/2 feet to keep little fingers out of my projects. I had various economical shelf units bought at the local Target and my trusty sewing cabinet/desk, I worked where the kids played and watched TV, but began to dream of my own space- where I didn’t have to always clean everything up – who wants to do that?

Recently, we realized we now need our dining room, so while remodeling our house we enclosed the back porch into an additional room that was intended to be my studio/family room. By this time I have four various sewing machines, a pull out cutting table, several book shelf units and a need for more space as my business grows.  My family and I have decided that this is Mom’s Studio, if I promise to take all the materials, tools, and craft supplies stashed in everyone’s closets and the hall closets and put it all in MY Studio!!

This summer I decided to take the time off from my business in order to “create” my “space”!!  What a journey this has been! All my machines, tools and supplies had slowly migrated out to my Studio but in no type of order, just haphazardly placed  here and there  wherever I could find room, as I was too busy being creative to organize it all. Eventually, I found it hard to be productive in this environment  and had the worse time locating supplies I knew I had somewhere….  It is embarrassing to publicise my mess like this, but maybe it will inspire you to pull your space together.

I decided to start with finishing the walls as they were still bare dry wall, I spent days “mudding” the walls, priming, and then finally painting!! Did I mention I HATE prep work?! It’ s just no fun at all!!

Each day I got closer to my goal I became relentless, we ate a lot of pizza and Subway those weeks!
Once again every room in the house was holding some of my machines, tools, supplies and furniture, we were a construction zone, and the kids just wanted to go to Disney!!

And then….Progress, the Studio begins to emerge….( hear the angelic music???)

Now the whole family began to get excited, surely this meant that Mom was going to be a HUGE success, take her business to a whole new level!!  I began to think I needed to go out and buy a business suit, the only one I had was from the BC era – you know – Before Children?

Have you ever read the book -( to your children of course) “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”?  Well once the walls were done , I couldn’t just leave the ugly concrete floors that horrible brown color, it didn’t go with the color scheme after all.  We are on a budget and couldn’t afford to go out and purchase 400 square feet of tiles, like I wanted, so after consulting my favorite decorating magazines, I decided to paint the floor too.  Easier said than done, I found out!  To paint unsealed concrete you have seal it, paint it, then seal the paint! UHGG!  Well I found a better  – quicker way: concrete paint with sealer in it- designed for outdoor use, so very durable, after all I didn’t want my hard work peeling off the floor.  First time I opened the can of concrete paint I almost keeled over!!   Each time I used it on the floor, we had to open all the windows and run multiple fans, the fumes were so strong, and I had to wear a mask, this was in the summer months of June and July- in Florida!!  Then there is the whole issue of being on your hands and knees for prolonged periods of time –  at my age! ( we won’t go there!).  Those days I felt a lot like Mr. Magoo, remember him?? Ha! you just showed your age!!

Finally, the finished room!! I cried!! (my knees were killing me!)

My family agrees, it was well worth the time and hardship – mine of course!

Stay tuned, because in my next post about  Where we Create, I will take you through the process of bringing everything back in and organizing a workable space – be warned!  It is not for the weak of heart!!

Kerry