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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Creating your own printed fabric

Stamping Toile print on Roman shade
Stamping Toile print on Roman shade

Stamping a Toile print

Have you been searching for just the right print, with the right color combination for your next sewing project?  Scoured through all the fabric websites, local fabric stores and even local yard sales?  Frustrated after all that searching and only finding something similar, but in the wrong color or fabric?  Believe me I have been there! More times that I care to remember! What is more frustrating is that I saw just the item I wanted only weeks before, but now it is nowhere to be found!  After confronting this issue several times, I decided to try making my own printed fabric. I had been searching for a navy blue printed toile, for a roman shade that I wanted to make for my Dinning room window, The only blue I could find was not navy but a teal blue and on an ecru background, when I wanted a white background.  So I purchased the white fabric for the shade, cut it and sewed it together, then went to search through my rubber  stamp collection.  I found a set of stamps very similar to a toile pattern, poured some navy blue acrylic craft paint into a disposable plastic plate and began to play.  I started with a scrap piece of the fabric used for the shade and started testing how best to achieve the look I wanted. I was very happy with the results as were my family and friends, who could not believe that I had done the printing as well as the window treatment.

Blue Toile Roman shade

Dining room Toile Roman shade

A few months later, a friend wanted  Umizoomi costumes for her son and daughter for  a birthday party. Well Geo is easy just solid colors, but the girl – Milli has a specific flower pattern with light pink on a darker pink background. Well of course there was nothing similar to be found, so I went searching through my rubber stamps and found one that would work. This is how I prepared the material:

* Wash and dry material
* cut out all the pattern pieces
it is less time-consuming to “print” just these pieces rather than all of the fabric

Pink Milli hood

Printing the hood peices

* Lay out all the pieces flat on top of freezer paper or wax paper in case any paint bleeds through.

* I mix the color of acrylic craft paint with a fabric medium according to instructions on the bottle.

* Pour the mixed paint and medium into a disposable plastic plate that has a large flat surface.

* Test your technique on a scrap piece of the same fabric you will be printing.

* Use enough paint to cover the surface of the stamp but not to run down into the crevices

* Try varying the pressure you apply when stamping down onto your fabric

Pink Umizoomi Milli costume

Flower stamp and material for Umizoomi costume

* Remember to bring your stamp straight up and down onto  and off of the fabric

* Once you have your technique down, you are ready to print on your pieces

* I start in the center and work my way out, even overlapping on some edges

* Once all the pieces are printed, I leave them to dry for several hours.

* Using a pressing cloth and dry iron on the hottest setting your fabric can take,

Pink Milli Umizoomi dress printing

Printing the dress peices

iron the wrong side

of the fabric to set the paint.

* Now you are ready to assemble your project.

I enjoyed this process so much that I am constantly looking for more projects that I can print myself!
I guarantee that if you try it, Not only will your family and friends be impressed by the project you made  but in awe of YOUR handmade printed fabric!

Kerry

finished Milli dress

The finished costume!