But it is a joyful one.
You see, after 4 years in China and many, many years in apartments, my husband and I recently bought our first home. And since we were so transient for much of Cora's first year of life, I never had a chance to make her a proper nursery. But now that we're a bit more settled, I jumped at the chance to create her "big girl room."
And boy does it make me smile... I just had to share.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted the decor to "mean something." I didn't want it to all come from the same themed section at Target, and I also didn't want to spend a lot of money. I was happy to take my time gathering what I needed... and I spent quite a bit of time on pinterest, getting ideas. After finding a box of vintage paper dolls from the 1930s for $5, I knew what direction I wanted to take the room... girly and sweet, full of vintage charm, but also a bit spunky... 'cuz my girl is a little firecracker.
I painted this old dresser that my best friend in high school gave me. It is certainly not worth a dime, but it sure looks cute with a fresh coat of paint and spruced up hardware. The mirror belonged to one of my great-grandmothers, and the framed art came from Cora's Aunt Jessica's room when she was a little girl. (Cost of this wall: About $3 for paint, since all the artwork was gifted.)
Using scrapbook paper, ribbons, and stencils, I made a paper pennant banner that says "You are my sunshine." It hangs, along with swoops of lace and eyelet - some vintage finds from great-grandmothers and other pieces I bought at the local fabric shop. These banners hang above Cora's floor bed (our daughter's sleeping arrangement throughout her short life deserve a post all of their own) and a small nightstand I repainted a reddish-orange called Tibetan Orange. I'm not going to lie. I might have chose the paint color solely because of its name. The opposite wall has two shutters and an old quilt - all estate sale finds.
(Cost of these walls: $5 for shutters, $10 for quilt, about $15 for supplies to make banners and the few pieces of lace/eyelet I purchased. At $40, Cora's quilt was the most expensive thing in the room. The pillow cases were estate sale finds - about $4 - and the lamp was a gift.)
The focal wall has so many precious things...
An old pom-pom pillow made by my great-grandmother for my mom when she was a teenager, a needlepoint done by our ayi in China, a porcelain plate painted by Jacob's (my husband) grandma, several lace doilies made by one of my great-grandma's, tatting done by another great-grandma, and Cora's sweet silhouette. (Made for a couple of dollars with the help of pinterest and my friend!)
Interspersed in the wall are photographs of Cora, her name that I wrote in the sand before she was born - and before we knew if she'd be Cora or Kai - on a vacation in Thailand when I was 7 months pregnant, and little paintings and mirrors...
(Cost of focal wall: About $10 in embroidery hoops and wood to mount various pieces, about $20 in frames, about $5 in fabric to use as backing in some frames, $5 for the two needlepoints, and about $15 for mirror.)
To unify the room, I painted almost everything in one of 4 colors - green, yellow, reddish-orange, and teal - that I picked out at the hardware store. I bought one sample size of each paint color - only cost me about $2.50 each, I think - and had enough to paint everything, including the furniture! I also used embroidery hoops, which I painted, to display several pieces. Old frames found at garage sales and repainted were also a money saver!
I still have a bit of painting to do. And I want to make some throw pillows for Cora's bed with some of the fabric I used on the wall, to tie that together. Oh, and I want to add some frills to her boring green curtains. But other than that, I'm finished!
It is sweet.
It is spunky.
It is full of things that give my girl her history.
And I hope it is a reminder that she is loved.