An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

DIY Paris in Process: Walls 1 and 2 April 16, 2014

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 11:05 am
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A: Activities

Paisley and Paris

Paisley and Paris

The never-ending DIY project: my 10 year-old daughter’s room. The discussion began in December 2012. At that time we could not reach a compromise on many important details, so we abandoned the project until a later date. See the blog post here. Then her younger brother got a room redo in June 2013. Finally, in November 2013, we were ready to take another look at it. This time around, Ava and I were on the same page pantone-wise and total project-wise.


The inspiration occurred on a stroll through PBTeen where the Lola Paisley pattern in purple was on sale. I bought the sheets, a sham and a Paris embroidered pillow. Then it was time for paint selection. We took the sham to Home Depot and matched the colors for the wainscotting (dark purple, Behr, Crowning), the chair rail (teal, Glidden GLN6013, Peacock) and main walls (light purple; Behr, Winter Amethyst). Three walls would share the same pattern and on the fourth wall that’s visible directly across from the door, we opted to do a Parisian mural – Ode to the Eiffel. That wall would be creme.


Ava's Room Ages 2-10

Ava’s Room Ages 2-10

Even with the excitement of a fresh coat of paint, painting over the hot pink, baby pink and light green watermelon scheme of my daughter’s youth brought on waves of nostalgia. Off came the wooden birds and followers that adorned the walls. The sweet baby pink eyelet curtains too. With my Dad and I on paint detail, we knocked it out pretty quickly all over the course of Christmas. I painted three sets of wall shelves from hot pink to dark purple and name letters from baby pink to teal. My daughter and son painted all of the other loose ends they could from the hook rack, to mirror trim to a tissue box.


Wall 1

Wall 1Then it was time to design each wall and its details. The longest walls of the room on opposing sides would be easiest. For Wall 1, we hung two purple shelves, high and centered; a grouping of three Pottery Barn picture frames (reused from previous room decor); and an IKEA 5-hook set (not shown here). The creme frames with openings for 4×6’s for 9, 3 and 1 photo got photo refreshes in black and white. Photos from her recent tenth birthday and family photos from 2013 replaced the professional pictures of her from age four.


The matting for the frames got a paint-over from pink to teal and dark purple. I was shocked that this actually worked and paint didn’t saturate the cardboard-based matting too much. We found a wrought-iron Eiffel Tower candle stand at Bed, Bath and Beyond for her dresser and I used material from the bench project (more details in the Wall 3 blog post) to recover the once hot pink chair cushion. I arranged the decor for shelving and the dresser and desk tops. Ava continues to tweak it to her liking. I’m calling it done.


Wall 2

Wall 2We move on to Wall 2. This wall has two windows so the first task is finding curtains to replace the pink eyelet ones. At BBB, we find four deep purple curtains with a subtle pattern of polka-dot for $15 each (80% off). Her twin bed with a tall headboard fit nicely between the windows. I hung the now purple shelf high on the wall above the bed and uncovered three white wicker baskets from my closet with lavender gingham liners to place on the shelf.


Below the shelf, we know we want to hang the three Christopher Straub fashion sketches I bought Ava for her birthday last year. We headed back to Papyrus where I purchased them originally and pick up three frames – two black and one teal. We positioned these below the long shelf and above the headboard. We consider this wall done for now and make a note to eventually find a night stand. For the time being, she’ll use her clip-on lamp for reading in bed.


Next up will be Wall 3, the bench, canopy and white board wall; followed by Wall 4: the Paris mural finale. We’ve been working on this wall on occasional Sundays since December! It will have an end point soon though, if I have any say in the matter. Stay tuned….


See photos and progress on our Parisian Room Pinterest page.





Flip This Room, I’m Eight! June 20, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 8:15 am
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Prep Process

Prep Process

A: Activities

I’m definitely the painter in the relationship. When my 8-year-old son and I embarked on a project to upgrade his room recently, it soon became clear to me that he was the big idea man and I was the worker bee.


By the time I caved and we redid his room, he’d been pitching me ideas for over a year. StarWars, Legos, football and more. He definitely knows how to plant a seed. A few weeks ago, as his birthday was closing in, I recalled a talk with a friend about the most fun birthday surprise they ever gave their daughter : a room re-do. They sent her away and teamed up as a family for an intense day to give her a new room. It got me thinking, birthday present = room rehaul.


Then, about a week ago, about two-thirds of his toys were in the hall after a cleaning and organizing spree. “Mom, I’m done with this stuff.” Wow — no attachments to this stuff, really? Good for him. Again I wondered how I could support this new leaf he was turning over. As we hung out in his room, he pointed out what he called “baby barf green” trim and a babyish rug. I considered that. His room painted 10 years prior to accommodate our unknown firstborn, was mainly blue with green trim. His sister arrived first, so I decked it out in pink accents. When Calvin arrived on the scene two years later, she moved out. I kept most of her stuff in the room (including the rug) and swapped out pink for navy.


Stripes - Let's Hope They're Level

Stripes – Let’s Hope They’re Level

Yes, I agreed, the rug was in pretty tough shape. A few moments later I found the perfect rug online at PotteryBarn Teen (PBT) on sale plus another 15% online place your order by end of day discount and decided the 5×8 would work even though the previous one was an 8×10. Calvin gave it a thumbs up too. Then it all fell into place.


With the rug and its colors as inspiration, we headed to Home Depot for paint. I super-decisively narrowed in on two shades of Martha Stewart Living blue. We brought paint home with us on Sunday and I started the scraping process. Normally, I would just do a paint over, however, our original version included some texture we threw into the mix. That needed to come off.


Paint dust. Calvin scraped for awhile too, but bowed out because of this substance. After two intense hours of scrapping the texture off, I was ready to vacuum to the wall/floor edges to inhale the dust. Then I laid out newspaper as floor protector from paint specs, consolidated the remaining room furniture and threw a drop cloth over it. Then I taped everything off with my 3M blue – ceiling, window trim, wall trim. I removed all the hanging items – hook racks, shelves and name letters. Very time consuming.


Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

After six hours of prep, I was ready to bring out the roller. But not yet. I did the trim and edging first for each wall, then finally following up with the big roller. I did two layers of this. Calvin came in a surveyed my work. Sure is taking you awhile. This looks like the same blue it was. I don’t get it. It’s not any different. I insisted it was way lighter. However, doubts began to nag at me. I pulled out the sample color cards when the job was complete and sure enough, instead of giving the paintmaker the Heavenly Blue, I gave him the Stratosphere. The same paint we choose ten years prior. Seriously! I could not sleep that night.


Morning brought clarity. I liked Stratosphere. We still had our navy stripes to add (Azurite, technically) and I would do one wall all in navy. It was a plan. Calvin pressed on, how much longer? Will this mess be cleaned up by my birthday (2 days later)? Not long now I assured him.


Final Flip

Final Flip

I was motivated to get this done for many reasons – his stuff cluttering the hallway, the frames, etc for painting stretched across the dining table…. and his birthday coming up. On day two I taped out the two stripes (71.25 divided by 5 = 14.25) that would get a navy coat. I used my level religiously throughout – worked like a charm. I took the mini-roller and breezed through one coat before bedtime.


On day three, the stripes got a second coat and I moved on to the two-coat work for the navy wall. Calvin made a case to apply Stratosphere chevron to it, but I backed him down. Instead we focused on an accent color choice for frames and shelving. Yellow it would be. I stuffed the rolled rug into the car, ran into HomeDepot for color cards, back out to the car to match the rug and back in to get the right paint – Sahara Shade. Before bedtime, I applied a layer to each item.


Day four. Move in day. Another coat of yellow, some navy for the vent. Wait…. more nails, more screws, more putty (for the C-A-L-V-I-N wall art project) and progress. I washed curtains and ironed them (had I ever done that?). Yes, super fresh! Calvin moved his books back in, adhered his new dry-erase map and found a home for his new guitar. We reused frames, shelving and more. Proceeds from whatever we might sell of the PotteryBarnKids MVP bedding will go to new bedding/decor. He’s thinking football.


There’s definitely a more grown-up feel to my just-turned 8-year-old’s room (see the Vine video at jengilhoi). He’s pleased with it. I hope so because it’s only a 1 (at most 2) time occurrence to flip your room from birth to 18. Most parents I polled also agreed – one and done. Timing was just right for this change and Ava, my 10-year-old, has handled it beautifully. We were on track to redo her room in December (see the blog post), but discovered that her PB rug was in good condition, we couldn’t agree on color selections (no your walls cannot be black) and the top colors she wanted to lose were hot pink and baby pink which was everywhere, so it would be more expensive to replace. She’s waiting til age 12 she says. Thank goodness. That will buy me some time to rest up and save up!

Happy 8th Birthday, Calvin! — love, your worker bee   


Puppies, Pantones and Piercings December 7, 2012

I: Independence

PBTeen Graphic Patch Quilt Purchased, Potentially Returned

PBTeen Graphic Patch Quilt Purchased, Potentially Returned

I’m not sure what switch was flipped at age nine and a half for my daughter, Ava, but it’s causing a newfound need to be more grown-up.  From nightly dinner conversations about getting a puppy to updating her room decor so she can lose the baby pink pantone, it’s constantly called to my attention that she growing up.


To agree to all of these requests — a new puppy, a new room, a new route home from school with a friend, and new and permanent bling in her ears — would most likely overwhelm our entire family. Over the past month, we’ve been working though everything with some careful compromising, added responsibility and sound reasoning.


Ava cleverly submits me to online survey-taking to determine the type of puppy I (nevermind her) would be most compatible with and works hard to sell me on the idea that she’d be the one taking puppy out for walks at 7:00a.m. in the winter. Once we revisit our schedule, turns out that yes, it would be me doing those early morning walks/runs. We table the puppy purchase for at least six months.


Next we turn our focus to redecorating her room. After seven and a half years of what we call watermelon decor, she insists she’s ready for something new. We scout out PotteryBarnTeen and find a few options (black is a necessity) before ordering the Graphic Patch Quilt and Sham as a starting point for the paint selection and decor. We cannot agree on paint selection, but we eventually agree that maybe it’s too soon to redecorate given all of the things we’d have to replace and buy. We could wait until she’s eleven and revisit it as we’ll probably only do the decor over once while she’s living at home. It’s kind of a relief, truthfully.


Thirdly, we discuss walking home after school with a friend to her friends’ house. She insists she’s totally ready for this. I, however, am not. Instead I offer to pick up her and her friend one day each week and bring them to our house so they can hang out. She’s kind of heartbroken over this and I would love to say yes. Maybe next year. Maybe when you have your own mobile phone.


Piercing Tech Alicia Measures and Marks with Purple Ink

Piercing Tech Alicia Measures and Marks with Purple Ink

The final quest is for ear-piercing. We create a reward system around this – practice your piano and clarinet frequently and without complaint and you may get your ears pierced. She is game for this and follows through for a month before the assessment date arrives. She gets a passing grade from her Dad and we immediately head for Claire’s the next day.


I question the training and skill sets of the piercing technicians at Claire’s, but I am mostly satisfied because of the girl’s optimistic and friendly attitude. She claims she’s a perfectionist and re-does the purple ink dot markings 15 times to ensure the correct and matching placement. When all is perfectly marked, we call on another tech so they can simultaneously perform the piercing. Ava seems a bit nervous, but doesn’t let on. Her seven year-old brother is pacing the store and continually asking if we can buy candy.


"I Just Got My Ears Pierced" and now I'm at Starbucks

“I Just Got My Ears Pierced” and now I’m at Starbucks

We settle on the mid-to-high price range earrings although all in their arsenal are hypoallergenic. I talk Ava down from a square cubic-zirconia looking studs to flatter, yet still shiny, daisy-shaped earrings. On the count of three, the techs fire their earring guns. Ava looks a bit flushed. The tech reviews the cleaning process and we walk out $55 later. We opt not to redeem the 50% off coupon for new earrings just yet as she has to keep the studs in for six weeks.


She shares the news with her family and fellow fourth-grade friends. She’s slightly worried about her Papa calling her a gypsy, which is what he called me in newly-pierced ears in sixth grade. The girls just say cool. In the next breath, all is well with the other denied and compromised requests for the moment. I’m safe until the next grown-up must-do/ must-have comes along.


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