Anyone who knows me knows that my kids are my life. I would do absolutely anything and everything for them. Before Abby was born, I designed her nursery with a "Daisy Garden" theme. I wanted her to have a room that was playful, magical, and would last for years without her outgrowing it. Here is a picture of that garden:
I had considered this my masterpiece. Before this my crafting experience was limited to the few scrapbooks I had made, but this garden was special. Puffy clouds, hand textured grass, hand embroidered 3-dimensional flowers, a gap where her name was eventually spelled out over the crib... I hated that we had to leave this room when we moved. I told myself that decorating Abby's new room at the new house would be my first priority when we moved in. That was over a year ago. Some other project always came up. But when my husband took two weeks off over Christmas this year, I knew exactly what I wanted to work on. It was finally time to paint Abby's not-so-new room.
I had discussed with Abby what she wanted for a theme (I love themes) and at first she wanted Minnie Mouse, but throughout the year she would waver between Minnie, Frozen, or Tinkerbell. Going with a single theme did not make sense when the room is occupied by a fickle 4-year-old; I could tell she would want to change it too soon, especially with the amount of work I intended to put into it. In order to make the room more "grow-up" friendly, we decided that each of her 6 walls (she has an l-shaped room) would be based on a different Disney Story. So, here they are:
Wall 1: Minnie Mouse
This is probably our most simple wall; hot pink paint with painted white polka dots and Minnie Mouse decals courtesy of my favorite decorating assistant Abby. The wall is pretty much the same of the other side of the window. Since it's simple and the glare was terrible, we only took a photo of one side.
Wall 2: Frozen
We couldn't do a Disney themed bedroom without including Frozen. At first the whole wall was composed of decals, because they were convenient and I wasn't really planning to make the room as complicated as I did. Anna and Elsa are still decals, but the snowflakes are not. The giant snowflake above Abby's bed is actually hand-painted, and took way longer to do than I expected. The little snowflakes were made with a q-tip. After the rest of the room was completed, this wall looked awful. It was dull, boring, and needing to pop! somehow. Being an overachiever, I decided to remove all of the snowflake decals and paper craft new ones that would be bright while really give the wall that high-contrast pop. I LOVE how it ended up turning out... and Chris thought I was crazy to take the stickers off :)
Wall 3: Tinker Bell
Tinker Bell... another must have in Abby's room. Honestly I'm not sure where her obsession with the Fairies comes from since she has yet to see one of their movies, but hey, who I am to argue with a 4-year-old? The Fairies are decals again, but I was so excited when I realized that their proportions would work out perfectly with the flowers we had used in Abby's original nursery. I had been hoping that there would be a way to work them into to the new room, and sure enough, this was my opportunity! Abby was in charge of decal placement (I LOVE where she put Periwinkle), and I was in charge of the paper flowers (with glitter embleshiments) and bumble bees, cloud, and putting the fabric flowers back together. This wall is so happy, and it is actually the wall you see from her bed; in fact, the upper photo was taken in her bed!
Wall 4: Rapunzel
In CT, Rapunzel was Abby's favorite princess. I can't blame her, I love Tangled and it may also be my favorite princess movie at this point (sorry Elsa). When we decided to paint Rapunzel, I knew exactly what I wanted to paint... a recreation of Rapunzel's own mural at the beginning of the movie. Why? Because other than the one date I had at Cheers Pablo, this would be my first painting. Recreating something that looks hand painted set my bar lower; if I messed up, it wouldn't matter. The mural was supposed to look free flowing and natural. I really love how it turned out. Abby would like me to add a full face to Rapunzel but that is a bit beyond my abilities at this point, and really I don't think she needs it. Mommy power of veto. These lights took me FOREVER to do. Just for posterity, here are my paintbrushes and "palette". It was a bit crazy.
Wall 5: Monster's Inc
What could be more perfect for a wall barely the size of a door than Monster's Inc? I never imagined doing anything else with this wall... the light and door apparatus had to be there. Mike was a late addition. Originally I was going to give him his own wall, but in the end we decided that the design worked better with his eye here. If light shines on it right, the light above the door glows like in the story. Ideally we could find a battery operated light that didn't blink and maybe we eventually will. I like to think of this room as "Abby's door to the human world" because as soon as she goes through it, the magic ends and the house is painted brown. The last wall is what we ditched the big Mike for, and I think it was a great decision, as much as it scared me in the process.
Wall 6: WALL-E (no pun intended)
The wall that I was afraid to do, and it turned out to be my favorite. Honestly I about cried when it was done. Are there little things I want to tweak? You betcha, but all in all I LOVE it! If you have not seen WALL-E (which is likely since I think it's the most obscure of the Pixar stories), this is the "Define Dancing" scene. Google the video. It's so cute. Every time Abby walked in and saw what I was doing, she would say "I LOVE it!" or "It's Awesome!" That made all the work worth it. Plus my almost two-year-old who barely talks decided every time he came into the room he would say "Wow! WALL-E!" This wall is completely hand-drawn and painted. I tried to include as many details on WALL-E that I possibly could with my skill level... his vent, button, solar charge meter, etc. I am so ecstatic with the way WALL-E looks; his eyes make me love him so much; he is such a sweet robot. I wish he were real. Abby was able to sit on her daddy's shoulders and put the stars all over the wall. Just like the snowflakes, the stars were made with q-tips, and just like Rapunzel many many tiny paint brushes and color combos were used. See below.
It's kind of crazy, and hard to believe, but hour for hour, this room took less time than the Daisy Garden. Abby's nursery took me about 100 man hours (thank goodness I was in Grad School and could just avoid my homework), threw out my shoulder, and put a 28 week pregnant woman on serious pain killers because of how severe it got. I am happy to say this room took far less than that, maybe around 50 but the difficulty level was much higher.
I already told Abby that if she ever wants to paint her room, she just needs to move to the guest room because she will be stuck with this one for a very long time. Although really, if she outgrows a story, I only have to repaint one wall so maybe this room is brilliant in disguise. This morning when we showed her grandma the room on Skype Abby said, "Grannie, I call my room Disney World!" I can only hope that Abby's childhood is as magical as I set out to make this room, and that she knows just how much I love her, because it's a lot. A bedroom like this isn't something I would do for just any kid... custom backdrops on the other hand? Bring it on! :)