See You Next Monday!

Katie is here for a quick visit, helping me get through the last days of this tough pregnancy. The nesting instinct has manifested in an almost visceral need to redo my living room, but my lack of mobility means most changes have been relegated to my brain or, at best, mood boards on the computer. Katie’s arrival (and superhuman strength) has heralded an absolute frenzy of arranging and rearranging my living room; not one single rug remains where it began, no piece of furniture or art has gone untweaked.  Late last night I sent her a text (she’s staying at my house, but I didn’t want to disturb her…too much) about wanting to try a different rug in the kitchen. I am consumed by decorating madness.

My inability to walk much means that shopping has also been relegated to the virtual world, but having Katie by my side gave me the guts to saddle up Target’s motorized shopping cart and hit the aisles for a few essentials.

We’re taking Wednesday off to savor each other’s company – and I’m hoping that bouts of uncontrollable laughter will help this baby come soon – but we hope you have an excellent week and we’ll be back with a post next Monday!

Decorating With Kids: Hide the Wallpaper Samples!

Right now my to-do list looks something like this:

  1. Redecorate the living room, the upstairs hallway, and our old bedroom;
  2. Buy a mini van with the highest safety ratings and also hopefully some cache (that’s possible, right?);
  3. Clean all surfaces in the house with non-toxic products, including walls and ceilings;
  4. Clean all surfaces in the basement with straight bleach (cats are supposed to be clean, so why are mine so filthy?);
  5. Push a human out of my bits.

Of course I can’t actually do any of these things myself (except #5, hopefully), because I’m laid up with a huge belly and a condition called PGP, but I’ve been making plans and scheming hard for when I’m able-bodied again.

Our plan is to have baby boy in our room for the first few months, and then to move him into Opal’s room, and move Opal into our old room.  Opal is down with this plan on one condition: her room has to be purple and pink.

Red House West || Plans for Opal's Room

Our old bedroom, soon to be Opal’s new bedroom.

Purple and pink are surprising favorites for a kid who refuses to wear dresses even for special occasions, and whose current interests include dinosaurs, construction equipment, and slugs.  But she’s a person all her own, and her absolute favorite colors are, and have been for a long time, purple and pink.

I love pink, but purple isn’t one of my go-to colors.   I wanted to use wallpaper in Opal’s room, and I thought long and hard about Hygge and West’s “Daydream” on the ceiling, like in this room:

I ordered samples in green and in purple.  I loved the green and figured I could work in lots of purple and pink through textiles and art, like this:

Yet another girl's room

But I made the mistake of not hiding the purple wallpaper sample, and Opal got really attached to it, and to the idea of purple birds in her room in particular. And by attached I mean she slept with the sample in her bed for weeks.  Trouble is I didn’t like the purple version at all.  The hue was cold, and having lived in her future bedroom through many long winters, I know that room does best with warmer tones.  So I started looking for a purple bird alternative.

After lots of searching I came across wallpaper that fits the bill from Trustworth.  I ordered a sample, and started putting together a design.

Red House West || Plans for a Big Girl Room

The wallpaper is beautiful, and maybe just the tiniest bit creepy in that art nouveau way I love.  The purple is more of a warm mauve than chilly lilac, which I like better, and while it’s hard to tell from the photo, the background is the prettiest blush pink.

I put together a mood board to see how it might come together, and this is what I ended up with:

Big Girl Room Plans

This rendering is more matchy than I think it would be in real life, and while I like it, I’m not totally sold.  Somehow it doesn’t feel very “Opal” to me.  If I can get her off the purple bird kick, or incorporate purple birds in some non-wallpaper way, I might scrap the wallpaper idea altogether and do something a little less involved, but more playful, like this:

Another girls room

Still pink and purple, but more fun, and more flexible if she changes her mind about her favorite colors.

What direction do you think I should go?  Give in to the icy purple birds, go with the mauve Trustworth avians, or not use wallpaper at all?  Do you let your kids decide what their rooms will be like?  Or just let them offer general guidelines?

What was your first/worst job?

Have you seen that thing going around on Facebook asking people what their first 7 jobs were?  It’s a fun one, and it got us reminiscing about our first and/or worst jobs.

Katie’s worst job:

Did you know that those velvet-flocked posters of kittens and unicorns were made in Eugene, Oregon?  Me either.  Not until, desperate for money to buy a plane ticket back to a fun and lucrative job in Alaska, I applied for work through a temp agency here in town.  Shifts were long, and by the time I’d punch out at day’s end the unicorns would have morphed from mystical into menacing.  The sweat born of tedium – not activity – would create an effective adhesive for all the airborne velvet fluff, making me a sad approximation of the posters I spent all day wrapping.

Mera’s first and worst job:

From my teen years all the way into my early thirties I had pretty much the best job ever, deck handing, and later skippering, a small passenger ferry on Kachemak Bay.  But before I got that job I paid my dues with a brief foray into the worst job, as a toddler runway escort for a baby pageant company.  Each Saturday I would don a sparkly prom dress and accompany nervous, makeup-laden toddlers down rickety raised runways in hotel banquet rooms.  I kind of loved the prom dress part, but even back then I remember feeling like I was gently shepherding little girls toward a lifetime of insecurities and eating disorders.  The boat was a better gig, and we even sometimes had prom-themed parties so I still got to wear frilly dresses.

Red House West || First/Worst Jobs

Atop the wheelhouse of the M/V Danny J, circa a thousand years ago.

What was your first or worst job?