It is no secret that I was only 16 when I had my daughter a.k.a. the Girly a.k.a the Teenager. Without delving into all the details of what it is like to be a teen parent, I will just say that it has been an incredibly difficult journey and that NEVER for one second have I EVER regretted having or keeping my beautiful girl. She is, without a doubt, the kindest, most empathetic, most resilient person I will ever know. We have yet to meet a person or animal that doesn’t instantly take to her and she has the most calming and happy presence about her. She is truly a joy to be around and the world is a better place having her in it.
That being said … I don’t recommend (at all!) having kids until you are MUCH older, established in a career, and READY!
One thing that really sucked about being a teen parent (for me anyway…) was not being able to REALLY prepare for the happy new arrival. I never got to shop for cute little clothes, (almost everything she wore the first 3 years was second hand) or soft little blankies, pick out nursery furniture or paint her room….
As you can imagine, I lived with my parents the first year or two of her life and then we lived in military housing or in a rental until we bought this house when she was six. I am not ashamed to admit that one of the first things I did (after we gutted the 30 year old carpet, and removed the asbestos from the ceiling) was plan and paint her room. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was SO important to me and looking back I am sure it was because the VERY POWERFUL nester in me just needed the closure. I NEEDED to make her a room that was just for her, where she could sleep and learn and grow. A place where she could look around and know that she was safe and loved.
Turns out, the nester in me is a force to be reckoned with…
Make it PINK! and purple and blue and yellow and green!
This project started out (as all good project do) with research and some shopping!
Please forgive me, it has been about 7 years since this project. Some of the details are a bit fuzzy and this was B.P. (Before Pinterest ), but I do remember that I got on the internet and went looking for some wall stencils that I could manipulate into the perfect decor for my little girls room and I found them!
Yes, I still have them and perhaps someday the Teenager and I will use them to stencil her little girls room! (you know when she is like 40 ;p ) Anyway, with my stencils ordered, I needed a way to incorporate them into some kind of design for her room. I knew the butterflies and dragonflies would be the wall border, but what to do with the words? I found a website that was nothing but photos of painted rooms (no idea what site it was). I must have scrolled through those photos for hours until I found one that had used painter’s tape to create blocks the way I ended up doing in this room. That was an awesome website, I have no idea what it was, it may not even exist anymore, but I hope it does and it is still inspiring people.
Then came the paint. For this project and most of my stenciling projects since, I just used latex paint (no fancy wall stencil paint here!) I purchased one gallon of the pink and a sample sized (quart) can of all the other colors. This is a cost effective method for a project like this, however, it is important to note that most paint companies only sell their sample colors in one sheen. In this case I would have prefered to do the whole room in a semi-gloss (it holds up a little better against kids), but ended up getting the pink in a satin and the other colors in “velvet” (the only sheen they did sample cans in) which is an even less shiny sheen, but not quite a flat.
My big can of pink and my 4 little cans of the other colors, in hand, I got painting! Happy day!
After 2 coats of primer (seriously, the walls in this house had NEVER been painted!) I painted the whole room pink (the ceiling in both kid’s rooms was painted sky blue, but that is not really relevant to anything I did with the walls). Once I had two coats of pink on and it was good and dry, I measured and masked off where the wall border was going to be. Then, I chose locations for the word stencils and taped them up.
Once the stencils were up and the wall border area masked off, I used painters tape to draw the lines between each square or rectangle. Then all I had to do was fill in each square with its designated color (and stencil the words on). When I pulled off the painters tape I got this cool block effect!
The wall border I took a little more time on. I wanted them to be colorful so I put a little of each color on a pallet and made varied colors for each one. I also varied the colors on the border outline. There was an absurd amount of touch-ups after all this stenciling, but I think the imperfections give it character (or that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself )
That Half-Sanded Ugly Thing
All that work and I still wasn’t done (Don’t you know? DIY is NEVER done…) Next came the bed… We were given a wonderful hand-me-down captains bed, but it was white and that just wouldn’t do for my girl. Plus, I had all this paint and stencils … Make it PINK!
Sand, sand, sand, sand and more sanding. I spent so much time sanding this thing, one of my neighbors once told me that for the first few years we lived here, her only memories of me were of seeing me in the garage with a dust mask on. DIY Goddess hard at work! It was worth it though, it came out beautiful!
After I got the bed done and we were FINALLY able to move the Girly into her new room, I moved onto some other projects around the house, not to mention I was a full time student at the time among other things. However, this room was always in the back of my mind and, it seems, other’s minds as well. That cute little doll house shelf (pictured above) was a gift from my parents to match her new room!
A couple years later I used those stencils (and some others) to embroider these curtains to match her room.
I found her a lamp that matched and crocheted her a hammock for all her stuffed animals. It has been seven years and she has slept, learned, and grown and the room has grown with her.
Seven Years is a Long Time
I found this cute little vanity/desk/dresser on Craigslist. It needs to be updated, but every girl needs a place to make herself feel pretty.
Many of those bricks have become frames for her posters, artwork, pictures of friends, awards and memories.
The stuffed animal hammock I crocheted for her is bursting full (Is that a body pillow?) and Hubby has added his own personal touches: our girl has year-round LED twinkle lights
Alas, a Teenager closet … (you don’t wanna see the rest of the floor…)
The Girly has become the Teenager.
Needless to say, she is fast outgrowing all that pink. What now? She and I have decided to MAKE IT PURPLE and GALAXY!