WARNING: This is the longest post ever. Apparently, I felt very wordy. Lucky you guys.
Two things inspired this project...
First! When we bought this house, it had just been professionally painted. Since Steve had just finished multiple, intense projects in the old house, knowing our new house had been done by professionals pretty much made him giddy. And they really did do a beautiful job.
But here's where it's hard for me...the entire house is taupe. It's got clean lines, and all of the crown molding and trim is actually painted within the lines (I didn't know that was even possible!), but it's all the same color. I told Steve to be prepared that eventually I was going to get twitchy at having my entire house be the same color. I just need color.
I wanted to paint one of the walls in the playroom an aqua blue, but my normally "sure-whatever-you-want" husband put his very gentle foot down and implied "no dice". The main wall has a bunch of windows, and I know Steve (wisely) assumed that there was no way we'd be able to do a good enough job around all of the trim.
So this project is a way for us to compromise. If I can't have a colorful wall, I'm going to bring color into the room in other ways!
Now for the second "inspiration"...(I told you this was wordy.)
Do you remember my lovely post where we took out all of the toys from the playroom and told the girls they could earn them back a few at a time? It's been an utter failure. They aren't even keeping those few toys off of the floor, and this time, it's absolutely the grown ups' fault. By the end of the day, I'm just tired and worn out, and I don't follow through with making them clean up.
It's taken me five years (Hey, even when I can own my crazy, I can still be a slow learner), but I am finally willing to find alternatives for toy storage. I talk alot on here about my struggle with my desire to be a total control-freak balanced with the realities of living with toddlers. In the past, I've tried to "require" Bella to put specific toys in specific bins. (Cue Whitney saying, "Aw, honey.")
Besides the obvious drawback of trying to (stupidly) teach/force a toddler to always put the horses in the pink bin and the dolls in the blue bin, it also required that I always had to be a part of the cleaning process, so that I could guide (boss) where the toys went. Seasoned mothers are collectively shaking their heads at this point, and really, I should know better, but even though a part of me knew it was ridiculous, I also stubbornly wanted the playroom to look nice. (As I type this and read it back to myself, I'm even more annoyed at how long I held on to the idea of making Bella do this and how long I drove myself crazy in the process.)
Since my previously "drastic plan" failed so miserably, I'm once again trying a new idea. This seems to be the most realistic compromise between wanting the playroom to look nice and also coming up with something that the girls can actually succeed at.
We have some super fun, colorful projects planned for the girls, but we also have some new ways to store toys so that, at the end of the day, they simply have to clean everything up off the floor and put it one of the baskets (any of the baskets) - no specifics, no coordinating; mommy will be happy if it's just cleaned up and put away.
That was the longest explanation ever, so here's what we did...
Evidence of our great new plan still being an epic fail.
In just three months of living there, the carpet was already filthy. Job #1 was cleaning the stains!
Poor Steve always gets roped into helping with my project ideas.
My first painting project was this bench. When Mel was in Florida last week, she and my dad found it while garage sale-ing, and brought it home for me! I knew it would look great in yellow, so I got spray paint at Walmart and got to work.
Doesn't it look cheerful? I love it, and I can't wait to put it in the playroom!
My next hope for adding more color was this idea I saw on Pinterest for a teepee...
The builder of this teepee is a professional craft blogger, so I knew mine wouldn't come out the exact same, but she called it "no sew", so I was willing to try! (And P.S. How great are those walls!)
The blogger also talked about how she had all of this leftover fabric that was (of course) super cute and bright, and just happened to look really trendy! I knew I couldn't spend a ton of money picking out my ideal choices at a fabric store, so we headed to Goodwill and I found two sets of King-size sheets - one in light pink and one in fuschia - perfect!
Here's our frame, using the blogger's instructions as our guide...
I've got to admit, at this point, I was already super proud! It had actually come together the way it was supposed to (and when does that ever happen with a Pinterest project???) Steve drilled holes for me, and then we thread the rope through, wrangled the poles into the position we wanted, and I just wrapped like crazy until it all felt secure!
Starting with the fabric. I used a hot glue gun, and other than burning myself about a half dozen times, it went pretty easy! I would say the entire project took me about two hours.
Finished! I added a carpet and some blankets inside, cut up a lace curtain to "bedazzle" the front a little bit, and wrapped a few random ribbons around the top to add a touch of color other than pink. I love it! I mean, LOVE! (It only cost us about $30.00! Bonus!) Can I also say that I love the wooden poles and thick rope sticking out from the top? I like the rustic feel that it adds. Okay, enough of patting myself on the back.
They look like prisoners here, but I promise you, they brought their toys in immediately and played all afternoon! Win! I still have a project I want to do to the wall to the left (duct tape!!!), and I'm just holding my breath for the moment that the girls push their hands (or a toy) through the fabric, but I'm really pleased with how it came out.
The teepee was definitely our main project of the day. In between singeing off my fingerprints and letting the glue dry, I painted the rest of the furniture in the room.
The most-used piece of furniture in this room is the table and chairs set that Steve's dad built for Bella a few Christmases ago. They eat, color, have "tea" - we use this table all the time! And it shows. We have stained it pretty badly, so I decided to use this opportunity to paint it a bright color!
As you can see at the bottom, I have some touch-ups to work on, but how cool are these color combinations?! I have to give Steve and Bella all the credit - it was actually their combined efforts that came up with the colors AND the idea to mix them. I work with talented people! So far, I love how the colors are all coming together!
The last thing I worked on was a white desk painted blue. If I'm completely honest, I think the girls are still too young to need a real desk, but it added some fun color to the room and I figured, why not? As we re-claim the nursery from being our "throw in all our extra junk" room, we're looking at some of our furniture and trying to decide to keep and use, store in the attic for later, or just get rid of. This desk was something that we don't have a place for anywhere else, so we thought the girls might like it in their playroom. If it turns out to be impractical, or there's something that fits our needs better, we can always just get rid of it. In the meantime, I love the color!
Look at all of the colors! I already decided that I'm going to go back and replace this picture with one taken during sunlight hours, but still; it's so bright and fun! The grey bin on the left and the striped hamper are our new toy storage solutions. Just based on today, it's working great - all the girls have to do is put their toys in one of the bins.
The only things in the cubbies are books and crayons, so it should be easy for them to put books back on the shelf without too much stress. Steve and I talked about painting the easel since it's gotten pretty marked up in the last few years, but I was out of motivation this evening, so we'll see what happens. I love Bella's artwork hanging from the twine, and I can't wait to add Evelyn's as she starts preschool.