Saturday, February 2, 2013

Adventures in Nurseryland Part II, The Outer Shell

Yep, it's that time again!
It's time once again to catch everyone up on where the nursery stands at this point.  I know you've all been anticipating this day, waiting with baited breath, and today you can finally sigh with relief that you no longer have to walk around all blue-like from lack of proper oxygen!

So let's get right to it shall we?  Oh, if by chance you never saw the first Adventures in Nurseryland post, go ahead and bounce over there and catch up.  If you have already read it, you may want to give it another glance because unlike a bad teenage novel series, I will not be repeating the back story and covering what has been covered already.

Before I get started, I'm going to interject here.  Actually, I've already written the rest of this entry.  I'm simply coming back to give a warning.  I decided at the end of this post to divide the Nurseryland posts into even smaller bits as this entry was way longer than expected.  So this particular entry will cover what I like to refer to as the nursery's outer shell.  Okay, now onto what I've already completed!

I'll start with the paint job on the nursery.  I am overly pleased with the amazing job my mom and I did on the paint job.  I had never painted anything in my life, unless you count crafts here and there and finger painting back in the day, but nothing as daunting as an entire room.  So I was shocked when we totally rocked the job.  We were very lucky that I was installing new carpet in the room, because that allowed us to be a little less cautious when it came to dripping paint on the floor and stuff of that nature, although we were not all that messy.  But regardless of that little side bit of info, which wasn't really a necessary par of this story (I'm not backtracking now), the job was immaculate.

The color scheme I chose for the room very much reflects my nature and the Alice in Wonderland theme.  Although I'm going more with the vintage Alice theme, I am also incorporating  brighter colors that are somewhat reflective of the Disney version.  For the room's walls, trim, and ceiling I went with all Behr Paints with a satin finish.  The walls were done in Misty Violet, the crown moulding and window trim in Citron, and the base color for the ceiling was done in Mineral Water.

Isn't the moulding the bomb?
Here you get a glimpse of the window trim.

Better shot of the fabulous window.
Oooooh, while we're on the picture above I need to tell you about that window treatment!  The whole deal with this amazing window is that it faces East and the the early morning sun beats the dog crap out of the room.  I didn't want to cook poor Piper like an egg fried on a sidewalk during a hot August afternoon in the deep South, so I had to find a way to filter some of that direct light and subsequent heat.  My mom found these wonderful arched blinds and we began getting samples from various companies.  We ended up going with the Levolor Accordia shade in Petal from Blindsgalore.  The installation was a bit of a bitch, I highly suggest getting the instructions direct from Levolor online because the ones from Blindsgalore were miniature and extremely hard to read, but the result was fantastic.  Isn't the shade gorgeous?  And the color was the perfect shade of soft pink.

Okay, back to the paint job.  As you can see from the photos, I brought a pop of color into the room via the Citron accents.  I absolutely love the color and it really stands out from the soft violet walls.  As for the ceiling, yes those are clouds!  My mom and I bravely decide to paint a cloud ceiling.  We had no prior experience, could not find any decent instructions on the internet, so we kind of just winged it.  As I said before, the base coat for the blue sky is Behr Mineral Water.  I was originally going to go with Serene Sky, but it ended up being too bright of a blue.  It would have been a great sky color for a little boy's room.  Had I done the pirate room I had planned for little Beckett before I found out I was carrying little Piper, I would have opted for the brighter shade.  As for the clouds, they are a mixture of two colors.  The base clouds were done with Behr Frosty Morning and the top/highlighting/blending shade was done with Behr Frosted Juniper.

The pinker shade is the Frosty Morning.
Notice the accidental bunny we painted?
As you can see from the pics, the clouds are pretty damn pimp!  So how'd we do it?  Good question!  The secret two ingredients to this art, besides the paint, are the sea sponges and a 2" dry paint brush.  We purchased two different natural sea sponges that were from one of Martha Stewart's lines..  The great thing about the natural sponges is that since their shapes are so whackadoodle, each side offers up a different shape to paint with, which is great for making clouds.

Totally whackadoodle!

To begin, we dipped the dry sponges into the Frosty Morning paint, wiped off the excess, and gently free-handed the base clouds onto the ceiling.  We used various techniques, but the slight twist of the wrist at the end of each tap gave a nice fluffy cloud-like appearance.  A lot of sites suggest you map out your clouds on paper first so they don't get too symmetrical and/or evenly spaced.  We said screw all that and just went for it.  My mom had a bit more skill at making these, so I let her do most of the base clouds while I handled the secondary clouds.  Here is a pic of a portion of the base clouds (upper portion of photo).  As you can see, they're quite the free-handed job.

Base clouds
For the secondary overlay on the clouds with the Frosted Juniper, both the sea sponge and the 2" brush were used.  My techniques was to once again dip the sponge into the paint, making sure to wipe of any excess paint, and then gently tap the sponge using the wrist twisting motion at the end.  From there I came back with the dry brush for extra fluffing.  This was done with light taps and wrist twists until the two colors were well blended.  By the way, this will completely destroy your paint brush, so depending on the size of the ceiling, you may need more than one.  We used two to complete this ceiling.  I didn't cover the entire base cloud with the overlay, but instead focused on the outer areas and once in awhile also making whispys between cloud formations.  Here is another look at the finished result!

Just so you don't have to scroll back up!
In the end, the clouds came out way better than we anticipated.  I really wish I had filmed our technique, just in case I ever needed to do them again.  Plus, there just weren't any good instructional videos out there that I could find.  I found some that were overly complicated and didn't really show techniques, just the final results.  Maybe one of these days I'll do another such ceiling and film part of the process with that one.  It could happen!

Once everything else was completed, we also decided to go ahead and paint the baseboards and door frames.  We ended up once again using the Frosty Morning.  Since the walls were violet, the slight pink tint to the paint perfectly accented  them.  We tested with three different whites, and that shade was by far the best for our color scheme.  

Not a great pic, but will have to do.
I hope you can see the slight pink tint from the pic, it's the best one I have at this exact moment.

Now that I've covered the walls and ceiling work, I'll get back to the window.  Oh yes, there is more window to discuss!  The arched shade was just the first step.  Once that was in place, next came the decision on sheers, outer curtains, and cornice board.

For the sheers, at first I thought I wanted to go with soft pastels.  Then I got to browsing around and realized just how difficult it was for me to actually find sheers that I liked.  Finally, my mom ran across some we both really liked on Ebay.  By the way, if you have't figured it out yet, my mom is my partner in crime when it comes to dittying up the nursery.  We have very similar tastes so it's extremely easy for me to tell her my ideas, let them jostle around a bit in her skull, and then we're both off and running like to crazed decorating loonies!  We really shouldn't be allowed to shop together as it always leads down the more is more path of life.  Anyway, back to the sheers.

Like I said, my mom ran across some great sheers on Ebay, and wouldn't you know they weren't the pastels I originally imagined.  Oh no!  Once I saw these, pastels just would not do.

Bright or bust!
Instead of the pastels, she discovered these bad ass brighter sheers which really pop!  I instantly knew these were the ones I wanted.  I mean seriously, are they not fabulous?  And what was even better was how they stood out against the black and white harlequin fabric I'm using for the outer curtain and cornice board.  If you look at the top right of the curtains, you will notice the harlequin fabric draped over the sheers.  This is the same fabric that is featured in the fabric panels on the sides of the crib.  My mom is currently in the process of sewing the outer curtains which will be swept boldly to the sides and tied back with adorable little fringe tassel numbers we found at Hobby Lobby.

Adorable pink and lime with a crystal accent.
I don't think the picture of the tassel even remotely does it justice.  Plus, the cording cannot be seen too well and it's really quite stunning with the various intertwined pieces.  I would take an actual picture of mine to show the cording, however, I have not yet taken the packaging off as I don't want to turn them into kitty treats before the curtains are actually hung.

Before I move onto the cornice board, I want to give you a little bit better of an idea regarding the sheers, here is another pic of how they look in the early morning sunlight.

And the angels wept in joyous rapture!
Yeah, thought you all would like that!  They really do capture the light magnificently.  I cannot wait to get the outer curtains finished because they are really going to sing then.  Along with the outer curtains, I am currently having an old family friend build me a cornice board that will cover the bottom portion of the arched shade and the top portion of the sheers...much like a valance but way cooler. I am going with a scallop-edged board that is about 14" in height between it's longest points top to bottom.

Basic design plan.
Once again, not a great pic but an idea of the board style I'm going for.  It will also be covered in the black and white harlequin fabric.  I think the black and white overlaying the bright sheers is really going to look super duper.  Now it's just basically a waiting game until the curtains are sewn and the board is cut, so I can then add the fabric to it.  Adding the fabric should be pretty simple.  First is a layer of quilt batting and then a layer of fabric which is wrapped and stapled down on the back side of the board.  Of course, I will document the process of finishing up the cornice board once I get to that point.  Hopefully it will go as smoothly in reality as it has in my head, but then again you never know.

I have some surprise extra touches I will be adding to the curtains and cornice board once they are complete but I will not go into those right now, hence the surprise part.  It's just some added pizzazz my mom and I have been toying with, so you know it's gonna rock!

Okay, I think I've just about covered the outer edges of the nursery.  Oh wait, the new carpet!  I almost completely forgot about that part.  I decided to go ahead and install all new carpet for the nursery as the previous carpet was an almost white and 14 years old to boot.  I didn't think white was the best idea for a young child, so I went ahead and sprung for the cost and had it replaced.  I wanted to get carpet that would later work with the rest of the house, so I had to pick out something that didn't scream kids room.  Instead,I decided on a light jade color that is reminiscent of grass.  My thought was that it would go perfect with the cloud ceiling and sort of give that outdoorish feeling...much like a mad tea party outside!

Don't ask the price!
Once again, the picture here doesn't do the carpet justice.  This was taken fresh after install and all the markings make it look a bit strange.  It's a wonderful shade that I couldn't be happier with and works very well, believe it or not, with all the crazy colors in the room.  I'd say it grounds the room, hahahaha!  Here is another pic that might give a better idea of how it looks with a bit of furniture thrown on it.

It just gives it all an earthy feel.
One of the things I love about the carpet is that it will work with the rest of the house later.  It's the same shade as the sages in the living room crown moulding.  Like I said, I needed it to mesh with the house as I definitely didn't want to re-carpet the room a few years down the road...it was way too pricey to not get a good many years out of it.  And when you take off your shoes and wiggle your toes around...well let's just say it was worth every penny!

Alright, I've got just one more thing to touch on in regards to the outer shell of the room...the light switch and outlet covers.  Initially I had painted all of these the citron color, same as the moulding and such.  However, I then decided to once again throw an Etsy artist some business which, in turn, would throw a little more uniqueness into the room.

If you are ever in the market for unique light switch or outlet covers, definitely go check out marimakings on  Etsy.  Mari is the artist and she is wonderful to work with and her work is superb! She will work with you on style, color, type of plate, etc.  I have so far purchased, received, and installed both light switch covers for the room.  I was so pleased with her work, that I am now ordering five outlet covers.  She has a whole slew of vintage Alice in Wonderland styled covers, and the hardest part is choosing which ones I want as I do not want any of them to match.  For now, here are the two switch covers I have received.

This one was done especially for me!

The Blue damask pattern is also in Piper's crib bedding!
Aren't they the bomb?  Mari was even so sweet that she sent me a return envelope with my order in case I was unsatisfied with the harlequin design she chose.  I was far from disappointed, however. I was ecstatic!  Like I said, go check out her site, these Alice ones are just the tip of the marimakings iceberg.

Now I think I have finally covered the entire outer shell of the nursery.  Let me recap just to make sure...paint (wall, ceiling, and trim),window treatment, carpet, and switch plate covers.  Yep, that covers everything that encases the innards of the room.  Thank goodness!

I was planning on this entry covering everything I have accomplished since the original Nurseryland post, but I didn't realize I would go over everything in such detail.  What can I say?  Once I get going, I never quite know where I'll wind up.  Since this post was longer than expected, I have decided to break up the rest of the Nurseryland posts into smaller, more bite-sized pieces.  Following this little ditty, I will focus the next entry on the bunny lamp I created.  Oh yes, it's quite fabulous!  I have a few more touches to add to it, but those will be completed tomorrow, so definitely stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through Nurseryland.  It's only the second in what looks to be a much longer series and initially anticipated.  Woohoo!!!  I leave you as always with an invite to follow myself and Piper on Facebook.  Also, feel free to click on the banner below and show me some love on Top Baby Blogs!  At last check I had jumped to number 72.  I'm hoping to one day make the top 50, so help a single momma-to-be out! :)

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