Wisdom Comes Suddenly

Girls’ Rooms, Phase II

July 9th, 2015 · 5 Comments


I wrote about decorating the girls’ rooms in phases over here. We have finally reached Phase II, aka “Stuff on the Walls”.  Sara has long been planning a peacock room in “non-peacock colors”. Don’t worry…Sara is GOOD at decorating.

Her mural finally came in, after finding it on Houzz, contacting the decorator, finding a supplier, calling about a print run for 6 months, and hounding them into shipping me a single run straight from the printer. $75 well spent. When your Dad is professional wallcoverings contractor, you might know the rules of this game. There is no painful story about crafting. Dad came with his tools. He hung it, and in 2 hours, Sara’s room was transformed into her dream-of-a-meditative space. I love this mural. I think large pictures in small rooms are awesome. Next to her Asian waterfall chandelier, her pairing is the start to a uniquely interesting kid’s room.


Onto Kelly’s more difficult theme: “Stuffed Animals Displayed In A Museum-Like Manner”. And you thought peacocks without jewel tones would be difficult. While some children have imaginary playmates, Kelly has an imaginary WORLD. It’s called “Stuffed Animal Land”, and if you have a few hours, she can describe to you the royalty lineage, the political issues, the major illnesses which affect the residents, the geography, the weather, the upheavals and wars, and the long-long-long names of each inhabitant. Warning: some residents are EVIL. Not a day goes by that I don’t get a full report on the latest happenings and hot news stories from Stuffed Animal Land. So you can understand that ordinary, everyday shelving would not do. Kelly was quite clear: Museum-quality shelving.

Um? Huh?


She envisioned a room lined with glass cases that lock. Because should we get robbed, I’m CERTAIN her priceless collection of STUFFED ANIMALS would be the first to go. Wow. We settled on floating round shelves we found on Etsy for $40 a shelf. Ha! Like I would spend $40 on a shelf! I’m made of stuffed animals, not money! We spent WAY too much time trying to figure out how to make these things, and so we went to Captain Daddy, who suggested I use concrete forms as a base. Brilliant!


Hey, if I’m not challenging the guys at the Home Improvement stores with my wacky requests, I’m just not satisfied with my week. “How many different diameters of concrete forms do you carry?” Sometimes I ask questions, just to see their faces. “If you were going to turn a cardboard tube into a floating shelf, would you use a bracket, or…?”


I ended up with 2 diameters (lousy hardware stores…I wanted 4), and Greg cut them into matching depths. I have had a long-standing love affair with high-quality wool felt, which can be bought on a bolt at quilting stores. Well. ONE quilting store. This one, if you want to save yourself the time of running all over the Midwest. You’re welcome.


Measuring the diameter and depth (but forgetting to add the the lip, which made the job tricky and really awful), I cut the wool, and sewed it into a tube.


Slip it inside, the tube, with the seam facing out, and :


Pull it down over the outside of the shelf.


I should mention Greg riveted the brackets onto the shelves before did the covers. I tried it another way with the first 8….andum…let’s just say his way worked better. Or more honestly, his way worked.


And here’s where this project gets tedious and painful: the measurements must be exact, and the wool must be hot-glued down perfectly to the back edges. I got burned. I got frustrated. I was using wool from 2 different makers so they stretched differently, and because it is pre-felted, did it STRETCH. In all directions.


I’d like to tell you after making these shelves 16x, I learned some tricks, but in reality, I think I learned this project was worth it, but maybe doing it once was enough. The backs of some look much better than others, and I think it lays better if the depth is longer and trimmed once it’s on the shelf, and if the diameter is a little short, so it can be stretched to lie taut.


I had dreams of displaying animals and arranging everything just so for you guys. I’d get the lighting right and the room picked up and the bed made. All at the same time. In a house with 3 kids and 4 cats. [Insert your maniacal laughter.] But if the summer is anything, it’s a huge reality check over the things we cannot control. It’s a reminder that messes can wait while the sun is shining.


So I managed to grab this shot quickly on my phone, while stomping and fuming about in a PMS-haze, declaring this entire display must come down and be redone. It’s too symmetrical! It’s too linear! It’s too…influenced by my hormones!


But then this happened [insert a whole lot of screaming and giggling and happiness and general feelings of museum-quality joy.]


And this happened.


Oh ma’ goodness, the entire unicorn family has finally found a home. They’ve had a rough go of it. The last War-Of-Stuffed-Animal-Land involved an evil unicorn, and these guys were displaced. I’m not joking. Kelly kept me up one night, telling me ALL about it. That large bunny on top? He’s an enforcer, and they are surrounded by their security detail.


Lastly, this happened, after 3 girls spent many hours carefully arranging (i.e. arguing) this AMAZING museum-like exhibit. It’s known as “The Great Wall of Stuffed Animals”.

So will I add more or rearrange the “museum shelves” I made with cardboard and felt? Here are my thoughts:

(1) My floors are no longer littered with piles upon piles of stuffed animals. It’s my own little version of museum-like heaven. These shelves, no matter how they are arranged, are a huge improvement.

(2) Who am I to make decisions in Stuffed Animal Land? I’m not the Queen. According to Kelly, I don’t even qualify for a hearing with the Congress. I’m an Adviser at best. I think I’ll let The President guide me from here.

(3) I did NOT pay $40 per shelf. These cost about $7 per shelf. So yes, I may add more, considering I have the supplies. But for now, there is peace in the kingdom, and all is well in the land.

Godspeed, my friends, until Phase III: bed linens and pillows. And curtains. And Sara wants me to make lavender bamboo bookcase…????


Tags: The Girls

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PreK teacher // Jul 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm


  • 2 Teresa // Jul 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I love those fabric covered tubes! What a great idea!

    ~Have a lovely day!

  • 3 Lydia // Jul 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    These turned out really nicely. I love them and they are so Kelly. Best. Mom. Ever! 🙂

  • 4 Michelle // Jul 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Your girls are incredibly creative. Both rooms are adorable. The peacock mural really rocks; so glad Sarah was able to get it. I’ll have to tell my mom about Back Door Quilts. She usually finds her stuff in Shipshewana, but this is much closer.

  • 5 Sarah K. // Jul 13, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Oh yes! You should add more. One knows that stuffed animals multiply at a rate faster than humans and, therefore, many more will be present in Stuffed Animal Land soon. The shelves will be ready to house this multiplication. And, besides, they are really awesome floating shelves!