OK. You’ve seen the bed, you’ve see some heirlooms. Now I want to share the rest of the details with you, at least in regards to the master bedroom. What helps define me? What things hold meaning? It’s all in the details.
Several years ago, my friend gave me a book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s a great book that suggests certain exercises to help you on your path to discovering your creative self. I diligently wrote three pages in my journal every morning and took myself on solo dates to interesting places. On one such date I was window shopping in the Haight and wandered into a store filled with funky and vintage things. There in the display case was an antique wind-up alarm clock, a cream colored Westclox Baby Ben. I looked at it with love but told myself it was not something I really needed. As a child I had learned the difference between want and need and also learned that most things are just want. As usual, even though I really WANTED it, I left the shop, finished my solo date and drove home. I thought about that clock for many days and finally had to drive back into the city to buy it. It worked for a while, but stopped running, no matter how often I tried to wind it. I haven’t found a good clock repair place and it’s fallen off my radar of things to do, but it still looks beautiful in the bedroom. The little clock I have on the nightstand in my dollhouse looks quite similar, though silver. I like to imagine that this one really works. I completed seven weeks out of twelve in The Artist’s Way and then I got pregnant. Thrilled but suffering from morning sickness, I took a break from the book and never picked it back up.
Also on my nightstand in the dollhouse; a little red book that looks like my leather bound Bible. I used to read my Bible every day. If you read three chapters per day, you’ll finish in one year! I’m glad to say I did it, but not glad that I have fallen out of the habit of daily reading. In my dollhouse, I always make time for prayer and reading and now I’m hoping this will encourage me to in real life too! I keep a glass of water on my nightstand because I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. One of the biggest sins of all, which I learned as a child too, is to set a glass of water on a wooden table without a coaster. Gasp! I do hate to see water marks on nice furniture, so of course I have a coaster underneath my water glass here too.
You’ll see some additions to my bed. We have a sweet cat named Nancy. He is now fifteen years old! And yes, I said “he.” We got him from my cousin when I was in college. He was so tiny and mostly just fluff. We were told it was a girl and he was so small that it wasn’t really evident yet. We named him Nancy and only later found out, after a few months, that this was indeed a boy. We still liked the name and kept it. He is precious and had to have a place in the dollhouse too. I love the little trombone on the bed. I played trombone in middle school, high school and one year of college. I keep it in its case here at home and pull it out once and while, maybe to play “Happy Birthday” for someone, play the National Anthem on the Fourth of July, or to play some Christmas songs. I feel nostalgic when I play and wish I would’ve kept it up. I really wish that I had the energy and time of about four or five people, as there’s so much I want to keep up with and so much more I want to learn how to do.
All very fine homes must contain very fine things; a tapestry, a wooden trunk, a dressing table with pearls and fancy things. The wall space in this bedroom was so large that it demanded a beautiful tapestry. It’s really a piece of fabric I loved. I hemmed it, added loops of that green ribbon I used for the pillow on the bed and hung it from a rod made from a kitchen skewer, which I painted brown, with a wooden bead attached to each end. I hung the whole thing from brackets that I made from little triangles of wood, cutting a notch in them for the rod to set into. I glued the brackets to the wall using Aileen’s Tacky Glue, which I find dries faster than wood glue and holds more securely than glue from a hot glue gun. There’s an antique sewing machine. I never did learn to work the pedals of one of those, but I do love to sew. On the trunk, the vase, candle holders and the candles themselves are made from beads. The flowers are dried boutonnieres my husband has worn in his siblings’ weddings.
One year for Christmas, we bought ourselves a vintage looking telescope from Restoration Hardware. It came in this gorgeous trunk. I took the telescope out and filled the trunk with lacy handkerchiefs that look like old linens. Someday I’d like to sew a little wedding dress to put in the trunk. It’s just asking for it! The vanity reminds me a little of my aunt’s vanity. My Aunt Jane has lots of great antiques and she has a vanity in her bedroom which has an antique handheld mirror and matching brush. I can’t remember if it’s silver or mother of pearl, but I’ve always admired it. I made my mirror (though it doesn’t have a handle) from a gold button, flipped onto the other side with a piece of shiny metallic paper put inside. I got the comb with some dollhouse things from a generous freecycler. It was made of green plastic and I “painted” it with my pearl colored nail polish. I did the same thing with the metal chain. Technically, it should get hung up somewhere or placed in a jewelry box, but my dollhouse self must have taken it off before bed and been too tired to put it away. I have some other miniature things tucked away in the drawer of the vanity that I plan to turn into more jewelry.
This little cross is a wooden pendant for a necklace, which I stuck to the wall with a special kind of wax. Although some of the things in this bedroom are more ornate or fancy, some things are more beautiful in their simplicity and this cross is one of those things. A simple symbol of faith. I am a very religious and spiritual person. Hopefully I practice that in a much different way than those in colonial times. In our real home, we have a cross hanging above each bedroom doorway from the outside. It feels like a symbol for blessing, peace and protection for us and the place where we sleep.
It seems so romantic to have a writing desk. I wish I used one. Mine is covered with the computer and printer. If we had more space, I would have another one just for writing. I would keep notecards for writing to friends and all the other supplies for when I got inspired. Most likely I would never use it, instead I would sit on my bed or at the dining room table. On this desk, I have an old quill and ink bottle, a miniature seashell, probably found on a beach vacation, and some photographs, one of me and one of my husband and me on our wedding day and one of the two of us and our son from about four years ago. With my iPhone, I took photos of the real photos, emailed them to myself, then dropped them into picmonkey and turned them into black and whites. I then pasted them into a word document, shrunk them down and printed them out on regular printer paper. Then I cut them out and put them in these cute frames and stuck them to the wall with wax.
Here is the completed room, or at least how I have it now. My friend’s mom, Helen Fearon, paints murals and designs stage sets and I asked her how to paint a floor to make it look like real wood. She gave me great tips. I first painted the plain orangish brown floor with white primer, then with a paintbrush the width of the floorboards I wanted, I painted a thin layer of brown paint, thin enough to let some of the primer show through. This helps give it a look of grained wood. Then, I slightly overlapped each stripe. I think it turned out pretty well.
There are still things I need to truly finish the bedroom; a railing for where the staircase comes up in the back left, a different, more authentic rocking chair, softer rugs on each side of the bed and a light fixture. They will come, but I haven’t found them at the price I’m looking for yet, which is either for free or for Christmas. And yet, even though there are things I’d like to change, I still think it’s an exquisite bedroom. What do you think?