Things are a lot different now than when I was a kid watching my oldest sister leave for college. Back then I was the youngest of four girls, my mom a homemaker, and my dad owned his own construction business. We were working class. We never really wanted for anything but we definitely knew we weren’t rich. However, mom always kept a cute neat house.
The year my oldest sister went off to college, mom shuffled the rest of us girls around so that the next oldest sister inherited the empty room and got it all to herself. Number three got the room we had been sharing all to herself. Well, where was I going to sleep? I did say my dad was in construction. Mom had this clever idea of creating a partial wall in the laundry room (it was a large laundry room) to hide the washer and dryer and the rest of the room could be mine. I thought it was a great idea. I was ten years old and had never had my own room before.
While dad went to work that weekend on my laundry room divider, mom disappeared to the hardware store and the neighborhood garage sales. These were two folks who knew how to create a masterpiece on a budget.
For curtains, my mom found a very pretty quilt that was a bit raggedy on the edges. She set to work cutting it down to fit my window, sewed some wide tabs on top and, VOILA, a two dollar curtain that looked fabulous.
I always had loads of books. At one of the garage sales mom found two bookcases. Once again she worked her creative magic. She painted the bookcases a bright turquoise that brought out the little hint of it that was in the quilt pattern. In the back of the bookcase shelves, she attached some contact paper that had a bright orange pattern and set the turquoise paint job off quite nicely.
Mom also made a trip to our local library and borrowed one of those old timey light projectors that illuminates the tracings on a transparency. She then traced the outline of a lion that took up half my doorway and part of one wall. Then, to pull in my color scheme, she painted him with different yellow and orange tones. When she finished, she used a transparency with big flowers all over it to trace a jungle framework all around the lion. These she painted different hues of blue and turquoise with little tips of burnt orange. She did a fantastic job.
At the time I didn’t have a “real” bed so, for a head board, she wrapped some fabric of a matching color around some foam, secured the corners with a few stitches, then mounted it over my bed. Never in my life was I so proud as at ten-years-old and sleeping in my very own room for the first time in my life. Decorating on a budget is a great way to create memories!