When I first started working on Gabe's nursery, I was about 20 weeks pregnant with him. We had just found out he was a boy and we decided on the theme of Calvin and Hobbes. The comic really seems to provide lessons about life, celebrate childhood (especially boys) and is overall just cute. On top of that, Calvin seems to have a similar personality to my husband (according to my mother-in-law.) So it seemed like the perfect theme.
The main problem with starting on the new theme was that the nursery was painted in Super Mario Brother's theme for my 2nd son. See this post for pics. That project was a MAJOR labor of love. But I knew I wanted to do something special. Something different for Gabriel. The 3rd child tends to get everything passed down, but I didn't want him to get a "hand-me-down" nursery. So I decided to paint over Mario. I'll admit: I cried a little when I did it. But we enjoyed it while it lasted and now have a new theme to enjoy. I even let the older boys help with some of the painting.
The plan: My initial plan was to buy a projector and project the scenes on the wall and "trace" them. But then I looked at the cost of projectors and decided against it. So I free handed everything. And it was a blast. There was something really freeing about painting like that again. When I painted the Mario nursery, there was so much monotonous detail in the bricks that it wasn't nearly as fun to paint.
The challenge: The challenge with painting the Calvin and Hobbes scenes was that they use blended colors. Anyone who knows anything about interior household paints is that it is nearly impossible to blend latex paint. So I did my research. I tried to figure out what type of paint I should use in order to get the right effect. But cost was a big issue. So I went back to latex and took some tips from my mom (who was a military illustrator in the Marines) and was able to do some really interesting blending with normal household paints! It was a huge challenge, but it was a blast.
Picking scenes and paint colors: A good friend of ours, Richard, gave me a Calvin and Hobbes comic book and I flipped through it for days trying to figure out which scenes I wanted to paint, which ones worked well for a nursery, which ones would suite the wall size and overall, which ones were cute. Then I finally decided on the various scenes. I then packed up the boys and headed to Home Depot with the printed out scenes. I'm sort of a perfectionist (shocker, I know), so I wanted to get the colors to match as closely as possible. I had the lovely people at Home Depot color match each and every color I needed for the murals. Thank God for color matching!!
The process: I LOVED painting this room. I spent each nap time or after bedtime painting (and if the boys didn't nap at the same time, then whoever was up would "help" me paint.) There is something incredibly relaxing about it. My neighbors probably thought I was crazy, because I had to take the curtains down to paint the walls around them and I'm sure they could see me at 20-26 weeks pregnant painting away.
Once the walls were done: Since we have 2 cribs already (both of which were converted to toddler beds for the older boys), we decided that we'd move our oldest into a twin bed and convert his toddler bed back into a crib for Gabe. Problem was, we didn't have a twin bed yet. One of my husband's best friends, Mark (yes, our Mark is named after him), was making a custom Batmobile bed for Mark, but we didn't have it yet. So we got all the furniture (other than the crib) in the nursery and just left a space for the crib. (Little did we know that we'd be meeting Gabe before the Batmobile would arrive, but that's a story for a little later.) Once the furniture was in place, I decided that I wanted to make custom curtains. The color that we had in there previously clashed with the new theme, so off to Hobby Lobby for fabric we went! I found some amazing orange fabric on clearance and then decided I'd make them lined curtains, because, let's be honest... I had no other projects on my plate (or did I?) Those curtains were a chore. The window is a weird size, so it requires a lot more work than a normal curtain, but I finally got them done about a week or so before Gabe was born. Then I decided I wanted a rug in there (our floorboards squeak more than any wood floors you've ever heard, so it was necessary to have a rug to help with the sound.) But again, I'm cheap. I don't want to pay what most rug makers want to charge for rugs. And I was VERY close to giving up on the rug idea after looking at tons of stores and online everywhere for a SIMPLE, solid colored rug (you'd think it would be easy. It's not. I promise you.) Then, while I was out looking for stocking stuffers at Big Lots (of all places!), I found a solid, blue rug for $16!!! JACKPOT! Sold. It was the right size, the right color and just what I needed to finish up the room. So now we have the walls painted, the furniture in place (sans crib), rug and curtains. All we needed were finishing touches. A couple of friends gifted us with some fantastic Calvin and Hobbes room gear (a framed comic and a light switch cover) and I made Gabe a tiger striped blanket for his crib.
Gabe decided to be born early: At about 33 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with a condition that would mean that we'd deliver Gabe at 37 weeks. But wait... we don't have a crib... the nursery isn't finished... he can't come early. But he did. And at 8#7oz and 3 weeks early, thank goodness he came early! Who knows how big he would have been had he gone to 40 weeks! He spent the first week of life in the pack n' play (gasp!). He didn't seem to mind. ;) And when Mark's bed arrived around Christmas, we were able to give Gabe a proper crib. I hope when he's a teenager that he forgives us for the horrible week of pack n' play living. (kidding, of course.)
And finally after 2 weeks of life, I was finally able to get the nursery all organized and cleaned up enough to take final pictures of the nursery! So here you have it: Gabe's Calvin and Hobbes nursery!
And a special shout out to our awesome landlords who have humored my craziness and allowed me to paint the walls in this house some pretty crazy stuff! :)