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WHEN THE COWS COME HOME

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By Kimara - Posted on 10 June 2008

I have a singing voice with about a 6 note range…7 if someone steps on my foot real hard. I would never dream of singing for a room of adults, but I have no problem at all playing my guitar and singing for children. I’m not sure if their hearing isn’t fully developed or if it’s because their hearts are bigger than their cochlea, but they think I have a beautiful voice. Go figure! With the exception of food, which turns the kindest child into the most ruthless critic, children have a tendency to see the best in things. Dad can be just this side of a 90 pound weakling and his children will think he’s the strongest man in the world. Mom can be toting around 20 superfluous pounds, donning a sweatshirt smeared with baby snot and a ponytail that is sliding down the side of her head, and her 5 year old son will look at her and say, “Mommy, you’re so beautiful.” Clouds fill them with awe, as do garbage truck. Children are a dream audience!


So, when it comes to decorating for children, you don’t have to have great talent, just a willingness to be bold and adventurous. When Tim and I joined households, I claimed the basement. Earlier Tim had finished a third of the basement with drywall and carpet. I had him finish another third, turning it into a library/guest room/play room…a regular multi-purpose room. I needed somewhere to house the contents of my preschool plus all my children’s toys that I had saved. So I turned the “front” part of the basement into a playroom.


My first job was to come up with a “theme”. I wanted to create a space that was cheerful and encouraged play. When my children were growing up, we had a timeshare at a resort called Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont. One of the many regional things we discovered, long before they went “public”, was Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Their ice cream is delicious, but we were just as enamored by their social consciousness and great imagery. To us Ben & Jerry’s was symbolic of close family times, beautiful scenery and awesome vacations. So, I decided to borrow Ben & Jerry’s motif to turn our basement into a pastoral paradise! (Visit their website and compare to our playroom!) Here are the steps I took to create our room.


  1. Begin by taking a pencil and marking “rolling hills” on your wall. (This should be about one quarter to one third of the lower wall.)
  2. Paint the sky using a light blue. Paint to the hill line.
  3. I sponged painted over the blue with a darker blue…more turquoise.
  4. Paint the hills using a light green.
  5. When the green paint dries, take a pencil and mark smaller rolling hills on the green paint.
  6. Using a darker green create the “foothills” by painting over the light green paint.
  7. Using large pieces of paper, at least 36 inches wide, refer to my cloud pictures or ones at Ben & Jerry’s and draw large, puffy clouds. Make at least 6 using different sizes. (You’ll be able to use each cloud multiple times.) Tape the clouds on the wall in a pleasing pattern. Make sure to make the pattern random. Remember, clouds don’t “line up” in the sky.
  8. Trace around each cloud and remove the paper.
  9. Using white paint and a large brush fill in the cloud. Start on the outside of the cloud creating swirling patterns. Keep working toward the middle with swirling brush strokes until the cloud is all filled in. It’s okay for some of the blue to show through. This gives a more authentic look to the clouds.
  10. We then found an image of the cow we liked and blew up the image on our printer. My daughter was more than helpful, especially with this part! We taped the finished image to the wall, tracing the outline and spots with a pencil. Push hard and you will make a slight indentation in the wall that you can use for your outline or from the backside, color over the lines with pencil or crayons, and when you trace from the front side, the pencil marks or crayons will leave the outline on the wall.
  11. Paint your cow black and white and ta-da, you’re done!
  12. Add any extra embellishments to suit your fancy. We added a picket fence gate as a way of keeping the kids off the steps. And for extra fun, we turned the wall coming downstairs into a “barn”. (There’s also a cat chasing a mouse up the stairs!) Go crazy with your own touches.

There are many motifs out there that would translate well into a playroom. Although most of the images are copyrighted or trademarked, as long as you’re only using them for decorations in your house, you’re reasonably safe! For ideas look through children’s books and internet sites. Remember…it’s just paint…and children will love your efforts…even if the end results aren’t Louvre worthy! Oh, and have fun!

If anyone has fun things they've done in children spaces, email pics to me and I'll get them included on the blog!

This article may give good knowledge to every one. If the cows come home within the time. Then what happens is given in the rush essay writing blog with good instructions and reviews.

Wow ... I love that paint design, the color and of course the cow. Great job on this. health and beauty care

Forget about this being a kids room I could do my living room like that! Throw in a rainbow somewhere and I'd call it home. Although I think the cow is cute, I'd probably pass on it, but I love the clouds! Really love the clouds. A grown up is entitled to a few meandering clouds in her living right isn't she?

Thanks everyone for your comments this week. Lisa, I got the paint from Lowes. They have a Nickelodeon collection for kids. I will try to locate the cans of paint and give you the actual colors, but if you check out their paints I think it will be pretty self event...not tons of colors. If anyone is interested in adding a child's mural to a wall, check out the Environments website http://www.eichild.com/index.cfm. I bought stuff from them all the time when I ran a preschool, and I created a mural on the wall like the ocean scene they feature in their banner sections. Lots of neat, colorful ideas from kids.

When we moved into our house... 3 years ago now (holy cow)... the rooms were already done up for the kids quite nicely. The girls room is pink and yellow sponge paint with butterflies, flowers, and dragon flies stamped on top. All their bedding and everything matched so well you would think we did it ourselves.

My son's room is a bit more basic. Blue bottom (some sponging), yellow top and a self stick sports border. He likes it fine but the border is peeling off and none of his bedding and stuff really matches. There is a Knight Bedding set we've seen that he really likes so I hoping to be able to get that for him this fall and do a cool castle mural or dragon on the wall.

I also need to do something with the 'toy room' that doesn't house any toys at the moment. The kids won't play in there and just pull the toys out into the living room. So I gave up and just organized the toys in the living room and am now looking to covert the 'toy room' into an art studio. I want to do something really cool on the walls in there... just haven't decided on a theme.

As for the paints...

I know Sherwin Williams carries a no vox paint line.... Harmony I believe. It has gotten good reviews in my 'crunchy circles.'

I've also tried Milk Paints. Cool for some projects... the color turned out too bright on my wall so I did redo it but the paint itself was kinda cool. It dried a bit like you would imagine old fashion white washing. It comes in a power that you mix with water. It does dry with a flat finish.
http://www.milkpaint.com/ (This is the one I've used).
http://www.realmilkpaint.com/

And if you want the luxury line in eco friendly paints check out Anna Sova. They even come custom scented if you would like.
http://www.annasova.com/sections/wallfinish/default.asp

I didn't have those ads on my page either. Maybe it's regional??? Anyway, I never used that paint but a few years ago I used a low-VOC paint on the nursery. It went up nice and there were hardly any fumes. I've noticed that the paint seems a little chalkier than the other paint in my house and so it marks easier but that was quite a while ago, so they may have improved and it may just be the company I used. I certainly think it's worth paying a little more even if it is a little chalkier.

The google ads on my page are all about paint and interior decorating, but not the one that you mentioned. I've seen those paints that are low fumes types. Next time we buy paint, that's what I'm going to get. I've heard good things and they only cost a few dollars more per gallon. Okay, looked it up, they are called low-VOC or zero-VOC paints. The low-VOC paint is comparable to regular paint, price-wise, but the zero-VOC paint is a bit more expensive.

Just curious...there's a google ad on my server...not sure how these google ads really work...whether or not everyone gets the same ones...any...I have the ad

Paint for Moms-to-Be
The perfect paint for a nursery. You can even paint while pregnant. Fresh Air Choice Paints.

Sounds like a wonderful paint. Has anyone every used it? I need to paint my kitchen and living room and wonder what it's like. If you haven't heard of it, check out the google ad. WE NEED MORE PRODUCTS LIKE THIS!

I find myself asking yet again, is there anything you can't do? OMG what an awesome room! The kids must love it! I've painted the kids rooms fun colors that they picked out and with wallpapers borders but it was a very traumatic event! I do love the paint colors. Do you remember what company and colors they were? I also thought you faux barn was an incredible idea! Love the whole thing.

Oooh, I've inspired a blog post. How fun! Thanks for sharing how you made your cool playroom. I really need to decorate the boys' room but I just haven't had any inspiration. I will need to start thinking about it. The decor from the previous owners is sort of baby-ish. I never noticed the cat chasing the mouse up the stairs. That's so cute!

Tina,
Just read Sarah's comment. Hold off on sharing the brownie recipe. You inspired next week's blog...THE GREAT BROWNIE BAKEOFF. I'll ask everyone to share a favorite brownie recipe then!

BTW we love Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream but I've never been to the website. Lots of fun things there AND I LOVE THE COW!

Okay, first off let me say CUTE, CUTE, CUTE! What an incredible room. Makes me feel plucky and happy just looking at it! It really is unbelievable. And second, If you still haven't started water painting, SHAME ON YOU ;) I understand you traced the cow and "copied" the idea, but it's still your work. Besides, painting is just "copying" what you see! So I'm still looking forward to seeing some of your work before the season is over. I've decorated my children's rooms, but nothing as impressive as this. They do like them, tho. I'd send along some pics if I didn't live technologically in the middle ages. No digital camera and no scanner. I was hoping to get a scanner for mother's day but I got a waffle maker. Not quite the same but we have waffles every Sunday now. One of those "traditions" you're always talking about, Kim ;) LOVED the basement. You've got some lucky grandchildren! Have a great week all. And Tina, I would love a killer brownie recipe. Please share!