Saturday, 10 August 2013

And so to bed...

One of life’s little joys is the first night sleeping in your own bed after a holiday. The familiar comfort of your very own mattress and your very own pillow. There’s nothing like your own bedroom, your private retreat at the end of the day, is there?

Well, at least I know there’s probably not many like my bedroom...
You’ll either love it or hate it, but this is my wacky bedroom wall mural. I painted this “feature wall” three years ago, when Little Flower was a few months old. Perhaps it was post-pregnancy hormones affecting my creativity, causing me to go a tad overboard with the crafty endeavours (I wasn’t yet embroidering or sewing, I only knew how to crochet back then).
But there is a story here that I want to share with you.

The master bedroom, when we moved in nearly 10 years ago, was a less-than-serene shade of dark yellow. The carpet was a thin, worn royal blue. Ugh. It remained this way for years, as we had other priorities in the house – the kitchen, the sitting room, Bunny’s bedroom...everything else took precedence over our room, which is silly, because this is where we are supposed to find solace, to relax and recharge our batteries.
Well, one day I was reading either House & Garden or Homes & Gardens, you know, one of those rather upscale decorating mags. I would buy them for inspiration around the house, then knock together something similar for a quarter of the price of the items on those posh pages. Flicking through the issue, I came across an amazing home featuring grand murals. The bedroom was a peaceful sage green, soft but not pastel, calming, a quiet, natural shade. The weeping willow-style branches, with their dainty aqua buds dotted here and there, were dramatic but yet graceful. I was entranced. I had to have this on my wall!

So I read the details closer, to find where I can get my hands on this wallpaper. I’ll splurge, I thought, and just buy enough to cover one wall, knowing it wouldn’t be cheap.

But this wallpaper wasn’t any old posh wallpaper. It was hand-embroidered silk wallpaper from China. And it as £284 per square meter.

Yup, that’s right. About £5,000 to cover that wall, I reckoned, after I got out the tape measure and did a few measurements.
The paint pots have been replaced with a much more tasteful brown linen cube stool...

So I taped the mag photo to the wall, grabbed a pencil and jumped on the bed, and I started drawing on the walls (these were the days before wall stickers were easy to find everywhere!). I figured I’d better do this now before Little Flower was old enough to see me and think it’s okay to doodle on walls anywhere in the house.
I sketched a few branches, then I bought one small tester pot of dark brown paint. What could go wrong? If we don’t like it, paint over it.
After matching the green and painting the walls, I drew the entire mural on the wall. I was nervous painting the first little branch in the corner, of course, but I kept going and loved it.

The nice thing with branches is you can be as wobbly as you like with painting, it doesn’t matter, because trees are knotty and bumpy and not at all straight.
I got out the old acrylics I used for the fairies in Bunny’s room and mixed some turquoise and some white to make the buds, just like in the magazine. I never, ever would have put turquoise, sage green and dark brown in a colour scheme, but oddly, I think it works!

I even went so far as to copy the wall lamps on either side of the bed with the duck-egg shades, and the large kingfisher-coloured cushion with the smaller duck-egg cushions on the bed. But of course for a fraction of the cost of the ones in the magazine (and now I would have bought fabric and sewn them myself!). Last year I found the brown and teal bedding in a catalogue, so now we have “summer bedding” and “winter bedding” – how very grown up, eh?
Of course, now that I’m into embroidery, I’m wondering how one learns to stitch wallpaper...

Chrissie x



  1. I love it it's great and really individual. Although you used the magazine for inspiration you've taken the ideas and made them your own. Fab x

  2. I am amazed at this Chrissie, although having seen some of your work and obvious talent in many subjects, I shouldn't be! You did a marvellous job of it and I love it! What a daring spirit you are! Will you stop at nothing?
    What does your hubby reckon about it - I would love to have seen his face when he first saw it! You are one very clever girl!
    Joy xo

    1. Thank you Joy! My husband looked mildly concerned when he saw the first doodles on the yellow wall, but he has always said that I have a 'vision' for the end results that he just can't imagine, so he generally trusts me, though this was a leap of faith, I'm sure! I think he figured if he agreed to this then I would steer clear of pinks and girlie florals... ;) Cx

  3. Well your starters I need that bed now!! Sitting at Heathrow T5 after a night of sickness in the family. I could do happily sink in to that fairy tale room right now. You are so talented, you always manage to surprise me just a little more on each occasion. You need to start doing wall murials for a day job. So impressed!! Sending you much love and thanks for your lovely message over at mine. Arrivederci xoxo

    1. Thanks Hannapat! A few friends suggested that I venture into the mural business, but honestly, as with my other crafty endeavours, I always have this nagging voice in my head that reckons anyone could do this so why should I get paid for something I find so enjoyable? It's just squiggling paint on the wall...though I have painted fairies on walls for friends' girls...hope you're all feeling well and relaxing on holiday now! Cx

  4. I love it. I think it's very unique and striking. You did a great job with it!

  5. That is a great wall. We have been on holiday too and I have a new cardigan all finished. Jo x

  6. My jaw drops at the price of some of the stuff in those mags....but we know the secrets don't we! :) x

  7. It all works beautifully together - and well done you for having the courage to start drawing on the wall! Love it!
    Have a lovely week,

  8. It's really striking and what's lovely is that it's totally unique and all your own work - no-one can buy one the same! x

  9. Wow! Your wall looks fantastic, it really does!
    Marianne x

  10. Thank you all so much for your kind words! Makes me happy that I wrote about it, and that I was crazy enough to do it! Cxxx

  11. I would love to put branches like you have on my feature wall in the bedroom. We are in the throws of re modeling, converting 2 rooms into one. Making our feature wall apple green with chocolate brown carpet & curtains. The branches would look lovely BUT don't have an artists streak in me at all. Is there a secret to doing it or do you really have to be artistic and a steady hand both of which I lack.

    1. It's easy! The great thing about this is that there is no straight line - every branch is like what you'd find in nature, wobbly, knobbly, imperfect! I know it can seem a bit daunting, especially using the dark chocolate brown paint, but I suggest doing a test run on a large poster board, propped against the wall, so you can get the hang of painting large branches. Any mistakes and techniques can be sorted out in the practice stage, then just go for it! Be different! Good luck! Cx