Alright. So, I have been doing arts and crafts my whole life, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm not going to describe the countless afternoons spent covered in Elmer's glue or going to school with streaks of paint on my arms and with my fingers dyed red. No. Our story begins with the birth of my nephew Jackson.
I have always loved children. For as long as I can remember, I have jumped at the chance to hold a baby, play chase with a toddler, and read a story countless times to any kid. But, in the fall of 2007, recently engaged and starting my senior year of college, having my own children was nowhere on my radar screen.
Then it happened. My very first nephew, Jackson, was born and he was beautiful. He had bright blue eyes, soft blond hair, and cheeks for days. One look at him, and I was head over heels in love. One look at him, and something stirred inside of me. A tiny seed of desire to have my own children was sown.
Fast forward 10 months to the birth of my second, and equally incredible nephew Henry, followed just 3 short months later by the birth of my breathtakingly beautiful niece Valerie. (In case you are concerned and slightly confused at this point, each of these three children was born to a different set of parents. My husband has 5 siblings.) I was so in love with these three precious children, and let's face it, filled with envy for the parents that got to spend every day with the people that I considered to be the three most incredible human beings in the world. That tiny seed of desire had grown into a giant tree of pure longing for my own precious baby.
But, now it was the Fall of 2008 and I was just starting graduate school. This was no time to have a baby. I attempted to placate myself by drawing designs for the nursery murals that I would someday paint for the baby I longed to have.
I was determined that our baby's room would have an alligator theme, because my husband and I met at the University of Florida.
This placating tactic didn't work for very long, and in the Fall of 2009, I convinced my husband that we could go ahead and get pregnant because the baby would be due after I graduated from my Master's program. And, we all know that those gowns make everyone look pregnant, so I might as well be 6 months pregnant when I get my diploma, right? Sure.
Well, I was getting my wish. I was going to be a mommy. Time to start on the nursery. To save time and effort, I scanned my drawings into my computer and used a PowerPoint projector to project the images onto the wall. I could then adjust the image to the size I wanted, trace, and paint. Voila! Mural.
If you are not the drawing type, you could use this same method to scan pictures from children's books and turn them into murals for your child's room.
I also painted some store bought wooden letters to put up between the trees in the mural.
I LOVE this picture because my sweet baby James made it into the picture as well. He's that purple bump at the bottom.
Commuting 3 hours to graduate school, did cut into my painting time. I started the mural in February 2010 and finished the last detail in October 2010, 3 months after my son was born.
However, every bit of hard work was well worth it. I really love how the murals turned out. To this day, it is one of my favorite places to be.
And, James loves it too!