Into the Mouse Hole!

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Ever since Amelia could crawl, she has been clutching some little scrap in her fist. It started out as something edible, but now it’s usually a wad of tissue, a barrette, or a pebble. I also find these in her pockets, along with, leaves, twigs and a hundred tiny bits of paper. Although she isn’t into toys at all and never has been, she just likes keeping stuff. I prefer  the term “mouse” to pack rat. Except in her room, it’s more like a family of mice have been living in there, collecting things, chewing them into tiny bits.
Since she was about four, I don’t clean her room. Jeff and I have seen what happens when left alone, however, so cleaning her room has been part of her daily routine for the last two years. Oddly enough, she does enjoy a tidy space. She is really good at cleaning her room now, although we do have to check under her bed, in the oven, and inside drawers for dirty socks and bits of everything. She takes special pride in making her bed, exploring the creative possibilities with her blankets, pillows and stuffed animals.

For Amelia, the dearest thing in her space is Zebra (her pet zebra) who has been with her on ALL of her adventures. In fact, this spunky little animal has taken some of her own adventures, including spending the week on her own at the library, or wandering all over Seattle  by herself until she got shipped back to us by mail (Surprise! A cleaner, softer, newer version of herself!)  In honor of our good and courageous traveling pet, I painted a zebra portrait for Amelia for Christmas.

For a little mouse-child, the most important thing is drawers and cupboards. And boxes, and pencil holders. Ever since Amelia started learning to read and write, she has been obsessively working on paper projects. These drawers are full of teeny tiny cut up bits of paper, plastic, and ribbon, as well as nubs of crayons and anything else she can find to stuff in there.
Little mice also love bags. Purses, backpacks, shopping bags, book bags, baggies. (We try to discourage the baggies, which inevitably end up filled with dirt, bursting indoors. On the carpet, usually.) It’s important to have places to hang all the bags up.

Isn’t that little backpack adorable? Jeff’s mom made it for Amelia!

 This little water color was made by Jeff’s grandma, and has been in her rooms ever since she was born.

This one, too! Notice it’s a praying mantis with the directive “pray always” worked into its wing. So sweet.

  Here’s a piece of artwork she picked out herself. Of all the fun prints  from vintage books we were looking at, she wanted this one with the little girl crying. I think she likes it for the stories she can ascribe to the scene!
While we’ve never really been able to get Amelia to play with toys, books have always been her biggest obsession. She loves all stories, and makes them up, too. Books are something we hold onto, and I just rotate them through these shelves in this little reading corner. By the way, for traveling families, I highly recommend the book on the lower left : Around the World with Mouk. It is the cutest book, and I got it for Amelia a few months before we set off for our big adventure. It has really helped nurture her curiosity about the world, and appreciation for cultural differences– and it is just a super cool book!

The print with the fox on the vespa is something I won in a drawing  on Traveling Mama, and is made by Ink & Wit. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you– that really is a mustachioed snowman in a technicolor top hat on the lower right!

Amelia’s other great love, of course, is food. We got her a little toy kitchen for Christmas last year, and she has played with it and little dishes more than anything else. But I think it’s almost time to move the kitchen on out. Now that she is cooking for real in our kitchen, the pretend version doesn’t really do it for her any more. But it’s been fun!

I just painted this little plate rack, which is yet another flohmarkt find, and really love how it came out!

And… Our biggest challenge! This room is very tiny (think walk-in closet) and it has no closet. My daughter’s clothes storage situation is a disaster. The nook here is too small for a regular chest of drawers, so we are doing our best with baskets and shelves. This isn’t even most of her clothes– they’re all in some stage of being laundered. Believe it or not, this is worlds better than it was before we put the shelves in this weekend. I need to get some more baskets, and sort through her clothes again. But the goal is for her to have a reasonable way to keep them organized and tidy on her own.

And that’s where I’ll leave you. It was fun taking pictures of this little girl’s room. Much of it is stuff she picked out to decorate with (the lamp and piggy bank, for example) and it really reveals all of her passions and interests.

I love this painted German cabinet, which was also her bedside table in Amberg.

 Thanks for the visit! Amelia is thrilled that other people are seeing her room!

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22 Responses to Into the Mouse Hole!

  1. greatdana March 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    I adore every piece of her room! Did you add the shelves for the books? Do they have a little ledge on them to keep the books on the shelf? I would love something like this where my daughter could see the books instead of them all being crammed in a bookcase plus they may actually get put back if it weren’t so tricky. I love it all! My daughter who is six is also a little “mouse.” I actually found worms in her jewelry box drawer before.

    • Ariana March 27, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Why, thank you Dana! Those shelves are from IKEA, and are made for displaying pictures. They have a little ledge, and are SO perfect for books. You can’t fit as many, but I think that’s kind of nice, too. I love the worms in the jewelry box– beautiful treasures?!

  2. Julie Khuu March 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Love all the fun colors! And I seriously cannot get over that Boontje fixture for a child’s room! So FAB!

    Peace. Love. LOL!


    • Ariana March 27, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Hi Julie, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I found that light at a Habitat store that was closing, probably for under £5! I was also happy that she decided on the bronze/ brown over hot pink!

  3. Great Aunt Gretchen March 27, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    Your open “see the cover” book shelves are so inviting!!
    Love your post & the praying mantis picture, so clever.

    • Ariana March 27, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Hi Aunt Gretchen, it is so nice to have such a creative family. Many of the things in her room are actually made by people who love her. The quilt on her bed is from Heather Shack, and there is a little kitty doll from Carol, the patchwork horse on her bed is from Jeff’s sister… How sweet to live amongst all of these loving gifts!

    • Ariana March 27, 2012 at 8:40 am #

      Oh! And of course books from just about everyone in the family (and friends!)

  4. Kimberly March 29, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Such a beautiful and fun room. I’m so glad you got these great pics. –I found that after I’ve left a home that I can’t quite picture things that were so special (like my daughter’s room). If I had been thinking, I would have taken more pictures of the artifacts we surround (ed) ourselves with. I love the shelves you painted for the dishes. Are those “real dishes”? or tea set size dishes? The colors are a nice touch. Love that you painted the zebra. I’ve just taken up painting in the last year. 🙂 (Lots of gushing on this comment.)

    • Ariana March 29, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Oh, I like gushing comments, Kimberly– thank you! I may not get prints made of many pictures, but I do like to take them, and maybe one day I will organize a book of Amelia’s rooms that she has had over the years. I still really regret not taking a picture of every bed Amelia slept in from the time we left Germany until we moved into our house here in England (a 5 month stretch)– it was over 20 beds! The dishes are real ceramic dishes, but in child size, from IKEA, I think. Thanks for your nice comments!

  5. outboundmom March 30, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    Hi Ariana,

    Thanks for the nice comment on my blog and for welcoming me to my new life 🙂

    Such a cozy room for a little girl! I love that she’s surrounded by items made by family and friends. My girls just received Disney princess comforters from their grandma for Christmas. I was so thankful that we were moving so far away so that I didn’t have to actually put them on their beds! (Grandma doesn’t fly so she’ll never see that they are not being used). I don’t mind pink and I do let my girls watch Disney princess movies, but I draw the line at turning their bedroom into a princess shrine 🙂

    • Ariana March 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      Yes, living a little further away does have some advantages! I wouldn’t be cool with Disney decor, either! It does get trickier as our kids get older and are really into different characters. I am glad my daughter likes her zebra so much, so we can decorate with zebras and she feels happy.

  6. Elie March 30, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Haven’t commented on the all the other rooms, but I have loved taking a tour of your house room by room. I hope there’s more to come! I have been inspired to go cut a few cherry blossom branches and put them into our lovely vases (vases you graciously shared with us before your move!) and I bought a bunch of daffodils to put on the coffee table. Your house always looks so fresh and new because of the flowers and food you set out. I love it! Miss you all.

    • Ariana March 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      Thanks, Elie! I love thinking of you having flowers in those vases, just like I always did. Glad they are serving you well. I definitely have a flower addiction, and even if I have flowers from my yard, I still want to buy them from the flower vendor at the market… Such a sucker! I will get to work on another room, or at least our patio. Miss you too.

  7. Dennis Family March 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Love to see where this little lovely is living. Violette is also a little mouse, so interesting to see it in other children. Love what you have done with a tiny space, it is very cozy and sweet.

    • Ariana March 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Yes, I was thinking of Violette too, as I wrote this post. I imagine both girls will grow up to be very creative in their daily lives, pulling scraps out of boxes for just the right purpose, making it all fun and lovely.

  8. Marisa April 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    What a sweet room for your girl – sweet and thoughtful. I love all of the books and the artwork. I love that you have paintings of insects – that seems so much more interesting to me than what is often considered typically girly. And I love that one was painted by her great grandma – that is a real treasure. And she seems like the type of child who will really grow to appreciate that 🙂

    There is just something so cozy and lovely about children’s rooms. I recently visited friends and I got to stay in their 5 year old daughter’s room while she stayed on a trundle bed in their room (massively exciting for her by the way!) And I have to say – I felt so darn cozy in that room. I felt a palpable sense of love there in that little room created for this sweet little girl by her parents and with so many touches of her sweet self. Better than any 5 star hotel in my book! 🙂

    And I am completely in love with that fox print – I adore foxes – they are just so. darned. foxy!

  9. Ariana April 3, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Marisa, I know what you mean! All the sweet colors, soft things, all the little pieces that reveal what a child treasures… Really sweet. And I think children really love it when adults sleep in their rooms– kind of validating somehow. Amelia has always wanted to show every visitor her room, as soon as they walked in the door. That was a little awkward when people came by to pick something up that I had posted on Craigslist, or a neighbor came over to talk about parking, etc… But really sweet!

  10. The mum of all trades April 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    What a beautiful room, it just oozes personality. So important for them to have somewhere to display all their treasures.

    • Ariana April 10, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Hi mum of all trades! Thank you. I love how as kids get older, you can see more and more of who they are by what they surround themselves with!

  11. Ariana April 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi mum of all trades, thank you! I agree about having a place for treasures, and the older kids get, the more their rooms become this living picture of who they are and what they value. I love seeing kids’ rooms!

  12. Creaves April 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Just an adorable room. And I think it’s wonderful that you let your daughter have her own space. That was so important to me as a kid! (Haha, also love your solution to the lost zebra problem!)

  13. Ariana April 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Creaves– Thanks for stopping by. And, I really don’t know what we’d do without!! Thankfully, she never caught on….

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