Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Northern Girls

When I was in seventh grade, Northern Tissue began advertisements using the Northern Girl (later called American Beauties) illustrations by Frances Hooks. I adored these pictures, and when the prints became available, I bought a set. I think they were $1 for all five.

I had no idea what I’d do with them, but when Kim was born, I figured I had the perfect place for them—especially when the baby looked so much like my own baby.

Now this was in 1967, when DIY wasn’t even heard of. Most of my friends with new babies filled their rooms with new furniture and decorations. We couldn’t afford new.

Larry’s folks gave us a changing table as a baby gift.

We bought a well-used crib. I found an old Edison in a thrift store after reading in Consumer Reports that it was the best brand. But it was brown. We found a Kant-wet mattress on closeout sale. Again, Consumer Reports rated it highest.

I really wanted a Fisher-Price dresser (chifferobe) with drawers on one side and a small closet to hang her little dresses. The popular one was in avocado green with yellow and orange knobs. (The one below is actually much prettier than the one I coveted, but it shows the idea.)
Unfortunately, all new furniture was way beyond our budget. So we found an old beat-up chifferobe at a thrift store. Then we painted the crib and dresser in a mint green. We bought large wooden ball knobs. We painted half in hot pink and the other half in bright yellow.

The curtains were white, sheer Priscilla tiebacks my mom bought for my bedroom when I was twelve.

I matted two of the Northern Girls in green and framed them in yellow on either side of the windows.
The other three went into one yellow mat with a green frame over the crib.
One of my favorite photos of Kim as a baby looks a lot like the baby in the middle.

When we cleaned out the closets this week in order to install new carpet, the prints showed up. A couple are worse for the wear, and all of them have yellowed. But it was nice to see them again. They brought back memories of when our daughter was very small.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of her room with the furniture and pictures.

For years, I felt guilty because we couldn’t get new stuff for our baby. However, today, I have a new appreciation for our creativity. Kim had a darling room, fit for the princess she was!

Were we ahead of the curve, or were we just cheap?

When we bought our first house, we turned an impossible bedroom into an elegant retreat. Maybe I’ll tell you about it next week.