Reading corner

Why not start things off with a corner that I am actually pleased with? Why not indeed.

This is Rosa’s reading corner, a little project for a corner of her room that I dreamed up while India was tiny and I was spending a lot of time breastfeeding, and reading other people’s blogs.

It was this post on the ever marvellous Bambino Goodies that started it off. I think this planted the seed in my mind. Now, I look at the pictures of Kat’s book corner and wonder whether part of what I was trying to capture was the beautiful serene image of what life with two children could be like. Which is to say, peaceful, Scandinavian-style print-filled, and bookish, rather than fraught and milk-sodden.

But the vision obviously stayed with me. So when I saw people online raving about book slings, and linking to a tutorial (and then received a sewing machine for my birthday), and then my Mum offered me an old child’s rocking chair, it felt as though things were falling into place.

The whole thing was quite instructive in terms of how long these things take, and also how hard it is to carve out time for house stuff when you have small people around. I thought to myself, “A small project. Perfect. All I need to do is make the book sling, paint the rocking chair, and make some floor cushions. Lovely.”

Except, of course, that in order to make the floor cushions I had to buy material, and it took months before we got to Ikea, who selfishly do not sell their beautiful and cheap material online. And I had to buy some stuff to stuff the cushions with. I was stymied there by not knowing what ‘cushion stuffer’ was called, and sat paralysed by wordlessness in front of google. (I did wonder whether it might be called “Stufflepuff”, and I do think still that this might be a rather brilliant name for it. But apparently polyfill is more commonly understood.) And I needed to get some self-cover buttons, which rather disappointingly do not actually cover themselves, but require you to faff about with scraps of material. Oh, and I had to learn to use the sewing machine.

“Book sling!” I thought to myself. “Surely a quick win? For, look! The internet is full of people raving about how easy they are to make.” Hah. There I needed not only to purchase material, but also to find a double-curtain-pole-bracket, which is one of those things apparently common in America, but not so much over here. And had to get hold of some dowel and get it cut to size. And reacquaint myself with the drill, with whom I had something of a falling out whilst trying to put up shelves in our old house.

And that’s even before I’d started trying to repaint the (previously purple) rocking chair, and found that the first coat of white paint I put on was like trying to paint with milk. With just an hour’s work I went from a perfectly acceptable purple chair to one that was purple with a very very faint wash of streaky smeary white all over it. I think the chair took four coats in the end, and honestly, if I’d known, I might not have started.

But look! Wasn’t it worth it? In a final flurry of self-flagellating resolve, I planned to make a cushion to fit on the seat… until I found that I had in fact bought a cushion on sale at Hunkydory Home that would squish into the seat nicely. And it has Russian dolls on, which I am very into at the moment.

The print was also something I found on Bambino Goodies, and I thought was pretty bargainous at only a tennerish from Etsy (it looks like the original has sold out, but there’s a very similar one here).

When I look at the whole corner now, I realise with the Ikea curtains, cushions, fabric-made-into-floor-cushions, and Moose, the whole thing might be more appropriately named ‘the Ikea textiles corner’. But still I do love Ikea fabrics. Bright colours and animal prints. Lovely.

And does she use it? Do I peep upstairs to find her happily curled up in the rocking chair, leafing through the pages of her favourite picture book?

Of course not. In fact, I would go as far as to say that both girls actively spurn anything I have carefully placed down at their level, preferring to risk their necks by scaling inappropriate items of furniture to retrieve whatever I thought was out of reach. And I even know this. See the copy of the Large Family book nestling in the sling (dark book in the centre, at the front)? It’s there because I really can’t bear those books, and have put it into the book sling, knowing that there it will be untouched, and effectively hidden, so I won’t have to read it.

Ah well. I think I did once find Rosa sitting upstairs, having placed various of her cuddly toys lovingly on the cushions, and pretending to read to them. So that, plus the knowledge of how much I like it, will have to act as recompense enough for the effort involved.



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12 Responses to Reading corner

  1. Kat says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I think this corner looks gorgeous, you have put some real thought into how it works for them. As for a serene life with two (now three) children – I edit my pictures carefully! There were some far less serene pictures from a minute or two later when Monty staged an attempt on the chair.
    Wishing you many more corner triumphs.
    Kat x

  2. theporridgeeater says:

    This looks fabulous! Like the print in particular.
    We ended up getting one of these from the Great Little Trading Company:
    for a much less impressive/more neutral look in our front room…pricey but brilliant. And so simple even I could construct it.

    • rachel says:

      That bookcase looks wonderful. I remember there being something like it in our classroom when I was in the infants!

  3. Elli says:

    Ha. So true. A non-reading corner then?
    What a lovely cheery spot, even if the moose does appear to be taking things pretty seriously.
    How many books does the sling thing hold? Where do you keep the rest of their books?

    • rachel says:

      The sling doesn’t hold many books. I’d definitely term it as ‘display’ rather than ‘storage’! As for the rest of their books… well, y’know. They’re stacked up in their hundreds in the front room. In a basket in the kitchen. Lined up (and breeding) in their bedrooms. The usual.

  4. I am really loving your blog! I’ve read a few posts now and each and every one has made me go ‘ahhhhhhh’ (in a nice way, not ‘arghhhhhhh’ just in case there was any confusion) ;)

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  7. Melissa says:

    Hi there your book corner looks great, an wanting to do the same for our nursery but am having great difficulty finding a double rod bracket. Where did you source yours from?????

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