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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


One of the charms of a proper Victorian home was its nursery. The purity and innocence of children were celebrated in Victorian times, and life in the nursery was structured, protected and genteel. In this bright and cheerful room, a child spent most of his time from birth until he could be depended upon to behave with grace and charm at mealtimes and other social occasions.

British families were the first to set aside and decorate a special room for the younger set. This room usually contained a crib, high chair, walker, wash stand with pitcher and bowl, and a bed for the nurse, nanny or governess. The nursery tradition caught on in this country in the mid-nineteenth century, and by the end of the Civil War, affluent Americans everywhere sought to provide the sheltered, structured life for their children that the formalities of the time demanded.

The formalities of the last century have all but disappeared from our lives, but we are rediscovering a fondness for the romance of Victorian-style decorating. Crocheted pieces, especially those made with thread from a simple easy crochet pattern, fit perfectly into Victorian décor.

If you want to extend your Victorian décor in your baby’s room, a simple easy crochet pattern can be found in crochet instructional books in yarn shops and other stores that sell yarn and accessories. With the addition of lace curtains, floral wallpaper, and a modern Victorian-style crib, an heirloom crochet set can be the highlight of your baby’s nursery.

A best time to enjoy vintage décor is while the baby is tiny. This is the time when you can safely place charming touches like a dried flower arrangement and an antique doll in the nursery. Once baby is mobile, fragile or potentially dangerous items should be placed well out of baby’s reach or removed from the room. But with some planning, your nursery can still retain its Victorian flavor even with a toddler about and on the move. Reproduction wallpapers, sturdy antiques and flea market finds can be combined with newly purchased and handmade pieces to create a room that will be safe as well as elegant and unique.

When planning nursery décor, the first item chosen is usually the crib. It may be tempting to use an antique crib, bassinet or cradle, but these are often unsafe. It is best to choose a new or nearly-new crib to insure your baby’s safety. Most crib manufacturers today make Victorian style cribs to suit every taste and budget.

A white wicker bassinet, a mainstay of baby care for generations, is perfect with Victorian décor. It can be left plain or draped elaborately with ruffles and lace. Affluent Victorians preferred elegant trappings for their tiny heirs, trimming the bassinet in satin swags and Battenberg lace.

Check a yarn shop or on line to find a simple easy crochet pattern for a delicate and lacy throw for the baby’s room. It would have been right at home in any proper 1885 home. Today, we have the best of all worlds – antique and reproduction nursery furniture and decorations, needlework skills to create elegant decorating accessories, and modern conveniences nonexistent in 1885.

Have fun crocheting your antique item…

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