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Bedroom Curtains

When our bed was pushed up against the window, our plan had been to put up some sort of decorative wood paneling on tracks that could be closed to completely block the light, sort of a faux headboard. But now that we’ve rotated the bed, we’re thinking about some sort of more traditional headboard, and with that, window paneling made less sense. The pictures of the finished bed made the window look particularly sad and bare:

So we headed out to the store for curtain fabric. I wanted to stay in the blue/white/brown color scheme, and I didn’t just want a single flat color. But I didn’t want too small of a pattern since our bedspread already has a fairly small pattern on it. Unfortunately, the only patterns we were really seeing in the right color schemes were stripes, and with blue and white that just looks way too nautical-themed for my taste. We were close to giving up entirely when we found this fabric:

Perfect! Or at least, close enough for me. I’m really not very decorative/creative in this realm, but this fit the color scheme and the requirements of  1) not too small of a print and 2) not nautical. So we bought five yards and carted it home, where I got acquainted with my new best friend, the rolled hem pressed foot:

I hate hemming. I’m convinced that I’m somehow making it harder than it should be, but I can’t seem to find a shortcut. So whenever I give in and hem something, I end up spending hours measuring, folding, pinning, ironing, folding again, ironing again, and then finally sewing. And that’s for each edge. But a few years back during one of my web searches for shortcuts, I stumbled across this gem of a device and immediately ordered one. It arrived and sat untouched in its package for a long time while I avoided any and all hemming. But I whipped it out today and, somewhat uncharacteristically of me, I actually practiced a bit before trying it on my actual fabric. It’s a good thing too, because it took a bit of practice to get the hem started. You have to make your best attempt at pre-rolling it and starting an inch or so down from the end of the fabric. But hopefully you can kinda see in the picture (sorry about the bad focusing) that the fabric is feeding into the front of the presser foot, rolling over on itself, and coming out the back as a very small, tidy hem.

I wont say it was easy as pie, since I still managed to sew a few wrinkles into the hem, but it’s so neat and narrow that you’d have to hold it a few inches from your face to see the imperfections. And while it still took a decent chunk of time to sew 12+ yards worth of hems, cutting out all of the ironing time made a huge difference. So yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself. 🙂 Here’s a gratuitous shot of me being industrious, either that or Dave really wanted to take a picture of our flowers:

Perhaps someday I’ll have a better spot to sew than the dining room table.

Moving along, the next dilemma was how to hang the things. We wanted the hardware to be pretty nondescript, so we decided we wanted white rings and rod. Internet searches quickly revealed that, especially for a six foot wide window, the most economical option was Ikea, even when you counted the $5 bridge toll it would cost us to get there. So a trip to Ikea (and a few extra dollars spent on “oh we could really use _____”) later, we had a white curtain rod, white brackets, and… Off-white ring clips. Sigh. You actually can’t tell that they’re off-white unless you know to look for them, (and who stares at curtain rings?) but if it starts to annoy me I’ll just spray paint them white. The finials on the rods were pretty silly looking, so I’m thinking I’ll pick up some wooden or plastic spheres at the craft store and make my own.

I still haven’t sewn the bottom hem on the curtains, and I may actually do the more laborious measure, fold, iron, etc method since the fabric is so light and a little extra weight on the bottom should help them hang straight. Here’s a nighttime shot:

As usual, sorry for the bad picture quality. Window photos are tough for clueless non-photogs like me, but I think I might be improving ever so slightly despite myself…

On the light-blocking front, the new curtains just barely cover the whole window when they are closed. I’m planning to eventually add a layer of (white) blackout fabric behind the patterned fabric to make these curtains fully functional at light-blocking. The stuff I’ve seen online that sells by the yard is 54″ wide, so I’m debating maybe leaving it that wide and hanging it so that it looks like there’s a stripe down either side of the patterned fabric. But maybe that will just look silly, so I’m leaving my options open.

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Curtains

Pretty much every place we’ve rented has had the standard cheap blinds in every window, and I’ve never felt any inspiration to dress them up. Even now, curtains fall into the “things I’m barely willing to spend money on” category. But we managed to grab a set of curtains made out of a kind of mesh-like material on clearance a few months back, and we bought two sets of the cheapest cotton curtains we could find at Ikea last month.

And now, finally we put them up. The curtain rods were left to us by the prior owners, so they were free. 🙂 As a bonus, they match our style pretty well. We took them down when we painted, and we re-hung them a bit higher and wider than they were originally. The cotton curtains went in the living room:

Tada! Oh, and as a bonus you can see that we got a new rug. The natural material of the sisal rug did not stand up to our pet mess cleaner, and ended up with silly-looking light splotches. (The sisal rug can be seen at the bottom of this post.) And continuing with the theme of not spending much money, we went and found the cheapest new 8×10 rug in existence. We’re so proud. I’m sad to say that it looks better in photos than in person, but it is undeniably practical, and certainly not boring.

Anyway, back to the curtains. Here’s the big window from another angle:

Just last week I finally got around to hanging that picture up by the front door, but I wasn’t thinking about how much space curtains take, so I had to take down the cool-looking iron candle holders that I had hung next to it. Boo. They will probably find a new home along the stretch of wall shared by the living room and the dining room. Or something.

Getting back to the curtains once more, the bottoms are unhemmed, so now we need to decide how short we want them. We’re leaning towards not-quite-floor length… But first I had to wash them. And find a place to dry them. Stringing up a line between the mulberry tree and the patio covering supports worked perfectly. I’m thinking of maybe rigging some carabiners so I can take the line up and down whenever I want. maybe.

The curtains dried really quickly, and I immediately hung them back up even though they really need to be ironed. And hemmed. Really though I’m dying to know if our thrill-seeking kitties are going to try climbing them, and I’d rather know before I put any more effort into them. 🙂

The mesh curtains in the dining room were a bit less effort since they’re already hemmed. Though if we ever get around to building a banquette in that corner I’ll probably have to re-hem them anyway. Considering out list of things that we want to build is about a mile long and we aren’t planning to host a formal dinner party any time soon, I’m just not going to worry about it for now.

And you can see from the picture that Dave has finally replaced the hard drive on our media computer, whose old hard drive died at the beginning of the year. (Here’s a shot of the dining room minus the curtains, and minus all the computer junk too.) And on one more awkward note, the dining room curtains are cream while the living room curtains are crisp white. Ummm. I think it looks okay? The windows aren’t all that close, and the wall color is different, and the lighting is completely different between the two rooms. Ah well, if it annoys me too much the mesh curtains will probably end up in the guest room. In the meantime, our windows having dressings! hurray!

And with that I’ll close a very rambly post. Thanks for reading!