Officially 10 months behind schedule with the sunroom curtains.
It would have really been nice to have them all summer long to improve the curb appeal when there was more foot traffic in the neighborhood. Those flower pots didn’t stay in the sunroom very long; once July hit, the room was like a sauna and my plants would have baked, so really, envision the room totally empty.
Back this thing up to January, when I wrote about my vision of using nice patterned fabrics to complement the gray siding and eggplant front door so that it looked phenom and all matchy from the road. It had potential, but what had occurred to me over the course of the springtime and summer when I spend hoards more time in that sunroom, is that any dark curtain or pattern wouldn’t really look that great from the inside.
I really love how bright and open the room is, all white-walled with huge windows, and even though I wasn’t going to make curtains that would functionally cover the windows entirely (hold that thought, I’ll explain further down), adding anything dark to the corners of the room would… I don’t know… weigh it down? And not only that, before I went and spent upwards of $70-100 on 10 yards of fabric, I wanted to be completely at peace with my decision.
My gut instinct to hold off on curtains remained as I plotted to repaint the sunroom ceiling. And then the sunroom floor. And installed the IKEA lantern. After all of that, I decided that dark curtains, or even most light curtains with a pattern seemed completely off the table. Whomp.
It wasn’t until I was working on my bedroom curtains (the first curtains hung in the house just last month!) until I really explored el cheapo window treatment options. While I ended up using a heavy painter’s canvas in the bedroom, muslin had been on the table too; inexpensive, lightweight, probably easy to dye, what’s not to like?
I decided to revisit it in the sunroom, where the light, airy fabric would only add to the room instead of distract from other details (blue ceiling, sunburst-y floor), so I scooted on over to JoAnn Fabrics to scope out my options. Because I had a 50% off coupon that could be applied to a single “cut” of full-price merch, I wanted to make the most of my savings and buy a full 10-yard piece in one swoop. And sometimes getting one nice long piece out of one of their bolts can be a challenge.
I knew that the following morning the 36″ wide white muslin was going to be a door buster clearance (priced at 50% off – the same price my coupon would yield) and before the rest of Rochester stocked up and left me with none, I went in with a plan to tap into that overstocked-for-huge-sale fabric, but instead devoured what ended up being their only bolt of that 36″ muslin. Don’t ask me why they were so low-stocked for a big event but I know this to be true because hunting down the 36″ bolt ended up being an hour-and-a-half long exercise for 4 employees who, as I left seemed very shaken by their store’s lack of preparedness. Yikes.
Sorry ladies who didn’t get their muslin at 8AM. And even more sorry for how long you probably waited in line at the cutting counter before you realized that they were out.
Muslin home, I started by doing two things: cutting the fabric into even thirds, and washing/drying it to preshrink the material. It’s still in the back of my mind that I have the option of dying these somewhere down the road, and for that reason I wanted them to be shrunken before I did any hem work in the chance that they end up being washed again.
Dried and ironed for the first (of two times) the three panels hung in the sunroom.
Because I had tried (and liked) the no-sew Stitch Witchery for the bedroom curtains, I used it along the top hem of each curtain panel to provide a smooth, slightly stiffened edge.
Along both long lengths of each panel, I had considered trimming the roughly frayed-from-the-wash muslin but instead opted to bring out the Singer sewing machine and neatly sew a hem. Zip, zoom, the whole ironing-no-sew-and-then-sewing took all of an hour of my weekend. A very subtle result, which is exactly what I wanted.
The sunroom is a glass-encased room, and while we have the house well-secured and all, let’s face it, it’s a porch. I don’t keep valuable items in there, but I have a fear of someone trying to break into the house through the sunroom access, being able to get away with thievery. By not installing functional blinds or curtains, I’m locking those future burglars into a state of doing what they do in a glass bowl, still fully visible from the street and my watchful neighbor’s kitchen window. If there were blinds that could be shut or curtains to be drawn, I imagine people (this is so horrifying to think about) being able to get away with something more easily.
Now that I’ve thoroughly scared myself again, moving on.
To hang the completely static, non-functional curtains, I was inspired by an episode of Home by Novogratz, where the popular HGTV designers hung curtains on their country home’s front porch on basic eyelet hooks to add effect; in my case, less effect, more clean-lined functionality. I started by adding 4 hooks to each of the three corners of the room I was installing within:
Side note: Lots of holes have been drilled in the window frame over time. Lots. Someday they’ll all be cleaned up with filler and the walls will be freshened with a new coat of paint.
To install the panels, simply cut (with a razor blade) four evenly spaced holes into the top hem of the panel through the Stitch Witchery for added strength. Each hole loops over the hook, and leaves me with a trio of consistently hung curtain panels.
The third panel I was working on was hung in the back western corner of the room, opposite from the door out to the deck. It actually helps to disguise one of the 4×4 posts from the pergola that was visible against the window.
(Oooh, new ottoman. Nice.)
From the living room perspective, the sunroom looks great. Note that I didn’t hem the bottoms, so they’re pooling. That kind of stuff doesn’t really bother me, except that I know that in no time at all these will be converted into fur traps, at which time I’ll settle on a length (I’m thinking just barely resting against the floor).
From the outside it looks nice too. Although in this photo the curtains on the left look narrower than those on the right, be assured they’re A-OK. It might not seem like much, but the pop of white (and light) actually does a lot to make the space look inhabited.
I celebrated a little birthday on Saturday. Not a big deal throw-me-a-fiesta kind of year, but fun and well-celebrated nonetheless (colorful candles!). #27, baby. Pete and I observed the occasion a week early with a day trip to Boston, where we explored Cambridge, Harvard U, and a perfectly timed Oktoberfest festival with two of my cousins.
I geeked out like Rory Gilmore while we explored the university. We stayed at the Irving House just off campus (a 40+ room inn with the cutest website I’ve seen in a long time). The location allowed us reason to walk through the architecture and gawk like all other tourists as we ventured to Oktoberfest.
With the same level of excitement as I dove into that pack of multi-colored chairs, Pete beelined for the NPR’s Car Talk Plaza. I don’t know about you other ladies, but the weekly show was also a staple in my youth so I appreciated it almost as much. Dewey, Cheetham & Howe marked on the window.
I’m lucky to have people in my life who give kick ass gifts. A few that topped the list included my first-ever laser level, the premiere issue of HGTV magazine, and this beautiful bowl. The bowl, from my parents, was handmade by Rochester-based artist Richard Aerni and is a cool, one-of-a-kind pottery that I probably never would have splurged on myself. Something fitting my style, a little eclectic, but an item I would never buy in my frugal ways is the perfect type of gift.
Speaking of great gifts that I never would have bought myself, Pete surprised me earlier in the week with a new Canon EF 50mm lens for my Rebel that perfectly suits my penchant for macro photography and dramatic depth of field focus. He also threw on a UV filter which is a nice to have, and in addition to blocking out those rays, should really help to protect the lens. Stoked.
I spent quality time with my new lens before this past weekend, which is why you saw a little sneak peek of it’s capabilities (in total testing mode – I’m no pro!) already in this photo (which was posted here):
One other especially ultra-cool gift (in my geeked out opinion) is a green Silva/Bradshaw ring that’s – wait for it – made of nylon and produced via 3D printing. Technology blows my mind. And the ring is exactly what they say it is; durable, strong, and still has a little bit of give to it so I don’t think it’ll ever become misshapen as easily as metal rings.
Silva/Bradshaw makes some amazing pieces beyond just jewelry; in fact, while you’re thinking of it, you should just go check out their amazing tables.
It rained all of last week, and that totally spoiled my plan to finish moving the massive pile of soil in my driveway. And this week I’ve been sick, so plans to move all of the dirt in the sunshine didn’t really materialize either. Excuses, excuses. Although, all of this time spent sitting around and blowing my nose did give me a bit of extra time to brainstorm the usage of a new multi-pack of fancy pegs and baskets for the office pegboard.
The room is officially no longer a closet. It’s a perfectly fine workspace, except that without pegs on the pegboard, too much stuff had been accumulating on the desk. The 48-piece package I scooped up from Home Depot had a lot of tool-intended pieces, and I wasn’t sure how much would translate to office efficiency, but still wanted to give it a try. At under $8 the hooks and $9 for a rubber-coated trio of baskets, I wasn’t going to complain if a few pieces didn’t work out. I was truthfully expecting to pay much more based on some amazon.com window shopping, so my little Home Depot finds were pleasing.
Luckily, there were lots of hooks in the assortment. Hooks, I can do stuff with. In a multitude of sizes, too.
But there were other things… I could only guess they are meant to hold screw drivers and drills? Help a girl out if you know the actual purpose. I imagine there’s something that could be done to make them office-friendly, but I put them aside for now so that we can use them with tools in the basement or garage eventually.
Sidenote: Try and wrap your brain around that photo’s crazy depth of field. Playing with a new lens for the Rebel, which is why the first few photos are a little wonky.
Hung with intent to be functional (and keep stuff directly off the working surface), the pegboard has officially taken every last piece of junk off the desktop. This is the cleanest and most organized the whole room has been in weeks. And I just noticed that Pete wedged something under the front right leg to stop a little wobbily. FTW, dude.
Want a closer-up viewpoint of how I’ve been putting the hooks through their paces? I’ll go through the pegboard left-to-right.
P.S. I’ve been playing more and more with Gimp, a totally free photo editing software. I’m no photoshop pro, but this is a good alternative (considering it’s free). It generally gets the job done without too much guesswork. Try it out here if you’re looking for a new toy. I’d give it a thumbs-up for handling an inordinate amount of arrows.