DIY with Maryann: Slight Alteration (Sewing Pun!) To the Rules


Remember when I told you I was making curtains for my living room windows? I do. I was there.

I've been at my Owned Apartment (God, I hate the word 'condo') almost 2 years now, so it seems strange that I'm getting around to window treatments this late in the game.  But the reason is, I love the view out my window!  It's green and lush and like a soothing ivy garden I don't have to tend.  It's also lovely when it snows:

Ahhhhhh. So why did I feel the need for curtains?  Well, as I said in my previous post, paranoia personal safety.  During the day, the view is calming and serene. During the night, the dark shadows are full of thieves and murderers and [insert additional evildoer nouns here] just waiting for me to forget to put the dowel back in my sliding doors after spray-painting a variety of housewares on the deck.

I know what you're thinking: "Where does this fear come from?" Both of my ex-therapists would tell you: my irrational fear of men.  It's true, I rarely worry about women breaking into my home.  Sexist, I know.  

You're also thinking: "Why not use those mini-blinds already attached to those windows?" Have you SEEN beige mini-blinds?  Nothing makes me feel the weight of the human condition like beige mini-blinds.  They're the fluorescent lights of window treatments.  They are literally worse than nothing at all.

So I also mentioned in my previous post that I had found a fabric I liked for the curtains, which is true.  But being me, I didn't want only one kind of fabric for the whole view. BOOORING. So I found another bolt of the same pattern but with different colors. Since the windows can sort of be divided into threes I was bummed to not find a third color option of the pattern, but I live in hope.  I tried to find it on the internet but I could not find this fabric online to SAVE MY LIFE.  I even went so far as to take pictures of the bolts' information in the fabric store and use their info to search, but with no avail.  If you can do better, please direct me to the source. Please.

When I went back to the fabric store to get the second Different-Colors-Same-Pattern fabric, I got that frankly too personal question at the cutting table from an employee: "What are you making?"  I'm always tempted to say something ridiculous like "sex tent" or "ceiling cozy" or "coffin lining."  Because when I say "curtains" and the employee looks at my choice of fabric, I get defensive.  "Uh, I really like colorful stuff...I know most people would think it's too much but I like it...who wants boring curtains?  Well, most people, but not me...  I LIKE WEIRD FABRIC, OK?  LEAVE ME ALONE!" It's never escalated to quite that extreme, but it's only a matter of time.

I have a confession: for this particular DIY post I have to bend some rules.

Rules of 'DIY With Maryann'

1) Spend more money than you would if you've just bought something already made by a professional.
2) Do not use any professional tools.
3) Do not consult any professional advice or helpful hints on the internet.
4) Use the most inefficient method possible to complete the project.
5) If the completed project didn't turn out perfect, leave it as is.  You tried.

I thought I could just get rid of 2, but really if you're breaking 2 then you're breaking 4 as well.  But I promise all the odd numbered rules were followed to their fullest extent.  

Yes, the rumors are true: I now own a sewing machine.  And what's even more traitorous?  I taught myself how to use it.  

Please don't think that this means the quality or difficulty of future DIY with Maryann projects will be heightened in any way.  Even with a sewing machine, I can do VERY imperfect work, I assure you.  The machine was an early birthday present from my mom, the wonderful woman I grew up watching sew on a Singer sewing-machine-in-a-table.  It maybe looks something like this? Mom?

Mine is not that colorful, which makes me sad, but it has a bit of pink on it, so that's nice.  Anyway, I hand-stitched one curtain, and then machined the other two. I just want to be honest with you guys.  You deserve it.

Are you ready to see them already?  Ok.

Ter-DAAA! I luuuuurve them.  So bright, so colorful, so not see-through for all the creeps outside!  Just what I needed. View from the kitchen:

"They're a bit short--what about the creeps who will see you through the part of the windows that aren't covered by the curtains?"

1) I don't get that close to the windows at night.  It's cold over there.
2) I like to keep stuff on the sill. Like speakers, and candles, and fake plants, and in that particular photo, screwdrivers!
3) The cats love to look outside at the trees and birds and mice.
4) I can still tell what the weather's like even if the curtains are closed!
5) The windows were already delineated at that height.

So the color on the left is the more muted, earthy-toned color combination that I bought first.  It was hand-stitched.  The second fabric was machine-sewn.  Now you can see why I want to find a third color variation of the same pattern! It would be perfect. You might think that I should put the earth tone fabric between the two bright curtains.  My dad and I thought that too. (He helped me put up the curtains.)  But then we realized the earth tone fabric'd curtain was a bit too narrow, and left a gap in the one big window, and I had conveniently left one of the bright curtains too wide so it fixed the problem perfectly.  Plus, as you can see from the first picture I posted, technically the bright colored curtain portion is ONE whole window, so having it one whole color isn't too illogical.  Close up:

I love this fabric pattern so much. It's like southwestern meets Tibetan mandala meets Old English stained glass. AKA: perfect.

Good grief, this post has ended up being much longer than I intended.  Finally, the finials--a word I learned when trying to find a semi-attractive curtain rod.  Believe me, curtain hardware is given the same amount of attention to aesthetic design as mini-blinds.

I was about to give up all hope for something that didn't come in chrome, white, or bronzed iron when I stumbled across a lifesaver on Ebay: sunflower finials.  Hand-painted wood Sunflower finials from Mexico, no less. Huzzah!

My dad and I had a fun time of trying to find wood dowels that were small enough to fit into the finials but long enough to reach across my abnormally large windows.  We ended up with green plastic-aluminum garden rods, which we custom fitted to the finials.

Overall, the project cost more and took more time than if I'd just gone down to the store and bought some rods and curtains, but I love these more than anything I could have found at a store, PLUS I feel really proud when I see them.  And like my dad said, "They add a whole dimension to the room--before it was a large, dark space, and now it's bright and colorful." Amen.


Linda said...

Your home is crazy beautiful. You have a flair for decorating and design! Your new curtains suit the space so well. I wish I was so bold with color choices, because clearly, they can be graceful.

loverstreet said...

fantastic! if you can't have the greenery looking back at you for fear of lurkers, best to have gorgeous colorful curtains that make you smile and make your home such a happy place.
also, i love your couch. love it.

Linda said...

Head's up y'all- do NOT click on the link provided by "Chemietoilette" as it will take to a foreign site (Chinese characters?) and may very well mess up your computer.

Katy said...

Great post! Thanks for this informative post. You gave the perfect information in precise way.
I liked it. Blind and curtain are stylish way to covering our windows and create a finished look.
They both are cheaper then shutter. But my preference is blinds, as they reduce the electricity consumption.

Griz said...

what is the name and maker of that fabric? do you remember? MUST HAVE!