Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Painting My Drop Cloth Curtains

Ok, I've shared how I went about making curtains from drop cloths from the hardware store here and here. I actually made them a couple months ago and lived with them plain for a while to make sure I wanted to go to the extra effort of painting them. Finally, I decided to jump in.

I actually got the idea of using a stencil to paint curtains at this Apartment Therapy post, so I picked up an inexpensive stencil at a craft store, dug out some leftover red paint I had leftover from a painting project at our old apartment, and grabbed some roller covers and a paint tray from the hardware store.

Before I could get to work, I had to clear a large-ish spot in the garage, sweep it (so I didn't get my curtains dirty), and tape down some builders paper left over from this gardening project. Once that was done, I brought my curtains out to the garage (with the door open for ventilation) and got to work.

I lined up and taped down my stencil over the fabric so it wouldn't move around and started rolling. Here's a mid-process shot:

Every so often, I'd have to take the stencil out to the back yard and hose it off so I didn't get smears (got a few of those anyway, but it would have been way worse if I hadn't done this). Oh, and I also tried using an old rag instead of a roller.....the roller works way better, and is much faster.

In total, this probably took an hour. I decided to only do the bottom portion of the curtains instead of the entire thing. My best guess is that it would have taken 3 or 4 hours to do an all-over stencil like this. Anyway, here they are drying.

You can see where I had a little bit of smudging at the top of the pattern. Here's a closeup of the stenciled pattern. I have to say I'm impressed by how cleanly it came out on the whole.

And here they are in all their glory...I'm giving myself mental high fives all over the place. I'm usually not a craft person!

Oh, and the reason I only did the bottom of the curtains? There were a couple. First, there is a convenient seam at bottom-of-window-height that made it a natural choice, but I was also trying to avoid an overload of red. You see, I love definitely qualifies as my favorite color, but the giant area rug under the couch is red, the doormat is red, the front door is red, the toss pillows are see my meaning? There are plenty of other colors in the room to balance this right now, but I am acutely aware that red is one of those colors that is easy to over-do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making Canvas Drop Cloth Curtains Part II

Ok, I promised more details and pictures regarding my process for making drop cloth curtains, so here we go!

I got my giant (9'x12') drop cloth home from the hardware store and spread it out on the floor.....or at least as spread out as I could get it.

Then I marked the middle of the long side (on each long side) so I could make my first cut

Once I had found the middle, I used a plumb line stretched between my two marks so I could make sure my cuts were straight.

And made myself a cut line before removing the plumb line.

Oh, and to make sure the fabric didn't scoot around on me, I put some heavy books and painters tape on the drop cloth. Gotta work with whatcha got right?

With my cut line marked, I broke out my scissors, held my breath, and started snipping. Once that was done, I repeated the process in the other direction to get the proper length. Then I borrowed a friend's sewing machine to hem the two raw edges on each curtain. Easy as pie. Here's the finished (but unpainted) product. Seger photo-bombed.

The curtains actually are painted now. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Making Canvas Drop Cloth Curtains, Part I

My living room has a whopping huge set of windows. There are three of them, reaching nearly floor to ceiling, and the whole set of windows stretches 11 feet. Figuring out a window treatment for this bad boy was not an easy task!

First of all, I'm really not a fan of blinds. I know they are imminently practical, but I just don't like them. Plus, these windows aren't really recessed enough for blinds. They would stick out from the windows.

I looked for pre-made curtains, but it turns out curtain panels (that are not custom made) are almost always 48" wide.....not even close unless I wanted to spend lots of time futzing with the curtains every time I wanted them open or closed. I am really not a futz-er.

So I went and priced out fabric, thinking to myself "Ok, I'll just make my own, and then I can just sew panels together to create something wider." Then I added up how much fabric I would need and nearly died of sticker shock. I would have needed 11 yards of fabric to make curtains to fit my windows. Even if I got fabric that was $10/yard (and most of the drapery fabric I really liked was more in the $20/yard range), that's $110 just for the fabric. Then I would still have to get thread, and some sort of curtain rod, plus whatever other random hardware, trim, etc. Yikes. This was starting to look like an expensive endeavor.

I considered just leaving the windows bare. They have some reasonably attractive trim around them, and leaving them bare would fit into the style of out mid-century brick ranch. However, this is the room where we hang out in the evenings, which means we are back-lit after the sun goes down. It also looks right out into the street, and I find it a little awkward and unnerving that our neighbors could see our every movement once the sun goes down.

After nearly two weeks of indecision and racking my brain for a solution, I was reading Better Homes & Gardens and happened on a story in which a woman used canvas drop cloths (from the hardware store) to make her curtains. THAT was my solution!

So off to the hardware store I went to find the largest drop cloth I could possibly find (15' x 12'), knowing that I would need to cut it in half and hem it. This cost me approximately $30 (not bad, as opposed to the $100+ I could have spent). I then thought to myself "What if I found a stencil and painted a pattern on them?" And the plan was hatched. Stay tuned. This was a lot of text! Next post about this will have more pictures....promise!

Have you ever had a decorating puzzle like this? What creative solution did you come up with? Do you purchase pre-made window treatments or do you make your own?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kitchen To-do's

Now that I've shared my kitchen painting expedition, I figure it's time to let you know what else is in store for this room. There is a fair amount of work to be done in here, but at this point, we aren't planning a major overhaul.

SO, in no particular order, here's the plan....

1. Replace the stove with a glass top, energy efficient model. The stove was the only appliance in the kitchen when we moved in and while the oven works great, some of the burners don't (namely the two larger ones). Plus, we'd love to eventually have a sleek stainless model instead of what I'll call "aged bisque" for now.

2. Replace and extend the countertops. The large space where the fridge is supposed to go (ours doesn't husband eats too much haha) would be much more useable if our counter went all the way to the wall, especially since our kitchen is rather lacking in actual work space. This is pretty far in the future, but we're thinking quartz or possibly granite.

3. Once the counters are installed, we can install a dishwasher (and I'll have a dance party)! I survived three years in Boston without one, and it's really not THAT bad to wash all of our dishes by hand, but dishwashers are just so darned convenient. Also, we already have a dishwasher (gifted to us by some friends who found out they were moving mid-kitchen renovation), so we don't even have to buy one!

4. Install a shelf or two in the extra vertical space left in the fridge nook. This will give us a nominal amount of pantry space in the kitchen that currently does not exist (our pantry is in the basement. I love it. It's huge!).

5. Figure out a better situation for the fridge.

It's may mean closing up the pass through into the living room(that may have been intended as a dining area) and widening the door to make up for the loss of natural light, though we only get part of that natural light right now because the fridge blocks it anyway. We shall see.
 Any big plans for your kitchen? Hope everyone has had a good week!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Painting the Kitchen

Our kitchen seems to be the one room in the house (besides the basement) that doesn't get a ton of natural light. I am sure the dead-body-beige paint that was there when we moved in didn't help. Here's what it looked like when we moved in (and until yesterday) it just me?

I don't have anything against the color beige, but this specific color combined with the fact that it is flat paint seemed to just suck in all the light. Yesterday, I decided to do something about it.

I had nearly a full gallon of paint left from painting the dining room, and since one of the dining room walls extends into the kitchen, it seemed like a natural move to paint the kitchen the same aqua color as the dining room.

I already had all the painting tools I needed leftover from other painting projects, so this was a buy-nothing project (my favorite kind). Satin paint (to reflect light, rather than suck it in), paint brushes, edger, roller, paint tray and painters tape were the only supplies I needed, and they were sitting in the garage waiting for me, and since I didn't have anything else to do yesterday afternoon, I decided to get to work.

I started by removing all the light and outlet covers, the knife rack, clock, etc. from the walls, plus doing some general rearranging so I had easy access to the two-plus-a-tiny-section walls that needed painting. Oh...and remember the lime green I found under the outlet covers when I painted the bedroom? I think the paint I found under the outlet covers in the kitchen might beat it.

Oh....and the ceiling was once painted yellow also. How do I know? I made the mistake of looking up behind the cornice over the sink.

With my nominal amount of prep work done, I started painting. I like to start with edging because I think roller over brush stroke makes a smoother texture transition than the other way around. Once that was done, I started in with the roller.

Also, I thought I was going to have to call in reinforcements to move the refrigerator away from the wall, but it's actually on wheels, so it's pretty easy to move by myself.

Anyway, here's the end result. I think the aqua really makes my red kitchen stuff pop.

It also makes the cabinets look brighter.

So what do you think? Not so bad for a free project and about an hour and a half of my time! What did you tackle this weekend?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Plantings

Whew! It's been a busy month! The hubs is getting ready to deploy, so it's been a whirlwind of traveling to see family, hosting family who are visiting us, and various other social events. They haven't left much time for thinking (or sleeping), much less blogging! Hopefully things will quiet down here soon. Oh well....onward.

I mentioned some time ago (back in August) that I had planted my fall crops. Well, some have been more successful than others, but here is the latest update.

My lettuce and green onions got trampled by a visiting dog when they were still seedlings, so they died. Boo. I have plans to put a few more seeds in the ground this week, but wanted to wait until all off the visiting dogs were gone before I did so.

On the flip side, my green beans are doing fantastic. In fact, they have nearly taken up the entire raised bed where the onions and lettuce was, so maybe it's a good thing they died.

And they're also starting to put out beans. Maybe I'll even have enough to can this year!

Also, my turnips seem to be doing quite well. Anyone know how to tell when a turnip is ready to be harvested?? One of them is even showing its white root above ground. I'm looking forward to some tasty turnip greens this fall.

The broccoli and cauliflower are coming up nicely.

The peas I'm not so sure about. They got much bigger much faster in the spring. Maybe it's the difference between fall and spring plantings?

So what have you all been up to lately? Anyone do some good fall planting?