Sunday, March 29, 2015

Curtain twine

The curtains for the bedroom have buttonholes across their tops. I've been thinking about what to use for rings or ties.  Yesterday, while looking for something else, I came across some natural-fiber twine, dyed green, that I picked up at a rummage sale years and years ago, and then never found a good use for. I cut the twine into identical lengths quickly by wrapping it around a book of the right height, and then cutting across. I strung each length through a buttonhole and knotted it. I discovered that the curtain rods would extend a good distance wider than the windows, which I wanted. The curtains are also much longer than the windows, and are now a dominant feature in the room. I am now thinking about whether or not to line the curtains, which are somewhat loosely woven. I have a spare white sheet, but it is not opaque enough, so I think I will use that (in a double layer) for a clothing project instead...I've reached the stage of pregnancy where I'm getting tired of wearing my clothes that still fit.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keeping busy

Recent projects:

Mailbox flag:  a piece of aluminum from an old baking pan, cut with tin snips, smoothed with a file, punched with a hammer and an old nail, then buffed with sandpaper.  A few old screws to attach it to the wood that sheathes the mailbox and restrict its rotation. It mostly works, just a little prone to putting itself in the down position.

Curtains:  cutting the fabric into panels and hemming them by hand. This is where it pays to have chosen fabric that you like; it takes a little time to hem multiple yards, even at two hem stitches per inch.

Baby fence for laundry room:  the opening is more than five feet wide, and what I opted to do was to buy an old oak door from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and place it on its side across the opening. The door was $35, although there were crappy old doors with layers and layers of old paint (lead paint??) for as little as $5. This particular door had a swinging mechanism at the top that I took off and was able to use to secure one end of the door to the wall. The other end is held in place by boxes for now.

Furniture reassembly:  much of my furniture was inspired by the book Nomadic Furniture, and either breaks down or folds up for moving. I finally got the last piece of furniture (a kid loft) assembled. Note to self: LABEL the pieces of this loft next time, to make this process go faster.

Things on walls: I hung up a length of thin rope in the room that seems destined to be our homeschool room (despite our very informal homeschooling approach), across the wall so that I can hang up the children's artwork with clothespins.  Fast, easy, and cheap.

Next up: figuring out how to actually hang the curtains, at the moments some are just draped over the rods, and the rest are held up by clothespins hiding in the background.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

About the bedroom curtains

Why I made a mad splurge of $12 on second-hand curtains:

First of all, you have to understand that I loathe the color beige, which I strongly associate with dentists' offices and other unpleasantly grown-up spaces. And that the interior of this house is mostly beige.

Once upon a time, someone at a household textiles company told their designer, "Design a fabric for a woman living in a Fifties rambler that has been updated in neutral colors, who wants a more organic feel to the home."  The designer came back with a pattern that had goofy modernistic rectangles in beige, off-white, and white in the background, and greenery with purple flowers in the foreground.  The curtains fit very well into the bedroom, and really help to tie it together, even though the pattern seems cynically over-deliberate.

There is a principle here that I am trying to work out, which I call "Accept and Transcend". The curtains accept the basic beige room color, but transcend it by going beyond it into floral colors. I've been experimenting with this in several other rooms with the artwork that we have, two paintings and a photograph of natural subjects. Each picture has a little beige in it somewhere, so it accepts the wall color, but then each picture goes off into a different and much richer palette of colors from nature. I hung up a piece of birch bark in the bathroom that accomplishes the same thing.

I've since added a couple of pieces of wood furniture to the bedroom that seem to really glow against the beige carpet and walls and the very pale bleached woodwork.  I salvaged an IKEA floor lamp that my husband was going to scrap and made a quick shade for it with thin sheet copper.  The rest of the lamp is gray, and I am thinking of decoupaging over it with jungle green paper from magazine pages, since I am low on paint at the moment, and deep emerald green is a color that I would like more of in my home.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shopping list

This is where my startup decorating money went:

Thrift store:

$12 pair of curtains
$4 twin sheet that matched one we already have

Second thrift store:

$2 folding chair for guest seating
$2 stool for child
$1.50 two bowls to replace ones broken during move
$3 sheet that matched the previous sheet

ArtScraps store:

$4 upholstery scraps to make new chair cushion cover, and small things for children

Antique store:

$12 glass washboard for hand washing diaper covers (since the fancy-shmancy HE washer won't)

Fabric store:

$10.50 two yards of clearance fabric for living room curtain

Grocery store:

$10 food, we've been eating down the pantry for weeks

There is more that I would like to say about some of these things, particularly the curtains and fabric, because they are splurges relative to what I would normally spend on such things.  But we are still roughing it in terms of functioning Internet technology, not to mention the past day or two without hot water.

Friday, March 13, 2015

It only took two weeks... get the internet working consistently at the new place. That's one week less than it took for the last move, when they lost the first order entirely and had to start over from scratch. (This is one reason why I have resisted going paperless with finances; working online is very convenient, except when you cannot get online.)

We found this place in the last two weeks before moving, through a unique and Providential set of circumstances. We were looking for a house in an older urban neighborhood, close to where my husband works, but ended up in a suburb. In a house that is more than twice the square footage of our previous house, which is ironic considering the amount of voluntary and involuntary downsizing we have done in the last few years. Suddenly we have achieved a cleaner and much more minimalist aesthetic, solely through the generous addition of square footage and closets. We had help from about a dozen people for the actual move, which we badly needed because neither of us can do heavy lifting at the moment.

In the past, I never put aside any money for new decorating after a move. This time, I scrimped for weeks and weeks and saved about $70. Last weekend, I went to various stores, looking mostly for fabric for curtains. I'll save the precise breakdown for another post.

I'm now at the point in the unpacking where the books are all back on the bookshelves, but the TV is not yet set up.  It turned warm a few days ago, and the children have been spending many hours outdoors.  Finally.