If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Window Treatment

Don't you like that phrase?  I think it sort of sounds like taking your windows to the spa.  I'm not sure that my windows are at the spa stage, yet; however, they are slowly, but surely getting some special attention. 

We began renovating this house before I even moved into it.  We lightened the den walls, covered the dated, overwhelming fruit wallpaper in the kitchen, and set about revamping the front guest bedroom.  Down came the wallpaper border and I  rolled on a new coat of paint.  We have been slowly and steadily reclaiming the beauty of this place and trying to do so on an extremely low budget.  Ergo, I have been the wallpaper stripper (with some help from Bridgette in one room), the painter, and the decorator - with consultation questions directed to MS (Not THE MS - Martha Stewart; Mike's initials are also MS).  Since I didn't want to close in the light airiness of the bedrooms, I simply hung white sheer panels to filter the sun until I could figure out exactly what I wanted.  They were free hand-me-downs from my mother and mother-in-law and worked into the decor and budget wonderfully.

The front bedroom is the roosting place for the granddaughters when they come to visit.  So, it has taken priority on the make-over list. 

Here is a before picture.

I had in mind this nice floral print with pinks and greens and making it seem like a garden.  I could see a nice girly quilt and just sweetness in my mind.  Remember, we are working on a budget, though.  So, after moving my Great-Aunt Mae's furniture in there, I simply threw the red coverlet I already owned on the bed to cover it up and accessorized it with my poppy quilt that Granny made me which had pinks and reds in the flowers. 

Well, as soon as MS (Mike) walked in, he commented on how he really liked that red bedspread and how warm and friendly it seemed and how welcoming it felt and how it brightened things up...  So, I realized that the red coverlet had to stay... and there went my sweet pink florals and frills.

From there on, I have been searching for ideas and ways to still incorporate a little bit of my wishes into that bedroom to make it feminine and soft and sweet.  I ran across a nice plaid which would coordinate with the coverlet and isn't too, too much red and had the added bonus of featuring a nice blue (my favorite color) within the plaid. 

My friend, Kathy, came to visit one day and said she had just the fabric to coordinate with the red coverlet.  She gave me yards and yards of this wonderful floral print with shades of red and pink and cream.  So, I thought I had the base to start from in finishing the room. 

See how well it looks with the poppy quilt made by my Granny?

Now, if only I could figure out how I wanted the window treatment crafted.  It needed to be finished looking but not heavy and overpowering in a small room with two large windows.  So, I browsed and searched and shopped looking for just the right thing.  I collected sample fabric swatches from here and there. 

I drooled over photos of room renovations in magazines, online, in other folks' blogs, in model homes, in homes on holiday tours.  Yet, nothing seemed to just stand up and tug at my heart.

Then, one day I was surfing renovations folks posted in blogs and noticed some curtains which featured a bold floral, with a small accent ruffle of a coordinating print and an attached valance in yet another coordinating print which was trimmed in fringe.  There it was.  Something which brought life and pattern into the room!  So, I made a mental picture in my brain and thought I bookmarked the website and promised myself that when I had a little time and some extra money set by, I would create that using this idea as my inspiration. 

Well, my friend, Angela, inherited some new furniture and wanted to find fabric to recover her new chair cushions.  So, we scooped up my mother - a retired professional seamstress - and trekked off to Sir's, a fabric warehouse store.  (You can find out more about Sir's HERE.)  I meticulously, with great detail, and lots of hand motions, and word imagery described my mental picture of my window treatment  for the front bedroom to my shopping partners and asked them to store it in the back of their minds so that if they ran across something in their own searches they could pull it for me.  Evidently my description wasn't quite as clearly done as I'd thought because their mental image did not seem to match mine.  Their suggestions were attractive, but just not what I had in mind.  Finally, after my shopping partners had made their own selections, had their fabric measured and cut, paid for their treasures, and were waiting patiently on a bench, I gave up and had a couple of prints measured.  As the girl was measuring the fabrics I had picked for throw pillows on my bay window seat in the master bedroom, I noticed a beautiful print on a nearby table and scooped it up at the last minute.  I told the girl that I would take all that was left - two-and-a-half yards at $3.99 per yard.  I had no idea what I would do with such a large print, but it was just too beautiful not to go home with me.

Here it is with all my sample swatches and pieces atop of it. 
See the beautiful blue-and-white urn with the soft flowers (peonies?) filling it and the moire swirls? 

This impulse purchase wound up being the centerpiece of my window treatment in the granddaughters' bedroom.  When I got home with the samples I'd collected and the impulse piece and spread them all across the bed to see what I could use with what I already had purposed in that room:  the red coverlet, the Granny quilt, my blue and white pieces, the green lamps, etc.  The impulse piece just kept tugging at my heart for its femininity and softness as well as the fact that it featured the pinks and the blue-and-white urn within its print and a soft moire swirled background texture. 

On another day, I happened to be in Hobby Lobby and ran across some trim with glass beads on the clearance rack priced at $3.99 per yard. 

So, I bought three yards and hoped that would be enough for the fringe-type treatment at the bottom of the valance part of my dream window treatments - still didn't know for sure what fabrics I was going to use but with the beads being a color that could be nudged either toward a dark pink or a soft red, I knew I could use it somewhere at some time.

I began digging through what I had here already to see if I could find something to go with that softly, feminine, impulse piece for the contrast at the top and the ruffle for the bottom.  I still wanted something that leaned more toward pink than the bold red.  I first found some left-over fabric from where I'd had some curtains for my last house's guest bedroom lined and pulled it out.  It was this tone-on-tone stripe with a small, butter-yellow dobby (or red dobby, depending on which side one chose as the 'right' side) and a moire background swirl to it.  Just enough subtle pattern to coordinate the reds/pinks and the creaminess of the wall paint color might be highlighted with the buttery dobby. The tag on it said I'd paid $3.99 per yard for it on clearance originally.  Then, I accidentally tripped across a piece my mother had given me when she was doing some cleaning and purging.  It features a plaid, lattice-type design with two tones of pink/red and two tones of blue and has a nice sage green leaf thrown in for good measure on the cream background.  It's tag said she had paid $2.99 per yard for it.

Colors were right.  The prints coordinated with my impulse piece.  Both of them seemed to be perfect for what I was striving toward and the cost was in my range - free! 

The left-over, subtly-striped lining fabric was a bit worrisome because its size was limited with only about ten inches of the full width of the fabric.  So, this became the obstacle to work around, I thought.  First, I cut my impulse piece in half, matching up the print so that both pieces would be identical and the pattern of the blue-and-white urn full of peony-type flowers would fall in the exact same place on both pieces.  This left me two tiny little strips - one about three inches long and the other about an inch long.  I knew that I needed to get the most out of this print so that the image would carry out the soft feminine sweetness I was yearning.  Next, I measured the striped fabric and cut the longest piece I could that was the full width of the fabric - only about ten inches.  Still, that would work to give me a header, a rod pocket, and a valance sort of feeling.  Then, I turned to the plaid and began cutting bias strips to make ruffles at the hem.  There was so much of this plaid that I figured I would use it as the lining.

My next move became to join the bias pieces and make two ruffles for each panel.  I stitched the bias pieces together to make one long piece.  (Why is it that one has to stop and think about how the fabric should lay in order to make a long, continuous piece instead of mitering it?)  I also had to stop and look closely at the plaid to try to match up the design in an effort to hide the seam.  I wound up missing the mark a little and if you are really, really nosey, you can find the seam where the plaid doesn't exactly match.  Then, I ironed the long bias pieces so that I wouldn't have to hem it and it would be nice and heavy at the bottom of my panel.  Next, I ran two long gathering stitches on the cut edge of the folded bias pieces and began to draw it up to form gathers.  The ruffle is twice the length of the panel and that was plenty of fullness for the folded bias ruffle. 

I knew that I would need to fold my main panel back so that the seam of the lining wouldn't show.  So, leaving the selvage attached, I pressed back about one and a half inches on each side in addition to the selvage.  Then, I stitched the ruffle to the bottom of my panel.  Now, I just laid my lining out on the table and spread the ruffled panel on top. 


The plaid showed through the soft background of the panel and I was afraid it would detract from the soft image and distort the beauty of the impulse fabric piece.  So, back to the drawing board I went.  Then, it hit me, I could probably use an old sheet and not even have to go the fabric store!  So, upstairs to the linen closets I trekked and found one that I thought would work.  Brilliant!  I cut the sheet to be the correct size and then had to re-cut because I had mis-measured.  I knew that I wanted to fold the curtain fabric down so that there was no chance the lining fabric would show at the header or the rod pocket.  So, the sheet/lining was a much smaller rectangle than the panel. 

I also realized in this measuring and re-measuring and cutting and re-cutting that I had not added enough to the striped valance fabric to include a header.  Rats!  Not a huge problem, I still had some short pieces.  I could just try to hide the seams in the header and at the bottom of the rod pocket.  Quickly, I pieced all of this together and pressed it out nicely, also pressing up the long bottom edge as a hem.  I stitched the beaded trim on and used that stitching as the hemming of the valance bottom edge.  I ran out of bobbin thread at this point and decided that I had come to a good stopping place for the day.

If you look really closely, you can see the seam on the left-side of the vertical stripe piece hanging down showing where I had to piece the header/rod-pocket part.


The next morning I was dithering round and about to head back down to my sewing/craft room when Mom called and offered to come over and assist with finishing my curtains.  Yippee!!!  Of course, I took up this God-sent offer and my trip downstairs included a little bounce!  The cavalry to the rescue!  Thanks, Mom!  After lots of measuring, and thinking, and planning and more thinking/measuring/planning, we began by attaching the striped piece to the top for a valance.  Then, we attached the lining to both sides of the main panel.  Next, we sandwiched the ruffle between the lining and the top panel and stitched the bottom edge.  We turned it and gave it all a good pressing.  At this point, Mom is serving as the seamstress and I am the pinner/presser. 

Then, we realized that we could have a taller, fuller header if we simply made the rod pocket go between the valance piece and the main panel piece.  So, we picked out the stitching where we had put the two together at the top.  Mom simply stitched the raw edge of the lining down to the back of the main panel to keep it from gapping and drooping and slipping (the valance piece would hide this row of stitching from the front anyway).  Then, we hand-whipped the top edges of the valance piece and main panel together using a blind hem-stitch.  Then, Mom stitched the bottom of the rod pocket at the 'ditch' of the pieced place on the valance and the top a wee bit higher and just large enough for the dowel to slide through.  She also made a button-hole slit by hand for the rod to slide out of so that there would be no raw edges showing on the sides.

We measured increments of eight inches and Mom whipped some little plastic rings in strategic places on each side.  I ran a piece of ribbon through these and tied them up together to form the swagging dip in the center and on both sides.  Mom had to remove the bottom ring and move it up a couple of inches so that the ruffle would peek out a bit more. 

Here is Mom moving the bottom ring of the first panel. 
Do you think she is hiding from the paparazzi like she mentioned on THIS PROJECT?

Then, we went upstairs and hung them.  Mom decided she needed to baste/tack the sides so that the edges would look more like draping instead of drooping.  Voila!  My beautiful window treatments! 

They are exactly what I invisioned - all soft and elegantly feminine and light and breezily airy. 
I just love them! 

Lets look a little closer at the details...

Here is the beaded 'fringe' on the dobby valance piece where it accents the main panel.
Isn't that elegant?

Here is the ruffle peeking out of the 'swooping' to finish the bottom edge.
Isn't that sweet?

Let's take a walk around the room and look at how it is progressing.  Here is the bedside table that is near the door.  It was my kitchen, breakfast area table at my old house; so, it could be a nice place for tea or a tea party.  What is left of my childhood Blue Willow tea party set is waiting there just for that.  (I think I'm going to hang a mirror over this table.  How do you think that will look?)

There are photographs of our sons when they were sweet little boys sitting there, too.  The lamp was one that had a lovely antique floral painted shade when my children were little but monkeys jumping on the bed or something of that nature broke the shade.  So, I bought the green one for it when those monkeys went out into the jungle on their own and used it in my office at my old house.  I thought it worked well in this bedroom with the green in my Granny's poppy quilt.  Then, when I found the ginger jar lamp in the storage room here at Mike's right after we moved, it seemed like divine intervention that they should be together.  Since the little antique lamp is smaller, I stacked a few family history books for it to perch atop and these lamps balance out the bedside lighting.

The print on the distressed board above the bed was a gift from my friend, Beth, after she spent a week with me when she lived in Abbingdon and I lived in Peytonsville.  She found it and said it reminded her of my children.  So, I thought it had to go in this room, too.  The needlepoint poppies on stripes pillow was a bargain find at Tuesday Morning one time years and years ago.  The large pillow is made from a flour sack that was once my Granny's or maybe even her mother's!

The cross-stitch piece of the boy with his teddy bear was stitched by my mother for my son, Bryan, when he was a little fellow.  (I hope he never wants it because I really like it here!)  He had a similar bear that was his sleeping buddy from birth.  The plates and the inspirational tile are from Olde Time Pottery or Hobby Lobby and I picked them up for less than $4 each.  The tile says, "We hold our children's hands for a little while, their hearts forever."  The print on the right is a Marvin Stalnaker one and it looks like Bridgette did with her hair full of ringlets when she was a wee girl.  (She also had a beautiful velvet coat and hat which my mother smocked for her.)

This bookshelf was an inexpensive unfinished kit that I got at Home Depot and stained and put together years ago.  I knew that I needed to put some picture books in this room for the granddaughters to read or have read to them.  So, the main purpose is to corral those.  It also is a great place to display some of my blue-and-white pieces and photos of the children and grandchildren.  The little walnut stool that the basket is sitting upon was crafted years ago for my children by my Daddy.  All of this is a little bit cluttered and at some point I will weed some things out and use them elsewhere.  For now it houses plenty for little hands to touch and pretend with when they are visiting.  Take a look at that first shelf.

The teapot on the left is a piece that I picked up at a discount store years ago on sale,  I begged for a greater discount because the lid was missing and got a real bargain - $1.50!  The little box was a find at a flea market for less than $2.  The plaque was a gift from my friend, Christi.  How true is that?  We tend to think that feminine is soft and passive but aren't most of the women you admire, while feminine, also strong women?  Don't we all want our daughters to be strong women?  The plaque is flanked by two of the strongest, yet most feminine women I know, our daughters holding their first-born daughters.  I can already tell that all four of these girls will be strong women and I'm proud that we had a part in raising each of them! 

Notice the top shelf?  That purse night light is one of those frilly, girly things that just makes this room fitting for our granddaughters.  I got it at a half-price sale at Hobby Lobby several years ago because I loved the swirly fabric, the fluffy fringed top, the beaded handle, and the curly feet.  The grands like the soft glow that warms the room when they sleep in there.  The green bottle belonged to one of Mike's grandmothers.  It does a great job of bringing that strong green accent color to the opposite side of the room from the lamps.   
Aren't they gorgeous together with all the curves and points?

The side table pictured here is actually a plant stand with a tile top that is may favorite blue-and-whites.  I got it and another one similar to it for $10 years ago on sale at Tuesday Morning.  The antique wooden and metal milk crate behnd the chair is something I got in high school at an estate auction.  It went off to college with me and has lived with me ever since.  It houses a few toys that were once my children's and a few picked here and there for the grands to play with when they visit.  This antique platform rocker was also a gift from my Great Aunt Mae.  It, the bed, the bedside table, a dresser (which needs a new top), and the bedside table were painted this 1970's-trendy antique speckled green when I got them.  The cabinet-making class where I worked years ago, and Mr. Milton Ryan, their teacher, refinished the pieces when he was teaching my two children in high school.  They are the original beautiful honey-maple color now.  The rocker squeaks when you are rocking your baby to sleep and you don't even need to hum or sing them to sleep!  I've rocked many an hour there.  It will probably be my next project because the fabric is simply wrapped around the cushions covering another hideous print and safety-pinned together in the back.  See?

Being nosey again?

This little bench was crafted by my Daddy when my children were little and sits between the closet door and the entry door.  The cross-stitched piece hanging above it is something I made for Bridgette when she was a little girl and she has never asked to take it with her and I have never offered to give it to her.  I think it looks really nice here, though.  I may frame a  couple of small pieces of artwork by my favorite artists, the grands, and hang right above the bench.  I also think I need to make a little quilted sort of cushion for the bench. 

I have a couple of throw pillows started using the scraps from the window treatments and will toss them on the bed or in the rocker.  I think this room is finally coming together, don't you?  Any other suggestions?

Now, I wonder how close these window treatments really are to following the design of my inspiration photo?  I didn't bookmark it like I thought I had.  So, even after about an hour of sipping coffee and searching one morning, I haven't found the inspiration photo!