Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Curtain-Hanging Extravaganza

Okay, so maybe "extravaganza" is a bit much to describe my curtain-hanging exploits yesterday. Maybe Curtain Fest or Curtain Adventure would be better. Either way, it was both more and less involved than my last attempt...though I'm inclined to err on the side of "more involved".


The day started with a much-needed trip out to Reading. Why Reading? Because Farnborough is a little too ghetto to have a John Lewis, and that was the store that had the curtains that seemed most likely to get the job done. They were A) not very expensive, and B) involved pretty much no sewing. Definitely what I wanted. Until I get myself a sewing machine, I'd really like to avoid sewing-related projects where I can. My hand-sewing is worse than my machine sewing and it's a pain in the butt.

So, out to Reading, and two hours later I walked back to my car full of a tasty burrito (The Mission is a brilliant stand-in for Chipotle) and with two sets of John Lewis curtains for the remaining nekkid or poorly-dressed windows in my house. It didn't take me two hours to find and decide on curtains...it took that long to get myself a dress that covers my baby bump (church/wedding appropriate maternity clothes are thin on the ground in my wardrobe).

 

So these were the curtains I walked out with. The ones on top...John Lewis Value collection. Which means they only cost me £20. Score! The other curtains were the only unlined variant of that pattern I found, and for the length I wanted (the usual 228cm for all of the windows in our apartment) they only set us back about £44. Under any other circumstances, I would have balked at this price; but, we had some extra cash floating around as an anniversary present from Seb's awesome Granny. So we put that present towards some jointly-approved home improvement.


First to go up were the - presumably easier to hang - polka dot curtains. The bay window in our living room has now become Polka Dot Corner (hi, I'm Bryony and I'm addicted to polka dot patterns...), but since it's confined to that space, I think it's okay. I promise I won't add any other dotted patterns to the living room d├ęcor. And anyway, Seb gave his full approval to hanging these specific curtain in that specific window. I have an enabler.

The reason these were "easier" to hang was because they were - dun dun dun! - pencil pleated curtains. I have not hung them with the pleat, but it did mean that I could steal repurpose the fixings from our ugly terracotta-coloured curtains. That handy bit of scavenging saved me having to replace the curtain track that goes around all three sides of our bay window; which is good, because curved curtain rails aren't the least expensive thing to switch out.

Well, I got the fixings on, threaded them onto our weird bendy curtain track...and spotted a problem. Do you see the problem?


Yeah. My 228cm drop length was a teensy bit too long. Because I hadn't switched out the curtain rail, these curtains weren't High and Wide like the ones in our bedroom. Granted, the other lengths were too short to get the ground-brushing effect I wanted, but I now had 16cm of extra fabric to contend with. Time to get creative.

My first idea was going to be a temporary quick-fix. I'd iron the curtains up to the length I needed and then (crafty cheater that I am) use some bobby pins to secure them at the appropriate floor-brushing length until I could get some hem tape. I didn't want to cut these beauties because they'll come with us to our later homes, and if I get the chance to hang them to their full length, I intend to take that chance.

Well, ten minutes, some ironing, and about 6 bobby pins later, I realised that my cunning plan just wasn't going to cut it. Boo-hiss. On to cunning plan Numero Dos: hand-sewing. I texted the Husband at work and got him to pin-point the location of the only thread and needles in our home: a tiny button-fixing kit he got from staying in a snazzy conference centre for work. Out the button fixing kit came, riding a black horse and wearing a mask, ready to save the day from droopy puddling curtains. Okay, its entrance wasn't that dramatic...


Ta-da! Cheating accomplished. By doing this every 5" or so, I was able to get a much more acceptable solution to my too-long curtains. And I didn't lose any of the length, so they're reusable on whatever windows may come our way in the future. Handy, huh?



So now that I had some much nicer living room curtains all fake-hemmed and hanging, it was time to tackle the bigger beast: my nursery's nekkid window.

This window has been scandalously undressed for about a week or two now. I took the curtains and rail down to paint and never put them back up since A) I was getting new curtains anyway, and B) they would hang on the second Ikea curtain rail we had bought on our big New House Ikea Trip. Unfortunately, with the turn to hot, muggy, and otherwise unpleasant jungle-like weather, those nekkid windows turned the nursery into a sauna. Seb went in one evening to assemble our last Billy bookcase and came out looking like he'd been in a fight with a swimming pool and lost.


Since I was hanging another curtain rod, out came the Rawl plugs and drill. The drill and I don't seem to see eye-to-eye when it comes to securing these Ikea fittings to the wall, but in the end I beat it into submission made it see reason and got my curtain rod up.

Turns out that John Lewis weren't kidding when they called these curtains "natural". They're way more granola tree-hugger-feeling than I was expecting. Think less "refined undyed linen" and more "trendy burlap bag look". Not entirely what I was expecting. But not necessarily a bad thing.


If I decide that the window really needs some colour, I'll just find a nice fabric dye and attack these with it. But that's a decision for another day. For the meantime, I'll just enjoy having curtains in there at all. And wait patiently for the Husband to break out the Baby Hack Saw to take the extra length off our curtain rail.


Yeah, not only is the room thin and long, but the window is wildly off-centre. Otherwise, wide-set curtains (and long curtain rails) are no problem. But with at least half a foot of useless hardware sticking out on one side, something must be done. Hopefully, by the time my next nursery project comes along, I can show you what a beautiful job Seb's done fixing my awkward curtain rail.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the end of Curtain-palooza 2011.

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