Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Holiday for a Hanging

(First note: don't get too excited! This, alas, does not mean that my internet is back. What it means is that I found it worth my time to get in my exercise by walking the mile and a half to the library to use the free Interwebz there. BUT, it does still mean: a long overdue blog post! Also, there would have been more pictures, but they apparently refused the move to my USB drive and so are sitting, unhelpfully, on my laptop back at the house.)

So now, Riley Kilo reference aside, I have officially completed my first DIY project in our new home: hanging new curtains in the master bedroom!
The move itself was extremely tiring. 18 hours of lifting, moving, directing, shopping, disassembling, reassembling…it was a well-earned rest we got when we finally dragged weary bodies into bed at midnight. The two most memorable fights with furniture? Seb and our friend Gareth fitting our already-mostly-disassembled farmhouse table through the living room window at the new house (!) and my own bruised and skinned finger from trying to fit force the new couch through our new front door.
That last would have been made a lot easier if we hadn’t been so knackered after a full day of moving, and a drive to and from Croydon for an IKEA run. If we had been thinking, we would have unpackaged the thing on the lawn and fit it in without detriment to my fingers or the radiator mounting…oops.
But on to bigger and better things. The new curtains:

I’d originally wanted some eyelet-style curtains like the ones up above that I found on the B&Q website. Alas, as my colour choice of sage green (the better to lighten up the room with all our big, dark, wood furniture) was firmly settled upon, I found myself with a dilemma. All of the eyelet curtains in sage at B&Q were a good 10cm too short for even the lowest of installations. (Our bedroom window tops out at 199cm off the floor) And I wanted, not only to have properly floor-length curtains, but to follow the stylish and sensible mantra of hanging curtains high and wide (thank you, YHL). So, my £12 curtains were a bust since they didn’t quite measure up, and instead all I found in my desired hue were some “pleated” curtains that have a very respectable 299cm (90”) drop length.

I put “pleated” in quotes because these curtains needn’t be hung with a pleat. I had horrible images in my mind that I couldn’t shake of dated affairs with curtain hooks, unnecessary gathering (which gathers dust!), or box pleats like the skirt on a Catholic school girl. None of these were comforting thoughts. I even considered tab-hanging curtains in case they were a better solution: no dice. They, too, were too short. Curses; foiled again! In the end, I bit the bullet, bought the curtains with the right drop length and double checked that I could return them if they were defective, didn’t measure right, or simply sucked. (I can return them in the event of any of the three above catastrophes. Breathe sigh of relief here.)
Step numero uno: to take down the hideous curtains that I found upon arrival:

Say it with me: eeewwwww. [Disgusted nose wrinkle] Along with taking down the 80s-tastic curtains themselves, down came the distinctly cheap-feeling and useless hardware. A very flimsy plastic track for the oddest curtain hooks I’ve seen. To be fair, the above picture does no justice to how meh these curtains look when hanging. They just brush the windowsill as far as length goes, and they do the awkward pleating of which I was so frightened with my new curtains.

But now that I had a blank slate, it was time to get up the new hardware: the Besk├ąda curtain rod from IKEA. With these fun fleur-de-lis finials:
Step deux was to measure everything. With one curtain threaded onto the rod, I tested the height I wanted and then guestimated a good width to really cheat our window into a larger one. (For all my bump followers, this artsy overexposed self-portrait of me threading curtains is Baby D at 20 weeks gestation. The little monster is 13oz and obstinate. S/he refused to get into position for the sonographer to take more than one good profile shot and sat comfortably wiggling with his/her head lodged in my pelvis for most of the appointment.)

I then drilled holes into the wall, hammered in Rawl plugs (helps stop heavy things tearing your screws from the wall), and screwed in the brackets. Please note that if this all sounds very technical and impressive: I still really have no idea what I was doing. I’ve never fitted Rawl plugs or hung curtains before in my life – it’s a daunting experience!

So, up went the curtains. I fiddled around a little and then ended up with this relatively pleasing result:

However, even with my (mostly) beautiful curtain-hanging job producing satisfactory results, there was still one little niggling problem. The teensiest of flies in the ointment:

Holes. Holes where the previous fittings had been hung and holes where goodness-only-knows what fittings had been installed. Thankfully, since our walls are now white instead of “magnolia”, there was an easy solution.

Enter my hero: poly-filler. A few quick squeezes and a good going over with an old ID badge from my time as a DOD employee (this was doing stand-in duty for a plastering spatula) saw the entire problem neatly minimized.
I have yet to decide if I’d rather find thinner curtains (or just trim these and re-sew), or if the puddling around the bottom is too much (in which case, we will venture out for handy-dandy hem tape), but those problems (and the desperate need for ironing) can be fixed in time. In the meanwhile, yay for a new home!

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