Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kitchen Curtains

Our kitchen still has the original cabinetry from 1941, complete with a scalloped wood valance and super unattractive florescent light fixture with bare bulbs mounted underneath.  Okay, so I'm not sure if the light fixture is from 1941, but the unattractive part is true.  I wanted to make a curtain to hang across the span to tie my laundry and kitchen rooms together but mostly to hide that ugly light.

I purchased a remnant piece of ikat fabric from a local fabric outlet a while ago, liking the pattern and colors, but not having anything specific in mind for it.  Well, turns out the colors are almost exactly the same as the colors in my kitchen/laundry area, so I decided to use it to make my curtain.

I started with my curtain "rod"... I used 2 yardsticks that I purchased in the paint department of Lowe's for $0.69 each.  I didn't measure before I bought them but luckily, my span was exactly 6 feet, so the two together were the perfect size.  I duct taped them together in the middle (I know, you're staggered at my highly technical process of joinery) and then laid my fabric across it.  It worked out great that these were yard sticks because it made it much easier to find exact measurements for where I wanted to put my pleats.

I want to preface this part by stating that I am NOT a seamstress.  I am very inexperienced with sewing machines and sewing in general, so I only attempt the simplest of sewing tasks.  So if I can tackle this, anyone can.

I started by cutting a width of fabric from my remnant... long enough to be a little longer than my yardsticks so I'd have enough to do a few pleats and sew the hem.  I sewed a bottom hem along the entire length of the fabric.

I started from the middle and worked my way out 3 inches on either side to find my pleats... and did the same at the halfway mark on each yardstick, folding a small section inward, so there are 3 sections of pleats all together.

Once I had them pinned, I sewed them down a little bit so they'd stay in place so I could attach the curtain to my yardsticks.

Once I had it all measured and sewn down, I got all technical again and started attaching the curtain to my yarrdsticks with duct tape.  I started with the edges and simply folded them over and taped them to the ends.

Then, I just started adding duct tape all along the top edge to attach the entire length to the yardsticks.  

The next step (and this is very critical to your progress) is to have your work thoroughly inspected by two very curious kitties.

["Ikat?  Me-cat!"]

Once the inspection was complete, I finished taping.

Next, I just folded the taped side under so all you see is the fabric side.

My plan was to then attach it to the back side of the scalloped edge of my cabinets with screws to hold it in place.  However, when Daniel put it up there, the fit was so tight that it stayed all by itself with no support.  So, we said 'all's well that ends well' and just left it up there like that.  It may come crashing down on our heads one day, but for now it seems pretty secure.  

*Update: The curtains came crashing down on our heads.  More than once.  So, I finally got Daniel to put a couple nails in it and it has since held fine.  

No more ugly light fixture!  

You can kinda see in this picture how it ties the colors of the two rooms together nicely.  And I'm still seriously thinking about painting the kitchen again (for the 3rd time) the same blue that's in the laundry area.

Bob & Leon were exhausted from all their inspecting.  They needed a nap after such a hard day.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Although I wish I were this creative, I can't take credit for this idea.  I saw this project on a blog called Ella Claire Inspired where she turned mousetraps into cool vintage-looking clips for an artwork gallery wall.  Her tutorial is much better than mine, so check out the link above to see how she did it.  (She also has some other great ideas on her blog... so crafty!)

You saw a sneak-peek of the finished product in my previous post.  This project was super easy and didn't take long at all.  All you need are some mousetraps, spray paint, a pair of pliers, and some craft paint and you're pretty much set.

I took a 4 pack of mousetraps and removed the mouse-killing hardware with a pair of pliers, leaving only the spring-loaded clip at the bottom.

Then I spray-painted them with some oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

(The "Victor" impression is a lot less noticeable in person than it is in these photos.)

Then, I used some craft paint to paint numbers on each one.

I got some vintage coral prints offline and mounted them on some thicker craft paper to mount inside the clips.  By a stroke of luck, the print numbers actually match up with the numbers on the mousetraps.

Once the paint was dry, I had Daniel nail them to my door and then simply slid the artwork under the clips.

I think this would look better with larger prints or more of them.  Because my door was so large, the scale seems a bit off to me.  But these will work until I find the perfect size prints.

So easy and such a creative use for an everyday item!

Funky Junk Part 3 - Bootlegged Beauty

For this junk-filled installation, I used a piece of a moonshine still.  We found this buried under the floor of the smokehouse at Daniel's grandma's old place (his Grandpa was a bootlegger).  Even though it was beat up and most of it was gone, the patina on the copper was beautiful and it was a nifty piece of Daniel's family history that he wanted to keep.

It's been sitting in the garage ever since, but always in the back of my mind.  I love the turquoise color on it and have been wanting to use it in my house for a while now.  The idea finally came to me while searching Pinterest for tablescapes.  I came across this image.  I liked the tin bucket they used as a vase to hold the sunflowers and the tool caddy with the dishes and other dining room stuff inside.  And then, this happened:

BAM!  Tablescape.

I used some old baskets that I've had stuffed in a closet since we moved in and then just added some dishes, a fruit bowl, and some flowers from the yard.

I've been stumped since we moved in on what to do with my dining room table.  Everything always looks too small and nothing has ever felt right for that space.  This worked so well and I can't believe I never thought to use it before.

[And now, for your viewing pleasure, here's way too many pictures of the same thing.  Just because I like taking photos of stuff from every angle imaginable.]

Isn't that patina just gorgeous?  I realize some people might look at this and think 'trash' but I like a little elegant junk in my life.  The fact that it has family history just makes it that much cooler.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Funky Junk Part 2 - Junktacular Old Door

I've been on a junkin' kick here lately, so there'll be lots of junk-related posts coming up.

For this project, I used an old door out of Daniel's grandmother's old house.  I like using old doors as artwork, as you can see from this post.  I already have those two hanging in the living room and I flip them back and forth depending on the season.  Old doors just have so much character.

Anyway, this door was just propped in one of the rooms, gathering dust and not actually hanging up, so it was practically begging for us to take it and give it a home.

It was already painted, so I didn't feel bad about painting over the old wood.  I am trying to lighten up my living room for summer, so I wanted a light background.  The plan was to hang the door over the couch and use it as a backdrop for artwork.  

I started by removing the door knob and hardware and then going over the door with a dry rag to clean off all the dust.  I then dry-brushed a light coat of off-white paint to give it a shabby-chic/distressed look and show off all the imperfections in the wood.  

Once the paint was dry, it was ready to hang.  Daniel made some brackets to hold it in place on the wall (this sucker is solid wood and very heavy!)

[We almost had a CAT-astrophe getting this thing hung on the wall.  Apparently Bob was inside the couch cushions (which we didn't know) and Daniel had been standing on him as he was hanging this thing.  We finally heard a faint 'meow!' after it was hung and searched until we found him.  He was pretty scared and I was worried sick thinking we'd squished Bob, but it turns out cats really do have 9 lives.  After much cuddling and special treatment, he's back to his old self and completely fine.  He even cuddled up with Daniel most of the day yesterday, so I think he's forgiven.]

Anyway, I attached some vintage coral prints that I found online and mounted on craft paper for some instant artwork.  I think I'd like something bigger, but until I find the perfect artwork, these will do.  

Spoiler: check back for the how-to on the numbered artwork clips in the pic above.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Funky Junk Part 1 - From Junk to Junque

I've been blog-hopping lately and I stumbled upon this blog called Funky Junk Interiors.  She makes some of the coolest stuff (you can find everything she does under her 'projects' page) and the best part is that most everything she does is free.  She finds things in the garbage, on the side of the road, at yard sales and flea markets, and turns it into the coolest decor.  Seriously, her house is amazing.

With that inspiration in mind, I decided to do a little junking of my own.  We have lots of junk lying around [or as my Grandpa used to say, "J-U-N-Q-U-E" to make it sound fancy] so I knew it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to find some things to work with.

There was an old sewing machine in Daniel's old house that had seen better days.  The top was pretty much destroyed and the sewing machine itself was long gone, but the drawers were still in pretty good shape, so I saved them.  They make really cute display containers for all kinds of uses.  For example, put silverware, flowers and napkins in one and you have a cute storage container for the dining room.  Fill it with remote controls and odds & ends, and you have a smart storage solution for the coffee table.  Office supplies are stored perfectly on a desk... you get the idea.

Anyway, I had 2 drawers and one was in pretty good condition, while the other was missing the handle and didn't look as good.  I decided to paint the worst of the two to give it that shabby-chic look.  I used a dry brush technique in which you basically put very little paint on your brush so it goes on thin or not at all in some places, making your paint-job look distressed.

Once it was dry, I decided to use it in my dining room on my hutch.  I added some wine bottles from our wedding, a jar of silverware, some toothpicks (you know, dining-roomy things) and lots and lots of flowers from the yard.  I paired it with some flea market finds such as an old silver tea set and platters, some wine glasses and various glass vases and accessories.  

Check back later for more "J-U-N-Q-U-E"!