In the 12 years we've been married, my husband and I have realized that we have a disturbing trend when we find out overnight company is coming...we fix things. Not little things either...we've been known to paint multiple rooms, paint furniture, buy furniture...anything ridiculous and we've probably done it.
This last year we were able to do a lot of the things we wanted to with the basement project (which I just realized I need to post about...hmmm...may need to do a weekend post on that for the holiday), but some other things just had to be put off because of money. Having two houses has been draining us financially, and so extras like curtains or bookshelves just didn't seem important enough to make the cut. We don't have people over often, and, well, we figured they would just have to understand. Until I found out my best friend ever was coming to visit from Arizona. My pride just wanted the house to look a little less thrown together. I pondered the dilemma and did nothing for months. Here was the problem...
Our great room is 2-stories. We have windows on top of windows and to tie the space together I wanted curtains from the top of the upper windows....that meant I needed curtains that were 126" long. The windows were also only 33" wide...so custom was the only way to go. After pricing how much it would cost to have curtains made, I knew that wasn't a possibility... all the companies I checked with quoted $500-800.
I also wanted a big painting for over the mantle that no one else would have. With blues. I went on Pinterest (if you're not on there yet, seriously, check it out) and pinned paintings that I liked the look of...then bought the biggest canvas A.C. Moore had with a 50% off coupon...cost of the painting (with paint and new brush) = less than $30.
The painting was a breeze. The colors look a little washed out in this photo...but it really lends itself to getting lost in in real life.
The curtains on the other hand, wound up being a monumental undertaking. Here's what I did. I bought curtain panels that were 57" wide and 98" long from IKEA for $25 a pair. I set up a table in the great room and went to work first adding the length to each panel, then cutting each panel in half and then hemming the raw edges where they had been cut. I had to do three panels like that to make 6 smaller panels for three windows. There was tons of measuring. When it comes to sewing my best rule is: measure twice, cut once.
With the cutting and pinning done upstairs I took the panels downstairs when I had to sew.
Hubby put up the curtain rods and we both worked together to steam the wrinkles out of them. Total cost for the curtains = $50 (I used three panels that I split and then one extra to use on the other three for length). I also bought 2 other pairs for the library and dining room once we put up rods in there. Obviously I saved a lot of money making curtains myself. Since we have blinds they didn't need to be lined, and they aren't fancy, but they really make the room look put-together. The curtains took me about 2 days to do (14-15 hours).
The other eye-sore of the house was the front living room that we plan to use as a library. There were 23 boxes sitting in the corner filled with books and decorative items that we had no shelves for. Well, we got a debit card as a reward from our bank and used them to get the majority of the bookcases for the library. Hubby put them together and I spent the day before Tenasha arrived unpacking 18 boxes of books. My back was sore that day! Eventually the bookshelves will have another row of shelves up top and will go over the window...but for now, no more boxes!!! And my Kennedy book collection is out where I can see it! It was like Christmas seeing all those books that have been boxed up for so long!
We put a lot of work into the home projects, but it's been so nice looking at the improvements. We're fortunate that we're handy enough to tackle these things so we can save money.
Now a shout-out...
To My Mother, for the seriously pimp sewing scissors that cut that fabric like butter...and for teaching me to clean the windows before you put up nice new curtains...even if you have to wash each blind individually...and it takes you 4.5 hours...and you want to cry. Because when Tenasha came she actually touched one of the blinds to see what material it was made out of, and all I could think was thank GOD I had cleaned it and greasy dust didn't get all over her fingers thereby letting her know her best friend was a dirty pig who spent days making curtains just to have someone stay in a dirty house...because that may have been embarrassing!