Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lesson 7. Don't be Afraid of Colors: Drapery time!

It is very rainy and dreary outside so I decided to try to brighten my mood by starting on my curtain project. I ordered some wonderful silk taffeta, about 42 yards total, to make drapery panels for the living and dining room. I chose a teal color for the living room and this sort of curry gold for the dining room. European fabric is cut on the metric scale so you often end up with 100cm widths (about 40 inches). US fabric generally comes in 45" or 56" widths. So what that means for me is that I will have two lengths of fabric together to get a piece wide enough to make a curtain panel. So that is what I just did.

My lining fabric still has not arrived and neither have my coverable buttons (going to use them as decoration on the pinch pleats), so all I can do at this point is the sewing that only involves the silk. I can probably go ahead and put the bottom hems into the panels because that part won't be sewn to the lining. But as of right now I think I am off for a lunch date. The cats have been carefully stowed in the basement, of course. Kitten learned a tough lesson yesterday that silk is not on the feline food pyramid.

I'm actually going to have lunch with my one friend who hates colors more than anyone I know. Recently we went shopping and I handed her a dress and said, "Oh look! It's your favorite shade of beige!" She agreed and a happy purchase was made. Luckily she has the complexion to carry it off. I'm trying to ward off getting nervous about my bold color choices with these curtains. I always go into people's homes and they've done lovely, calming things by meticulously pairing 12 different shades of taupe in a room. But that's not really my taste, and frankly I don't think it would work in our wacky Victorian four square with its red-orange wood floors. The living and dining room were sort of this brick red color when we moved in, and although I wasn't crazy about the color, I have decided to embrace it. Teal and red seem to be a hot color combination as of late and we have an oriental rug that has brick red flowers and a teal border, so this seemed like a natural choice. In the dining room gold is the predominant accent color, so I thought I would go with a gold curtain and then accessorize with teals and blues to link the rooms. Gold draperies are also more versatile if we decide to repaint in there. So when you see my house and it looks like a crayola box exploded, you'll know that I have a rational explanation for it all.

More later...

It's now after midnight and I have spent the last few hours installing... what else... drapery hardware. Mr. Delta took me to Lowe's after he got home and we shopped for curtain rods for the dining room and living room windows. I can't help but be offended by how expensive drapery hardware is. It's really unbelievable. They wanted $25 for an 8 ft long wooden pole. Seriously? So I did what I always do and walked across the store in search of a creative solution. I found an unfinished wooden rod of the same size for $3.50 and painted it. Unfortunately I couldn't find satisfactory unfinished wall brackets and pole ends (called finials in polite company) so I went ahead and splurged on the overpriced ones.

One of my wooden rods installed and ready to go.
The wooden dowels worked out great and saved me $50.
As I'm doing more home improvement projects, I'm starting to see a pattern in how hardware store wares are priced and marketed. The things that women buy (closet organization, decorative accessories, etc) tend to be really, really overpriced and there is often a much cheaper version of the exact same thing available in another department of the store but sans shiny packaging. Example - a 4 ft length of "Closet Maid" melamine shelving is $18 in the closet organization department, but an 8ft length of exactly the same thing is only $7.50 if you walk over to the construction materials department. This irritates me. It's so clearly an attempt to take advantage of women when they're out of their element. But not me.

Hopefully tomorrow the lining will arrive so I can finish putting the curtain panels together. The buttons won't be here until Saturday probably, so that would be the earliest the curtains can actually go up. Can't wait!


Rod installed on right side of bay window.
 I still need to paint the bracket platform I added.

We are now into day two of the curtain-stravaganza. I just installed the curtain rods in the dining room, which turned out to be a bit challenging because of the angles of the bay window. I wanted the rod to extend far enough into the center of the window that the fabric would flank the outsides of the frame, and that meant building a little platform to sit on the edge of the angled in window. Seems like it worked.

Making the bracket platforms out of triangles of wood.
I measured the angles of the walls and
cut the wood with my miter saw accordingly.

The lining for the curtains still has not arrived, which is irritating because it was only coming from Atlanta. According to the tracking, they sent it to South Carolina, and now, presumably, it's on its way to Nashville. I've learned just not to ask when it comes to USPS parcel post. Crossing my fingers that I can get the curtains all finished tomorrow so I can move on to my next big adventure.

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