Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Window Treatments {DIY}

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There is this one frustrating thread through my life. Anytime I ignore my mother's advice, I regret it. Well, except for my decision to use a soundtrack for my wedding processional. I was right on that one; which means- Alyssa: 1 Mom: 953.

I won't even bore you with the excessive stories of how she ended up being right time and time again. But I will tell you about the window treatments. At every single place I have lived in since getting married (which is 6 places in 12 years), she has advised me to make my own window coverings. Each time it goes something like this:

Mom: "Honey, you should really consider making your own window treatments. They are far cheaper and so easy.."
Me: "Mom, you know I can hardly sew a straight line."
Mom: "They truly aren't difficult to do."
Me: "Mom, I acted like I had just made Kate Middleton's wedding dress when I completed a pathetic pillow. You know how it is."
Mom: "I really think you could do it."
Me: "You're supposed to say that; your my mom."

Well last year, faced with a new house full of windows and a wallet not-so-full of money, I finally caved. I actually made my own window bling. And Mom was *cough* *mumble* right. Again.

So, I'm hear to preach the window treatment truth to you...

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Really! Take it from a non-sewer who resisted for over a decade.

First, there were the valances in the kitchen and breakfast nook:

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I used a 1x4 piece of lumber instead of a curtain rod to give it a unique look that began the money savings. I simply painted it, cut it, screwed in smaller pieces to the long front piece, and used brackets to hang the whole thing:

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Then I started collecting my materials for the valance. I hit up Calico Corners when they were having their biggest sale of the year for the fabric and bought twill ribbon, buttons, and wooden dowels from JoAnn Fabrics.

Then I followed THESE clear, simple instructions from the Painted Hive.

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Above my kitchen sink, I used a tension rod the old owners had left behind to hang the valance:

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In my bedroom, I wanted to to use the sheers that came with the house and to make a wooden cornice. I used some cut pallet wood and whitewashed it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (half paint, half water). In a similar way as the wooden curtain rod I described above, I used brackets to hold the two long pieces of wood together and to attach the small side pieces. Then I used a tension rod inside the wooden cornices. I love the hard/soft feel that it gave:

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For my front room, I wanted some fabric cornices to hide the shades:

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The materials for this were only the fabric, lumber, brackets, batting, and a borrowed staple gun from my dad. I used THIS tutorial from Inspired Whims.

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A couple of last tips:
1) For the wider windows (like the one in my breakfast nook) be sure to support and window covering structure in the middle so it doesn't eventually bow.
2) Always, always put your treatments above your windows to draw the eye upward and give the illusion of bigger windows.

And if you want to make drapes yourself, hit up Pinterest where they're now even showing you how to construct those out of drop clothes. I haven't ventured into the drape-making world yet, but I'll get there...eventually...and make my mom proud.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Our Days

Just stopping by to share some shots from our day to day life...

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After a package was delivered, Isaiah swiped the box since he had a "puppet show" idea...
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Tea Time

What do Lord Grantham, Call the Midwives, Sherlock, and our homeschool co-op all have in common?

They’ve all been featured on BBC!

Okay, that’s a bit of an over-dramatic way put it. But it’s not every day that you have network cameras show up in your kids' classroom. They were doing a piece on a German family in our co-op, and I was extremely pleased with the final news clip. Homeschooling has been under serious fire in Germany. It’s a topic that needs to be shown for what it is, and BBC did a great job with this story.

If you check out this two minute news piece, you’ll even see my Adriana’s face pop up a few times in the clip since she is in the art class of the featured mom.

Just watch the video at the beginning of THIS article

So since we’re talking British TV, it seems only right to put tea time in the same post. My version of tea would probably have England groaning, but it will have your immune system rejoicing. Now that we are in cold and flu season, we have been devouring pots of this stuff that my sister has dubbed “Emergen-C Tea”. I recently got a cold, and I was amazed at how fast this stuff helped kick the sinus junk from my system. 

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Emergen-C Tea
1 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. local honey
½ tsp. vitamin C powder (I buy mine at Trader Joes)
1 packet of raspberry herbal tea (optional)

Put the first three ingredients in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot water over all and mix. I like the tangy taste of my tea just like this, but my kids like it with a pack of raspberry tea steeped in it.

Now curl up with a blanket, a cup of this tea, and some Downton Abbey re-runs. You can boost your immune system while you yell at the Telly that they would dare to knock off Matthew with a stupid car crash.

(Note: Since we chug this stuff, I've taken to keeping a bottle of 2 parts honey to 1 part vinegar in a separate jar. It takes away some of the bite of the vinegar as it sits and also is much easier to pour. Then I just put a tablespoon of this mix in my tea.)

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

It's always around this time of the year that I'm dusting the cobwebs off my neglected blog to post again. October looks so sweet and innocent sitting on my calendar; but I've learned that, for a photographer, it's hidden beast. Instead of visiting my blog space, I've spent my computer time editing everything from babies in pumpkins...

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...to fairy princesses in the woods.

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But I'm stopping by the blog to show off my littles at Halloween. I was having an especially bad attitude about Halloween the other night after spending part of my evening working with my preteen to make sure his wrestler costume was "cool" enough. (Lord, help me through the "cool" years.) I was fed up with a holiday whose only point seemed to be pushing me to my costume-making limits, which is pretty low to begin with, and filling my children's body with refined sugar. 

But last night we pulled our fire pit to the end of the driveway, and actually had a chance to chat with our neighbors and see our kiddos bouncing around with the joy of their costumes (or maybe it was all that sugar), especially a little girl who had her first year of trick or treating.

My little barista and the semi-cool Mexican wrestler:
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Laura Ingalls and my little football player (a study in the vast differences of their personalities):
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Next year as I begrudge coming up with four costumes to match four unique personalities, remind me that in the end, this was actually kind of fun.