Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Kitchen Curtains and Tutorial

How do you know when to say drapes versus curtains?  Here's a definition I found online from thefreedictionary.com:  

n. pl. drap·er·ies
1. Cloth or clothing gracefully arranged in loose folds.
2. A piece or pieces of heavy fabric hanging straight in loose folds, used as a curtain.
3. Cloth; fabric.

So I guess a drape is a type of curtain.  Having drapes sounds so formal but curtain seems too casual.  Window treatment is too vague. Well, no matter what I call them they are new, gorgeous, and another easy diy project.

It took me months of searching websites and fabric stores to find this fabric but once I found it I knew it was perfect for my kitchen.  I wanted a colorful pattern to compliment the new wall color and white cabinets and this one delivers.

The fabric is Lucy Eden by Richloom.  I bought mine at fabric.com.  It's kinda pricey at $23 a yard but after $35 you get free shipping and I used a promo code to get 13% off.  I bought 8 yards total so with tax it came to $175.  This gave me enough fabric for 2 panels and I have about 2 yards left over.  I am either going to make a curtain for the window over the sink or some pillows for the chairs in the kitchen.  So really each panel cost me about $65.  I know this still seems like a lot of money but compare that to the Mantadia panels at anthropologie that are $250 each.  I feel great that I saved $325 but still got the look I wanted.

I am just in love with this fabric.  It's not real crewelwork but it has the look especially from a distance.
I made these in a few hours one afternoon.  I use the same basic method for making all my curtains.  Small disclaimer:  I am not a professional seamstress and this is just my way of doing this.  You can find hundreds of other tutorials if you do a quick google search.  My goal is to give you a quick and easy way to make simple curtain panels.

How To:
1.  Calculate length and width.

You can see how I make my calculations below.

Whenever I do width I try to just work with the width that the fabric comes in so I don't have to make extra cuts or seams.  Normally you want your fabric width to be at least double the actual width of your window.  However, in this case I decided that these were going to be decorative panels and I wasn't going to make them so they would completely cover the doors when closed.   The fabric came in a 54" width so I just made a 2 inch hem on the side of the panel that would be in the middle of the door and a 1 inch hem on the outside of the panel which gave me a finished width of 51 inches.

2.  Cut fabric.  I usually end up doing this on the floor because of how long the fabric ends up.    Just make sure to follow the whole measure twice cut once cliche because it would totally stink to cut your expensive fabric wrong.

3.  Iron top and bottom hems to appropriate length.  In my case I used the iron to make a 3 inch fold on both the top and bottom.  I only iron the top and bottom to make sure I get straight hems.  For my sides I just approximate using my ruler with the fabric in the machine.  On the sides you cannot tell if you get off by a little bit but it would show if you got really crooked on the top or bottom.

4.  On the long sides of your panel fold the raw edge under a half inch and then under again to your desired hem width.  You can choose to pin these folds the length of the panel or I just fold as I sew.  Then just sew a nice straight line down the panel.

quick tip:  Make sure to sew your side hems first or else you will end up sewing your rod pocket closed.

5.   For the rod pocket you want to fold the cut or raw edge up a half inch.    Pin this down after folding the fabric to your pre-ironed 3 inch fold mark.   Then sew a straight line to sew down the 3 layers you just created.  This makes your pocket.  Do the same steps to make your bottom hem.

At this point you can iron your finished panels and hang them up.  Or if you are like me and you get too excited you can just hang them up without ironing:).

There is one other thing to notice in these pictures.  Yes, I know you can't believe it but I did finish painting one whole cabinet!!!  It looks better than I imagined.  The white makes everything else in the kitchen look so good.  You can check out my original kitchen and the island redo if you're interested.

Here's another shot of the curtain next to the bottom cabinet.  The white cabinet even makes the floor look better.

And just when you had enough here's a side view of the panel.

My pictures do not do justice to the beautiful fabric so you'll just have to trust me that it is really, really lovely in person.  I finished them about a week ago and I still can't stop gushing.  So what do you think?  I want to hear about your latest gush-worthy item.  And do you think I should make a matching curtain for over the kitchen window or would that be too much of a good thing?

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sneak Peek

Hey all!  Just a really quick post today.  Between end of school stuff, baseball, gymnastics, birthday parties, and play dates I am not getting very far on my house projects.  So this picture will have to tide you over for a few more days until I have time for a bigger reveal.

Any guesses?

More to come.  Soon.  I promise.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little Girl's Birthday Tea Party

Yesterday we celebrated our daughter's 8th birthday with a tea party.  She invited 5 close friends (and their American Girl dolls, of course) for an afternoon of crafts, treats, and girl talk.  There was also a lot of singing - not happy birthday but a lot - a lot - of Call Me Maybe and other such top 40 songs.  It's pretty amazing how many of these songs they know by heart yet memorizing math facts remains somewhat elusive.  Hmmm...

We made all of the decorations and invites ourselves and kept things manageable by buying some store-made treats while making a few on our own.  The craft supplies were the biggest expense.

Here's the invitation.

I was inspired by an invite that I found on pinterest.  It's on my tea party board if you want to check it out.  All the paper decorations including the invitations were handmade using a scrap book paper pack bought at Michael's with a 40% off coupon.  

We kept the table simple and elegant.  I already had the white table cloth (Target) and I made the runner from some leftover pink gingham fabric.  No sewing at all.  I just cut it to length and folded it in thirds, hiding the edges underneath, and placed it on the table.

Over the years I've been given some antique teapots, sugar bowls and creamers that we filled with both store bought flowers and flowers from our garden.  These served as our centerpieces.

The place mats were made from different sheets of coordinating scrap book paper by tracing a large circle onto the back and then cutting them using a pair of craft scissors.  We made the place cards by cutting the paper into rectangles and folding.  My daughter then wrote each girl's name on the front.  We stuck the little paper umbrellas in each teacup for fun.  The little girls loved those and some of the girls made sure to take theirs home.

Above their heads were a bunch of tissue paper pom poms.  There are a ton of tutorials on how to do this on Google.

I also made a happy birthday banner from the scrap book paper.  I don't own one of those fancy cutting machines and I was able to do this myself by tracing two flower-shaped patterns and using a font in Word for tracing the letters.  I would say it took about 2 hours to complete.

For food we had more than we needed, but, of course, I didn't remember to get any specific pictures.  We served Oreos with pink centers, flower shaped cookies from the in-store bakery, zingers, pink marshmallows, strawberry flavored bundt cake (box mix), white cupcakes with pink frosting (again box mix & can frosting), raspberry jello with cool whip, white and pink cake pops, rice krispy treats, and some pink & white gummy candy.  For the drinks the girls were able to help themselves to either pink lemonade or apple juice from 2 cute summer drink dispensers that I found at Target.  They liked using their fancy teacups but I also had paper cups on hand for use away from the table.

Here's a few more pictures I couldn't resist sharing...

It was a lovely afternoon and the birthday girl can't believe she has to wait a whole year to have another party!

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Old Jewelry Box to New Doll Armoire

I know it's been a while since my last post but I was a little busy.  We had a birthday trip for my daughter to the American Girl store in Chicago and then an unexpected trip to Richmond to visit my younger sister.  Needless to say my projects are a little behind.

Right before I left for Virginia I did manage to finish this doll armoire but I did not have time to take pictures or write the post.  Now that things are getting back to normal routine I am excited to share this with you.  It is a great before & after plus a great diy-save-yourself-a-lot-of-money project.

My daughter is all into American Girl dolls now that we have to moved to the Chicago area and as any parent of an 8-year-old girl knows the doll and her accessories are exceptionally expensive.  Even the Target knock-off brand is still too much money in my book.  So in order to keep the aforementioned 8-year-old happy I have become quite the doll clothes seamstress - see that post here.  However, your doll also needs furniture and one of the coveted items was a fancy clothes armoire.  If you do a quick Google search you will see that these range from $30 to over $100 - for a doll!!  

Well, I was in the Goodwill searching for teacups (for the 8-year-old's upcoming birthday tea party) and I happened upon this vintage 1970's jewelry box.  It was $6.  One of the drawers was missing a side but I knew I could fix that.  So it came home with me.

On the way home I stopped and picked up a can of grape-colored spray paint for $3.  Now I wouldn't normally choose grape but my daughter is all into purple and since this was for her doll I felt I should pick something she would love.  This will assuage my guilt when I won't let her paint her room this color.  In addition, I grabbed a small package of sparkle bling from the scrap book aisle for another $2.

Now it had a slight old home smell to it so I let it air out for a few days and then I ripped out all the old velvety lining stuff.

I am so glad I ripped that stuff out because when I did all this dust and yucky stuff was flying around.  I wiped the inside and outside off with some vinegar and water solution.  That really helped get rid of any remaining smell.

Then I removed the doors, took off the hinges, and carefully pried off the drawer/door pulls. I covered the hangers on the inside with plastic wrap and began spray painting.  I did about 3 coats on everything and then let it cure overnight.

The next morning I lined the inside of it with scrapbook paper cut to fit and mod podge to glue it in.  I cut lengths of ribbon to cover where the paper met in the corners and edges.  I then let this dry for a day.  

After that I used plain old Elmer's glue to attach my bling to the front of the doors.  I had spray painted right on top of the faux glass doors but you could take out the plastic and use another material if you wanted.  It seemed easiest to just spray paint right over it though.  Then I reattached all the hinges and the pulls.  

The little flowers are made of colored plastic with mirror on the back so the light reflects.  Perfect touch for a little girl.

My daughter can hang dresses or shirts or hair bands from the hooks and then she also has 2 fairly large drawers for smaller accessories like shoes.  You can see where I repaired the drawer on the left by cutting a paint stir stick to size and then gluing it in place.  Now the drawer works great.

Let me give you one more before and after shot.

And the cost round up...

  • Goodwill jewelry box - $6
  • spray paint - $3
  • flower bling - $2
  • paper, ribbon, mod podge - free

Total = $11

Compared to at least $30 for a store bought version I think I did pretty well.  Plus it is customized to my daughter's style.  We're really happy with the outcome, and I know she loves it because while I was away she had already loaded it up with her stuff.  I had to steal it back today while she was at school to take the pictures.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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