Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Update: Curtains and the Electricity Bill

We have one of those smart meters and it sends you updates on your's pretty neat.  Based upon last weeks usage, after we put the curtains up, we're saving $.34 a day in electricity.  Seeing as I spent about $120 on the curtains (I think.  I didn't check my previous post), the curtains will have paid for themselves in 352 days.  Not bad....and they might pay for themselves quicker when it starts to get hotter outside.  Win!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Curtains and Pillows, Oh My!

One of the reasons that we bought our home was because of the beautiful archways and the beautiful arched windows in the living room.  It just so happens that those beautiful windows face west....and we live in Texas....and it's really hot.  Starting around 3 pm or so, the sun beams in and it literally raises the temperature in the house several degrees.  So, I decided to cover up are beautiful arched windows (sad face) in the interest of our ever growing electric bill.

Hey...did you know curtains are expensive? Well, they are.  At least curtains that are at minimum 9.5 ft tall.  Each window is 5 ft across, as well.  Did I say that we had huge windows? Because we do. 

Here's a picture of what they look like before curtains:

And since each window is 5 ft across, and that middle section is 14 in....that means I need at curtain rod that is at least 11.5 ft long.  Does anyone else think that's huge, or is it just me?

I've been checking out curtains on pinterest and a thinking about possibly DIY-ing them.  I checked out some panels at a lot of different stores.....I'd need 4 of them (two for each window) and they had to be long.  From what I found, a set of panels usually ranged in the $40 -$60 least the ones I liked did.  That would just not do.  And fabric from JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby, forget about it.  1 yard of the upholstery fabric ranges from $15 to $55.  I would need 3 yds per panel....for 4 panels.  Not happening, even with a coupon. A lot of people on pinterest have gone the way of 'canvas drop cloth' and it works.  It's not too bad looking either.  Canvas drop cloths are cheap.  $8-$20 depending on the size.  We ended up getting 4 panels of 4 ft x 15 ft canvas drop cloth at $15 a piece. And there is plenty left over for the dining room window, although I'll have to get creative because there will be lots of seams.

And a side note about drop cloths.....they are not all created equal, or even the same size.  They are all a little different with little flecks of color in them and even though they come pre-hemmed....they are not hemmed straight.  

We found a curtain rod (and some accent fabric) at a store here in Houston for $10....that's right.  A gigantic, long curtain rod....for $10.  I was going to use conduit piping and paint it black, but hey, $10 is not bad at all.  Plus, it's not like we could fit a 12ft long piece of pipe in the back of the Prius.

About the accent fabric:  Anybody who knows me, knows that I like color.  And funky color/patterns at that.  Wes finally got tired of me asking him, "Do you like this fabric? What about this one? Ooh, this one?" so he gave me free reign.  Yay! And now we have this:

I used a faux pinch pleat thing I saw online here to hang the curtains.  Sure, I could've sewn them to where I could just slide the curtain on the rod, but I don't like how that looks.  And I sewed the fabric right on top of the drop cloth.  It was easier that way.

And since I didn't plan ahead, I didn't get the correct amount of fabric....and forgot that fabric is folded in half on the bolt (why I forgot, I don't know...I buy fabric all of the time)....I ended up getting way more fabric than I needed.  But I estimate that I used 4 yards of fabric.  While I was waiting on the fabric to get cut, I spotted these really cool pillows on sale for $7 a piece (I though that was kinda pricey, but I loved them) and thought they would go great if they were covered in the same fabric I was purchasing.  And here's is the result of that using the tutorial you can find here:

I don't think the pillows match the couch at all, but I don't care.  There's a little brown in the pillow, and they kind go together, but they are both very comfy so I don't care.

Here's the breakdown:
Canvas drop cloth x4 = $60
4 yds of fabric @ $8 = $32 (And I still have 2 yds left over that are not included in this total)
Extending curtain rod = $10
40 clips to hang the curtains @ $3 a pack = $12
Two pillows = $14

Total = $128 (wow, I didn't realize I spent that much...but I was over the course of several weeks)

Time = Several weeks of doing a little bit here and a little bit there.

And I could always, later on, line the backs if I wanted to.  We'll see how the electric bill fares for the next 2 months.

Ahhhh.....the house is looking more like a home every day (compared to a place where we just keep our stuff).

For anyone who wants exact measurements or a detailed tutorial, just ask....or go here.  She already did a good job and I pretty much followed her instructions.  Plus....if you can sew a line, you can make these.  Just measure twice and cut once.  

And another side note:  Oliver loves them.  He likes to hide behind them and then in a sing-song voice say "You can't see me."  Little dude, I can totally see're little feet are poking out, but I pretend not to and he giggles until I "find" him.

20 points to the person who can guess the name of the store where I got all of the materials from.

Painting update - Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom and I have gone painting again since the last time I blogged about it.  So, in honor of Mother's Day, here's a new picture of my Mom and Me:

Happy Mother's Day (and Birthday) Mom!!!  I love you!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Painting Adventures with Mom

I bought a groupon awhile back for a "Merlot to Masterpiece" thing (website here).  I decided to take my Mom because I thought it was something fun we could do together.  Now we go about once a month and have brought my Grandma along as well.  It's pretty fun.  Here are some before and afters:

Our first one.  It was originally supposed to be a A&M barn but since we are not aggies, we did a Texas Flag.
After Break #1

Finished Product

Outing #2:
Twilight Cherry Blossoms (the only one where actual wine was involved....a whole bottle...just me (minus 1 glass)...I think it's the best one.)

and Number 3:
Tuscan Villa

This one was, by far, the most difficult one.  But it was still fun.  Painting grapes is a pain.  So if anyone is thinking of a birthday gift....this would work.  I know it's 6 months away, I'm giving you time to save up for a private party, LOL!

Self Zipping Coin Purse

I got bored one day last week and decided to make something.  Using a tutorial I found on Pinterest, I ended up making this:
I got the tutorial from here.
I found an extra 20 inch zipper in the sewing table and I used some 5/8" ribbon I had laying around.  I didn't line it because I didn't realize how much sewing was going to be involved.  At first I started using the sewing machine....yeah, that's not what the lady intended.  I ending up breaking a few needles and getting super frustrated.  I eventually ditched the machine and sewed the rest up by hand.  Then I discovered what a zipper foot was after I was finished.  Go figure.  I still don't know if I even have a zipper foot and how it works but I think it might have been easier. 

This is what it looks like unzipped:

At first, I was reading the tutorial and thinking, "How the?....What?...There's no what it does that..."

It ending up costing me nothing and I completed it during Oliver's nap.  All in all, a success.  And now I have a coin purse.  And I learned a little bit about sewing zippers.  If you're planning to make one, I recommend reading through the steps several times to get a feel for what's coming up and where not to sew right away and where to place things.

Cost:  $0
Time: 30 minutes give or take.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Re-Upholstered Computer Chair

We have had this ugly computer chair for years.  In fact, Wes had it before I met him.  Over the years and many many many moves, the chair has managed to stay with us. That and his bachelor silverware (which, trust me, is on the list to be replaced).  I distinctly remember leaving it out in front of the house for a few months and no one took it, so it kept moving with us.  Apartment after apartment and house after house. So this is what it looks like (or looked like):

I had already started to get ahead of myself and ripped the padding off the back of the chair before I took a picture.  Check out this sweet close up:

It's really not that bad of a just needs to be freshened up.  Since we bought a new (and much more comfortable) computer chair for Wes, I officially adopted this one as my craft/sewing/computer chair.  So, thanks to another pinterest find (that made this look a little easier than it was), I decided to redo my chair.


$5 - fabric

I had a lot of fabric on hand, and I wasn't planning on spending any money, but none of the fabic I have was screaming at me to put it on the chair.  If fact, none of it screamed at's all pretty boring, muted colors (ren fair costume stuff).  So after a trip to Hobby Lobby and a 40% off coupon, I got 1 yard of 'duck' fabric.

The top was harder than I thought it was going to be because the foam was glued onto plastic, and unlike the bottom, there was no cardboard to staple the fabric to.  So I decided to use elastic on the top and with the way the chair is made, the fabic encloses the foam and then it's crammed into the crevice between the foam holder and the back of the chair.  Not the most sturdy of things, but it works.  Plus now it's easier to take off if in the future I want to change the fabric again.

And at one point there was this oh crap moment where I had to sew the elastic casing around the edge of the fabric for the top.  I started looking for my chair.....and then promptly found it laying on the floor in pieces because, duh, I was sewing the fabric that was going on it.  I didn't really think that through too much.  So I borrowed Wes'.

Here's my new-ish chair:

Now the chair is officially mine.  Wes took one look at it and said "could you have picked a weirder fabric?"  Yes, I could have but I liked this one.  Tough.  Get over it.  It's my chair now.  You get your cushy one, at least I can get one that looks pretty.  Lol!  Deep down he probably loves it and is secretly jealous its not his.

Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

Made my own laundry detergent.  For about $10, I probably have enough detergent for a year.  And it smells good. Can't beat that.

Got the idea from Pinterest but got the specific recipe from ehow.

It's pretty much a 1:1 ratio of washing soda and borax blended with a grated bar of laudry soap (fels-napatha or zote).

I used 1 cup each of borax and washing soda and 1 bar of fels napatha.  Put 2 tbls. of the mix into the washer for each load.  This will probably last me for a few months and then I'll make more.  The only boxes that Wal-Mart had were pretty big, so I have a lot left over.  I put the mixture in an old plastic ice cream container I had.

If I would have known it was that easy to make, I would have done that years ago.

Oh, and the taxes got done today as well.  Woo hoo!  Look at me, finished two projects!

Next up:
1. Refinish the dresser
2. Make these two shirts I've been drooling over
3. Finish the quilts for the nieces and nephews
4. Make a coffee table
4a. Make Frames for my paintings and crayon art.
5. Start Remodeling the kitchen (this will probably end up as number 7, 8, or 9 because it's a big project).
6. Make outside patio furniture
7. Make farmhouse table
8. Make king size bed frame for possible new king size bed
9. Landscaping (this should probably be #1) stupid HOA, think they own everyone.  The lawns mowed and de weeder has been layed down.  And nowhere in the deed restrictions does it say I cannot have flower pots on the front porch, so they will be remaining there for the time being.