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!!!