Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Productivity via "Awkward Neighbor Moment" Lane

As most "awkward stories", this is somewhat of a long one.

We redid our kitchen about a year ago. And since then, the space over the window has been shamelessly naked. Either because I couldn't find a curtain I liked or I hadn't ever come across time for me to make one - the space was pretty empty. And really needing some coverage. But coverage finally was demanded - and given - last night.


Put it this way. A day or so after remodeling our kitchen, the next door neighbors upon bumping into my husband outside in front of the house said "Oh, I see you redid your kitchen". Oh, my husband says, then asking how the neighbor knew this. The neighbor says: "Our first floor bathroom window looks right into the kitchen".

Can you see the tiny window --- to the bottom right of the hanging bird and slightly above the wood fence. Yes, see what I am talking about?

Now there's somewhat of a tiny window, so I hadn't thought it was the window of a room (used multiple times in a day) as the viewing gateway into a kitchen that I am in every day. And sometimes, I'm functioning as if the window directly across from me is a low-usability window. Functioning as in, being in my robe (or not) in, adjusting bra in...oh the blatant horror of what I could have possibly done unknowingly.

And to make matters worse, their window is right over their toilet. So there have been a few times that I am casually doing the dishes having awesome thoughts of my family, of the yummy dinner, of my beautiful white farmhouse sink....and I look up and Ahhhhh --- there is a head looking back at me from about 5 feet away. He's doesn't even have the shame the guilt the obvious decency to look down and not directly at me. I try to casually look down as if I hadn't seen him because I was too busy looking at my reflection in the window, OR I was admiring the color of the brick of his house OR I was staring at a tree.

Then I just wait and wait and wait. Seriously, how long can this guy go for? He's like 80?! Finally, I peripherally notice the light go out and I know it's safe.

And that's when I say THAT'S IT! I am making a curtain for this window. TONIGHT.

Here is the space before.

Yes, my impulse to do this came post-washing of the you can see them all! Lol.

Here is what it looks like now.

And to help in my recovery of the situation, the curtain costs, around $2.50!

The material is a sort of jute/burlap-y material --- really something that is used to cover trees during the winter I think. I found it LAST YEAR in a liquidation store for about a buck.

The fabric the ruffle is made out of is leftover fabric from d'stash (read: free!) and the flower is a plastic green orchid that fell off of an arrangement (read again: free!). The ribbon is two rolls of a fourpack from the dollar store so that's about .50c.

Here's what happened. Oh no, my story ain't over yet. (Remember, I am a New Yorker!)

Initially, I was going for a short cafe style length. However, I didn't want to cut the material in fear that it would fray and that I wasn't sure of using fray-check. So, I left that "decision" to the end when I would either just fold it under or fold it over for some pretty dips in the fabric.

I accordion-folded (and pinned) the plaid fabric to the bottom of the burlap material and then straight stitched. Then I hot glued the red ribbon to the "intersection" (where the burlap met the plaid). Finally, I found a spot (about a 1/3 of the way in on the left) where I wanted to place the flower and hot glued that as well.

Then it got interesting. And I thought I was doing so well....

Being a Mis-treater (and following the Nester), I was dead set on just staple gunning the material to the wall. Made my first attempt, the staple didn't catch. Tried again, maybe I wasn't really at the right angle. Turns out, the staples I had in the gun were for light-duty and these were partial drywall-partial plaster so all I was accomplishing were scratches and paint chipping.

K, feeling still very motivated and unmoved by this, I decided I would up the anti and NAIL the thing to the wall. It's burlap and practically full of holes so I could just kind of "hang a box" on the nail. Shamelessly slammed three nails into the wall, put the curtain up and realized I had too much "dippage" in between nails, so okay, what am I to do? Hammer more nails, right?
Of course.

So I banged two more nails but it still wasn't hanging right.
Plus, the nails weren't lined up....really. I could tell. Kind of look like a picture of a heart monitor.

I "fussed" artistically with it. You know, teasing fabric this way, schmoosing it that way, giving it a good fluff. Besides the fact that when I would fluff on the right side, the left side would fall off the little nail head....(meaning very would be a concern when during the summer, the window is open...and a slight breeze comes in...) but it just.wasn't.looking.right.

It's like a scene of an accident --cant look away right?

Now I was getting a little teed. It was about 930 at night and already I chanced waking my sleeping 2 year old from the usage of a hammer, but I didn't want to wait another night to put this curtain up. After all, these are like free shows for my neighbor. This curtain was going up tonight.

But I didn't think that I had any curtain hardware laying around in the house and I didn't really want to use powertools to make additional holes (and wake the baby). Then it dawned on me....Didn't I see a curtain rod on the workbench in the basement....My heart leaped with hope. Please don't let me need additional hardware to put it up.....

I ran downstairs and for sure, there it was. A plastic cafe rod from the Dollar Store WITH holes at the end for me to just stick a nail through! Bonus!

So I returned to the kitchen, figured where I wanted the rod to be and then attached it to the wall. Perfect, I thought and then went to put the curtain on.

Duh. I needed to put the curtain on the rod first and then attach it to the wall because in order for me to not need any additional hardware I just banged the nails through these two little holes on the sides of the rod.

And besides, looking at it, I thought, naaah, with it being burlap and all hole-y, it doesn't look right with that much "light" coming through. It looks like I just put a potato bag up on the wall and called it a curtain. And the wall is so much taller than the window that the curtain just looks awkward being in the "middle" of the window. And I didn't really want to block that much light. (Probably if I had made the curtain not so long, this wouldn't be a problem and would be just like petite cafe curtains but I didn't want to cut in the fabric).

So I decided to put the curtain up. Waaaay up, to where the wall touches the ceiling. I felt like that was the spot.....

Okay, a slight interruption....

This whole time that I am putting this curtain up, I'm climbing up and down the countertop, leaning towards and against the window now GIVING MY NEIGHBOR A REAL SHOW. Thoughts such as "please don't have my zipper fall down" (because of course, I was wearing the jeans who's zipper definitely believes in the Law of Gravity) and "think my pants are sagging a little on my hips ---- please pants don't show the bright yellow trim of underwear".....I was trying to go as fast as I could.

K, back to the "show"...

Obviously, this arrangement doesn't do much for my whole neighbor issue --- which was the whole reason right??? Sigh.

So with $2.50 in materials, about an hour and a half of work, 7 holes in the wall, 3 staple gun scrapings and a couple of burnt fingers, I have a semi-functioning curtain.

I consider the curtain like a great pair of stilettos ---- all aesthetics, functionality needs to be argued!

I might have to put up a pair of sheer curtains --- for some coverage. I think I would turn pink in the face (and I am brown people!) if I heard my neighbor say --- "I just think your Little Miss Sunshine pajamas are just so cute. How old are you again?...."

Linky Parties my curtain and I are attending:
The Thrifty Home
Blue Cricket Designs


  1. Cute curtain! And this post made me laugh. :)

  2. You are so creative I love how you express yourself!


Thank you so much for sharing your heart!