Wednesday, September 19, 2012

dining room: the windows

i’ve started and deleted this post three times now. it keeps taking on this “i-think-i’m-a-decorating-magazine” tone that i don’t like, and somehow can’t seem to avoid. so we’ll just cut to the chase, k? just the facts, ma’am.

i’ll be the first to admit it: i’m cheap. there, i said it.
i’m always searching for the best bargain, the less-expensive knockoff, the DIY-to-save-dough way of doing it.

but, and this is a big BUT, i’ve learned through the years that there are two places where it just doesn’t pay.

ready? this is big time home dec wisdom i’m sharing here, so be sure and get yourself in the proper frame of mind for these nuggets of truth.

picture frames



today let’s talk about curtains.

yes, shannon, you can make curtains. but they’re big, and they’re going to take a LOT of fabric no matter how you slice it (haha. punny). and if you cheap out and don’t order enough fabric YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY WITH THE END RESULT. you’re going to have rooms full of curtains that are too sheer, or too short, or unfinished because you got annoyed at yourself and didn’t finish.

like this:

EXHIBIT A: living room


too short, unlined, got annoyed, didn’t finish.

didn’t even bother clipping the threads.


EXHIBIT B: family room


thought i could go with the smaller size (and therefore cheaper) rods, now they sag in the middle. also unlined. also too short…not that that matters since there’s so many toys in front of them you can’t see the bottom hem anyway. ahem…

phew. that was tough. but sometimes i need tough love.

i’m trying, though. i’m trying to be a grown-up and do things the right way. to wit: the dining room curtains.

the curtains are 5 yards of fabric. that’s big time for me. and i lined them. and put in grommets.


now know that i lined them with $5 sheets from walmart, the grommets were from joann’s on sale + coupon, and the rod is one i bought at IKEA about 100 years ago. but they’re a far cry from those sad things in the above pictures, because i squashed my worst penny-pincher tendencies and BOUGHT ENOUGH FABRIC.

and i love them. LOVE THEM. look how pretty they are!


and look—just long enough for a nice amount of floor puddle!


the construction couldn’t have been simpler. i cut my 5 yards of fabric (purchased HERE from with an additional 20% off code and free shipping) in half so i had two pieces 2 1/2 yards long. then i cut a white sheet the same size and sewed them right sides together most of the way around, leaving a small hole for turning. turn right side out and press, then sew up the hole.

for the grommets: first make sure your lining and curtain are lined up perfectly and pin pin pin so everything doesn’t shift on you!

i bought 2 packs of these from joann’s (found here. they’re normally $12.99 each, but i waited until they were on sale 50% off, plus i had an additional 20% off entire purchase coupon)


they are plastic, but once they’re up you can’t really tell. they simply snap together, and they come with a pattern so you know how big to make the holes.

i will say that i doubt they would work well on more than 2 layers of fabric. but for my application they’ve held up just fine.


mark the spaces for your grommets evenly on the WRONG side of your curtain, then center your guide and trace the circle.


cut out the fabric.


and snap your two halves of the grommet on.


easy enough, right?



they really add a professional, modern look. just what i needed in my quest to turn over a new decorating leaf, right?


and here’s the biggest excitement of all…for anyone keeping score at home--
TOTAL $49.50

that’s about $25 each, which isn’t too shabby for custom curtains that make such a big statement! plus i’m happy with them—for once!

so what’s your worst decorating misstep? let me know i’m not alone—please!?!?!?

for all the dining room progress posts click HERE

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  1. Are you kidding me??? Have you READ my blog? It's just one big misstep after another...
    And ps. I used very similar grommets myself for a curtain fix. They're not as cool as your curtains though... they aren't yellow and gray. With birds.

    1. ha! i did, and thoroughly enjoyed your plea for help...err, your home tour. voting for you, girl!

  2. My worst decorating misstep was also the first curtains I ever made, about a decade ago. I knew nothing, not even how to hem, but I had watched a LOT of episodes of Changing Rooms (the British precursor to Trading Spaces) and was feeling confident. I paid too much for not enough way-too-sheer fabric, cut it wonky, folded up the sides (only once), crookedly sewed them, and added ribbon ties. They were hideous. BUT, the room was so under-designed they actually did make it look better, so, win, I guess?

    BTW, I used those same plastic grommets to make some curtains for my daughter's room and they went through 4 layers of fabric with no problem. (

    1. ah! good to know! and i can only assume by the photos that your curtain making talents have greatly improved--they look adorbs!! :)

  3. Your curtains are beautiful! Amazing how much difference the extra fabric can make, as well as the lining and grommets.
    I'm not sure what my biggest decorating misstep is... but that is probably because the last 6 places I've lived have been left completely undecorated. And considering that I've lived in all of those places in the last 3 years, you know why I didn't decorate.
    I loved decorating as a teen though... I had the CUTEST room ever. =) Not typical teen, what with the teddy bears, blue and yellow plaid, and the dark cherry furniture, but I loved it.

    1. eek! 6 places in 3 years?!?!?! yeah, i don't blame you for forgetting the decorating.

  4. These are AMAZING, I have done the round with cutains too, all of it, too short, wrong material, wrong rod. Curtains are alot easier when you just accept that there are no shortcuts.

    1. sounds like it's a common theme--we're all suffering from a bad case of curtain-itis.

      wow. that was so lame i should probably delete it. but i'm going to publish instead. sorry.

  5. Thank you my dear for the little bit of normal today. First thing I did when I got the computer up and running...visit my googie friend :)

    1. glad i could be of assistance. now tell that baby girl to stop mucking around in OH and get home! ;)

  6. My biggest decorating misstep is not finishing, period. Like, not finishing rooms. I plan and hoard and buy and plan... and then don't hang anything. I vow to finish Nicole's room next month! (this month, and/or this week, my kitchen reno is being done and goodness knows if my kitchen has been renovated I will feel the need to reorganize every square foot of my house afterwards to demolish the new cupboard space.)

    1. actually my biggest decorating misstep is probably continuously reorganizing my house over and over instead of decorating, now that I think about it.


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