House beautification: curtains and blinds!

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Our house came with "custom blinds" on every single window in the house. Great! Well, sorta... except they are exceptionally heavy and on wimpy cords, which means some of them have already broken. Not to mention, the bigger ones are extremely hard to put up and down, especially without gouging your hands on the little strings. As fate would have it, all of the windows are non-standard sizes, at least as far as Ikea is concerned (we did manage to buy long curtains there luckily!), so without spending a fortune, the only real option is to make new ones. A challenge I plan to slowly chip away at as long as we live here...

Target number one: the entryway.

We had already done a tiny beautifying project by mounting this lovely driftwood coatrack, to replace those awful stick-on hooks. But couldn't it just use a little more colour? Maybe some light cotton fabric to let the light through? 


It helps a lot that the view out this window is absolutely hideous, so we never ever keep the blind open. I decided after reading a bunch of online tutorials to cut myself some slack and make this first one more of a window "covering" than an actual blind, and left out the strings to open and close it. 

To begin, I measured the size of the window, and Bruno and I went and got some nice fabric from my favourite fabric shop, Spool of Thread. (EDIT: the fabric turned out to be a print from Lizzy House's Outfoxed line, I've since become a big fan of her fabric!) I then did the initial sewing of all the edges.


I was thrilled to have an excuse to finally get a little saw... sadly I really dislike this one. I think because its teeth are meant to cut going both directions, it's actually really difficult to get a good rhythm and much power into the strokes. I'd definitely buy only a one-direction saw if I was ever shopping for one again. With a little struggling, I got the dowels and little boards cut to the width of the inside of the window.


The dowel is just to weigh down the bottom, so it goes into a little sleeve sewn in at the bottom edge. The board is used to mount the blind to the top of the window. After much reading online and debate, I decided to go super simple with this, and glued the fabric onto the board (wrapping it one full wrap around then glueing). Once it dried, it was basically ready to mount. (First I had to remove the old blind which was actually extremely difficult, but I got it done eventually!)

Ready to attach

To mount it, all I did was pre-drill the holes in the top of the window frame, and then drill a couple screws through the fabric covered board into the holes in the frame. Worked like a charm! I think it really pulls the whole little space together, and cheers it up! When the sun is on that side of the house, it does let a lot of light in as well.


Somehow we didn't notice this when we were picking out the fabric, but after it was hung up, I noticed the pattern on the fabric perfectly mimics the herringbone pattern on the glass in the door. Happy accidents, it was meant to be!

Happy accident on the patterns!

Target number two: The back doors

The blinds on the doors in the house seem to be breaking at an alarming rate, I just don't think they are sturdy enough for the length. The first one to really break was the back door - the string snapped. Sure, we could've restrung it, but I was just looking for an excuse to replace these things! This time, Ikea was the go-to. The length magically perfectly fit our over-height doors, and I didn't even have to hem the curtains! Again, meant to be.

Before (with a towel because we couldn't lower the blind at this point):

Before and broken

And after (huge difference, so much brighter, the windows look way bigger when they're open!):

After much brighter and prettier!

Next targets: more long curtains and bottom up blinds

We've got another set of long curtains to mount upstairs where the balcony is, and for my next sewing adventure I'm considering a hefty challenge. I'd like to make some of those bottom up roman blinds, since all of our windows have just little hatches that open at the top it'd be great to be able to raise the blinds but leave them open where the airflow is. Here's a google image search for an idea of what I'm planning. If by some miracle you know any really good blind-making tutorials for regular or bottom up roman blinds, please send them my way!