Jan 31, 2011

Window Treatment Wah Wah...

Sorry for missing this post Friday - I was feeling a little sicky but I am back on track so here it is...

While trying to decide how to treat my newly painted white windows (more on that here and here) I came across many great ideas of how to treat my windows but none better than this..Mini Blind Roman Shades!

Britt's from Gus and Lula and Jenny's from Little Green Notebook!
My original plan was to keep the mini blinds which came with the house until we could afford something better.  Well, considering all of the projects we have going on the budget for window treatments has dropped from $0 to never going to happen...until I saw this post from Britt at Gus and Lula which she found on Jenny's blog at Little Green Notebook!  You see, this Blog world is like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon...we are all linked in some weird way!  Anywho, once I saw this I decided to give it a whirl.  I already had my mini blinds removed from the window for painting so why not give it a go?  I think the worst that could happen is I have to buy new ugly mini blinds! 

Since we don't have much of a color scheme going yet I decided to experiment on some fabric I already had lying around.  I bought these Lenda curtains at Ikea in the As Is section for $5 each.  I just knew they would come in handy later!  I will probably add some ribbon or detail later but for now our treatment-less windows are providing quite a view for the neighbors so I thought I better get at least this part of this project done QUICK!

MY plan was to follow Jenny's tutorial to the T.  I ran out to the store to grab some iron on adhesive tape (for another project) and fabric glue.  I returned home with the fabric tape minus the fabric glue...I was already off to a bad start.  I thought perhaps I could improvise and just use the fabric tape.  Here is a step by step of my improvised plan:

1. Iron your fabric - Trust me - once they are up you will never take them down to iron!

2. Open the blinds as long as they can go...Would have been way easier if I left them up for the next step..
3. Here is where I improvised which I suggest you do not do as it was a MAJOR waste of time.  Skip to "2 Again" below if you would like to continue the project and not get confused by the snowball of blunders I made along the way...

I decided since I didn't have glue that I would count down 8 blinds and keep the ninth.  I cut all the little tracks between (DO NOT CUT THE MAIN PULL CORD) except the tracks before and after the blind I was keeping.  MY idea was that those little strings would hold the blind in place instead of me gluing it.  Make sense?  To me it did...

Then I carefully cut the actual blind slats off because they could not slide out due to my fixed slats that were supposed to be staying.  When I look back it seems kind of foolish...what can I say...

I then popped off then popped off the bottom heavy slat and it all started to make sense...

When I looked back to Britt's tutorial I realized she didn't have all three strings left - she only had the 2 main cords.  Mainly because she knew what she was doing and I had no idea if what I was trying to do would work.  Here is her pic at this stage:

I mean, I knew I would have my perfectly spaced slats still there but I hadn't noticed the whole middle string was missing here.  That actually made a lot of sense when I started wondering if they had snipped off all of those little strings sticking out from the cut cords.  Duh...They had removed those strings all together which, in turn, would make my perfectly spaced keeper blinds fall free.  The outcome was that I wasted a good half hour trying to cut and space everything perfectly instead of just ripping up the seam and letting them all fall to the ground.  So that is where we begin again.  Go from Picture 1 and start fresh.  This time KEEP the mini blinds up on the window, take the bottom piece off (save for later) and pick up here:

2 (AGAIN). Run scissors up the string making sure NOT to cut the thicker cord that runs through the blind.

Let all the pieces fall to the floor and cut the strings with all the flyaway stringy things off at the top. AGAIN - MAKE SURE NOT TO CUT THE THICKER CORD!!!  Now - either use dowels like Britt's tutorial or use your existing blinds like Jenny's - the choice is yours but I believe for long term the dowels would work better.  For me, still in improvising mode, I used my blinds. 

3. Put your slats or dowels back on at your desired spacing and put the bottom heavy slat back on.  Tie cords to the length you want your shade to be and cut the excess off.

4. I lay my blinds backwards on the fabric with the pull cord facing up.  This way when I put it all back up on the window the pull cord will be behind the shade.  It makes it a little tricky to raise and lower but I hate to see strings so it works for me!   Oh - and if that pesky bit that holds the dowel that would normally open and close the blinds is sticking out just chop it off - you don't need it anymore!!

5. Glue the fabric to the top of the blinds mechanism but do not glue it all the way to the end.  Leave about 2 inches unglued at each end so you can still put the blinds back up in the casings.  Once the fabric is glued down the entire length of the new shade you can go back and fold the top ends under like so:

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain frayed top...

6.  Glue your slats to the fabric at the desired spacing.  Mine are about every 8 inches.  Make sure not to get any glue on the pull cord.  I am still improvising here and instead used iron on adhesive.  I wasn't sure it would work with the plastic blinds (yes, plastic - the cheapest of cheap) but to my surprise it adhered quite nicely as they kind of melted together...but not in a bad way.  The only problem and the reason I suggest the dowels, is that it is a bit flimsy.

7. Fold your sides over the slats and glue the fabric down.  Truth be told, you could use the iron on adhesive for this as it doesn't make much difference.  That is one thing I did correctly!  Yeah!!

Looks almost decent here, right??

8.  When both sides are glued finish gluing with the bottom slat.  YOU ARE DONE!!!  Your room should now look a little bit like this...

 All in all the project was so easy a caveman could do it...if given the proper tools!!  Fabric glue would have been fabulous!!  Despite all of the things that worked and didn't work I had myself one roman shade.  Here is the finished product below.




 I am soooo not impressed with my choice of fabric.  It looks like a big band aid over my window.  Horrid.  I plan to redo this project at a later date with proper tools and better fabric!  I think the vertical lines on the fabric mixed with the horizontal lines from the blind slats is a bit too much for me.  I could add trim or ribbon or something to pretty it up but I would rather start over - after all, I am not sure how long this adhesive tape will stick to the slats!

So that's it - how to do, not to do, and correct a mini blind roman shade.  Hey - sometimes I got it and sometimes I ain't.  Nobody is perfect...though I am close.  :)   Anyone else have some tutorial blunders?  Did you try so hard or improvise too fast to come out with a mess?  Feel free to leave a comment or a link to your blog below to prove how imperfect we all can be!

That's it for now.  E just came in to tell me we are expected to get a foot of snow today...such a buzz kill...

♥ Bianca

PS - Don't forget to check in with the my Great Wall of Walnut Reader Poll!!  I'm  looking for more votes!!

PSS - I am linking up with the ladies of these fabulous blogs - I encourage you to check them out below:

Carrie at Dittle Dattle

Jan 27, 2011

TOTD - Be a Stalker...Really!!

As I am knee deep in a mess of a project (a tutorial on improvising for fools and what NOT to do coming up tomorrow) I thought I would get a quick Tip of The Day post in.

So - for today's TOTD to be a stalker please take note.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT find some cute guy or gal and follow them home.  DO NOT go on Facebook and look up your old boyfriends/girlfriends/enemies and see what they are up to or where they are going just to casually drop in.  The only place you should be stalking right now and at every moment you are near a computer is Craigslist Free section.  I know I talk about this a lot but when you decide to design/furnish a house on a tight budget it is muy importante.  

Here are my tips for snagging a fabulous Freebie!

  • Open an extra window to keep Craigslists Free section open at all times.
  • Check in periodically - if you are a psycho like me that means every 5 minutes when I am working at my computer.
  • If you see something that suits your fancy email them RIGHT AWAY!  Don't hesitate, don't think about it, don't take time to measure the area you want the item...and don't get up to pee!  Just email them!!
  • Make sure to put your phone number, the date/time you can pick it up unless they already specified (the sooner the better), and you name.  Make sure they know you are serious!
  • Now stalk your inbox for a response.  In the meantime you may now take this opportunity to measure and go pee if necessary!
  • When they respond let them know that yes you are still interested or no you just realized it won't work for you.  No worries - they probably had a tone of other people who emailed them.  Move on and let the next round of stalking begin.
This week I picked up my stinky old chair (You can read that post here) and 500 glassine envelopes.  I have no idea what I plan to do with these envelopes but my new obsession with the Free section has turned me into a bit of a hoarder.  Here is what is going on in the Free section as we speak:

Hello SoHo - nice chair!

SoHo again - who couldn't use one of these for storage or a loft room divider?

Ok - so you want to ditch the mattress but this is an Ikea bedframe!  FREE!!

Raleigh?  De clutter and organize your place!

BONSAI!!!  Mr. Miyagi needs to help these babies out in LA!

Nice little table and chairs!  Pretty sure the wine doesn't come with them...great marketing though!

Old rustic Table Top in LA - Nice

Good ole Chicago - Lots of Pianos today...

So there you have it - some good finds, some useful finds, and a couple of BONSAI!!!

Now open a new window and start searching!  The end and the beginning of the month are great times because people are moving and need to get rid of stuff or they have moved and can't fit everything in the new place.  If you are an absolute freebie nut this is also a good time to take a drive down you local alleyways.  I have seen many a good piece of furniture (and even taken a few) in the Chi town alleys.  Hello! Almost-New Tar-jay folding bookshelf.  Oh - "is that you?" Perfectly Perfect piano bench.  It's not for everyone but what the heck - its free!  Oh - and I don't suggest going into actual dumpsters...now that is just plain wrong. 

Drop me a line and let me know what goodies you have found.  

I'm off to take some disappointing after shots of my gone wrong project.  I'll post it up tomorrow though I am dreading the thought of it.

♥ Bianca

Jan 26, 2011

Looky What I Found!!

Another fabulous Craigslist find- Can you guess what it is???  I will give you a hint:

Whats White and Round and has Beautiful veins running through it?

Did you guess it?  I found my new table top!  When I posted about my Craigslist Freebie table (seen here) I was super exited about hunting down a nice marble top for me lady.  Yesterday I found it!  Originally listed as a coffee table at $60 I got the guy down to $50 and she was mine for the taking.  This baby is Italian marble with a nice bluish black vein running through her.  The original wood table is 43 inches and the marble is only 42 so it took a bit off the circumference but overall she looks great.  Just to get a feel for it I threw the marble, not really because it weighs a TON, on top of the wood top to take a peek at how she will look.  Here is how she stands now:

Despite her awkward inch-short-of-the-bottom-table-top look she still seems to be purring , "All right, Mr De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up."  Let us grant her that wish:

Thanks to Claire for getting up early to help me load this one up.  She, the table not Claire, weighs all of 100 lbs without the base that came with it.  It was quite the process trying to get it in and out of the car and then into the house and on the table but we suceeded and are all the more stronger for it!

That's it for now - if you didn't get a chance yesterday please check out the Reader Poll at the bottom of this page to weigh in on The Great Wall of Walnut!!!


Jan 25, 2011

Reader Poll - The Great Wall Of Walnut

 Since we moved in I have had a constant nemesis every time the doorbell rings...actually, our doorbell was cut off when we did the remodel so now Bubba acts as the doorbell as she barks anytime anyone or anything comes within 20 ft of our house.  Here are a few pictures of the Great Wall of Walnut in all its glory:

Every time someone comes over there is an weird shuffle thing you have to do at the front door to get people in, greet them, and hang their coats.  Not the most welcoming of entrances. I tried to get my friend, Claire, to illustrate the awkward entrance in a impromptu video but she declined due to stage fright.  You will have to rely on the photos above to get the picture...literally. 

I have spent many hours staring at the The Great Wall of Walnut - cursing the wall, knocking my knuckles up and down the wall looking for studs, and overall slowly being drove insane by my indecision of what to do with said wall.  E would like to keep it as it is - he says that way the cold air doesn't hit people sitting at the dining room table.  In theory that makes sense, however, we have yet to sit at the dining room table and even if we did I would like to see the front door for new arrivals to our fabulous dining room sit down dinner we have yet to have.  Also, it is very bad Feng Shui to not be able to see an entrance to a room and in case you are wondering I only use Feng Shui when it is convenient to my cause.  So - this is where ya'll come in!  I need your help!!

Here are a few of the things I have been thinking of doing:

Create a half wall like so:

Minus the soffit

Minus the wooden design thingy...

Create a sit down area within the closet ala this post from The Mistress of Oxford or Serene Seneca seen here:

Or perhaps a mixture of both?

I realize this looks a bit weird but try to use your imagination!

I took some liberties with the pic above and painted the door white as it will be in the near future! Here is a shot from the other side with the wall still up:

Wall up with Open Closet?
Wall down with Bench Nook?  Don't mind the area towards the ceiling!
I think the half wall with the Bench Nook would be the best option!  What do you guys think?  Please look at the top right of this post for the Reader Poll so you can weigh in!!  The poll will be open for the next 2 weeks so please feel free to vote as much and as often as you like!!  Also - if you can think of another option I haven't thought of feel free to leave a comment down below.  I will take all the advice I can get with this one because once the wall is down it isn't likely to go back up!

Thanks for all your help!

Jan 24, 2011

Kitchen Before & After Part 2

OK - so I promised some after shots of the Kitchen and have been hesitating...and hesitating.  The thing is, it isn't truly finished yet!  If you missed  Part 1 of the Kitchen before and after click HERE to get up to speed.  This was a major undertaking of both the kitchen, family room, and the bathroom so I have yet to decorate properly and still have some kitchen things we would like to change out.  That being said, a promise is a promise so here is the kitchen/family room as it looks today:

Above shot taken from Family Room - on the To DO list for this area is to trim our the kitchen window and the doorway to the dining nook.  I would also like to add a shelf above the window...oh, and add more wine to my cook book/wine shelf seen next to the sink cabinet!  :)  FYI - The garbage can seen by the oven is actually our recycling bin.  The garbage can is a pull out built into one of the cabinet doors...I did a little post on that I have yet to share...

Here is a shot from the opposite angle.  I love my glass front cabinets and all those pull out drawers underneath!  Good thinking, E!  Also, see the toaster oven on the counter top?  We could not have made it through our remodel without it and now we almost always use it instead of our big oven!  I conveniently shot narrow so you would not see the 2 doors that need painting...they are uggg.

Now lets look at the view coming from our dining room...

I looked far and wide for an extra long runner that was not too wide so we could fit it in that space...that baby is 12 ft long by 30 in wide!  Thanks to Overstock I got this one for 80 bucks.  I was hoping for a dark chocolate brown trim like stated on the website but it actually is more of a light cocoa color.  I was a bit disappointed at first but it wasn't worth the return fees.

Moving on to the family room:

This room obviously needs the most work...as you can see from the look on Bubba's face - utter disgust.  Oh, and you got one shot with the ugg door in the kitchen and also a view of our 24 in cabinet over the peninsula that I wish was 36 in...to be continued on those.

Back to the Family Room - we didn't case the windows because we are putting in new ones...looks horrid.  We have little to no furniture which is why I have my outdoor patio bench in the room as well as that stinky old chair I just picked up (more on that here) which is not even able to be sat on.  I have my lovely mint green buffet, another Craigslist find and about the heaviest piece of furniture in the house, that has yet to be painted being used as our entertainment center.  No crown moulding, no mantle, a hideous back door, no decoration whatsoever, half the window has blinds, half has curtains to block the neighbors peeking in since we have no blinds, and the list goes on.  Actually, now that I think of it this is the perfect opportunity for me to throw down the gauntlet...to myself, of course.  I am challenging me to fix this space by the end of the year!!  Don't forget to hold me to it!  On the upside the fireplace is looking MUCH better due to a recent makeover which can be seen HERE.

The most unorganized part of it all...

The random wall just dying for a makeover.  I am actively searching for a nice narrow vintage buffet for the space but have yet to find it.  If I don't find it soon I will continue the kitchen cabinets and make a built in buffet...good old Ikea.  UPDATE...We DID extend the kitchen cabinets for a nice new buffet...you can read all about it HERE!!! For now, this bookcase is a catchall on the bottom rows and our wine glass cabinet on the top!  I think we also need another option for Bubbas food container seen to the left - needs some glamming up!

Part of why we haven't bought furniture is due to cost but the other part is that we are still figuring out the best arrangement hence the patio bench standing in as a mock not so cozy L shaped couch.  We like that idea but our problem is this:

Our space heater, which is the only heat in the room, sits smack against the wall we would want to butt the L shaped against.  The good news is the heater is on its last leg which is the only reason I can safely get the couch this close as there is absolutely no way the tiny amount of heat coming off of this thing is going to set anything on fire.  You cant tell from the picture but the couch is about 4 inches away floating in the room.  At any given time the room is around 66 degrees or lower.  We are currently working on installing another form of heat but we haven't come to an agreement on what will work best.  For now - this entire addition, Kitchen AND Family room AND 1/2 Bath, all get heated by the little built in gas space heater. Is it no wonder why we need portable space heaters in the bathroom and facing the door in the Family Room?  Our electric bill is sky high right now. :(

All that said, with all of her flaws, this part of Walnut has come leaps and bounds from how she started.  Here are a few pictures to boost your memory but you can read all about the transformation here or by looking at the Before shots page by clicking here.  I plan to follow up this post with our design process and how to live through a major kitchen rehab when you cook nearly every day multiple times a day...Not easy!!!  Until then, has anyone gone through the process and have any tips to share?  Leave them in the comments down below!

I'm off to cook that tasty squash sitting on the counter into a creamy Butternut Squash soup!  I can almost taste it now!!

Ta Ta,

Linking up with all the crafty bloggers at Keeping it Simple's Motivate me Monday and Between Naps on The Porch to show off our handy work - check it out here!

Jan 20, 2011

Quite the Beast...Hoping to be a Beauty

Hello all -

I am back from my Craigslist induced morning rush hour scramble with this beast:

She has good form and function, however, has been neglected for a long long time...she wont dare tell her story but I will reveal the conditions in which she came from...Poor Girl.

I responded to the FREE add on Craigslist last night.  You have to be quick if you are gonna nab yourself a Freebie from Craig.  I'm telling ya' - I once tried to score a coffee table that was posted a mere minute before my response and that sucker was already spoken for.  It was a sad day for me but I learned a very valuable lesson - DO NOT HESITATE!  Write the email and send it...think later.  As soon as they respond with a "yes, it is still available and all yours if you want it" you can always say never mind.  It is OK!  The only thing you should NEVER do is flake...if you say yes you commit to picking it up and/or buying it.  Period. 

Anyway - back to the Beast.  While stalking the Free section I came across this post and had to have her.  Yes she is a bit tattered but I see potential!  Nice caning on the arms and curvy shape.  She has these little flowers on her legs which I adore.  I emailed and had an almost immediate response.  We were on for 10am in the city - "the door next to the sewing machine shop".  Fabulous.  I always forward all correspondence with Craigslisters to E as a precautionary step...in the event someone turns out to be a psycho.  In this case, when I showed up at 10am and waited on the street a good 5 minutes for the door to open I was relieved to find a somewhat disheveled young Dude who looked nothing like a serial killer...just a little sleepy.

I followed Dude up to his place, with 911 already punched into my phone just in case, and found a similar disheveled look draped across his entire apartment...hmmm.  He wrestled the Beast out of the corner and offered to carry it down stairs as it is very heavy.  I thanked him nicely and offered to carry the cushion...helpful, I know.  That cushion actually weighed about 15lbs...probably 15lbs of dust mites and who knows what else.  5 minutes later it was in my car and I was driving home...with a Salvation Army stop along the way.  Perhaps my good luck would extend to finding me 4 dining room chairs today...negative.  I walked back to the car and opened the door and got my first good whiff of old Chinese take out that perfumes my Beast. 

Here is a look at Bubbas first whiff of the beast minus the chair cushion which I am leaving in the garage for the winter in hopes of freezing and killing off any living organisms that have taken up residence inside:

She doesn't seem to impressed...Bubba prefers Thai food over Chinese.

Either way, she is mine, all mine!  I have decided in order to properly fix her up I will have to wait for 50 degree weather.  I can not spray paint outside in this cold nor do I want to take her apart now to reupholster since I would have paint her first.  This will be my first upholstering project so keep your fingers crossed!  I figure the worst that can happen is I mess up, give up, or have to pay someone else to finish her.  I will cross that bridge when i come to it.   For now she will sit in the basement in another dark corner waiting for her big debut as the Beauty in this Craiglisting version of Beauty and The Beast.

Anyone else have some luck with Craigslist lately?  Feel free to post a comment below!!

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