This episode of Mid-Life Crisis is brought to you by curtain panels.

I love the Petersiks! Love, love, love them! But, being a bit older than they are, and having more than twice as many houses under our belts, I am rarely blown away by them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great (and clearly they know much more about blogging and branding than I do…hello Target product line, New York Times Bestseller, and Barnes & Noble Book of the Year)! (Also photography, but who doesn’t?)

I am always entertained, and reading their blog is one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s like watching a younger sibling learn (and succeed at) all of the things you know. So refreshing and fun. But you never expect your younger sister to teach you something you should have already thought of by now, right?

So yeah, total respect for them. I’m not saying anything negative at all, just explaining my mindset so you’ll understand my emotions the morning I read this curtain hanging post.

Why didn’t I think of that? Okay, so it isn’t exactly mind blowing. It was a much more emotional moment than it should have been. I felt dumb. And passé. It probably had more to do with hormones and aging than a stupid curtain. (I, too, once owned my third house while I had one child, also three years old. It was some sort of weird nostalgic moment that actually involved tears. Nursery decorating probably didn’t help either.)

Anyway…this blog is not about my mid-life crisis…

Our last house was newer and had 10 foot ceilings. This house is thirty years old and has two stories. The ceilings are only 7.5 feet in some rooms, and 8 in others. The living room goes up to 10 feet in the middle, but is only 8 feet at the perimeter.

In our last house, I was using the gray curtains from our current master bedroom in the living room. The curtains from our last master bedroom ended up in our current living room. I believe in a color palette that flows through the entire house for just this reason. Sometimes you just gotta switch things up, and it’s so nice when items can be moved all around the house. (Not all boring and exact in each room, but a color or two that runs through the whole home for cohesion. In my home currently, those colors are turquoise and gray.)

The reason for changing the curtains was simple. Our last master bedroom had three windows, and our current living room has three windows.

To the left of the fireplace…

left fp

To the right of the fireplace…

right fp

And behind the formal dining/craft table…

curtains before

Psst…Did you notice all those speakers in the corners? Apparently we have surround sound. I don’t know anything about it, but I think this goes with it.

surround sound

Obviously we’re not using it. I’d like to just tear it all out. Why does that stuff have to be so ugly?

Anyway…

I love to make use of what I already have, so I just switched the bedroom and living room curtains around according to the number of windows in each room. Solved that part. But, we have a major length issue here. I hung the curtains as close to the ceiling as possible, but that didn’t make up all the difference since they were also hung pretty high at the last place (you guys know how much of a difference it makes to hang the curtains “high and wide,” right?).

curtain puddle

For a few months now they have just been puddling on the floor. (They’ve been tucked under like that one in the background.) I love my curtains to touch the floor (we’re not waiting on a flood). But extreme puddling is not my thing either. Even though you couldn’t tell if you walked around my living room.

curtains puddle curtain puddling

When I saw Sherry’s brilliant use of curtain rings, it motivated me to get that job done already. For two seconds. But then I had to finish up other projects I was already working on.

Now I have all the hallway trim painting to finish, so naturally I’m looking for other things to do. Sorta like finals week in college. I needed to bleach my K-Swiss and scrub the bathroom tile with a tooth brush before I could study. Know what I mean? No? Hmmm. Maybe I’m a little bit crazy.

I liked Sherry’s hanging method for three reasons.

1.) It seemed more “durable.” That’s not really the word I’m looking for, but it seemed like attaching the hook to the back rather than the top would prevent my little guys from jerking these down when they slide them open. (One of our “windows” is a door to the backyard.)

2.) My husband isn’t a big fan of curtain rings. He doesn’t like to see them. He prefers a rod pocket, which isn’t the best hanging method when you actually open and close curtains. They don’t slide well on the rod and they don’t stay open very well (at least in my experience). This method seemed to be a happy compromise.

3.) I just liked it. The casual pleat effect seemed like it would suit our laid back style. It kinda reminded me of the old, formal drapery systems but with a modern casual twist.

I am hesitant to re-hem all of these panels, because, statistically, there’s a good chance we’ll move somewhere with higher ceilings sooner than later and then all my curtains will be too short. (Yes, I believe in making my current home feel comfortable and beautiful, but I’m also lazy and cheap and I like to plan for the future. So yeah, finding that balance is the story of my life.)

I usually use decorative side panels and then blinds and/or blackout drapes (if a bedroom) in the middle. I pretty much never need my curtains to function, as in open and close.  But the largest “window” in this living room is actually a door.

hinges

The door to the right opens and the left one is stationary.

Obviously you can’t hang blinds there. How would you open the door? (I know they make those enclosed blinds that hang right on the door, but I’m not willing to pay for them and they wouldn’t match our door even if I were.)

(The paper shades were already there when we bought the house and we’ve just left them. For five whole months!)

I figured if I made another curtain panel to go in the middle, it wouldn’t block the usage of that door and we could actually pull these panels closed for privacy in the evenings if we felt like we needed to (this is to the backyard).

I grabbed a piece of scrap from my fabric pile and headed to Hobby Lobby, hoping that they would still have this fabric that I bought probably three years ago. They did! (It pays to go with a popular-colored solid.) It was only $3.99 per yard to begin with, and then with my 40% off coupon, I was able to get enough to do one more panel for less than seven bucks.

fabric

I cut my new panel to the full length of the other six panels, even though they were too long, so that they would all be the same length in the event that I needed seven longer panels someday. You never know.

I didn’t sew anything. Heck, I didn’t even use hem tape. I never did when I made these for the bedroom a few years ago. This is a light weight cotton blend, so just starch and an iron did the trick. They’re still going strong, so I decided to do that again. I just folded the fabric over about an inch and ironed it.

fold one inch iron hem

(Yes, directly on the table. There’s no finish on it, so why not? Just trust me.)

Also, I used the full width of the fabric as the width of my panel for convenience’ sake. The selvage edge on this fabric was really clean. It provided me a nice finish with no sewing, no hem tape, and not even any ironing needed.

selvage edge

I pulled the curtains straight at the bottom, pushed them up against the baseboard, and creased them at the floor.

shorten curtains

This allowed me to see just how much I should “take off” (by which I mean fold out of the way). I measured all of the panels while hanging on their respective windows rather than assuming they all needed to be the same amount shorter. Just in case.

I wanted them to still puddle some, so I decided to “take off” four inches. I just folded the top “hem” over by four inches and ironed it. (Also, I would lose about another inch by changing where the ring was attached.) I repeated the process on all seven panels.

four inch hem iron four inch hem

I didn’t follow Sherry’s approach of attaching the rings to the backs of the panels and then putting them on the rod. Mainly because my rings were already on the rod, which was already hung, and I was too lazy to take it all down.

So, I kinda just played with it a bit while on a step ladder to see how far down I wanted to attach the rings. I decided that I liked a bit of the ring showing out the top; it seemed more casual and prevented it from looking like those old pinch pleat drapes with the wire hook things.

pinch pleat  Photo Credit: Hunter Douglas

 

curtain rings casual pleat

That was taken while I was standing on the table, so you can see more of the ring than you can while standing on the floor.

three curtain panels

I asked the hub’s opinion and he pretty much said he liked it better than before just because he couldn’t see the rings as much. That’s what I thought he’d say. Sometimes he is so opinionated (like preferring rod pockets) and other times he couldn’t care less.

Here’s what the bottoms look like…just a bit on the ground…not too short and not too long…

small curtain puddle

So yeah. We like them. It’s a success. (And I should probably take down those paper shades now.)

Big shout out to Sherdog for teaching me something new. Hopefully I’ll keep them longer than she did. (Yep, they’ve already changed the curtains. Reminds me of the time one of my living rooms had three curtain changes in six weeks. Oh, here we go again. 😥 *sniff, sniff*)