Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blackout curtains

First of all, thank you to all of you that contacted me after my last post. It was so encouraging to hear from others who have or have had similar struggles with anxiety. And I hope my post was of encouragement to you as well.

I meant to post this a few days ago, but I guess that's how these things go. This past weekend, I decided to try my hand at some drapes. What prompted this was that J had to work some weird hours recently, so I slept in our guest room so that I wouldn't wake him and vice versa. I've also spent a few nights in the guest room during the sleeping troubles. I love sleeping in the same bed as J, but I needed to spread out a bit when I was struggling with insomnia the worst. While sleeping in that room, I noticed that it gets a lot of sunlight and streetlight. I know some people aren't too light sensitive while sleeping, but I certainly can be, and I decided that some of our guests might be as well. And there is something so nice about being a guest in a room with some good drapes (or maybe it's only me). So, I decided to use some extra fabric I had to make some blackout curtain attachments to our existing drapes. Hopefully, the pictures will help explain.

I mostly followed this tutorial I found online. It will probably explain better than I can.

I purchased some blackout liner online for the backs of the drapes and cut my fabric to size (4 inches larger than the space I wanted to cover on all sides).

This is my makeshift way of cutting out some of the light.

I followed the tutorial, making my hems a little shorter. I folded about 4 inches down and ironed flat.

You then unfold and fold the unfinished edge to the crease, iron, fold again and iron again. This will make a nice finished edge to sew.

Sew that edge

Like so.

Do the same with the drapery lining, making the folds a little shorter. Then, line up the lining and the fabric, right sides together and stitch down the side.

You then will scootch the liner over to the other side and sew that side too.

You then need to flip the inside out so that the fabric overlaps to the back of the drape.

Tuck in the corners and stitch.

I then folded up the last bottom edge like the first hem (double folded) and sewed that to finish it off.

On the existing drapes, I added some velcro to attach the pieces together. I actually decided that velcro didn't work as well as I had hoped, so I did something else for the other drape.

But this is how the two attach. They can be detached and the regular curtain can be rolled up to look like it usually does (we'll get to that).

Second drape.

On this side, I sewed little loops with ribbon onto the blackout drape and buttons to the existing one.

Without blackout drape (normal).

With blackout drape. Sleeping time! I am aware the patterns don't match and it doesn't look perfect, but it was more of a functional project than an aesthetic one. Also, I don't have the fabric from the top curtain, since those were a purchase from Country Curtains.

Anyway, it works really well to dim all the morning light in that room. Especially since the existing drape only went halfway down. It also gave me the opportunity to learn how to make drapes. It was actually pretty easy, so I feel pretty confident in doing it larger scale in another room. And I would definitely suggest checking out the link I posted above if you plan on making your own. I found it much more detailed than my post is. :) Also, blackout lining is super awesome. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What is this? A house for dolls?

First off, I want to apologize for my absence from the blogging world for a bit. I feel like I haven't gotten a whole lot done around the house (despite having good intentions). And it's also been a weird season for me lately. This summer has certainly had its twists and turns. We've had some really great vacation time, but I have also been going through a trying time in my personal life. Trying to calm the anxiety I have felt since... man, it feels like a long time I have been working through this. And it's hard. Because we all go through these seasons. Maybe not anxiety, but just times where things are a little harder. And we forget (I forget) the good times. We forget that there has been sunshine before and there will be sunshine again. The present darkness is temporal. I have been trying to focus on grace and permission.

Grace because I always try to fix things on my own. Because I am always trying to be perfect and I end up uptight and unhappy. Grace because in my heart, I see the depth of my sin, and know there is no way for me to re-pay it on my own. And I realize I have been going about grace all wrong. That if somehow I could be good enough, God would accept me. But, the more I try to be perfect, the deeper I fail. And that's why Jesus came, isn't it? Because I'm not perfect, no matter how hard I try. Because I need a perfect sacrifice for all the darkness in my soul. But it's still hard. I look back on my day, and pick out all the things I have done wrong. And I think my life doesn't look very Christian. And I struggle with what it means to follow Jesus. And I just don't let up on myself. I'm trying to learn to let go. But life change is hard. And I don't have it all together. And I am desperately counting on God's grace being enough.

Permission to struggle. Permission to be up wandering the house at odd hours of the night, struggling to shut down. Permission to give up. To use medication when I need to (and not freak out about it). Permission to have fun and laugh. To be tired and cranky (sorry friends and family). Anxiety is fear of the future. Visualizing how you want life to be and then worrying about screwing it all up. On our trip, we were spending so little time in each place that I wanted each day to be perfect. And then I worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep due to the time change, a different bed, traveling, and all of the sudden those fears became my reality. My fear projected so strongly into the future that they became self-fulfilling. And I didn't give myself permission to relax about it. And, many times, I still don't. I fear the what ifs instead of living in the present and being grateful for each day that is given. Taking each day a day at a time.

God is teaching me through this. That I can get by on less sleep than I thought (those of you with kids probably learned that lesson differently). That I can find my strength in Him. I may have had some bad days, but He's pulled me through them all. That I am not in control of some things. And it's okay. That God is letting me wrestle with this because I need to confront my fears and not sidestep them. And, the light at the end of the tunnel is peace and joy. And it's worth fighting for.

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven
- Ecclesiastes 3:1

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 
- Matthew 6:34

Okay, so this post was actually supposed to be about a craft project I have been working on. The intention was not for me to spill my soul on the blog, but what's done is done. This craft has been somewhat good at keeping my mind off things. And it's kind of a fun little project. And, I do mean little. What is it? Well, when I visited my parents this past spring, I asked if I could take something home. Something that was a gift to me when I was about 10 or so. An unfinished dollhouse. You're probably wondering why it wasn't finished. It's a funny story (my mom disagrees, so I will tell this in the nicest way I can). My mom always had high expectations of herself when it came to Christmas. And she is very talented in sewing, painting, assembly, crafts, etc. So, she had this habit of buying un-assembled products and trying to finish them before Christmas as a gift. The problem is that my mom is also a meticulous perfectionist. And so, these things often combined to unwrapping a half-completed project on Christmas day. I actually love her for this. And, as I told J when he received a partially completed quilt, you aren't really part of the family until you have received a gift that isn't quite done. 

I actually played with this partially completely dollhouse as a kid. And when I got old enough to finish it myself, I didn't have the time or motivation to do so. So, it sat in the basement. For a long time. But, since I have been recently doing more crafty things, I thought I would volunteer to complete it. Maybe my kids will have the chance to play with it someday instead. I don't really intend on doing anything other than the outside and laying floors, painting walls, and getting it fully assembled. I'm not all that interested in making it very detailed.

So, here is what I started with. My parents did do a good job of the basic assembly.

So, I started with the siding on the front of the house. I used these thin strips of wood I found online at I glued them on with a strong glue.

I painted the siding with the paint I used in the guest bathroom (had it left over).

I painted the shutters with black craft paint I already owned, and the door with yellow. The trim was painted using the same trim as our house. There is a little roof over the porch I will need to put in once I paint the porch floor. I also still need to put siding on the sides, and shingles on the roof. But nevertheless, it is kind of fun to do in the evenings while we watch TV. I hope it will someday be used by little kiddos. But we aren't quite at that season yet. :)

And yes, I know the door is off-center. It's the way the house was made.