Sunday, March 18, 2012

How To Customize and Add Length to Ready-made Curtains

Ready-made curtain panels can easily be purchased at most stores. They are an inexpensive way to help complete a room’s look. However, many ready-made curtains come in standard lengths, which don’t always work in your home. Adding a fabric to any curtain panel will not only add length to the panel, but will also add your own personal touch to them. Select a contrasting or coordinating fabric, solid or patterned, to go with the curtain panels you already have and help achieve the look you want and create your own custom curtains!

Materials Needed: Store bought curtain panels, fabric of your choice, fusible fabric iron on, scissors, yardstick, iron, and curtain hardware
1. Before you get started, measure where your current curtain panels hang and then measure how much additional fabric you will need to add in order for them to just skim the floor. Typically, curtains should be mounted about halfway between the top of the window frame and the ceiling. However, with higher ceilings measure the distance above the window frame to the ceiling and then mount the curtains about 1/3 of that distance.
2. Shop for your fabric! The fabric can be added to either the top or the bottom of your existing panels. The directions given are for adding fabric to the bottom of the panels. As a rule of thumb, the darker fabric should be at the bottom to keep the curtains visually balanced.
3. Lay out your ready-made panels flat and then lay your selected fabric over these panels so that you can copy the width. Add a couple of inches at each edge so that you can fold over for a nice seam. Measure and cut the desired length as well, also leaving a few inches to fold over.
4. Place a strip of the fusible iron about an inch from the edge of the selected fabric, fold over about a half-inch of fabric, and iron the fabric together to create a hem. Do this all the way down each side of the fabric length-wise only.
5. Once the length of both sides of the fabric has been hemmed, position the panel onto the ready-made panel with about an inch of overlap. Once positioned, place your strip of iron-on between the fabrics and iron for about 10 seconds on each strip until you’ve adhered all of the fabric to the panel.
6. Once the fabric has been ironed onto the panel you should have a couple inches of fabric left over on each side. Cut off additional fabric on the ends so that about one inch remains
7. Again, lay down a strip of iron on fusible tape about an inch from the edge of the fabric, fold the edge over, and then iron to fuse fabric together. Do this on both ends and this will finalize all hemming.
8. Attach your new longer curtain panels to the curtain hardware and enjoy your custom curtains!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How To Arrange a Bookcase

Bookcases can be a blessing and a curse to the overall design of a room. A blessing because, when done properly, will add beauty and comfort to a room. A curse because, what is the “proper way?” Here are a few tips and tricks to arranging a beautiful bookcase and containing the clutter:

1. Take account of what you have. If you don’t have a lot of books, plan on putting the books you have on the bottom shelves and leave the upper shelves for accessories. Bookcases should visually be heavier on the bottom and lighter on the top.

2. Think about how you’ll use the bookcase. Arranging the books by genre, subject, or author may be the most useful. However, if the bookcase will be more of a visual piece, then arranging the books by color looks great. You can also do a combination of these techniques. Whatever is most useful to you and looks good!

3. Start placing your books. Put your best looking books at eye level and try to hide the most ragged ones. Remove the dust covers (unless they are collectable) to display the books in all thier gorgeous glory. Sometimes books have beautiful leather and gold embossing which really add beauty and warmth to the bookcase.

4. Paperbacks need a place too. Mix these in with hardbacks and don’t group too many of these together because they tend to all be a similar small size which does not fill up a shelf very well. Be mindful of book sizes when placing books on the shelves together and try not to put really tall books next to short ones.

5. Mix up the orientation of the books. Place some upright and lay others on their side. These stacks of books can serve as ‘bookends’ to the rows.

6. Don’t over crowd the shelves, leave a little bit of breathing room on each shelf. And never pile excess books, magazines, or papers on top of a row of books.

7. Accessorize with some non-book items: picture frames and other knick-knacks work great as bookends, sitting on top of a stacked pile of books, and breaking up a long row of books. You can also hang a framed artwork over some of the shelves if you have enough space (or too much!)

8. Put telephone books, loose papers or magazines out of site. Use nice looking magazine files or storage boxes to hide these items.