New Curtains for Christmas

Last summer, I took down the venetian blinds in the kitchen to give it a more open, airy look and repurposed some old lace panels to make curtains.

When fall came, I didn’t want to put the blinds up again but wanted a little more covering for the windows.  I found some wonderful reproduction feedsack fabric while in Ohio Amish Country and made some curtains that looked great with the autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

I really liked the curtains but I thought they might clash with all the bright reds and greens that go up at Christmas time, so once I again I made a set of curtains using white and red gingham.  They were the first things to go up in the kitchen before I began my holiday decorating.

They’re so bright and cheerful that they might be up until Valentine’s Day and into spring.

The Amish and the Honey Bees are Visiting my August Kitchen

My favorite vacation destination is Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio.  It is so picturesque with photo-op scenery around every corner and each bend in the road.  In August, I display a few items that have been purchased and some that have been handmade.  The two cast-iron figures on the window sill were a recent gift and I love the one of the woman quilting.  On my shelf I have a set of 4 figures that I’ve had for many years.  They look so similar to the families we see walking along the road when we visit Amish Country.

My first cast-iron Amish figures were an engagement gift from a friend in 1952 -a set of salt and pepper shakers.  This little guy’s mate was lost many years ago and he’s a little the worse for wear because all four of my children carried him around when they were toddlers.

I have two beautiful framed  pieces made by my oldest daughter …

…and two wall hangings that I made ….

My daughter loves bees and contributed several items when she moved back home.  I made two of her embroidered pieces into wall hangings  …

For me, displaying these beautiful things is a nice segue from summer into fall.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Recycling Old Lace Curtains

When we moved into this house 11 years ago, the previous owners had left behind three lace panel curtains.  They were too pretty to get rid of but I really had no use for them and they have been hanging in a closet since 2001.  Yesterday, I finally decided to do something with the panels and made new curtains for my kitchen windows.  I needed bottom panels and valance for the window over my sink and three valances for the bay window area.

I was able to make use of the pretty bottom edging on the panels for the window over the sink ….

…and cut all the valances sideways to be able to use the pretty side edging for the bottoms.

I took down venetian blinds to make the kitchen brighter and more open.  Although I’ll be replacing the lace curtains with heavier ones in the fall, I don’t think the blinds are ever going back up.

Wire Hanger Cover

fincover1I’ve had a problem for years of wire hangers alternately fighting each other and multiplying in my closet.  Twenty-five years ago a friend made strong, non-violent hangers by combining three of them and then using some kind of crochet stitch to make a cover.  I’m still using these hangers but could never find the pattern and really don’t want to crochet.  I was hoping to find a sewing pattern for covering multiple hangers but only turned up patterns for covering plastic  or wooden hangers.  I tried a few ideas and came up with a way to simultaneously reduce the quantity of wire hangers and the quantity of fabric scraps.

You will need for each set:

  • 3 wire hangers of the same general size and shape
  • Masking tape
  • Transparent tape
  • One inch wide strip of ribbon or fabric
  • Two pieces of fabric approximately 9-1/2″ x 18″ each

Take one of the three matching hangers and place on a piece of tissue paper.  Trace on the outside of the hanger, leaving a space where the handle comes down.  Draw another line 1/2″ from the outside of the first line.  At the space add a tab about 1/2″ long.  Draw a line along the bottom about 3″  from the bottom edge of the hanger.

pattern1aPut the three hangers together and tape at various spots with masking tape, being especially careful to cover the tips of the wire handles.

hangertopWrap the handles with ribbon or fabric.  Fabric should be cut into strips with pinking shears to avoid fraying.  Start with covering the handle tips and then wrap the ribbon/fabric around the handle down to the base of the handle.  Tie and then secure with clear tape.  A bow or other embellishment could be added after the cover is on the hanger.  *UPDATE:  Through the years as I’ve continued to make these covers, I’ve found a more durable cover for the handle tips is to cut a piece of fabric 1-3/4 inches wide by 15 inches long.  Fold strip in half lengthwise and sew across the top and down 4 inches to make a narrow tube.  Turn and place on handle tips, then wrap the handle as described above.

hangerPlace two pieces of 9-1/2″ x 18″ fabric right sides together and pin the tissue pattern to it.  Cut the fabric and sew around the sides using 1/4″ seams and leaving the tab area open.

pincoverTurn under bottom edge of fabric 1/4″ twice and stitch hem.  Turn cover and press, leaving the tabs on the inside of the cover.

sewncoverfincover2Place the cover over the taped three hangers and add a bow or other embellishment if desired.

This pattern is good for using up small remnants of fabric but can also be used on old knit tops, T-shirts, flannel shirts, etc., which offer a nice soft base for your clothes.

I made up 15 of these hanger sets in all kinds of fabric, greatly reducing my stash of hangers, fabric scrap and old clothes – also reducing my frustration at ill-behaving wire hangers.