Burlap Window Treatments

My mother-in-law's 1970's era matchstick blinds overpowered her Florida room...
...after only updating the window treatments...
...what a difference!
This project began with the thought of simply changing out the dated green matchstick blinds for updated matchstick blinds, but totaling over $700, the cost was prohibitive so that prompted 'thinking-outside-the-box'.

My mother-in-law, who likes everyone to call her 'Granny', wanted:
  • a product she could see through, yet still have a feeling of privacy; 
  • she rarely, hardly ever, raised/lowered the blinds so they did not necessarily have to be adjustable;
  • this room is off her den via a sliding glass door, so she liked the idea of a brighter area that would also brighten her den.... I came up with the idea of simple stationary panels...
...made of unlined white burlap fabric....
(burlap is available in different colors)
...100% jute...
...serged on each side...
...turned down 1 1/2" at the top for a casing to accomodate a 7/16" tension rod...
(because these are stationary panels, the tension rods will make it easy to take the panels down and put them back up if access to the windows are needed)
...added a 3" sleeve to easily accomodate a 1 1/2" wood slat...
....taking good notes and measurements are critical....
...then measure again... notes only make sense to me I'm sure!...
...this project was done long-distance... there was no luxury of checking the fit as each panel was complete... 
 ...14 panels for 14 windows....
...did I mention that almost every single window was a different width... husband cut the 1 1/2" slats for the bottom sleeves 1/2" less then the width of each panel...
...they fit nicely into the sleeves with 1/4" to spare on each side...
...this was important for the burlap to hang straight....
...each panel was ironed before installed... more look...
(the long green blind to the left covers the storm door that will soon be replaced with a steel door)
Burlap may not be a fabric of choice for some, but it was a perfect choice for this application and Granny's needs.  As you can tell in some of the close-up views there are imperfections in its weave, but that only added to its charm in this room....and as for the economics of this update....
  • Fabric for 14 windows:  $45.00 (Wal-Mart & Hobby Lobby)
  • 14 Tension Rods:  $42.00 (Wal-Mart)
  • Slats cut to size:  $43.00 (Lowe's)
Total:  $130.00 for 14 windows measuring approximately 3' x 4' each = @$9.00/per window

So by being a little creative....I think it turned out well...

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Walker Bag featured at Laura's Sewing Studio

I am most honored that Laura at Laura's Sewing Studio is featuring the Walker Bag I sewed using her design, on the home page of her website, as well as in her Hall of Fame

She included my story of the sweet elderly lady who has been so very grateful to receive this bag.  And there is a second postscript to this wonderful story, I received yet a second thank you from this sweet lady yesterday that closes with "...has made my illness and stay at home a lot better".  These Walker Bags are clearly needed and most appreciated by those who use a walker....

...and what began as a simple act of kindness to help a dear lady cope with a walker, has turned into such a blessing for me.  Thank you Laura...not only for your terrific design, pattern and instructions that you offer free-of-charge on your website, or that you genuinely care for those who are in need.... but also for support and encouragement you've given to me.

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Cute Bean Bags with Personalized Tote

Ever conscious of fast approaching Christmas, I sewed up these two cute Numbered Bean Bag sets with Personalized Totes for the two little boys on our Christmas list.  My blogging friend Deb at Mountain Musings had written a post about the set she made and they were so adorable I knew it would be a great Christmas gift for a boy aged 4 and 2. 

The bean bags are a perfect size for little hands and the totes are lined with a toggled drawstring closure.  I found these toggles at my local Hancock Fabric Store.  Mary's Number Bean Bags Tutorial and Easy Drawstring Tote were well-done with lots of photos.   Each little bean bag held @1/3 cup dried black beans.

I wanted to personalize the bags for each boy and it was easy to type out a pattern using WordArt in Word.  To make it easier, I flipped the pattern backwards so the letters would be facing the right way once cut. 
On one bag I zig-zagged the letters after adhering with 'Wonder-Under':

...the other bag I blanket stitched aroud the letters using size 10 crochet thread:

This is the ABC pattern I used:

...and I've also worked one up in Google Docs for you to access the link here:  ABC Template

If you would like a copy of this template and have trouble accessing these files, I will be happy to send them to you as an e-mail attachment.  My e-mail address is:

These turned out so cute and were a lot of fun to make.  I hope the little boys will have lots of fun playing with them!

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Walker Bag update

Last week I wrote a post about completing this Walker Bag for a friend's mother...

...she sent a photo of it 'installed' and 'organized'...

 ...her mother was quite excited to be able to move around easier now and my friend wrote...

"Mom has already gotten her organizer - organized.  She has a place for every THING--the remote, two phones, scissors, fingernail clippers, kleenex, books, and her yarn!"

What a blessing to be able to help another in a such a practical, yet needful, way.

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A 'Walker' Bag

A friend's mother recuperating from a broken leg, now required to use a walker for a minimum of three months, brought back memories of years ago when visiting an elderly lady who used a walker, watching her struggle with juggling her walker and her cordless phone.  She would sometimes wrap a plastic grocery bag around the handles as her 'carryall' but that also seemed clumsy and cumbersome.  Thanks to the wonderful world of internet of folks sharing with each other, I found a terrific pattern with photos and instructions at Laura's Sewing Studio
Using material on hand I completed this Walker Bag today
This is a really neat bag in that it is loaded with pockets....2 in the front, 3 in the back....and what you are unable to see in the flat photographs a large one in the middle.
  I added some decorative stitching and used different colored buttons that worked well with the birdhouse and denim fabrics.  I am definitely keeping Laura's pattern on file and will use it again to make another Walker Bag if needed.
Since writing this original post the bag has been delivered to its recipient who could not be more delighted and excited.  Her daughter sent this photo and note and I also wrote an update post noted below:
***Walker Bag Update  post***
Installed, organized and much in use!
An excerpt from the daughter's 'thank you' note: 
"Mom has already gotten her organizer - organized. She has a place for every THING--the remote, two phones, scissors, fingernail clippers, kleenex, books, and her yarn!"

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