Tag Archives: dining room

The curtains that nearly weren’t

 

 

 

These curtains. They’ve been a long time a comin’.

So first the pictures, then the story…

0527_1153-(2) 0527_1232-(2) 0527_1241 0527_1244-(2) 0527_1249-(2) 0527_1255 0527_1257 0527_1259 Starting way back when I first eyed up this fabric, in… August 2012. Gulp!

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Then we DIY’ed some curtain rods a year later. And they stayed bare for many more months, while I shopped around, and around, and around. Call me thrifty, call me cheapskate… but I didn’t want to spend over $1k on one pair of curtains. One summer passed by and I missed the special deals. Another summer came… and I juuuuust scraped in, with a few lessons learned along the way.

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After hosting a few big brand curtain consultants who offered only scary quotes and less than helpful advice, I decided to trust my own judgement on the fabric and style I’d had plenty of time to mull over, and hunted down a smaller scale curtain maker.

They appeared professional, with a simple website, some good reviews, and plenty of helpful advice. Not to mention a 30% lower quote than the cheapest of the big names.

Things were looking rosy and I had high hopes of hanging some curtains before winter began. Deposit paid!

And then… a few weeks later I thought “hmmm, looks like autumn is arriving, I wonder how my curtains are going?”

My emails bounced back, phone numbers were disconnected and a getting desperate phone call to the fabric supplier came up with “oh, they closed their account with us about a year ago”.

I felt pretty scammed. I felt a little silly, and a whole lot disappointed. I felt annoyed and grumpy. I felt like I’d just lost a few hundred dollars.

Then I got mad and hunted down the guilty party. I found an alternative email address in the depths of a business listing website, and my firm but friendly email didn’t bounce back!

But who knew if it had been read…

Then a few days later, a reply! Woohoo! They’re alive! But all it said was the fabric had just been ordered. Not so promising but at least a response and a way of contact was formed.

Days passed before another reply to my “where are my cuuuurtains?!” and apparently there’s trouble in the small-scale curtain maker camp. So my hopes were low.

The next email got a little more threatening and I did feel bad about that but Autumn was well and truly settled in and I just wanted my curtains! Or my deposit back.

I didn’t get a reply to that one. But eventually I got an email to say “your curtains are ready, where shall we send them?”. What? Really? My hopes rose a little but the fingers were still well and truly crossed.

Until a week or so later and just as I was walking out the door one morning, a courier van pulls up with a big box?! Noooo… it can’t be?! I told the kids to stay in the car, and ran back in with my box, grabbed the scissors and opened it just enough to peek in. Hallelujah!!! We have curtains!

I half expected spiders or mice or something to jump out at me too, but no. I just got my curtains, as ordered and as lovely as I hoped! Relieved and a little bit wiser, but I took a few days longer than I would normally to pay the balance. Fair’s fair I say.

And now these are my favourite curtains to pull every night and morning, and we can enjoy dinner without the cold draught through the french doors. All is well!

Especially now I’ve adjusted the hooks and they hang just right. I snapped these photos below before I fixed them up so ignore their bunching at the bottom, and just admire how they look from the living room (I forgot to get more photos from this angle after I’d adjusted them).

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The fabric is Pegasus EMI Imperial, in Duck Egg. My fave!

And the curtain rings come in packs of 10 – Nusa, in pewter (but I sprayed them the same colour as I sprayed the rods) by Windoware, from Bunnings.

I’m not naming the curtain maker because I believe they are/were genuinely in trouble and did their best (the curtains are well made and their advice in the beginning while we sorted the details was appreciated) but in future I will make sure to have a physical address for contact because phone numbers, email addresses and websites can disappear in an instant!

 

Dining in an art gallery

As Miss Browne spotted in some party photos last week we now have our very own art gallery on the dining area wall.

White picture frames have been on my birthday wishlist since last year, and with my last birthday now gone a couple of months I had enough frames to get our little gallery “open for business”.

Wrapping all those frames kept my boys busy for hours the night before while I was banned from the bedroom, and this is what greeted me on birthday morning!

The gallery wall by Young House Love was one of my first pins, and thanks to my Mum (last birthday) and my lovely husband (this birthday) I collected up over 20 frames to get my own version done.

Here they are stacked under the coffee table where they lived for a few weeks…:

…while I put my geek brain on and got all measurement-y about their placement on the wall:

I asked Andre to help with hanging the first few pictures, just because two sets of hands (and eyes) are easier than one when you’re trying to place pictures level on a wall. I figured I’d do ok on my own once we got underway. But on the second night of picture hanging (so much easier once the kids are in bed) I had a willing helper again, because sometimes it’s nice to be doing satisfying jobs like this one rather than the usual fixing old house quirks that we do more often!

Here’s the blank wall that we have lived with since we finished the kitchen and dining area over a year ago, then this gallery project gave us the motivation to give it its missing final coat of paint a couple of weeks ago.

We started by marking the approximate centre of the wall, which according to my plan, ran down the left side of this first frame we put up.

We continued with Andre placing the frames in their approximate position, me tweaking them by alternating between coming close to nudge it sideways or standing back in the kitchen to say “up a bit, left… no right a touch… yep stop!”

And another row:

We hang most frames with 3M Command picture hanging strips (there was the odd frame that didn’t work with the strips because the frame was too narrow for them to stick to, so we just hung these straight on a nail.) Some of the frames had stands or hangers that got in the way of our Command Strip hanging system so we took them off.

Here’s a side on shot to show how you can just see the Command strips on some of the frames (they are not at all noticeable until you get close up and peer around the sides of the frames):

I chose to use 3M Command strips because hanging so many frames by putting as many holes in the wall makes me a bit nervous. What if I want to change my mind next week? Also, it helps to keep the frames straight – they don’t get knocked off centre because they’re firmly fixed at two or more points, which also means they’re safer with active children around.

Now, after a couple of (short) nights effort and another hour or so myself one day, we have ourselves a picture gallery wall to gaze at while we eat dinner. It has already livened up dinner conversations with the couple of lots of visitors we’ve had over since! And of course Master W likes to tell me what all the pictures are of (even if I know better… he’s two after all, so Mama’s opinion – or facts – don’t matter anymore) and Miss E likes to grin at the most colourful pictures.

As for what we have in the frames, it was a little bit of a rushed “fill them frames up” job so we didn’t have random smiling families and sandcastles on beaches for our party guests to wonder at.

Starting on the left we have a shot of an Amsterdam canal, complete with mandatory bike leaning against the bridge railing (love that place…), alongside which is a sweet picture of a newborn Miss E with Mummy, then a party filler of the Up hot air balloon. Next row down, our beloved camper “Tally” that was home for a few months back in 2008, with our just as beloved Piaggio “Li’l Berty” scooter that transported us on many adventures in England and right across Europe on the back. Then an awesome rainbow typography print by Marc Johns, and a cute not-quite-baby photo of Andre. Bottom row on this side starts with a couple of postcards from a Japanese family we stayed with in 2009, then a retro motorbike ad (some of my birthday frames came with the smiling families and sandcastles already removed!) and a bird in a birdbath print.

The middle section has a gorgeous view of coastal Sweden (a marina where we parked for the night once in our past life), then a retro Better Homes magazine cover (it’s awesome – rows of illustrated mid-century houses), and the best graffiti I have ever come across, somewhere in Spain. Jump down a row and we have another bubbles party filler, and the obligatory wedding shot. Bottom row, a bit hard to make out but this is Master W at his first half birthday and then his one and half birthday, alongside Miss E’s favourite balloons picture.

On the right hand side is another travel photo (an orange tree in Italy) and one of our very few family photos. Under this we have more bubbles and balloons, and finally another mid-century illustration complete with a house plan (I have a thing for house plans and have designed many dream versions!). There is a small gap at the bottom right which I need to grab a last (maybe…? I might be tempted to fill the whole wall one day!) frame for.

All balloon and bubble shots are definitely temporary, but I plan for this whole gallery to be an ever-changing array of all the things and people we love, and I will definitely throw a few themed pictures in at future parties too.

Another look? Why not…

And a small close up so you can see some of the different frame styles (there are no more than two frames in the same style):

It makes me smile (even if it does make the room look smaller)!