Using a Tree For a Curtain Rod

Ok, so before Christmas I wrote “Don’t Mind the Tree in the Kitchen” and it was left “to be continued”. Well here’s the other half. It’s not nearly as big of a “Ta Da” as I had hoped.

curtains

This is a picture of the curtains in the kitchen. As you can see… you can’t. The wood shelf/valance that is there hides the rod. I was going to take it down but who ever put it up nailed it from every possible direction! Taking it down would involve filling holes, removing wall paper and painting. I will take on plenty of new projects but I am still sick of painting from when we moved in, so for now it stays.

above the sink

Using the drop cloth for the fabric has worked well. It got too cold much faster than I anticipated so I didn’t get the loops sewn to the back so they work as a roman shade rather than a tie back curtain. The one above the sink is done. Pictured here.

I still hope to use some brown paint and paint a silhouette of a tree with branches reaching through all three panels. That’s permanent and I haven’t got my game plan together yet.

work room

This window in our “work room” or craft room works well with the tree. You will have to excuse the curtains, the belong in a different room but for demonstration sake I hung them here. With a few twigs or a round of dried flowers or leaves for tie back they would be simple but kinda cute. For the mean time, it doesn’t get above -20 out, so keeping the cold out and the warm in is my goal. I plan to revamp the window treatments come spring, when it’s still frozen out but warming up.

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Don’t Mind the Tree in the

Don’t mind the tree in the kitchen, the curtains will be done soon and then I will wash the floor. Well, let me back up a bit. In the kitchen I have three large windows, one of which is the door to the deck, all lined up for a great view of the deck, trees and lake. The problem with them is its winter and winter here means cold. Very, very cold. These windows let a little of the cold in.  Hence the curtains.

I knew I wanted a medium weight fabric of neutral color that would add a bit of texture to the room as well. ( Before we got rid of cable TV, we watched a little HGTV some evenings). I also knew I’m broke and these needed to last a long time and be relatively cheap at the same time. My genius ideas struck again…Painting drop cloth! (and most of my genius ideas are accidents gone good 🙂 ) It was everything I was looking for; neutral, texture, medium weight, durable and best of all cheap! For about $30 I had enough fabric to do all three large windows and make a matching valance for the window above the sink.

After some thought I decided to make a shade style window cover rather than draw back curtains which allowed me to use a little less fabric and still fully cover the window when needed.

I’m not going to go into great detail of how to make these shade right now. That can be explained in a future post.

The shades were cut and ready to hang to be finished, however I was lacking a curtain rod to hang them. Needing a rod approximately 10 feet long and having nothing around here of that length, I grabbed my axe and headed down the driveway. There is the perfect patch of young trees about half way between the house and the road and in that patch a tree I deemed straight (enough) to use. So I chopped it down and drug it to the house.

There is not much besides chopping and hauling firewood  that I find has to be done when its below 0. So as anyone in my shoes would do, I pulled the tree onto the back deck and into the kitchen. I’m not about to limb this tree in the yard!

So limbs off and I’m ready to cut to length. My wood saw is not anywhere to be found. So here I sit,  shades ready to be hung and finished, tree and limbs in the kitchen and no saw.

I did find a few things to do with the little branches before the remains will go to the stove.  Those pictures will come soon.

The rest of the shades will be “To Be Continued” after Thanksgiving, when I can borrow a saw from dad.

For now I will scrub the floor around the tree because in my stroke of genius I forgot those great little buds are sticky when the fall off the branch and get stepped on.  🙁IMG_0884

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Homemade Cheese Press

I like to try new things… all the time… I want to learn it all! In my quest for learning new things I decided to tackle cheese next. There are a million different kinds all using the same basic ideas and techniques and all end with a different product. There a few cheeses that are pretty basic and can be made in any kitchen with minimal equipment and ingredients but I’m more interested in the aged cheeses.

This brings me to needing a basic cheese press to produce the delicious cheese wheel. I wasn’t interested in spending too much to buy one, to be honest I really didn’t want to spend any money all.

As luck would have it, my dad is building another shed and had some pretty nice wood scrapes. He also had a piece of 6 inch pvc that he donated to my project. A quick trip to the hardware store for nuts, washers, springs and all-thread rod and I was in business.

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It’s not the prettiest contraption I’ve ever made but it’s functional.

I used an 8 inch piece of 2×8 for the base and two 8 inch pieces of 2×4 for the top cross pieces. I drilled a hole on each end of  the bottom of the base about half way through with a large bit. Then I drilled the center of each hole all the way through with a bit slightly larger than 3/8inch. (the all-thread rods I bought were 3/8 in and need to fit through the holes). I lined up the 2×4’s and drilled holes on each end to line up with the ones in the base.

Then to assemble  I used a lock washer and nut on the bottom of the rod to secure it through the base. The lock washer and nut fit in the larger hole that was drilled half through so they don’t rub on whatever surface I set the press on. On the top of the base is another nut with a flat washer.

The pipe is set on the base and the first  2×4 is slid on to the rods. Then another flat washer topped with a heavy spring. The next 2×4 is slid on the rods and fastened with a flat washer and wing nut.

I also cut 3 circles out of a 2×8 to fit inside the pvc pipe. These are what is pressed onto the cheese to get a uniform wheel. Depending on the amount of cheese to be press all three circles may not be needed.

Now for the fun of making cheese!

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Feed Bag Tote

With chickens comes feed and with feed comes really nice bags that I can’t seem to throw away. (The plan is to soon be producing our own chicken feed but for now a little free range and a little store bought is what we have.) I have a vast collection of reusable grocery bags but over time they get worn and need replacing. I would look rather ridiculous going through the line at the market asking to have my groceries put in a 50lb. feed bag, so a little “nip-tuck” is in order.

I adapted the pattern for the tote from the one that I used years ago to make canvas totes. (I have a bag problem, I know. They’re just so handy!) The whole project takes an hour or so.  It’s a great way to use up the feed bag stock pile and it’s easy enough that the kids can make them too!

First things first, I give the bag a good wipe down. I don’t want dirt and feed dust in the sewing room.

IMG_0686Then I cut the bottom of the bag off (about 9 inches or so). Turn the  bag inside out and sew the bottom closed. Use two seam allowances so the bottom is good and sturdy. (1/2 inch and 1/4 inch)

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Next fold the centers of the top of the bag together. (you will end up with a “home plate” shape. Open the triangles and measure 10 inches across and mark. Sew the same double seam on the mark. Do the same to the other side. This is your square bottom.

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Then for the handles. Use the piece you cut from the bottom of the bag and cut 2 strips 3 inches wide. Cut these in half so you have 4 pieces 3 inches wide. Sew 2 together lengthwise. (Again, right sides together) Fold the edges in about a 1/2 inch on both sides. Securing with paper clips. Unlike fabric, pin holes don’t go away in the feed bag. To minimize the holes I use paper clips or binder clips instead. Fold the strap in half and sew both sides. (This will be done right sides out).

IMG_0700Once both handles are sewn, it’s time to attach them to the bag. With the bag still inside out fold the top edge down about an inch and a half. Fold the top down another inch and a half so the rough edge is hidden. Secure this with paper clips again. Measure and place the handles where you like. This bag is pretty close to square so just make sure the handles are opposite each other.

Hold the handles in place with a binder clip. They will be pointing down for now. Sew around the bottom of the hem on the top of the bag first. Then position the handles up (so they are coming out of the bag) and sew around the top. Both of these seams will be 1/4 inch allowances. I like to reinforce the handles by sewing an “X” on each.

IMG_0705At this point the bag is complete. You can cut the extra triangle from making the square bottom. I leave it in tack for a little extra bottom support.

 

 

Step by Step Pictures:

Feed Bag Tote

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Cut the bottom 10 inches off.

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“Home plate” shape. To make a square bottom.

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Open the triangles.

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Mark 10 inches across and sew.

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Cut 3 inch strips for handles.

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Cut the strips in half.

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Sew together. Fold edges in about a half inch.

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Fold in Half and sew both sides.

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Finished handles.

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Fold the top down an inch and a half.

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Then again to hide the rough edges.

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Measure and place handles. Sew bottom edge of the top.

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Sew the top with handles up and sew “x” for reinforcement.

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The extra triangles that can be cut or left for extra support.

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