Friday, March 2, 2012

Ceramic Tile to Carpet Tiles to Curtains

We are laying tile in front of the french doors upstairs this weekend.  I am supposed to be done with that by now, but you know how it goes.  Oh!  Before I forget again, if you're into laying your own ceramic tile, put a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water when it's time to wipe the grout down.  It will clean that haze off in nothing flat instead of rinsing and wiping over and over.

We decided to go with carpet tiles upstairs because of the herd of cats.  The tiles will be easy to yank up to clean well, and then put back on the floor.  We got ours at http://icarpettiles.com/ .  The prices were reasonable, shipping was horrendous, but we had the tiles in just a couple days.  I was surprised that it was still cheaper to order them and pay the freight charges than to order them from Lowes or wherever and have free shipping to the store.  Anyway, it took longer to lay them than what we expected but it was mainly because Bill was being a bit OCD about it.  Sure looks good, though!  We didn't put the carpet tiles in the area where the tile is going as I tend to be a bit messy.  Creative people are rarely tidy.

I have been thinking about window treatments for a long time.  I have always made my own curtains.  I never liked the quality of purchased curtains unless you got up to the really high dollar ones.  Being broke with three little kids always prompted me to be a DIYer.  There was a learning curve with making curtains, but I got it figured out.  I even made lined Roman Shades with scalloped valances that had candle wicking (!!) and panels w/ tie backs...for seven windows.  I must have been nuts.  It took me forever.

So, today I started looking for instructions for a specific type of valance so I don't have to think about it too much.  The first link I opened was http://craftstew.com/sewing/free-curtain-patterns .  Wow!  Tons of links!  One of them was to Mag Ruffman's blog.  I love this gal's style of writing, her humor and talk about some great tips.  Catch her blog about drapes at http://www.toolgirl.com/toolgirl/2005/04/planet_of_the_d.html .  Planet of the Drapes?  Cracks me up!

I am always surprised at how expensive curtain rods are.  In our last house, I used 1" PVC pipe for the rod (spray paint it if you don't want white) and the old glass door knobs on the ends.  I used a bit of hot glue to hold them in place after I put the valance or curtain on.  On one large set of windows, I found a fancy shower curtain rod was about 1/3 the price of a nice regular curtain rod.  The valance hid the ends well enough so I just used the rubber ends that came with it.   What was crazy was that I could get heavy cotton cutwork lace shower curtains for a LOT less than the same thing cut to standard window sizes.  No problem there, I can cut 'em down to save that much money.  We had a hard time finding hardware for that large of a 'rod', so we used some wood brackets.  I can't remember if Bill cut them out or if we bought them.

In our current bedroom, I bought pretty wicker-look Roman shades at Lowe's.  Our son had given me some gorgeous silk saris, l-o-n-g, with a lot of the knots still on the fabric.  Dark red and gold, the real deal from India.  Entirely too pretty to cut up into anything - but perfect for a window swag.  I used three plant hooks - two on the corners of the window trim, one in the center, but about 10" higher than the trim.  I put three black rings that have clips on the plant hooks.  I first folded the sari almost in half lengthwise. The sari has gold, basically finished edges and I wanted them to show. I then found the center point, clipped it on the higher, center ring, then draped it slightly to each of the side clips.  The rest just hung down and I trimmed the unfinished edges and left them.  Since I did a travel theme in that room, it worked out really well.

I still haven't decided on a plan for all the windows in the room we're currently working in - four windows and a set of french doors.  I do know that I won't be making scalloped valances with candle wicking, though.

Updated 3/19/2012:  We won't be buying carpet tiles again.  Our cats have totally destroyed one of them.  They have a couple scratching posts and things, but every day there is at least one spot that 'a' cat has pulled up the edge of a tile.  Bill's out in the shop now, making a different type of scratching post for the morons.  The catnip is starting to grow outside, so I'll get some leaves and rub 'em on the new carpeted post to see if that will help draw feline to that carpet instead.
Updated again 8/25:  The carpet tiles also outgassed baaaadly for weeks and it took forever for most of the smell to leave.  I should say that we got carpet tiles that had a foam backing and were supposed to look like regular carpet after they were installed.  Ha.  It does, right after you vacuum.  By the next day, you can tell that it's not regular carpet.  We also had trouble with a cat urinating (!!!!!!!!!) on select tiles.  Sigh.  Good thing we bought extra carpet tiles.  By the time it was over, we had put three coats of urethane on the subfloor (that didn't work as well as I thought it would), and three coats of exterior oil based primer/ sealer on the offending areas (that did work!)  The cats destroyed several tiles, probably 12.  They haven't been tearing them up lately, so maybe the worst is over.