How to enjoy your deck on a drizzly day

How can you enjoy your deck on a drizzly day? With custom curtains of course.

This lovely back yard with a covered patio was well used as a place to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. But here in the Pacific Northwest it is often difficult to enjoy the mild temperatures of spring and fall with a misty rain or breeze blowing across the yard.

open porchThese curtain panels are made from indoor/outdoor fabric to stand up to the rain and sunshine. We also added a contrast band of fabric at the bottom to keep any signs of dirt to a minimum.


closed porchWhen closed the panels create a warm cozy room that still has a view of the yard.


porch rodThe homeowner put up pipe for rods and found IKEA kitchen S hooks work well to hang the panels. Small grommets at the top make it easy to hang the curtains and to take them down if the weather gets too wild.


outside porchHere is a view from outside the patio. There is a 1/2″ chain in the hem to keep the panels from blowing too much.


porch panelsThis room is now ready for entertaining, enjoying a cozy fire or relaxing with a good book and a glass of wine.


inside porch

The Nanny, a birthday and a doll.

My daughter had an idea for a special birthday gift. She has a darling girl in her care several days a week as she works with and for a young family in Georgia. As the first birthday approached for this little one, Rachael wanted to give a gift that would be fun, meaningful and maybe last for years to come. Her idea was to give the book series of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. This series was and is a favorite set of stories for all of my children. We have read them aloud as a family and everyone has also enjoyed reading them alone. Age 1 is a little young for these complicated adventures, but it is certainly a series to grow into.

The second part of her idea and gift was for me to make a doll of one of the characters from the stories. We talked it over and settled on ‘Lucy’. I worked on this doll over the course of several weeks sewing a bit in the evenings. I haven’t made a doll from scratch in several years, I felt very out of practice. But this was a fun project. I appreciated the inspiration and lessons from Pinterest.


When ‘Lucy’ was finished, she was packed up and shipped to Georgia arriving just in time for the big day. This little one seemed very happy with her gifts. I hope she enjoys her stories for years to come. Lucy2  Lucy doll

birthday doll

A design idea

It all started with a photo on Pinterest from Better Homes and Gardens and a local interior designer.better homes shade

She had a client looking for ideas for a roman shade for her bathroom. The room was in the middle of an upgrade and remodel. The homeowners were keeping the design and character of this 1920’s home to period. White subway tile covered the walls of the walk-in shower. Small hexagon black and white tile is on the floor. I showed the photo to the designer, she shared it with her client – they loved it. “But can you make this a top-down-bottom-up shade?” yes. tdbuMichelleSince then, this photo of the finished shades has been one of my most repinned photos on Pinterest.Michelle's catThis same designer has shared the photo with several other clients. I have now made 4 sets of these shades. Some open both directions. Some only pull up from the bottom. IMG_1860

serven shade3serven shade2finished shade

After making the first few sets, I have finally figured out a simpler way of laying down the twill tape. I use an iron on adhesive tape.iron on

First ironing the tape to the back side of the twill. Then after removing the paper backing,pattern

I iron the twill tape in place. The twill tape is then carefully topstitched in place. pinning

I would love to try other designs of twill tape or other trims.

trim ideas







Christmas projects


Every Christmas has its own sewing projects. This year I finished a quilt someone else started and gave it to one daugher. I altered, decorated and added to our Christmas stocking collection. And failed to take any photos of them. I had requests for an apron, which was purchased, a handbag, which is still under construction, and a stuffed whale. I think it is fun that my kids still ask for toys for Christmas even though they are now 25, 23 and 17.

The whale pattern idea came from this blog:

denim whale

This blog is written by someone in Finland. It doesn’t matter that even the translation is hard to follow. The pictures are fun. And if I could knit, it would be tempting to copy other things she has made.

My version is about 24″ long and made out of two different polar fleece type fabrics. It is very soft. This whale now lives on my son’s bed. blue whale

I then decided to make my daughter-in-law this hedgehog, just because. Rachel's hedgehog

This idea came from here:  My version is about the size of a baseball.


pin cushion


Maybe next year I will take more pictures of any new projects and post about them while it is still December.

What did you make this Christmas?



Challenge complete

On the morning of any given install day, my installer calls me at 8am to give me the time to be on the job. This morning Charlie called to say the install time would be 8:45 am. I wrapped the drapery and valance in plastic and loaded up my car. Within an hour, both treatments were up. My customer is very happy.wave pleats

The mirrored closet door makes the drapery look twice as wide as the 8 ft. track. I also love how her pillows match the drapery fabric perfectly. She had the pillows and bedspread before we picked this fabric.

Hall valance


red valance

The dining room valance goes well with her new rug. She is waiting for her new dining table and chairs to arrive before Thanksgiving.

It is good to have a deadline. It was also nice to sew this style of drapery called roll pleats or Ripplefold by Kirsch. This is a one-way draw cord pull to the right side of the ceiling mounted track. Sewing on snap tape is much faster than putting in pleats. I like the clean, soft waves of fabric.




Day 2

Today I pulled the drapery track out of the box again and counted carriers, measured and counted again. I measured the snap tape, measured my drapery, pinned and counted snaps. IMG_2187

I sewed on the snap tape, trying hard not to hit the snaps with the needle.

IMG_2188The whole pile was lifted back to the table, pressed and folded, ready to go to it’s new home.


On to project no. 2. IMG_2189turn 1 yard of fabric into a 61″x12″ box pleated valance.

I got this far before dinner. IMG_2190

After dinner, I finished stapling, added welt cord and finished the top dust cover. I am glad I finished this early so the pleats will have some time to ‘learn’ to hang straight.



This week’s challenge

I have an order for a bedroom drapery to cover an eight foot wall and a box pleated valance for the dining room. The challenge is that the fabric arrived yesterday afternoon, (Nov. 11), and the install date is this Friday, (Nov. 15). Thankfully the drapery is a Ripplefold style mounted on a ceiling track. This means, I will sew on snap tape instead of sewing in pleats. Yesterday I cut 4 widths of drapery fabric and 4 widths of lining, stitched the widths together.IMG_2183 Today, I sewed the fabric, lining and buckram together. I then measured, marked and stitched the bottom hems and side hems. IMG_2185IMG_2186Stay posted to see how far I get tomorrow.

Guest House

pile of fabrics

Do you remember this pile of fabric?

Four fabrics were chosen to make 6 drapery panels, 3 valances and a cornice board to cover 8 separate windows in 1 guest house. After ordering a long list of hardware pieces and sewing all the treatments together, the install date finally arrived. It was a complicated install because most of the walls were painted brick. Drilling into brick or concrete is a lot of work. I am thankful to be able to work with an experienced installer.front

This large picture window overlooks Puget Sound. Each side now has a large panel drapery that is hung by medallions following the slope of the ceiling. Thanks to a recent article in ‘Drapery & Design Professional’ magazine, I was able to drape a weight chain over a template of the slope to determine the angle of the top edge.

sideThe two side windows also have stationary panels, this time hung from decorative rods.  side window

The kitchen has two windows with valances hung on iron rods and rings. kitchen The bathroom has a simple box pleated valance mounted on a board.


The bedroom has a 6′ cornice board over the bed with a set of sheer curtains hung underneath. It also has a single drapery panel on a decorative rod. bed




I need to learn how to take better photos in dark rooms against bright windows, but you get the idea. If you click on a picture, it will enlarge and you can view all the photos like a slide show.

This little guest house in now warm and inviting. It is ready for guests over Thanksgiving weekend.

A hobbled roman shade

Marsha's window

Apartment windows can be very plain. It can make a renter nervous to remove existing blinds or hardware. The resident here wanted to do something pretty but simple. She chose a hobbled roman shade and mounted it outside of the window frame leaving the original shade in place. This really dressed up the room.

Marsha's shadeHer living room has two windows. I made shades for both windows. One shade was 61″wide by 55″ long and the larger shade was 74″ wide and 55″ long. These were the widest roman shades I have made and the first time to make this style.