Mein Gott! How long has it been?
No, Rachel and I did not pass away. And no, we haven’t stopped decorating. What has happened, you ask?
Well: after 9 months as a SAHM, I, Jackie, needed to get back to the workforce. So I got a job and I’ve been work-forcin’ since mid September doing that other thing I love: writing.
And Rachel…well, I’ll let Rachel tell you for herself here what’s been consuming all of her energy. I’ve got to say that I understand completely, as just over a year ago I scribed this piece about my own experience.
But all that aside because now it’s time to freaking decorate something. Or at least talk about a means of decorating that is often overlooked by the novice (or even experienced) decorator: the thrift store.
I think my favorite thing about Goodwill and the Salvation Army is, if I ever see any knick-knacky thing that strikes my fancy, I snatch it up and buy it without more than half a second’s thought because it’s THAT CHEAP. So I’ll often buy random object I’m simply drawn to, even if I don’t have a particular plan in mind for them. This is half of the fun of being a thrift store shopper, and half the reward, too. While the ‘impulse buy’ certainly exists within the walls of the thrift store, it hardly carries half of the weight it does in other locations. So after completely avoiding Black Friday Madness (ew), I hit the thrift on Saturday to see if I could make my own marvelous retail adventure.
Here are the results!
The specs: the shelf/cabinet is solid wood, and it has a label on the back that indicates it was made in Franklin, IN. As a resident of Indiana, I love me a made-in-Indiana piece. I figure the shelf is 50+ years old, making it awesome.
What next for this piece? Probably a coat of paint. When I asked my husband what color, he said, “Paint that s*@% gold!”
You got it, honey. I’m scouting some vintagey hued gold tones to freshen this baby up. Updates soon!
And while you wait for me, hit the thrift stores near you and tell us all about your cheap, unique finds. I can’t wait.
It’s remarkable to me, Jackie, how much money plain/ugly/boring/ill-fitting window treatments can cost. Not that there aren’t fantastic curtains available on the mass market, but those generally cost a stack o’ skrilla too. Or they’re hard to find, and hard to find takes time, and we don’t have time cuz this is a Quick Cobble. So let’s get to it.
For kitchens and bathrooms (err…gauge privacy concerns before making final window treatment decisions in bathrooms), I can’t recommend the cafe curtain more highly than I am about to. Hurrah for the cafe curtain! Most times, our windows don’t need a ton fabric/privacy/jazzing up to be awesome, so a half-window worth of covering will address both needs of practicality and style.
And one fantastic way to make cafe curtains is to seek out an already-made, already-fabulous hunk of fabric: a cloth napkin, particularly vintage cloth napkins. Why cloth napkins? They’re the right size, they’re interesting, they’re cheap, they’re easily acquirable, shall I go on raving all day…. I’ve seen bunches of fantastic cloth napkins for very little cash at such places as Midland Arts and Antiques here in Indy, or online at Etsy. Places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or antiques stores as yet unplumbed could also be excellent places to look for vintage napkins in your area.
Once you’ve got a set of cloth napkins you love that’ll work in your room, here’s the how-to on the transformation:
1. Acquire, for several dollars, two sets of curtain rings.
2. Acquire, for several dollars, a cafe curtain rod (I’d recommend matching your curtain rod to your curtain rings.) This does not have to be fancy to look nice—we have a slightly fancier one in our kitchen only because it was on sale. In other rooms where I’ve used cafe curtains, I’ve opted for a plain silver rod.
3. Once home, clip the curtain rings onto the top of the napkins and slid on to the curtain rod.
4. Hold up to the window-in-question and figure out where you need to place the brackets for your curtain rod to have your cafe curtains brush the top of the sill.
5. Hang curtain rod in place determined by step 4.
6. Hang curtains.
7. Revel in how chic, unique and thrifty you are. Tell no one of the ease.
If you’re slightly more ambitious/handy with a sewing machine, you could stitch together a couple of cloth napkins to make a longer/wider/both curtain, or a curtain containing a couple of colors/patterns. I’ve considered doing this for the larger window in my kitchen, and if I do, I’ll let you know how it turns out. And you let me know how your cloth napkins-to-curtains turn out, too.