In the Running for Most-Patriotic – Front Door Division

Before I started the blog, Mark and I painted our cream front door a nice greyish navy called Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore.  It turns out it’s a very popular color, but we chose it simply by holding up one of Mark’s favorite T-shirts to the color wheel and finding the closest match.  We love to color and painted our outdoor shutters to match.

The navy color allows for lots of fun wreath options.  This spring I have had this pretty yellow forsythia wreath.

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In the fall and winter, red looks great as well.  Here’s my holiday wreath from last year.

Front Door Wreath

I’ve never had just the right thing for summer however, so this year I decided to go where no woman has gone before.  Just kidding, I decided to be like everyone else and DIY a burlap wreath.  Seriously, I hate to even post a picture of it because I think Pinterest might explode if someone pins one more burlap wreath, but here we go.

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Cute right?  I was amazed at how easy it was.  I am really not a crafter, but after watching some video instructions, it seemed easy enough and it was.  Here’s how I did it.

I went to Michael’s (armed with coupons, of course!) and bought 1 metal wreath “loom” in the appropriate size; 1 10 yard roll of burlap ribbon/fabric, and 1 10 ft. roll of red, white and blue gingham ribbon.  Does anyone see a problem?




I bought 10 yards of burlap, but only 10 feet of red, white and blue ribbon.  Math man, math.  Anyway, I didn’t actually figure this out until later in the process when I was out of ribbon, but not burlap.  So let’s proceed for now.

From the beginning my vision was to find a nice patriotic ribbon that was about 2/3 of the width of the burlap which was 5″ wide.  I was thrilled to find this pretty gingham style in just the width I wanted.  I also think the gingham combined with the burlap gives off just the amount of “country chic” that I was going for.

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I got out my glue gun and started gluing the ribbon right in the middle of the burlap.  I put down some newspaper underneath where I was working so that I wouldn’t get any glue that seeped through the burlap on my table.  It didn’t take more than 20 minutes to do this.  When I got to the end of my ribbon and discovered that I still had about a quarter of my burlap left to go, I realized my math mistake and ran back to Michael’s for another spool.

Once the ribbon was glued to the burlap, I started the wreath.  There are lots of good videos and tutorials online and I can’t find the exact video that I used anymore, but basically here’s what you do.  Start by using a pipe cleaner to attached one end of the burlap to the wreath.  I made a heart with the burlap and strung the pipe cleaner through the middle.

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Then I wrapped the ends of the pipe cleaner around the wreath.

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The video I watched tells you to wrap the burlap through the three rings like this.

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After weaving the burlap through one time, I realized an issue. Since I had glued the ribbon to only one side of the burlap, I couldn’t just weave it through the three layers of wire going forward because that would mean that half of burlap showing would be the “back” half without the ribbon.  Bummer.

I sat there and fussed with it for a while and realized that I could twist the burlap on the back side of the wreath before pulling it through where necessary and that would allow the front side of the burlap to always be on the front side of the wreath.

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This also made the wreath a little more “curly” than the example in the video and I liked the way that it looked.

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It didn’t take more than 20 minutes to go all the way around.  The 10 yards of burlap was just the right amount and I used the extra ribbon to create the bow.

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All told, I probably spent about $20 and 1 hour on this project (not including trips to the store.)  Pretty easy on both the wallet and the clock.  You could definitely embellish more with some painted stars and/or flags or by adding a wood letter/monogram in the middle, but I tend to like simple things and decided to live it with as is this year and then maybe add to it next year.

Between this wreath and our Hale Navy door, I would say that we are more than ready for Memorial Day.  I hope everyone has a nice weekend.  We don’t have alot planned for once, which is nice.


Curtains in the Sunroom

In order to complete the stairway project, we had to make several trips to IKEA for the frames that we used.  While we were there, we also decided to pick up what we would need to install curtains in the sun room.  At 30+ linear feet of windows to cover, we needed a budget-friendly solution to say the least.

Through various blogs, I have heard good things about IKEA’s VIVAN curtains, which cost just about $10 for two panels.  They come in white, and have an unhemmed bottom so that you can customize them to any length you want.  They are semi-transparent, but not see-through, which was fine for this purpose, and they look light and airy as the sunlight can stream through them.  They also have a these loops on the back to affix them to the curtain rod in a way that makes them look more high end than their price tag.


To hang the curtain, we also bought their RACKA curtain rod system in grey.  We got everything home and Mark set to work on hanging the rods.  He measured the full length of the room and then divided by four to determine where to put the the support bars.  Seems like good logic, no?  Well after he was finished and took a step back, we realized, not so much.

I apologize for not taking a picture of what it looked like, but hopefully I can explain it.  See the plan is for the panels to gather at the posts between each set of windows.

So it actually makes the most sense to have the support bars positioned there are well so that they covered when the curtains are open.  Mark was disappointed in himself for not thinking about that the first time, but it didn’t take him long to readjust the configuration.

From there it was all about getting the curtains hemmed to the right height.  I think the “right height” for curtains is totally a personal preference thing.  For these curtains, I wanted them to “pool” a bit on the floor to help soften the angles of the room.  Mark didn’t really agree with this philospophy, but he let me win this battle and away we went.

I used this no-sew hemming tutorial to hem the curtains to my desired length.  This explains why the ironing board was in the sun room when I had my stain fiasco.  Sadly, I lost two newly hung curtains in that debacle, but luckily we had over bought on the panels so I was able to quickly replace the ruined ones without another trip to IKEA.

After measuring to determine the length we wanted, Mark helped me mark on each of the panels with a pencil where I would need to apply the hem tape.  To do this, we used a tape measure and a level.  We first took the tape measure and measured up 22″ from the end of the curtain and made a mark at one end of the panel. Then we did the same in the middle of the panel and again at the other end.  I took the level and drew a faint line across the whole panel.

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Then I got my hem tape, pulled off the paper on one side of it, and laid it just under the line I had draw.  I got my iron (which I had set on medium/high but no steam) and went over the tape until it stuck to the curtain on the back side (about two passes).  I also fixed a piece to the side of the hem on each side as well.

Then I peeled the other side’s paper off the tape and placed the edge of the curtain over it to the line I had drawn.  It doesn’t stick to the hem tape until you iron it, you can fuss with it to make sure it’s straight before “sealing” it with a few passes of the iron.

I could do about half a panel width on my ironing board, so I did one side of the panel and then the other.  I would say that it took me probably about 2 hours (maybe a little longer) to get all 14 panels done.  Each panel covers on pane of windows so there is enough to entirely cover all the windows should we want to at any time.  So far, the only ones that we close are on the side of the room that faced the neighbor’s house.

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I think the curtains soften the room up quite a bit and they also help with noise control.  Overall, I think the cost for this was a little less than $200.  That’s well under $6 a linear foot.  Not a bad deal at all.

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It’s been about 10 months since we started this sun room project and we’re about 80% of the way there.  When we started our To-Do list included:

  • Remove the existing drop ceiling and replace the foot of old, fiberglass insulation.
  • Create a cathedral ceiling by adding support beams and re-installing the ceiling panels at an angle.
  • Replace the existing jalousie windows with double hung casements.
  • Demo this outdoor kitchen and replace it with a bar area complete with upper and lower cabinets and shelving, and a counter top.

We’ve completed everything on the list except installing the bar area, we’re still saving our pennies for that one.  We also need to have the two chairs reupholstered, but the price tag for that turns out to be about double what we budgeted for (isn’t it always with trades around here!) so we are saving a bit more before we do that as well.  I also want to add a rug under those chairs (I have one picked out, again just waiting for the bank account to go up first) and my mom is sending me a coffee table of my grandmother’s that I think will finish that side of the room off nicely.  I hope to have the chairs re-done, the rug purchased, and the table arrive from mom before July 4.