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Transformation- Roman Shades from Ugly Drapes

When we moved into our house, we inherited the drapes. I wanted to get rid of them, but the living and dining area have three big picture windows and when I did the math, it was impossible to afford to replace them with something more attractive. So after living with them for a while, I finally came up with a solution that cost me just $30 for supplies for the three huge windows. 

I had already painted the paneling and while that was an improvement, the drapes were still just blah and misfitting. 
See how they were too short?

I saw a demonstration of making Roman shades on HGTV and decided I could do that! I did make a few modifications that kept the cost down. First, I used small metal washers instead of the white plastic rings. Metal washers were cheap! Then I discovered that in the boating section of our Menards store, the rolls of string were much cheaper than buying the same stuff by the yard at the fabric store. Finally, I needed a cleat for each shade to tie up the string when the blinds were open. Back to the boat department I went. What sold for $3 at the fabric store was just .79 cents at the home improvement store.
I scrounged wood for the header and dowels from our scrap bins which kept the cost down as well.

Now, the big challenge was where to find enough fabric for Roman shades. That's the trash to treasure part of my makeover! I used the old drapes and cut them up. I cut off the pleats at the top to leave a large square panel for each drape. Here's a close-up of how that fabric looks as a roman shade.
I also added a valance topper which I picked up at the Goodwill. It was a big flat panel of fabric that I cut into thirds to sew into the valance. Then, I purchased the side panels on a big clearance at Wal-Mart. They were connected in the middle, but I cut them in half to put a panel on each side of the window. For drapery rods, my husband fashioned something out of small PVC pipes.
Not too bad for a VERY cheap transformation. If you look close enough, yes, I do have some seams in the middle of my shades from the seams in the drapery fabric. I was okay with this, mostly because if I can't do it cheap, I can't afford to do it at all. Weigh it out with me: seams or drapes, seams or something much much better even if it isn't perfect.

Want to make your own Roman Shades? Here's another demonstration of the how-to on Denver Fabrics if the HGTV link above wasn't quite what you are looking for. It takes some sewing and some engineering to get it all right, but if I can do it, so can you!

Photo of the Week

I live in Amish country and it isn't unusual to get delayed behind a buggy on my way to town.
I often wonder what it would be like to live in one of their households for just a week. I imagine the simplicity...No telephone, no blaring television or battles for a remote. No worries over what mischief my children might get into over the internet. And think of all of the trash to treasure ideas it might inspire!

But, then I think of how I sit with my laptop in my air conditioned office when it's 90 degrees and humid outside. Of my windows sealing out the stifling, oppressive air that makes me cranky.
Then, I imagine the long sleeved dresses and heavy layers of aprons and bonnets and I'm thankful for a minute of peace out on my back deck sipping lemonade in between moments of complication in my high-tech world. And I think of of quickly I can travel to town in my minivan, no matter how quaint it might be to listen to the clip clop of horses and the clatter of buggy wheels. Still, it's fun to imagine.

Do you ever imagine what it would be like to live in someone else's world for just a week?

Keep the comments coming, but...

I hate to do this to all of my loyal readers who are so wonderful about leaving kind comments. But I'm going to have to change my policy and moderate all comments because some spammers are making life difficult. You don't want to weed through all their garbage, right?

So, keep your wonderful comments coming, but just be aware that they will show up after I approve them. Thanks so much for understanding and for your patience. I love reader mail!

T2T Owner

More Furniture Transformation

I promised I'd show you more of my furniture makeover, so for Transformation Tuesday today, I'm featuring the chair-and-a-half reupholstering re-do.

When I ordered my chair, I was really into country plaid. But several years later, I wasn't so in love with it anymore. Here's what it looked like, and let this be a lesson to you when you order furniture. Choose something NEUTRAL and let the pillows be the pop.

Now, I must issue a little disclaimer here, as I didn't exactly go neutral when I chose the new fabric. However, it was cheap and it matched my color scheme and I can't pass up a bargain.

The only sewing involved was on the chair cushion. I used the zipper from the old cushion and took apart the fabric pieces to use as a pattern for the new one. I also sewed what was basically a big pillow case for the backrest part. The rest of the project was stapling.

There are some secrets to upholstering that make it so much easier than most people think. It's important to have strips of medium weight cardboard on hand. I know they make tack strips specifically for upholstery, but I make my own by cutting mat board into strips. What is this for,  you ask?

Check out this edge:
It's on the back of the chair and the side where the puffy part meets the flat part. The rough edges of the puffy arm part is stapled down behind this straight edge. When I'm working on the straight edge, I flip the fabric up, leaving an inch behind my cardboard strip, and then I staple the strip to the chair. Believe it or not, there is a wood framework under most chairs. 

Once the strip is secure, I can flip the fabric back down and I have a nice neat, tight edge. Then I staple the bottom edge of the fabric under the bottom side of the chair. 

On edges that show, I use upholstery tacks where I can't do the flip and staple technique.

Here is a helpful video from on how to do the back of a chair.You'll see what I mean by flipping the fabric the other way and using tack strips.
And here is another video that shows a chair from start to finish. This one comes from
I'm a little lazy I guess, because I don't always remove all of the old fabric. Often, I go right over it when I can. If the chair is too old or the cushion has an odor issue, then I consider a bigger transformation. Otherwise, I look for ways I can fold and staple to avoid sewing.

Looking for a good place to start? Try dining chairs or a footstool and see how it goes. Then move on to something a little bigger. You'll be amazed by how reasonable it is to remake furniture instead of throwing it out and buying new.

WWYD with tile?

Last week on WWYD, I asked what you would do with extra tile left from a project. We had one idea submitted via e-mail and one anonymous comment left here on the blog. Here's what I've done with some of my extra tile.
The first project is one that I made from tumbled marble tile. I printed photos of my grandparents onto tissue paper. It's actually easy to print on tissue. Just cut a piece of white tissue to the size of 8.5 x 11. Then using 2-sided tape along the top edge of a piece of 8.5 x 11 card stock weight paper, affix the tissue. Then, feed it through your inkjet printer.

I sprayed the tissue with Krylon spray to set the color, then tore it down to the size of my tile. Then I used decoupage glue to attach it. When it's all dry, I coated it with several layers of water base poly.

This was an easy tile project. I saw a sheet of 8 stickers at my Dollar Tree store that were made to add decoration to your kitchen tiles. I used them to create a set of coasters. Just peel and stick!

I used the plain ceramic tile for them.

For this last project, I used the tumbled marble tile and rubber stamps. Using Staz-On ink, I stamped the images onto the tile. Then, I colored them with chalks and a q-tip. Finally, I sprayed everything with Krylon clear spray to seal it all in. If you plan to use yours for a coaster rather than for decoration, be sure to give it some coats of poly to protect it.

So now that I've shown you what I did, maybe you have some inspiration. Feel free to leave other ideas in the comments below. Happy WWYD Day!

Monday Creativity Inspiration

It's Muse Monday and to inspire your creativity this week, I'm sharing some pictures of some of my favorite quiet places. When was the last time you just sat and mused?

Where is your favorite place to think?

Follow Friday Roll Call

We haven't had a Follow Friday blog party on T2T in a little while so it's time! Today let's have a roll call. If you are a Trash 2 Treasure blog fan, just join the roll call by linking up your blog on the Linky tool below. It doesn't need to be decorating related or T2T related, we'll just have a friends party today. I'll even throw out all the rules about linking back on your site this time.

It's also my opportunity to say thanks for being a loyal reader at T2T. I can't believe I've made so many blog friends in just 10 months. Thanks for the reader mail too. I love hearing from you and checking out your blogs.

What Would You Do Wednesday

Could someone tell me where time goes? Seriously. Where did a whole week go already? It's definitely time for another What Would You Do Wednesday. And it's time to announce the winner of the last WWYD, the Tiffany style lamp.  

I loved all of the ideas and it was very difficult to choose since each had its own creative merit. But the idea that I thought most brought the lamp up to date in a new way, was the idea from Mattie about mod podge. I could see it with a shabby chic scrapbook paper mod podged over the dark panels with the white panels left as is. I think it would also look nice to rub something on the lead parts to shabby it up a little. Thanks Mattie!

This week, I want to talk about what to do with that leftover tile from a project. Sometimes it's just a couple of tiles, and sometimes it's half of a box. I have 8 or 9 of these tumbled marble 4 inch tiles left.
I've seen leftovers at yard sales too, but I passed them up since I already have some in my basement that I haven't used. I also have at least 20 ceramic 4 inch tiles that look something like these.
So, what would you do? Would you come up with some sort of crafty project? Or perhaps you'd use it for something bigger, like a piece of furniture? Tell us below what you would do. And if you've already done something clever with tile, but sure to include a link to your blog post in your comments.

When I announce the winning idea, I'll also include a picture of some of the things I came up with.


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