My mother dropped off some old magazines and I laughed when I saw an article in the May, 2013 Martha Stewart Living magazine. The article was entitled “DROP-CLOTH DECOR.”
I thought it was funny that she was presenting an idea that I had used in 2009. I had been unemployed for over a year and set up an office in an unused bedroom. The walls were painted blue and I wanted to have white, sailcloth drapes. When I priced them, I realized they were way over my budget.
Then, while de-cluttering (See flylady.net) the basement, I found a drop cloth. There was no paint on it and I decided to make drapes from it. It was a simple sewing project. I ripped out the center panel to make tie-backs and folded the two remaining pieces in half.
I cut out 2″x4″ pieces from the center piece for the curtain rod to run through and sewed them to the curtain. I sewed ivory colored buttons on the top for embellishment.
The two layers of heavy material make them very energy-efficient. I almost bought the curtains because the drop cloth was not white, when my friend Paula said, “Why? It’s a south window and the sun will bleach them to white soon enough.”
I am so glad I listened to her as I am still happy with the results.
My drapes made from a drop cloth.
My grandmother had a summer kitchen and the term confused me because that was where the wringer washer was kept. I saw her do laundry there, but not cook. It was like an additional room on the house.
When my mother was really young, grandma canned there, but by the time I came on the scene, she had air conditioning and cooked in her kitchen full-time.
I think the idea of a summer kitchen is great. All of the heat is kept out of the house. Since, I cannot leave the house, I had to be creative. I can’t just grill during the summer.
My solution? Crockpots. I put the various dishes in different sized Crockpots and set them on my washer. The heat is contained in my laundry room and the upstairs stays cool.
Crockpots on the washer.
It finally cooled down here after 2 weeks of temperatures in the 90’s. I won’t run my oven until it is much cooler. That does not mean we go without desserts!
I made my first “Icebox Cake” for dinner on Labor Day. These cakes are made with cool whip, pudding, fruit, and cookies. Some are just cool whip and Oreos in layers.
BANANA ICEBOX CAKE
Box of Nilla Wafers
Spread a layer of cool whip on bottom of pan. (I used a spring-form pan.) Add a layer of nilla wafers, followed by pudding, bananas, more wafers and top with cool whip. Make the night before and put it in the refrigerator or freeze it and thaw an hour before serving.
Banana Icebox Cake
I love having candles lit in the evening. They add warmth and sometimes fragrance to a room. They also add heat. I don’t normally use candles in the summer.
Then I bought a few “Flame-less Candles.” They are battery operated and they flicker like a candle, but there is no heat. I set the timer on them to light from six to ten in the evening.
My husband likes to watch TV in the dark. I don’t. Using the candles is a nice compromise. A bonus is they light up the bathroom enough that you don’t need to turn on a light to use it and that saves electricity.
Flame-less candle lights the bathroom.
I was sitting in my “New” office and thought it was really warm. The air conditioner seemed to be working fine. I looked down at the register next to the table to be sure the bookshelf was not covering it. The bookshelf was fine, but the drape was partially over it.
The cool air was going up the folds of the drape, not into the room. I pulled the curtain up into a swag until the register was clear and immediately felt cool air. I then went and checked all of the other registers to make sure they were not blocked.
A swagged drape does not block the register.
Many people are sad in the winter when there are not as many hours of sunlight. I am just the opposite. I keep the curtains to the southeast closed in the mornings during the hot summer days. At noon, I close the west curtains, and shut the northwest curtains around five. It keeps the sun and heat out of my house.
Unfortunately, it also keeps the light out. The tree to the south of my home is full of big leaves and is providing wonderful shade, but it makes it difficult to read in my office without a light during the hot months.
I needed a new office, just for reading. When I was without a computer for a month, I got out a small bookshelf and loaded it with the reference books I use every day. I put a few files on it that I also use regularly and set it under my kitchen table next to the patio door. It is out of sight, and so far, my granddaughter has not noticed it.
When I received my new laptop, I set it up on the kitchen table and I have good reading light in the morning. Late in the afternoon, when the sun moves to the backside of the house, I open the curtains to the southeast and work on my desktop in my office.
Sometimes all we need to do is move a few things for a fresh perspective.
I have sewn many things with my set of upholstery needles: shoes, purses, cell phone cases, furniture, rugs, carpet, etc. But this one takes the cake.
I cannot open my windows unless I put allergy screens in them. I have to send them to the car wash and have them cleaned with the power washer there. Last week they were cleaned on a windy day and they blew over. One screen came apart.
It is two layers of wire mesh with special material inside. This particular screen is a replacement insert that I tape to the screens that go in my big front windows. It is held together with two wire brackets.
The mesh became twisted and would not go back in the wire bracket. I ended up putting the three pieces together and sliding it in the bracket a few inches at a time. I would sew, those few inches, around the bracket and through all three layers to hold it in place.
It worked. I certainly did not want to wait for a replacement before I opened those windows. Some repairs are permanent and some are temporary. This temporary repair meant I did not have to run the air conditioner and that saved me money.
My big window with the allergy screens in them.
We received a “Snuggly” as a gag gift one Christmas. I threw it in the closet in my office thinking I might use it on a particularly cold day.
I have posted several pictures of my office and you can see my writing desk is in the center of the room backed by a dresser that I use for storage. Since heat rises, it gets cold under that writing desk. I hate to turn up the heat and I found a new solution this winter.
My feet and legs get cold, but my upper body is comfortable. I spread the “Snuggly” over my office chair and I wrap it around my legs and feet. I don’t have to turn up the furnace or wear my house coat all day to be warm. It works the same as a lap quilt.
On brutally cold days, I wear the “Snuggly” just like I would wear my house coat.
I drape the “Snuggly” over my office chair.
My home is small and there are not a lot of kitchen cupboards. My husband is over 6 foot and with 8 foot ceilings, a ceiling rack was not an option. I ended up hanging my baskets and pans on the walls. There is a double purpose here, as it is a north wall and the baskets add a layer of insulation.
Hang your baskets and pans on the wall.
Since I live in Iowa, my dream home would have to have a full basement. I want a safe place to go when the tornadoes are blowing by. In the basement of my dreams there would be a theater. It would have velvet curtains on both sides of the screen and framed posters on the walls. There would be recliners complete with drink cups for at least eight people. Of course, there would be no windows to let us view our movie in darkness.
Back in the real world…the TV we watch the most is upstairs and there is a floor-to-ceiling window in it. The drapes I purchased for this window are “Energy Star” approved and they have a black-out lining. They block the light on the brightest of days making anytime “Movie Time.”
The drapes in my front room have a black-out lining.