Saturday, May 19, 2012

Duvet-inspired Automobile Curtains

Jonas with his matching blanket and curtains
My son actually started crying when he saw these curtains hanging in his room.  He was convinced that I had cut up his beloved blankie.  In a way this was true, but not the way that he thought.  I had cut the end off of his adult-sized duvet cover a month before and shortened it into one that fit his kid-sized one.  Why this sheet set doesn’t come in child-size at Ikea, I will never understand. 

The idea that Jonas wouldn’t like his matching curtains never occurred to me.  Luckily, after taking his blankie out of his bed and showing him that it was whole, he quieted down and it was all okay.  We even had a little conversation and a smile about the dump trucks and cars.  Thank goodness!

His room needed curtains since summer is approaching and it is light here in northern Germany until almost 11 p.m. Without anything on the windows, he would most likely wake up around 4 a.m. as well when it starts to get light outside.

Automobile close-up
I’m not the biggest fan of curtains, but I didn’t want to have blinds due to the cords.  I’ll admit, I bought curtains for the main bedrooms.  With the price of material these days, it’s hard to sew them for less.  However, they are too thin, so I will need to sew on a darker sheet behind them to block out more light.  Good thing I can sew.

For this duvet inspired curtain, I used some scraps of red material, a long piece of blue material I bought at Ikea, the bottom end of one of the bedroom curtains (cut off at the window), and the rest of the duvet cover with the automobiles.  It only took me one night after the kids went to bed, and I think it really adds to the room and makes it more colorful. 

Here’s the how-to:

Red curtain loops
1.  Measure the window and buy enough material for a base curtain with the material folded in half.  I decided on blue and needed 1m40 x 2.5m (about 55” x 98”).  Trivia for you - European windows are different than American ones.  You can open them into the room to clean them or open them at an angle to let in a little bit of air.  Since there aren’t as many insects here, almost no windows have screens. 

2.  I first made the loops for the top of the curtain.  This is pretty easy.  All you need to do is cut a few strips of material 4 inches by 10.  Fold them in half and sew along the side leaving about a quarter inch.  Then turn them back right-side-in and iron flat with the seam in the middle.

Pinned Loops on main fabric
3.  Then I folded my blue material in half and laid it on the floor.  I cut open the fold so that I would have a straight cut and folded back one piece at the top.  Now I laid the red loops along the top of the material with the frayed ends hanging off the side of the blue material on the floor showing about an inch.  I pinned them loosely in place.  Then I folded the blue material back over the loops and added more pins. Finally, I sewed along the top leaving about a quarter to a half inch of blue material.  After you have made your seam, you can cut the rest of the loop ends also to a quarter inch. Now you can turn this piece of material inside out and lay it back on the floor.  With the loops on the top, it already looks like a curtain!   
Curtain on the floor

4.  At this point, I decided to add the automobile duvet piece of material to the curtain.  I ripped out the seams and then cut the material to fit.  Then I sewed in the bottom edge a quarter inch.  Finally, I sewed this piece upside down on the blue material about a foot from the top seam with the loops so that when it is folded back over it hangs like a second curtain over the blue one. 

Finished curtain
5.  I folded the blue curtain back inside out and laid it on the floor like in step 3.  Then, I took the rest of my bedroom curtain material and laid it on the floor underneath the blue curtain. I added this piece just for extra opacity.  I made sure everything was flat, pinned the edges, and then cut off any extra material sticking out.  I sewed around the entire edge, leaving only a little hole, about 8 inches, along one side.  Then I turned the whole curtain back right-side-in.
6.  At this point, the curtain looks a bit like a duvet cover.  In order to make it look more like a curtain, I sewed around the edges again and then sewed another seam a few inches from the bottom so that it looked like a hem. 

My duvet curtain was finished, which was good, because it was almost midnight and I was really tired.  I had tried to do this project during the day, but every time I laid the material on the floor, my kids thought it was something to play on.  Now I need to find the time to finish the other curtains…

Friday, May 4, 2012

Settled In

Lukas proudly standing outside.
 Although I will admit, there are still a few boxes which haven't been unpacked (and may never be opened. When did I accumulate so much stuff?), it's safe to say that we have finally settled in to our new place in northern Germany.

Traveling and living out of a suitcase for over two months was not easy and made me appreciate the concept of home even more.  I tried to keep the kid's routine as much as possible and brought as many of their security things, like blankies, toys, and books.  Nevertheless, it's tough living with other people all the time, no matter how loving they may be. I was so excited when we were finally able to move into our new house and even more overjoyed when our cargo finally made it over the ocean.

Jonas in front of the house on his trike.
I love our new place and it already feels like home. The kids love having a yard to play in and are determined to be outside come rain or shine.  It often showers, but the sun always seems to make it's way out after each one and everything here is amazingly green because of all that moisture. We are so close to the coast that we often see seagulls and the ocean is only a bike ride away.

I have to get a bike soon, because most of the mothers here use it as their primary source of transportation.  Jonas has already learned how to use his tricycle and I'm sure Lukas will have a Laufrad (a bicycle without wheels) soon as he mastered walking  by 11 months and seems unstoppable.

I can't wait to get started on all of the projects that I have had on hold for the last couple of months, but I still have a lot of organizing to do before I can start on a lot of them.  Thank you for your patience.  I look forward to bringing you more creative posts soon!