Have you ever seen this bumper sticker?
In recent years, with no children, pets, or elderly people in my house to clean up after, I haven’t had to spend as much time with housekeeping as I once did. I clean what needs to be cleaned but don’t worry about the general appearance of the place. These days, free time is usually Writing Time, not the formerly coveted Time to Get Things Done Around The House I’ve Been Neglecting.
Yesterday and today, I had two nice blocks of Free Time. Woo hoo! You’d think I might get some serious writing done, wouldn’t you? Nope. On this occasion, I made curtains.
(Note: as you’ll see from the photos [aren’t you proud of me for taking pics?], no one will EVER come to me for decorating advice!)
We replaced the basement windows last year. Because the old windows went below ground level, we put in smaller ones to prevent rainwater leaking in. The installer filled in the space beneath the new window with concrete block. Which isn’t real attractive, as you can see.
As you may know, I don’t like curtains. I like to let the light in and to see outside. Curtains and drapes are annoying to work with, expensive, and overall a pain in the neck. On the other hand, though, they’re good for keeping people outside from seeing in, and they also block cold in the winter as well as heat in the summer. So I grudgingly use them.
Except, ordinarily, in the basement. But because these funky new windows are ugly, it makes sense to cover them. (The little insert of paneling above the windows, as you can see in the picture above, fits the “funky and ugly” description too. But I’m not sure what to do about that.)
So, yesterday, I measured the window openings and figured how much fabric I’d need. Then I went to Surplus City and bought some inexpensive but kind of cute almost-eyelet (I say “almost” because the holes are embroidered but not actually cut out). It’s actually a nice bright white, but you can’t tell that from the photo. I thought it would be a cheery way to cover the weird window openings.
And it is, I guess. But at the store, I neglected to take into account that the fabric was single layer on a roll rather than the usual double layer on a bolt. And so — oops! — I only bought half the amount I needed. Which meant I had to go back today and buy some more. No problem, as Surplus City is only about a mile away.
The project is done now, and I made curtains for five windows — the tally includes a valance for the window on the basement door — for $30. And they turned out okay! Though not a great seamstress, I’m better at sewing than I am at photography. I’m sure there’s a way to take pictures of bright windows in a dark basement, but it didn’t seem important enough to mess around with it.
My other project today involved a domestic activity I practice more frequently than sewing: cooking. Or, in this case, bread-baking. Remember my post last month about the Italian flour? (If not, go read it!) Well, we’re having a cook-out at the church tomorrow, and I thought it might be fun to make Craig some hamburger and hot dog buns. So I alternated my time between the bread dough in the kitchen and the sewing machine at the dining room table.
I used a recipe for dinner rolls but reduced the amount of sugar slightly, as the rolls seem a little on the sweet side. I looked online for recipes to give me some guidance (how long do you make a hot dog bun? do you cut out hamburger buns with a round cutter, or do you just shape them with your hands?), and gave it a whirl. The instructions I found said to make the hot dog buns 4.5 inches long, but I think next time (if there is a next time) I’ll make them longer, because they don’t seem big enough. I tried using a biscuit cutter on some of the hamburger buns and shaping others. The ones I cut turned out nicer.
One recipe had you brush melted butter on top before baking; another recommended beaten egg; and one said to sprinkle the tops with poppy seeds, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. So I brushed the tops with butter and coated some of the buns with the seasonings. They don’t look too bad now that they’re baked (I didn’t take of picture of the finished product, sorry), they smell heavenly, and I’m looking forward to trying them tomorrow.
But next time I have a few hours to myself, maybe I’ll actually do some writing!