Friday, February 05, 2010

It's Coitins!

Finally done, It's curtains. This was one of those deceptive tasks that thinking about, even looking at now, should only take 30 minutes to fabricate. Nope. They took forever. This photo was taken at night so I could post now but it doesn't show how fun having cafe curtains hanging on a branch with metal acorn brackets looks in person. Photos below hint at what took so long.

Cirelle kicked things off on her last visit. She sewed the pale pink fabric with perfect hems all around. The next day I stitched in pleats and used white coated wire in a secret pocket all along the bottom hemline and on each vertical edge.

Talking it out while Cirelle was here, I decided that the branch curtain rods should be hung on brass acorn brackets. I thought they'd keep with the natural theme but also look like normal home furnishings too. First I pried caps from wooden acorns selecting the best defined scales, and glued them on store bought wooden spindles. I made enough for both cottage windows while I was at it to save time.

I used Rub-n-Buff gold metallic wax to apply a metal base color (I used my fingers, even though I believe the product is toxic, because I wanted to get the wax into every crevice. Not smart. Next time I'd use gloves for health and an easier hand clean up.) Then I hit the brackets with strong walnut ink mixture to stain the recesses of the caps and to tone down the bright gold. I used my special non-tox metallic wax pastes in warm gold to hit the high points and warm up the gold to more of a brass. I added a nail to the stem end of them and used a glob of wood glue to secure them to drilled holes in the kitchen wall. Far right, you see a finished bracket holding up the sprouting branch curtain rod.

To make easy uniform cafe curtain rings, I wound black iron wire around my chosen size dowel enough times to make the needed 14 rings and snipped them off with tin snips. I have learned from jewelry making that you NEVER open ring ends away from each other as it ruins the roundness. Instead use two small pliers to slide the ends sideways, as shown above, to open and close around the rod. They stay nice and round that way. I dyed tiny brown gingham ribbon yellow to match the decor better and used small satin cording at each pleat to embellish the spots where the rings were attached with thread.

For the rod/branch, I found in the materials pile an old Bonzai tree branch that had the right amount of zigs and zags I wanted so it looked like a scale tree branch. I started by gluing small preserved greenery to the nubs to make it look as though the branch were sprouting. In the end I wanted fewer, yet larger leaves so I painted some dried leaves I had and attached them to the smaller twigs I had already glued on. I used small patches of rice paper and glue to secure each final leaf, like papier mache, because I didn't want the leaves to pop off with glue alone. I painted the Frankenbranch to blend together. Bottom right, you can see a close up of the curtains hanging on the finished rod.

Another item off THE LIST! Onward! Cirelle is due tomorrow. We plan to tackle the living room curtains. This time two layers, no rings, and tie backs! Good night!
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