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Drapery Cutting-The Quick and Easy Way


I had a really good weekend.  My former college roommate, Katie,  flew in for a visit and we had a great time.  We shopped.  We enjoyed tapas, sangria, red wine and stayed up past our bedtime.  We got pedicures and cooked together.  And of course talked and talked.  Which made me really wish we were not hundreds of miles and a plane ride away from each other.

And took absolutely no pictures.  Even after I made a point to say “We need need to take tons of pictures this weekend because we got 0 last time”

Just picture us having an amazing time.

We also had numerous “wow we are getting old” moments.  Maybe it is because 30 is in the not too distant future.  Or maybe it is because we have both recently have moved from the city to the ‘burbs.  Or maybe it is the glaring differences in how we used to hang out and how we spend our time together now. 

But the point of this post is not to bore everyone with reminiscing.  I really do have a point.

As part of being “old” we spent some time making drapery panels for Katie’s new house.  We spent a half of day picking out the fabric and got five new lined panels banged out in just a couple of hours.

Which led Derek to ask why it has taken me months to finish our panels in the kitchen.


She picked out three great fabrics for each panel…..a deep gray, and orange stripe and an orange and gray pattern.   Of course again no pictures, but I made her swear to email me some as soon as they are hung in her house.

Katie is a beginning sewer and has just completed a couple of pillows.  So when I showed her my trick for incredibly fast fabric cutting she was amazed it went so fast. 

And so was Derek….because again those dang  kitchen panels.

This tip is not going to be anything new to experienced sewers out there, but i wanted to share it with everyone that is just starting to make an easy drapery panel on their own.  Because I wish I knew this with my first panels.

Quick and Easy way to Measure and Cut Drapery Panels

1. Find a square flooring surface in you house.  This could be a tile or wood floor.  Or even a carpet beginning/ending point in a wide doorway.  Or even a wall if you don’t have anything else.

2. Figure out how long you want you drapery panels to be and measure it out from your beginning edge.  Mark that spot with a piece of tape.  Scoot a little bit down and repeat to make sure you tape line is even.


3. Stretch out the fabric from your tape line to your original square line on the floor.  If you are on wood or tile, line up the fabric with a line in the floor to make sure you are straight.


4. Cut right along the edge that you know is square.


5. Repeat with the other panels.

And you should have them cut in just a couple of minutes and ready to sew.  Quick right?

Just ask Derek about the kitchen.

Ode to Overstock


The UPS/FedEx/mail men were among my favorite people this week.  They just kept bringing boxes of goodies.  Not all the boxes are ready to be revealed, but a couple are unpacked and up and running.

When we last left the dining room ceiling saga, I was stumped with what to do.  And out of my list of options, most of you picked Derek’s option of adding the white edging so that the colors looked more similar.

dining room ceiling fun

Derek would like to thank everyone for voting for him.  He reads the blog, but usually does not mention much about it except “do you want me to take pictures of this while I am doing it?”  But on the day on the dining room post I got a call at work making sure that I was not missing the comments that people were agreeing with him.

So I did it.

And it took awhile.

And again it looked great during the day, but at night it looked even worse.  The white of the crown molding and the white of the ceiling looked like completely different colors even though they were the exact.same.paint. 

Very very frustrating.

So at this point, I knew I had to do something about the light fixture since the yellow globes were the main problem.

I bought some other non-yellow globe options and honestly some of them were OK.  But to replace all the globes was going to cost over $70 and for that amount of money I decided I would rather move that light fixture to another location and get a new one for the dining room.

(I apologize for the lack of pictures of the globes….Derek had the new light fixture installed while I was out with friends and did not realize I had not done it yet.  I couldn’t be upset with him because he was installing a light fixture while I was getting a pedicure,  Guess he made up for the whole everyone liking his idea thing.)

Anyway enter overstock and this beauty.


Love the bling.


And while the space is not a total after yet, the ceiling and light is finally finished.


Even at night…..


My other overstock love landed right outside the dining room in the entryway. 

We have had this rug from our prior house in the entryway since we moved in.  It was not bought for the space and no longer fits the style of our house.  Even Derek agreed we needed something new.


I wanted to keep this size rug however for a couple of reasons.  The floors are orange of course and are really beat up in the entryway.  Also when the dogs are running down the stairs at full speed and hit a bare hard wood floor they go flying and further damage the floor.  Hence the need for a big rug.

We tried the IKEA rug in the space and it was too busy and did not flow from the style of the dining room.


Again Overstock to the rescue with this baby….


Love it.  I think the colors and style are perfect.


Now off to open up the other boxes. 

And never paint another dining room ceiling again.

Pumpkin Yumminess


Fall decorating has been a major fail at our house this season.  Other than the wreath I busted out of the basement to stick on the front door, fall has stayed in the box.

Is is not that I don’t love fall or am not inspired this year.  Because I do and I am.

I think it has more to do with working on other projects ( like the should be done in a single night and yet never ending dining room ceiling project) and the flu getting the best of me. 

But my fall decorating difficulties have not banished pumpkin from the kitchen (before I got sick of course….no germ infested baked goods here).

First up was a pumpkin gingerbread quick bread.


It was super easy and oh so good.  And double bonus….it froze incredibly well.  So a couple of weeks later we were able to enjoy it all over again.

Here is the recipe (from


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.


And the pumpkin did not stop there.

I also whipped up a pumpkin cream cheese dip. 


Again more yumminess.  And by whipped up I threw it together in 7 minutes as I was running out the door to an work thing I had to bring something to.  And I forgot about it until that evening. 

But I don’t think it was obvious I threw it together.  And it was the perfect fall appetizer.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  1. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving.

Again from

Any other great pumpkin recipes out there?  Something has to feel like fall around here.

Potholder Demons


Once upon a time there was a demon that lived in my old sewing machine.

And because of this demon, I was not able to make decent potholders no matter how much seam ripping was involved.  And let’s just say the seam ripper has never got quite the workout that the potholders provided.

Which was really embarrassing…because come on they are potholders.  Just like a tiny quilt block.  So should not be hard or complicated.  But it was and my potholders sat in the growing unfinished project pile, a victim of the sewing machine demon.  For months….

Until now….



Inspired by the new sewing machine, I was convinced that it had to be demons of the old one that were causing my failure.  Because it certainly could not have been my sewing skills.

Well it was a little of both.  The sewing machine helped immensely and at the Creative Connection, Kim and I took a class from Camille.  She gave me some pointers about what I was stupidly doing wrong.

Which I am not going to mention here because, well, they really were stupid mistakes.  Just trust me about that.  And learn from me…if something is repeatedly not working correctly, ask someone for help before ditching it in the unfinished projects stack.  Because after Minnesota, I came home with these….



So now that the potholder demon is gone, I can move on to other projects.  Like sewing large numbers of really boring drapes.  Or start the Christmas presents I swore last year while I was binding a quilt at 2am on December 24rd that I would begin in July.

Or I could always start on something more fun.  Like this……


I know what I am thinking…..

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Preserved Peppers


I have mentioned that no matter how many tacos we make, we cannot possibly use all the Anaheim and Jalapeño peppers that our two plants were producing.

I used this picture to illustrate my point…


And put all those peppers in the fridge to wait until the next batch was ready and figure out how to preserve all of them.


I think we won’t be planting these types of peppers next year.  Because we will have enough in the freezer to kick out the ice cream and popsicles.

This was just the second batch…pepper preserving

pepper preserving

pepper preserving

Since I don’t have a pressure cooker to can them….freezing was my main option.

I used a couple of approaches.

First the easy way….wash them , dry them and stick in a marked plastic bag before throwing it in the freezer.

pepper preserving

Rocket science. 

But I have to admit this was my favorite way.

The most time intensive method included de-seeding and slicing them up before putting them into the cuisinart.  Then chop them into itty bitty bits.

And spread into an ice cube tray.

pepper preserving

After a day in the freezer these cute pepper cubes popped right out.



In my mind, I will use my pepper cubes more frequently in recipes and stir fry's because all the work is already done.  At least that is what I was trying to convince myself of after chopping and deseeding for an hour.

And if I am being totally honest the bag of whole peppers going into the freezer got more friends in there as the chopping time marched on.

But the important thing is, they are all safely tucked in the freezer for our enjoyment…for a long time.

Actually the most important thing is that you wear gloves while you are chopping jalapeños.  I did.  And even then some of the hotness snuck in and the skin next to my fingernails was burning for a week.   Which was really difficult when I wanted to wear contacts. 

A random tip?  Know how you are supposed to drink milk when your mouth is on fire?  Well my fingers were burning so bad that a stuck them in  a bowl  of milk.  And it worked.  Not long term, but it provided relief for an hour or so before I dinked them again.

So be careful with the gloves.  Because that is a little weird to do when you are at work. 

Not that I know.

It all Started With Poker Night and a Little Wine


And ended up with another in progress project.

dining room ceiling fun

Let me back up.  You see the dining room ceiling has been bugging me for awhile. 

We started with this and I am sure that you can understand why it was the one of the first things to be painted.


I am not sure why I filled in the paint colors exactly how the previous owners did on the decorative aspect of the ceiling.  Obviously they were not expert interior designers.  At least not in this decade.  Early 90’s maybe.

But that is what I did, using one shade deeper on the color strip on the ceiling.


After living with it for awhile, I did not like how the crown molding was not prominent and there was too much white up there.  However, there were other projects to do and Mr. “We need to finish everything we are doing before we start something new” did not think it was a priority to change.

That is where poker night came in.

I has spent the entire day sewing drapery panels for the kitchen.  And they were not finished so I was feeling like starting something new and Derek was gone for a couple of hours.  See where this is going?

So with my trusty side kick of red wine, I emptied the dining room, taped the molding, halfway tarped the carpet (it already has major battle scars so I am impressed I tarped at all), and broke out the wall color to apply to the ceiling.

I told myself it would only take an hour and I am happy to report that I was correct.  I would just move all the furniture back in and he would not even notice.

Except I don’t know if I like it.  Ehhhh…

During the day it is OK….

dining room ceiling fun

dining room ceiling fun

But at night the darker ceiling looks really blue and the lighter color looks more gray/green.  And does not look like it matches at all.

dining room ceiling fun

dining room ceiling fun

You can tell he is really loving that I am iffy on my new project.  Especially since all the dining room furniture  is blocking the stairs and front door currently.  So much for being stealthy.

And I could leave it because it is OK.  But it was just OK the last time and it has brought us me back to repainting.  I see myself trying to eat my turkey at Thanksgiving but not enjoying myself because I can’t get over that the ceiling colors don’t match.

So my other options-

a) change the globes on the light fixture because I think it is their yellowness that is causing the issue.

b) change the color of the inset….like a metallic pearl or silver

c) Derek’s idea, paint the vertical part of the inset white so that the two colors are not next to each other and therefore do not look so different at night

d) ????

I am open for other ideas because I am officially stumped. 

And annoyed because I while I was painting I was already writing this post in my head.  Except it had a better ending.  Like- I love it! It did not cost a cent!  Derek was so surprised that I totally completed a project in a couple of hours.  Go forth and paint your ceilings because it is so much fun!

Oh well.