Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Information Sites for Drapery Insulation

Design Sewlutions: R-Value and Drape Insulation  
The  Sensible House Project: Keeping Heat in (or out)
Interior Mall; Warming Up to Drapery Linings; Cheryl Strickland
University of Wisconsin Extension; Energy Conserving Window Treatments; James W. Buesing;
Smart Energy Living: Window Coverings

Thermal Insulated Curtains:A guide to energy efficient window coverings
D.O.E. Energy Savers: Window Draperies;

What kind of Curtains Keep Cold Air Out?

Are Lined Curtains the Same as Thermals:

Energy Efficiency of Insulated Curtains

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toolbox for Christmas

A few weeks ago I was at my niece’s home, getting to know my new great-nephew. I offered to install the curtains in his room and asked for a screwdriver. I got the Leatherman. I got the job done --- yeah to Leatherman --- but later, when I asked my niece where her tool box was, she said she didn’t have one because everyone ‘borrowed’ her tools and didn’t return them. I knew then what she was getting for Christmas.  
So off I went to my favorite afternoon pass-time: wandering the isles of the big-box hardware store. I found a tool box from Stanley, no less, for $7.50 and started to fill it up.
Ladies: if you want a tool box for Christmas, leave this article lying around. Circle the title. 
Guys: If you want to be a hero, buy some lady in your life a tool box full of useful stuff and then leave it alone. 
What I put in Jet’s tool box:
A 25-foot tape measure that is easy to read and at least one inch wide.
A small level.
A short-handle full-size hammer. They are great, fit into the tool box and don’t weigh a ton.
A multi-head, long bit screwdriver. 
A small saw with a blade guard.
A fabric tool belt.
A package of dry-wall screws.
A package of assorted screws. This may be a bit mickey-mouse but these packages work well for someone who is just learning, or who only needs a few screws every once-in-awhile.
Pliers, needle-nosed pliers, linesman pliers, crescent wrench, side-cutter and scissors.
2-sided tape, masking tape, painters tape, packing tape, duct tape and scotch tape.
A pencil, pencil sharpener, push pins, a fine tipped Sharpie, a package of elastic bands.
A ruler.
A disappearing fabric marking pencil.  Great for marking walls; the marks are gone after a few hours. 
A package of the picture hanging hook things. Called a drywall hook. They really work and only make a tiny hole in the wall.
The only things missing are a 2-battery rechargeable drill and a stud finder. I think someone else can buy her that for Christmas. I had so much fun getting everything together and  I didn’t want to wait to hear her reaction, so I sent it to her today. I know no-one will dare touch this tool box. 


Imagine (now just bear with me for a moment) a man dressed in a smashing navy blue suit, crisp white shirt and a classic red tie. Perfect color usage proportions. The ensemble looks pleasing and balanced. Why? The 60-30-10 guideline. ( No rules, remember, we have “guidelines”). The main color in a color scheme should appear on 60 percent of the surfaces, the secondary color on 30 percent and the accent or metal color on the remaining 10 percent. 
This proportion works for clothing and equally as well when designing interiors.  
Most modern color schemes are two colors, maximum. So, the main color should appear on the walls, drapes, floor and major piece of furniture; on about 60 percent of the room surfaces. Variations on color is fine as long as the color stays true; for example: soft gray walls, wood flooring with a gray undertone, drapes that pick up the wall color and a charcoal leather sofa.  Shades (black added to the color) and tints (white added) are OK as long as you stay on the true color. Textures are good.
The coordinating color should appear on 30 percent of the surfaces - the accent upholstered pieces, the side chairs for example, and as an evident color in any prints or patterns. Think area rug. Once again, stay true to the color, no mixing blue-reds with orange-reds unless you really mean to. 
Use the remaining 10 percent for the metals or, if you are opting for a 3-color scheme, as the main color in the accessories such as cushions and lamps. 
There you go. It really is that simple.  But, please, please, please, remember that this is a guideline. If you want the room to be all purple, then you just do it and be happy in your space. Do not allow anyone else to tell you what is right and wrong in your cocoon. 
We had an absolute blast yesterday in the workroom. Five of us made dressforms - replicas of our own torsos for use in garment sewing and fitting. These are 3 of them. 
( Left - in progress.     Right - just after being removed.       They still have some work to be done on them.)

DIY Window Insulation

I had to turn on the heat in my house last week. Here we go again. So, broken record me, it’s time to talk winter and the effect the weather has on  the heating bill. Did you know that between 10 and 30 percent of your heating bill is going out your windows? Would you like to reduce that amount by at least 50 percent without replacing the windows?  Here’s how to DIY your way to a warmer house without custom made anything.
Understand, first of all, that the key is layering. Just as layering clothing is the key when going outside in winter, layering the window coverings  is what needs to happen to keep the winter cold from meeting the warm of the room. The best insulating drape has at least three layers: the face fabric, a flannel interlining and a blackout back lining.  Create the same effect with two curtain rods, each carrying one or more curtains. If you have blinds on the windows, layer in front of them for the  same effect.
First step: Attach blackout lining panels to the back of existing drapes.  If your drapes hang on drapery pins you are in luck, most pre-made panels have loops at the top that slip over the pins. You need to purchase enough panels to equal the flat width of the window only plus a bit for ease.  If your drapes do not have drapery pins, use small  safety pins to attach to the back of the drape.  
Second step: Install a small profile curtain rod just under and slightly behind the existing one. On this rod install some semi-sheer drapes. Choose a neutral color so they blend into the wall and shop at the local fabric store, or online for super deals on panels. Choose panels that have pinch pleats and hang on the rod by pins. Overlap each edge by a few inches. 
Third step: Install an insulating layer behind the sheers. Purchase  super-wide cotton quilt batting the same width as the window, turn the top edge over and, again, use a safety pin to attach them to the drapery pins of the sheers. If  you are a bit handy, put button holes equidistant across the top, or put in small grommets. 

When spring happens, remove the insulating and blackout layers and replace them in the fall when the weather changes again. I know the safety pin thing may bother some, but it works, is inexpensive and no-one but you will know they are there.

Rules and Guidelines

Just after the long weekend, a friend said she had quit wearing white for the year because the fashion rule is no white after Labour day.  When we were talking I was wearing my summer uniform: white capris and a white sleeveless blouse. Ten days later I was on the beach; in my mind, summer was not over.  Guidelines are not rules. Here are some  home decor “rules” that are silly and should be ignored, and some guidelines that you can use insead. 
Rule: End tables must match.   
Guideline: Match the era or style of end tables;  match the visual weight and mood; or match the tables, the choice is yours. 
Rule: Wall, door and window trim must be white or natural.
Guideline: If the trim is a focal point of the room, and you want to draw attention to it, paint it a color that contrasts with the walls and floors. If you want it to blend into the wall or floor, paint it a similar color.
Rule: Windows must be covered, or at least have a valance.
Guideline: Decide what you need and proceed from there.  Just because you have a window does not mean you have to cover it. If you install a valance just for the sake of putting something over the window, it will probably look like you put something up just for the sake of putting something up.
Rule: All wood in a room must match. 
Guideline:  Try to limit the different woods to 3, and use wood no more than 5 times in one room. If the table and floor are the same wood, both loose some definition; varying the woods creates interest.
And the grand-daddy of all:
Rule: Wood must never be painted.
Guideline: Do what you want to do but remember that unless the wood is of exceptional quality, is unusual, or very old, paint may be more interesting and more suited to your lifestyle and decor than natural colored wood. Take a moment and think back to the oak-in-every-corner era of the early ’90’s. Enough, already. 
Now for the silly rule of the week award, thanks to MJ at Shuswap Pie Company:
I overheard her explaining to staff which bakery items are HST-able and which are not. The rules say that a cinnamon roll without icing is not taxable. With icing it IS taxable. Yeesh.

Catch up

The column on bamboo generated a bit of buzz. I have been asked several times for a source for the socks and except for the lady at the Caravan Farm Theatre Sunday Market, I couldn’t find any local store selling 100 percent bamboo socks. I’m trying to track down the number for the lady from the markets but here  are a few Internet shops I found.  I e-mailed the Ontario source for more information, as their website seems to be a bit flaky, but haven’t heard back from them yet. If anyone finds a supplier, please let me know. Dribamboo.com (Florida) Dharmatrading.com (San Franscisco)  Kindhands.com (Ontario)
I will be doing a dress form workshop in my workroom on Saturday October 15. Participants will make an exact replica of their own torso and get the plans for a stand for ‘her’. This is an excellent tool for any dressmaker.  If you have ever sewn with a customized dress form, you know how easy it is to make good- fitting garments for yourself. I have one shoulder quite a bit higher than the other and making a suit jacket without a form is just asking for trouble. How do I know?? Guess...  It takes about 3 hours to complete a form and there will be no charge for the workshop itself, just for the supplies. Call me 250-833-1120.
Here is an interesting update on the on-going shade cord issues in the U.S. At a recent meeting of the U.S. Window Coverings Manufacturers and the Consumer Advocacy 
Group tasked with finalizing the manufacturing standards for shaded window coverings, talks broke down with the Advocacy group leaving the meeting, citing the Manufacturers for ‘not listening’.  I imagine they also had a problem with the fact that those who will be manufacturing the products are writing the new rules. (Rather like the coyote designing the hen-house security system).  Statistically, one child a month dies in the U.S. from strangulation on shade cords; it would be nice to get the regulations finalized. I know it’s the U.S. but the word we get from the Canadian government is that we will be adopting the U.S. regulations, so I hope these groups smarten up and sort this out.  In the meantime, I continue to make Roman shades, following the interim regulations, with no exposed lift cords.