Monday, July 07, 2014

In the Bathroom with Power Tools

Our bathroom windows need help

Our upstairs bathroom has casement windows and curtains that came with the house.  They were nice curtains back in 1999 when we moved in, but have since literally shredded with age.

Also, traditional curtains on traditional rods don't work well with old fashioned casement windows.

This has been annoying me for fifteen years
 and I'm not talking about the view of our neighbors' house.

Almost the moment we moved in, I added "do something about the bathroom curtains" to my to-do list, but there was always something more pressing, and before the days of online shopping, swing arm curtain rods were hard to find.  They are also expensive.   Two years ago, I decided to get serious about the bathroom curtains, as they had deteriorated so badly we were draping pillowcases over the curtain rod so people couldn't see in at night.  I bought fabric.  I put off buying the curtain rods until a few weeks ago, when I finally ordered the cheapest ones I could find from amazon.  They are staggeringly expensive.

This weekend, I installed the rods and sewed the curtains.  Curtains are the easiest thing to sew, but installing the rods was a bitch.  It's not complicated, but I chose a too-small drill bit and then I got two of the screws stuck in the holes and Seamus had to help me wrench them out again and then they were stripped, so I had to find substitute screws.  Jon was at work while I did this.  I have a thing about taking on projects while he is away, so I can say, "Ta da!  Look what I did!"  when he gets home.

So the curtains are finished and I am pleased.  No more covering the shredded bits with pillow cases; no more awkwardness about opening the windows.  The fabric is seersucker, and the pink color is cheerful and imparts a rosy glow to the light in the bathroom.  Jon and the kids have all commented on how much better they are.

Also this weekend, I made this hideously ugly but highly serviceable oven mitt.  It used to be my favorite sweater, but I deliberately shrunk it to prevent myself from wearing it to work and trying to hide the elbow holes by rolling up the sleeves.  Felted wool is the best material for oven mitts.  I had to sew most of it by hand because my sewing machine told me fuck off and jammed itself repeatedly until I promised to never make it sew through three layers of felted wool again.  I used it while baking bread in a 475 degree oven, and felt no heat at all.

No thumb, but check the jaunty fur cuff!
So that's two things from the to-do list finished and another weekend passes.


  1. Hanging curtain hardware is not to be underestimated. You are a rock star. Well done!

  2. The curtains look lovely. I like the idea of using a pink to impart a rosy glow.

    I had no idea that felted wool is so great for oven mitts. Did you come up with your own pattern? Is there anything special one needs to know? (Other than to hand sew, since sewing machines hate felted wool in layers?_

    1. Felted wool is flame resistant, and if it's thick enough, will not let you get burned. I didn't have a pattern, but just cut rectangles out of my sweater (after felting it in the washer and dryer) and sewed them together. I used two layers for the front of the mitt, and included the pocket from the sweater, for an extra layer of wool. So that's three layers of wool between my hand and the hot pan. My sweater did not felt as firmly as I would like. With a thicker yarn, more tightly felted, you would probably need only two layers of wool.

  3. Your before curtains reminded me of my living room shades, which are cheap plastic and every time the bottoms rip or shred off I chop them level with scissors. But I have cut so much off over 20 years that I am going to have to break and get new shades soon!

  4. The new curtains look wonderful! Again, I am in awe of your skill, especially at installing things with Moving Parts, such as swing arms. And you are so clever and creative to make an oven mitt out of an old sweater.