Wednesday, November 2, 2016

From Curtain Covers to Regal Repairs ~ A "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle ~ Entry #4


"She maketh herself coverings of tapestry..."
~ Proverbs 31:22 a

Welcome to another edition of a "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle! I am your hostess, JES :) If you haven't yet delved into the world of curtain covers, I am very happy to introduce you to them. They are the frugal decorator's best friend! All you need is an in-expensive spring-rod and some excess fabric (such as a tablecloth, curtain panel, flat sheet, you name it) and miracles are made! This concept was the solution to many-a-problem in our old farmhouse and can help to "remodel" many areas in your home. I am able to find beautiful fabrics in various forms at second hand stores for just a few dollars and these gems can transform! Like the Proverbs 31 woman before us, we can make-shift our own modern "coverings of tapestry" to embellish the humble parts of our home!

Here you see the author of this blog doesn't have a commercial kitchen! She makes do. The drawers wouldn't open well because they were warped so I removed two of the four and placed a large basket inside each remaining one. This took care of the problem and still gave me extra drawer space because of the deeper drawers the baskets allowed. The sink was 6 inches below standard size and we didn't have hot water for some time.

What makes this "shabby chic" is that you are able to hide the "eyesores" behind the curtains while introducing a pleasant print to your home decoration. For instance, our kitchen was barely a functioning kitchen when we moved onto the homestead. The one cabinet our sink had wouldn't open and close (without a lot of force) and was very undesirable to look at. We couldn't afford "new" anything so I simply removed the cabinet doors, inserted an old shower curtain rod across the area and hung a pretty panel I had. I didn't even sew it (it was safety pinned in place!).

5 years later, we were able to raise the sink (for which I am so thankful as my back was taking a beating), add hot water and purchase a new countertop. However, the cabinets were still out of the budget and so the curtain cover comes to the rescue again! As a side note, my hubby turned those difficult drawers into shelves for me. The third shelf lacks a basket that fits so a plastic tub sits there until something can be found frugally.

This is the same area in the kitchen (only painted) and with a different curtain cover! When I feel like a "remodel" or want to decorate with the seasons, all I need is a fresh piece of fabric to change the look of everything and with little or no cost!

Picture #1: This curtain cover hides a door which has a hole in it with an air conditioner sticking out! Yikes! I couldn't use a spring rod to cover it because there was no sill or ledge to brace it against. However, I found an old towel bar, painted it white and used that as my curtain rod. It isn't the perfect solution but it was free and keeps our room looking clean and tidy which is important to me.

Picture #2: You could see the white cafe curtain in the corner which hides our excess toiletries, toilet paper, bathroom cleaning supplies, etc. I allow the nicer items to be seen while hiding the rest behind the cover. What areas can use a bit of camouflage in your home to make it pleasing on pennies?

In our bathroom, there was an accordion closet door that did not function and it was quite creepy inside! Tearing out the accordion door cost nothing. A coat of paint inside gave it a fresh look. However, I didn't want everything in my bathroom "closet" showing so I curtained half of it off with a spring-rod and an old cafe curtain. It cleaned up the bathroom quite nicely and for just a few dollars (the price of the spring rod).

This storage table/shelf was made by my husband with leftover wood pieces found around the farm. I painted it white and added a spring rod. The curtain is a panel I found at a Goodwill Store for just a dollar. I simply folded it in half and pinned it in place. Cleaning buckets, rags and bulky laundry supplies are stored behind it. Any table can be made into a nice storage area with a clever curtain cover! 

In our first home, we repurposed an old-out-of-style-cast-off entertainment system that someone gave us (these can be found easily at thrift shops and garage sales). It was contemporary and I prefer the old fashioned look. However a storage piece of furniture is gold so I removed all the modern hardware and doors, painted it white, added an inexpensive spring rod across the top and hung a dainty white curtain over it. The end result was a pleasant "French country" pantry for my kitchen!

Using the same concept, book shelves can store items that aren't the prettiest to look at (such as your small kitchen appliances, cookie sheets, large stock pots, etc.) and can be covered with a curtain as well.

We have a large shelving unit of school work, plastic tubs of books, etc., that we store all our homeschooling "stuff" on. We placed a wire with a hook and eye across the whole wall and hung a flat sheet across to completely hide the storage and give the room a cleaner, less cluttered appearance.

When we couldn't afford a double door in one of our rooms, the spring rod/curtain system came to the rescue once again and separates the two areas. As you can see, curtain covers are the frugal solution for many home decorating problems!
"While I am a firm believer in less being more,
I am also an advocate of recycling rather than discarding..."
~ Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic

Moving on to the subject of "regal repairs"... I thought I was quite the thrifty housewife when I would find the best deals to replace what was no longer working.  What I didn't realize was the option to fix so many things, both big and small! This involves more than just the general repair of automobiles and appliances! My husband is such a blessing in this area (and was taught by his amazing mother -- you can read about her here) and I am constantly in awe at what he is able to do and think of to save us money. For instance, when we first moved into our home, we had two broken, hanging ceiling fans. My husband used the parts from both broken fans, put them together and created one working fan! Approx. savings $50 - 100.


Another example occurred during a very bad storm. A lightening bolt travelled through an electrical switch in our home and zapped my cell-phone charger which was plugged into it (our wiring is very old and probably way out of code). My mind was already thinking on the need to replace it when my husband started digging into our "electrical/computer cord" box that I keep of odds and ends. He pulled out an old charger from his old, damaged cell phone and spliced the zapped charger wire to the older functioning charger (this allowed us to keep the proper charging tip for our phone). A trip to the store was no longer necessary! This may have saved us only $8 (to some people's thinking) but continue reading to see how it grows! 


As I was clipping roses outside one lovely spring day, all of a sudden, the inspirational music was gone on my headset. To my dismay, I had snipped my cord along with the vine! I could have cried as it was a beautiful set of Bose headphones my husband had bought me as an anniversary gift many years ago! They were quite expensive and a normal splicing wouldn't work because the wires were fiber optic. He didn't give up, he purchased a mini-sautering kit (for less than $10) and after carefully putting the wires properly together here and there, and after many attempts, he was able to bring the sound back into the speakers! I wouldn't have replaced this as it wasn't a necessity but it kept the $150+ gift safe and sound!


Then there are the little things in life that add up. My plastic kefir strainer cracked last week (and "they" claim you must use plastic so as not to deactivate the grains). Hubby came to the rescue on the humble little strainer and another $3 was saved with just two small drill holes and a tiny piece of wire. A little here and a little there and you have saved much! Just the few examples shared here (both big and small) has earned us $210. Imagine a whole year of documented repairs!

"Simple industry and thrift will go far toward making any person of ordinary working faculty comparatively independent in his means. Almost every working man may be so, provided he will carefully husband his resources and watch the little outlets of useless expenditure. A penny is a very small matter, yet the comfort of thousands of families depends upon the proper saving and spending of pennies."


It is time for me to close this little chapter... I hope it encourages you to take a fresh look at your home and realize that most of those undesirable areas can be "covered" with a little bit of fabric and a lot of love. This creates a sweet patchwork of beauty and coziness for a "shabby chic" frugal farm lifestyle. And to maintain that lifestyle, before you begin to replace something in your home, try and think resourcefully about how it can be salvaged. We can be eager students of our pioneering and Depression Era ancestors with just a bit of creativity and ingenuity! These were the facts of life years ago and perhaps it is time to "rewire" our modern day thinking once again to those basic 5 R's... reuse, recycle, repair, resourceful and repurpose!


What about you? What inspiration can you share with us in the area of curtain covers and regal repairs?

Previous Posts in the Series:

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). Special thanks to Antique Images (for the first image) and The Graphics Fairy for the label.

38 comments:

  1. What an encouraging post, JES! Your making-do and your husband's repairs are more sightly than my own, but much is saved regardless. And what a treasure of wisdom your mother-in-law must be. I so enjoyed reading about her frugal ways. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. And thank you for reading! :) Have a wonderful week!

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  2. This is very helpful and inspiring, JES. Thank you!

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    1. I am so glad Laura! Thank you for stopping by here today! :)

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  3. You make everything more beautiful with your beautiful curtains. I can't wait to read more about your precious Mother-in-Law. I had to laugh a little at your snipping your head phones and your husband finding a way to get them together again. I accidentally snipped the cable lines a few years back -I do thank my husband for putting it all back together again with some cable he found at an estate sale! They are a blessing!

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    1. Oh dear! Your story makes me feel a bit better about my experience! Thank you for sharing Vickie! :)

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  4. I love the little kitchen baskets! I have been thinking about doing that with some of my kitchen drawers, since they, too are warped. It's funny that you mentioned using a sheet for curtains, because I have done that in the past! Although, I made sure to sew them well so it looked like an actual curtain!

    I recently made some bathroom window curtains using some old fabric my mother in law gave me. They turned out really well, and even my husband was impressed!

    Christina
    www.ourwoodhome.com

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    1. The baskets work out nicely Christina! Do try it! :) Your sewing projects sound wonderful! Isn't it amazing what a bit of fabric can do? I am able to find beautiful Ralph Lauren prints (via sheets) which are just lovely for a few dollars at second hand stores and it gives such prettiness to a room!

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  5. Hi Jes!

    I have set up embroidered cotton curtains to cover a bookshelf for my parents. I hung it on soft, plastic clothes line, which was tied around timber at the top ends of the shelf. This made nice presentation for a guest room. I have also used cast off curtains as a lovely insulating room divider. A simple hessian potato sack makes a rustic curtain for a small window, too!!

    As for regal repairs, in very windy weather, just taping cardboard inside internal door frames can work a treat to stop doors rattling, as can packing misshapen kitchen cupboard door snibs with aluminium foil! I notice that my husband sometimes fixes something by pulling it apart and putting it back together - that's all! When my plastic watering can just wouldn't be repaired, I punched nail holes in a large tin can, to scoop water out of a bucket. It works! It's a wonderful feeling!!

    Regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Your curtain cover ideas are excellent Rachel! The rustic curtain sounds darling too! I am picturing a small jar of flowers next to the window sill! :) And I agree, repairing is a wonderful feeling-- lots of satisfaction and savings each time!

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  6. What a fabulous post. I reeeeallly like your baskets and shelves in the kitchen. It might sound odd, but the removal of mechanical items brings a sense of grounding & wholesomeness (to me anyways.) The baskets are quiet and mobile as opposed to the rolling of drawers. We have lived with a "temporary" partial countertop for about 6 yrs. now. I think here within the next few months we will finally be replacing it:)

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    1. Thanks for commenting today! I have to admit I have grown attached to my baskets too! :) As far as temporary, how I understand that!!! But what gratitude we have for things when they finally get updated! I am still smiling over my raised countertop! I hope your upcoming project works out! :)

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  7. Way to go, folks! Are you my sister? And is your husband and mine brothers?! Wow, we're SO much alike!

    The instant we move into a place (this is our 22nd in 35 years), I remove the under-sink cabinet doors. This immediately eliminates what I call "Door Anger." Lol! In my current kitchen, another set of cabinet doors was too much of a bear to put stuff into/remove stuff from-- fragile things like dishes! Bye-bye, doors! I copied antique world maps and, using double-sided tape, "wallpapered" the interior of the cabinet. It's now an attractive showplace for all my white Corelle, and no door anger!

    The glass block across from our door-less walk-in closet was allowing too much Guam sunshine in. I feared it would fade our clothes, so my husband installed a $3 pair of rod holders near the ceiling on the closet frame and I used wood curtain rings with clips on them (thrift store, $2) to hang 3 yards of cream black-out vinyl. I stitched a length of wide eyelet trim along the bottom that I removed from a thrifted bed sheet I had used on another project. No fading clothes!

    More door anger from the sliding closet doors that conflicted with my clothes dryer's door. So, we removed the doors and, again, a curtain rod, more thrifted curtain rings with clips, and two white twin bed sheets my daughter had no more use for.

    I loved all your ideas! Shop the house! Remake and repair! Mend and make do! That's big savings!

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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    1. Wow, it does sound like our home's are twins! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful ideas with us! I love this kind of sharing :)

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  8. Great post Jes! I love that you make do with what you have. My hubby is the same way...he can fix anything. I thought I was getting a new dryer, as it kept breaking and each time, he's torn it apart, he fixes it with little to no cost... That right there saved us a ton. As a stay at home mom, I try to be as frugal as I can in all arenas, from cooking to remodeling something. Like you said sometimes a new curtain cover changes an entire room. I'm not much of a sewing gal and so thankful my MIL is.
    Thanks for sharing all your great frugal living ideas!
    Be blessed,
    Amy

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    1. Nice to hear from you Amy! Isn't it a blessing to have such handy husbands?! Like you, I am not much of a sewer but the beauty of these curtain covers is that a set of safety pins can do wonders! :) Have a lovely week!

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  9. I've done the curtain rod/fabric trick, so did my mom and granny. Timeless and beautiful. I love all the repairs rather than replacements. This is a very encouraging post. :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing Tammy! Grannies and mothers are always full of old fashioned inspiration! :)

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  10. I loved this post...so much inspiration and beauty! You have me contemplating using an old lace tablecloth to make kitchen curtains with now. :)

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    1. Oh absolutely! Those make the prettiest!!! :)

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  11. Like you I use to put old light blankets or curtains which have became too worn-out or ripped as little curtains-covers to put under the lowest shelves in my laundry-room and in my kitchen, and of course under the sink, as I've seen in your first shot ... well, I think that our homes are similar in so many things, don't you ?
    Thank you, darling Jes, for being so special, you're such a precious source of inspirations in so many 'matters' regarding homemaking, blessed be !

    Hope you're having the best of weeks,
    I'm sending hugs and ever much love to you

    Xx Dany

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    1. I certainly think so Dany :) Thank you for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment. Have a lovely week my friend!

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  12. I just love your sweet posts, JES. Especially the ones that are about being frugal and using what we have instead of buying more stuff. I love anything to do with minimizing and living simple. It is always such a dear blessing to see your posts in our inbox. Thank you for all you do!

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    1. Hello Cheryl and thank you for the encouragement! I hope your week is going well! :)

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  13. Lovely Jes. My husband is a fix it up kind of guy. I love pretty fabrics and think a tablecloth will also cover some truly ugly things very well. I throw a pretty kitchen towel over ugly appliances also. Xxx

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    1. Great addition about covering smaller appliances with a pretty tea towel! I love that idea! Thank you for sharing here today Annabel! :)

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  14. I always tell my Hubby to try to repair things first. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you tried. I love your ideas! And I'll be looking for deals on secondhand curtains now, too.

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  15. I am also into curtain covers and the make-do philosophy in running the household. What a joy it was to have read this post! Thanks, and I will be be visiting again...

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  16. Marvelous ideas, JES! I need to find a storage piece for my laundry room and I love your idea of painting a thrifted entertainment center, then adding a curtain. I'll keep my eyes open!
    Blessings, Leigh

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  17. This was quite encouraging to me. My old house is looking a little worse for the wear because of an extensive time of being busy outside the home. Two of my children are away this week, I have only one of my four at home. She's busy with her college work, so I think I'm going to clean, feather my nest, read, and sew!

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  18. Jes, your sweet home looks just beautiful. I love the use of fabrics throughout. Our kitchen cabinets I have repainted once, but they are in need of more paint and I do beieve I am going to try a fabric under the sink. Yours looks so cozy. Have a beautiful day!

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  19. You are inspiring me that I need to do more with curtains. Most of my windows are bare because I like to see outside, but I could still do something in other areas. :)

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  20. I love this post of yours. Such wonderful ways to make your house a home and more functional for you. Your home looked lovely! It's wonderful when things can be fixed or altered so they are still useful to us.

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  21. I read many blogs for decorating/crafting inspiration, but yours is the only one that I truly RELATE to. You don't call a $50.00 curio an "inexpensive" find, you work with what you have. I love you for that. Thanks for being who you are.

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    1. What a kind thing to say! Thank you! :)

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  22. Hi There, I love those ideas that you used for making the bare spots look really nice. I still will buy a pretty shower curtain or lace when at a thrift store as you never know where it might be used. I am all about using what I have! I think my favorite way of using a curtain and rod was when we took the glass out of our kitchen cabinets and I put lace coverings with material to hide what was in the cabinets!
    Hugs, Roxy

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  23. Hi Jes! The large hole in my kitchen cabinet (where a potato bin used to be) is screaming for a makeover! This is the perfect solution! Thanks for the inspiration!!
    Take care, Kipper ��
    www.onegracefilledlife.com

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    1. So glad! It sounds like a perfect fix! :)

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