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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Category Archives: Family

This week has been a week of traditions for me. Alan left for a trip with several students on Sunday night, while in the mean time I wrap up the end of Christmas and the year reflecting on all that has come and gone.

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If you are interested, I have included links for our past year reflections. Not sure what happened in 2011. Ha!

2010

2012

2013

2014

Before I begin, I must admit something I noticed about this year. I have hardly used my real camera. It’s not really surprising, because of several reasons. One I started working more, and therefore have less “free” time. Two, the camera on my phone is a lot more convenient. No matter, I have also noticed what I take a lot of pictures of, and have decided to be more purposeful in what I capture in 2016.Also my phone broke in the summer so I lost my photos that I didn’t back up. Thanks to IG I have a few of them saved.

January: To start the new year, we were on our way back from a fantastic trip to Colorado for Christmas. My family met together to celebrate my parents’ 50 Anniversary and first Christmas together in almost 30 years. There are 7 of us kids, so it’s hard to all get together. We made a brief trip to visit my aunt and uncle in the flat top mountains. Although it was extremely cold, we love the gorgeous views and 18 inches of snow on the ground. We spent New Years Eve crammed in a hotel room on our return home. That is after spending 5 hours that morning traveling and then realizing my phone was lost on the flat top mountains where it fell out while I was taking pictures with my real camera. What a way to end 2014!!! As I looked through all my pictures, the only one I have from January is the one below. I had bought a set of 4 view finders and the disks for less than $2 and my kids loved it. For a couple of days. Well worth the 2 bucks.

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February: Is always a busy time with Valentines and other school activities. Alex was in a play at school. Tori got her glasses for the first time. 3 of 5 kids had the flu, one of which had to be taken to the ER because she was dehydrated. Fun times at the Bandy house! About this time our dog had chewed up my Bible I had since I was in college. I cried for 2 days. However, about the same time I had discovered Illustrated Faith and Bible Journaling. Alan had gotten me a journaling Bible (at a great cyber deal) for Christmas and so a new personal adventure began. Alan began to fill in as Interim at a church near by.

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March: Usually with warm weather, although it can still snow, we begin to spend time out and about more. Spring Break always falls in March for us. Alex was turning 16 this year, and had been planning a big weekend for her sweet 16. I took her and several of her close friend to Nashville for a long weekend. It was a fast, all girls, shop til you drop and stay up late fun time. I’m sure it’s one she won’t ever forget. A dear friend of mine found out she had cancer, which is never an easy or good time.

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April: This month is kind of a blur. I’m not going to lie. Easter is always a  very full weekend for me with the nature of my job. This year we hosted a large event, and made it bigger by creating what we called “A Family Passion Week Journey.” With that out-of-the-way, the end of the school year began to wind down. We had tons of showers & birthday parties, as well as play rehearsals, land runs, and field trips.

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May: May began with a bang. The large play at the High school was the first two weekends. We had major rain storms that dropped 8+ inches in an hour. Dance recital. End of school awards. Before I knew it the month was coming to a close as well as the school year. Alan took the older two kids to TX for Comicon, which was a first for all three. They had a great time! I believe somewhere in this time, Alan received Tenure at his job.

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June: During this month, Josiah was only home for one week. He had a couple of camps, plus spent some time with a friend. Tori went to her first camp with the church. My parents’ moved from the state they lived in the longest, after retiring, to a much closer state to us. Honestly, June was a bit of a blur. It was a down time to relax and enjoy the summer. Because Kiki’s birthday was at the end of the school year, we had her birthday party in June. I went for the old school at home, let the kids play with very little planned style. All we had planned was decorating cakes. It was fantastic.  At the same time I had also begun to work more. My dear friend had surgery to remove her cancer, and because we worked together, I began to help fill in while she was in recovery.

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July: Always begins with a bang. Ha-I’m so punny. We celebrated in our tradition by going to Pops. (A little burger joint on Rt 66.) Alex took driver’s ed. VBS was a huge success. Then we went on a late vacation at the end of the month. After having a nice visit with Doc and Hunny for a few days, we headed on down to the beach. I had done a little research and found out that sea turtles began to hatch about the time that we would be on vacation. Our first night there at dinner we were talking about what we would like to do at the beach. I told everyone that I wanted to watch baby sea turtles hatch. That night, Alan took the kids to the beach to catch ghost crabs and I stayed behind with the little one. He called me almost right away, because they came to a nest of hatching turtles. The rest of the week was full of them We were between two nests that hatched every night. It was an amazing time to turn 40.

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August: I don’t like taking a vacation so late in the summer because when we return we hit the ground running. The kids always begin the school year mid-August. During August, we also went down to help my parents move in to their new home.

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September: Looking at the calendar, September was a quiet month for us.  Kiki got her first pair of glasses. The kids were in full swing at school. I was still working more hours at work. Uneventful is always a good thing.

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October: This month began with Alex in One Act (which is a competition play) with school. During Fall Break we decided to take the kids camping for one night to unplug and make some memories. Only three of the kids dressed up for Halloween, which as a mom is kind of sad. Alan’s mom ended up being very sick, and so we began to make plans for her to finally move in with us. When we bought this house, it was knowing that one day we would need to help give her more care. It was good to see long-term plans begin to occur, although  seeing your loved ones ill and aging is not always easy.

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November: It’s kind of funny for me to look at my calendar for November and see barely anything written on it. I know it was full, because everyday is full. I love all the sweet blessings that our family brings and means. In our fullness there is joy. It doesn’t mean that it is easy or fun, but making everyday count is what life is all about.

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December: Perhaps November doesn’t seem very full because December is off the hook crazy. There was one day in particular that pushed and stretched me, but I didn’t crack. I got a glimps to see what I was made of, and what I saw is that I am limited. We all are, but we can always face far more than what life hands to us. To know that I have the Peace of Christ in me, there is more to this life than the moment I am in. Life is not made up in moments, and true greatness in not ever found in things. You can always give more of yourself, and it’s not until you are completely empty that you find how full you can really be.

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As I look ahead to 2016, I honestly have no idea what lies ahead. For us, big changes are coming- our oldest is almost done with High School. What?!?! But there are so many things we don’t know are coming. Both in joy and sorrow.  My hope is that I am humbled by the blessings and challenged to be more by the trials. Never take love for granted. Hug your babies, don’t be afraid to be messy, laugh at life, be challenged to love the unlovely, and be a light for those struggling in the dark.

Happy New Year, from our family to yours.

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We just got back from our holiday travels. I realized about 10 days before Christmas that there was no way that we would get Christmas cards out this year, and resolved myself to let it go. This morning I realized that it’s already January 2, 2015. For all you Generation X-ers, it’s the year of Back to the Future 2. I like to look back over the year, see how much we’ve changed and accomplished. Here is to having a happy new year to you and yours.

January:

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Alan returned to the Amazon region of Peru with a small team of students. They were gone almost half the month of January. The kids returned to their school routine, and I began my resolution of making 50 things for the blog (only later to realize how this wasn’t a good goal for me. I probably did make 50 things over the year, but most I didn’t bother blogging about, and about mid year stopped making the Nifty Fifty posts.)

February:

This month was super busy for us. Alan took all the girls to see Beauty and the Beast Musical, Josiah’s robotics team competed for Nationals (it had been snowed out in December) and our oldest daughter had corrective surgery for Scoliosis.  She spent a week in the hospital, and then 6+ weeks recovering. Before her surgery, we finished with her bedroom redo, which was a fun project.

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March:

Spring Break always comes for us during the month of March. Alan took a team of students with him to Turkey for a class. Because Alex was still recovering from surgery, I stayed home with the kids. We weren’t able to do very many things, because she was still in a lot of pain, but we did manage to squeeze in a couple of day trips out.

Painting of Paul from a cave church above Ephesus Cappadocia, Turkey Feeding zoo

April:

This month is full of great weather. Kiki had a musical at school, Josiah had a science fair, and Tori’s class celebrated the Land Run at school. Alex was slowly getting stronger and started back at school. Easter is always busy for us, but especially with things at our church.  Overall, it’s one of those months that easily slips by.

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May:

This month is full of birthdays, end of school events and awards, a wedding, and we left for our summer holiday trip. The calendar was full almost everyday with events and appointments. Best of all is the beginning of summer break.

Birthday Party

June:

We spent half the month in the east coast with my parents. After returning, the older two left for a week of camp. Vacation Bible School plans began to be finalized for church, so it was nice to have only half of the house of family.

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In Gettysburg Baltimore Harbor

July:

Because of my job at the church, VBS pretty much takes over my summer. Alan spends much of his summer writing. We keep the kids busy with activities. Usually OK is extremely hot and miserable, however this summer we had an unusual amount of rain, and July felt almost cool. Since Alex had her surgery, Alan planned a trip for the two of us to spend a week in Turkey with some friends who lived there. It was a birthday/anniversary (for the next several years) gift for me. BEST GIFT EVER!!

Pergamum, Turkey

August:

This month for us means the return to school for everyone but the baby and I. It means routine, and with it, less family time. The kids were all excited to return to school. Alex was finally fully recovered from her surgery. This would be a great place to post back to school pictures, but I don’t have any. (Slacker mom!!) Kiki did loose her front teeth, and I managed to get a couple of pictures. (Sorry it’s blurry, I was playing with the light.) Alan also baptized Josiah and Tori.

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Baptism

September:

Appointments, practices, routine, busyness -this is what September means to us. This photo was taken while waiting at ballet for one of the girls.

Boys: noise with dirt

October:

As the year begins to close, this month seems to be a continuation of September. Cooler weather, fall colors, cool breezes. It’s my favorite season. Alex had her competition for Drama club, Fall break, and Halloween. We officially adopted another Greyhound, and the girls had a fall concert at school.

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November:

Thanksgiving, DNow, Conferences. Overall, this was a slower month. I was making crafts for the fall, the kids were getting ready mentally for Christmas break. Of course having a snow storm in the middle of November helped that even more.

Family Pic 2014

December:

As the year came to a close, I decided to end on the positive with the blog. I posted everyday for the Jesse Tree until we left for holiday. The month was full of merriment and ended on a positive note. My parents 50th anniversary was celebrated by all 7 siblings and families. This was the 1st Christmas we had all been together for over 25 years, and the last one was spent at the hospital when my brother and BIL were in ICU after a car accident. It was a true joy and delight to spend the time together. We closed out 2014 by returning home and beginning 2015 with great excitement. You never know what tomorrow brings, so don’t waste a day. Tell those who matter most how much you love and appreciate them, work hard, and make memories.  (And use a camera to help you remember)

My Parents' Anniversary

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There is nothing more humbling than when you tell your child something and they correct you later.

Our youngest daughter was asking about seasons and was somewhat confused. About two weeks ago we were having VERY warm weather for fall, and then now this….

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Of course it will all be melted before to long.

I realized something as I was admiring all the pictures up on social media of kids playing in the snow. I don’t care much for getting all bundled up to go take pictures of them anymore.

Let’s be honest. When your kids are getting ready to play in the snow it takes a LOT of work. First they have to put on layers of clothes. A whole week’s worth of clothes just for one outing. Why do we do this? So that they spend more than 2 minutes outside. Once all the layers are on, you dig out all the gloves and hats and scarves. Then squeeze their little hands through the arms of jackets, zip them up, and send them off. In order for you to get a picture of them before they change their mind about playing outside, you decide to skip all your layers that will actually keep you warm.

Now when my kids were little they would actually play outside for a good bit of time. Of course, back then, I HAD to go out and supervise all their fun. But now that they can play without being watched, I rarely go out to take pictures. I am only remembering this, because of the large age span of our kids. The youngest of the school-aged kids has consistently been outside the most and longest. It’s like she can’t feel the cold until she comes in, skin bright pink and burning.

And then we have the little toddler…

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He loved to watch the snow as it fell. What I am noticing about this phase of his life is the vocabulary that he is adding as he experiences new things. Last month he learned the words “pumpkin” and “spider”. Who would have thought that he would add the word “snow” in the middle of November.

He went out, just steps from the back door. I didn’t bother with the layers. I knew as soon as he touched the cold snow it would all be over.

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It was quite the struggle just to get him dressed in regular clothes. Then you add a jacket, socks, shoes. And finally after MUCH effort I was able to convince him to wear his hat.

He affectionately calls it “Whoo Whoo”.

The first time I pulled it out last week, he immediately recognized it. He took one look at the hat and yelled, “NO!!! No whoo whoo!!!”

It’s always the cute things that they despise the most.

And so this is our day. Hot chocolate, movies, snuggles, and no school. If this weather is any indication (as well as the MASSIVE amounts of acorns from our oak tree) about what kind of winter we will be having this year, it looks like we will have a very short summer because of all the snow days that they will have to make up.

Surprisingly, Anchor (our newly adopted Greyhound) LOVES the snow. He is just like the kids, minus the layers of clothes.

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He looks like a reindeer, frolicking around in the snow, ready to leap into the air.

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the last few weeks have been…hard. Death- when it stares you down in the face of loved ones, grasping desperately to hold to life…it’s just hard. In the news this week, Destiny who has chosen “death with dignity” is just another example. In no way am I condemning or condoning her choice. It’s just another example of the hard reality of our frailty.

This summer, our oldest teenage daughter asked Alan to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. She has read (and seen the movie) many times. We recently watched it together. She was sniffling at the end and said, “every time I read or watch, I’m hoping that the ending will be different.”

After reading the book, as she requested, Alan wrote this message to her on Facebook. Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.30.08 PM

Dear Daughter,
I finished the Fault in Our Stars last night. I had planned to make it a leisurely read over the course of this week, but I became invested in the characters and their fates. It was well written with many brilliant moments of dialogue and profound thoughts. I laughed and maybe even cried . . . a little. I feel like I personally know Hazel and Augustus and would like to have conversations with them (I imagine they would sound just like John Green in his mental floss videos). When I turned to the last page, however, I was left with a deep abiding sense of dissatisfaction. Much like the characters felt with the end of An Imperial Affliction. As I pondered the book and the strange cavernous feeling of hollowness I felt at the end, I realized it was not the events of the storyline that left me dissatisfied. As heart wrenching as it was, the events that befell our star crossed lovers made perfect sense. What left me dissatisfied was something much larger. It was the worldview of our characters in which the meaning and purpose of everything ultimately pointed to nothing more than the “universe wanting to be noticed.” It was a coldly naturalistic worldview devoid of a rich and robust theism (God) and spirituality. This is not to say that I expected a Christian worldview. In fact, I would not change the book. I just found it a bit hopeless even when it was attempting a hopeful perspective.
I have been at the bedside of people dying from cancer. I have sat long hours with the dying and their family members who were coping with the inevitable. I have been in the room as people breathed their last. I have performed funerals for those who died too quickly from diagnosis to death. I have witnessed something that is lacking in this book. I have witnessed the profound and powerful moments when the very real presence of God overwhelmed all in the room. I have seen those last few golden moments when just before death a dying believer sings a fear defying song of praise as they see their destination looming before them. There is a capital-S something beyond the veil of what our physical eyes can penetrate. There is a reality that gives meaning, fulfillment, hope, peace, and victory beyond that of a cold impersonal “universe.” That reality is God.
I loved the book and thank you for asking me to read it. I am just processing. I had to remind myself they are just characters in a book. I love you. Okay? Okay.

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This is the last of the Teen Room Re-Do how-tos. (that’s a mouthful!!)

We have many of these ottomans in our house. They make great, durable seats for kids and bonus storage. As part of my teen room make-over, I decided to recover a couple ottomans that were in her room. The original ottomans were black and blue.

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Before beginning, measure your ottoman, because each one can be a little different in size. Mine were 15″ x 15″. The lids were a little bigger (16×16). For the base of the ottoman I cut four pieces 16″x 17″. I wanted plenty of extra length to wrap under the ottoman to secure. For the lid I cut one square (16″x16″) and four strips (16″x 3″)

{After looking at the pictures I realized that I should have ironed the fabric to get the seams out. I am a slacker mom, and ironing is not my thing, so make note that ironing really does help. Not only will it get your creases out of the fabric, but make seams and fold overs much easier}

To start, make the slip cover for the lid. Lay right sides together of one strip and the main square, and sew together. I used a 1/4″ hem.

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Sew all four edges the same way, leaving the corners of the strips, for now

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Place two of the strips, right side together to form one corner and sew. I only sewed it closed half way, to make my ticking a little easier.

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IMG_0723Flip fabric, right side out, and place onto the lid. Be careful to line up edges just right.

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With the lid laying upside down, fold over the flap in the middle. I tucked my fabric under, about 1/2″ to keep material from fraying. With out pulling to hard, place first staple in the center, on the under part of the lid

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I learned this in an art class about placing canvas. Repeat for all four side, pulling fabric, and placing one staple in the center. Flip lid over and check for smoothness.

Then place two staples on each side of the center, tucking material under as before. Leave the corners open.

Sorry these next two are so blurry

Sorry these next two are so blurry

Gently pull corner out. Pull corner to one side, close to the edge and smooth out, much like gift wrapping.

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While holding that down, fold over to create a smooth corner

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Staple in place and repeat for the other 4 corners.

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All done with the lid!

Now for the main ottoman piece. Measure the sides and length. As I said above, I cut 4 pieces of fabric into 16″x17″ for my ottoman that was 15″x15″. This allows a 1/2 seam on the corners and extra length for tucking and stapling.

With right side together, sew all four pieces together, make a cube slip cover.

Turn right side out and gently pull the cover over the old ottoman.

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Pull it down, leaving about an inch or so at the top. Be sure to test your length to ensure you have plenty for the inside. Flip the ottoman over and remove the feet.

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IMG_0738Pull fabric corner up (like you are wrapping a gift again) and screw the foot back in, through the fabric, but only half way

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Tuck the rest of the corner under the foot and finish tightening the screw back in.

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Fold extra fabric under, and secure with staples. repeat for all four corners. Flip ottoman back over. As you can tell, the lining at the bottom of this ottoman needs to also be replaced. I’ll save it for another time.

Now to finish the slip cover.

IMG_0742Starting with the corners, because you want to make sure there is enough fabric, tuck and fold in the same way you folded the corner on the lid and bottom of the ottoman.

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Secure with staples, folding the fabric under for a more finished look. You could add rick rack with hot glue over the edges if you aren’t satisfied

IMG_0748IMG_0749All done, good job!!

 

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Nifty 50

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Do you remember Martha Stewart in the earlier days? One of my favorites was her “It’s a Good Thing.” They were easy little decorating ideas that were simple and usually inexpensive.

As part of my Teen Room Re-do, I was needing new light and plug covers.

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Washi Tape to the rescue!

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It was so easy. Simply wrap the plugs with tape. I matched up patterns when needed to give a more uniform look, and then hung back on the wall.

The day I was taping them, I had taken the covers and tape to an event my son was involved in for school. While I was sitting and waiting, I kept busy wrapping in tape. Another father was watching me, and asked about it. The plain inexpensive plugs are the best, and you can change any plug or switch to match any decor that you can buy tape for.

IMG_4699Here is a sample of my washi tape collection. Duct tape would also work, but is much more sticky. {a-hem I have even more than what is pictured below}

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Nifty 50

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We recently were able to re-do our Oldest Daughter’s room. It is so cute and makes me want to hurry up and finish the other rooms. You can see more pictures of her room here.

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The fun thing about DIY projects is that you don’t have to use store-made and manufactured decor. With some creativity, a little money, and a sewing machine I was able to make several projects that tie her color palate together.

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To make this curtain I used one I bought several years ago as my guide. As I was studying my old one, after I bought all my material to make the one for my daughter’s room, I found that it was actually made from a regular curtain panel. It would be super easy to do. I already had it in my mind what I wanted to do, so I stuck with my plan.

First measure the window you will be covering. This window was 31″ wide x 43″ long (measuring the outside of the molding.) The curtain is made of two main pieces. When cutting fabric you will add about an inch on all sides to your desired finished size. The top panel is 36″ wide x 14″ long (38″ x 16″ before sewing, allowing 4″ for the curtain rod and ruffle area at the top), and the bottom panel is also 36″ wide, but 42″ long (38″ x 44″). The inch all around allows for a double fold over hem, giving a nice finished look to the curtain. You will also need four strips that are 58″ long and at least 2″ wide. (This is how wide I cut mine, but kind of wish they were a little wider.)

You will also see that I decided to line the curtain. The fabrics that I had picked out were a thinner cotton quality, and since it will be getting afternoon sun, I wanted something with a little more thickness. My main problem with lining was to figure out how to achieve the smoothest look. I stumbled on this post, and was a little discouraged because I HATE to iron. More than that, I also hate to pin. I set everything aside for a week, until I gave in, and decided that this was going to be the way to go. Of course I had NO idea where my iron was. Seriously! One of the things that the House of Hempworths post said, that I thought I would mention is that there is no need to measure and cut your linings to the measurements above, because they will actually be a little less, as you will soon see.

The first thing, after you have your main fabric cut out (the top panel, bottom panel and four ties) is to prepare the two panels for lining. Fold over  and iron on all sides of the panels towards the wrong side. Mine was about 1/2″, folded over double for a more finished look. This really will make adding the lining easier. I went ahead and pressed both panels.

Once you have the hems ironed, lay the lining under one side of hem. I started with the top panel, and pin in place along the long edge and one side. It does help if the lining piece is cut close to the same size of the panel.

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Now that you have two sides pinned, trim with scissors the extra fabric on the lining so that it fits neatly under the hem on the two remaining sides.

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Pin the remaining hems in place. Repeat for the other panel.

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When you begin to sew the hems, leave one of the long side. It will be folded over to make the curtain rod place. I sewed the two sides and bottom hem first, then pinned the curtain rod area in place.

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With the curtain rod area folded over, the top panel measured 10″

For the curtain rod, fold over 4 inches. 1 1/2″ for the top “ruffle” area, and 2 1/2″ for the curtain rod to be placed. I marked it lightly with a pencil and then sewed in place.

The bottom panel I hemmed all the way around, adding the lining. (Sorry no pictures)

For the 4 tie strands, place wrong sides together, sew the length of each tie. Turn right side out, using a safety-pin as your pull. Tuck 1/4″ in side of each end and sew in place.

Now, to put the two panels and tie strings together.

Lay the bottom panel, right side up. Measure  from each side of the panel to place the ties. Mine was 9″ in on each side.

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Place a second tie in the same spot on the back of the bottom panel and pin to hold. Now, place the top panel, right side together, so that the bottom of the panel matches to the top of the other panel. Pin in place, being sure to secure where the ties are. Repeat on the other side.

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As seen here layered is the top panel, tie, bottom panel, tie

Finally, sew the to panels together, with the ties in place. Be mindful of where the ties are at so that you don’t have to rip anything due to a loose tie that got in the way.

Iron flat, and hang over the window.

I find it easier to tie the curtain up once it is hung.

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With the curtain down, it help keep he room dark and cool, perfect for these summer mornings of sleeping in.

I also made a couple of slip cover for her ottomans in the same fabric. Ottoman are so great for extra storage and seating.

Nifty 50

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