Yard Sale Find + Sweet Potato = Custom Curtains

Last summer I found some great curtain panels at a yard sale – nice and thick, neutral colour, great price. I had been wanting to update the curtains in our dining room, but not wanting to spend much money doing it. I knew when I found these panels that I would be able to do something creative to make them fun and unique. I got to work looking up how to paint designs on fabric with textile paint, as well as thinking about what kind of pattern I wanted to use.

I settled on a simple pattern that I repeated all across the panels with a design that I cut into a sweet potato – one potato for the main orange design, and a second potato for the small white diamonds. For the paint I used acrylic craft paint mixed with a textile medium by Martha Stewart that I picked up at Michael’s. The textile medium makes the paint permanent and washable, perfect for this use.

Materials for the curtains

I spread the panel out on top of an old drop cloth on the living room floor, and got to work stamping this bold graphic pattern onto the first panel. 4 Hours later I was done the main orange pattern…. did I mention that I did this on my hands and knees? And that I ran out of orange paint with only one panel done? I called it a night at this point, happy with how the first one was turning out, but not sure how I was going to get more matching orange paint to use on the  second panel when I didn’t have the time to drive an hour back to Michael’s before my sweet potato dried up….

The next day I decided I would just have to try and find the best colour match that I could at the local store that carried a small selection of craft paint. It wasn’t a perfect match, but after an hour of mixing colours I got it pretty close. A few hours later I was done the main pattern on the second panel.

Orange pattern done

Some friends have asked how I mapped out where I put each stamp, and I honestly didn’t do much since I wanted it to have more of a relaxed look and not be too rigid. I simply did one line all across the top, and then a line down the left side, and then just eyeballed the rest of them trying to get them fairly straight.

A couple of more late nights after the kids were in bed, and the panels were done! I will never do this again. Maybe a section of curtain, or a stripe… This took way longer than I had imagined it, but now that the curtains are done, I do love them.

Completed curtains

Amazing what you can do with a yard sale find, a sweet potato, and a little imagination!

A Handmade Gift Exchange

This year we had another handmade gift exchange with my side of the family, and it was AWESOME! It is so cool to see everyone’s creativity flowing, and to see the different talents that everyone has. I will let these images speak for themselves, with just a small sampling of what was exchanged this year between kids and adults.

Handmade Doll Handmade Gift
Vintage look doll.

Handmade Painting Handmade Gift
Butterfly paintings.

Spice Mixes and ornament.

Slingshot. This gift was fun to make! The post office worker gave us the long elastics, and the shoe repair shop owner gave us the leather for the pouch. My husband made the rest from some pine board that we had in the garage, by whittling it down and sanding it. It was really fun to see how much our nephew loved it – he was shooting felt play food all over the house in the days following!

Handmade Purse Handmade Gift
Crocheted purse.

Knitted Legwarmers.

Handmade BBQ Kit Handmade Gift
BBQ Grilling Kit.

Handmade Batman Cape Handmade Gift
Batman Cape and Mask.

We had such a variety of gifts! Others included a custom welded bike rack attachment, a tin of Christmas cookies, hair clips, soaps and lip gloss, an apron, a child’s denim tool belt, and more!

The other thing I love about handmade gifts is that because you’re putting time and love into them, you are more likely to have a thoughtful gift that has so much meaning to the person on the receiving end. We are all just loving our handmade gifts, and I would encourage you to think outside the box and consider doing a handmade gift exchange as well next year!