Variety Pack Day!

Friday, June 5, 2020

curtain fabric custom diy mid-century vibe dark
It’s been a bit since our last Variety Pack....oh wait crap, no it hasn't.  Ooooooops.  Doh.

In all honesty, I was going to have a master shower post for you but I couldn't get myself behind it, apologies.

Soon.  Heh, at this point it’s going to take as long to tell the story as it did to redo the darn thing.  If you want to catch up from the beginning, click here!

I tell ya, I dunno what it is but there always always seems to be something in need of doing around here.  Is it the same by you?  Is it, is it just me?  Hm.

Sooooooo you remember I made those spiffy new curtains for the master bedroom windows?  Yeah no, not the big theater fabric oversized ones, the blackout ones I made with the upholstery fabric from the wild and crazy fabric store.

Love the curtains, I do!  I do.  But.  Heh.  I discovered last summer that when they are closed and the windows are open, air does not come in.  The curtains are sooo heavyweight that they are a brick wall to air movement.

That’s bad.  And stifling.  So we choked it through last year’s warm weather and I was recently reminded of the issue again because in Chicago, we go from winter smack into summer.  Ack, hot!!

Due to current circumstances around the world, I was unable to shop at the wild and crazy store so I hit up Joann Fabrics online for a curbside pickup.  Truthfully, I hope this becomes their new modus operandi; the lines at this store are otherworldly.

I swear, heh, have you noticed how nuts Joann’s coupons* can be sometimes?  I placed two separate orders repeating the use of the same sixty percent off coupon.  Nuts, right?!

So I ordered up more blackout fabric* and discovered a magnificent blue oversized floral-y patterned lighter weight hundred percent cotton fabric, Richloom Studio Sadane Wave,* that was outstanding and has a nifty mid-century-ish vibe.  Done and done!

Same method as before, sandwich the fabric, fold and pin the sides over a half inch, fold a two inch pocket at top, hem to fit and voila, custom blackout curtains (again) I absolutely hot diggity love!  Probably more than the others, if pressed to say.  Ah haa, pressed, fabric pun, haha.

Mike said, “those look better.”  So effusive, I know, right?  That was actually a large, albeit truncated, compliment so I will take it!

new blue floral print DIY blackout custom curtains in bedroom
Such great fabric, amiright or amiright?!

make your own diy blackout curtains in floral fabric
Sure is tricky to photograph a closed curtain.
Another last year discovery which is probably timely... one of our hoses was falling apart at the spigot end.

No problem.  All the parts for repairing a hose* are at your local home improvement store so save yourself the cost of a new hose!

Trust me, it’s so easy to repair, you’ll be extremely proud of your thrifty self.

A snip (which yes is temporarily scary), finagle on the new parts which mine came with extra stuff I didn't need, make sure you put them on in the right order (hose clamp then the parts), then tighten the clamp.  Voila again!  Awesome.

And because I’m a terrible person and leave our hoses out all winter, I was dazzled that this repair held up with zero issues.  Nice!

easy DIY hose repair
Seriously, so easy to do, saves so much cash, and it truly works.  This was clearly before our fancy pants new gangway concrete walk.  Oh, which by the way, has not stopped the water from leaking into our neighbor's basement....huh, we must never have been the problem in the first place......huh, go figure....huh....women are never right though.  *cough*
A bunch of time ago, my mom gave me a piece of live edge wood she had picked up for shelves in their new condo.  She didn’t have a spot for it and neither did I but I figured something would crop up.

And it did.  Of course.

First though, it was buggy.  Buggy with itty bitty awful wood boring/powder post beetles.  Get that sh*t outta your house ASAP, those weasels are monstrously destructive.

My mom didn’t know about this and after a spot of research, a suggestion was to leave the wood out in the freezing cold.  Jeez, how easy in Chicago, no problem.

We both did for the entire winter but I somehow still had bugs.  Lo, I had to get all toxic on it.  Not my fave thing to do and I know, bad, but I wanted to salvage the piece.  After several treatments, I killed them dead using Tim-Bor Insecticide.*

I tried a homemade DIY solution first, totally didn’t work.  A borax solution I think.  Rings a bell.  But yeah, turned the wood yellow and didn’t work.  I should probably seal up the wood actually, create an undesirable barrier.

Right, this project came about as I was re-re-re-organizing the pantry and decided to move my cook- and baking books* into my office for easy access.

Picked up some plumbing parts,* ya know, nothing fancy but super sturdy.  Spray painted them a dark blue to match the walls, used metal screw-in anchors* and ha, voila yet again!

Shelf with books so I can bake and bake and bake.

live edge wood shelf with galvanized pipe brackets
Nice, right?  There's my grade school gumball machine painting and my MFA in Interior Architecture, both of which I am quite proud of, thank you.
Oh, I recently noticed that there was a horizontal hairline crack in my wall patching job around by the pocket door I installed.   Sometimes I still cannot believe that I, me, I, a non-carpenter person, installed a freakin' pocket door.

Anywho, settlement crack.  No biggie at all and frankly, to be expected.  Once I got up there to examine it, I noticed a few more which was fine.

Same method I used a good while back for the crack on our dining room wall.  I have to say, that repair is holding strong, not a peep of an issue since.

Filled these little ones with joint compound, gave a nice sanding to tidy it up, then used that Goodbye Cracks spray again.  I can't find this product anymore though, that sucks.  Some paint touch-up and you know it, voila, issue solved.

repairing drywall settle crack with goodbye cracks
Tada!  Small fixes are so rewarding.
On one of my more recent visits to Twitchy’s place there happened to be a bunch of cacao bean burlap bags from the Ivory Coast strewn about everywhere in the free piles.  Rather odd but ok, so I grabbed one not knowing what to do with it but knew I’d regret passing it up.

I was super excited about it which I mentioned over there in the Instagrams.  End result, I sandwiched the top end between two pieces of pallet wood (thanks Twitchy) and hung it on the wall.

Sandwiching vaguely similar in theory as I did for that large photo in fact.  To hang, I merely used a plain ol' boring picture hangar.*  Slideshow next...

A few months prior I had read the article by Salwan Georges and Peter Whoriskey in The Washington Post entitled "The Children Who Harvest Cocoa" and, oh, gutwrenching.  I always knew there were moral and complex issues surrounding chocolate and cacao beans and as a baker with a public medium such as Flaky Bakers, I should have known more.

My cousin sent me a message about my Instagram post, my excitement about the bag, and rightfully so.  She lived there and saw firsthand the horrors.

Truth be told, at the time I was apprehensive about sharing the above article along with the post as I was uneasy about stirring controversy.  That was a terrible misjudgment as child enslavement and fair and equal justice for all is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue therefore not debatable.

I amended my post to include the article.  I apologize for letting a trivial public eye unease get in the way of amplifying a vital issue.  Thank you, Debbie.

So I hung it on the wall and Mike was thoroughly unimpressed, saying it looked like a rag.  Which is fine, technically it is a ratty burlap bag.  His comment stung but it’s totally ok for him to dislike it and say so.  I am leaving it up to serve as a daily reminder to do better in the world though.

cocoa bean burlap bag wall art

Oh, I did pry out a reason why Mike doesn’t like the oversized string art on the wall.  Not into brown with blue.  That’s fine, I understand that.  Unless he said it just to get me to stop asking why he doesn’t like it.  Either way, I’m still holding out hope for a change of heart.

Gosh I know, I'm starting to wonder if there is anything I'm doing that he does like, heh.

Today's Variety Pack recipe is courtesy of The Kitchn, One Pot Meatballs and Pasta O's.  Reminds one of a certain childhood favorite, yeah?  I have such trouble finding the O's but it's definitely worth it to seek them out.

Be kind, my friends.

*The Joann Fabrics coupons, blackout fabric, and blue floral fabric are Joann affiliate links.  The hose parts, Tim-Bor, baking books, plumbing parts, metal screw-in wall anchors, and picture hangars are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. This is one of my favorite blog posts! Not only do I see your vision for your amazing home improvements, you are sharing your sweet soul with your readers. Very touching and empathetic! I am so proud of who you are and all that you do!

    1. Thank you so very very very much for your incredibly nice comment and compliments! You've touched my heart with your kind words. Thanks for all the lessons!


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