Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Befuddling Quest for Curtains

Sunday evening is here again and as I always seem to say, I can't believe the weekend went by so quickly.

Nevertheless, Sunday it is and thus we begin the downward slide towards the workweek. I'll start it with a nice weekend under my belt. I spent the weekend with my parents which was a spontaneous visit that ended up being wonderful, as my visits with my parents usually.

My mum and I spent the day together Saturday. It was a nice early spring day with just a touch of chill in the air. We spent most of the day on a quest for curtains.

This may sound dull but it's actually quite fun to have a quest. It doesn't mean that we spent the day avidly and obsessively looking for curtains but, instead, we browsed for other things while keeping curtains on the list of things to look at in each shop that sold them that we visited.

It turned out to be fruitless. I have learned that curtain shopping makes you feel rather befuddled. You see, according to most curtain makers who sell to commercial retailers, all windows much be 84 inches long. Also, you apparently only want to buy one panel at a time.

I am aware that there are other options. You can, for example, get custom made curtains which fit the window perfectly. These tend to be quite expensive. I could also make my own which is a perfectly reasonable alternative and something I'm not opposed to doing. After all, I have a sewing machine and several fabric stores nearby. I've made curtains before. They're not complicated.

Yet they are time consuming and I tend to make a mess while I'm sewing in that all the little pieces of thread that I snip gather on the carpet. I have to be careful not to drop pins. I don't have a dedicated sewing room so the fabric takes over the living room. I have dogs that love to play with large pieces of fabric.

So, while making my own curtains is definitely an option, it's not the easiest one. Also, the curtains I had in mind didn't need to be anything complicated with an effect I could only achieve if I made them myself. I simply wanted either a natural, off white or taupe set of panels that I can tie back with red raffia. Sounds simple, right?

Not so much. As I said, most of the time, the off-the-rack curtains are exclusively 84 inches long. My windows are only 48 inches wide and high. Those are long curtians. I could get some and hem them but that would involve chopping off a lot of fabric and still having to sew which defeats the purpose of buying them in a store in the first place.

Also, most of the time, they're sold one panel at a time. This is ok until you need six panels because you have three windows. This gets very expensive. One of my other reasons for not wanting to sew them is because I'd need a fair amount of fabric and it can get to be quite expensive to make my own. Thus, I figured, if I bought ready-made ones, it'd be easier.

There's that word again: Easy. Curtain shopping is not easy.

I don't understand the logic in making curtains come in 84 inch lengths. How many people really have windows that long?

In the end, after much grousing, I didn't find any curtains that day. I ended up finding some today at Walmart of all places. These are only 63 inches long, came as a set and were very inexpensive. They're not meant to be functional curtains, just decorative. Walmart saved the day which is not something I can say very often.

It was nice to resolve the curtain issue. When you start a quest, it's fun. By the end, you feel a little bad tempered and embittered if you can't find anything remotely close to what you want. However, along my quest, I did also manage to buy a book, some herb shears, some hand sanitizer and a tea bag rest and my mother purchased some shoes and some seeds so, really, it wasn't a wasted day.

I'm just glad I found my curtains. I had visions of spending next weekend hunched over my sewing machine. That's a great winter activitiy but when it's springtime and there's things to be done outside, it's not so fun.

So, for once, I have to say thank you to Walmart. They did something right. I'm glad about that. I'm also glad I have my curtains.

Quest accomplished.

Happy Monday!

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