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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Quasi-Tutorial: Icy Cool Neck Wrap

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Something to keep you cool during the hot summer months...
Today's freebie has been on my mind for at least a month now and was in danger of being put off because I had too many distractions on my plate. But it occurred to me that if I didn't get it out now, I may as well wait until next year, since summer (at least in the northern hemisphere) is fast coming to a close.

However, climate change is likely making this project a relevant item no matter when and where you live.

When I made this a couple of weeks ago, it was between 30°C and 34°C for several days (that's up to 93°F) and that trend has actually occurred more often this summer than any other in my memory. We are definitely breaking ground on a "new normal". (That being said, two days after setting new heat records around the province, we plummeted to a "high" of just 12°C... just under 54°F. It's insane, I tell you.)

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
A cool cravat...
Anyway, the Icy Cool Neck Wrap is a scrap friendly, recycling friendly, discount store friendly project. That means it's cheap to make. And it'll only take about an hour.

The concept is nothing new — again, I take no credit for having much originality here — but there must be a reason why I've never made or purchased one of these things before.

Other neck cooler DIYs that I've seen use expanding water crystals. Perhaps it's just me, but I don't like the potential problem of trying to keep such an item clean and germ-free, nor do I appreciate the way they have to be soaked in water to be activated and then worn wet.

I actually mix those crystals in with soil for my houseplants and know for a fact that they shrink as they dry, needing water to plump them up again. The problem is, they don't plump up all that fast after they've dried out.

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What did I opt for? This discount store friendly item:

Reusable ice cubes!

A bag of 18 reusable ice cubes was $1.25 at Dollarama. That is sufficient to fill two neck wraps, or one wrap with a refill. I would have preferred them to be round (easier to manipulate) but I can't complain at the price. (There are also more expensive versions that might retain their coldness for longer; unfortunately I don't have any empirical data to share on that.)

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Two Icy Cool Neck Wraps with extra inserts...

What else do you need? Some scraps of jersey fabric, a strip of synthetic knit (or cotton) fabric for the outside, a hair tie, and a 9" zipper (or hook and loop tape).

Opportunities to recycle? Source the jersey from old t-shirts or bedding. For the outside synthetic knit, old leggings that you don't wear any more are perfect choices.

Make Inner Casing

I cut up 3.75" x 14" remnants from an old jersey pillow case to create casings for these cubes. I merely sewed up the side with a 1/4" seam allowance, then sewed up one end with a 1/2" seam allowance, filled up with nine cubes, then sewed up the other end. (Note that while the individual cubes fit snugly within the casing, there is meant to be space between each.)

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
A jersey casing for the ice cubes...

The piece of jersey that I used was quite stretchy. Until you determine how stretchy your material might be, however, you may want to start with a 4" wide strip (x 14" long). Test it out and if need be, you can sew a second narrower side seam for a tighter fit.

What you want is for the cubes to be able to move when you push them along inside the casing, but you don't want them to roll around on their own.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
The two components of the Icy Cool Neck Wrap...

The insert part goes into the freezer. When it's time to wear the neck wrap, it gets put into the outer sleeve (which can be easily washed).

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Side view of the Icy Cool Neck Wrap...

I debated with myself over whether to use a zipper or velcro. In the end, I went the zipper route, but if you don't even like the word zipper, hook and loop tape should also do the trick.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
You want the casing to be as snug as possible inside the sleeve, to minimize slipping...

The total length of the fabric used for the outer sleeve was 28", but that's only because it was a fat quarter of Spoonflower performance pique (a selection from my Canadiana collection), which comes in a width of 56".

I'd say 28" is the shortest length that you should go with; feel free to use something a bit longer, perhaps 32" to 36". (A longer length is also an important consideration if the person who will wear it is built more like a linebacker than me.)

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
A hair tie elastic sewn into the seam functions as a means to tie the two ends of the wrap...

By the way, if you opt for cotton, it won't have any stretch to it, so you may want to take that into account when deciding how wide to make this piece.

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Make Outer Sleeve

To make the sleeve, I took my strip of 4.5" x 28" fabric and folded it in half lengthwise with right sides together. I then marked the mid-point with a yellow pin.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Use these measurements as a guide only, since you may want to customize the size...
note: the 4.5" refers to the width of the original fabric unfolded

After centering the zipper under the yellow pin, I added a set of orange pins to mark where the zipper teeth started and ended.

A 3" long tapered curve was then cut into each end.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Stack up both ends and cut the taper once...

The idea is to start sewing at each of the orange pins and work out to each tapered end. Using knit fabric, the 4.5" width of this strip — when sewn up with a 3/8" seam allowance — resulted in a perfect, snug fit for the ice cube casing.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Trim the seam allowance at the tapered ends...

The elastic hair tie has to be inserted into one of these seams. I positioned it about 6" in from the end.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Slip a (larger) portion of the hair tie into the seam allowance at one end, about 6" in...

The zipper is sewn in last. With the whole unit still wrong side out, I pinned the zipper tape to one of the sides of the opening and sewed it up.

When attaching a zipper, always remember that right sides must be facing (i.e., right side of zipper against right side of fabric).

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Attach one side of zipper tape...

Then I repeated with the other half of the zipper. (Keep the zipper open so that it can be turned right side out!)

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Attach other side of zipper tape...

I had to run a few stitches at the ends of the zipper tapes to close them up against the seam before turning the whole thing right side out.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
Use something like a old pen (with ink barrel removed) to poke out the ends...

If you were wondering how the hair elastic is supposed to work, take a look here.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
How to use the elastic...

Loop the elastic around the end of the wrap that it's attached to; then pass the other end of the wrap through the loop to secure like a bolo tie.

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The Verdict

When I first put this on, I thought, well, that's not as cool as I figured it would be. However, after about ten seconds, it actually did start to feel cold. Just as putting on a scarf in the winter is enough to warm you up when you're feeling chilly indoors, this neck wrap does a good job of gradually cooling you down and keeping you cool.

I put it to the test while out pulling weeds one afternoon and was impressed by how much better I felt, despite the fact that it was quite hot. Results will vary depending on the temperature of the wearer and the surrounding air, but I was consistently able to get just about three hours of comfort out of mine.

Icy Cool Neck Wrap by eSheep Designs
A cool wrap that's also sporty looking, no?

And of course, someone will likely want to ask, why not insert the actual ice cube thingies inside the sleeve and omit the casing altogether? You can certainly do that. But they sweat as they warm up and having the extra layer of jersey around them is protection against that clamminess... unless you like that feeling. The whole thing would also instantly feel a lot colder, which — believe it or not — isn't pleasant on sensitive skin. (You would know what I mean if you've ever used a cold pack without a protective cloth.)

Finally, I think that the extra layer promotes slower "warming up" and makes the whole cooling process last longer.

At least, that's how I found it. Hubby and I will find these handy for all sorts of applications. (And yes, it's another thing you can sew up for a guy!)

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Free Pattern/Tutorial: Quilted Hanging File Organizer

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
"M" for Michael...
A couple of months ago, I posted about a fabric wall organizer that I customized from a free pattern. At the end of that post, I said that it would make a useful — not to mention space-saving — gift for college students. One of my cousins is letting go of her one and only offspring this month as he travels abroad to attend university.

Immediately after completing the previous organizer for me, I thought about how I could further customize one for him and post it as a tutorial.

So this one's for you, Mikey. Seems like just yesterday you were a baby crawling on the floor of my house. Now you're literally flying away to pursue higher education. Wow.

Before I get started, let me give a shout-out to Sara at Radiant Home Studio for the original inspiration. This organizer is based on the project she shared on Spoonflower's blog three years ago.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Monogrammed Quilted Hanging File Organizer...

This version of the organizer adds back some length; it's 30" long. It also has three pockets, but one is half-size, suitable for smaller items like envelopes. (I put this pocket in the middle, but placement is totally up to you.)

To personalize it, I added my man's initials to the finished project using a "faux appliqué" technique, which I will feature in a follow-up post.

Fabrics are the two green-toned selections from my "big fabric purchase" earlier this year of the Anne Kelle Remix Metallic designs for Robert Kaufman. The binding was made from a fat quarter of the smaller chevron print.

For the back panel, I went the recycling route as I like to do whenever I can. The quilt "batting" was cut from a fleece blanket and the fabric itself was from a pillow case.

A pair of queen size pillow cases for $1.99...

Now, I admit that the pillow case was purchased (on sale, a pair for $1.99) for this specific kind of upcycling and has never been used as a pillow case, but you get the idea.

The size was almost perfect: 21" x 30".

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By the way, this is going to be a VLP — Very Long Post!

Gather Supplies

To make this hanging file organizer, you will need:
  • two (2) pieces of fabric for backing, 15" wide x 31" (38cm x 79cm) high (note: after quilting, the finished piece will be trimmed to 14" x 30" or 36cm x 76cm)
  • one (1) piece of quilt batting (or substitute), 15" wide x 31" high (38cm x 79cm)
  • two (2) pieces of fabric for file pockets, 17" wide x 17.5" high (43cm x 44.5cm)
  • two (2) pieces of Peltex for file pockets, 13" wide x 8" high (33cm x 20cm)
  • one (1) piece of fabric for envelope pocket, 17" wide x 10.5" high (43cm x 27cm)
  • one (1) piece of Peltex for envelope pocket, 13" wide x 4.5" high (33cm x 11cm)
  • three (3) yards/metres of 1/2" double fold bias tape
  • two (2) 1/2" grommets
  • thread
  • clips, pins, ruler, rotary cutter & mat, scissors, marking pen, etc.
Quilting cotton weight fabrics are recommended for this project.

Quilt Back Panel

Take the two large pieces of fabric for the backing and put them together with right sides facing out, and your quilt batting in between. This is your "quilt sandwich".

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Make the quilt "sandwich"...

Pin generously. Baste or glue the layers together if you feel the need to do so.

Start in the middle and sew a quilting line across the surface of the quilt sandwich. Alternate sewing to the left and then to the right of that first line as you make your way out towards the ends. Begin quilting from the same edge each time; i.e., move left or right, but do not spin your quilt sandwich around 180 degrees.

Try to maintain a flat, even surface as you quilt and go slowly for best results.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Do some quilting...

I chose to quilt diagonal lines based on the fabric's print. If — like me — you're not an experienced quilter, it's a simple technique that yields good results. Short of that, feel free to draw lines on your fabric to guide you.

When you're done, give it a good press and then trim the edges to arrive at a 14" x 30" rectangle, or about 36cm x 76cm.

Find something with a round edge to round off all four corners of the back panel piece. (Keep an old CD on hand in your sewing kit for this purpose.)

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Use a CD to round off the corners of the back panel...

Make Pockets

Fold the pocket pieces in half with right sides together and sew a 1/4" (6mm) seam along the longest edge. Press the seam open.

Adjust the placement of the seam as desired, ideally away from the top or bottom edge to reduce bulk. (I was able to make both of my file pockets look the same — with the gold chevron appearing along the top and the bottom — by doing this.)

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Make pockets...

Turn right side out and press.

Slide an appropriate piece of Peltex inside this tube of fabric, with the fusible side towards the exterior of the pocket (i.e., the side that doesn't show the seam).

Centre the piece of Peltex from side to side (there should be 2" or 5cm of fabric on either end) and push it up against the edge that you have chosen as the top of the pocket. Clip.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Position Peltex pieces and prepare to fuse...

Fuse and then topstitch along the top edge. Do this for all of the pocket pieces.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Topstitch top edge of pockets...

The final step is to fold in the sides of the pockets to create a "bellows" effect. This allows the pocket to expand along with its future contents.

Start by folding the excess fabric on each side to the back. (This is the part with just fabric; i.e., no Peltex.) Then fold it back to the front, leaving 1/2" or 13mm extending beyond the first fold.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Fold both sides of each pocket to create a "bellows" effect...

I obviously didn't have the ruler absolutely flush against the fold, but in the above photo, the part being measured should be 1/2" or 13mm wide.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Press and clip...

After these folds have been made, give the edges a good press with a hot iron.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Topstitch down the top fold on both sides of each pocket piece...

Topstitch through the first fold on each side of the pockets. Do not stitch through the second fold.

Secure Pockets to Back Panel

After making this twice, it finally dawned on me how to sequence the sewing to avoid crumpling up the Peltex.

Position the top edge of the first pocket 2.25" (~ 6cm) down from the top of the back panel. Pin or clip along both sides. Place and pin the remaining pockets 2" (5cm) apart. (There should also be 2" remaining along the bottom under the third pocket.)

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Position and mark the placement of your pockets in desired order...

When you're satisfied with how you've positioned the pockets, mark their placement with a pen. (If you mark close to the edge of the back panel, it will eventually be hidden by the binding.)

Now unpin and set aside the bottom two pockets. This way, you'll only be crumpling the quilted panel as you sew.

Pin the bottom of the top pocket to the back panel. Pay particular attention to the sides, keeping the folds even so that there is a consistent 1/2" (13mm) exposed on either side when the pocket is pressed down flat.

Baste the sides of the pocket to the back panel.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Take care to keep pockets even on both sides when you sew up the bottom...

Run a line of stitching along the bottom of the pocket to secure it to the back panel. Again, make sure that the sides are even!

Retrieve the second pocket and pin/clip it into position according to the marks made previously. Baste the sides, then secure the bottom in the same way as you did for the first pocket.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
All three pockets secured to the back panel...

Repeat the same process with the third pocket.

Before pinning each pocket, make sure it's oriented the right way. (Says the person who basted one of her pockets upside down.)

Bind & Finish

I made my own bias tape using a square of fabric (a fat quarter does the job nicely) but you can definitely use a store bought version if you don't want to bother. (Check out my tutorial on how to make your own professional style continuous bias binding.)

The binding is done in two steps; the first is to pin and sew it to the back of the back panel.

NOTE: there are various ways to attach binding. If you have a (different) preferred method, by all means go with it.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Make a fold in the binding tape at the beginning, so you can finish without raw edges at the end...

Unfold your your binding and lay it wrong side up along the bottom edge of the back panel, roughly in the middle. The raw edges of the tape and the quilted backing should be even.

[Note that the photos show my own binding, which had not been professionally folded. Double-folded binding done the way I described a couple of weeks ago (or that you purchase) will have one of the smaller folded edges wider than the other. Align that wider edge with the edge of the quilted backing here.]

Make a small 1/2" or 13mm fold at the start of the tape so that when you close off the binding at the other end, the raw edges will be hidden.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Overlap the end of the bias tape by about an inch...

Since this is (should be) bias tape, it will go around corners without too much difficulty; just use extra pins or clips in the corners to get the best results.

Pin the tape all the way around the entire perimeter. Overlap by about 1/2" or 13mm at the end and cut off the excess.

If you've made your own bias tape and it hasn't been double folded, attach the binding to the back by stitching with a 3/8" or 1cm seam allowance. If you're using store bought bias tape, let the fold line guide your sewing.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Stitch all the way around...

Be careful at the sides where the pockets are located. You don't want to sew the edges of those pockets into the binding.

Since bias tape will stretch and you may be adjusting the pins as you go, you could end up with a longer overlapping piece at the end than originally planned for. If so, trim it down before you sew it all the way across the original folded starting point.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
The ends don't need to overlap by a whole lot...

Now you're going to work with the bias tape from the front side.

Turn the whole thing over and — starting again at the bottom where the overlapping ends are — fold the tape over by about a 1/2" (13mm) and then fold again up over the raw edges of the quilted panel. If you're using store bought bias tape, the existing folds will automatically dictate how this works.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Roll the bias tape over twice to bind the edge...

Use pins or clips to hold the tape in place as you work your way around.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Clip the binding in place all the way around...

Now you're ready to sew.

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From the front side of the organizer, begin at the bottom (where you have the joined ends) and edgestitch on the binding tape.

There's no hard and fast rule about how close you need to stitch; whatever works for you to get this result on the front and back sides is good, usually 1/8" (3mm) or smaller.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Here is the front and back of the same section... absolute perfection is not a must, as you can see!

Given the size of this, it might be a bit tricky to sew around the corners, so take it slow. (If your machine has a platform or extension table that you can attach to raise what you're sewing to the same level as the feed dogs/throat plate, use it. It can be helpful to reduce the "dragging effect" that comes with sewing large items.)

When you're done with the binding, give the whole thing a good press, preferably with steam.

To finish, mark a couple of points, 1.5" (~ 4cm) down from the top edge and 1.5" in from either side. These will be the center points for grommet installation.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Install your grommet 1.5" in and down from the edges...

I won't be instructing you on how to install grommets. (If you're new to them, go out and buy a package; it will come with instructions.)

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Close-up view of middle pocket...

This organizer can get somewhat heavy once it's filled, so keep that in mind if you're going to use adhesive hooks. (As I found out, my original choice of hooks weren't the best.)

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Straight down view of bottom pocket...

However, here you can see a different way of hanging this that doesn't require adhesive hooks. I tied a length of cord together, pushed the two end loops through the grommets to the front and hung it from a couple of "over the door" style hangers.

Quilted Hanging File Organizer by eSheep Designs
Another way to hang this organizer...

I'll be back in two weeks with a quickie lesson on how to make make some faux appliqués to customize this organizer.

If you can't wait that long, I have the "whole kit and kaboodle" tutorial for making the continuous bias binding, this organizer, and the faux appliqué technique in one PDF available for a nominal fee until then. (To be clear, this PDF will be free once the appliquéing tutorial has been posted.)

Saturday, 4 August 2018

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
BEFORE... natural light at a "hot" cost...
Are you a fan of skylights?

I am, to a degree... which is both a play on words and the theme of this post.

To me, having a lot of natural light is a necessity for my well-being. There is a spot on the main floor of our house where one can see through large windows in three different directions; this abundance of natural light means that we don't have to turn on lights of the electrical sort at all during the summer.

That said, about ten years ago, we had tinted UV film installed on the southwest windows, as the heat passing through them was making our AC have to work all that much harder.

I briefly thought about DIY-ing that film on the skylight in our vacation home, then decided that it would be a headache given the shape of the dome and its placement beneath two "beams". Not to mention that that UV film stuff is not necessarily cheap.

When we dropped in for a short visit in June, the temperature was nearing 30 degrees (86-ish for my US readers) and inside our tin can trailer — yep, no fancy cabin for us; our vacation home is one of those dwellings that twisters love to toss around — it was just plain hot, despite our portable air conditioner chugging away valiantly. Had we been able to turn on the unit in the morning, the result would have been different, but we didn't get there until the mid-afternoon and by then, it was not a game that we were going to win.

The next day, for the first time since we've owned this place, I stared up at the skylight in the kitchen and deemed it the enemy. The heat that came beating down on me as I stood underneath it may be welcome during the winter, but certainly not now.

In came the ladder and some pieces of cardboard, with the following result.

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
Blocking the heat, but also blocking out the light...

It was not an optimal result by any means. Having the cardboard block out everything (as in the middle) left the kitchen dismally dark. Leaving openings (as on the two sides) still allowed the heat to come in while dialing down the light significantly.

Not to mention that it didn't look great.

We decided that we wanted a permanent solution that could be adjusted — i.e., opened and closed, preferably easily and without the help of a ladder — and that would still allow light to filter through.

To the internet I would go... once we got home. (No internet out there apart from hubby's cell phone plan.)

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Surprisingly — or maybe not — several solutions popped up online, including one that was for the very same skylight configuration. (High probability that it might be the same vintage of trailer!) This was found on instructables.com from member tnt.thomas.

image courtesy of Tim Thomas via instructables.com...

It's a (vinyl?) table cloth cut into three sections and strung across three wooden rods per opening. While I appreciated the concept, the need to do all that measuring and cutting put me off. I also didn't want to have to reach waaay up with a broom stick handle to open and close this thing. (This skylight is built into a vaulted ceiling, so accessing the interior rim where the rods would have to be balanced is too high to reach without help of some kind.)

After a bit of browsing, I decided that my solution would be a double rod pocket curtain installed on the ceiling around the skylight. My parents' old house had a side door with a window on the top half of it that had the exact same setup: a ruffled, gathered, semi-sheer panel stretched between two rods. (You might be familiar with the full length ones on French patio doors, commonly with a "waist band" in the middle.)

To execute this, I would only need approximate measurements, which — she admits sheepishly — was all I had from when I measured quickly for the temporary cardboard solution.

Sash curtain rod...
The width of the whole skylight is about 72". The length/height was about 30".

The first thing I did was source out a couple of sash curtain rods. These are from Lowes; they are adjustable from 48" to 84" and were $5.99 each on sale. Then I went to a liquidation/discount store and picked up a beige-y 55" wide x 95" long sheer curtain panel for $7. (Turns out I could have gotten one at Dollarama for even less, but I'm thinking the one I have is of higher quality.)

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
Light filters in and heat is reduced!

All I had to do with the curtain was cut off the top header section of grommets (about 4") and then divide the remainder into two halves, each about 45.5" high by 55" wide. I needed it to cover 30"; I went with 32" just to be safe.

This meant that I had 6.75" (45.5 - 32 = 13.5 / 2 = 6.75) of material along the top and bottom to convert into a rod pocket. It's actually not a whole lot considering that you usually want quite a bit of ruffle above the opening, but I wasn't looking to be high fashion about it.

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
Reverse angle view...

Simple coverage was the goal. It is, after all, just a mobile home. ;-)

To create the rod pocket, I merely folded the material over itself on the wrong side, hand-basted it down, and then ran two rows of stitching to create the opening for the rod, which in this case was 7/16" in diameter. It's an easy sewing project if there ever was one.

The rule of thumb for curtains is to have them be at least twice as wide as the width of the opening (in this case, 72" x 2 = 144"). My 55" panels only gave me 110", but again, I wasn't looking for high fashion.

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
Opening and closing — if needed — can be accomplished by standing on a chair...

Last week, we returned to the scene of the problem to see if my handiwork was do-able. As you can see from the photos, it is infinitely do-able!

Installing the sash rods was a cinch. A couple of screws on either end and it's done. The rod slides into a clip and can be unclipped easily.

DIY a Skylight Curtain for $20
AFTER... light with less heat...

We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of heat that can be blocked by a sheer curtain. Light-wise, it's perfect. And the best part is that if we ever want to open the curtain to allow the full light to come in, all we have to do is hop up onto a chair. No ladders, no awkward broom sticks.

And all for only $19.93, taxes in. That's what I call a worthwhile DIY!

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Here is something else worthwhile every now and then... appreciating a glacier fed lake and snow-capped mountains while "enjoying" 30 degree heat.

Getting away from it all...

The only problem with these occasional sojourns out to commune with nature is that I have virtually no internet connectivity and no ability to sew (insofar as I don't want to lug my sewing machine and supplies out there).

Then again, maybe it's a good thing to take those breaks... until hubby declares that we must re-stain the fence!

The fence — er, the work — is never-ending...

Which we did. Such are the joys of home ownership.