How To

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Last fall I spotted the remains of a white picket fence in the dumpster while I was working on a project with our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.  
We had been building a home for a local family and I thought it would be fun and even a bit sentimental to make the homeowner something with a remnant found on the property. 

I made her a coat rack (seen buried here beneath the kids jackets) and with the pieces left over I made some fun signs to gift to my friends. 
This one hanging in my laundry room I decided to keep for myself.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I used the last fence pickets lying around the shed yesterday and put together a seaside version of the flag.

Step 1.
I belt sanded the pickets to remove any lose paint and then attached them together on the back with two scraps of plywood.

Step 2.
Add a quick wash of aqua paint and some spray varnish.  (I buy this stuff by the case)
 Step 3.
The addition of a few starfish and two picture hangers and here is my finished "flag." 
Total project time= under one hour

*No Newport home is complete without a few sugar starfish


I believe I picked up my favorite life skills not in college or on the job, but in the Seventh Grade. 

Seventh grade was the year that we played Trivial Pursuit Junior 
(I learned that I knew all the answers to the "Art" questions thus making me feel clever). 
We learned how to cook- Buffalo Wings are still one of my favorites.  
We learned how to sew- or at least use a machine- Thank you Mrs. Z.
And in wood shop Mr. Childs taught us how to use power tools and I created my first
"Whale on a Stick."

(Side note-  I am confident I was the only kid who carved "BonJovi" out of a single piece of wood on the band saw that semester)

I just rediscovered these instructions I had typed up to accompany a presentation I shared with the students in one of my design classes at RISD last year. 

We were tasked to teach a "How To" in a quick and easy manner. 
(I've got a short attention span so "quick and easy" is what I'm all about)

**Here are a couple of samples of the romans in my home.

I still fondly recollect Mrs. Z and sure as she gave me a B on that "Pound Puppy" I made, she's likely to roll over in her grave over my quick and dirty "Roman Shade" tutorial but for those who can thread a machine and sew a straight line, but have been afraid to try what only sounds like a complicated project-  these instructions are for you!

PS. I just saved you over $100 bucks a window. 


How to make a Roman Shade


- ring tape
- decorator fabric

- lining fabric
 (thermal, blackout, basic- your choice)
- tape measure

- scissors

- hook and loop tape
 (aka Velcro)
- cording
 (comes by the yard or pre-cut in a package)
- small wooden dowel

- 1"x1" board

staple gun
screw eyes
 (3 per shade typically)
- drill

- screws
- cleat (you can get the cheap plastic ones or get adventurous and find a great glass knob or decorative pull to use!)


1. Measure the width and length of the inside of the window.
To determine the necessary fabric length, take the total length in inches and add 4” to account for the header plus seam allowances. For example, a 62-inch long window would require 66” of fabric length.
To determine the width of your fabric, add 5” to the total width of the window. This will give you 2” decorative "band" on the back of your shade which gives gives you a nicely finished edge and a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side.
*For a fuller shade, increase the number (I may double this for balloon shades)

2. Cut your lining 4” narrower than your decorator fabric and the same length.

3. Pin the fabrics with right sides together. Sew one side of the two pieces together, then pull the fabric over to the other edge and stitch using 1/2” seam allowances. Turn the shade right side out and lay so that the lining is centered on the fabric. Iron the edges so they're crisp, turn inside out and sew one opening shut.

4. Turn right side out again and (if you choose to have a straight bottom edge) drop a 1/4” dowel into the bottom. Stitch a small pocket to hold in place. The dowel will keep your blind straight across the bottom. (just skip the dowel if you want a balloon shade)

5. Turn the unfinished fabric in at the opening a 1/2”, iron and sew closed.

6. Sew one side of hook and loop tape along the top edge of the shade on the lining side. You can use self adhesive velcro if the shade isn't going to get a ton of handling. Attach the other piece of hook and loop to a 1x1 board cut to the width of your window.

7. Using ring tape, pin the rings equidistant across the lining of your fabric, using the amount of rows suitable for the width of your window (depending on the number of "dips" you want - I like 4 for a nice balloon or if you want a tailored-straight look, use one on each side, one in the center to bear the weight of the fabric)

8. Feed the cords through the rings start by tying at the bottom and run the cords up. Remember they need to reach the top of the shade, run to the right and still have enough cord to actually pull. Each cord will get progressively shorter as you move right.

9. Attach screw eyes to the adjoining side of your board to line up with the cording on the shade.

10. Attach the header to the shade with the hook and loop tape; feed the cords through the screw eyes, and then tie them together at one end.

11. Screw the header board to the window frame using L brackets.

12. Attach a cleat to the side of your frame to wrap the cords around.
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  1. Love, love what you did with the remains of the picket fence, so darn cute and pretty. Wow I wish I attended 7th grade with you at your school, seems like you learned a lot!!! Thanks for sharing over at Sunday's Best!

  2. Oops forgot to mention, following on Linky and Pinterest, your ideas are just to good to miss!


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