Monday, October 12, 2020

How to make your own curtain tiebacks

Last year after settling on curtains for our new house, I then had to work out what kind of tiebacks I wanted to use. Because I'm not the only one handling them, I wanted to find something that could stand up to less delicate maneuvering as we open our curtains in the morning and close them in the evening everyday. My search ended one day at our local thrift shop where I found two bundles of golden vintage ribbon. One was more vibrant yellow and matched the picture in my mind perfectly.

To make a test run, I only made one pair and then used them for a few days before making the rest of the sets for all of the curtained windows. Several weeks ago, one of the tiebacks went missing and despite looking in all the likely places, it remains lost somewhere. As I rounded up the materials to make a new one, I took a few photos to share the easy process for anyone interested.

Using a fabric measuring tape, find out how much swag you want your curtains to have and then determine how much ribbon length you need. Because I made the loops out of embroidery floss, I used scotch tape to temporarily attach the loops to my ribbon to see how much floss I needed to have the tiebacks hang correctly. Once I could see how everything worked, I cut my ribbon pieces and embroidery floss. 

To keep my ribbon from fraying with use, I generously coated the ends with fray check and let it dry. (*Use the fray check on a sample piece to determine what the final dried end will look like as the fray check may discolor or harden your ribbon. If you can't use fray check on your ribbon, you could try to iron the fraying end over in a fold and add some stitches to keep the nice edge.)

Then I made a loop from each piece of floss and with my hot glue gun, put a small amount of hot glue on one end of the ribbon. Holding the floss in the shape of the loop, I pressed both ends into the hot glue, waited about eight or ten seconds and then pressed the floss more firmly into the glue without burning my fingers. Remove any sticky glue and as it hardens, you can also trim any excess with scissors. Repeat with the other end of the ribbon. The tiebacks can be used almost immediately.

Here are some pictures of the tiebacks in use in our home. They are currently held in place by clear tacks, but metal hooks are on the to-do list.

We have been using them in this manner for almost a year and I'm pleased with how they are holding up. Depending on the tieback style you choose to make, the process may look different for your project, but I hope this post gives you some ideas to make your own.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Teaching like a parent

A short article I submitted to our local homeschool newsletter for September's edition.

As homeschooling parents and families, we have witnessed the whole world suddenly interested in discussing the merits and faults of homeschooling. It is remarkable to hear even the casual conversation invoke this idea of learning outside of a classroom. As many of us have resumed some form of our homeschooling routines in recent weeks, we may wonder how we found ourselves doing this task and we may even question our ability as we listen to conversations swirling around us. I hope these words give you confidence to see how parents are very capable teachers.

There really is no secret sauce to teaching your own child anything. You listen to and observe what they can tell you about any topic or skill; then you add to their understanding and listen and observe again.
Repeat with every topic, project and skill under the sun. Teaching is listening well, expanding the conversation or effort and then listening and observing again.. Anyone can do this, whether they assign books to be read or show concepts on a board, paper or with an object.

Adding to someone's understanding is not the most difficult part. Listening and observing require more effort and self-control, but it is a sweet reward to see your child grow in wisdom, knowledge and competence. So be encouraged that as a parent, you are uniquely created to do the work of a teacher as you live and learn with your children.