Nuffin ‘Bout Birthin’ No Valances

I love windows.

One of the great pleasures of being down to one job is the time to nest in my home. Another is having time to blog.

One of the great pleasures of living where I do is I don’t have to cover the windows with hundreds of dollars of fabric to keep the creeps from peeping in. When living in various towns and cities, intellectually I understood the need for curtains and draperies, but I hated them. I particularly hated them in my first house – the house with leaded glass and ornate molding. And I hated them during the winter when frugality dictated they be closed to keep the heating bill within the realm of payment possibility.

The last set of drapes I remember really liking were those worn by Carol Burnett during one of her more memorable skits.

Nobody suggests "window treatments" here!

When I landed in the barn at the end of a dirt road on top of a hill, I gloried in having lots of uncovered windows. I flaunted my bare windows. I’m a window junkie, so there was much to flaunt.

After twenty years of fabric-free flaunting of glass and molding, it seems I’ve gotten over the illicit thrill of naked windows. For the past few years, some of the windows have begun to look bare – unfinished – improperly accessorized – and, well, being the trendy chick I am, I began looking at what are now known as window treatments and used to be called drapes.

[Not all the windows, mind you. There are some that I’ll never cover and you can’t make me.]

Window treatments have silly prices. Window treatments should not cost more than the window. They shouldn’t cost more than major appliances, my first car, a root canal or the yearly vet bill for three dogs. People pay this kind of money? Hand me my smelling salts.

Still and all, some of my windows, particularly those in the kitchen, began looking a bit forlorn.


Kitchen curtains are hideous. I don’t want prancing chefs, embroidered tea kettles, frolicking kittens, or fruits and vegetables. The Great Kitchen Curtain Search was further complicated by my chosen and much loved color scheme. I am inordinately fond of the combination of dark brown, blue and white. That trilogy comforts me, inspires me, and was the first to teach me the power of color.

My very first kitchen was blue, brown and white and the last kitchen I’ll ever have is blue, brown and white. One wouldn’t think that would be such a rough combination to accessorize with a bit of fabric. One would be surprised. One was surprised.  For that first kitchen, I found a set of tiers in the three colors and, since, country was all the rage, they worked.  It helped that I had only one window in the kitchen.  [Raging or not, my patience for ruffles can wear thin.]

What can I say?

In a fit of country kitsch brought on by low blood sugar (or possibly a hangover), I bought some white eyelet valances with blue embroidered flowers for the current (and last) kitchen. They weren’t totally hideous, but they were totally too short and looked flippin’ ridiculous. Think Jethro in pants and sleeves that were never long enough. I took them down to wash them and never put them back up. That was, hmmm, five years ago?

Yup. That's a sofa throw if I ever saw one.

The compulsion to partially cover kitchen windows ratcheted up a few months ago. I looked and looked. Surfed the web. Haunted clearance sales. I found the valances I thought were the ones of my dreams – Indian batik with a lotus motif and beading. Valances were my preferred covering because they don’t really cover, but do solve the oh-my-god-what-do-I-do-with-the-windows problem. $250 for cotton strips of fabric? People pay that? Really?

So. I found some Indian batik on the web (sans beads) and decided to sew some valances. The fabric arrived and it’s gorgeous, but I decided it would make a better throw for the sofa than window treatments. Besides, I didn’t have time to learn how to bead.

I just realized the blue swirls are actually the word coffee.

So, I toddled off to the fabric store and found some really spiffy cotton in all the right colors. I began haunting websites for instructions on how to make valances. Good grief they made it sound complicated. Let me just remind you of the great fear I hold for my sewing machine.

Both lengths of fabric have been sitting on the church pew for months. I’ve been trying to a) find time b) when I was motivated to c) tackle the Beelzebub of Bobbinhood. It never happened. That particular trilogy can’t be achieved without additives to my blood chemistry.

Now ain't they something?

One thing led to another and then another and another and, in short, while trying to find a Mother’s Day gift, I ran across the Most Beautiful Valances in the Whole Wide World. At 90% off with free shipping. I clicked, whipped out the debit card, and typed in my address quicker than you can sing the three verses of To Hell with Sewing Machines. (Lawsy, Miz Scarlett, I don’t no nuffin ‘bout birthin’ no valances.)

They arrived today. I figured there was a good chance my internal image of them wasn’t going to match their external image. I also figured there was a good chance I would be sending them back.

Yup. It's spring.

They’re perfect! They’re ridiculous enough to be mine. (Who has taffeta in their kitchen, hmmm?) They’re the right size. They’ve got enough ornamentation to make them interesting. They’re a tasteful, elegant white.  They’re washable. They’re peachy keen, cool beans, awesome, righteous, neato, and groovy. I love them. They don’t completely cover the windows, they’re sheer enough to have no effect on the ability of the sun to flood my kitchen, and my windows look like they just won the tiara in the Miss Window Treatment contest. (With any luck the complete prize package includes Windex and a Windex-er.)

It’s a good day to be me.

[P.S. I saw my first blooming daffodil last week. I am so excited about a lot of stuff these days and not least among them is the opportunity to garden with my nights and weekends free free free.]

4 thoughts on “Nuffin ‘Bout Birthin’ No Valances

  1. I tell you, just getting rid of the old drapes, valances and sheers changed my life! There’s no describing the series of events but I personally labeled it “Practical Magic” and it started the beginning of happily ever afTR.

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