It’s Thanksgiving break, so we’re finally able to catch up on punch list items, and on this blog! First project was to finally build a headboard. We originally weren’t planning on having one, but a white-painted wall where our sometimes dirty hair rests is not a great idea (did we mention we work a lot, and are outside a lot, and have two dogs?). First, I measured and found it could be a nice standard dimension: 18″x48″. Off to the big box store for a 2’x4′ handy panel of 1/2″ plywood, and had them cut it to 18″ wide. I also successfully begged some scrap plywood in their cut pile, that another customer had left, to reinforce a garage shelf that I didn’t really want to have to pay to do. Yesss!

Then, to the fabric store for foam padding (I used this stuff, NuFoam, to see how it holds up), batting (I used this stuff, Soft & Bright, which was really easy to work and simple looking in case the fabric I picked had any openwork), and fabric. There was a fabric sale, plus I had a coupon, plus I was shopping the clearance pile, so I picked up three options each 2′ long by 54-58″ wide. Each piece was $2-4, and one I didn’t use is going to become scarves. I ended up using the $2 remnant, of course.

First I laid out the batting, foam, then plywood on the floor. I folded (double-fold at the edge) the batting as I knelt on the plywood to contour the foam. I wanted to staple the inner layers separate from the final fabric so I can later remove the outer fabric and change it out without messing up the guts. This makes changing colors a few dollar job and a few minutes on a staple gun. No photos of the stapling of either layer. Sorry 🙂

Next, We used these flush-mount hangers I had from a yard sale grab bag a few years ago. Somehow I both (a) knew I still had them, and (b) was able to find them right away!
Here’s that dirty wall. We will repaint next summer anyways, but this will keep it from happening again.
We measured and first attached the mounting brackets to the wall — we had a handy reference line because the wall is vertical v-groove — then attached them to the back of the headboard, which took a bit of trial and error. Only put one screw in each until you get the spacing right.
And voila, done. It looks a little more lumpy along the top in this photo than in person, but it shows the fabric. I went in thinking “navy blue mid-century tweed” and was determined to stick to the clearance aisle; there was a lovely herringbone tweed that could have been used on Mad Men, but it was tan. All tan!!! This color worked perfectly and I love the dark tones in the tweed. Good enough!
Supermodel Bisbee insists on being in the rest of the photos. Actually, she is really insisting on watching for chipmunks and barking noisily about them.
Although I originally wanted to keep it really spare in the bedroom (it’s tiny!), the addition of the headboard really improves the scale of the back wall overall. And it was really comfortable for reading! A good addition.

Shrink the drafts

Winter is coming – someday? We just had the warmest October on record and are about 5 weeks past our usual winterizing date. Which worked out great, because this fall K has decided to build custom storm window inserts instead of shrink-wrapping plastic directly to our freshly painted window casings.

We used a method we developed at our previous house, but improved a few parts of the process. They end up costing about $12 per window, and are re-useable (we used the ones at the last house for about 7 years or so). They dramatically cut the drafts, and don’t look bad either. This set, since they are painted to match the sashes. are almost invisible in some rooms.

First, he builds the frames from 1×2 pine, this time using our handy doweling jog (last time we did lap joints). He puts a center bar made from 1×1 across about halfway down – we originally skipped this at the other house but had lots of warping and some breakage. Then he painted each frame with the same paint as the sashes.

Then, we put the tape that comes with the window shrink film all the way around one face, pressing well. Stick on the plastic and flip over, repeat.

This size worked for most windows; we got some different sizes for the larger ones. There’s thicker plastic you can buy in a roll, but it doesn’t shrink – so it’s not as clear. We do a double-layer of film with an airspace between, so it’s not necessary to use the thick stuff.
Then (and this is something we didn’t do at the other house but we did have a few inserts where the thin plastic tape peeled off), we used this more expensive tape (about $2/insert) and went around the outside edge of each window, folding down to capture the edges of the shrink film.
Next, we stapled on two tabs (we use folded-over ribbon or cotton strapping – whatever we have saved up in the fabric-ends bin). These allow you to pull the insert out and adjust it too. Then the fun part – shrinking!
Finally, cut 1/2″ inner diameter pipe insulation to bevel the corners, wrap around each edge by slipping it over the slit side, and press-fit the completed storm insert. Most of ours fit great with the screens still operable on top. Closing the screens hides nearly all of the insert, and they are quite clear when shrunk.

We have already noticed a huge difference in draftiness, and condensation on our 90-year-old windows is much reduced. Hopefully we’ll use a few less bags of pellets this winter.