I wrote here and here about how we recently received a check from our mortgage company for $807 which represented the overage in our escrow account. We have lots of plans for that money and I thought I’d chronicle the different ways we make it stretch. After putting $264 aside to cover the $22 a month increase in our mortgage payment (yes, our mortgage payment went up even though we had an overage in our escrow account for this past year), we have $543 left to play with. We took 10% of that and donated it to a relief agency helping victims of the Chilean earthquake. That left us with $489. Yippee!
First up, curtains for windows in our den. We had these wooden blinds on the windows:
They came with the house and we’ve been happy enough with them for the 5 years we’ve lived here, but recently they’ve posed a safety hazard. Charlie has taken to standing on top of the back of the couch, grabbing the pull strings on the middle blind, and jumping onto the couch. This terrified us because we imagined he could get the strings wrapped around his neck (it would take a little effort, but it was definitely in the realm of possibility). No amount of pleading begging screaming urging seemed to persuade him to stop, so the blinds had to go.
Here are the windows without the blinds. You can get a sense of what Charlie was doing (sorry, the photos aren’t great, but I had to snap them quickly!):
In place of the blinds we needed something safe for Charlie. That basically left roller shades or curtains; we decided on curtains. We measured the windows, and off we went to Target to see if they had anything we liked. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money though because, as I said, we have lots of plans for our $489. We came home with four of these panels:
Each panel was just $7.99. We debated about whether we wanted a color and/or a pattern on the curtains. Ultimately we chose these white panels because not only were they inexpensive, but since they’re white, they can easily be laundered and even bleached, if necessary. Then we bought an extra long curtain rod for $19.99.
I thought it would be a good idea to wash the panels because if they were going to shrink, it would be best if they shrunk before we measured and hung the rod at a height we liked. So I washed them and then decided to iron them. And that’s when our fun curtain project took a turn for the worse.
Well, shoot. I swear the iron was on the curtain panel for less than five seconds. But I guess these curtain panels aren’t the highest quality fabric (what a surprise at $7.99 each). So I went back to Target and bought another panel.
Mark borrowed a power drill from our neighbor (I’m beginning to think we should invest in our own power drill given how much we end up borrowing our neighbor’s. By the way, thanks Jim!) and installed the curtain rod. We deliberately hung the curtains wider than the windows so that when the curtains are pulled all the way open they don’t obstruct the sides of the windows.
And here’s how the new curtains look:
We love them. The blinds had been fine, but only fine. The curtains look great. I can’t believe what a difference they make to the feel of the room.
one curtain rod: $19.99
four five curtain panels at $7.99 each: 39.95
Grand total (with tax): $63.39
Not bad. If we subtract that from our $489, we still have $425.61 left.
I’ve been knocking ideas around about how to make use of that extra white panel — the one whose edge the iron ate. By the way, that curtain panel did not go down without a fight; it left the iron in a very ugly shape. So in my next post, I’ll detail how I went about trying to clean the iron after my little fiasco.