Saturday, March 1, 2014

Before and After: Working With Wide Windows

My goodness, I can't believe that February has come and gone already! Time just flies when you're busy doing something that you love to do. Now that I finally have a moment to catch my breath and to review the projects that I have completed lately, I've noticed an interesting trend: almost half of the Hidden Rod Pocket valances that I have made recently have been for wide and even extra wide windows. It makes me feel really good that people have noticed my business as an option for ordering valances for their wide windows and sliding glass doors. It might be the fact that the shipping cost of my valances is minimal in comparison to the cost of ordering a wide valance on a board or maybe it is just because they appreciate the attention to detail that I put in each of my valances. Here are a few examples of the wide and extra wide windows that I had an opportunity to dress in February:

This is a 124" wide bay window before...

and after the installation of an EMILEE Hidden Rod Pocket valance.

The fabric used was Richloom Malibar Ming with a solid red as contrast.

This is the before picture of a breakfast nook that I was I was asked to make a valance for. Since it is often very difficult to find tailored valances to fit wide windows, you usually end up having to purchase multiple valances and use them together to dress your windows.The back rod was 137" wide and both of the side window rods were almost 50" wide, so I needed to come up with a way to dress a 237" wide set of windows, 

and to be able to use the existing hardware which was already in place. 
Call me crazy but I do LOVE a challenge! 

I adjusted the pockets on my PEYTON Hidden Rod Pocket valance pattern to work with the customer's pole and finials and I designed a way to deal with the pole's corners and the supports that held it in place. This is the end result. 

I'll let you in on a secret...The valance was done to be installed in three pieces, the idea worked like a charm!
The fabric used was Venetian Ottoman, Celestial.

Like I stated when I started this post, February was an amazing month! I had the opportunity to work with so many amazing fabrics that I can't begin to tell you about all of them. Also in February, my oldest son DeShea decided to start his own Etsy shop: DWGraphicDesign. I am very excited for him, as I consider him to be a computer/website/internet guru because of just how much he has taught me about doing business on the internet. Almost as soon as he had his Etsy shop set up and running, I placed an order and put him to work on incorporating my new logo that I had done a few months ago into my Etsy branding. 

My new Etsy shop banner.

This will be perfect to use for custom orders!

I started by having him redesign my shop banner and to make me a new reserved listing picture to use when I have custom orders. I do realize that this was something that I could have had him do long ago for free, but both of us have been so busy with our respective businesses that we have put this off multiple times for our own customers. It was actually refreshing to be treated like a customer instead of his mom. Don't worry, I kept it strictly business too. I made sure to treat him like the handsome, super intelligent man, who must have gotten all his smarts from his MOTHER, that he is! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Before and After: Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

Although my Hidden Rod Pocket valances were originally designed to be used with continental curtain rods, I have been asked on several occasions to modify their pockets to be used with different kinds of curtain rods. So I thought that I would show you some of the ways that they have been modified.
This bay window had cafe rods that were used for a previous window treatment.

Closeup of the cafe rod hardware.

I converted the EMILEE Hidden Rod Pocket valance to work with the cafe rod.
There was an additional window over the sink, so we decided to use a tension style, cafe rod so that the valances would look like they were installed the same way.

This window had a 1" lock seam curtain rod that the customer wanted to use again for her PEYTON Hidden Rod Pocket valance. 

The actual rod was 104" wide and spanned across three windows.
Here is the finished PEYTON Hidden Rod Pocket valance.

Close up of the finished valance.

One of the things that I like the most about having my business on Etsy, is that because I get to talk directly with my customers, I have the opportunity to be more flexible than a larger online business can. By that I mean that when given the chance, I can often come up with my own solutions to what others might see as problems. I may never have intended to install my valances using any rods other than continental curtain rods, but so far I have been asked to adapt my valances to hang using cafe rods, lock seam curtain rods and I have even constructed one that was installed on a pole. Sometimes while collaborating with a customer, I have been able to design a whole new valance style for their windows. I never know where a new idea will come from. Sometimes it will be by looking at a beautiful fabric, other times it might happen while thumbing through a bridal magazine. I think that my business will always be changing and evolving, as long as I am open to the opportunity to learn something new. I can't wait to see what I am given the chance to learn next!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I Dare You

Well 2014 is here and the New Year's resolutions are upon us. What will you resolve to do, to change, to be? I have decided to make this year my most daring yet! For the past few years I have made it a point to try new things that made me step out of my comfort zone. The results have been life changing so I have decided to start my next adventure by writing this blog. So here is a little background information on me and your first dare:

I Dare You To Be: DIFFERENT in 2014!

Different: not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality. Most people think that being different is a bad thing, but to me it's not. Let me tell you a little about myself so you can understand why being different is such a great thing.

I'll start by telling you that I am a 48 year old woman, who just happens to be a second degree black belt in karate. I was over 40 when I started taking the classes, although it was something that I fantasized about doing when I was younger. I am sure that everyone who has ever seen The Karate Kid, or a Bruce Lee movie has had the fantasy, but how many of them have the courage to get out and do it? See DIFFERENT!

I have been sewing ever since I could hold a needle and thread. I can't remember a time when I wasn't making my own clothes and I even had the opportunity to make money sewing for others as early as in Elementary School. In those days it wasn't exactly cool to some of the other teens to have clothes that weren't name brand and what others considered stylish. So let's just say, I endured a lot of ridicule. But I knew what I wanted so I did it MY way!  I was able to start my own official sewing business: Doshie's Custom Sewing when I was in my early twenties and I have been self-employed every since. Using my skills I have had the opportunity to do everything from alterations to wedding gowns. I even had the opportunity to outfit a whole High School marching band  including the color guards one year. See DIFFERENT!

Having the chance to do such a variety of types of sewing gave me the opportunity to find the thing that am the most passionate about sewing: window treatments! I spent years making window treatments for many different designers and personal customers. Then I decided to use all the skills that I had gained over the past 25+ years to design a line of my own valances. So as a result, I designed my Hidden Rod Pocket valances and I started a brand new business: Black Belt Home Decor. Then as if that weren't enough, I decided that instead of just selling them locally, I might as well try selling them worldwide! So I opened a shop on Etsy and did just that. See DIFFERENT!

I am telling you all of this because if I can do it, so can YOU! All I did was to follow my dreams and to never give up. When I started out, I really had no idea that what I was doing would bring me to a point in my life where I would want to motivate others to do the same, I was just following my dreams. So I hope that you will dare to be DIFFERENT with me in 2014 and to follow your dreams too!