When we set up the nursery before our daughter was born, we looked for the safest, most reliable and adorable things we could find to outfit it. I searched catalogs, stores and web sites for items that fit the baby animal-early-learning-we’re new to parenting theme. She got a well-made crib from Cali – no recalls and we’re into our second child, matching comforter, sheet set and crib bumper (not recommended these days), an organic changing table cover and more.
It wasn’t an over-the-top scene like Christina Aguilera’s son Max’s nursery – mostly sweet, except for the 11-ft.-tall ominous moon overshadowing baby Max’s crib, a prop from her super-mega music tour. I like her and the Voice (when she was on the show), and she may love mega moon man, but I think he looks kinda scary. Our kid’s digs were much calmer, simpler, and less expensive, but we did manage to make it look nice.
While staring at our plain white Home Depot shade, plain even with matching baby animal curtains and valence, I knew something had to be changed. Scouring catalogs, stores and web sites, again, I decided we needed a custom shade.
It was easy. We only had to measure the window, and re-measure it 35 times, decide on Honeycomb, Roller or Roman, pick the fabric, choose the trim and lift system. Then we had to answer the question, is it worth the money for the blackout lining? Let me be clear when I say this next part. YES! If you’re going to spend the money to buy custom shades, and you live in a place, on earth, that gets any amount of sun, pop for the lining! We did not. It was an economical decision and it seemed like the right choice at the time. But, we have struggled with it ever since.
When we installed this seemingly perfect shade, it was summer. The summer sun shone so bright it sometimes felt like we had no shade up at all. Our solution? DIY, of course. We bought a piece of blackout lining and a can of fabric spray and went to town. Brilliant. It actually worked, sort of.
It blocked the light shining directly in the window, but did almost nothing at the top and sides. When the sun was high, you could imagine it like Close Encounters, or Indiana Jones when the Ark opens (not the melting faces though, this is about a kids room), or some more modern reference to intense blazing light.
Soon, the liner rolled up and somehow fell over the shade. This meant the white liner was on the outside, and all we could see was a couple inches of our custom shade. My hubs was not too eager to climb up and fix it a dozen times a day, but he did. What a guy! I even learned how to do it, sort of.
This method of wrapping and unwrapping our shades worked until the blackout liner got so tangled up we couldn’t even pull the shades down or up. We (mostly he) fixed it, again and again. Then we settled on a fix that left us with a band of light at the bottom of the window, but it was good enough.
You might wonder how we got our children to sleep? We flung blankets and diapers at the top valence until they blocked the light. Okay, okay, I flung blankets and diapers until my husband got on a chair and neatly stuffed a big blanket behind the top valence. It’s there right now, nestled on some wire bracket or something, I think. To deal with the light shooting out the bottom, I started leaning a Boppy, or two, against the bottom of the window and stuffing blankets on top of them to wedge the shade close to the wall. And the sides? Well, I got frustrated one day and started using thumbtacks to pin the curtains to the wall. We’ll have to putty the pinholes someday, but for now, it works. This must be where all my time goes!
The sad part is, this has been going on for over five years. The light still shines through, but it’s not so bad the kids wake up, much.
Dear readers, learn from our mistake. Whether you’re preparing for a baby or upgrading a guest room – if you’re going to spend the money on a custom shade or curtains – don’t cheap out on the liner!
When I have a good picture of the shade, I'll post it.