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No Sew Valance August 17, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Sustainable Living, Word Play.

zig1001bBFF and I have been replacing the old vertical blinds and valances on our sliding doors with new easy-to-operate single wand vertical blinds.

As we ejected one ugly balloon valance after another from the villa, I turned my attention to the lone window in my office.

There, above my desk, a hideous valance in mauve and mint mocked me.

“That,” I decided, “must go!”

Using two parts inspiration and one part perspiration, I transformed two zebra striped pillow shams into a valance for the window . . . without sewing a single stitch!

* I laid the shams side by side over the two-inch-wide (talk about overkill!) curtain rod to mark the horizontal mid-point of each sham.

* After unfolding them, I created three “tabs” for the curtain rod to slide through by snipping three sets of parallel slits through the “inside” layer of each sham.

* After threading the industrial size rod through the newly created tabs, I draped the uncut side of the sham in front of the rod, hung it above my desk, and arranged the folds.

I’m delighted with the end result:

The zebra print suits our decor far better than the mauve mint pattern which preceded it, and allowed me to “repurpose” un-used shams.

Fun Fact:  In case you’re wondering, “valence” is also a word, meaning:

the combining power of an atom as shown by the number of its electrons that are lost, gained, or shared in the formation of chemical bonds

What a difference one letter makes, eh?

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Any stories to share about reducing, reusing, recycling, or repurposing objects around your home at no or low cost?


1. SuziCate - August 17, 2011

Yay, you! I love it when I find new purposes for old items, esp when it doesn’t involve a ton of work!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Suzi. If I had a sewing machine, I would have done them more professionally, but it would have taken longer and probably would have cost more. 😉

My number one goal was to evict the mint and mauve valance in the geometric “Aztec” design (left behind by the previous owner). As I considered what I might have to cover the hardware from the blinds, I remembered the two shams folded up in the closet, NOT paying rent.

Normally, items that aren’t being used around here get donated in short order, but I’d hung on to the zebra shams because I love zebras and wanted to do something with them.

SuziCate - August 17, 2011

Aha, it does pay to hang on to some things. There are some things I just know I’ll use some day even if I don’t know what for at the time, and you know it as soon as I let said item go, I figure out what I want to do with it!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

I agree that some things are worth hanging on to . . . for a time anyway.

But there is very little we’ve given away that even enters our thoughts these days. Out of sight, out of mind.

2. eof737 - August 17, 2011

Kudos! You did an amazing job… I bet it wasn’t as easy as you describe. Looks great. 😉

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Well . . . I did make one wrong turn and one of the shams has the extra slits to prove it! 😉

3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - August 17, 2011

Look at you getting all crafty with it!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Let’s craft on . . . oh, baby come on. 😀

4. misswhiplash - August 17, 2011

A great job was most definitely done….well done for being thrifty

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks. BFF was surprised at the outcome. When I told him what I planned to do . . . he looked decidedly dubious. 😀

We both like the new pattern on the valance much better.

And FREE fits well into our limited budget.

5. Vix @ LittleMissEverything - August 17, 2011

I love prints, works much better now, good job!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Vix.

I should see if I have a photo of the old valance anywhere. Probably not. It was hideous . . . so why photograph it? 😉

6. Maggie - August 17, 2011

That looks really nice!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Maggie. My office is filled with my artwork . . . and paintings of Zebras. So the valance is a much better fit.

7. Naomi - August 17, 2011

Good for you, Nancy! Love the zebra theme 🙂

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Looking at these shots makes me realize that I’m long overdue for another Zebra post.

Maybe one with photos of ALL the Zebra art in our Villa.

Zebras rock! 😎

I asked the zebra, Are you black with white strips? Or white with black strips?
And the zebra asked me:
Are you good with bad habits? Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times? Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with sad days? Or are you sad with happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways? Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes again.

~ Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

8. Clar http://Clarbojahn.wordpress.com/ - August 17, 2011

Way to go! Yay, you!
Love the poem, too. We’re definitely a Shel Silverstein fan.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Clar. Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are two of my favorite wordsmiths! 😀

9. brainrants - August 17, 2011

One letter, yes. The Amazing LetterMan would agree.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

It’s a wonder of us ever get the English language straight in our minds . . . there are stumbling blocks and pit falls everywhere.

10. kateshrewsday - August 17, 2011

Now that valance has attitude….and those pics on the wall are wonderful too, Nancy.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

The painting one on the top right is my fave ~ made by my niece Sarah when she was just 10 (Maddie’s age).

11. souldipper - August 17, 2011

Ingenious, Nancy and it creates a great theme. I made a window dressing out of a used-from-India-silk-sari for my bedroom. It is draped and swirled around a curtain rod with nary a stitch. I am not sure whether I have been creative or lazy, but I love it.

Plus, remember blogger Heart? She told me her aunt is nearly blind from doing the needle work that decorates saris. I often send waves of gratitude to her aunt as I waken to the softness, colour and texture of mine.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Ooh . . . sounds pretty, Amy.

I’ve used Scottish scarfs and Indian fabric runners to decorate in the past ~ draped over dressers and papisan chairs, etc.

S~P~L~A~S~H . . . instant color and style. 😀

12. 2e0mca - August 17, 2011

Now, you know, in the UK, these are called Pelmet Boards – why, I have no idea! And the difference between Valance and Valence is one of potentially catastrophic proportions… Don’t go there 😉 Interesting post 🙂

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

I never heard that term before ~ just googled and it looks like Pelmet Boards are hard boards, padded and covered with foam and fabric ~ they look like a hard hat or “helmet” for the window. 😉

13. Christine Grote - August 17, 2011

Good job. It feels so refreshing to take down the old. I love the zebra artwork.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Christine. I love my ZEBRAS. 😎

We’ve been having FUN getting rid of things we haven’t liked since we moved in ~ donating a huge Italian armoire and a large entertainment center to Habitat for Humanity freed up valuable floor space.

Aah . . . that’s better.

14. Linda - August 17, 2011

Fabulous! Great job. And no sewing is all that much better. I avoid it at all costs. Keep up the craftiness Nancy, it can save a lot of money.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

At times, I’m tempted to get a sewing machine but I wonder how much I would use it. And it’s fun to figure out “no sew” solutions.

We saved money on the vertical blinds by buying new tracks for two of the sliding doors ($22 each) and re-using the old louvers, which were still in great shape. Replacing the tracks is MUCH cheaper than buying new louvers.

15. Patricia - August 17, 2011

Very clever and looks great.

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Patricia. I’m glad my experiment worked so I didn’t have to rehang the mauve and mint valance. 😀

16. adeeyoyo - August 17, 2011

I love it, Nancy. I also love changing the look of a room now and then!

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Thanks, Denise. I agree . . . muttering about with furnishings is a great way to brighten up our lives. Sometimes small swaps of furniture placement or accents can change the entire look of a room ~ making a tremendous impact without spending a fortune.

17. jannatwrites - August 17, 2011

The zebra pattern looks great. I love the ‘no sew’ idea, too. My mom gave me a sewing machine several years ago, but after sitting down with the manual for over an hour, I couldn’t even get the silly thing threaded. When I made my son’s valance, I bought the stitch witch fabric tape – the heat from the iron glued the hems in place.

I would love to see the hideousness of the old valance, though 🙂

nrhatch - August 17, 2011

Sewing machines can be challenging to operate. I’d have to take lessons on threading, bobbin winding, etc.

I didn’t take a “Before” photo and couldn’t find any photo that shows the pattern ~ the valance itself was in great shape but the colors and pattern seemed rather, um, “unique” in juxtaposition with the rest of the room.

18. Judith - August 17, 2011

Who ever put mint and mauve together? But don’t ask me I recently (on 7/19) posted on wearing purple so what would I know?

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

Mauve and mint ~ tentative tip-toeing around colors ~ like you couldn’t quite make up your mind whether you liked them, or not.

Purple and green ~ dark rich royal hues ~ perfect together! 😉

19. Tilly Bud - August 18, 2011

Looks great!

One question – what’s a pillow sham?

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

It is a pillowcase . . . but instead of sliding the pillow easily in and out of the open end, you must wrestle the pillow into a MUCH SMALLER opening in the back.

The opening in the back is like a “hidden door.” Once the pillow is stuffed inside, the flaps in the back overlap to conceal the opening, Instead of looking like a bed pillow in a pillowcase, it looks like a “decorative accessory.”

Tilly Bud - August 19, 2011

Seems like an awful lot of work! Does it make a person feel better (the other reason for hard work round here)?


nrhatch - August 19, 2011

I’ve never been a fan of shams ~ which is why these ones lay folded up in the closet instead of cluttering up the bed.

People who want to “decorate” their bed with 17 pillows every morning seem to love them. 😀

20. Sandra Bell Kirchman - August 18, 2011

Very creative, Nancy. I love the idea of creating something from something else entirely different. It’s almost like magic. I can just see you waving your magic wand over the shams. Abracadabra – I give you a valance!! You should call them shazams! lol

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

That’s perfect, Sandra! LOVE the name! 😀

I need to hire a marketing mouth like the guy who worked for Oxy Clean:

Do you have shams folded in your closet, doing nothing?
Do you have windows in desperate need of re-do?

Turn your shams into valances like magic . . . SHAZAM!

Sandra Bell Kirchman - August 18, 2011

Maybe my copywriting course did some good after all lol – go for it, Nancy.

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

If I ever need a marketing slogan, I know who to call! 😀

21. granny1947 - August 18, 2011

OK…so what IS a Sham?

Cindy - August 18, 2011

I think it’s what we call a pillowcase?

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

It is a pillowcase . . . but instead of sliding the pillow easily in and out of the open end, you must wrestle the pillow into a MUCH SMALLER opening in the back.

The opening in the back is like a “hidden door.” Once the pillow is stuffed inside, the flaps in the back overlap to conceal the opening, Instead of looking like a bed pillow in a pillowcase, it looks like a “decorative accessory.”

22. Cindy - August 18, 2011

Clever you!

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

Thanks! ‘Twas FUN. 😀

theonlycin - January 20, 2012

And I did notice your hat 😀

nrhatch - January 20, 2012

Mad Hatters unite! 😀

23. flyinggma - August 18, 2011

Looks like home for sure..Good for you!

nrhatch - August 18, 2011

It’s feeling more like home every day. 😀

24. Tammy - August 19, 2011

My dh is a master at this. We recently took an old hitching post and had a metal worker transform it into the base of one of our bathroom sinks. It really is fabulous.

nrhatch - August 19, 2011

Oh, wow! I would love to see a photo of that . . . care to post on your hitching post??? 😀

Tammy - August 19, 2011

I will send you a photo.

nrhatch - August 19, 2011


25. Julie - August 19, 2011

Wow! I’m always amazed when people are resourceful and crafty. I am neither.

nrhatch - August 19, 2011

You strike me as resourceful (“do what you can, with what you have, where you are”) ~ you made Italy happen! 😀

I’m not as crafty as I used to be as a teen when I hooked rugs, sewed samplers, decoupaged boxes and plaques, made jewelry, etc..

Maybe that’s changing now that I have a bit more time.

26. hugmamma - August 20, 2011

cool idea…very ingenious! 🙂

nrhatch - August 20, 2011

It’s wonderful when we love the end result of our crafty projects. I should link up to the post on your darling dollhouse. 😀

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