Update to Outdoor Curtains

Well, it’s been nearly four years since we made outdoor curtains out of drop cloths and, overall, they have held up great.  There has been some rusting around the piping, but it’s not too bad; however, the clip rings did not hold up at all, and the tie backs eventually succumbed to the elements.  We do take these down every winter, and they have survived our Midwest thunderstorms, tornado warnings and high winds with no problems at all.

outdoor curtainsI had my doubts about that first set of curtain rings, as they were wood and metal…the metal rusted and the wood broke.  So, to fix the curtain ring situation, I got some simple black grosgrain ribbon and sewed that, tab-style, to the drop cloth.  It was just a bummer I had to get the sewing machine out and sew them on, but, at least by using the grosgrain, it wasn’t too expensive and I had nice edges without any real hemming. Now, we could have slid the ribbon tabs right onto the metal rod, but then it didn’t slide very well.  We tried some plastic shower curtain rings from the Dollar Store, but they didn’t slide much better than the ribbon did, so, we purchased some metal shower rings from Lowe’s and it is all holding up well.  It wasn’t the cheapest solution at about $10 for 12 rings, but it’s working great.

To replace the tiebacks that fell apart from the exposure to the elements, we got metal curtain holdbacks, and screwed them into the post as shown here.  We tried just one, but one wasn’t enough to keep the curtains back--even in the lightest breeze.  With two for each post, the curtain is held in place perfectly.  Now these can be expensive, but ended up free for us—my mom found a good deal on them somewhere and contributed them to the cause. 

The mildew problem has been less and less each year, but I do give them a good bleaching in the fall when we bring them in and, again, in the spring before we put them out.


Would love to hear about other experiences/solutions with outdoor curtains, too!

How to Defrost your Deep Freezer

This is the best way to defrost your freezer.

Instructions courtesy of my mom.

It had been several years since our deep freezer had been defrosted, and we were losing space due to the ice getting so thick on the walls.

Freezer full of food and ice

I waited for a cool day to begin the process so that my food would stay frozen.

First, I put two big pots of water on the kitchen cooktop to boil.

Boiling Water

Next, I took everything out of the freezer and put it in laundry baskets.


Then I covered it all up with a ton of blankets.  The ice cream and a snowball from last winter went into the refrigerator freezer in the kitchen.

Frozen food covered up

The water was now boiling.  I placed the pots of boiling water in the freezer and put them on top of cutting boards.

Pots on Cutting boards in freezer

I shut the lid and walked around the yard.


My mom said you should begin the next step in about 15 minutes.  My ice was so thick, my freezer needed a good 30 minutes.

After about 30 minutes, most of the ice was melting and sliding off in big chunks from the sides.  I got a bucket and began carrying the ice chunks out and dumping them in the yard.  To speed up the process, I used a measuring cup from the kitchen and poured small amounts of hot water behind the ice that was still stuck to the sides.  After hauling all the ice out, there was a small amount of water in the bottom of the freezer.  I used the shop vac to suck it out.

Clean Freezer!

Clean freezer

The entire process—from start to finish—took under an hour, and I was able to reorganize my freezer goods.

Thanks, mom.

Getting Wax out of fabric


Decorating for the holidays means candles.  And every year a candle gets blown out with too much gusto and wax ends up on tables, tablecloths and table runners.  To get the wax out, do the following -

1. Let it cool completely

2. Once completely cool, scrape off any wax that you can.  A fingernail works just fine for this, but you might want to do it over a trashcan.

3. Heat your iron to the hottest setting and make sure you don’t have any steam on.

4. Get a piece of cotton fabric (an old t-shirt works great) and put this on top of the wax-stained fabric.  And, depending on how thick your fabric is, lay a piece of cotton fabric underneath it. 

5. Iron until the the wax melts and soaks into your cotton fabric. 

6. That’s it!  You may have some staining if you have, say, red candle wax on a white tablecloth, but then you can try different methods for getting the stain out. 

Here is a Before and After of a table runner I “ironed” a few days ago. In the After, there was some mild staining, but I couldn’t get my camera to pick it up.

Wax on fabric table runnerfabric after wax removed

Hope it works for you!