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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Joanne left a very nice comment in my first posting, and asked that I tell her about the backs of the shelves in my family room. Oh Gosh, Joanne, I'm just not sure "ya'll" (yep, I'm from the south) can follow these very labor-intensive, difficult instructions, but I'll give it a try.

First, I'm going to do a little explaining (I'm one of those people who can't just get right to the point...I'm sure nobody has noticed that). So, here's a little background information (get it? background information about me/background information about the bookshelves--sorry, I know I tend to be lame). I frequently change my mind (hey! it's a girl's prerogative--changing our minds and needing diamonds, right?) I am constantly moving furniture and rearranging vignettes on my table tops (I'm not sure mine can be referred to as "vignettes", but it's the only word that seems to work in that sentence). (If you just hunt for a place to set something down, and then leave it wherever it lands, is it still a vignette?) For the first year we were married, my husband never sat down without looking behind him, because he was afraid I had moved the furniture around and the chair wouldn't be where it used to be. Then, he got the BIG MAN'S DECOR-- THE (da,da,da,daaa) RECLINER (do all men think recliners are a decor necessity?) I was instructed that, no matter what I move, I should consider his recliner cemented to the floor. It had to stay where it was placed!! The nerve of that man! Does he think it's his house too? (Actually, he has become much more accustomed to, and therefore more accepting of, all of my furniture moving -- but I still don't move THE RECLINER!) Okay, I know I digressed, sorry.

Another problem I have is that I want instant gratification! I guess I'm going to reveal all of my psychological problems while I'm blogging (well, maybe not all...). I'm telling ya, a psychiatrist would love to get me in his/her office!
I'm not very good at plodding through a project that will take weeks to complete! My dh will take months working on a tiny project, but not me! I'm much too impatient! Once I make up my mind I want to do something, I want it completed that day-if not sooner!

I considered painting the backs of my shelves, or getting out the glue gun and gluing paper or fabric to the backs of the shelves. But these options felt too permanent (remember, frequent mind-changing), and too labor-intensive (remember, instant gratification). We were having company for dinner the night I decided to do this, which is always an incentive to do some decorating instead of a thorough cleaning, which is what I should be doing. I had approximately two hours before I had to start cooking dinner. Not much of a window of opportunity.

I had some fabric (on sale from Hobby Lobby) left over from drapery panels I had made (with iron on tape--everything in my house is barely holding together-including me!).

So, I HAD to use that left over fabric somewhere, and the shelves were about the only place in the room that didn't already have fabric!

Whew! Now, if I haven't lost you with the review of my psychological problems, we are up to the point where I give you the tutorial. Ready?

I bought the least expensive tension rods they make. (These rods are not going to have much weight on them, so the less expensive ones work great):

Now, you are not going to believe this, and I cannot believe I'm broadcasting this to the cyber world, but, after cutting the fabric, I just ironed a hem into the sides and bottoms (didn't sew or glue them or anything) so that the raw edge of the material would stay hidden. Then, I draped the fabric over the tension rod. I didn't even make a pocket for the rod to go through!

I extended the rod between the shelves. Because my shelves are adjustable, I could put a rod at the top, and drop the fabric to the bottom, then slide my shelves back in. Oh Gosh! I just know that you are going to have so many questions about this complicated project.
If I tire of this fabric (wouldn't that be shocking?), I'll just drape another piece of fabric over the curtain rod. During the Christmas holidays, these shelves are filled with Santas, and in the past, I have changed the fabric for the holiday. I don't know if I'll do that this year, because the last time I did it, at the end of December I had a lot of trouble figuring out which piece of fabric fit behind which shelf section! I'm not very big on planning ahead (that would require too much time), so I didn't number the fabric when I took it down, which would have made it much easier to put it back up!

In my kitchen, I used a different technique (I'm not sure either of these can really be considered a technique!) This is another quick, inexpensive (I like that word so much better than cheap, don't you?) way to dress up a shelf.
I used a heavy wrapping paper (yes, the kind you use for gift-wrapping). I cut the paper to the size of each shelf, put a dab of that sticky "poster stick up" stuff on each corner and in the middle, and pressed it into place. Oh my, so difficult! Of course, I do see now (looking at this picture) that some of it is not staying up there very well, so maybe we'll want to rethink this project--even though it has been there for several years.

With both of these techniques, I do have the advantage of having my shelves crammed full of stuff (I know, not everyone considers that an advantage). If my wrapping paper even thinks (yes, I know wrapping paper doesn't think) about coming off the back of the shelf, there is a plate or something else that holds it in place. If my fabric in the shelves in the family room isn't quite straight, there's something on the shelf in front of it to conceal that.

Okay, how do you think I did with my first tutorial? "Ya'll come back now, ya hear? Laurie (bargainhunr)


Anonymous said...

Laurie, another great blog! I laughed all the way through this one, also! I am just like you, instant gratification, and I want it done yesterday! I agree, the nerve of that man thinking it's his house too! LOL!!!! Too funny! Great tutorial, and of course, I love that red toile fabric! Can't wait til the next one! Love Ya! Connie

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hello Girlfriend!

I just loved your tutorial...what a great idea for bringing some interest and color to otherwise plain shelving!!! I think I'll start shopping for some fabric for my living room shelves...thank you again for the great idea and how to do it!!!

Love ya, Chari
(PS...Girl, you always make me smile...loved reading your tutorial!)

lvroftiques said...

Well I knew you were bright and witty! But now I think you're freakin' brilliant!! I feel sooo inspired!! I'm going to try this with one of my ugly boring kitchen cabinets as well as the interior of one of my armoires!! Thank you so much for sharing Laurie!! Vanna

Anonymous said... excellent tutorial on "shelf
back-dropping"(I made up that phrase) described it very well and I think Sandra whats-her name?
on the cooking channel would love it as well.(She's the VERY attractive
and endowed one that changes her kitchen landscape with every party)..) Anyway, keep up the good are making us Blytheville Chickasaws proud, too! SA(Susie)

Anonymous said...

Girl as soon as I did done laughing my A%$ off I am going to try this in my glass front kitchen cupboard Oh with all my blue and white...and I have been wanting to add yellow in there and what a great way of doing it without alot of $$$... you are so funny girl I just love your blog and humor dear friend..Thanks for the lesson...hugs and smiles...Gloria

Anonymous said...

So clever, so witty and just plain brilliant!!! You my dear sweet friend are just so entertaining... Please, please continue to enlighten and bless our lives...I asked you about these backdrops when you first posted and remember when you said they were so easy to change out. I know I will do this some where some time... Thank-you for being you. Love ya, Cindy

santamaker said...

Oh, Laurie this was such a good post. It felt like I was in the room with you and you were just chatting away! I will definitely try this on my shelves.. the tension rods . What a great idea... Can't wait to see those for Christmas!
I'm so glad that you're blogging now, see , this is where you talent for " writing a book" comes in handy...>lol<

Anonymous said...

Well,you surprised me.All this time I thought you cut wallpaper and glued it between the shelves.I never realized the shelves came out,how smart.ha.Yes.girl,you're very entertaining.Blogging needed you....Ann

Lynette said...

I found you first through RMS, then blogging, but I'm not sure who's blog, maybe Chari, maybe Susan - doesn't matter - I'm just glad I found you!! You had me in stitches. I, too am very impatient and if you come over to my blog, that is just under a week old, you will see what I mean.
Thanks for the tutorial and psych lesson!!
Have a good weekend.

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hey Girlfriend...

Just read your note on my blog...hehe...I say that we bake pumpkin pies this weekend, huh?

Ohhhh...don't forget the whipped cream for the top of them!!! Hehe!!!

Have a great weekend Sweetie...
Love ya,

Anonymous said...

Eve..Ok..Sandra Lee(cooking channel lady who coordinates her kitchen with her parties) and I are ready for another tutorial..get with it!
Just kidding..I am sure that one wore you out.I have a coordinating wallpaper in my shelves in the den..but for
what I paid for it, it will be here until Benton(son) sells the house..
contents included. Have a great weekend..SA(Susie)

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea! Love it!!...Donna

RetiredAtLast said...

If you look in the dictionary beside the word impatient, you may find a picture of me. If I have "thought" a project through to completion, then I can't understand why it is "not" completed. Then I realize, that thinking about it, is not the same as doing it.
I am old fashioned enough to still believe the maxim: Use it up, wear it out, Make it do, or do without.
Absolutely ingenious use of the leftover material and wrapping paper. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Anonymous said...

What a neat tutorial. Thanks, girlfriend! Looks great and yet so simple.And the way you teach us is full of humor so it is so much more interesting to read. You're a natural, Laurie!.....Christine

Susie Q said...

LOVE IT! We have some gorgeous cherry bookcases that my husband made (with adjustable shelves)..he is a cabinetmaker. I think I have to get some tension rods and give that a try. I have a buffet that I'll try the other method on...although the foam core board and scrapbook paper is a good idea too...hmmm

From reading your posts...I suspect you are blonde and we are sisters separated at husband has a hard time distracting me, but I can distract myself...there is an old Simpsons' episode that is a takeoff on Star Trek Next Generation...Homer has been captured by the Borg and changed..."I am Homer of Borg, prepare to be assimi...ooooh! Donuts!"

Well, donuts has turned into the code word in our house...even my kids use it.

Joanne said...

OK, it's Joanne here, the one that asked you about the shelving unit. I'm laughing here in NY 'cos that had to be the longest description of how to do it!! You are way too funny!! Thanks for the great information -- I have to try it. It looks so nice and really brightens up your place. Thanks, again!! Joanne ~~