the valance

Have you ever noticed that if you go shopping with something particular in mind, you inevitably can’t find what you want—and if you shop with nothing in mind, you can find dozens of appealing items?  This has always been a problem for folks in my family.

More than a decade ago, I made a simple quilt of bright-colored squares.  Having never quilted before, I was delighted with the twin-size bedspread I created.  I used it during college and determined that if I ever had a little girl, she should have it in her room.

Last fall, we switched Goober to a big girl bed.  Since we had been planning only to switch her room and not her bed, I wasn’t prepared with any new bedroom accessories.  I ran out and found some bright orange sheets and a red rug—the only bright colors I could find that matched—but I couldn’t find curtains.

What I really wanted was a valance with some bright, whimsical flowers on it.  I visited every local retail store that carried valances—and then some.  No luck.  I looked for matching fabric at a few local fabric stores, only to discover that fabric stores seem to be carrying less and less fabric, and they certainly didn’t have anything that nicely complimented the fabric I already had in the quilt.  I resorted to desperately searching the internet time and again, certain that someone somewhere had produced something like what I was looking for, but the only bright flowered things I could find were bright pink and purple.  Alas!  I finally gave up and purchased plain black curtains: at least they didn’t completely clash.

One day a few months later when I was cleaning house, I happened upon an underbed tote that I’d completely forgotten was under my bed.  Lo and behold, it contained (among other items) scraps of fabric from that long-ago quilt!  After determining that none of the fabric scraps was sizable enough to make a complete valance for Goober’s large bedroom window, however, I put them away, feeling defeated.  Those fabric scraps kept coming to mind, though, whenever I walked into my daughter’s room.  So I pondered.  After a few crazy quilting concepts that I swiftly rejected, I developed a vision that would utilize those odd little pieces of matching fabric to create the whimsical flowers I’d imagined.

Usually I have grand and glorious visions that turn into grand and glorious failures, so my hopes were not high when I began this sewing adventure—but just this once, my vision actually became reality.   (Though I think I’ll refrain from trying to calculate how many hours I spent creating flower templates and arranging and rearranging leaves, not to mention the actual sewing.)  Goobie’s room now has a valance that matches her quilt AND incorporates those whimsical flowers I’d imagined.  Hopefully it will be timeless enough that it can last her for quite a few years into the future.  (Now to address the walls…)


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