Hanging the rods were probably the easiest part of the project, even with finding studs and checking for level. I hang my curtains larger than the window - about six inches wider and a foot above the top of the window. The below window is quite close to the wall on the right, so I positioned the brackets and hung the curtains to make the window seem farther away from the corner. There's only about 3 inches of wall on the right side, and about 9 inches on the other, but once the curtains are up, you can't tell.
The two front windows provided the most challenge. As you can see in this (really) old picture - there's not a lot of wall space between the two.
I decided to run two conduits together in the corner, not using finials there, and just use the curtains to visually connect the two windows.
Excuse the dark pictures - the downside of putting up curtains is that it tends to block out the natural light.
You can also see that our ceiling has a pretty drastic angle to it in the living room. First, I hung the rod that is closest to the ceiling, and then hung the rest of the rods using it's measurements. That way they are nice and level all the way around the room - despite a drastically changing ceiling height.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the way my DIY rods turned out. So let's talk a bit about the curtains.
I bought eight packs of dropcloth curtains from Home Depot for $10.97 each. I washed them with lots of fabric softener and then spent the rest of my life ironing them. That's a slight exaggeration - but my goodness that's a lot of material and it took several hours. I folded the tops over six inches and ironed them flat. Then I had my mom hem them. I chose to hem the top instead of the bottom, because the double thickness at the top made them look more tailored when I hung them up. The dropcloths come hemmed when you buy them, so the other sides were left alone.
As far as price goes, I don't think you can do better than dropcloths. They're not exciting, but once I washed and ironed them, they look much more like a pretty linen than the cheap cotton canvas that they are. I also hung them nice and full, with some extra puddle at the floor, which I believe adds to the illusion that they are high quality than they actually are. Because they are, of course, not super quality. And that's how I made my "oh, bummer" discovery. After all the work of washing, ironing, and hanging them, one of the panels developed a big run right in the middle. So I went to Home Depot to buy a replacement and guess what - now they're selling them 2 to a pack for the same $10.97. Now, if you're looking to do this for yourself in the near future, there's nothing to be bummed about. But knowing that I could have saved $40+ by waiting two weeks to buy them is nothing less of a bummer for me.
I still plan on stenciling and trimming the curtains, so they're hardly "finished." I also might sew a real pinch pleat at the top since I'm not crazy about the "faux pleat" I have going on (by simply using the ring clips to clip the fabric from behind the curtain rather than the top). However, they're at a nice pausing point, so they'll probably stay like this for a while. After living without curtains for over a year, it's such a nice change - we're just enjoying them at the moment, unfinished or not.
How about you - finished any project lately that have been on your to-do list for an embarrassingly long time?