Hello Darkness My Old Friend

by HEAB on June 9, 2011

Around here, nap time is a priority. Summer naps twice a day, and I make sure to be home and have her in her crib as soon as she starts rubbing her eyes (which is the cutest thing ever by the way). Thankfully, she is a champion sleeper, but in an effort to make nap time a little more pleasant, I decided to put blackout curtains up in the nursery. The plan was to score some really cool fabric on clearance and then make the curtains myself. I envisioned something that slightly matched the nursery decor but added a little funky vibe to the room as well. Then I realized that my dream would require a sewing machine…and I would have to learn how to sew. So, I searched Pinterest high and low for DIY ideas, but alas, every window treatment I could find required sewing skills. Therefore, I came up with my own…


Sleeping Bag + Thumbtacks

I like to call it, Young House Love HEABified.

Hopefully, the sleeping bag won’t be up long…much to CD’s dismay. 😉

The winner of my Reader Appreciation Giveaway is Marie.

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Congrats Marie! I’ll email you for your shipping info.


Holly June 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm


I’ve been following your blog ever since you became pregnant with little Summer. My mother introduced me to it because we have so many parallels. I am also a massage therapist who enjoys yoga (well I did when I was pregnant). I became pregnant about 4 to 6 weeks after you and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl (Hanalei Abigail) on Thanksgiving day. I have really enjoyed following you as I seem to be going through the same adventures at the same time. This one however I have not reached yet but I was laughing hysterically when I saw the picture. This is one of those “I’m gonna make this work if it’s the last thing I do” kinda moments. Love it! Thanks for sharing all of your precious moments!

HEAB June 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks so much for reading and Hanalei Abigail – oh my gosh, what a gorgeous name! I love hearing from other mamas that read my blog and our daughters are so close in age – so I know you totally get everything I’m experiencing.

My blackout curtains got a small improvement yesterday, but we’re still working on them. I must say, Summer loves her dark room, and it stays a lot cooler as well. I’m thinking of putting up sleeping bags in every bedroom now. 😉

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli June 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Yeah, I know as much about the workings of a sewing machine as I do about launching a spaceship! Love the DIY curtains…I totally need to do that in my bedroom until I figure out what window treatments I want to use!

michelle June 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Sorry I didn’t get a chance to read all responses but what about using cute little black clothes pins and a non expensive black table cloth? During the day you could just lift up the corners and use the clothes pins to fold so the light comes in.

HEAB June 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

Now that is a good idea! We hung some rods yesterday, and I bought rings, and by “we”, I mean our handyman. Hehe. Clothes pin and wire would have been so cute. Keeping that one in mind for the future.

Amber from Berlinswhimsy June 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Though the sleeping bag works (and you can make curtains w/o one), I say go for the sewing machine! I got my first sewing machine when my daughter was an infant (a wonderful gift from my Mom) and I’ve appreciated it ever since…… Especially with young kids, it is so useful!

Disclaimer: While I do have a sewing machine & a serger, my daughter (now 12) is waiting for me to make new curtains for her room as I write this… :-0 I better get on that this weekend…

HEAB June 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

You are too funny. OK, I’ll think about it. My mom used to sew all the time, and I know she could be give me lessons, but I just don’t feel like I’m patient enough. We shall see. I know I’d have fun with it.

CookiePie June 10, 2011 at 8:12 am

Motherhood – it’s all about the creative solutions! 🙂 Yay for you that your little one is a good sleeper!

Kate (Bread & Chocolate) June 10, 2011 at 6:53 am

Hahaha. This cracked me up. Might have to try it myself…the early morning sun is driving me crazy. This reminds me of when Heather from DOOCE used tin foil to cover her baby’s windows. Anything for a little extra sleep 🙂

Mary June 10, 2011 at 6:07 am

I have a half circle window that helped heat up my kitchen, I am too frugal to spend tons of $$ on shading it so my solution has been torn tissue paper, spray starch and a few “weeds” dried in nearby field. The sray starch will hold paper to the window and after a few layersni would sandwich in random dried stems for handmade paper look. This diffused the worst of heat coming in.
For blackout of cooking roof rays into son’s room shiny side out foil was the answer, instant blackout and extra thermal protection, easy up and down with blinds and curtains and hidden from inside view. Imwas amazed at the temp change instantly and the a/c savings made me smile!

HEAB June 10, 2011 at 6:51 am

What a great idea with the tissue paper and dried stems. I love that! Also, I think the plan for the nursery is going to involve tin foil. Several other have recommended it. We already have blinds, but I am thinking of putting the tin foil underneath them and than making some simple curtain so you can really see the foil. Our neighbors will see it, but they have a 2 year old and a new 3 week old baby – I’m sure they’ll understand. 🙂

Kim June 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Umm, yeah, next time you are in town, and provided it is still summer(ish) here, you will have to swing by the “cave”. Our house is transformed from mid May until the end of Sept into the “cave”. Being the idiots that we are, we bought a house that faces East-West, where in normal parts that people live no big deal. Here however, it means Bella’s room, our family room, kitchen and Master Bedroom all become hot boxes as soon as the spring/summer sun hits. Nevermind we spend hundreds of dollars on “fancy” sunshades, yeah, that did minimal. So, I did my own “sunscreens”. Bella’s room now has cut up clearance blackout curtains behind her fancy schmancy blinds, she also has the largest windows in the house, which makes for a FUN process. The kitchen, we go all out….Fred brings home over exposed xrays from work and they go on the outside small glass block window things which act like magnifying glasses in the summer. The black out curtains also go behind our blinds in Master bed. Thank goodness we do not have neighbors on the side where all these beautiful decorations are or I know the homeowners assoc would be all over us! Let me tell ya, we get some great summer naps in this house, nice and dark and cool!

Marty June 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Dang! You know if I was closer i’d be there in a heartbeat with my machine stitching up pretty curtains!!!

Ok, got you all beat! Not pretty, but with 24-hrs summer light and a street light right outside in the winter, to prevent condensation on the window, with tea cup hooks, grommets in a black tarp-like material we hung an OUTSIDE curtain!! It’s ugly from the outside, but hey I can sleep, and still open the window for summer breezes. During the day I pull up one lower corner and hook it up to let in some light. My husband sews as well as me, sometimes better, he made it at my insistence (he can sleep anywhere!). Heather, I’ll send the ugly pic, I def could win the UG award here!

Amanda Jewell June 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I miss darkness. I love my place, but it is very bright which is great for motivation, but not so nice on those mornings when I just want to be lazy and lay like broccoli 🙂

Natalie June 9, 2011 at 8:23 pm

you are smart to be hard core about nap time. It will pay off. Both my kids are good sleepers because I believe it’s important to have them nap in their cribs. The sleeping bag cracked me up. I had a dark sheet on my son’s window for a long time!!

Christin@purplebirdblog June 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Hahhahaha we had a throw blanket and a Snuggie tacked over our respective windows in our bedroom when Alex was working nights and had to sleep during the day. Ghetto fabulous, over here. 🙂

April June 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I only had Valance curtains, with horizontal mini blinds. (ok I am dating myself here ;-). I used to hang two bathrobes on the curtain rod to block the window. That way when nap time was done the robes went back into the closet. Just a suggestion, no sewing required!

Eden June 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Thats why I’ve been known to sleep in walk-in closets. Not my own though..

Kelsey @ Clean Teen Kelsey June 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Hey, whatever works, right?! I think that is a genius way to block out light, haha.

Baking 'n' Books June 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

That is so thoughtful of you!! LOL – I know – she’s your daughter, but that’s the first thing I thought 😉 Thinking of keeping the light out of her little peepers…it’s not her fault she needs to sleep during the day!

Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog June 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I’m a blackout sleeper, too—so the place I lived in when I was going to school, I put tin foil on the windows and a towel on top. I’m pretty stylish. 🙂 My last place featured floor-to-ceiling faux-suede curtains, and I tacked the sides down for max darkness—totally necessary when living far enough north that you only get dark blue for 4 hours in June-July! I see absolutely nothing wrong with a sleeping bag, assuming you have AC? 🙂

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Yeah, CD sees nothing wrong with the sleeping bag either. Haha, I’m more of a curtain girl, but for now it works. It’s amazing how cool it keeps the room as well. We have a great AC, BUT our windows are old and let in so much heat during the summer and cold air during the winter. The sleeping bag is thermal and absorbs so much of the heat coming in – I noticed when I lifted it up to measure the windows today. The room was cold, but it was so hot underneath the sleeping bag. It’s like Summer has her own personal sleeping cave. I’m ready to tack up sleeping bags in every bedroom! 😉

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm

You gotta do what you gotta do!

I am still sleeping when the sun comes up and I wrap my head up, turban-style, with a blanket covering my ears and eyes. It gets hot but at least it’s dark. lol

I love your old-school efforts on this one 🙂

melisssa June 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Couldn’t stop laughing when I saw your window treatment! Awesome! Us momma’s got to do what we have to do in order to get the job done! YAY for staying on top of naps! I am a bit of a Nap Nazi with my boys–3 1/2 and 11 months. I feel like it is important to get a nap in their beds and keep them on a routine. I have so many friends who’s children “gave up” their naps…but we don’t do that here! Another thing…the better they nap, the better they sleep at night!

katie @KatieDid June 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm

hahah! I wish I had that in my room! I’m woken up blinded by my three skylights every morning.

Chad @ thebreakupnote June 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Now that’s some good old American ingenuity there.

Mama June 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I have a similar contraption on my girl’s windows…tin foil taped to the window to let virtually NO LIGH! Then blackout curtains, also thumb tacked to the wall! They dont know the difference between 3pm and 3am!! Anything to get your kids to sleep, right?

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm


birdie to be June 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

This is hilarious to me! I used to work at night and I would try everything I possibly could to get some zzzz’s during the sunshine hours. Including sleeping in the closet 🙁

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Birdie To Be,
Haha, before got married, CD used to nap in his closet in his old apartment. It was like his own private cave, and he loved it. He still talks about how well he slept there.

Angel7 June 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

That is a good way to make sure that the room is dark and she sleeps well 🙂

We had cardboard on our front door window before I found curtains and a magnetic curtain rod. It was not up for long, though 🙂


Deanna June 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Ha! We had a blanket up over our son’s window for 6 years. Then, I finally broke down and bought room darkening roller blinds.

In our defense, we did have light gauzy curtains and a curtain rod. (And, I actually made the curtains.) So, the blanket was just draped over the curtain rod. Gauzy curtains are so stupid when you’re trying to get a kid to go to bed when it’s still light out. WHAT was I thinkin?!?

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

You were trying to make it pretty. That’s what we girls do. 🙂

Sarah June 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

Haha make shift ideas are my specialty! This sleeping bag idea will be stored in my brain for the future.

Stevie-Jean @ fitfabfemale.com June 9, 2011 at 11:39 am

Thats a great idea! I think I need that for my window in the summer when I try to sleep in! Lol

jen @ taste life June 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

You are definitely a girl after my own heart, Heather. When I was in college I used bedsheets instead of curtains…they even had a loop at the top from where the fabric was folded over that I could slip a curtain rod through.

Alyssa June 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

A bay rubber his/her eyes IS one of the cutest things EVER.

When my son was a baby we had his crib in our room while we were in the process of moving. We bought a soothing noise machine for his crib to help him sleep. The first night we used it, I put li’l guy into his crib and turned on the soothing sounds. Then woke up an hour later, realizing that Hubby and I went out like lights while li’l guy was wide awake and happily playing in his crib.
Should’ve put sleeping bags up instead, lol!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Haha – too funny. We tried a sound machine several times, but it never really worked to get Summer to sleep. However, she is loving her dark room. We have blinds up in there, but there was so much light still coming in. Now, it’s much darker, not too mention a lot cooler. She’s falling asleep more quickly and sleeping a bit longer. 🙂

Sarah R June 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

You gotta do what you gotta do! I can’t believe the thumbtacs are holding it up.

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

The sleeping bag is super light – it’s a thermal one from LL Bean that I’ve had for forever.

Mary @ Bites and Bliss June 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

I used to do this too! I wouldn’t sleep well at night so I’d dress the windows with really thick sheets. Worked like a charm. 🙂

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) June 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

Maybe when it comes time to go camping and you need the bag back, you can hire a high school student to make you a simple shade?? Cheap labor: Exploit! 🙂

nadia June 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

omg this is so funny – i did the same thing 2 days ago – i thumbtacked old sheets and blankets to the wall. the light in my apt has been screwing up my sleep all year – it took me ONE YEAR to realise this. God…
and yesterday sisson’s post. always so timely! always so relevant. 😉

Dea June 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

You’re lucky that Summer has a nice schedule! Trixie was all over the place, so she napped on the go a lot, generally in a carrier. Hudson, being the 2nd baby just naps whenever he can. Somehow I’ve managed to not have crazy cranky kids!

Jill June 9, 2011 at 9:56 am

Ha ha! Looks like how I used to sleep!! But…when I moved to E Nash I had to figure out a serious way to cover about 8 windows in my bedroom. YES 8 windows…where those folks insane or what ?? When the built that house they must’ve loved their neighbors!!

Anyway, you can get paper blockers at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are accordian style and pretty. I think they come in white/beige and black. Maybe less than $5.00 a shade. I use them now in Brentwood too since our bedroom faces the street and again, we have miserable loud, party all night neighbors. Go figure. Can change the hood but cannot change the rude neighbors.

So, here’s to summer having permanent darkness via clean, crisp and affordable paper shades (they stick up and are easily removable too!)


HEAB June 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

What’s the deal with your neighbors? So sorry – didn’t think that happened too often in the ‘Burbs. Thanks for the paper shade tip. We’ve got some blinds up already – so not sure if those would work unless I could put them under the blinds. Hmm, need to experiment. I see a trip to Target and Home Depot in my near future. 🙂

Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers June 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

Now that’s my kind of DIY! I need it totally dark to sleep, so that would have made my nap much more pleasant too.

Kim June 9, 2011 at 9:36 am

We ended up using a tension rod and some blackout fabric up inside the window (no sewing or ironing involved!), plus it’s transportable for when we went on vacation or what have you. I bought a couple of yards of the blackout fabric from a fabric store and just folded it over. My daughter’s now 7 and she still sleeps in a pitch-black room, but she’s still an awesome sleeper!

Over the front of the window, you can add whatever decorative curtains or blinds/shutters you want. Works like a charm!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

That is a great idea, especially b/c it’s portable. Thanks!

Felicia (Natural + Balanced) June 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

I remember I told you about my new pediatric home care job, so now that I’m around babies all the time, I am with you on the rubbing the eyes. It is the cutest thing. And when they yawn. And give you a huge toothless smile when they wake up. Honestly, it is so amazing being around babies and taking care of them! Life has a different meaning in a way, its like I can forget about stupid little things and stresses and just be there for them because all they want is love.. and food.. and sleep 🙂 OH- and a clean diaper. Haha 🙂 Your such a good momma- whens #2 coming? hehe 🙂

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) June 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

Love your idea! We work at night quite often, so daylight can be our enemy. We haven’t tried it, but a lot of people swear by foil covering the windows. Dustin had an idea for black poster board, sized to fit in the windows. Dustin also wears an eye mask but that’s for adults only, lol.

Emily @ Comfortable Home Life June 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

Ahaha I must admit I’ve done the same thing! My coverig of choice was a blanket though. My family felt bad and eventually bought me blackout curtains. They do the job but they’re not pretty so I’ve started a fabric hunt to DYI gorgeous curtains (wishful thinking!). YHL just did a curtain post today!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Just read the post, and read their old nursery post. Didn’t realize Sherry had made Clara’s curtains with no sewing machine. So excited! May the fabric hunt begin. 🙂

Meagan June 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

Whatever works, right? And hey, it’s free!

Miriam June 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

We have towels hanging up. I fully intend to buy blackout curtains at some point. I also intended to take them down when summer ended last year, but they are still up. 😉 We hung them up because our kids go to bed at 8…and it is still very bright at 8. It is hard to go to sleep when it is daylight outside!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I know. Summer goes to be at 6 PM, and it’s so bright. Plus she started waking up with the sun at like 5 or 5:30. She’s sleeping until 6 again now that her room is dark. I’m so grateful…that one of more of sleep makes a huge difference for us both!

Gen June 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

Hahahaha as long as it works, that’s all that really matters! 😀

Maria June 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

Haha I do the same thing with my own room so I can sleep in once it gets light out! Check out my blog, Beautiful Busy Bee. Thanks!

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) June 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

Sometimes you have to MacGyver your way through things! I say whatever works to make it a zen place for sleep! Happy baby means happy mamma!

Rose June 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

You don’t need a sewing machine or sewing skills! Sherry from Young House Love made nursery curtains with just scissors, an iron, and iron on hem tape!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

Awesome – thank you so much. I started reading YHL after Clara’s birth. So excited about this post!

Kim @ Spoonful of Sass June 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I made curtains using this YHL guide about a month ago. I won’t touch a sewing machine with a ten foot pole, but this I could do!

HEAB June 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

How did it go? I’m scared. I went to Target and bought rods and curtain clips today. Now, I just need to find material.

Ellie@fitforthesoul June 9, 2011 at 8:44 am

haha I love this creative idea Heather–and you are sooo blessed that Summer is a champion sleeper! *phewwww* 😛

Jen June 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

Smart idea! If it’s not with food…you’re always doing something else creative! I would do this if I didn’t already wake up for culinary school when it’s still dark outside! *Yawn.*

Holly @ The Runny Egg June 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

Heather this cracks me up because my youngest sister did the same thing in her room when she was in high school — she had a sleeping bag tacked up over her window — and we wondered how she was able to sleep in until 4pm on Saturdays!

The Healthy Hipster June 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

In my childhood a sleeping bag + thumbtacks = a days worth of fun in a fort. Glad to see lil heab is startin’ early.

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