I wonder if anyone has ever tried to work with a tumbleweed plant. I ask because my mom does this with wild rose bushes...by the time she is done with them they look like they belong in a formal french garden (think marie antoinette) and it occurs to me that if they get good thick trunks and grow up to 5 feet tall and can be pruned into shape they could actually be a good thing? yes , no ?
Tumbleweeds don't flower or do anything but jab you and stick into your clothes when you brush against them. Even when they are in full green in the middle of the season, they don't look very pretty at all. The really bad part is if they grow near any type of plant or tree and they are allowed to grow season after season they will take the soil moisture away from the other plants and will eventually kill them. Grass won't grow near them and really they are just a pest.
If the windows get a lot of direct sunlight I wouldn't suggest the tissue paper. I tried it myself and the tissue paper faded pretty quickly.
About a month ago I bought colored cellophane and used spray starch to adhere it, and it works pretty good, although the colors are more pastel-like than I hoped. I'm considering layering pieces on top of each other with starch in between, but I haven't tried it yet so I don't know if it will work.
There is an awesome thread about using paint to paint a design.(like Apple Barrel paints - I'm not sure what type of paint that is) I did some test spots on my windows and left them up for several months and they still came right off when I used a small scraper and some warm soapy water. The reason that I never actually did paint my windows is because the windows that I was wanting to cover were on a door in a 9 square pattern and I couldn't think of a design that I really liked.
Try a search for the link, I think it was titled something like "Poor man's stained glass" or something like that.
It sounds really cool! I'd love to see pix when you get it finished.
If you could get an old theatre seat that would be neat. How about some old film reels or reel canisters? Those could be hung or propped up. Do you know those old timey hats the ushers had to wear? If you could find one of those you could maybe make a shadow box of that and a pair of white gloves with some other ticket stubs. If you could do deep crimson velvet curtains with gold fringe I think that would accent your walls very nicely.
2. If you can't find wood that you could cut and stain to match the existing rails how about using styrofoam? If you could match the color of the existing woodwork then you could build up layers modge podge to make it smooth like the rest of the wood and then glue it to the wall with liquid nails.
Or what about a wooden medalion? (I'm not sure what they are really called, but they are usually seen in the corners of wood casings. If you could find one that would fit, say the top go up as high as the top of the window casing and the bottom line up with the bottom of the picture rail.
To be honest I like that it doesn't go all the way to the window frame. I would fill in the holes though, just for esthetics.
If its fabric maybe you could vacuum it clean using an attachment unless it's stained then I'd try carpet cleaner (test on an inconspicuous spot first). If it's paper just use an exacto knife to cut it off as close to the frame as you can get and re-paper it.
For your window covering you could get sheets from Wal-Mart that match the colors of the sheet and comforter on your bed, or find some fabric of similar colors maybe with some type of pattern on it. All you would need to do is sew a pocket across the top and slide them over a curtain rod to hang.
I don't think it really matters what type of material you use, it would just depend on how much of the light you wanted to let in. When you see a fabric you like the look of hold it up to the light and see how much light it lets through. If you used two colors I'd use the darker color on the outside and the lighter in the middle. The great thing about sheets is they are already sewn and are super easy to make into curtains.
Since the walls are white, if you didn't want to paint them you could paint your storage cube unit to add color to the room. Find some great art on the computer and print it on photo paper, stick it in a great frame and voila! I found black frames with matting at Wal-Mart for $5 each on clearance, I printed out 3 great colorful images of paintings I liked and hung them on the wall with colorful table runners behind them that I got from the dollar store. The table runners add color and texture to the wall and help to highlight my "art".
Want a sturdy sewing and crafting area? Use an old wooden door with standing shelves for legs. It gives you a super roomy sewing area for those big projects and if you put the sewing machine on one end and have the other half of the door as open space for other crafts, that way you'll never have to move your sewing machine.
I do a lot of beading projects and other projects that require small pieces. I used to keep them in plastic separated containers that I would stack in the corner, but recently have moved them all into small jars with hinged lids that I found for $1.00 each at Michaels. If you have baby food jars that would work great too. But I separated all small items into the jars and not only are the items easier to see and find what I'm looking for, but the colors of the items in the jar add color and interest to the room. I simply lined them up against the wall on the back of my door desk. Easy to see and easy to use.
Those are the two that ideas that I have been awesome for me, but I'll look around my craft room and see what else I can see.
Those thorny bush tree things are Tumbleweeds. I live in West Texas and we have them everywhere.
The only way to get rid of them is to pull them out root and all. If the roots live, the tumbleweeds will only grow bigger and stronger each year. I kid you not, we have some around here that are over 5' tall with stems thicker than small trees.
The easiest way to get rid of them is to either wait until after a good rain, or soak the ground around them for a good 1/2 hour or so (the bigger they are the longer you should soak to reach all the way down to the bottom of the roots). Once the ground is super soaked, put something like an old sheet or big old towel over the tumbleweed (this will protect you somewhat from the pokey parts) grab the base and pull. You may want to try and losen the mud around the base of the weed with a pitchfork or hoe or something, but don't damage the base or when you pull it will break. You want to try and get the roots of the plant when you pull so if it resists soak it some more and try to losen the soil more.
If you can get them all out with the roots intact, you may only have a few small ones pop up next year and those will be much easier to get out. But keep at it, if you can keep them from seeding in your yard, it will only take a couple of growing seasons to have them pretty much gone.
About the rototiller suggestion, it is a good idea if you want to get grass growing, but be prepared for a lot of weeds to grow once you've tilled it. See, when you till you bring to the surface seeds of previous weeds that have been buried too far down to get the sun and water that they needed to grow. That's the bad side, the good side is that they will be easy to pull if you pull them as soon as you see them. Another bonus, the tilled soil will be loose and full of oxygen allowing grass roots to grow deep and strong.
A good flowering plant that works in dry areas is Lantana, it comes in several colors and is really low maintenance, you could also get some flowering cacti, there are some real pretty varieties available.
To add some interest without plants, you could craft some metal sculptures (copper is awesome and is beautiful as it ages) and put them in your yard. You could make a copper trellis with just small length of pipe and elbow joints, or if you like something more abstract just free style a design. If I had that much free space in front of my fence, I'd make a few sculputures and put them in front of my fence, just to break it up visually.
If you are a good painter you could make a mural on your fence as a background and put a little seating area in front of it.
The gravel (I would suggest using pea gravel as the stones are smaller and easier to walk on once their down) is a great idea to make a wandering walkway through the yard. YOu could make several seating areas. If there is room, put a bench swing near the orange tree, then make a wandering path that leads to a table with a couple of chairs in another nook that may have a home made gazing ball or a water feature as it's focal point, then you could extend your path to another part of the yard that maybe has another type of seating area, maybe lounge chairs next to a chiminea where you can sit back and relax.
Something you may want to consider is making your yard not only attractive for the day time but the night as well. If you could add solar lights at different points of interest in the yard, and it will save money over electrical lights and be easier to put in. Maybe add outdoor Christmas lights (in white) under the roof of your patio. It will add a soft glow of light that is quite nice in the evenings.
One other thing I thought of is to get misters for your patio. In desert areas, misters make a huge difference in the temperature, which make being outdoors so much more enjoyable. They are super easy to install and pretty inexpensive the last time I looked. They offer a constant superfine mist when they are on that lowers the temperature, not a lot, but up to about 15 degrees. And the difference between 110 degrees and 95 in the shade may not seem like much, but it really is.
Oh, and if you have room you could add an outdoor ceiling fan in your patio, just the circulation of the air combined with the misters, will make an AZ day out side feel quite pleasant.