Jenny: Cottage Saturday: The Front Bedroom Girly Bureau

Krissie’s bedroom (aka Lani’s bedroom, aka the front bedroom, aka the guest room, aka my bedroom for right now) is tiny (9′ x 9′) with an even tinier bathroom attached. It has a ridiculously small closet under the stairs–the hanging pole is twelve inches–and that means we have to have supplementary storage: a coat rack and wall racks for hanging clothes, a tower for storage boxes, hanging organizers for make-up and meds (no bathroom cabinets, either), and a chest of drawers for folding clothes. Did I mention this bedroom is tiny? Continue reading

Jenny: The Good Wolf Lunch: Gold Spray Paint Fixes Everything

My Bad Wolf had a field day with the fireplace in the cottage last week. It’s such a small house that one fireplace could probably heat the whole downstairs, but unfortunately, the Chimney Guy who came to check it out told me that the furnace is illegally vented through the chimney which is crumbling and that to fix it requires repointing the massive stone chimney outside, ripping out the brick and the cabinets and the walls (which I just got finished putting back) and rebuilding everything. Or there’s option two, venting the new furnace a different way and putting in an enclosed glass fireplace that will probably heat the whole downstairs for the bargain price of around $10,000. My Bad Wolf ate big on that one, telling me what an idiot I was for buying a cottage in which everything is rotting, rusted, or covered in mold.

Of course, he didn’t eat for long. Continue reading

Jenny: Pin Cushions That Can’t Lose (or Be Lost)

I got into the pin-cushion-on-a-pedestal thing by accident.  If you sew, you need a pin cushion, and I loved my classic fat tomato, but I kept losing it in clutter on the sewing table.  So one day, in a fit of frustration, I grabbed an old white wood candlestick I never used, squirted some Goop on top of it, and socked my tomato down.  To this day, it’s still my fave.  I like the incongruity of the simple, everyday tomato on top of the white, classical column.  Mostly I like that I never lose my pin cushion any more.  It’s always high above the fray.

But once you start gluing together pincushions, it’s hard to stop. Continue reading

Jenny: Popeye’s Little Buddy, Swee’ Pea

So when I first got Popeye (the chair I’m reupholstering slooooowly that only has one button on the back so Krissie called it Popeye) many years ago, he needed a footstool and I found a butt-ugly one at Goodwill for not much.  (Twenty bucks maybe?  Not more.  I’m cheap.)  It was this hideous gray-green ribbed fabric, so I covered it with three different kinds of red upholstery and shoved it up next to Popeye who was also wearing red at the time.  Then the dogs destroyed the top, and rather than reupholster it, I spray-painted it blue with plastic paint.  (You can get spray fabric dye, too.)  But now Popeye is getting a makeover, so Swee’Pea must change, too.  Besides, it was looking really bad: Continue reading

Jenny: Choosing Colors: A Cheat Sheet

I have two different areas in the cottage I’m trying to get old furniture ready for (aka painting and upholstering).  The main floor where people will visit is in cottage colors, rich pastels, blues and yellows with pink accents.  This is so not my kind of color, but it’s going to be relaxing and cosy and most important, it’s going to fit the house.  The ground floor where I’ll be working and doing most of my living (aka dogs, writing, and dropping things on the floor) is just a walk-out basement right now.  The house is on a hill, so the back of the basement is underground, but two thirds of it is above ground with windows and the back is a walk-out with windows all around.  So down there, where nobody but the dogs and I will ever go, I can make whatever color I want.  And I want color.  On the other hand, it’s easy to lose my grip and just splash the stuff everywhere, so I rely on a tried and true cheat: I find a fabric, a pillow, a quilt I love and I pull all the colors from that as my anchor fabric.  For example . . . Continue reading

Jenny: Popeye’s Nemesis Bluto

Krissie has dubbed The Chair “Popeye” because it only has one button on its back (so far), so I’ve started calling the other things around The Chair by other names from the Popeye cast.  The easiest project so far: Bluto, an oversized footstool that competes with Popeye as major seating (that sucker is big).  Bluto entered my life as a very old black leather-topped ottoman  that my next door neighbor had put out for a porch sale and failed to sell.  I put a four-inch-thick piece of foam on top, covered that with batting, and then stretched some upholstery material over that.  Why I liked that upholstery is beyond me; it’s butt ugly.  But Bluto is now reborn and here’s how I did it using the Crusie Non-Professional Really Sloppy But Oddly Soothing Upholstery Method.  (Hand-sewing makes me calm.) Continue reading

Jenny: Mental Health Through Upholstery

Since Krissie mentioned The Chair, and I need a post for today before we go to Staples and JoAnn’s (bliss), I will show you the The Unfinished Chair.  What happened was that the day after I realized I probably had AMD and found the letter from my doctor confirming that I had diabetes, I started doing laundry obsessively (which was good because I had mountains of it).  And in between loads, I decided to reupholster the entire house.  Well, a lot of the dark furniture in the house.  It was too damn depressing.  Since then I’ve painted a lot of it white–more to come–and Alastair painted all the woodwork in the living room white because I was coming unglued and it helped (it’s fabulous)–but that night, I wanted to do something right away, something that was hands on, something that I wouldn’t have to think about but could just do by instinct, aka “That looks right, that doesn’t look right.”  Kind of like collaging a chair. Continue reading