Jenny: Crocheting Irish Roses

The Irish Rose pattern is old, old, old, as old as Irish lace.  Of course the lace roses were done with thread and a tiny hook, and I use yarn and a much bigger hook, but the pattern is the same.  Bonus: no working into stitches, it’s all worked into loops.  If you can chain, sc, hdc, and dc, you can make an Irish Rose. (Note to people who are considering learning crochet: those are all plain, beginner stitches.) 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: 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

Jenny: Liquid Courage, aka Painting Stuff

Mary Kay Andrews’ cottage reminded me of how much I love painted furniture.  I always drool over the Mackenzie-Childs furniture which is freakishly expensive but still lust-able (I love checks so that’s a part of that, too).  And I’ve always loved painted cottage furniture and painted cottage floors.  Well, basically, I love paint.

But when it comes time to actually slap the stuff on, I hesitate, sometimes for years.   Continue reading