Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am so excited about this.

Weeks and weeks ago Michael and I got a beautiful new sofa. We were all too happy to toss our sad old sofa to the curb. I mean, I loved the old sofa when we bought it, I did. It served us for four hearty years. Four years of claw-sharpening, accidents, sick-ups, party-fouls and even a cross-country move. However, as excited as I was to get it out of my home and replace it with something bigger, newer and more beautiful, I am not one to throw things away if they may still have some use. Since the majority of the damage done to the sofa was on the arms and back and the actual sofa cushions were in fine shape, I took an idea my mother gave me and I ran with it. I cut the seat cushions off the sofa and kept the back cushions, then I made it my mission to find beautiful fabric with which to make new cushion covers, so the cushions could be used and comfy floor pillows and throw pillows, respectively.

The sofa is a white and brown design that reminds me of an antique wood engraving. I was already in possession of a red fabric that I thought very cleverly clashed with the sofa, so my goal was to pick three more fabrics that would also cleverly clash; three bold designs in bright colors that would be edgy and classy, at the same time.

Valentine poses on the new sofa.
Draped behind her is the red fabric I already had.
I love the way the color and pattern looks
with the wood-print design of the sofa.

One recent Saturday, I spent several hours nosing around in a fabric shop in the garment district. As soon as I walked in I was immediately overwhelmed by the choices in the tiny shop. I poked around, looked at a few fabrics, and then my eyes fell on a blue swordfish pattern.

Valentine demonstrates the luxurious ease with which
one may recline upon the glorious swordfish

I was in love. The fabric reminded me of my father. The walls of his office bear antique prints of whales and massive fish and giant squid. They are beautiful and I remember the afternoon in Maui when he bought them with great fondness. I wanted that swordfish fabric.

But I wasn't going to buy the swordfish fabric. That would be silly. It wouldn't match anything else in the apratment. It would look stupid. Mike would hate it. It's too nautical. It's too fanciful. It's too expensive.

I wandered around the tiny, packed shop, sweating in my coat, trying to find something for the pillows. After nearly an hour of hopeless wandering, a sales girl came to my rescue.

"Can I help you find something?"
"Oh, yes. I am having such a hard time. I feel like I don't know how to match anything!"
"That's Ok! It can get frustrating with so many choices. What are you looking for?

I knew I wanted three contrasting prints in bold colors, but that somehow tied in together and tied in with the sofa. I wanted something wild and loud, yet chic and mature.

"Something edgy and classy at the same time."

She gave me a tight smile. Then she showed me dozens of paisley, swirly, polk-dot patterns that were pretty, sure, but not at all what I was looking for.

"Do you think I could match this with this?" I held up something with yellow and green grasshoppers, and something else with yellow, green and pink stripes.

"Um, no. Absolutely not. That's a bad idea."
"Yes. How about this?" She held up a green-on-green tie-dye and a solid green fabric.
I sighed. She didn't understand my vision.

I spent another thirty minutes wandering from one bright bolt of cloth to the next before I finally decided, Fuck It.

Fuck It.

I wanted the swordfish fabric, I was just going to buy it. The moment I decided to let myself have the swordfish fabric, I immediately found a second print I adored. This print was gold and blue, the same blue as the sword fish, but the print reminded me exactly of the print my mother used to paper the walls in the downstairs bathroom in the house I grew up in. I grabbed that too.

I may be able to cleverly clash prints,
but my sewing leaves something to be desired.

After that it was easy. The next print I pulled off the shelf tied everything together with gold, red, touches of blue, green and purple, and the same shaped flowers that are printed on the sofa and the red fabric pictured above.

Theo demonstrates how easy it is to be classy and edgy, at the same time!

Voila! Bright, bold patterns that don't quite match, yet look great. If I'd just let myself get what I wanted from the moment I walked into the store, an hours-long errand would have been a fifteen minute errand. The lesson to be learned? Ignore sales people.


'Cita said...

Comfy Womfy - can't wait to lounge!

Michael said...

Dogs as models. It's the next big thing.

meyerprints said...