Most of our house is furnished with junk we found on the street or in thrift stores for dirt cheap, and typically not in a chic mid-century vintage way, but a utilitarian/hoarder/dumpsters-behind-the-dorms way. If I ever manage to become an aspirational lifestyle blogger for home dec craft stuff, it will only be via generous application of bokeh-laden closeups and aggressive spot cleaning.

One of our prize finds became a victim of another prize find this weekend. Temperatures in Madison are climbing, so we decided it was time to drag the window AC units up from the basement and install them in our windows. We live in a decrepit house that’s about 100 years old, so it has poor insulation and no central air conditioning, although there are at least central ceiling fans and a garbage disposal–both godsends.

One of the monstrously heavy window AC units ($5 at St. Vincent de Paul) had a few sharp screws protruding from the bottom, which we didn’t notice until we had heaved it up on top of the super-comfy overstuffed chambray armchair by the window (free, found on the sidewalk) and torn multiple holes into the upholstery while wedging the air conditioner into the window. Funny, I always thought the chair would fall victim to the cat, not the air conditioner.

After an unsightly attempt to darn the holes closed with a needle and thread, I went stash diving to see if I had anything suitable to cover the chair up instead. This was the result:

This is Tula Pink Full Moon Forest damask quilting cotton, a fabric collection I adored that featured cleverly hidden animals in larger decorative patterns–squirrels, fish, rabbits, owls. Here’s a strangely washed-out detail shot where you can see the bunnies in the damask pattern:

I didn’t have enough fabric or time to cover the entire chair, and this is actually a no-sew job. I just draped the fabric over the back, pinned it into place with straight pins since the chair lives against the wall and the back isn’t visible, tucked the fabric into the spot between back and cushion, then pulled it tight around the cushion and pinned it underneath the cushion as well. While it’s not really what I would call “attractive,” it looks better than I expected (certainly better than the patched-up holes), and I’m happy the fabric is seeing the light of day for the first time in years, and actual use for the first time ever. (Love the pattern, but not so much the color for clothing.)

I’m sort of considering getting enough fabric (home dec stuff, not quilting cotton) to try and to reupholster the whole thing the right way.

The color and shape now put me in mind of Chairy, from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

On the subject of shortcuts and tricks, here are a couple of clever sewing tricks I came across in the last week or so that I thought were worth sharing:

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