Embracing color

While in the midst of christmas decorating about a month ago, I decided that it was time to rearrange the furniture and spruce things up a bit...my big stack of 20+ suitcases moved from the front entry to the dining room, a table from the Southern Man's office came downstairs to behind the sofa, lamps were swapped out, pillows exchanged...but through it all, the slipcovers on the sofa and the overstuffed chair were looking a little ragged...

I bought my sofa and chair from Ballard Designs over 15 years ago...I remember at the time that more than one person thought I was a little crazy to be ordering major furniture from a mail-order catalog without actually seeing it/sitting in it before I bought.  But I had fabric samples and detailed measurements with line drawings sent to me beforehand so I felt confident in my purchase...and I have been very happy with my sofa and chair ever since...they both are still in great shape...but the slipcovers were faded and becoming threadbare in places.  Well, of course everyone was having a major sale on the monday after thanksgiving...and sure enough so was Ballard Designs...so I ordered new slipcovers...I decided that I would stick with a solid color but didn't want anything as boring as khaki or sand (and off-white was out of the question if I didn't want to wash the covers every week!) so butter was the choice...it sounded so rich and creamy...with a click of the mouse, it was done!

A week later, covers arrive...I take them out of the box and put them on the furniture...I hesitate...the Southern Man comments that it looks more margarine or oleo than butter...

an aside...
I grew up in Wisconsin in the 1960's...Wisconsin, being "America's Dairyland", only sold butter in the grocery stores at that time...people would travel to Illinois to buy margarine (which was and continues to remain, much cheaper in cost than butter).  It was called oleo back then...people brought it back in their trunks and sold it to friends and neighbors...it was white and came with a packet of yellow dye that you could mix in to make it look like butter...but it was pretty easy to tell the difference...so needless to say, commenting that the new color of the slipcovers looked like margarine was not a good thing...

Now for those of you who know me, you know I am not a color hound...my attire is usually a pair of blue jeans and a gray top...every hue, tone and shade of gray I have in sleeveless cotton tees to tweedy wool wraps.  If the color choices for the slipcovers would have listed "pewter" or "slate", I would have been set...

But rather than return them, I decided to live outside my comfort zone...I realize that this is small potatoes, but its a start.  To complement the color of the sofa and tie in the other colors in the room, I decided to enhance a small rusty iron side table I had...it was a simple iron stand with a plain, brown, waterstained wood insert...here's the progress of the table top from start to end...

First layer - pages from an old french history volume...during the bookbinding process, the pages weren't trimmed so I was able to remove a set of untrimmed pages, unfold them and lay them down as the first layer, using my standard formula of Elmer's glue and water...

the second layer is a decorative paper napkin...I separated the three-ply napkin and only used the top single ply so the type from the first layer would show through...
the third layer is a page from an old french book about birds and their nests; this chapter page illustration is finely detailed and placed in the center of the collage design.
After the third layer, I felt that something more was needed...a bit more patterned tissue and a postage stamp was added...then the entire surface was sanded smooth and finished with two coats of polyurethane and one coat of paste wax...
here's the side table in the living room...moving around the margarine colored pillows helps to break up the mass of yellow dominating the room...

As you can see, at least one family member is enjoying the new sofa...maybe because its his color...
linking up to Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm...with the new year underway, there is no shortage of thrifty energy here!


  1. Hey, I love that color...so soft and homey looking! Good choice to warm things up...looks like someone enjoys it!

  2. Love that table. Oh, and especially love that dog! He looks so very comfortable ...

  3. Thanks for showing us the different layers, Amy. I always enjoy seeing how things are created or altered. I love your new fresh colours! So inspiring!

  4. I love your new yellow--it's a soft color--your table project is awesome and brings out the pretty yellow pillow on the chair. And--that baby is the most precious thing!

  5. Oh I LOVE the color, suits the relaxed look of the sofa...the table is wonderful. Who knew a sweet sleeping golden would be such a photo prop..LOVE !!

  6. Amy -
    I have that exact same end table iron frame with a mosaic'd board in it. See? We're not so far apart after all! I'll have to take a photo of it and send you.


  7. The table is fabulous! So glad I stumbled across your blog from my brown wren.

  8. I love your table! but absolutely love your dog! Happy New Year!

  9. Very nice, the table is beautiful. I love this butter color but I just painted my bedroom a similar color. I was tired of all the white!

  10. thanks all...I have to say that the yellow color is a bit brighter than the photographs show...and I have let our golden, Calvin, know that he is the star of the blog...and his response was "of course, mom..."!
    amy of four corners design

  11. Hello...

    It's so nice to stop in here and visit with you today. I love making connections here in blogland.

    Stop by some time to visit me, if you like.

    Ciao Bella

    Your newest follower

  12. Hey! I like this...what you did with the coffee table!!! Nothing "crafty" about this!! (o:

    I do need to check out your blog more often...I keep missing all the good stuff!!!


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