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Think back to the very first piece of “real furniture” you ever bought.  No Ikea Poang chair, no thrift shop headboard, no hand-me-down-getchya-Krylon-on coffee table.

Ah… Did you get it home, put it in its place, stand back and stare at it in wonder and then run over to it and rub your face on it?

I did.


It was a leather ottoman; and it has been with us for about eight years now.  No kidding, I thought our children might donate it to Goodwill after Nae and I passed on.  That is definitely not going to happen.  Because after those kiddies wriggle themselves into the picture, they manage to destroy everything in their path.  Stainless steel, french door refrigerators.  White linen duvet covers.  Priceless family heirlooms.  Sentimental childhood Christmas ornaments.  Even presumably indestructible leather ottomans.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

A few years ago, when covering everything in burlap was trendy, waaaaay before chevron printed burlap was staring you in the face the second you entered Joann Fabrics, I bought a few out-of-comission coffee sacks.  Covering things in recycled coffee sacks was also a design trend that seemed as though it was going to take the world by storm, but it was just a little to early to make its way onto the yet-to-be-embraced Pinterest.  Maybe it would have never caught on; the thought of reupholstering your chair with a piece of fabric that had been slung over the back of an impoverished, sunburned laborer hauling non-fair-trade coffee around in inhospitable working conditions doesn’t exactly scream luxury and good taste.

But we all loose our shit over diamonds, and those are certainly mined by fairly treated workers, right?

Anywho, I had these old coffee sacks in the basement just waiting to be thrown away.  Just about the time Alice decided to ream another hole into the leather ottoman with a toy screwdriver, I was staring at these old sacks thinking about how they could probably stand up to two little people if they were strong enough to transport a hundred pounds of coffee around the globe.

And so another “free” project was born.  Technically, I spent two dollars on the coffee sacks and had four dollars of velcro lying around that had yet to be employed in another half-finished project, but I didn’t have to run to Home Depot or Michaels to pick up supplies.  That, in and of itself, is GOLD.

I didn’t want to ruin the ottoman (any more than it was), so I decided to make a removable slip cover that would velcro just underneath the ottoman.  I sewed assembled five pieces of burlap for the sides and the top, sewed on the  soft velcro around the bottom edge, and then stapled the scratchy velcro around the underside of the ottoman.

Violet helped me measure.

Violet helped me measure.

photo 5 (1)

photo (1)

Meanwhile, the coffee sacks were shedding like crazy.  I just kept sweeping, and sweeping, and sweeping… But the kids were fascinated with all the dust while I was shaking them out.



When it was done, I was kinda pleased with it.  Sure, it wasn’t the most beautiful piece of furniture, but it looked better than impaled leather.

And then I patiently waited for Nathan to get home and say, “Nice…. You covered our only piece of leather furniture with… Rags.  Looks great.  Keep up the good work, Lisa.”

But he seemed genuinely okay with it.  I can never predict his reactions.


I’m still not sold enough that I am making the jump to get new feet for it.  I would love some chunky, turned feet, but I’m leery about throwing another $40 into an old piece of furniture that isn’t what I really love anyway.

So… I’m mulling it over.

But I also miss my brand-new, soft and supple leather ottoman.  Even though it isn’t really what is in style anymore, I am mourning it just a smidge.  It was, after all, my very first piece of real furniture.  And I just covered it in recycled burlap.

So, tell me… What was your first “real” piece of furniture, and do you still love it as much as the day you rubbed your face on it?  Or did you cover it in burlap, too?