Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Lil' Paint

I'm beginning to think there are some benefits to having less money. For one, I don't have all that bulky cash so my wallet sits as sleek and thin as it did when I bought it in the store. Dark cloud, meet silver lining (cliche, meet I don't care). But by far the best part about having no money is that it forces one to get creative.
I used to be super creative in college. I painted, made lamp shades, adorned a coffee table with broken shards of colorful ceramic tile. Somewhere along the way I got a job, had less patience, no time, more money. I bought a coffee table. And it was this:

1999, Crate and Barrel does Rachel Ashwell, did me fine while watching Friends. But these days I cannot stand to watch reruns of Friends. Something about the purple walls and comic timing. And I can't stand that coffee table. So I painted it. And then painted it some more. Staple gunned oil cloth to the top, screwed in some purdy knobs, and voila!

Rachel Ashwell would hate it. Zoey, on the other hand, loves it.
As do I. This is a coffee table with superb comic timing. It's funky and clunky and bright and garish and me. Plus, it wipes down clean, key when you have a marker-loving toddler in 'da house. Here's a close up of the oil cloth pattern I chose:
Next up: my car. Not to worry, no oil cloth was involved in this home makeover. (Although, hmmm...). In the process of downsizing, we are selling my new Toyota 4Runner. I will be driving a 1995 Honda Accord Wagon that my mother gave me. (Just a perk to having a mom that doesn't drive: the car only has 38k miles on it.) However, the paint job was badly oxidized, and I'm embarrassed to admit how very much that bothered me. So I got it painted (thanks, Andy!). Ta-da!
The paint place was supposed to match the factory color, a dark grayish-blue. And it is this color, in the shade. In the sun, however. Well, I have come to realize I am driving the wheeled equivalent of a mullet: business in the shade, party in the sun! Because check out the jazz hands on this bad boy station wagon:

I call him/her Ziggy Stardust. He/She is androgynous and sexy, an aging starlet with too much frosted eyeshadow, my own Norma Desmond with blinkers. Fitting for a girl with an oil clothed coffee table. (And believe me, this photo does not do the iridescence justice.)
A $19 refurbished coffee table. A $600 fresh mullet on wheels. Tell me, what are some ways you are getting creative in this new world of ours? Do you find that the failing economy is fueling your imagination? Any good tips, paint, fabric or otherwise? My glue gun is warming up and I'd love to hear your ideas!


I ♥ You said...

that picture of Z is priceless. i love it so. you should frame it and put it on the coffee table. :)

love that you are prepared for these tough economic times with glue gun in hand. you will be the one that prevails in the end with that awesome attitude!!

Unknown said...

I am LOVING the new Susannah!
I loved you as my friend before, but I am really DIGGING you now!


Unknown said...

This is great! I love the picture of Zoey!

Anonymous said...

We're going to be refinishing our our old/new hardwood floors. Yikes! I'm just HOPING it turns out ok... Ah,the fun of home ownership on a budget and a dream!

Angeline said...

Love the coffee table! Love Zoey on it too! What color did you use! love it!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. Having lost my Job last February ('08) and having been home a year I have been bitten by the decorating bug. I think being cooped up this winter made me want to re-do my interior, this Spring I will want to work on the back yard. Problem is, I have the time but not the money.

I've been choosing paint colors for a quick, cheap fix inside. And am arranging perennial trades with friends so when we all divide what we have, we can trade.

I also have been hunting for bargains when I do have to buy something. We just transitioned my little one from the crib - she kept climbing out. I went to get a toddler bed (usually $55 - 60) at the mass retailers - I was prepared to pay this but found one "inventory reduced" to $27.50 - when I got to the register it rang $13.50! SCORE!!! It will cost more for a bigger blanket!

Love your creativity on the coffee table and who cares about the sparkly paint job on the almost new, FREE car! And hey, it's chic to be green now, consider it all your efforts at recycling! That's MY Story, and I'm sticking to it!

Anonymous said...

Damn, I'm diggin those jazz hands. Go go glitter! I don't have any good ideas, because I'm not at all as crafty as a I wish I were. But if you really did like the shoes I posted today, you can always hot glue some flowers to a pair of heels or flip flops. It's that easy (I guess).
PS- I also like the coffee table@

Good Enough Woman said...

I do not have any creative ideas. I do not have a strong sense of style. It's a missing gene, I think. I also have a husband who's not so interested in anything, shall we say, experimental. But I could definitely be inspired by that table. It frickin' rocks.

Do you feel as if there is something liberating going on? As if with kids and marriage you had to "grow up" but now, because of the shake up, you get to redo, rethink, and perhaps grow sideways (or some other direction) instead? Sometimes I wonder why marriage and family seem to include the certain conventions of domesticity and adulthood that we've all come to know.

While I don't want to romanticize job loss or financial worries (because it really bothers me when people do that), in this case, I feel as if I'm living vicariously through your coffee table and your writing dreams. It it might be even causing me a bit of angst. Perhaps I will blog about this? Hmmm.

Petunia Face said...

Good Enough Woman, I think you've definitely got something there. Yes, it is somehow liberating to downsize, to shirk off the responsibilities that comes with having disposable income. Because whether or not we realize it, money IS a responsibility. This is a great topic for a blog post...


Minxy Mimi said...

LMAO, you are too funny!
Love the Ziggy Stardust reference!!!
I really do love the table!

Unknown said...

Zoey is by far the cutest little girl I have ever seen. I love the picture. Too cute. By the way I also love your blog:-)

Rosalie said...

Yes. I am getting creative. Creatively talking my way out of buying anything. And not going in to stores--that helps.

Anonymous said...

Now that the dirt is thawed enough to start digging it up, I'm so ready to get out of the house and plant stuff. I went to a big flower show last weekend and put back every single thing that I almost bought on impulse but kept the seed packets. So that's the project, plant seeds.

I started a number of hydrangea cuttings last year as way to stretch my landscaping dollars. Waiting. Not buying the fifty dollar lovelies, finding out that the five dollar orphans can be nurtured into multiplying if I'm patient.

If the economy doesn't bear fruit in time for my harvest, I'll still enjoy my flowers and tomatoes and arugulas and lettuce and watermelons.

I grew one of those sunflower houses for my daughter when she was about Zoey's age. I bet it wouldn't take much coaxing to get her to help plant another one this month.

amber {daisy chain} said...

Craft on, sister, loving the coffee table, and I do remember when you used to do all kinds of craftiness - tiled folding side tables and a giant painting of chiquita banana. I love the comment by Good Enough Woman - that is exactly how I feel when no money is coming in - scary at first and then liberating. I have a sense of confidence now, that I can make it work when there are no other options. Come on over - you know we're always crafty 'round here. xo

Anonymous said...

I'm not buying organic produce anymore, especially if it's something i'll be peeling. Not really creative, but it was a big step for me. Our dishwasher broke right after my layoff, and now I wash dishes in one sink of hot water, by hand, quick rinse. We're excited to be potty training, because no more diaper costs! We found a decent coffee at Trader Joe's, and make it at home. No more lattes. Etc etc. It really adds up. Lots of "need vs want" analysis. And yes, it has been totally liberating!

jen said...

After some initial panic whenever we've had money "issues," I always find that a really weird part of me likes the challenge. Stupid for instance: every friday we order pizza. We get two large--one with onions and peppers for the Grownups and one cheese of pepperoni for the Kids. NOW, I make homemade pizza crust and we each make out own pizzas with whatever weird toppings we like. The kids love it and it's cheap-o.

Brilliant Asylum said...

I bought a car on a rainy day that I thought was a sophisticated navy. Turns out it is more of a sparkly blueberry. I still won't park it under a street lamp.

Thanks for reminding us that being creative with what you already have is not a chore at all.

Anonymous said...

That table is a work of art! You could totally sell those. And have to say, the jazz hands on your Honda make it unique and special and wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Nice ride. You need to slam it, tint it and get some rims on that.

Marla said...

I've never commented before though I found you a while ago - but I must now chime in and say, that is one of my favourite oilcloth patterns. Not only does it have a great name, who doesn't love skeletons on bicycles?!