because i just can’t leave well-enough alone

chest_purple1This week I decorated an old storage chest. I totally do not have time for weird projects such as this, but why allow that fact to stop me? Exactly. chest1

I’ve had this chest for a long time. I bought it at Bostonwood (which used to be called Maverick Something Something) in Allston, Massachusetts (woot woot for Allston!) and dragged it many blocks down Commonwealth Avenue to a sweet studio apartment I lived in when I was 23.


Dead cat scratches on each corner. (She wasn't dead yet when she did the scratching.)

The chest has been painted over many times and served many purposes over the years—sweaters, extra blankets, I can’t even remember what-all. Most recently, it held our winter outerwear in the breezeway. One of the things I like to do periodically is start moving furniture around. It begins innocently enough—perhaps I need to rearrange some storage or something. But then you move one thing and you need to move something in its place to store whatever you emptied out and sometimes when you move something, you see that the paint on the wall needs to be touched up and if you’re bothering, you might as well paint the radiators the same color so you have to go down to Rocky’s Ace Hardware and buy the paint. And then you should really put up a shelf right there—it would look awfully nice—but its color is wrong so just paint that, too. The other curtains would look better with this new furniture arrangement and newly painted wall. They’ll have to be ironed, of course. Meanwhile, this all began because there was one too many sweaters to fit in the bureau. Would a better solution perhaps be to give the offending sweater away? Yes. But why would you do that? Exactly.


This chest project began because I am tired of organizing the girls’ toys. The best thing for kids’ toys is to have little bins (label them if you have a laminator—the best mothers laminate) on shelves at their eye-level, thus making available to them all their stimulating and educational play options. (All your kids’ stuff is stimulating and educationally rich, right?) Then they go to Harvard. If you do this exactly right, they will go to Harvard when they’re 12 and turn out like Doogie Howser, MD. DO NOT get a big toy box (like you had when you were a kid) because then all their educationally rich stuff gets all jumbled together and they won’t be properly stimulated and then guess who’s going to Harvard? No one.

But do you know who organizes all those little toys every stinkin’ day? ME. Thus, I wanted a nice big toy box (like I had when I was a kid) to just toss all the toys in and shut the lid and go downstairs again. So I decided they can just go to college at the normal age to a nice regular university, just like I did, and take 6 years to get a BA at 3 different schools after changing majors twice. I turned out FINE. See?

And here I bring us to the purpose of this blog post: potato paint stamps! (Did you see that coming?)

Once I decided regular college was just fine, I went out to the consignment shops and the Salvation Army Thrift store to buy some kind of toy chest for them. Found nothing. I didn’t want to buy something new or something they would outgrow, so I decided simply to re-purpose my good old storage chest. I shifted a bunch of stuff around, painted a few walls and then tackled potato stamping! First, I got me some little paint samples from Rocky’s Ace Hardware and painted the top purple.


Then I carved little shapes from halved potatoes to fashion simple flowers and voilà! Toy chest! (‘Cause I’m a bad mother.)



There are other things around here I also can’t leave alone. The kids’ tables, for example.


These are those really inexpensive ones from IKEA that lots of people have. And even though they were only $19.99 for a table and 2 chairs, they have held up really well.

IKEA_table2 These chairs I snagged from a neighbor’s lawn (no one was sitting on them and I love to take free stuff off neighbors’ lawns). I am discriminating about the free stuff I remove from lawns. (That’s what I tell everyone.) I painted the tables with some paint I had around and smoothed contact paper over the tops.

IKEA_table3 But then the table was too low for the new chairs so I had to fashion special bottoms for the table legs. See how things just snowball?

Anyone can unnecessarily refinish all kinds of things around the house—even you! I promise that you don’t have time for it but why would you allow that to stop you? Exactly.