Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Just get on with it

Perfectionism, according to the Flylady, is what stops us from getting on with things. Not idleness, oh no. Rather the thought that right now, we don't have the time to do it properly, so we don't do it at all.

So let's go back in time to last July, when I gathered some fabric samples to recover a battered old ottoman we'd bought in a junk shop. The stuffing was falling out all over the floor. The paint was chipped. But I could see it in my mind's eye - a beautifully refurbished item of furniture.

But for the last 11 months, instead of a beautifully refurbished item of furniture, I've had an ugly item which necessitated me constantly vacuuming up bits of stuffing. Draped over it - sometimes folded up inside it - was a piece of rapidly fraying fabric.

I'd bought it a new, custom-cut foam piece, which sat on the top of it getting steadily grubbier. Littlest saw it, and made some pretty gouges in it with a comb.

It was enough. I decided just to get on with the damn thing. Because really, last July? After a very swift repainting, I set about haphazardly slapping the fabric round the foam. No delicate stitching, no upholstering. I just hacked at the fabric with scissors and then shot the thing together with a wall stapler.

And now I don't have to think about it anymore.

(There's no 'before' photo, because I was just Getting On With It. 
Imagine something with a hideous gold cover on, falling to bits, with a more garish brassy trim.)

One of the strange things about blogging is knowing that more people read your blog than comment, and wondering who these people are. Are they people who make things, who enjoy your blog and its hapless incompetence as a form of light relief? Or are they fellow hapless incompetents, who read it to make them feel better about themselves?

Here's my message to the latter group - if I can get on with it, anyone can. If there's something you need to do, do it badly and Ta da! it's over, and it's time to get the wine out.

To the former group, I'm sorry. I don't belong among you. Oh, and don't click on the picture to enlarge it - it really doesn't bear close inspection.

I did also ask back in July for advice on how to choose between two practically identical mint greens, and then didn't let you know what I'd done with them. That project - refurbishing a junk shop bedside table - happened a good deal quicker than the one above, simply because I desperately needed somewhere to store my undies.

(Eagle eyed readers will note the ironic book title at the bottom of the pile on the table. 
Oddly, this was not intentional. I took this photo months ago, and no, I still haven't finished the damn book.)


  1. i dont suffer from this - i have everything done instantly and pretty badly

  2. I put most things off until Mrs Notfitforpurpose makes sufficiently aggressive sarcastic remarks. It is useful to have several parallel undone tasks at a time I find as one job can be used to provide covering fire for another task. For instance: "Oh, I would have painted the kitchen ceiling, but I still haven't been able to move the old fridge from the middle of the kitchen floor and the step ladder can't get round it.". Simple!

  3. Right, are you ready?

    1) This is craft on a larger and more impressive scale than I could ever contemplate. Tinysmallbirds are all very well. You have refurbished two pieces of furniture. You have enhanced your home in a way does that not meed a magnifying glass

    2) These are beautiful makeovers. That little chest of drawers would sell at a local shabby chic outlet near here for approximately £90-£120. I am not exaggerating. Nor am I sure, after the day I've had, whether I'm spelling exaggerating correctly.

    3) You are chic enough to even know what an ottoman is. I thought it was called a boxwithsquashytoptositon.

    4) Here is a quote from the late Jennifer Paterson. I'm sure it will come in useful:

    There's not a man
    On my ottoman
    There hasn't been one for weeks

    There's not a man
    On my ottoman
    Here's gone orf to fight the Greeks.

    5) I cannot read the book title. I must visit Specsavers

    Now I need a lie down

  4. 6) Oh my God you replaced the drawer handles with leather thong. You are Lawrence Lleweyllywwylln Bowen

  5. I can't read the book title either.
    I can't remember yesterday let alone last July, if you told me you just got that ottoman and refurbished it in one day I would have believed you.
    We have two bedside tables desperately in need of refurb, the knobs keep falling off. but then I did get them out of a skip at the tip so what should I expect. please come and paint them for me. I will make cake.

  6. Even the closeups look good to me.
    But then, I can't read the title either! Please tell.

  7. Our ottoman is still Old Gold and covered with a blanket to stop the stuffing from falling out. Yours is an object lesson in chic. I was determined to read that title. You don't need it now.

  8. What in the name of God... Malory? MALORY?!

    I think I need to lie down on one of your fabulously upholstered pieces of furniture because I'm feeling intimidated now.

    Oh, and wot Silverpebble said. That green chest of drawers is lovely and would sell for lots.

  9. I think you need to lie down and read the Susannah Clark from the top of your pile - stuff the self help guides, you don't need them.

    And I know the shop of which silverpebble speaks. It is full of lovely things that fashionable people buy, and I can't afford to shop there ... if you can take some of 'their' money, I think you should!

  10. I am a TRUE Hapless Incompetent. YOU, madam, are an IMPOSTOR. I am going to have to sit quietly and try to make sense of this.

    Oh, and you should have seen me trying to read that book title. I had to lean way back in my chair, raise my eyebrows, tilt my head...and still it was hopeless. 'Fess up already.

  11. Perfectionism is not an issue round here - idleness, on the other hand is a serious problem. Especially when faced with a pile of books and a comfy seat.

    Is it any wonder it's hard to get round to doing stuff??!

  12. Hey! nice work - and don't be so hard on yourself!

  13. That Ottoman is divine. I know what you mean about getting on with things ... I have only just started blogging and find it so fascinating reading about other people's crafts that I am now seriously neglecting my own!

  14. I will identify myself as a reader who never leaves a comment. I read you blog because I love your sense of humor. "Procrastinators Guide to Sucess!" Very funny!


  15. Let me say this loudly and clearly:

    The Flylady is absolutely frightening. She scares the shit out of me. I'm at a loss to understand your obsession with her.




    Are YOU the Flylady?

    OMG. It all makes sense now.

    PS-Great ottoman and nightside table!

  16. Ok already! I will finish my 400 thank you notes from my wedding in January of 2009! I will not make each one a touching novella of love and gratitude, I will just say thanks for the damn bowls already. I GET IT!!!

    I leave things on my to-do list for years, if you couldn't tell. It weighs one down quite a bit. I keep meaning to stop it.

    Your furniture is beautiful and looks perfect to me. I will get to decorating right after the thank you notes.

  17. Haha! My tummy is actually hurting from reading this post. I too am a procrastinator and really wish I wasn't but I do want things done a particular way, but after seeing how well your Ottoman has turned out I may just go and get some 'stuff' and get on with my own projects. Hope you are having a great week
    Emma xxx

  18. Oooh! This weekend, we Just Got On With It. We had a bathroom that we stripped the wallpaper off of (mostly) right after we moved in and then left it, undone and sad. That was 5 years ago. It took one day to finish the job that has been weighing on my soul for 5 years.

    Three more Just Get On With It projects are being completed this week. Sweet relief.

    Next step, finally updated my blog. Ahem.

  19. Procrastination, this is the problem. Well my problem anyway; too much thought and not enough action. I'm even procrastinating over this post.

    The ottoman is lovely BTW.

    And exactly which green did you use?

  20. It is a bit weird, the non-commenting thing, isn't it? Who are these people?

    I think I've commented before but I've only just rediscovered your blog. Hello.

  21. Sometimes I just have nothing to add.

  22. Oh Coffee Lady, where have you gone? Silverpebble is right about the leather handles. I was in awe.

  23. I agree with this, I don't do things, because I feel that I won't do them well. It is a bit silly. Your ottoman looks good, so I should take a leaf out of your book and just do it. Other people are a lot less critical anyway.

  24. PS: I don't usually comment, as I don't have a lot to say.


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