Necessity is the Mother of Trend Following

We wrote a post a few weeks ago called ‘Nettlesome Design Trends,’ which was about trends we just can’t get on board with – word art, cow hides, and backwards books. The comments on that post are fantastic, and since then I’ve done a lot of thinking about how the images we see on blogs and in magazines both drive trends and destroy them – and how there’s a threshold between deep desire for an item (on the community level) and visual fatigue.

One item that I’m nearing the threshold for is the striped Moroccan blanket with pom poms.  They are gorgeous, and I would love one, but they’re also starting to be so ubiquitous that I find myself less enchanted than I was even a month ago.  Take a look:

Beautiful, right?  But not only are they ubiquitous, they’re also expensive.  That first one rings in at a cool $485, and the second one isn’t much less.  There is absolutely no room on my priority list for a $485 blanket.  Do you know what is on my priority list? Finding a way to protect the pretty daybed in the Chamber of Secrets from our cat Dean’s barf.

Now let me take a moment to say that I am acutely aware that this is my second post in a row writing about something gross (I guess it means I’m getting real comfortable with you all – for better or worse), and I solemnly swear that in my next post there won’t be anything gross at all.  But this week?  No such luck.  Cat barf it is.

The Chamber of Secrets is my favorite room in our house,  and Dean loves it too; it’s impossible to keep him out.  Twice in the last week I’ve gone in there to find the revolting evidence of some upset to his ample tummy.  Now, the obvious solution might be to keep the door shut, but let me tell you that Dean is not only tenacious – he’s been known to hurl his considerable bulk against a door until it opens – he’s also adorable, and I like to have his furry company when I’m in there writing.  So I decided to do the only thing I could; I decided to make a cat barf prophylactic disguised as a trendy blanket.

This was a ‘use what you’ve got’ project, and so I cut a large dropcloth in half and washed the heck out of it to soften it.  Then I used blue tape to outline stripes and dabbed chalkboard paint onto it with both a foam brush and a bristled one – if I’d had a mini paint roller I think that would have worked better, but I didn’t.

Red House West || pom pom blanketThen, using a pom pom maker I’d bought at JoAnn’s in the wake of Mera’s pom pom-palooza post, I whipped up a dozen of the fuzzy little darlings with the help of my nieces.

Red House West || pom pom blanketOnce everything was dry and I’d sewed the pom poms on, I layered the blanket over the other textiles on the daybed.  And?  Not bad – if I cock my head to the side and close one eye it doesn’t look that different than the ones I’ve been pining for.
Red House West || pom pom blanket Red House West || pom pom blanketI love the pom poms!
Red House West || pom pom blanketThis feels like a good surrogate while I evaluate whether my love for these blankets is enduring, or just a fleeting fancy brought on by an onslaught of perfectly styled images.  I’m hoping that it will serve its primary function too, although Dean – unerring in his contrariness – seems to have found a new favorite spot.Red House West || pom pom blanketSo what do you think – if he refuses to move his adorable, vomit-prone body over to the daybed, what trendy item should I hack to protect the window seat?

29 responses on “Necessity is the Mother of Trend Following

  1. Leslie

    I feel your pain, Katie! And what is up with cats always needing to puke on something soft? Our cat Jazzy is notorious for having a big barf on the furniture or our living room rug. Seriously, kitty. You’re not helping the overall style of the house.

  2. Nina

    Note to self: always swallow tea before reading Red House West. Cat barf prophylactic. OMG, Katie. Actually it was the image of your kitty hurling himself against the door until it opened that really got me.

    As for the window seat, perhaps stitch up another drop cloth with the message: Keep Calm and Barf?

  3. MC859

    I wonder if your kitty doesn’t like the paint smell? I only have dogs and they are very nose-sensitive. 2 thoughts: feed him kitty treats on the blanket you made so it becomes a favorite spot. And/or put the new blanket (folded) on the window seat, even if temporary so he lays on it and gets his smell on it. Good luck!

    1. Katie Post author

      Good thoughts! I’ll try luring him over to the blanket with treats – though I think that if I pretend it’s the most precious thing in the house that might work just as well 🙂

  4. Carol Bryner

    I like this room more and more each time I see photos of it. No wonder your persistent cat hurls himself at the door to get in. And it’s so typical of cats to just choose another spot with a vulnerable surface. I always put towels everywhere I knew the cat would settle. It didn’t look pretty, but the cats seemed to like the towels and they were easily washed. But I like your striped and pom-pommed coverlet.

    1. Katie Post author

      Thanks Carol! I’ve resorted to towels in other places, but I’m determined to keep this room as pretty as possible (cat barf notwithstanding).

  5. Donna Matthews

    I admire all that you and Mera do in your projects, and I am chuckling with you through many. This brought outright laughter. Glad I swallowed my coffee before reading. A dear friend is having cat problems; I will be sure she sees this one. (Memories of Terra)

  6. Sally

    The divan and new blanket look gorgeous. Well done! But. I know. A but. How will it be for laundering it after barfing occurs? I am being way to practical but every time I look at these Moroccan blankets my first thought is about how I would keep the naughty puppy from chewing off all the pompoms. It’s amazing how much a naughty puppy or a barfing cat changes your attitude to aesthetics :/

    1. Katie Post author

      A good clarifying question! Practicality is the name of the game. I’m confident the dropcloth/paint combo can hold up to all manner of washing. I figure I’ll just be able to scrub any spots out in the sink (without worrying about being careful like I would if it were wool and/or cost hundreds of dollars).

  7. Sara

    Long time reader, first time commenter!
    I love it! Maybe you mentioned this somewhere but do you have experience washing chalkboard paint on fabric? I’m just wondering if it holds up okay. Thanks!

    1. Katie Post author

      Hi Sara, thanks for reading RHW and for your question! My experience with painted textiles (including upholstery) is that they hold up great to washing and spot cleaning. I hadn’t tried washing chalkboard paint specifically, though, so after I read your comment I washed a test scrap from the pom pom blanket. It looks great! No fading or bleeding of the paint. I can’t speak to its longevity (but I’ll keep you posted with how this blanket holds up).

  8. Joelle

    I am a long time reader of your blog but haven’t made any comments, thanks for the tutorial for this blanket. I will definitely try making one too. Please, please tell me where you found that beautiful, vintage rug. I have been searching a rug like that for ages. Thanks.

  9. Dee

    Having a house full of cats myself, I suggest a “kitty cover” for your window seat. Use the same fabric (if you want to disguise what you are doing) and make just the top and sides of your cushion. When it gets dirty, throw it in the washer and dryer and then put it back on the cushion. You can also make it out of denim or terry cloth (a bath sheet works well) and make it the same way. When company is at the door, just whip it off and viola! clean cushion covers. Works great on sofa cushions also.

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