Roadside Find: A Mid-Century Wassily Chair Pair!

The other night I spied a Wassily style chair as I walked the dogs.  It was just like the one in Ryan’s office, except with different upholstery.

Ryan Office Wassily Chair

Ryan’s Wassily Chair

This chair was sitting in someone’s yard, not as part of landscaping, but more like it was destined for trash. Since it wasn’t on the curb, I wondered what was going on.

Last night I got answers!

Ryan and I were driving down our street as the homeowner carried an identical chair to the curb, setting it down next to his trash. Before I could finish squealing “stop the car!” Ryan had stopped on a dime, and I hopped out, asking the man if the chair was trash and we could have it.

He said yes.  Then he asked if we wanted a second one.

I almost died of excitement, but tried to remain cool. I didn’t want to seem like a grinning fool. Sure enough, the man carried over the chair from its spot in the yard.

We could only fit one of the chairs in the car easily, so I carried the other one home while Ryan drove. It was only a few blocks.Roadside Find Vintage Wassily Chairs

Once home, I inspected the chairs. The chrome tubing was in decent shape, nothing a little elbow grease won’t fix, but the canvas upholstered straps were gross from years of use.   Nothing a little reupholstery can’t fix!

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I was looking for a pair of chairs for a room makeover Ryan and I have discussed, but I won’t spill the beans on that just yet!

What’s more exciting is that the chairs have old, worn labels on them, but I was able to make out some of the writing: “GAVINA Made in Italy”.

A little research led me to believe that these could be authentic Wassily chairs! They were manufactured by Gavina in the 1950’s and 1960’s until Knoll bought the brand in ’68. To find out more, I emailed my favorite vintage guru, Lance at Just L Modern Antiques and asked what he thought. I look forward to learning more.

Just Say No to Affiliate Links! My new advertising policy.

The Borrowed Abode is going ad-free and ditching affiliate links*.    I’ve only ever linked to products I use and love, but I’m getting rid of any affiliate linking to them because I’m tired of blog being overrun with affiliate links.

The Borrowed Abode Transparency Policy 2015

That’s the short version. Ready for the long one?

During my 6 years of blogging I’ve tried different revenue models, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to cover the costs of the site, and maybe have some money left over for projects.

I copied what I saw the bigger bloggers doing: sidebar ads, sponsored posts, paid guest posts, and affiliate links. Sidebar ads were a pain to manage, sponsored posts often felt awkward for me to write, and I quickly stopped accepting paid guest posts because they never felt authentic enough.

I always thought affiliate links were ok, though. I only included them when I mentioned products that I used and loved myself.

And I always made sure to disclose the advertising connection in accordance with the FTC guidelines.

Now, however, I feel like I can’t read a monetized blog without running into affiliate links and sponsorships. Affiliate links are taking over the blogosphere, often without proper disclosure, (ahem. . . RStyle links anyone?) and I’m just fed up. Remember the days when blogs were about sharing honest information on projects and inspiration?

There are some bloggers who I feel do a great job of balancing real, honest content with the occasional sponsored post or giveaway – Yellow Brick Home and iHeart Organizing, for example. But for the most part, the bigger design blogs are no longer in my RSS reader because I got tired of the many sponsored posts or the tons of affiliate links snuck in behind shortened URLs.

Over the next month we’ll be removing all affiliate links from old posts. I can’t remove sponsored posts, since part of the agreement is that they live for the life of the blog, but I won’t accept any more of them.


PS: You will see me promoting Janery products, but that’s because they’re my own!

*What are affiliate links? Most products you see linked to from blogs (especially any outfit or clothing) are linked using affiliate links. Let’s use Amazon to explain what this means. A blogger recommends a tool on Amazon, and links to it. You click the link to see more about it and you buy the product. The blogger gets a commission. OR, let’s say you click the link and don’t buy the product. But the next time you go to Amazon, you spend $800 on something else. Amazon remembers the last person whose affiliate link you clicked, and so that blogger gets a commission on your entire purchase – even if it has nothing to do with what they linked to.

Sew It: Decorative Waterproof Changing Pad For the Nursery

Decorating a nursery?  This easy-off decorative waterproof changing pad mat is a snap to make and super easy to switch out when things get messy during a diaper change.

Decorative Easy-Change Waterproof Changing Pad Mat in Nursery

When I was busily preparing for our baby’s arrival, my friend Katie warned me that “babies pee a lot, so skip the changing pad cover.” Katie was absolutely right, but I’m stubborn when it comes to décor. I didn’t like the look of changing pads without the cover; I wanted mine to blend into the nursery.Nursery Decorative Easy-Change Waterproof Changing Pad Mat

I knew Katie was right, though, so I devised a compromise  : a decorative, waterproof mat to lay on top of the changing pad. It is easily switched out during a messy diaper change . . . and let me tell you, we got plenty of practice testing my idea during the first few weeks of parenthood!

I made my mats using my serger, but for I just made and photographed a version for those of you who only have a regular sewing machine.

Decorative Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Tutorial

Sewing skill: Easy!

Time required: 30 minutes or less

Supplies needed (makes 2):

  • Sewing machine or serger
  • Thread
  • Waterproof crib sheeting (1 yard)
  • Decorative fabric, pre-shrunk in the wash (1 yard)
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Iron

The size of the mat will vary based on the size of your changing pad.

1.  Place your changing pad on top of the waterproof crib sheeting and trace the base of it onto the fabric. Arrange it so that you can get two pieces out of the yard of crib sheeting. Cut it out. Cut two identically sized pieces out of the decorative fabric.

Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Cutting Fabric

2.  Cut rounded corners if you prefer the look of them over square, pointed corners.

3.  Pin the decorative fabric to the crib sheeting, wrong sides facing out. Using a 1/3 inch seam, stitch around the edges, but stop about 3 inches before you get to where you started. You need to leave an opening so you can turn the mat right side out.

Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Turning Out

4.  Reach into the opening and pull the fabric out through the opening until  all of the fabric is right side out. You may need to reach inside with a chopstick or scissor ends to poke the corners out just right.

5.  Set iron to lowest heat setting, then press the edges of the mat until they are flattened.

Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Topstitch

6.  Topstitch around the edge of the whole mat with a ¼” seam and voila – you’re done!

Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Sewing Tutorial

Serger Version:

1.  If you’re going to be using a serger on the edges, cut rounded corners when you cut out the waterproof crib sheeting. When serging, rounded corners are easier than sharp corners.

2.  Pin the crib sheeting to the decorative fabric, right sides out. Use coordinating thread and a rolled edge stitch (or a regular serger stitch) to serge around the edges, attaching the two fabrics together. Leave a long thread tail when you finish, then pull the thread tail through a needle and pull it back under the existing stitch to hide it.

You’re done!

Decorative Easy-Change Waterproof Changing Pad Mat Detail

It doesn’t matter if you use a serger or a sewing machine – either way you stitch it, this is one easy project that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. It makes life easier while keeping the nursery as pretty as you want it to be!

PS:  Want to see more nursery projects?  Click here!

Fetching Furniture: Our May Road Trip to Littleton, NH

Ryan and I drove north for Memorial Day weekend, leaving Maple in New Jersey with my in-laws, then continuing north to New Hampshire.

We stayed two nights, which meant we essentially drove two days for one day of vacation, but we have so much fun on our route to and from Littleton. We’ve got coffee shops and cafes to stop at every 2 or so hours.

But to understand why we took this trip, you have to hop back in time.

October, 2014:

Last October, Ryan and I had planned another road trip to Littleton. We wanted to buy a dresser for Maple’s nursery from Just L, our favorite mid-century furniture store. When my mom passed away just a day before our trip was supposed to start, we had a quick conversation about what to do. My mom had adamantly stated that there would be no funeral or service, so we had a choice. Go on the trip, and get a few raised eyebrows, or sit around the house being sad with my dad. We chose to travel, and we brought my dad along with us.

It was an unconventional thing to do for sure, but it was right for us.New Hampshire Jane Pop Hiking October 2014

We hiked the White Mountains and found a little peace in nature. We made fires and s’mores in the log cabin. We showed my dad around town and took him to the Mount Washington Hotel.

Omni Mt Washington New Hampshire Winter Cloudy

Gorgeous, even in the gloom of late fall.

Omni Mount Washington Winter

We met the Republican candidates for the upcoming election in the local diner. We were photographed awkwardly by photographers while talking to the candidate who was the former president of our company. My extremely liberal dad gleefully told the candidates he was rooting for their opponents. I think that was the highlight of the trip for him. . . But I digress.

We bought a gorgeous dresser at Just L, but we couldn’t fit it in the car with three adult passengers. We hoped to return before Maple’s arrival, but my back nerve pain was so bad that we couldn’t go back in time.

May 2015:

This Memorial Day Weekend turned out to be perfect time for our first baby-free trip! On Saturday morning Ryan and I left her in New Jersey and hit the road. I was a wreck for the first few hours, worried that Maple would be super stressed without me and my MIL wouldn’t get any sleep.

Spoiler alert: The only one stressed was me.

I’ll be honest – the part of the trip I was most excited about was the sleeping part. No baby to wake me up! I spoiled it for myself, though, because I couldn’t fall asleep at night due to my excitement about the prospect of sleep. And when I did sleep, I kept waking up. Whoops!

Ryan and I had an awesome time, and found that two nights away was just the right length. A lot of things didn’t go according to plan.

It was cold the first night, so we went to Wal-Mart (the only place that was open) for sweatshirts. The only sweatshirts in the entire store said “Vermont.” We were in New Hampshire. We bought them anyway.

The next morning we awoke to beautiful weather, and didn’t need the out-of-state sweatshirts. As we left the motel for a late breakfast, Ryan gestured to the otherwise empty parking lot and said

“See all those people? Those are the ones traveling with little kids.” Ha!

Eastgate Motor Lodge Littleton NH

When we arrived at the Omni Mount Washington for a planned afternoon of cocktails and lounging in rocking chairs on their back porch, admiring the views and relaxing, we were turned away at the gate. Along with every other car that arrived.

Omni Mount Washington Spring New Hampshire

It turns out that a group had rented the entire resort for the entire weekend. So we hiked instead.

And we were turned away at the gate of the first hike we attempted, because it was closing. But we found a better trail and did 4 good miles.

That was probably a lot better than lounging, eating, and drinking – because we did that in the evening at our belated Mother’s Day dinner at the Inn at Sugar Hill. We had enjoyed the 4-course meal here on our honeymoon and enjoyed it again.

There was, of course, some shopping, and most important of all – we picked up the dresser! At 6 feet long, it just barely fit in the back of my station wagon, and I joked to Ryan that maybe I needed a minivan. Not for babies, but for furniture! :)

Dresser Master Bedroom

Monday’s drive back to Maple in New Jersey was good – just like the trip North, during the trip south we appeared to be driving against traffic. Maybe New England is a good Memorial Day destination, when everyone else is heading to the beach?

The time alone to just converse like an adult with Ryan was refreshing , and bringing home the dresser was exciting, but I’ll be honest:

The best part of the trip was when we arrived back in Jersey, and I got to spend all night being woken up by my hungry baby.

Life is funny that way.