Once upon a time, long before we lived here, this house lost a small bedroom and gained some stairs up to the attic extension. As a result of this, when we moved in we found a strange shaped cupboard, part flat floor, part sloped floor, under the upper stairs in our house. It had neatly arranged in it the paint left over from painting various rooms in the house, all carefully labelled (bathroom ceiling, walls in small bedroom, etc). We left the paint there and also put the sleeping bags and bed rolls in there, lying against the slope floor/wall. And so it remained.
Until one day, when I was showing a visiting friend around the house (supervised of course by both children) and she commented that she bet the children loved hiding in there. It had never occurred to them. Until she said that. And then they began to hide in there sporadically, especially if friends were visiting. And we said “mind the paint” and let them (because, you know, choose your battles, don’t spread yourself too thin amongst many fronts, that sort of thing).
Recently, den building/making has reached fevered heights in this house and we’ve been saying “are you minding that paint” more and more. Until the Man had the genius suggestion of moving it to a different cupboard, to reduce both the risk and the strain on our vocal cords. We shared this gem with the kids last night and as a result, this morning I took them shopping for lights to go in the den (bought with their own pocket money, they opted for head torches, shame they don’t work, so we will be studying consumer rights in action this half term holiday!). Then I used den refreshing as an excuse to get the Girl to help me tidy up all her junk that was strewn across the landing (which is just a narrow strip but the density of junk was high) and hoover up the cotton wool that was felted into the carpet (the amount in the carpet was mind boggling, especially since the 3 cotton wool balls I’d given her (for a specific and as yet unstarted craft project) were still the same size that they were to start with).
Finally, we had the floor outside it clear and so could empty out the cupboard and measured the floor. Then I gleefully set to work making a beanbag floor cushion from some really horrid synthetic, textured, orange and blue stripey fabric – part of a bundle of stuff that a neighbour gave me after rescuing it when her friend was about to throw it out. Why gleeful? Well one of the stashbusting sewalong groups challenges this month is to use your ugliest piece of stash and this is mine, huzzah! It won’t win any prizes, but it is gone!
The bean bag was stuffed with the beans from the remains of an ancient beanbag (origins unknown) and some of a blue beanbag (stained, unwanted, denoted to me as a Known Horder of Useful Things) that were both languishing on top of the kids bedroom cupboards. This in itself was a blessing as the kids got them down the other week and I’ve not been able to fit them back properly since and they keep trying to fall down again or trap the doors open. Anyway, despite being helped, the new bean bag was finished and it fit and they don’t seem to have noticed how vile the fabric is. I left them to rearrange the sleeping bags and bedrolls whilst I decided to make a clean sweep of beanbagball chaos and top up the cube beanbag that was also on top of their wardrobe and fix the hole in the lining of it’s (not quite identical) twin.
I managed this, with less mess and more noise as this time instead of helping they shouted and argued upstairs about the best arrangement of stuff in the den. When I finally got involved in negotiations I had a genius idea of my own. The cube bean bags can go in the living room (not sure why they weren’t there already, something to do with hubby I think) and make space for the sleeping bags to take their place on top of the kids wardrobes. Then I made a second bean bag cushion (more ugly stashbusting hurrah) for the slopey bit.
Peace has now resumed. Sort of. (They were fighting over the cube bean bags before I’d finished mending the second one). The cupboard is now officially A Den. Most of the beads are hoovered up (I’m realistic, I know I’ll still be finding them for weeks to come). I’ve used metre and a half of a full width of horrid fabric (Still just over a metre left, I’m putting it on one side for bag linings) and I don’t have to look at it as it’s shut in a cupboard, sorry den, hurrah! Hubby seems ok with this but is now muttering about having to up the priority of getting rid of the decrepid futon sofabed in the living room (which I’m fine with in principal, but is a little tricky to shift by myself and hubby is still broken).
So, I’m awarding myself double points for Making Do and Mending as well as Ugly Stash Busting with an added bonus as this was simple enough to do whilst alone in the house with the kids, thereby sneaking some daytime sewing in on a Saturday when I’d promised no post kids bedtime sewing (token romantic gesture due to valentines day, about all I can manage after nearly 15 years marriage). The only downer is that I appear not to have bought in a bottle of wine and chocolate pudding. But then, The Man is (in what is probably a romantic gesture of his own, or possibly a guilty one for being at band pratice all afternoon) actually putting the kids to bed by himself for the first time since he broke his rib, enabling me to write this post.
“Don’t cha luv it when a plan comes together?”