happy accidents

So, In college, I had this hipster art teacher…

I know. Hipster + Art teacher = stereotypical prerequisite. But she was hardcore, and taught one of my first drawing classes. We would stand around for hours, until we mastered a plant leaf. She would walk around the room and tell us to keep working, until those leaves were nothing less than perfection. And when we were finished, we would stand around and critique the plant leaves. And when we were done, we would start all over again. With more plant leaves. (On the flipside, this was while all my roomies were sweating it out over economics finals. BOOYA. {Then I hit my design classes, the art building swallowed me, and I was never seen again.})

I’m pretty sure the aforementioned hipster art teacher moonlit as an interpretive dancer. She would run behind us in her skinny jeans {Before skinny jeans were cool. See? Hipster.} and move her arms in wildly exaggerative, circular motions. This 5 foot tall, 85 pound woman just might take flight and implode, she was so passionate about the plant leaves. And I tried my best on a daily basis, not to snort charcoal and graphite out of my nose from suppressed laughter.

The most important concept I remember covering, after resisting the urge to claw out my eyeballs, aside from obsessing over plant leaves, {read: the powers of observation, for one} was that of happy accidents.

When something unexpected happens, how we react. How we embrace those changes in our work as artists. How we use them in our creations, and cultivate something good from the unexpected.

In my case, I found myself thinking about my teeny interpretive dance hipster art teacher, and realized the happy accidents applied to this. How to embrace an unwanted change.

While I literally stomped my feet like a two year old over my ridiculously silly, totally avoidable, idiotic loss in the slipcover sofa department of life, I had no idea what I was going to do. And when I half heartedly went for breakfast and sofa shopping one morning with a friend, and I literally stumbled across…

{drum roll please…} my dream sofa.

If you’ve been with me since the beginning of my own little drama, then you know I’ve wanted a Chesterfield for a very long time. Like, as in, shut-up-about-it-we-know-you-loved-domino-but-learn-to-deal-already-get-a-life, long time. But last year when making a call on the living room (with a then, very tight budget) I suddenly veered right and went the slipcovered route. It was what I felt was safe, at the time. It was lovely, until the sofa sector of the decor gods were bored with me, and decided to mix things up a bit.

So, this is my happy accident.

It was love at first sight.

Tufted linen fabulosity. And while I was at it, I decided to mix things up in the pillows department. We are loving those richer tones.

The most exciting part, is this gem of a store {that I am so excited about sharing with all of you next week-stay tuned!} Think eye candy galore…and something just for you while we’re at it. Squeeeee!

Chessy the Chesterfield is kiddo approved…by The Mills Bros. World Wrestling Federation. Be still my anxiety ridden cheeto fingers heart. {read: it hides the smudges amazingly well, compared to what I was dealing with.}

I’ve found my forever-dream-re-cover-it-twenty-years-from-now-move-it-around-and-hand-it-down-to-my-great-granchildren-who-will-love-it-like-I-do-because-I-shove-it-down-their-throats, all-is-well-in-sofa-land, piece. Duncan was even a little jealous.

Yes, I did push the timer and then run and jump on the sofa so I could be totally awkward, and scream at the dog because she walked in front, while the kids stood patiently on the sidelines and asked for snacks. They’ve grown accustomed to mommy’s weird projects. Who knew someone could be such a spaz about a sofa? 

Stay tuned for the great eye candy I’ll be bringing your way next week from this awesome store…you’re going to loooove it! TADA! My own personal happy ending. What are some of your own personal happy accidents? Lately, I’ve become a little more of a glass is half full kinda gal. So spill it!


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68 Responses to happy accidents

  1. Lori H says:

    Love that sofa! So long and regal yet comfy looking. Perfect. Can’t wait to hear where it came from!

  2. Rebekah Tice says:

    Your story reminded me of my elementary school art teacher. She would tell us that it wasn’t a mistake you just had to rethink it and make it different. Glass half-full kind of thinking. Hard stuff for this perfectionist to swallow, but trying to learn even still years later.
    Glad you got a happy ending. Looking forward to some good eye-candy next week. Happy hump day!

  3. Now THAT, my friend, is a piece of furniture! So glad you found an even-better replacement for the white slipcovered one.

    Cannot wait to see this store…

  4. Jessica says:

    I’m so excited to see this beautiful sofa. I was slightly crushed when I saw that you were going for a Chesterfield and jumped ship for a white slip covered number. I was hoping I could live vicariously through you until I can concentrate on my home. At last I can! I LOVE him!

  5. Sean C says:

    Love the tufted sofae. Simply gorgeous!

  6. Katie says:

    woohoo! LOVE happy endings. :) it looks fabulous. and this gives me hope that someday i’ll have the sofa of my dreams too. ;)

  7. Kathryn says:

    Hokey Smokey’s (yes I just said that) that’s a great couch! And Loooooong! You could fit a whole football team on it! That would be great for my freakishly tall family! Nice work!

  8. Jenn says:

    This is me being green with envy! SUCH an awesome sofa!!

  9. cassi says:

    Oh I hope to find one like that! Love it

  10. Angela says:

    It’s also my dream to have a Chesterfield sofa some day, but I’ll need to live with my slipcovered whiteness a while longer. Your new couch is absolutely beautiful from the design and look of the couch to the color and fabric!

  11. Lauren R says:

    YAY! Happy you found your dream sofa and the before and after photo made me laugh this morning :)

  12. Dorothy says:

    Total gorgeousness! I think maybe I just died of jealousy. LOVE that so much.

  13. i supremely enjoyed reading this post! great find-so glad you found THE piece.

  14. Andrea says:

    It’s so long and big. I love it. Oh the tufting is great!

  15. Laura G. says:

    I am so in love with that sofa that I might completely copy it!! Seriously. (I hope you find that flattering & not creepy…? Either way, I don’t care cause I love it that much.) I can’t wait for you to tell us where you got it!! I am gonna start saving up for a new sofa!! After we pay for an adoption. And vacation. And Christmas. ;-) Congratulations on the new love in your life!! :-)

  16. Wow, that is seriously gorgeous! That linen is phenomenal! Lots of linen crops up in my Etsy shop because I just can’t get enough of that wonderful fabric. Excellent choice :)

  17. michelle says:

    Oh my good gravy! I just bought a new sectional….picked it up on Saturday….and I totally wish I would a found year find! It is beeeauuutiful! The linen. The tufts. The nail head trim. You have truly found sofa heaven:D. So happy for you, such a lovely happifying gal like you totally deserves it!

  18. Emily W. Thames says:

    i want it!

  19. Emily says:

    LOVE IT. I have new sofa dreams, too, and that linen is making me swoon. Can’t wait to see where you procured it!

  20. Holly says:

    I. HAVE. SOFA. ENVY. Congrats on your new ‘family member’! ;)

  21. Mel says:

    I’m so happy you found the perfect sofa. I’m also happy that I’m not the only person crazy about all things decorating! I’m obsesses about getting a new sofa myself. Ahhhh….someday.

  22. I love that couch! Super jealous right now!

  23. Rebekah says:

    Oh my word! That couch is amazing! I am so drooling right now! Love it!

  24. Linda says:

    Literally wiping the drool off my chin! That.sofa.rocks!!!! You lucky girl!

  25. Thank you so much, sweet friends! I know it’s silly to get all caught up in a sofa…but it was fun to write about. I am definitely one VERY blessed and thankful gal. ;}

  26. Debbie says:

    I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! I love it! I want it!!!

  27. Tara says:

    Beautiful sofa. But I can’t believe that you let people eat on it!! My newish sofa is going on 3 years old and NO ONE eats on it. Its only blemish (and I’d love to kill my husband over this) is a slightly bleached out spot when he tried to clean a spot off of it with a cleaner from the kitchen…a cleaner he didn’t read had bleach in it. The bleached out spot is right smack in the middle of a cushion so I have to artfully arrange the pillows so you can’t see it. Anyway, still can’t believe you let people eat on it…I’d hold off on that a while, there’s nothing removable to take off & wash on this one.

    • Awe, Thank you for looking out for me, but we totally have an all-food stays in the kitchen rule here at the millz hizzy. And after that, an even stricter all hands must be thoroughly washed rule. Even when friends are over. In fact, especially when friends are over. It kind of makes me twitch a little. That being said, I also have a two year old + two more younger children + a dog. And sometimes, things get a little bezerk. I was just taking solace, and using a silly illustration to say that the fabric is awesome, and will resist little smudges that my formerly white sofa just couldn’t hide.

      Are you picturing all three kids wallowing on the sofa with cheetos? Because that’s hysterically awesome. ;} I totally scored a chesterfield and now we’re going to have a cheeto partay! woot woot! ;} Fun times. ;} No eating here! No worries.

  28. Alicia says:

    Love the sofa! It’s also my dream to have a Chesterfield sofa some day. But til then i sofa journey continues. ;-)

  29. Lindsay says:

    Ok, so I’m totally curious now. Is it actually comfortable? I always wonder that with the tufting on the back. It’s beautiful, but is it comfy? That said, I totally love it and can’t wait to hear where it’s from.

  30. Candace Holmes says:

    I want to know about the “artwork” on the wall above the sofa. It looks like a photo collage, may I see it up close and know about it? :) Thanks!

  31. omg! that sofa is gorgeous! and i do the same thing…self-photos. i mean who else is going to do it? love your living room and all those fluffy pillows!

  32. Julie says:

    absolutely love it. great choice!

  33. Pam says:

    I too have the love it forever couch of bliss that I stalked for months from Crate & Barrel. Some much stalking in fact I got to know the sales gal and when it went on “floor model” sale she looked up my company in the phone book and called me. I took it home that very night, hanging out of the back of my Pathfinder. Welcome to the I love my couch club!

  34. Ok, I have to tell you that I literally chuckle out loud every time I see the shrunken slip cover. I’m sorry, but it really is the funniest thing!

    However, I also have to tell you that I now might hate you just a teeny tiny bit because you own the most amazing chesterfield in the history of chesterfields! LOVE!!! And you are too cute posing on it!

  35. Denise Z says:

    Oh my! That couch is simply swoon-worthy! The color, the fabric, the tufting, the trim! We’ve been looking at new houses and I think I know just the one to put that in. (or maybe it would be smarter/cheaper to stay here…and just buy that)

  36. jenni Horne says:

    Was that art teacher at Auburn by chance? Allison? I was an art major there wayyyy before you when she was a neewbie. But can see the pixie now in her skinny jeans! Oh, and love the sofa. I had a leather one shaped like that spied in a thrifty store for $200 a year ago. By the time I got back with hubby approval it was gone!!! Lesson learned, ask forgiveness after dreamy purchases!

  37. April A. says:

    I was a design major at Auburn too and know exactly who you are talking about. I remember having to bring a tree limb/stick to class one day along with some ink. We had to lay our paper on the floor in front of us and while standing, draw on the paper with this stick. It was to teach us to let go of perfection and control and possibly end up with a “happy accident”.

    • Yep. Nailed it. How awesome that two AU design/art peeps knew who I was talking about. Hilarious. April, did you ever have Bryant? She was EVERYONE’S favorite. I’m pretty sure Jenni didn’t have her, because she was new when I was there, and a design professor. But oh how we loved Professor Bryant. She was the best ever. I wonder if she’s still there?

      • April A. says:

        Yes, I had Bryant. She was pretty awesome. I remember taking a class where we designed our own magazine.

        • Awe! How I miss her. When were you there? Am I old? I graduated in 2002. I remember how stressful those classes were at the time, and now I wish I could go back. We had it made!

          • Jenni Horne says:

            Yep Ashley you are old. NOT!! I graduated in 1995 with a BFA in Fine Arts. My concentration was printmaking. Yes, I was one of the crazy ones in the top floor playing with legal acid. Now I am an art educator and do art shows on the side with my paintings. Best jobs ever invented. Oh, and being a Mommy. That’s pretty good too.

  38. Beth says:

    Great sofa story. Great sofa! Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  39. Esther says:

    How long is your new couch?

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  41. Amy says:

    Gorg piece! Did you find the sofa and have it reupholstered, or did you purchase it this way? If so, can you recommend a good place for re-upholstery?

  42. Julia says:

    I was just telling someone about my own happy accident today!! I am finally getting around to finishing my bedroom and found an awesome old lean-to ladder at a yard sale last week for , wait for it… $4!! (btw, saw a similar smaller one in an antique mall today for $50!!) Anyway, I originally thought I would cut it down and use it for wall art above my bed, but at some point I just leaned it against the wall in the corner to wait for it’s new home on the wall, and I immediately thought “AHA!! THAT is your new home!” It was perfect right where I had put it, gave some *oomph* to that corner and added the height the room needed. Yay for happy accidents!!! :) btw- I was totally LOLing reading your post about the shrunken slipcover- “bereaved planking”- LOL!!!!! I’m so glad I found your blog. :) And yes, I LOVE your new couch!!! I am obsessed with nailhead trim….

  43. What a friggin’ babe! I love her.

    However, I cannot imagine life without late-night salsa on the couch whilst watching Mad Men or somesuch nonsense.

    :)

  44. Amanda says:

    OK this is literally my DREAM sofa too and I have been searching high and low for this exact one – can you tell me where you got it from? It is AMAZING.

    • Hey Amanda! check out the link in our sidebar that has the sofa in the ad. It’s from this online store. The shipping is free, and it’s a locally owned family business. So you know your money goes to a good place. Check them out!

      • AMANDA says:

        Thank you so much! Andella home it looks like. I have been searching a long time for this exact sofa – looking into high point to PB to Restoration Hardware.

        Do you still love it? The main thing is that I wanted it to be super comfortable but still look very perfect. :)

        In terms of quality and a “couch that lasts forever” – what are your thoughts? Worth the investment here?

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  46. Trish says:

    Whre is the Chesterfield sofa from? Love it!

  47. Gillian says:

    I love this sofa and plan on ordering it right away. I’m having a hard time deciding on either the 90″ or 118″. I was wondering how big your living room is and why you went with this size? I appreciate any input you can offer.
    Thank you!!

    • Hey Gillian! I will have to look at how big my living room is – I’m not sure. This is literally the one I stumbled across in the store, and when I measured I knew it would fit… so I snatched it up. ;} Probably not much help but it comfortably seats our family of five ;}

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