Last week the girls and I took a walk to visit both of the neighborhood thrift stores. We needed to buy a tie for Daddy, who is an ecologist and has a closet full of classic plaid button-ups and cargo pants that can transition easily from the classroom to the field easily, but not so many formal outfits. Until last week he had three ties, none of them quite right for the event he was going to.

In classic thrift-store fashion, we did find an Italian silk tie for 50 cents that worked perfectly, and we also came home with other items we hadn't been looking for. I found a very ugly little stool that was crying out for a makeover hiding inside an entertainment center at the Salvation Army. Since furniture was all half-off that day, I decided that for $3.50 I could take it home and fix it up. Annie happily carried it on her lap in the stroller all the way home, chattering about how she would use it to play with her dollhouse.

The stool was so ugly that I second and third-guessed myself both in the store and once I brought it home. The brown rug-like cover had flecks of what looked like carpet padding peeking through. However, it didn't smell bad, it was sturdily built, and it was so small that I was pretty sure that I could transform it in a day or two.

That day I took off and sprayed the legs with black Rust-Oleum semi-gloss paint (which, it turns out, is a lot better than the generic kind), and stripped off the hideous brown rug covering. Then Annie and I dug into my yarn stash, and finally agreed on a ball of tie-dyed cotton that I unraveled from a sweater last summer. I spent longer knitting the cover than I initially planned, but a little more than a week after I started the project, it's finished! I love projects like that.

After I knitted a big oval to cover the stool, I made a few flowers and a butterfly from the patterns in 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield. I sewed them on with clear thread, and embroidered a few stems and leaves. These served not only to decorate the stool, but bring in some other colors and hide a few small holes from the increases in the knit fabric.

Annie was very excited when she woke up this morning and discovered that I'd finished the stool for her. It is exactly Annie-sized!

And, best of all, it works for its indended purpose! Annie can finally reach the attic level of her dollhouse.

This is the kind of project that I really don't see making to sell, since even a tiny stool like this still took 8 days to finish. But if you live around Bloomington, I'd love to teach you how to do it yourself!