So long ago that I think it may have been pre-internet (seriously, there was a time before online, I swear) I read a magazine article by a woman who was the queen of thrifting — as an example, she actually once found a signed Joan Miro print for $10. She would buy interesting looking yet tired wingback chairs and simply paint the upholstery to give them a new look before she got around to recovering them. She said it gave them a sort of damask feel. You see where this is going. I made the mistake of leaving some IKEA chair cushions out all winter, and this spring they were dirty, faded, and water stained. But because I didn’t want to just chuck them, I had the brilliant notion that I would paint them — just like my thrift store idol! Well, painting cotton-covered cushions is not the same as painting old upholstery. Or maybe painting them with a flat latex interior paint is a bad idea. Whichever it is, the first coat looked okay, I suppose, but the effect was like sitting on a cushion made of sandpaper. Guess I’ll be breaking down and making a trip to IKEA after all. This year I’ll bring the cushions inside in September. — Mary T.