So instead of tossing the jeans, I patch them.
First open the side seam.
If you are worried about fuzziness you can fold the denim over and top
stitch the edge to prevent a little bit of fraying.
I was not worried about it.
Next, zig-zag the patch in place.
Finally, straight stitch the side seam closed catching the patch in the seam.
Then go back and zig-zag the edge to finish the seam.
(I still have not painted that little desk...)
Tadaa! Not beautiful, but very functional.