Friday, August 16, 2013

When the Bread Knife Meets the Foam: 7 Quick Takes (Volume I)

I’ve been following several excellent blogs that do “7 Quick Takes” on Friday. Those bloggers are all Catholic, but for fun, I am going to do it too even though I am Lutheran. 


There is a certain rocking chair that has been part of my family for some time. It is special because of its size: it’s good for short women who would like to be able to rest their feet on the floor while sitting. Tall people, for whom the furniture of the world is an easy fit, will probably not understand this (you should see my toes dangle if I sit on my couch without a bunch of cushions behind my back). My mom spent many an hour sitting in this special, helpfully-sized rocking chair as she tended to various babies. In its earliest manifestation, the cushions were a rather ugly mustard color.

Look to the far right for the rocking chair.
As you can see, my sisters and I were quite
excited that it was Christmas!

My mother soon re-covered the cushions in blue.

When I moved away for a teaching position, my mom gave me the chair. By this time it had acquired a new, rosy material. However, it had also aged considerably—not only was the fabric worn and faded, but the original cushions, despite the freshening-up layer of batting, were no longer of much use in supporting anyone’s behind. I decided that I would have to refurbish it if I wanted to be able to rock my baby in comfort.

I'm afraid this picture is fuzzy, but you get the idea.

Step 1: Go to the fabric store. While in the fabric store, play phone tag with my mom to consult her on the best foam and batting. Purchase fabric, 4 inch foam, and two bags of batting.

Step 2: Be intimidated by the project and make other things instead. Make cute little felt baby shoes, for example. Make felt animals. Make a felt quiet book. Spend time on Pinterest looking at other, non-rocking-chair-projects that could potentially be made.

Step 3: Decide that I need to finish the rocking chair before certain houseguests arrive, because my apartment is not large enough for a large strip of four-inch foam plus houseguests.

Step 4: The only way to cut the thick foam turned out to be with a bread knife. This worked reasonably well, except that each cut was pretty permanent—you can’t trim foam with a bread knife. That is why not all of the cuts are 100% straight.

Step 5: Cover the shaped foam in batting and hand-sew the batting down. Lay the new cushions on the fabric and trace covers. Sew the fabric covers. Try the covers on for fit, and readjust as needed. Sew the covers shut. Voila! It’s not bad. I won’t point out the flaws, in case you can’t see them in the picture. I’m actually quite proud of it.



Speaking of quiet books, here are two of the pages. You lift the flaps and see little forest animals.



Speaking of cute baby shoes—these are the ones I made. I got the pattern HERE.  I also want to make the darling, ruffled little version that is found HERE.



Speaking of babies (which relates to pregnancy), I had to take the nasty 3-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test this week. You have to fast for it. They draw a little vial of your blood, feed you 100 grams of sugar (in the form of a red, “fruit-punch flavored” drink), and then draw your blood every hour for three hours. I don’t think my blood sugar got back to normal until at least the next day. Basically, all I wanted to do was lie in bed and feel weak. Remind me never to let my children eat nothing but candy until midday! Fortunately the results came back as healthy.



Also speaking of babies, I have noticed a sociological phenomenon. The inexpensive baby garments are almost all exclusively blue or pink. Even the ones that branch out into brown or purple are clearly intended for a single gender, excepted only by yellow outfits with ducks on them (and, to be fair, a few green ones with frogs). Baby girls’ clothes have mice, bunnies, and kitties on them. Baby boys’ clothes have bull dogs, bears, crabs, and footballs.

Yet, the more expensive, posh baby clothes (a good percentage of which are crafted from organic cotton) are much less gender-specific. Why do common folks emphasize the gender of their babies while the upper class apparently enjoys baby garments of cream, red, or vibrant multi-hued strips?



I’ve heard people say that should another economic depression arise, Americans won’t know how to make-do like the older generation. They certainly won’t know how to make clothing out of flower sacks like our ancestresses did.

However, I have been on Pinterest, and I know what the modern equivalent of a flour sack dress is. It is a garment “up-cycled” from a parental T-shirt. There are apparently a lot of babies and toddlers running around in clothing made from their parents’ T-shirts. Actually, I’ve been going through my husband’s old T’s with an acquisitive eye.



Is it OK if I want my (on the way) baby to look bald? All the babies in my family had such fair hair that you couldn’t see it, and that is what I am used to. Babies with luxuriant hair confuse me because my brain does not believe that people acquire visible hair until the age of one or two. I will definitely not be buying my child one of THESE:


Happy Friday! To see other people's posts, go to Conversion Diary. I recommend quite strongly that you find and read the posts about scorpions. They are pretty hilarious. 


  1. #1--Totally! My husband I'm rarely able to get my feet on the floor in any piece of furniture, and I'm not particularly short (5'5")--what is up with that? Are all the furniture makers of the world over 6 feet??

    1. Maybe it's like shoes. Shoes (and jeans) are all supposed to make us look taller, right? So maybe the furniture is supposed to elevate us to a greater height, or something. :-) BTW, the funny thing is that I was reading your blog (enjoying the post on vintage clothing) just as you left this comment!

  2. That's a lot of content for a blog with "Quick" in the title!

    I love that you recovered your mother's rocking chair. The shoes are darling, and the t-shirt baby clothes do seem potentially much more interesting than the green and yellow unisex items!

    1. Gretchen, Yes, I suppose it's really one short post and six quick takes. Thanks-- I like the shoes too!

  3. I remember that chair!

  4. You are so incredibly talented. And now I am tired :D

  5. I am one of those tall people, and I once sat with legs swinging for long enough to have some idea of what you suffer. But it all evens out in the end. Kitchen counter heights, distance between church pews at kneeling times, and most men are made for short girls. :P

    As for baby baldness, one of my nieces had such dark hair at birth that her redheaded parents were constantly asked where they adopted her from. So you might have a good reason for hoping for your little one to be hairless.

    Congratulations on your baby! Also on your excellent blog, which I have been poking around and thoroughly enjoying for the past twenty minutes.

    1. Jenna,

      My mom always said that at least short people don't bump their heads as much! That's funny about your niece. I imagine that's not exactly the comment that every fond mother hopes to hear. "What a lovely baby" is perhaps better. Thanks for the kind words!


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