Travel-related crafts

Since I knew the temperature was dropping significantly over Thanksgiving weekend and we'd be outside a fair amount in Atlanta, I decided it was time to knit a hat for Kent. I chose cotton yarn, he chose forest green, and I found this easy pattern with a fold-up brim. I sized it up just a tad for his very large head (90th percentile, folks), and with all the extra time we spent in the car on Wednesday, I was able to finish it before we got to dinner at Panera that evening.

Ah, but what to have him sleep on? He outgrew the pack-and-play last spring, he doesn't sleep well if he's in bed with us (and neither do we), and he would roll out of a regular bed if he one to himself. On the last few trips, I've been making odd makeshift beds out of sofa cushions with a sheet on top, but I wasn't sure if that would be an option in our hotel room. I also wanted to stop worrying about where he'll sleep every time we plan a trip. We had considered buying an air mattress, but he slept *horribly* on one at my grandmother's house in September, too wobbly and rolly. And then I remembered these really cool roll-up foam mattresses that my friend Nicole had in high school (her mom had made them), perfect for trips or just for when we spent the night at her house. I emailed her mom for some pointers and learned that I could get long pieces of foam at a fabric store, and I remembered that I had some heavyweight blue fabric in my stash that used to be a sofa slipcover.

First of all, it was a pretty hilarious experience to compare and contrast the different foams I found at Hancock Fabrics. In order to figure out how much I needed and what thickness, there was really only one option: lay them out on the floor (in a very cramped space at the back of the store) and have Kent lie down on all of them. And I, with my 7-months-pregnant belly, had to sit/lie on them to decide on a thickness. He had a blast and was really excited to help make a bed for himself, so it was more fun than I would have thought, and we both giggled a lot. They had some premeasured foam in packages that was way too long for what I needed, so I started unrolling the giant rolls of foam and having him lie on those. Then, of course, we had to get it to the cutting table because the cutting lady refused to just cut it on the floor and measure it afterward, but once that was done and I had my 1 3/4 yards in the car, I was pretty excited. Plus, it was on sale, which helped a lot since that foam isn't cheap.

It was a little tricky to make sure I was sewing the cover tight enough, but not so tight that I couldn't get it over the foam. Jack helped me turn the cover right-side out while pulling it over the foam, and then I hand-sewed the other end shut. I briefly contemplated a zipper, but (1) I wasn't sure how I'd do that, logistically, and I didn't feel like figuring it out, and (2) I figured that since I wasn't using a waterproof cover, I'd probably have to wash the foam as well if it ever got wet or really dirty. That'll be an adventure, toting this thing to a laundromat whenever it does need to be washed.

Anyway, it works beautifully for our needs, and Kent slept very well on it. Since foam compresses, we were able to roll it up very tightly and secure it with a bungee cord so it wouldn't take up much space in the car (and I had flashbacks to helping Nicole roll up hers once we figured out how much they would squish down). I think we'll be flying with it too, maybe in a duffel bag, though I'm not looking forward to meeting the over-eager TSA officer who wants me to unroll it at security so that he can make sure I'm not hiding anything inside.

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sew a little pillowcase that it'll fit in when rolled up, with a shoe string sewed in to be like a draw string. then it'll look like a pillow and maybe they won't notice or care
Isn't that clever?! Yes, we loved the Heller foam mattresses! As for flying with it in a duffel bag, I chuckled thinking of you opening it up at security and it springing into shape as it unrolls. It's like Monty Python & the Spanish Inquisition - "NOBODY expects a FOAM MATTRESS!" :-)

However, I think you should take Amy's advice about the pillowcase - brilliant!
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