If you are a part time wheelchair user, then this might not be a problem for you, but I have lost all of my butt muscles. This creates some problems, mainly pressure sores and pain. I have an incredibly heavy and expensive cushion in my wheelchair, but I’m not always in my wheelchair. Rather than spend a fortune on cushions, I found a low cost way to convert my normal chairs into butt friendly furniture and I thought I would share.
Memory foam mattress topper
Open the mattress topper and lay it out flat. It’s going to arrive vacuum sealed and tightly rolled. Use caution when removing the plastic. You don’t want to accidentally cut the foam.
At first, the topper will appear flat. It can take up to a hour to fully expand. Once it reaches its full 3 inch height, unzip the cover and set aside.
Measure the width and length of the inside of the chair. If you are using a regular straight back chair, then you may want to only upholster the seat. Since I was covering a very uncomfortable recliner/ lift chair, I decided to cover the back with one piece of foam and the seat and leg rest with another.
Add 1 inch to the measurements. This insures a tight fit so it doesn’t slide around. You can trim it down later if needed, but you can’t add to it if you cut it too small.
Measure the correct amount of foam and mark where you should cut. Again, it’s better to be too big and need to be trimmed than it is to be too small.
It’s time to cut. You could try a regular knife or very sharp scissors, but I highly recommend using a hot knife tool. Since the foam is so dense, it will take a lot of strength to cut through it, even if the knife is sharp. It’s also more dangerous, because the knife can slip. God knows how clumsy I am and I would never hear the end of it from my husband if I cut myself while playing Macgyver.
The hot knife is perfect for this. Instead of slicing it, it basically cauterizes a path wherever it goes. It is incredibly hot so use caution, but it works well for this project.
After cutting out the foam, it’s time to put it on the furniture. At first I was concerned that it would be too stiff to work with a recliner, but it bends with the chair in an position. This is when you can trim it down if needed, but a snug fit will help to keep it in place.
Now you can cover it with upholstery fabric. Cut it to size with a half inch seam allowance. Cover the entire chair, fold under the ends, and use the tacks to hold down the edges. Now your gimped out chair looks just like a normal chair, but it’s suitable for a pressure sore prone butt.
You could also use the lazy, although comfortable, method. Skip the upholstery fabric. Cover it with a Jersey knit sheet and pin it into place. Right now I just have the sheet on mine. I like the feel of the soft cotton and it can be removed easily and washed on a regular basis.
Mattress topper, twin size– $80 (I only used about 1/3)
Hot knife— $24
Upholstery fabric— $17
Upholstery tacks — $9
Total cost— $130 with enough left over for at least one more chair, possibly two.
That’s a far cry from this $515 seat cushion.
Gingerbread can be used to describe cookies or cake. Here’s my favorite recipe for the cake.
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
8 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 1/2 cup cold water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
Combine egg, sugar, molasses, butter and water. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, ginger and salt. Add to the combined wet ingredients. Beat on medium speed until well mixed. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for around 20-25 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream or cream cheese icing.
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2¼ cups flour
1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Add butter, ½ cup sugar, the rosemary, salt, and vanilla to a bowl. Slowly mix together ingredients with a spatula or spoon until butter has softened a little. Add flour. Using floured hands, knead until buttery crumbs form, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Form dough into a ball, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 5×10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into squares or cut with cookie cutters.
4. Chill the cut out dough for at least 10 minutes. This prevents the cookies from spreading too much.
5. Bake until bottoms are just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. The tops will still be blonde. Allow to cool 10 minutes on baking sheet.
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup molasses (pro tip- lightly oil the measuring cup to keep the molasses from sticking)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground cloves
Cream together the butter, brown sugar,egg and molasses. Mix until well combined.
In separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients and gradually beat into creamed mixture.
Divide dough in half and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ⅛-in. thickness.
Cut gingerbread men using a floured 3½-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake until edges are firm, about 8-10 minutes.
Traditionally, gingerbread is decorated with royal icing. It’s too humid where I live so I use buttercream.
1 tsp. butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. baking soda
½ lb. dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. shortening, divided
½ lb. milk chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
Prepare a 9-in. square pan by lining it with foil and grease with butter.
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. The mixture will foam so it’s important to use a large pan.
Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Cover with a lid for a few minutes while the mixture comes to a boil. This allows the condensation to clear the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300°.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
Immediately pour mixture into prepared pan and allow to cool.
Lift the candy out of pan and peel off the foil.
Break candy into small pieces.
1 cup dried lentils
1 ½ cups baby carrots
1 ½ cups celery, sliced
1 ½ cups onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups water
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
This can also be cooked in a pressure cooker on the “soup” setting.