Yes, we made our mattress. And it’s stuffed with straw, like pilgrims.
We knew we needed a new bed since Trent’s and my loft in the tiny house is smaller than a queen sized mattress. When we started looking at different mattress styles, we learned about Japanese futons. I loved how eco-friendly and simple they are, but I still couldn’t bring myself to spend somewhere around $500 on something I will lay on to sleep.
I’m not sure who came up with the idea of the straw mattress… probably Trent, since he comes up with all of our far-fetched ideas so far. When we realized we could possibly make a great sleeping surface for just a few dollars, we couldn’t NOT try it and see if it would work.
There isn’t much information about making a straw mattress on the internet, but I did find this blog post. Sometimes it’s just nice to see that you’re not the only person doing something. I sewed basically a large pillowcase of old sheets together. I think the dimensions are about 5’x6.5′. I re-enforced the top layer with an old hospital-style blanket that is thick and tightly woven.
Me, with my creation- the cover for the bed.
Then, we bought a very large bale of straw for $10. That was the only money we spent on the whole project. Trent fluffed up the straw, I put it in the cover, and Wade held it open for me.
Me stuffing the tick with Wade’s help.
Trent used a little punch to make snaps for the end. I’m not claiming to have made a great product here and the little flap on the end is super funky and looks like a old-fashioned pair of pajamas with the drop-seat bottoms. But hey, it seems to work and it’s covered with sheets the whole time.
Trent added snaps to the end
Then we were left with this funny lumpy mass. But I knew a few small people that could take care of THAT problem for me!
Funny lumpy mess
If there’s one thing my kids love to do, it’s JUMP!!! They had that thing flattened in no time!
Jumping it flat!
And here is the final product! We will be able to sleep on it for several months before we move into the tiny house, which will give us time to figure out whether we like it.
So how has it been so far? To be honest, it’s good, but it’s also a bit of an adjustment. Here are my pros and cons so far:
- It smells like straw!
- It makes me not want to stay in bed when I wake up.
- It seems to be making my back more strong (There have been studies that prove that sleeping on hard surfaces helps to realign the back.)
- You make a nest or indentation for your body at the beginning of the night and that feels strangely nice and primal
- It’s simple, cheap, and compostable!!
- The straw compresses a lot when you sleep on it. It’s not a soft, fluffy bed at all.
- It’s a little extra work to fluff it up and to make a little nest at night.
- We will need to change the straw from time to time.
Time will tell how we like it, but overall, I do like it so far. And you can’t beat spending $10 for a eco-friendly mattress!
We have been sleeping on the mattress for about 3 weeks now, and we still love it! It has actually helped reduce my lower back pain/weakness, which I have been thankful for! We each have a little “nest” where we sleep that is contoured to our body.
Our tiny house feels a little more like home now. This weekend, Trent and I installed the Cubic Mini wood stove in the tiny house.
This is the cutest stove ever. It measures 11 x 12″ and takes mini firewood pieces, but this thing can crank some serious heat. Trent worked hard to make sure the tiny house was as insulated as possible, and it shows in the way it holds the heat that the wood stove puts out.
But let’s back up a little bit and see what the wood stove is sitting on.
Trent made a cabinet and covered it with pallet wood that he had stained a deep brown.
Then, Trent poured a mix of concrete and pebbles into a form. Once it had dried, he polished it with dramatic side lighting.
This is what it looks like now that it’s polished. Wow.
Here is the Cubic Mini, installed in its cozy corner. I think the combination of stainless steel, brass, concrete, and cedar tongue-and-groove looks absolutely stunning.
And strangely, having the stove installed makes the tiny house feel more like a home. I can easily imagine sitting at the table doing school with the kids on a snowy day, with the wood stove adding cheery fire sounds. I can also imagine a cold winter evening, perhaps with a few Christmas decorations up, playing music and enjoying the glow of the fire.
I can’t hardly wait for those days. But for now, it keeps Trent warm while he works on the house, which is a welcome addition.
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She’s sitting outside in the grass, playing with her Barbies. The November sun shines off her golden-white hair. Her body is grounded to the Earth’s electricity. Her skin is soaking up vitamin D. She is playing alone, which is a wonderful new advancement for this 3-year-old. She helps the Barbies dig at the Earth and is experiencing the wonderful, magnificent world of imagination.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of kids exploring the outside lately. It seems to be taking over my mind, and the more I’ve researched it, the more important it has proven to be.
One excellent study was conducted in Portugal found that these three things contributed greatly to learning and development:
1. Contact with natural elements
Nature is a wonderland of ever-changing scenery as the weather and seasons change, as bugs crawl around, and birds fly overhead… there is always something changing outside to capture kids’ minds. It is also a source of “open-ended materials”, such as rocks, sticks, bodies of water, bark, lichen, moss, dirt, and leaves. These materials can have numerous uses assigned to them. Sticks can be people. Rocks can be cars. Moss can be a ladybug’s bed. This helps kids develop creativity, thinking outside the box, and problem solving skills.
2. Importance of risk
Our culture is so safety conscious, it’s starting the feel like we should bubble-wrap our kids to keep them from ALL danger. While the job of parent is to keep your kid from danger, we cannot insulate them from all pain. Risk-taking is a important part of the human experience. Kids need the stress of risk and the joy of achievement. According to the study, risky play promotes persistence, entrepreneurship, self-knowledge, and problem solving. Know your kid and what they can and can’t do physically. Teach them to trust their instincts and assess their own risk, for example, say, “Do you think you are able to climb that tree? Climb slowly and if you feel unsafe, don’t go any higher!” This teaches them to listen to their senses and make their own decisions, and of course you are standing by to help them if they get in a pickle.
3. Socialization opportunities
When kids are in a natural environment, they are faced with challenges and risk, which is a good opportunity to learn a variety of social skills with other kids. They can work together to build a stick fort or help another kid climb on a log. I also feel like kids are more verbal when they are outside, and more likely to talk and exchange ideas with their siblings or friends.
As I’ve said before, being outdoors is very important to our family, especially as we prepare to live in a tiny house. Our house will be small, but their “playroom” will be very, very large.
If you have a habit of letting your kids interact with nature, good work! It will pay off in so many ways. Childhood is for play and so is the outdoors. I feel such a concern for the modern kid, made to sit for so many hours each day and snatched away from nature.
Now, as I look out the window, her older sister and brother have joined her and they have a grand spread of Barbies in the grass. True to the research, they are engaged with the changeable outdoors as they move around grass and dirt, they are imagining, and they are building their social skills as they work together to make a good home for their Barbies. Soon they will be adults with worries and heartaches, but for today, they are kids and they are playing.
For more reading on this subject…
This scientific study is very intriguing.
This book is excellent. It’s probably the best book I’ve ever read: