Thursday, February 18, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: New Life for ANOTHER Rocker

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers encouraging bloggers to create a post with the main focus being a family treasure, an heirloom or even an everyday item important to the family.

Rocking chair inherited from Helen Killeen Parker
Chair originally belonged to Aunt Helen Parker

I remember the day I learned I would inherit this child’s rocker. I had spent the better part of the day making phone calls to family and friends to share the good news: we were expecting our first baby. The last call of the day was to my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker, whose photos and scrapbooks have been featured numerous times on this blog. 

Aunt Helen was diagnosed with leukemia, and she knew she would not be with us long. She had started putting tags on things she wanted certain people to have. When I told her our news, Helen said, “This is perfect. I have been wondering who to give this rocking chair to, and now I know.”

At the time, I didn’t stop to wonder what Helen was doing with a child’s rocker, after all she had no children of her own. Maybe the chair came from her husband’s family. Maybe it was something she had bought so that pint-size company would have a place to sit. I don’t know. But the chair settled nicely into our household. Our daughter rocked on it and so did her dolls.

When we learned this daughter was expecting her first baby, it became obvious it was time to pass her rocker along, just as I was passing along my own childhood rocker to the first grandbaby. Since I painted that one, I had to paint this one too.

This rocker would be for a boy. The vision for the nursery included vintage and military airplanes, a nod to his daddy who had served in the Air Force, with colors in shades of blue and olive green. So that became the inspiration for the chair as well.

Plastic grocery bags and tape
worked well to protect the seat.
First I sanded the chair and applied Zinsser stain blocker.

One question I grappled with for quite some time was what to do about the rush seat. Leave it brown? Paint it? But could it even be painted successfully? That’s when I found a tutorial by Diane at In My Own Style. She had stained some dining room chairs with rush seats. I followed her lead and stained the seat with Rustoleum wood stain called Driftwood. While Diane went with a single coat to let the natural rush show through, I applied several coats for more coverage. In fact, it looks light grey, a perfect complement to one of the paint colors.

Rush seat stained "Driftwood"

Little girly designs can translate well from one age to another. Cute flowers work well for a pre-teen as well as they do for a baby. But BOY designs? I was lost. 

Since I have so few original thoughts, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. This is what I found:

As I did for the other rocker, I jumped in painting one color at a time with FROG tape in full force.

My favorite feature is the mismatched legs. 

That made me want to do more with the plain back legs of the chair. I tried polka dots – meh. I tried just outlined circles. No. Then I went for more stripes. UGH. Finally I decided enough is enough and repainted the back legs dark blue. That’s not like me – I’m usually in the “there is no such thing as too much” camp.

Mr. E can’t really sit up by himself, but he managed to do just that long enough for his momma to snap a photo on his 1-month birthday.

Rock on, Mr. E!

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Again, very nicely done! I like the finished product and I'm sure as Mr. E continues to grow, he too will enjoy it!


  2. Beautiful, Wendy! My youngest daughter takes a picture of both of her kids every month in the same chair until their 2nd birthday. The youngest will turn 2 in June so that will be the end of our photos :-(

  3. Very impressive Wendy, these chairs are so cheerful.