Saturday, February 19, 2011

Portable Car Activity Mat Set

Finally, my secret project for the past couple of weeks. This supposed to be Christmas gift for my best friend's little boy, big ZZ, but I had a really hard time picking it out. They are moving overseas soon, I couldn't buy any toy too big, which will only make their move more difficult. Since we are best friends for years, I asked her directly, what kind of small toys or items she had in mind buying for her boy. She said nothing, which was not helping at all. Then we all got sick here in the house, one after another, lasted more than a month. Obviously, I was not in the creative mood. I did lots of searching online, finally got this great idea. Since big ZZ loves cars and trains, and he already got a train table, the best thing I can get him will be a car mat. Of course those big rugs are out of the question. I found some great inspirations in the blogworld. Yes, I am being honest here, I am not the first one thought of this.

Erin from Decor Allure made this amazing play mat with Michael Miller's "Merryville" fabric. She also listed other options, since this fun fabric was discontinues. I loved it so much, but after unsuccessful search online and on Etsy, I gave up this idea. But that drawstring bag is a brilliant idea.

Then I found this well designed tutorial at Fiscars Fun This Summer by Lisa. I love the idea making it with felt. I having making felt stuffs for a while, and still have a big piece of green felt left over from my Toddler Safe 2-D Christmas Tree project. But that size is just way to small for my plan. I wanted something much bigger, one that big ZZ can play with on the floor, or table. But I loved how she made the gas station and the car wash, and the fact this mat has car storage.

I also found this simple tutorial about how to make a matchbox car caddy with fabric.

So, this is what I came up with. A car mat made with felt, about 2ft by 3ft, has a school, a house with garage, a gas station with car wash, a small parking lot, bus and taxi stops, a pond with some trees, a roundabout, some one-way street, and pedestrain lines.Everything made of felt, lots of hand stitching, unexpectedly time consuming! I also found this wonderful fabric, lots of different cars, trucks, and airplanes, perfect for the backing of my mat. Then I made a matching car roll and drawstring bag with the same fabric. I even handstitched a little car and letter D (big ZZ's name) on the bag, even though I don't do embroidery at all. I just love the final result. More pictures can be found here on flickr. What I didn't expect was little caterpillar loves it too!? I have a plan for her play mat already, now it seems like I have to make another car mat for her. But she is a girl, and girls don't play with cars or trains. Well, if she likes it, I have no choice. I am too soft, want to do everything I can to make my girl happy. After I finished the whole project, I found this one from A Girl And A Glue Gun. Much more details than mine, but made with a hot glue gun. I probably will steal some of her ideas for my girl's version, but knowing my girl's tearing pulling abilities, I have to secure everything. Guess way lot handstitching is ahead of me.

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