Car Mat...Part 3 Mark it Up and Play!

I choose to mark the roads, railroad, signs, and airport landing strip with permanent marker, you could sew them all or applique black fabric.  In a few years I will need to freshen it up, but for now I like the look of this.
After the railroad is complete you can start to draw in the rest of the city.
 You can draw a sidewalk if you want to, I just marked a line where each driveway or store entrance is. The last thing I did on the carmat was marked the dotted lines on the roads.
 Add crosswalks, stop signs and other traffic signs. Add the names of stores and places too.
 I should have made these railroad crossing signs the same size--but I didn't notice it until I was coloring the yellow.
 Add parking spots where ever there is room.
 The finished carmat
 Oh yeah! I added a tunnel for the train.  This has some heavy duty interfacing to help keep the shape through the years.  When the interfacing goes just use an empty tin can with both ends off to prop it up.
 The car mat is in full use now.  The Army men, or "people" as my little guy calls them, have taken over
 The zoo if getting full.
 Cars are everywhere, imaginations are running wild.
Hope you can make one for your children too.  Thanks Mom for bringing the supplies and letting me help :o)


Car Mat...Part 2 Trains, Planes, Mountains & More

Now that all the buildings and houses are sewn (but not sewn to the mat) it is time to add the big items.
 This building is the airport.  The control tower has a referee from one of my I-Spy squares.
*Don't draw the runway until you have marked the railroad.
I've always been attracted to mountains--hiking, camping, fishing, the directional sense they give and the beauty.  So my car mat needed a mountain too.
 My Mom added the "Y" I added the butterfly.  My hubs and I both went to BYU-now we go picnicking in the mountains and catch butterflies.
My mom sewed the mountain on to the mat.  She appliqued the inside edges then added the stuffing.  The outside edges were finished off with a long zig-zag.  To make the canyons she moved the stuffing around and zig-zagged around.  The mountains were really puffy at first, after a lot of sewing on the mat and some play time they are starting to settle just enough.  The binding around the edges helped too.

Every child needs a sand box or dirt to play in, right?
This is just a dirt pile, lift the flaps to find...
A treasure...
 or Fossils!

 Once all the big items (zoo, mountain & lake) spread the mat out on the ground and lay out all the buildings and houses.  Determine where you want your roads to go. Mark the corners of each building and house with a pencil.  Label and draw an arrow to mark which direction the building/house should face. 
On my carmat I wanted to have a railroad around the edge.  If you want this too, remember to leave room around the edge before sewing any buildings on.
Once the buildings/houses are sewn on, pencil in the railroad.
 Use a long yard stick to make sure your lines are straight.
 I used the lid for a candle to mark the rounded edges.
After penciling in the railroad use a permanent marker to make it official.  Once the outside edges of the railroad are done add the railroad ties.

Next Up...

Part 3...Mark it up and Play


Car Mat...Part 1 Houses & Buildings

Growing up my siblings and I had some awesome toys.  Besides Legos, our favorites were all homemade.  I loved Barbies, and had amazing hand made clothes for each of them.  My dad made us lincoln logs.  One Christmas my sister and I, with help from my Dad, made blocks for my brothers.  They in turn made doll houses for us.  Now that I'm "The Mom" I have a desire to make more things for my children that come from my heart.  
One of my favorite things my mom made us was a car mat.  We loved that we could drive on the roads and go to the airport, post office, grocery store, mall, school and more then return home all in our little world.  Our favorite part of the car mat was that at each house we could park a car in the garage.   She still has the car mat, and it is still a favorite at Grandma's house.  So when I had a little boy I asked my mom if she could make him a car mat.  She has been saving up the fabric for quite some time.  
Last week my parents came out for a visit and my mom brought the fabric and her sewing machine.
We spent two full days designing, cutting, and sewing the car mat.  I pulled some fabric from my stash and my I-Spy collection too.  We had each of the children pick out the fabric for their homes--they came up with some fun fabric choices.  I think we only used the same fabric twice.
For each house or building we found a fun fabric and coordinating (or not) fabric for the roof.  Each building is doubled up on fabric (a long rectangle folded in half), the fold gives the edge of the building more strength and  durability.  The roof is done the same way, some were cut with a taper-some were left with a straight edge. We used an applique stitch or a fun straight stitch to make the doors and windows.
 The flag is sewn with a small zig-zag stitch and different color thread.  This building is the school.
For the houses we stopped sewing about 1/2 inch in from each edge leaving most of the middle open for the "garage."
 Give a little room so the bigger cars can fit in.
 If you zoom in you can see the daisies on the left side of the house.
 I found hydrangea fabric for big bush at Grandma's house.
This is my little guys house, he loves orange and green.
 For most of the buildings we sewed a light piece of fabric for a "sign."

This is Home Depot
 I'm sure you know what store this is :)
Or this?
 This is Daddy's work.
 Every car needs a gas station.  Use shoelaces for the hoses.
 Our church.  For some reason the church was the hardest building to design.
Our Temple.
 My little guy loves to find Target, McDonalds, Costco and his house on the car mat.  He is only two, but can recognize the store labels--maybe we are going to these places too much :)

Next up...

Part 2 Trains, Planes, Mountains & More


A Mantel

The fireplace--shouldn't it have a mantel?
This was what our mantel/fireplace looked like...
 Plain jane
  Even with a little decoration, it still was a bother.
Builder basic--2 1/2 inches deep.
Our Christmas stockings could barely stay on the edge--once Santa came they had to be moved so they wouldn't fall off.  The "mantel" would barely hold a remote control.  Then last weekend my parents came to town...
And I put a twinkle in my eye and made some yummy cookies and my Dad got to work.
 He used the same material that my windowsills are made out of.  And used some shims, cut 2x4's to have something to nail the crown modeling to.
Ta-Da! It isn't much, but it is a lot more than we had before.
Fill in the nail holes, sand just a little, prime and paint.
Thank you Dad!


Framed Ornament Heart

If you didn't know that Christmas ornaments are 90% off at Target, now you do.  I picked up a package of little red ornaments to fill in some bald spots on this project, which happened when it fell off my door-twice, before storing it for the year.  Once I filled in the spots with matching glittered ornaments I had some other red ornaments left over, and my glue gun was still plugged in...
I ran upstairs to my frame stash (aka frames I haven't hung yet) and found a black frame that I probably won't be using for a long time ever.  After taking out the glass I found some white paper and put it in the frame.  Next I used a heart shaped cookie cutter and traced the shape in the middle of the paper.  The ornaments stayed on easily once they were glued.
 I love how simple this is.
 It fit on to my wall above my piano perfectly and added just enough pop of color.
Here's the view from the side, it almost looks like they are little light bulbs.

It probably cost me $.25-because I had the frame and the ornaments were so inexpensive.
This would look cute if the heart was filled in with ornaments too.  Do you think it looks too Christmas-y?


Target Clearance=New Bathroom Decor

After living in my house for over 18 months I should have more of it decorated.  A few days ago while at Target scoring on their toy, shoe & storage clearance I happened upon these...
 Bath rug-now we don't have to use a folded towel for the kids bathroom.
 Coordinating washcloths.
 This is the only thing now on the vanity.  I figured that if the kids decided to play with this it wouldn't be a "messy" thing to clean up.
I'm amazed at how a little coordinating color helped make the bathroom feel pulled together.  Now I am more motivated to decorate other spots in the house.  Now if only the money tree we planted would start producing :)


Snowflake Wreath & Tutorial

I still have my ornament wreath on my door--now that is January 12th I thought it time to take it down.  For the last few days I have been mulling different ideas around.  There have been several tutorial around the blog-o-sphere about borax crystals.  After some trial and error I came up with this wreath.
First I wrapped the straw wreath with some leftover white sheet from this project.
 Then I made the snowflakes to sit in a borax bath overnight.
To make a snowflake...
 1. Cut pipe-cleaners in half.
2. Stack three together like this...
3. Wrap one around the other two like this...
4.  Cut left over halves in half again.

5.  Take one 1/4 of the pipe cleaner and wrap once around end of each leg.
6.  Some instructions say to put the snowflake in a mason jar.  My snowflakes are too big, so I used a 9x13 glass pan.  Pour the borax mixture until it covers the snowflakes.  I used a 1:3 Borax to water ratio to make my mix.  There was a little too much borax because the crystals formed in less than an hour.
Once the snowflakes are set and dry I hot glued them on to the wreath form.

On the bottom center I made two smaller snowflakes and glued them on top of each other.

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