Monday, February 28, 2011

Playroom Inspiration

And here is what I had come up with for Melinda!

1.  The color for the walls is Valspar's Sea Salt Blue.  I chose something in a neutral color so that as the room evolves, it won't be necessary to switch out the wall color, and it's from the gray neutral family which gives it extreme fresh versatility.  The accent colors are intended to be helpful when choosing pops of colors for the room through accessories.  A spring green, bright red and teal are great bold colors for a play space, and also gender neutral for both your boy and girl!

2.  The three white frames pictured, are my absolute favorite frames for displaying photos of kids.  They come with a matted, which is the perfect way to frame out a sweat pea's smile.

3.  When it comes to displaying artwork, I found inspiration in this alphabet cable system.  However, the price is a little steep, if you are up for a DIY project, this could easily be re-created on a budget.  Most local craft stores carry wooden letters {you could even use your munchkin's initials}, which could be painted in a red color and installed on the wall, with a piece of wire or twine strung in between.  Then, these super adorable sparrow bird clips could be used to hold their masterpieces to the twine!

3.  You had mentioned needing a place for your husband to sleep, a place for your daughter to read, and a couch or sitting area for mom and day while the kids play.  Sleep + Reading Nook + Couch = Daybed!  I think this daybed would be the perfect solution to those three needs, plus offer a place for a guest to sleep as well!  I like the idea of finding some bedding in a playful teal color, similar to this.  And adding bright and textural throw pillows to the daybed, such as this shaggy teal one, this multi-tonal oneand this plush green one, turn the daybed into a cozy reading nook/sofa!  And check out all that storage below!  That could easily be a place to stash blankets and toys galore!

4.  For all those books, I would install some wall book storage, flanking each side of the daybed.

5.  These curtain panels are a fantastic way to bring some whimsical artwork into the space!

6.  Let's talk toy storage and crafting.  This shelving unit comes 16 storage cubbies!  The shelf cubbies could hold these bins {which can corral oodles of toys each}, along with smaller boxes such as these, which a great for stashing away awkward sized craft supplies.  I also thought that you could istall one or two of these rails, along with a bunch of these cheapo buckets, to corral crayons, markers, paint brushes, scissors, glue, etc... for quick and easy access to crafting supplies.  You could also install an open ended rod to hold a role of butcher paper for painting projects as well.  I like the option of installing the rail with buckets vs. splurging on an art caddy up on top of the desk, since you mentioned you have table top items that would be used on this space as well.  By having the rails installed nearby, there would be nothing to clear off of the desk when the table top games come out, however, the buckets easily pop on and off the railing and can be toted anywhere!

7.  This rug would be a great way to visually pull the space together.  I would place it under this table, and pair it with these awesome green chairs!

Because I know how much those bookcases can hold when it comes to toys, plus the additional storage under the day bed, I think you should be set.  But if not, I had asked about that dresser, which I think could serve as even more storage if given a fresh coat of paint in any of the room accent colors and topped with a fun lamp {like this one}.

Melinda is also fortunate enough to have a giant spare walk in, in which we agreed some larger, awkward sized toys could be stashed away. 

So there you have it!  A gender neutral room for kiddos to grow into, while getting their play and craft on!  I can't wait to here what you guys think!  Anyone see any ideas they can implement in their own play space?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Felt Car/House play mat

Who can we find behind the doors and windows of this little red house?
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Open it up…
…and what do we see…
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…and a whole little world awaits:
25x30 inch (62.5 x 75cm) piece of green craft felt
2 sheets of red felt
1 sheet of blue felt
Medium weight iron-on interfacing
Sheets/scraps of different colours of felt
Tacky craft glue
Quilters chalk
Thread, sewing machine or needle to hand sew
I started with a sketch of the layout (sorry, no fancy drafting software here ), and worked out the dimensions based on the green felt I’d bought by the metre at my local craft chain. (For some reason, I’m working in inches here although I grew up with metric system – go figure!)
Mark the layout from the sketch onto the felt with chalk and cut around the outside.
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Cut out long black strips approximately 2 inches wide for the roads (I went with straight roads rather than curvy roads for simplicity, but go crazy with what suits you!). Arrange on the play mat and glue in place. Cut out 1/2 inch wide strips of white felt for the centre lines on the road, and glue in place. (Sorry, no progress photos here – I’m sure you can imagine!)
Cut out various buildings etc from different coloured felt pieces and glue in place (when you’re happy with the layout).  The play mat will fold up better if you don’t have anything stuck across the fold lines (which I had marked out in chalk).
I put way too much thought in the layout – Police station as you come into town (as a warning to visitors), petrol station as you leave town, can’t have the hospital next to the construction site (although I’m not sure next to a zoo is that good!), car park across the road from the shops, farm on the edge of town and on and on I went…
Here are some photos of the details:
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Train Station and Lake Hospital with Helipad
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Zoo Police Station
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Construction Site Fire and Petrol (Gas) Stations
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Swimming Pool Farm and Playground
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Supermarket (Coles)  and Hardware Store (Bunnings) Row of houses
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Car park Garden
I didn’t make templates for any of these, but you should be able to work them out from the pictures. If you’d like any more details or a sketch or two, let me know in the comments or send me an email. I hand cut everything with sewing shears and a craft knife (no fancy cutting machine here!). I used string for the chains on the swing and marked the clock on the train station with a regular ball point pen. Everything else I just cut straight from the felt, or drew on with a quilt chalk pen or disappearing fabric marker before cutting.
A few tips: have a container to put your felt scraps into where you are working and another container for pieces to small to use. I was constantly trimming and those little pieces went everywhere! Also, don’t trim over another piece of felt – that wonderful property of felt sticking to itself is a big nuisance if you do! (Trust me, I made both these mistakes more than once!)
Make cuts along each side of the play mat for the sections that fold up.
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Sew strips of Velcro to the handle sections of the green play mat.
Cut out 2 pieces 6x7 inch and 2 pieces 6x6 inch in red felt for the outside walls. Cut out 2 pieces 4x6 inch and 2 pieces 2x6 inch in blue felt for the roof and handle. Cut out 1 piece 6x7 inch to reinforce the floor. Cut and iron on medium weight interfacing to the red wall, blue roof  and green floor pieces.
Cut out pieces of felt for the door, windows and apple tree (and any other embellishments you want) for the outside of the house, and glue in place.
Cut out 16 tabs of red felt (approx. 1inch x 2 inch) for the house closures. Sew Velcro circles to the tabs – the grippy, rough ones that stick to the felt.
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I didn’t have any red thread and made a mess of sewing the Velcro on, so I cut out more red felt (1 inch square) to cover my sewing. This is optional!
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Glue the tabs in position on the back of the green play mat, and then glue the red walls, blue roof and green floor pieces (all with interfacing) in position.
Cut out the hole of the handle using scissors or a craft knife. I also rounded off the tabs so they weren’t as bulky.
Fold it up into a house, fill with cars and take it somewhere fun  to play!
Unfold, get out the cars and start playing.
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This play mat was inspired by the one at A Girl and a Glue Gun, the playhouse at Homemade By Jill and the take-along toy barn at Serving Pink Lemonade, as well as heaps of others I’ve seen in blog-land.
It’s a handy take-anywhere bag with plenty of space to carry cars and other toys. As an added bonus, it’s big enough to hold all my son’s cars, making a cute storage box in the playroom!
If you use this tutorial, please let me know in the comments or send me an email!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Skinny Table Runner

By: The Polka Dot Chair

I've got a very long kitchen table and I was having a hard time finding a runner to fit it. I didn't want to tackle another large project right now, so I thought I'd just make a super simple runner for it using some of my favorite fabrics (that also match my kitchen perfectly!)

I started this project back in February.... then it got set "aside" for a while, then I went to finish it up a few weeks ago and..... that's when I cut my finger... I have to admit, I was a bit nervous picking up my rotary cutter again, but I sat down and made myself finish it...

This runner is VERY easy! Even though it took me a while to finish it, you could definitely do it in an afternoon or two. If you have not quilted before an would like to try it, it's a very very easy project to start with. There are no corners to match up and the design is very flexible.

Just measure the length of your kitchen table to figure out how many blocks you need,  it can be made to any length!

To begin... Your blocks will be 14" tall by 11" wide.  I wanted my runner to be about 105-110" long, so I have 10 blocks.

Cut your blocks out of 3-5 different fabrics.

Sew them together in a random pattern. I did not want any two of the same prints next to each other. Sew with 1/4" seams and press seams to one side.

Cut your backing material to 3" wider and longer than your top.  Using painters tape, tape the backing to the floor. If you have a tile or wood floor, use the grout line in the tile to make sure that you have it taped down straight.
Spray the backing with quilt basting spray (have something to catch the overspray otherwise you will have a sticky floor!!)

Cut your batting to the same size as your backing.  I used quilters dream cotton batting.  Lay the batting over the backing (that has been sprayed).  Use your hands and smooth out the batting so that there are no bubbles.

Spray the batting with quilters basting spray. Then carefully lay out your runner top.  Use the lines on your floor to make sure it is straight. Smooth out to remove any wrinkles.

Remove the tape and roll up the runner for quilting.

For this project you do need a walking foot. Otherwise your fabric will bunch up and you will never get it to lay straight.

Begin by sewing the seam between the 1st and 2nd blocks.  Just sew straight down the center of the seam.

Attach the seam guide to your walking foot. Position it so that it is 3/4" from the needle to the guide.

Sew your next quilting line. Place your seam guide right over the top of the seam you just sewed. This will keep all of your quilting lines 3/4" apart.  Keep sewing until you have sewn all the blocks. Roll the runner as you go to keep it out of the way.

*note: If for some reason your measurement is a bit off and your stitching line does not line up with your next seam, still stitch over the seam. You want to have a stitching line at every seam.**

After you are done with all of your stitching, lay your runner down on your table and using a ruler and a rotary cutter, trim off your batting and backing pieces flush with the top of your runner.

Cut your binding. I cut mine 2 1/2 " wide.  Then bind your runner.

For binding tutorials here are a few: (they explain it much better than I can!!)

After you have bound your quilt, throw it in the wash and dry it. This will give it a nice soft feel, all of your stitching lines will pucker up a bit, giving the runner some dimension!