Gentlemen, start your engines!
This year, my big gift to my 2 little boys was a gift of time and effort and creativity.
My hope was that it would stimulate hours of imaginative and cooperative play between my sons.
It was so fun for me to make this car map and it's something I've wanted to do for a really long time! It took WAY longer than I thought to just plan everything out and make it all fit in a way that made sense.
I started with a plain black fleece blanket, then I used a bunch of those cheap felt squares to create my city blocks, and houses, and...everything. It was a lot of cutting and pinning. I really liked the blanket idea, which was not mine, because it was pretty easy to find a cheap blanket, and much less expensive than buying a large piece of fabric. Also, it made it so the roads are all seamless.
I sewed the small pieces onto the individual squares first, and then I sewed each square onto the blanket. It was a lot of switching thread colors and making sure everything fit right, and pinning, and re-pinning, but I'm in love with the way it all turned out!
So, a couple of my favorite parts are the race track, of course, and the gas station - the pumps are actually shoe laces and the ends fit in these little pockets I sewed on, so they can come out and fill the cars up. Pretty fun.
I love the park. It's just really fun. It was one of the hardest things to sew because of all the small pieces and because it was such a small square but I really love it.
I REALLY love the car wash. The cars can just pull in underneath those scrubby brushes just like the real deal. I super stitched those on so they couldn't easily be pulled off.
I really love the beach too. Sewing on the beach fence looks harder than it actually was. :) And it totally reminds me of Florida beaches everytime I look at it. The water and waves were fun to create, too.
The brown mass of crumpled felt at the top is a little weird at first glance, but my son has tons of these tractors so I thought a place where they could push the felt dirt around would be perfect for them.
And anyway, I found an awesome little garbage truck for the city that takes all the trash right to the dirt dump, so it works out really well. Side note, another one of my favorite finds was a school bus for the school.
It was really fun to create the beach houses, too. I love them! And I love that the driveways are just the right size for cars to park on. Can you tell this was fun for me to make?
I also had fun making the barn and farm area. I threw this in because my son has a lot of little animals that I thought he'd have fun playing with in here. Once the blanket and all the squares were sewn on, I sewed on each and every little dotted line, which was a little tricky given the size of this thing. And then, I decided to add fabric to the back and around the edges. They were already finished with an embroidered edge, but I thought it needed a little more durability.
I found this super fun fabric and I am so in love with the result. I cut it large enough to just fold the raw edges around and under on the right side of the map. And I just ran a sewing machine around the edge with black thread.
Then, to "quilt" it, I machine stitched all the edges of the black, so at the edge of every road, and then around both edges on the race track. It worked like a charm, and the backing fabric is so busy you can't even tell if I did a good job or not, which I LOVE! If you were to look close, you would see how things are totally not lined up to the pattern at all, but it doesn't even matter.
And the finished product is just as great as I ever hoped it would be. One of the funnest things I've made for my kids yet! And I think they like it almost as much as I do. Win-win!
So the grand total was:
Blanket - Garden Ridge - $5
Felt - Craft Store/Fabric Store - $8
Car Fabric - Hancock Fabric - $12