Monday, October 18, 2010

car playmat

Oscar's car playmat

My piece de resistance, Oscar's car playmat:

This project was truly a labor of love.  It took over 50 hours to complete, and at least 10 years off my life.  But ... the final product was worth it.  Hopefully Oscar and siblings will play with this for years to come, and someday he will appreciate the effort that went into it.

The playmat measures about 3x4 feet, and is almost entirely appliqued.  The road is painted with black acrylic paint, and then sewn around the edges to give it a crisp look and to make it more cohesive with the rest of the playmat.

I designed all of the buildings myself, except of course for the gas station and car wash, which I copied from theFiskar's Car Activity Mat (they were too cute to resist).  For the gas pump hose, I substituted the shoelace with a elastic hairband.  The car wash strips are leather trim.

The playmat includes all of our favorite places around town, like Grandma and Grandpa's house, complete with their fruit trees:
Chicken Little, our local toy store:
The courthouse, which also double's as daddy's work:
Crushcakes Cupcakery and Trader Joe's:
In-N-Out burger:
and a school with the ever-important playground:
Other buildings include the train station, fire department, additional houses, our church, and of course we couldn't leave off the beach. We also have traffic signs, cross walks, parking spaces and a post box. 

Some of the buildings, like the courthouse and In-N-Out, look true to life.  I took liberties with others, like Crushcakes and all of the houses, to make them more festive.  If I made this mat look just like Santa Barbara, almost every building would be stucco with a red tile roof.

The playmat is backed with Riley Blake White Map from the Wheels collection.

All in all, a very satisfying project and a very happy birthday boy!

Monday, October 4, 2010



this is a quick project that you can do to create a poster image size painting from a small image. I decided to do a portrait, but this will work for any image.

what you need:
-a photograph (preferably on 8.5 x 11 in. size paper)
-large piece of paper (bristol board) 20 x 24 in. and up
-black ink (or paint)

step 1
I decided to use my daughter's photo - I chose this photo because of her expression. In Photoshop I took the colour photo and turned it to a black and white image - in the Photoshop program you go to filter - artistic - cut out. This will give you the image that I got from my photo. If you don't have Photoshop you can use a free onine photo editor like or one could find a stock image on the internet.

step 2
take the image print out and draw a grid on the photo using the pencil and ruler.

step 3
do the same on the large piece of paper (to figure out what size square grid to put on the large image I divided 8 into 20 and got 2.5 - by doing this I was able to maximize my paper usage - if you don't do this you might have left over squares - which you could easily trip off) - try not to make your pencil lines too dark or else when you erase them they will still be noticeable.

step 4
start drawing!
the grid is a method used to enlarge images
follow each grid on the photo and how it corresponds to the larger sheet - it's good to look at each image in the grid squares as shapes and not think too much of the whole picture - if it helps for the more complicated shapes like the eyes you can divide the square to smaller ones - this will help you with more exact drawing.

step 5
continue throughout the drawing till the entire image is complete.

step 6
finished drawing

step 7
take the black ink and proceed to fill in the drawing - you can also use paint.

last step
take the eraser and erase all the pencil lines on the poster.

give it a try and enjoy!