Monday, September 22, 2008

Under Da Sea, Under Da Sea!

So last year, for my fiance's niece's birthday, I made her a mermaid dolly. It was very very cute, 18" tall and covered with sweet little details like shells in her hair and a little pearl necklace. What I didn't think about is that Eliza (the niece) was turning a year old. I have a long way to go to understanding "child safe."

So this year, I wanted to send her something she could actually play with. Her entire room is decorated with mermaid goodies and I wanted to continue the theme. So after getting inspiration from a Twitter pal and this book, I tried a new project that is completely playable and 2yr old safe.

I call it a Mermaid Garden. All of the pieces are crafted from fleece and felt....such wonderful materials because they don't fray and hold such a great shape!!! Also, I feel like whenever I have a vision and try to carry it out with real fabric, it never works. Felt always ends up looking just like I imagine.
The Mermaid Garden includes a house, 2 Mermaids, a Mr. Crab, a Mrs. Fish, a Mr. Octopus and a little garden that has coral, a sandcastle and a star fish. All of the pieces are movable and don't have little bits to break off or be dangerous. There's the mat itself (a piece of fleece with waves stitched on via machine, the entire piece backed with felt and top stitched around the edges).

The house turned out okay. It's interfaced so the walls are stiff, but can still be moved around and knocked over and hopefully withstand the abuse a 2 year old can dish out. I only stitched down the back side of the roof so Eliza can open the house from the top and put the Mermaids in....that or she can send them through the front door.
On the roof, I added a little rick rack and some Russian netting to help tie it in with the ocean theme....really I just wanted to see how hard it would be to create a felt house. I will do it differently next time.

I did package it in a coordinating fleece pouch to help keep all the characters together. I think I probably had more fun making it than she'll have playing with it!

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