Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Ice Age Cometh

I missed my nephew's birthday.  It happens.  It's not like I wasn't thinking of it, I just didn't make what I was thinking of in time for the actual birthday.  I had Wednesday off, which was like the day after his birthday, and in the afternoon I got started on his present.   It's ready to go out in the mail today.  

I was inspired by three different dinosaur playmats (this one, this one, and this one).  I thought the zip up one was too complex, but liked some elements of it (like the fabric land/water areas).  I liked the water features and the tar pit of the second playmat, but was not keen on all of the glue.  I like to sew things down when I can and the glue would not hold up to hard playin'.  I really like the shape of the third playmat, but, after consulting my mother, we decided not to do the drawstring option.  They have a playroom and can leave it out all the time.

My dinosaurs are not to scale, I think.  They are a bit too large, but I needed some props.  I never thought to measure the diameter of the mat.  I can tell you that it took about four yards of bias tape to finish it off.

To start off, I just folded a piece of light green corduroy into eighths and then cut a rounded edge, kind of like the beginning of a snowflake cutting.  That left me with a big circle to embellish.  I used lots of different felt (wool and blends) and some corduroy, as well, from a scrap bag that I purchased at the Textile Center's yard sale. 

This creature met his untimely death in the tar pit.  I just layered two pieces of felt, sewed them onto the corduroy and then cut a slit in the top piece of corduroy:
Another hazard on the mat is the encroaching patch of ice.  It's white felt with some little silver snowflake embellishments and then I added some stuffing before sewing up the edge with bias tape.
The volcano is not attached.  Little dinosaurs can fall down it, but they will not be lost forever.  I went back and forth on what to do with the volcano and in the end I just got lazy and didn't want to venture back upstairs to sew it down.  If it gets lost, it gets lost, and they can make a volcano out of a toilet paper tube or something.
 The trees are made with felt and pipe cleaners and they don't stay up very well.
If they get thirsty, there's this nice pool to drink from and those gray things are not turds.  They represent some rocky terrain, though they look more like big steamy piles of dino dung.
I stuffed them with polyfill to give them some depth.

Next up, we have the cave.  It's also kind of floppity (like the trees), but it does the job. The interior is made with felt and the outside was made with some corduroy scraps.  
This green stuff was supposed to be a savannah, but it looks kind of weird.  It was the only patch of it that I put down, but probably could have added it throughout the mat for some added vegetation.
So, there you have it.  It was pretty easy to make.  Everything was freeform; I didn't use a pattern at all and just kind of cut out these organic shapes to represent the bodies of water and landforms.  I had it out this weekend and Zelda didn't seem at all interested in it, so I'm not sure if she's ready for something like this.  She doesn't really play with dinosaurs yet or any of her other animal figurines, so I'm not sure if we need one for our house yet.


  1. very cute. for the next version, could you use a large D cup to make the cave? that kinda has the form, right? it would keep it from flopping over....

    1. Hah! Yes, I could use that. That's a pretty good idea. I feel like I did add some sort of interfacing to this cave, but it wasn't super strong. Or maybe I'm confusing it with the volcano, which definitely had interfacing in it.

  2. You have amazing talent. This is the cutest play mat ever.

    1. Thank you! I can't take all the credit, because it was someone else's idea first. I'm actually thinking about making a roll up car play mat for my nephews, but, again, that was also someone else's idea first!