Today Ben is one year old. He celebrated by skipping daycare and spending the day with grammy. He joined Josh for lunch and had dinner with grandma Sherry and grandpa Steve. Between all of that, I gave him his first haircut (just a little off the back) then quickly finished up his birthday present that I have been working on since a little after Christmas - Ben's Barn! It's a felt playhouse that fits over a card table.
The front is made to look like a barn door and he has a lamp on one side and a mailbox on the other. The mailbox opens and has letters that he can put through the opening. I made the lettering by printing the words "Ben's Barn" and then using that as a pattern to trace onto the felt.
One side has a vegetable garden with corn, radishes, onions inside pockets made to look like soil. Some of the vegetables have jingle bells sewn into them and others have crinkly plastic or other textured fabrics on the inside. The stems are bendy and made by sewing pipe cleaners into felt tubes. The corn is woven white and yellow corn, just like the corn we grew in our garden last summer.
The other side has an apple tree and a corral which holds his stuffed cow. The apples come off with velcro, and I may make pears or oranges to stick on there some day.
The back is our pond with velcro fish, a dragonfly, and cattails.
The inside is much less complicated, mostly covered in book pockets.
I also used clear plastic sheeting to make picture frame pockets around the top of each wall.
And curtains for each of the side windows. The tiebacks are also tied around the legs of the card table to keep everything in place a little better.
And he has a fireplace in back. I still need to sew around each of the windows and trim the bottom a little. He absolutely loved playing with his barn. He crawled in and out through the door several times, then pulled all of the books out of the pockets, the apples off the tree, then crawled back in and out a few more times, trying to see if he could get his head through the mail slot.
Felt is so forgiving and it is very much like using construction paper. Nothing was turned and top-stitched and everything but the lettering was cut freehand without doing much of any measuring. I sketched out my plans and I must give credit to my blog-spiration here. You will see many of her ideas repeated throughout my playhouse project, (mailbox, mesh in the windows to keep your kid from climbing through them, tree and garden ideas, etc.) and I am so grateful for her blog and sharing her creativity with the rest of us. She includes a lot more details about how to make each section and templates that make it possible to completely repeat her process.
I custom fit this to our small card table. I believe she used her dining room table, and somewhere she mentions that with felt, it is a little tricky to manage that much fabric when you are in the final stages of putting everything together. Because I did the inside and outside, I had a tough time managing the weight of the final project when I was sewing the finishing touches. I still need to go back and fix a couple of things and it's going to be tricky to keep the fabric from breaking the needle or pulling in the wrong direction.
I didn't use any patterns or templates, so I don't have any of that to share on here, but I think the best part about the barn is that I used features of our own farm and home. Ben's barn was the single biggest crafty/sewing project I have ever attempted and I think it was a big hit.
This is from his first haircut. I figured while I had the good scissors out I might as well cut a few of the long places in the back. I already don't like how old his haircut makes him look.