Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All Aboard!!

Finally, a post about Barrett's card table playhouse!

My friend Kelly sent me a really cute blog post a while back, suggesting I make a playhouse for the kiddos.  Although I loved the idea, I was totally intimidated by the project.  But, a seed was planted.
Then, at Thanksgiving, Barrett got to experience a card table fort in person when we were at Kristopher's aunt and uncle's house.  Aunt Connie, master sewer extraordinaire (runs in his family...), whipped up a fort for her grandsons out of adorable soft purple fleece, complete with doors and windows.  Barrett loved it and spent most of Thanksgiving afternoon playing with his cousins' toys in the fort :)
Forts are a great place to eat animal crackers.
Again, I was appreciative of the cute-factor, but still intimidated... my hesitation started to wear thin when I saw how much Barrett loved it AND when I realized that we could double-purpose the top of the card table fort as a surface for a train set instead of buying a separate train table.  So, the idea for the train-depot theme was born and I went to Hancock's the next day to buy a bunch of felt.
Here's the front door with a ruffly striped awning, front porch light, flower pot, working mail slot, ticket box with 4 admission tickets, and of course, Sassy.  She's the train depot mascot and co-engineer.

The admission tickets are stuffed with poly-fil to make them puffy.  I cut the edges with pinking shears to replicate the perforated edges of real admission tickets.
I was encouraged by the fact that felt doesn't fray, so you don't have to hem all the edges.  HUGE plus!!  But, I underestimated the time it would take to figure out my strategy, freehand pattern pieces and cut out the train cars, wheels, apple trees, clouds, bluebird, etc.  I'm still a new sewer, so a more advanced person probably wouldn't have any trouble.  I took pictures along the way and considered doing a tutorial on how to make your own, but there are so many steps and I didn't know if anyone would even be interested!  Mostly because I just made it up as I went along.  Apparently, that's how I roll.
Here's the train engine.  The apples velcro onto the tree so Barrett can "pick" them.
I'll be honest, it took me a lot longer than I expected -- a majority of my "nap time" from Thanksgiving to Christmas (NO, not my nap time, smart aleck, -- the small sliver of time I have to myself when both kids nap simultaneously.)
Anyway, I'm really proud of how it turned out, even though there are tons of imperfections.
This is the cargo car, with three pockets to hold stuffed animals, passengers, or other cargo.  And another apple tree (which ended up on the wrong side of this panel -- I wanted the tree to meet up so it would wrap around the corner like one big tree.  Shoot.)
No girls allowed!  Barrett decided Charlotte's doll couldn't ride with the cow and teddy bear.  It worked out though, she got to hang out inside the fort with Charlotte.  :)
The hard work was worth it.  Barrett loves his fort and I think he'll get lots of use out of it for years to come.  Or at least, I hope so!
Last, but not least, here's the red caboose with a bluebird!!  Inexplicably, Barrett's favorite way to enter and exit the fort is through these caboose windows.  I'll definitely need to reinforce those soon.

Discovering his playhouse for the first time on Christmas morning
His favorite part is the train set from Santa, which I'll try not to take personally!  Choo choo!!


  1. There is just SO MUCH to love about this project! It came out just darling...man, now I want to do one for Beau. I'll just add that to my ever-expanding list of projects!

  2. WOW!!! You made one awesome fort!! It is incredible and your details really make it stand out! Like Sassy manning the door, the stuffed tickets, animal cargo pockets and the fact that Barrett can climb in through the caboose windows makes me smile! I LOVE IT! Barrett is one lucky little boy with a real train and a play train fort!

  3. It turned out so GREAT! Thanks for sweet memories of Christmas excitement. Maybe Barrett can have his buddies over soon for animal crackers when it's too cold to play outside. And when nobody is around to see . . he can let his baby sister hang out with him in the train depot . . heehee

  4. Holy Moly girl! I am so incredibly impressed! The fort looks precious! Makes me want to take up sewing so I can make one for my boys!!!!