Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fold away play kitchen

My oldest daughter, who just turned 10, loves to cook. She channels Pioneer Woman and Guy Fieri. In fact all of my kids pretend to eat like Guy Fieri, at least they say they are eating like him.

For her 2nd birthday she got the ubiquitous plastic toy kitchen. She played with it endlessly. But after 4 years, something went horribly wrong. Somehow, a sippy cup of  milk had spilled, and there was no way to clean it up. So, as you can imagine, we had a disgusting smelling moldy milk kitchen on our hands. Which means it was hauled away by the trash men. There was no way around it. We got our money's worth, but we had to let it go.

So this year she and her sister (6) asked for another kitchen. But A: we lacked the space for another large plastic toy, and 2: I was concerned that it wouldn't be played with enough to justify it. Not to mention the cost of buying one plus all of the food and utensils that go along with it.
So I began to think, and think and think.

I wanted to give them both something they wanted, but Dixie especially wanted it. She isn't interested in a whole lot, but she talks all the time about cooking and owning a restaurant. She loved to play cook, even with nothing more than my old tea set. So I set out to make her one. But  as we are selling the house, I wanted something that wouldn't take up too much room and be unsightly. And could come to a new house, even if it was smaller. This left little option.

I decided I would sew one. How hard could it be right? Harder than you think actually, as I was unable to locate any patterns that would be useful. I did find a lot of food patterns, but no kitchen patterns.

So I made it up.

We had this Ikea table and chairs that were rarely used, so I decided that would be my base. I wanted the kitchen to sit on top of it, so I made sure it fit the measurements of the table.

I bought the $2.50 a yard fleece from Wal-Mart: White, gray and black. The other items I made with felt, bought at Hobby Lobby for $.25 a sheet.

For the kitchen I measured my table, grabbed my graph paper and sketched out some ideas. I wanted a sink and stove for sure. I had enough room for a small sink with faucet, 4 burners and knobs and even a cutting board. I measured my fleece, drew a few more sketches and got to cutting.

I free handed all of it, and I am not a great artist, but it works. I allowed for the white to cover the table and then drop over to the sides. So the "kitchen" is centered on the white fleece.

The kitchen took about an hour to sew once it was cut, much more time spent in planning than in actual sewing. I pinned like crazy and then did a simple zig-zag stitch around to sew it to the background. Easy peasy.

The food all came later, I had felt of all colors, and eyeballed what I wanted to do. I knew we wanted tea bags as they have a tea set. And cookies, because tea and cookies always go together.
Breakfast is huge in our house, so we did eggs, bacon, pancakes and donuts. Sandwiches, pasta and veggies were included so she could make her own meals.

Overall I found it very easy to make and sew, there are tons of free patterns online, but I eyeballed and free-handed everything as it was easier for me than trying to find and print patterns. Food is not that hard to draw.

I went to the Dollar Tree and found a small strainer and some clear plates for them to use, and a little basket to keep it all in. The kitchen folds up when it's done, and get stored in the basket with the food and plates. Easy to clean up, and provides hours of fun.

This was a huge hit on Christmas morning, and has been played with almost daily since then. So glad she likes it!

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