Watching her determination as she plucked every last vegetable from the ground and her delight with the overflowing basket that resulted, I was inspired. I could make a play garden, couldn’t I? The garden at Kaleidoscope was designed for durability and use by many, many children—the “ground” is just a wooden platform with holes for the vegetables, and the felt vegetables appeared to be hastily made with easy hand-stitching.
Since my planned garden is intended for use only by my own two daughters and any visiting friends (and since it has to fit in our playroom), it can be much smaller. I’d really like to make the vegetables look realistic, which will be some work, but not too much, since I’ll probably only have three or four different rows of three vegetables each. For the ground, I plan to use sections of dirt-colored felt with stuffing underneath (think several long, skinny pillows side-by-side) to create the look of garden rows. Then I’ll make little openings with pouches on the underside where the vegetables can be planted. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I thought I should experiment to see if I can actually sew decent-looking vegetables. I started with a carrot, because I thought it would be easier than a round vegetable. I found several examples online (just search for “felt carrot” on Flickr—it’s amazing how many people are into felt food!), but the carrots were all long and thin, and I want shorter, fatter carrots because the base of the garden won’t be very far off the ground. Many people are also fiercely protective of their felt food secrets, so I couldn’t even find a free pattern online. I’m too cheap to pay for one, so I cut my own experimental pattern out of newspaper, estimating the size I'd need and trying to imagine how it would look sewn. I cut the felt and got started, and luckily, it worked out the first time!
The top of the carrot was a little trickier than I expected, and I had to hand-stitch the carrot opening and the leaves. I’m really happy with the results—not bad for my first felt food! Taylor loves her play kitchen, so I have some other non-vegetable felt foods planned as well…I feel an obsession coming on…