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How To: A Fun Gift for a Toddler: Montessori Placemat

I love the world of flickr. In fact, although I don't currently upload pictures to it, I can just stare at craft photos and artsy photos all day long, gleaning inspiration that could grow its own flowers. Alas, I only have about an hour per day on the internet, during naptime, if nothing else needs to be done. So instead of flickr, I check my blogroll, and look at some of my favorite bloggers' current craft projects.
One of my favorites whom I linked to awhile ago, Sew Liberated (formerly Montessori By Hand) is a member of this Montessori flickr group, and from it I am always finding things I want to make the kids. The homemade items are practical and beautifully made, and seemingly simple, too. This Montessori Placemat struck me as a perfect gift idea for a friend's baby turning 1. Within about an hour, from start to finish, I sewed it up, and I made enough cut-outs for a placemat for the Bug, too (hoping it will be done for his 2nd birthday, next Sunday!)
I wanted it to look a bit older than "baby", so I jazzed up the placemat with actual traced cut-outs of a knife, spoon, and fork (child sized) and picked some printed fabric instead of embroidering it. I ironed on some adhesive to the back, cut them out, stuck them on, and went over them on the sewing machine to make sure they wouldn't fall off in the wash. I sewed up the back and sides and it was finished. For presentation, I rolled it up and tied a matching piece of fabric around it with a bow before sending it off in the mail (I couldn't make it to the party) Hope she likes it!
A fun, and simple project (especially for a speed-demon like me--I'm impatient when I sew), this is a useful gift for toddler through young elementary age!
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