Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Las Vegas Air Show

Last weekend was the Aviation Nation airshow at Nellis AFB.  BB hadn't been to an airshow before and C loves airplanes, so we packed up and went to the show on Sunday.  I've never felt part of this community, but at least for an afternoon I sort of did. 

ps.  We saw a couple of Thunderbirds pilots.  They are so young.  Young and beautiful and lovely, with everything in front of them.  It reminded me of just how much our young servicemen and women are sacrificing for us.  Also of how pathetic it is that this country has turned Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day into reasons for sales and time off work, rather than times of thankfulness and reflection.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Airplane Tray Cover for Toddlers

Having flown many times now with my child, I can tell you that two of my biggest worries are 1. the germs he will encounter/suck in/consume, and 2. that he'll get bored/anxious/restless and freak out. To combat both problems, I threw together a little solution. Not long ago I pinned a brilliant idea I found at Serving Pink Lemonade to create an airplane tray table cover that includes activities to entertain babies (another version is sold here). Fantastic, but my kid is 20 months old and needs more entertaining, so I sort of combined that idea with a number of ideas I'd pinned for a quiet book. Here's the final product:

I strayed from the originals by using elastic on the sides so that hopefully it'll fit any width of tray table, and I made my cover double sided.  Thus, twice the entertainment.

Side 1 has:
-Counting activity - I knotted embroidery floss strung with either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 buttons on it so you can slide each button up and down. I used tractor, tiger, flower, fish, and ladybug buttons.
-A zipper pouch - this was the worst part. I read up on how to sew a zipper in, but I couldn't iron the fabric I used (a remnant from JoAnn that instantly scorched when I tried. I don't know what the fabric is, but it feels like a coated heavy-duty canvas) and it turned out pretty ugly. I'll put either small books in there or small surprises to be determined.
-Two doors hiding animals - I velcroed a wooden tiger behind the grass (made of felt) and a wooden whale behind the felt water.  Both animals can be removed since they're just velcroed on.  I sewed small buttons on the front of each door and added embroidery floss to create a "lockable" door by winding the floss around the button.  This part is important since the cover is double sided and I didn't want the doors hanging open when flipped upside down.

Side 2 has:
-A felt roadway
-Two vehicle iron-on patches that are secured with velcro and can be removed
-A garage for a toy car that velcros shut
-A felt doghouse that holds a dog keychain I found at Michaels that lights up and softly barks when you push a button.  If it's annoying, I can remove it.
-Next to the doghouse are food and water bowls made of felt and glued on.  C is really into "feeding" his stuffed animals, and I thought he might like to do the same with the toy dog.

So now we've gone on one flight where I used the tray cover.  It was on Southwest, and my cover was wider than the tray, which was fine.  If it's too big for the tray on another type of airplane or airline I'll consider either removing or shortening the elastic on the sides for a snug fit.  Anyway, the flight was supposed to be 2 1/2 hours, but ended up being about 3 1/2 gate to gate because of a delay in take off and a 1/2 hour of circling the destination airport.  We needed extra entertainment.  C loved the cars, the road, and the dog (although he wanted the dog off of the chain and I promptly lost the chain).  The counting beads were trouble.  C wanted to pull them and I ended up flipping it over to the car side right away since C was getting frustrated about not being able to remove the beads.  Maybe he'll appreciate it when he's older.  I think the cover bought us about 45 minutes of peace and quiet.

More Information:
- The fabric was 21" deep x 17 3/4" wide to start with, unfolded (resulting in a finished product, after hemming all around, of 20 1/2" x 17 1/4" unfolded or 10 1/4" x 17 1/4" as you'd see it on the tray).  The elastic bands add an extra 2 1/4" (each peice was cut to about 3") on each side (unstretched).  I could've went smaller, judging from our first use.  If I were doing it over, I'd probably make it 10" x 16 1/2" (after hemming) with 1 3/4" elastic on each side.
- I glued most of this together, but sewed on the dog house, garage, doors (hiding wooden animals), and obviously the zipper pouch and counting game.
The whole thing cost less than $20, with the most expensive parts being the patches (on the roadway side), the buttons used for the counting activity, and the toy car.  It could easily be done for less if you have buttons and velcro on hand and use toys your kids already have.  I found the wooden animals and dog keychain on clearance for pocket change at Hobby Lobby and Michael's and had the thread, floss, and glue on hand.

I'm adding this to the Pinterest Challenge sponsored by:
Bower Power and
Young House Love, with guests
Ana White and
House of Earnest

Go see what they did for the Pinterest Challenge, as well as all the fun projects completed by their readers!  Also, check out my last Pinterest Challenge project - a DIY car seat cooler - here

What are your favorite Pinterest finds?