PROBLEM: Lilah, my 5 year old, spends quite a bit of time in my studio. Yes, she makes a big mess. Typical. But her mess... ahem... "creative play" has been migrating across the room. Closer to where I work. In fact, she had taken over one of my primary work spaces!

Hey Lilah! that's MY worktable!!

I am very proud of her complete integration of all types of toys - cats, dogs, mice, Rement foods, wind-up UglyDolls, tiny eraser-Disney-princesses, a teeny rubber duck, and, my collectible designer chairs... hey!?

OK, so I need my space back now! But Lilah needs a place to play.

SOLUTION: We made a play-mat-table.
For the floor. But fancy.
I painted a large sheet of masonite, fiber-board... whatever it's called... with a few coats of gesso, then a few coats of various green acrylic paints. When it was dry...

Lilah: "Is it dry yet?"
Me: "No"
Lilah: "Is it dry NOW?"
Me: "Not yet"
Lilah: "Good grief - Is it dry NOW?"
Me: "Nope"
Lilah: "Mom?"
Me: "Hey, look at that - it's dry!"

We got out the Sharpie oil-based paint markers and started adding the garden.

Which, of course, has a big rainbow in the middle. And some bugs, a lilac bush, and a patch of flowers that are "perfectly fine to be picked". (That means, NO ONE will yell.) And a river with teeny goldfish on parade.

Meanwhile, I attached wooden craft pieces to the bottom of another sheet, using Weldbond glue. Good stuff.  I used Weldbond to glue the painted sheet to the footed sheet and clamped the pieces together with bulldog clips.

This morning, I dragged it outside and sprayed on a few coats of polyurethane. I left it in the studio where Lilah was sure to notice it. She did - she's very satisfying that way...

"Aaaaaaaaah! My garden!!!"

Three hours later, my counter is clear, clear, clear! And the fully loaded garden (Playmobils, Barbie kids, and all) slides under my desk. Woohoo!

Note: I am ashamed to admit that, when my son was little, I would have painted the little feet too. Blush. But that's life. My son also has seven photo albums of his childhood... with comments... my daughter... well, she DOES have a baby book. And this blog. ;-)