This project was truly a labor of love. It took over 50 hours to complete, and at least 10 years off my life. But ... the final product was worth it. Hopefully Oscar and siblings will play with this for years to come, and someday he will appreciate the effort that went into it.
I designed all of the buildings myself, except of course for the gas station and car wash, which I copied from the Fiskar's Car Activity Mat (they were too cute to resist). For the gas pump hose, I substituted the shoelace with a elastic hairband. The car wash strips are leather trim.
Some of the buildings, like the courthouse and In-N-Out, look true to life. I took liberties with others, like Crushcakes and all of the houses, to make them more festive. If I made this mat look just like Santa Barbara, almost every building would be stucco with a red tile roof.
The playmat is backed with Riley Blake White Map from the Wheels collection.
All in all, a very satisfying project and a very happy birthday boy!