Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stylish Minimalist Labels For Toy Storage Organization

Traveling back from the Vietnam, we carried 6 kilos of the matchbox cars, 3 kilos of Lego, a dozen of different costumes and Playmobil pirate shack. 

Marta, who lived at our place while we were away, was extremely kind and left for Emir piles of the toys she outgrew.

Then, the shipped belongings started to arrive. A Viking ship, Japanese railroad sets, 3 more kilos of matchbox cars, Guru Gears and stuffed Moomins topped it all up. 

Considering that our apartment in Ukraine is at least twice smaller than the one we rented in Saigon, the place was absolutely bursting up with toys. 

So we needed a storage solution - any solution!

Not that we have so much storage in our playroom, by the way. As we don’t have Ikea in Ukraine yet (would you believe someone can just fantasize about having Ikea goods available?), my dream Trufast system is still beyond my reach. 

I have another Ikea piece, though - the Norden table. Highly recommended for any multifunctional spaces you’ve got. It’s easy to clean up, sturdy and unfolds really quickly. You can set up a working area anytime you want in a breeze. I use it for the sewing projects - even with one flap open it’s perfect to put on a sewing machine and all the paraphernalia. My husband also uses it when he needs a temporary home office. 

Also, this table has 6 drawers from both sides, which I decided to use for the toy storage. The only thing I craved for was the organization - so I decided to mark off these solid drawers with simple labels. 

As I did this before, it was a real easy-peasy. I didn’t even bother with the sticky paper. Painters tape works just fine. It does the job perfectly and doesn’t come off easily. At the same time, you can take it off whenever you need, leaving no trace. 

So I cut the pieces of painters tape, stick them to the tabletop, draw on with a sharpie, and put on the drawer front when I’m happy. 

I try to draw the toys exactly as they appear in the drawer. It makes it easier for me to sketch, and easier for Emir to identify and clean up. Besides, I love how personalized they turn out to be. 

I don’t sign them up as I love the minimalistic intuitiveness of those. But you can absolutely add your caption if you feel like it. 

Oh yeah - as you can see, all the Playmobil and Lego is still roaming free across the playroom. But I’m satisfied. At least, I can keep the cars, cars, cars, and cars at bay. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Neverending Story of a Boy and a Busy Board

It's been almost four years since I made this first busy board. And Emir still plays with it a lot!

Toys for 1 year old boys Toys you can make

Yesterday he asked me to join. It's really funny, but at his almost five he wanted to play the peekaboo. We have little googly eyes behind the door on this board. And one day I pretended to be hell scared of them. So now it's the Scared Momma in the limelight every now and then.

My astonishing drama skills are of course unbeaten. But really, it is not that hard. Anyone can yell terrified on a pair of googly eyes.

I feel really sad when I read that parents get disappointed by how little interest their kids show in busy boards. Considering a number of efforts you put in this toddler toy, you'd want to get most out of it. How do you keep your kid engaged? Well, being an example works perfectly for me every time with every parenting issue.

Toys for kids Toys 0-3 years

I know, I know. You actually made it for the purpose of keeping them busy and getting your 30 minutes coffee-break. But trust me, if you only invest 10 minutes of your best play self, you'll keep it going for three years instead of three weeks. It's a great ROI!

So yell at these googly eyes at the top of your lungs and roll your eyes fiercely - and your baby will be laughing her pants off.

Cool toys for boys Baby girl toys

I gave an overview of my ways of creative play with busy boards in this post so if you want your baby to enjoy his cool toy to the fullest, go check them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I Made These Wooden Medals And I Loved It!

Remember these 20 scrap wood toy projects I shared recently? #2 - The Wooden Medals - had me at "hello". The idea is remarkably simple, attractive, highly customizable. Easy! So I made them. And I loved it! 

This project is absolutely beginner-level, though involves sewing, woodworking, and assemblage. If you don’t feel confident about making your own wood cuts from scratch, you can easily order some online from any crafts site.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How To Play With Busyboard: 7 Foolproof Ways

entertain your kid with these games

Congratulations - you made it! Or your husband made it, or your grandpa or you just ordered one. You've got a shiny new busyboard in your home. Now what?

You definitely don't want this big, heavy and often costly sensory board to be overlooked or tossed away. Did it ever happen to you that your toddler only took a glance at the new cool toy and walked away without even a slightest "meh" about it? I know your pain.

So, the least you can do is apply baby to the board and hope for better. Busyboards and babies are made for each other, so on the top level, it will do. As the boards include elements which are otherwise a baby no-no, the little rascals will immediately get their tiny hands on those. 

If, however, you spent too many efforts on this learning board and want to get some actual learning in return, there is more than one way to do it. Sit next to your toddler and show how adults can handle busyboard. Take this play to the next level like a boss. 


role play with busyboard

Friday, August 4, 2017

Old Sock Bunnies Are Totally Among Few Of My Favorite Things

This little star-spangled sock bunny from the very beginning of my blog is still alive and kicking!

I was indescribably happy to find him all well when we got back from Vietnam. Who knew an old sock can last so long? If the baby is soon to turn 5, so the bunny is even older. Sheesh. Should throw a birthday party for him.

That's what he looked like right before Emir was born:

Pretty similar to what we have now. On the recent photo, he looks more... chilled? Well, he has been around for a while and definitely made himself at home. 

By the way, do your kids watch the "Gravity Falls"? Emir is crazy about it. And we enjoy it quite much, too. It's great how the creators swapped the gender stereotypes from earlier cartoons, making a boy a smartie and a girl the one with crazy ideas. The language can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable (nothing explicit, just rude-ish like 'shut up' and stuff). The plot, though, is catching. The evil triangle is my absolute champ.

Fancy getting more sneak peeks on cool toys around our place? Follow my Instagram feed for our everyday custom creations. And for my vibrant fruit salads, too!  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How To Keep Up Your Workouts And Use Your Chalkboard

Did I ever tell you I have a chalkboard door at my place? I do! Can’t believe I didn’t share this project. I painted it when I was pregnant with Emir. I did my own chalk paint, following Martha's instructions, and it worked out pretty well. 

It did scratch off a bit, but that was rather my fault. NOTE: don’t scribble on it immediately after wiping off chalk with a soaking wet rag. When still very wet, the paint layer can be torn off. Other than that, this recipe is just perfect. 

We’ve had this door for about 5 years now. With two kids and a pack of creative adults around, I can say that it performs wonderfully. 

So, while the kid is away at granny’s country house, I decided to utilize chalkboard for momma’s needs. Or should I say, momma’s show-off? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

20 Simple Scrap Wood Toys You'll Love To Make

Do you enjoy woodworking projects? I love them. Over years I made dozens of cool things. Wood is the best material for kids - it's cheap, natural, and sturdy. I love to harvest it, or buy it in the store, or use reclaimed wood. All wood is good. 

As I work on the boards, shelves, workbenches, chairs etc. (my family has even built few houses we own), I never can let go of all the scrap wood cuts. They pile in the corners, and every now and then I will cut off a piece I need. So they become smaller, and smaller, and smaller. In the very end, when they're no good for anything else, you can make scrap wood toys! 

Over few years I collected my favorite ideas on Pinterest board, and now I'd love to share them with you. The internet is full of wooden toys, but what I looked for was simplest rough creations with a quirky twist. When I make toys out of scrap wood, I really don't want to get too busy with measuring or polishing. I just want to throw it all together and have fun. 

Hence these easy scrap wood projects for kids will be a perfect weekend fun activity for you and your little ones. Or, if you're a school teacher, you may use these ideas in class. Most of them need very little preparation and are very customizable. 

Let's begin!