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Wooden Toys
Over the summer we got a family pass to the Portland Japanese Garden. Our son found a cool miniature Zen garden toy at the gift shop. Inside was a beautifully written pamphlet explaining Zen meditation, and how raking and caring for your rock garden can be a great way to clear your mind and attain...
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Over the summer the kids have enjoyed making dozens of fairy houses with flowers and objects around the yard. But yesterday my son and I decided to make a mini treehouse. I used a design in my friend Derek’s book. (He’s a master of DIY mini houses and forts. I’ll post info for the book...
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The kids recently made the great discovery of using the Miniature Kitchen Set in the dollhouse. They’ve been making some nice Thanksgiving dinners for various dollhouse guests. Nice! Happy fall everyone!
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Our youngest daughter LOVES anything that involves cooking, and she’s also enchanted by tiny objects. So I decided to paint the top of an old mint tin to resemble a stove, then I created some cooking objects that could be stowed away inside for a miniature kitchen set. So far, it’s been a huge amount...
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Last night I made this little mixed media bird with various scraps from my art studio – wood, feathers, wire, and fabric scraps by the awesome people at Umbrella Prints. Not sure what I’ll do with him yet. Maybe a stop-motion animation skit would be fun.
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It seems like Thanksgiving decorations are so difficult to find. Most stores just move straight from Halloween to Christmas and Hanukkah. So yesterday, I decided to make a little wooden turkey decoration for our mantel. As a child, I remember lying on my Grandparent’s living room floor and being able to pull things off the...
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Here is one of my favorite toys from when I was a kid. My mom just found it in the attic. I can’t see any markings on it, but I just learned from my Facebook friends that it’s from Brio in Sweden. Such a great design! Very short movie below if you want to see...
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Little E is always fascinated to watch her big brother and sister ride on all of their bikes and scooters. She often tries to sit on them and scoot around. I always wanted to try making a ride-on toy when the twins were little, but never had the time. So I finally got my chance!...
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Baby E has been having a lot of fun with a vintage cash register toy, but it’s too hard for her to get the coins into the small slots. So I made some round circles out of scrap wood, sanded them, and cut a few slots into a shoe box. Then the kids and I...
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My five year old daughter has recently discovered the fun of catapulting things with her spoon. To bring the action a bit further away from the table, I decided to make some very simple catapults out of scrap wood. After dinner we spent the entire evening catapulting Star Wars Lego figures outdoors. It was super...
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I actually got to enjoy an afternoon alone this week. I decided to go look at art books and magazines. One of the shops had some empty cedar cigar boxes for a couple of dollars, so I got one to try out as a small dollhouse. I love the smell of the cedar, and it...
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Today it was decided that we needed more people for the dollhouse, so I got out some scrap wood and had the kids draw figures on the pieces. Then I took my woodburner and traced over their drawings and made some “doll blocks”. It was so fast and fun that I had to try making...
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My son and I are big Lego fans, and he just got a new knight that has a moveable arm. It looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d try and make a wooden version so we could have a friendly dual. We had a great time making a little video too. (Spoiler...
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I came up with some simple modern dollhouse designs for my book, Made to Play. This is one design that didn’t make it in the book, so I thought I’d share it here. It’s very fast and easy to make. All you need is a board, (any length is fine) and two small strips of wood...
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I’ve been given the exciting honor of creating a music video for the amazing Portland band, Mnemonic Sounds. It’s going to be a ballet of puppets and toys, which I think will go perfectly with the band’s enchanting electronic pop sound. We’re going to shoot the video next week, and I can’t wait! Until then, here’s...
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My daughter loves flowers. And around the same time I thought of the branch tree idea, I came up with this flower building toy. I used some scrap wood and cut out shapes, then painted them. Then I drilled holes into a bunch of thick dowel pieces to make stacking beads for the stems. The...
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We’ve been having some more windy days with small sticks falling into our yard. So I took a piece of scrap board and drilled some holes into it and made a little forest building toy. It was fun sticking the branches in to build the forest, but it was even more exciting when my son...
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Last week I made this wooden catapult toy. I was originally going to have it toss paper balls but thought it would be cool to sew some instead. (Similar to the yo-yo balls I made awhile back.) It worked really well. The kids both had a real kick trying to make a basket. I made...
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My last giveaway was so fun I thought I’d do one more for the holidays. The prize this time is two of my wooden dolls, complete with vintage fabric doll clothes that I just sewed yesterday. The dolls are solid maple and finished with food grade beeswax. My kids, nieces and nephews have been playing...
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I recently received a great gift of some beautiful vintage birch plywood from my wife’s grandfather.  So to test the wood, I cut a smaller version of my elephant puzzle just for fun.  It turned out being so cute that I decided to make two of them so I could try doing a small giveaway....
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