Wooden Marble Maze

The idea for this came into my head a couple of weeks ago.  I’m probably not the first one to do it, but it’s quite fun to play with.  Similar to a marble labyrinth, only much easier, which makes it great for younger kids.  Just set the marble on the small start hole, then get it to roll down the path all the way to the end, where it …

Wooden Toy Prototypes for The Land of Me

I’m excited to say that I’ve just shipped my first set of The Land of Me toy prototypes off to London.  I’m having such a great time working with the people at Made in Me, and I can’t wait to see how this first set turns out.  Production is going to start in just a few weeks by a wood design company in Hull, UK.  Nice! Jack …

Toy Swing Set

Jack and Tess have always loved swings.  One of their favorite activities in my art room is swinging the climbing gorilla toy that I made over a year ago.  So now I’ve added another swing to the mix.  A very simple one using bent wire and wood scrap.  I made it so the guy comes off, so part of the fun is just getting him into the seat.  It …

Painted Puzzle

This puzzle is over a year old, but we just got it out again.  My son has been a big puzzle fan since age two.  This was a wooden one that I had, but the design on it was all green leaves, which made it very difficult to solve, even for me.  So I painted a little safari painting on the wood back of the puzzle and gave every object a unique color, …

Vintage Wood Figures

I was digging around in my box of vintage wood scraps, and decided to make some little figures with a few of the small colorful pieces.  We used paint pens to draw on them, so it was an easy way to make a fun set of dolls to play with. And look at this great set that my son made.  He colored them with regular makers, then wanted to make playground …

Wooden Slot Animals Set

Yesterday I made some more wooden animals so there would be a complete set.  The parts are interchangeable, so it’s possible to make many different creatures.  I had a lot of fun trying them out before the kids got up from their nap. Also, a lot of people have asked what I finish my wooden pieces with.  I use a food grade bees wax polish by …

Wooden Slot Animal

I’ve always liked the simplicity of things that fit together with slots. Yesterday I made this little wooden toy. I think I should make more animals with interchangeable pieces so people could make their own creations. My son had fun playing with this one though. He especially liked peeping through the eye hole.

Pop-Up Puppets

The kids and I just made some pop-up puppets this morning.  We had a great time picking out the fabrics and drilling holes for the dowel sticks.  When we were done, the kids were pretty surprised at how they came to life.  Below you can see a quick video.  (Including another one of my old songs.)

Wooden Sand Combs

We just got back from the beach today, and had a great time.  Before leaving, I quickly made a couple of sand combs for the kids to play with.  They added a nice and relaxing element to our sand playing.

Driftwood Fish

We’re headed to the beach again this weekend, so I was in the mood to get out the driftwood pieces from our last trip and paint them.  I ended up using non-toxic paint pens (Painters Opaque Paint Markers by Elmer’s), which made it really fast and easy.  It’s amazing how much fun a bunch of wood and rocks can be.  We had a great …

Marionette

A couple of days ago we took another short trip out to the countryside to visit my wife’s grandparents.  The kids love visiting their great-grandparents, and so do I, because they always seem to have some vintage gifts for me.  This time it was an old box of wooden odds and ends that they thought I’d like.  Looking inside that box I started …

Modern Alphabet Game

We went to the beach last weekend, and I picked up a bunch of smooth flat rocks with the idea of painting them.  Then I thought it would be interesting to come up with a way of using the rocks in a game.  The kids have been starting to show interest in recognizing letters in the alphabet, so I came up with this game which provides a nice blend of …

Toy Bench

I just ran across some photos of the toy bench I made for the kids awhile back out of poplar wood.  I tried to design something simple with an open front.  I didn’t want a lid that could be closed on fingers.  It’s worked really well; just the right balance for the organized chaos of toy storage.  Also, note the cool latch hook pillow …

Design Tree

A few days ago I got to spend some time at the Portland Art Museum on my birthday.  I hadn’t been there in awhile and was really inspired by the Native American exhibits.  Dance wands, totem poles, jewelry. So I came home and dreamt up the idea for this toy.  A kind of interactive art sculpture that can be assembled many different ways.  It’s …

Modern Nesting Dolls

I just finished an interesting art commission: painting a blank set of nesting dolls. It was quite different than anything I’ve done before, but surprisingly enjoyable. Another big bonus is that the recipient of the gift is an amazing photographer, and she put together this really great video. Thanks Lisa!         This last …

Backyard Playhouse

We’ve been spending time outside in our playhouse lately, and I realized I’ve never posted pictures of it on this blog.  Some of you might have seen it in my Daddy Story on Bloesem Kids.  Last fall I decided to utilize the strip of cement behind our garage and fit a playhouse to that space.  I tried to keep the design as simple as possible …

Modern Doll House

I finished the dollhouse!  At least for now.  I’m sure I’ll never stop making furniture for it.  It’s too much fun.  My son especially loves organizing and arranging the furniture.  The guys in the family are playing with dollhouses and the girls are out riding bicycles.  Nice.

Tree Birds

While finding branches in my yard for the doll house, it got me thinking about what else I could do with them. I just finished making some new bird collages for an upcoming art show, so I scanned them and printed out smaller versions. Then cut them out, and wired them to the branch. Kind of soothing to look at.

Doll House Furniture

I’ve started to make some doll house furniture.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a few months now.  My kids love playing with doll houses.  I bent a little chair out of wire, and finally found a use for the awesome hand printed fabric scraps I got from Umbrella Prints.  Got out the hot glue gun, cut some wood scraps and found a tree …