Thanksgiving Wood Turkey Toy/Decoration

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 shelf that looked like …

Modern Kids Ride-on Toy

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! I’ll probably make more, but for this first design, I wanted to keep …

Knights Battle: Made by Joel vs. Lego

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 alert: Lego wins :) We’re already drawing up plans for additional wooden knight accessories, …

Backyard Fun

We’ve been enjoying our first week of summer break, and spending a lot of time playing in the backyard. Planting sticks, I mean trees, playing in the playhouse I made two years ago, and drawing a lot of chalk art. A couple of weeks ago on the Made by Joel Facebook Page, I asked for ideas on what your kids like to do in the backyard. The responses …

Flower Building Toy

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 end result is a toy that allows the child to make their own various …

Catapult Toy

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 each ball have slightly different weight, so you have to adjust your technique …

Wooden Dolls Giveaway

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 with these doll sets for a couple of years now. …

Small Elephant Puzzle Giveaway

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.  So here it is.  If you want to be entered to “win” …

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 …

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.

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 …

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.

Climbing Gorilla

Here’s a little climbing toy I made. I used to have one when I was a kid and loved playing with it. I just hung it in the art room. We’ll have to see if the kids can make it climb when they get up from naps.