52 Create, my weekly creative output for 2011… Decided to take it up a notch after last week’s binoculars. I’m trying to keep the projects simple enough that I don’t need to go buy tools, yet at least interesting and challenging at the same time. The one thing you can count on in Paris is free cardboard. You can almost always find some good quality cardboard lying against buildings or on top of garbage cans, and while it’s not as nice to work with as say plywood, it is free! There’s also always lots of chip board, but since I only have an exacto knife, it isn’t really practical to use.
My daughter has been the proud owner of a doll for almost a month now. Her Grandma made her doll some clothes, and so I felt I should step up and make her a little crib. It’s made of double thick cardboard and fits together with slots (ie. no glue or tape). It is easy to take apart and pack flat should we need to move, and it’s light enough that she can easily move it around our tiny apartment. So far it’s been a hit, with “baby” often getting rocked to sleep.
I was at a local “vide grenier” (garage/yard sale for North Americans) the other day, mainly searching for old cameras, when I came across this great little toy. It just so happens that it was recently my daughter’s birthday and we had a bit of funds sent from her favourite Aunt and Uncle to buy her a present. I paid the asking price as I couldn’t be bothered to haggle for such a fun little toy, and the seller was very interested in who it was for (hoping I was not just going to put it on a shelf I’m sure).
It’s a little wooden caterpillar pull toy. We’d looked at some Plan Toys earlier in the week but they were much more expensive. Don’t get me wrong I believe Plan Toys are worth the price, however with limited funds we were hoping to get her more than one toy for her birthday. I really like the simple design of this toy. I think I might try to make some copies at Christmas for some of our Nieces and Nephews. I think I’d use plywood for the link pieces and dowel sections for the wheels. I’d just use a food grade varnish to seal it up and keep it safe for the kids.
Shortly after our daughter arrived a year ago, I decided that I wanted to pass my love of craft down to her. While we can’t chose what our kids like or don’t like, we do have some influences, so I thought that I would always make my daughter gifts for her birthdays and Christmas. I wanted her to see that toys don’t have to be bought, and for her to understand the time and effort that goes into making toys at home. I realize at one year of age, this is not very relevant to her, but you might as well start off on the right foot.
Unfortunately when I made this decision, I was enjoying my full workshop and house full of crafty tools. Move ahead one year and I am in Paris in an apartment that is less than 300 sq/ft and my tools consist of a leatherman and duct tape… Being in Europe, I felt a castle was appropriate, while I figured she’d be just as happy with an empty box, I did really enjoy the project.
A shoe box was quickly turned into a castle using the leatherman and a small amount of clear duct tape. Next a toilet paper roll was attached as a turret, with a pointed roof coming from a paper shopping bag. I decorated the outside walls of the castle with some permanent markers, drawing a dragon, a moat, some trees, and even some ivy growing up the sides.
The castle needed a kind and queen of course, and what better thing to use than some empty film cans. My daughter already loves playing with the film cans, and adding a face to each and throwing a few pennies inside made them all the more fun.
She loved it. And although the turret was pulled off in the first 5 minutes of play, she is still enjoying her castle several days later. I’ve been reading a lot of made by joel lately, and I hope to be the same with my kids as he is with his. I found it fitting that after making the project, I saw he had done a post on doll houses…
Well it’s my daughters first birthday, but even if that weren’t the case I love this shot, I can’t help it, I’m a dad. Taken with my D300 and a 50mm lens while playing at the park the other day. It’s one of those pictures I’ll look back on in 20 years as I’m driving her to University and wonder where the time has gone…