Monday, May 30, 2011

...but is it ART, Eddie?

I've been trying to think of the End-Of-Life of the things I buy. It helps keep the house free of clutter and helps keep me from impulse buying (too much.)

So for example, I picked up this $10 set of (stainless!) pans from IKEA, knowing that they would have a nice long life of being played with and may even be in decent enough shape to pass along to a new family when our kids have outgrown them, whenever that may be. For the money, it's an investment. 

I wasn't wrong:

I also, a few months ago now, bought a bag of wooden beads from a local Waldorf-inspired toy shop that I frequent. They're meant to be strung, but I thought Baz would enjoy sorting and dumping...and again I was not wrong.

Then, a week or so ago, it occurred to me that I didn't hesitate to drop a whole bunch of money on a sand and water table that isn't the best open-ended toy, is a giant hunk of plastic (go petroleum products!) and will likely wear out before it can be donated to the next family. I bought it because I knew he would enjoy it. And we're entering Stage 6, which means it's time to step up our game (yet again.)

And I was right: he loves it.

So then, because of his impending Stage Sixness, and my desire to own things that are not only useful but beautiful, I went back to the Toy Store and I plunked down the money for the bead box. (I was also spurned on by my sister, who is a first grade teacher, saying "isn't he about ready to sort by color?" Whether he is or not is irrelevant. The box is art and that was all the incentive I needed.)

I can see all the way past childhood with this bad boy.

I am now going to wax poetic about quality here, people. This product could be reproduced by someone with time and skills, but I am not that someone. I recognize my limits and I am ok with them. I will happily keep a local shop in business by paying them to stock the things I cannot make myself. (This thing is made by this company.)

So 1st: notice how the beads disappear in the boxes. QA, people. It's not just a fancy acronym.




Note the mitered corners? And the dovetail joints? That makes these bad boys glue free and less likely to off-gas.


even the tray has mitered corners.


The tray - a basic piece of this set - it need not be pretty because it's to be filled with boxes. But if needed, it's pretty enough that I can take the boxes off and serve cheese on it. (on parchment, obviously.)


Even out of order, the colors are beautiful.

Every time I walk past his little table and I see this smiling up at me it makes me happy. When he's too old for sorting, it can hold crayons. And then colored pencils. And brushes. And then flowers. (I may not wait for flowers.)

Our children will enjoy it and then it will take up residence in the space I use to create, inspiring me with it's age and beauty. And then I will pass it down to grandchildren, who will also love it.

And it was only slightly more expensive than the sand and water table. A bargain, in my book.

I didn't just buy a sorting box. I bought an heirloom.

If only every purchase were as fulfilling.

(the little pull-toy under the table came from Baz's aunt and uncle. He has recently discovered pull-toys as they are intended and it gives him great delight to make this one follow him.)


  1. That bead box truly is a sight to behold! I have what is starting to seem like an imaginary dedication to handcrafted, heirloom toys that is often thwarted by impulse buys when I feel my girl needs something new and I haven't the time to research and shop online. Now that you have made me drool over the quality handcraftedness of that box, I think a bit of my dedication has returned.

  2. I'm so glad! But I, too, succumb to the purchases now and then. It's "is that new toy for me?!?!" smile that gets me every time.


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