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.)

Strawberry Cake


(Steve's morning slice)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little Porch Action

I have a single "before" shot - and it's of our brick pile:

That's actually halfway depleted - the other half having been moved several months ago...and abruptly cut off by my need to kill a black widow. It took a while to get up the gumption to go back.

But go back we did, because I hit up IKEA last friday and bought patio furniture...which necessitated the rearranging of the hodge-podge we already had.

So while I put this together:

Steve moved bricks (I helped move bricks, too, just not as many...due to the spider issue. And the child refusing to nap issue.)

The child sorted twigs for us:

And finally! It was all moved:

A bit of cleanup (and cheering) and we now have this setup:

 The hidden brick pile (we're keeping those bricks for re-use eventually) and the barrel of trash and a random folding table top and some plastic that is there to protect the concrete from the weather (or something)

  The owners old picnic table (which is halfway sanded and will be repainted) and bench, and the two folding chairs we bought from Target last year.

New picnic table and chairs! The wind chimes were an anniversary present from Steve's sister and her husband. I LOVE them. I had to wrap the chain in green because raw chain is just not something I could be down with when I hung it.

The front porch. We like that every piece is sized and weighted so that a single person can pick it up and move it - so when we have guests we can accommodate more people in the back where the action is.

A few other shots from around the joint:

 I got sick of what was over the mantle. Now it needs attention.

 Baz's new sand and water table. Yes, we have "shirt, diaper, socks" days a lot around here.

 Peonies growing in spite of my adoration.

Pomegranate blooms!

The peach tree and the "new" barbeque table.

Plum cherries...maybe to made into wine?


 More plum cherries

Aren't they cute as they run away? Mama does not like that I scared her babies. This brings out feral cat colony up to TEN. Traps will be procured and set when they're weaned. It's beyond time. We're the crazy cat people!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm over at NPN today

find me here.
Also, we're in Dallas for a little while longer...hence the radio silence. It's going to take me a month to get through all of the photos I've taken so far...and I've got 7 days and 2 events coming up!

Happy Tuesday!
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