My son Henrik loves to sculpt and make figures and creatures out of clay. In the morning when he wakes up he is thinking of new guys to make and when he comes home from school all he wants to do is build new figures. I have to tell him to stop sculpting to eat his meals. You might say he is borderline obsessed with it. One of his favorite things to do is watch instructional videos on how to work with clay, or interviews of his role models: Ray Harryhausen and Tim Burton (he calls him Tim Burgan). I find clay EVERYWHERE in my house! But I enjoy watching this little boy create and be so passionate about his claymation figures.
Because Henrik makes so many different claymation figures, we buy A LOT of clay. He has long since grown out of play dough or other clay that dries. He needs to work with clay that is long lasting and has a lot of oil in it, called plasticine. Several people have asked me where we buy our clay, so I thought I’d share with you where we get ours. We have discovered the best place to get a wide range of colors and larger amounts of clay at fxsupply.com. Henrik also uses armature wire for the skeletal structure of his creations. You can buy the wire here.
It’s so entertaining everyday to see the new creations he comes up with. These are just a small sampling of some of his figures.
Several months back I did a tutorial on Bloesem Kids showing how to make a wooden doll family. The inspiration for this project came from the dolls designed by Alexander Girard and my son’s drawings of our family. Instead of the basic wooden people that you buy at the craft store I made our little family with wooden furniture legs purchased at the hardware store, and blocks found in our home. I had such a good time making these portraits of our little family and I hope you enjoy!
If you would like to make a family portrait of your own here are the tools you’ll need:
* wooden furniture legs and a few wooden blocks
* wood glue
* primer, paint
* acrylic paint and paint brushes
Here are the steps for making the dolls:
Step 1. Pick out what furniture legs and wooden blocks you would like to use to represent your family
Step 2. Unscrew the screws with the pliers. You may want to trim or cut the wooden legs. I used a bandsaw to trim the longer furniture leg and was able to get two dolls out of it.
Step 3. Glue blocks onto the furniture legs to give the figures more character
Step 4. Spray the dolls with white primer and paint.
Step 5. This is the fun part. Paint the faces and clothing on the dolls, each one representing a member in your family. The possibilities are endless with what you can do. Now it’s time to play with your dolls!
My son Henrik loves to make tents and forts. He builds one practically every day. This year for an Easter surprise I decided to make my children a tent that they could leave up and play with all day every day. I used the genius tutorial featured on a beautiful mess invented by Rubyellen. I then made some of my own modifications. I added an extra wooden piece of moulding at the bottom of both sides so that the tent won’t slide down and will stay upright on hard wood floors.
I also added a window with a roll flap that snaps open. I lined the inside of it with a blue geometric fabric. I trimmed the window and the outside of the tent in a solid aqua fabric bias tape that I made. I ended up using a small black polka dot fabric for the tent. I cut and sewed the green fabric on the bottom to look like grass and make it feel more like spring. To make the tent more cozy I made a few floor cushions in corresponding colors (even a star pillow).
I think it’s safe to say they love the tent.
I may have also got my children two bunnies. I couldn’t help myself. I had bunnies growing up as a child and had so much fun with them. Henrik named the black one hoppy and Maja named the brown one honey.
Aren’t the bow tie and bow so cute that Henrik and Maja are wearing?! If you’re interested in some for your little ones my sweet friend makes them and you can get them here.
I hope you enjoy!
I am a huge fan of the online children’s store Ittikid. They carry beautiful clothing selected and imported from Scandinavia. Collections from brands such as Smafolk, Duns Sweden, Maxomorra, and Ferm living, to name a just a few. Everything in the store is well made and colorful, mostly made from organic cotton and hand screen printed patterns. The mission of Ittikid is to “inspire fun, imaginative, and comfortable play!”
I think it has worked with my children.
Every season I usually buy each of my children a couple of shirts from Ittikid. The quality is exceptional after many, many washes the clothing still looks brand new and the cotton is still soft and hasn’t stretched out. What amazes me too is that my children have been able to wear the clothing for years. For example, the viking shirt above is a size 3 that still fits my five year old Henrik. When it comes to buying clothing for my children I want something fun and colorful that lasts. I would much rather have a few quality pieces that may cost a bit more than a lot of clothing that is less expensive but falls apart.
My children would agree and love to wear their comfortable, colorful clothing.
Last week I shared a project for making a winter forrest diorama. This diorama is a perfect home for some of our Ostheimer collection. We like to put all of our forrest animals in the diorama. Ostheimer is a company from Germany that makes wooden hand crafted animals and people. Over the years I have been collecting them, my mother has an even more extensive collection. She is the one who introduced me to them as a child. I remember how much I loved to play with them and now my children play with them as well. It is one of the first things they ask to play with when they go to my mother’s home. One of the best things about the Ostheimer wooden figures is they last forever. Below are some photos from my Mother’s and my collection. Some of the figures pictured below are over 20 years old.
Ostheimer is a family run company started by Margarete Ostheimer. They have beeen in business for over fifty years. All the figures are hand carved and painted with non toxic paint. Ostheimer keeps their figures simple because they believe “If we give [children] the space to use their imaginations while still children, they will be able to deal much more creatively with the reality that surrounds them.” I couldn’t agree more, most times the simplest things bring out the greatest creativity.
Because Ostheimer wooden figures are handmade they are a little pricey. I usually buy one or two for a Birthday and Christmas, this also keeps them very special in our family. I just came back from Germany and had a wonderful time. I couldn’t help but pick up a few Ostheimer figures at the Christkindlmarkt. When In Germany I purchase them at the toy store Obletter, or any toy store that carries wooden toys most likely will sell Ostheimer. When in the US I purchase them online at the Wooden Wagon, they have quite an impressive selection of Ostheimer and other wooden toys.
Growing up with a German mother, celebrating advent was a big deal and magical to us children. In our family I have so much fun putting together and collecting gifts for the advent calendar. Henrik is now at such a wonderful age and gets really excited to open each advent. This year I found some great paper advent bags at Ikea and couldn’t pass them up. I like to keep things simple and I just tied twine to the staircase. I then attached the bags to the twine with wooden close pins going up the stairs.
I rotate the gifts so that my two children get something every other day. I usually give them small little gifts that range from $1-$4. I also like to pick gifts that they can get a lot of play out of. Because I have a 22-month-old that is into everything I only put one advent gift in at a time the night before.
My baby girl is almost two years old and still doesn’t have a lot of hair. For special occasions I like to put something in her hair, the clips do not work and fall out immediately. For my daughter’s hair I use Girlie Glue. Girlie Glue is a hair accessory glue that is all natural and safe for your baby.
My friend Katie noticed that there was nothing out there to use as a temporary glue for her babies’ hair. She tried various products like KY and honey, but they didn’t have the right consistency and were not safe for her babies, so she developed her own product…Girlie Glue. Girlie Glue is made with Agave nectar and other all natural ingredients. The glue lasts all day and washes off easily with a wet wash cloth.
Not only can it be used for your baby’s hair but for attaching play earrings made out of felt. One of my friend’s daughters has been wearing her ‘earrings’ every day for the past week.
Girlie Glue is not just for girls either. My son Henrik and his friend Jones love to play pirates. Girlie Glue is perfect for attaching felt mustaches, beards and eye brows.
The possibility are endless with what you can do with Girlie Glue. I had so much fun making the different hair accessories, like the fox and clouds. Henrik loves the different faces he can make with his assortment of mustaches. Girlie Glue would make a great baby shower gift for a friend too.
This year for Halloween Henrik is going as a bat and Maja will be Red Riding Hood. I like to keep Halloween costumes simple, something we have at home or they can wear over and over again as dress up.
Henrik has been talking about being a bat for Halloween for a long time now and I was happy to oblige (some of his other ideas sounded very complicated and involved). His costume was so easy to make, for the bat body I bought a black long sleeve shirt and leggings in the girl’s section of the department store. To make the wings I cut two pieces of felt, black and gray, in the shape of bat wings. I cut the black felt smaller and sewed it onto the gray felt. I then sewed thick elastic at the ends of the wings as armbands for Henrik to slide his arms through. I also tacked the top of the wings to his shirt in a few places like the neck and shoulders. To make the mask I cut a thick band of black felt, cut out two eye holes, and attached the back onto a piece of thick black elastic. I then cut the ears out of black and gray felt, sewed them together and attached them to the mask.
I used black washi tape to make the Haunted Castle and Henrik made the grave yard out of silver washi tape. This was so easy to make, It only took about five minutes and Henrik and I had so much fun doing it.
Little Miss Red Riding Hood’s costume was even easier than the bat costume. Luckily I had this darling red cape (One of the first things I bought after I found out I was having a girl!). The rest of the outfit came from Maja’s wardrobe as well. The wolf toy you can get here and the large log pouf here. I bought most of my washi tape from Darly Bird, she has an amazing selection.
I hope you enjoy and have a happy Halloween!
ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:• Antwerp
A few weeks ago we threw my son Henrik a super hero party. I thought it would be fun for the kids to feel like they were real super heroes flying through the sky saving lives, so we created a city scene photo booth. At first the kids didn’t understand why they needed to lay on the ground with their arms stretched out and their feet pointed. Once they saw the pictures they understood they were more willing to oblige and started getting into it. The adults at the party had so much fun watching the kids strike their different super hero poses.
To make the city scene all you need is an old blue sheet, a ladder, a cloud pillow or two, buildings made out of cereal boxes and duct tape, and of course a willing super hero with a cape and mask. For the buildings I enlisted the help of my good friend Merrilee who among her many talents is something of a duct tape genius.
I saw this idea originally many years ago in a craft book and unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the book, maybe someone can help me out?
We like to play games in our family, and I especially love a game that will keep Henrik occupied for a couple of hours. I grew up playing with this very Mix Max game from Ravensburger and it has been in my family since before I was born. I don’t even remember the rules (they have since been lost) but possibilities of play are simple and endless. Basically just mix a hat, head, body, and legs to make whatever person you’d like.
Henrik gets such a kick out of the funny different looking people he comes up with. It’s so fun to watch him giggling at all his creations.
You can find something similar here.
Wall stickers are a fun way to decorate a child’s bedroom. I am a big fan of the colorful, fun, and oversized fabric wall stickers from Pop and Lolli. The wall stickers are easy to install and 100% safe for your child. What I think sets Pop and Lolli wall stickers apart from the others is the size –the large size makes a statement and looks like a painted mural.
Here are a couple of tips on how I would decorate with the stickers: keep the walls and furniture neutral so that the colors in the stickers can pop, and display the wall stickers like a mural or headboard and hang them higher in the room.
Last month I wrote about the Japanese Paumes books. These books are so inspiring — every page is full of great ideas. I decided to start a series where I pick an image or room in one of the books and do a project or design a space based on the inspiration.
The inspiration for this month is the awe inspiring home of stylist Susanna Vento featured in Finland children’s spaces. I love the peachy/pink color scattered in parts of her daughter’s room so much I decided to paint something in my house that color.
I found this great set of wooden mushrooms (I collect mushrooms), primed them, and then mixed two paint colors together; acrylic white and craftsmart’s Neon Orange. This was such an easy and fun project. I hope you enjoy!
In Germany it is a huge tradition to get a ‘Schultuete’ for the first day of your first year in Elementary school. The ‘Schultuete’ is a cone filled with candy, pencils, school supplies and other treats. Growing up in the US with a mother from Germany, my mom felt it important to pass along her traditions with us. As a first grader I was so excited to receive my ‘Schultuete’. Usually you only receive one for entering school, but I thought it would be a fun tradition to do every year. This is a great way to get my children excited for school and a creative way to give them their school supplies.
Here’s what I did to make one: I cut a piece of wrapping paper and card stock in a quarter circle. I then glued the two pieces to each other and glued it together in the cone shape. I stuffed a couple of pieces of tissue paper in the cone and then filled it full of treats and school supplies. I got some tips on how to make one here.
Henrik was so happy to receive his ‘Schultuete’ and couldn’t wait to eat some of his chocolate.
Most of the time the projects I do with Henrik are made up using found objects from around our house, which can be really fun and creative, but it is so nice to have everything that you need for a project in one kit. Not too long ago we received this clothespin doll kit from Even and Elise and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Henrik had such a wonderful time last month at Summer Camp building a Robot that I knew he would love making clothespin dolls.
The kit comes with paint, a paint brush, colorful pipe cleaners, small fabric and felt swatches, glue, buttons, lots of small pieces of sequins and other do dads, a mini wood house for decorating, and of course clothes pins.
My niece Emma was staying with us and it was the perfect project for both she and Henrik to work on. It was so nice to just give them the kit and let them make whatever they wanted. I didn’t have to do much just stand back and watch. Henrik made Robot and Ninja guys and Emma made dolls with skirts and dresses and long stringy hair. Another great thing about the kits (all mothers will appreciate this) is that the paint and glue cleaned up very easily.
Henrik and Emma had so much fun playing with their dolls that Maja and Hazel (our dog) had to come and investigate.
I have always loved the idea of having a swing or hanging chair inside the home and have wanted to install one in my own home (I just have to convince my husband that it’s a good idea). I think my kids would love reading and giving each other rides in it, and I would love how fun and relaxed it looks in my home.
Serena and Lily have designed a lovely hanging chair inspired by this chair. The rattan hanging chair would add a little 70’s Scandinavian style to your home and could go in any room; the living room, a child’s bedroom, or even your bedroom.
Here’s some tips on how I’d style the chair:
First I’d lay a sheepskin on the base of the chair and have it drape over the bottom slightly, like the picture above. Second, I’d add a comfy, round seat cushion made with the star fabric, and last I’d add some extra pillows for back support and color.
Last week I received in the mail Finland Children’s Spaces and the new Be Creative With Famille Summerbelle Books. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to look through each page. Japanese Publishers Paumes does such an amazing job of curating and photographing the homes of talented artists and creatives. I am a huge fan of all their books and have been collecting them for many years. Every Birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day my husband always knows what to get me. The funny part is that they are all written in Japanese, I buy them only for the images, but they are definitely worth it. What I like most about them is that they show how real people live in their spaces and the creative and clever ways they decorate in them. My favorites are all the Family Style and the Children’s Rooms Books. I’m really excited about the new book they did on the talented Famille Summerbelle. They show really fun craft projects as well as their home in Paris. The nice part is that all the craft projects are in English too, hooray!
I find these books so inspiring that on One More Mushroom I will be starting a series, where I take an image or room in one of the books and do a project or design a space based on the inspiration.