Thursday, September 20, 2012

Raising The Bar For Toys

I can not stand the masses of plastic toys that seem to come with babies. So while I cave on some, like the pretty hideous spinning music mobile that hangs above our bed to keep him occupied, I look for ways to keep them to a minimum.

I realized little D needed a toy bar to keep him entertained on places other than my bed, but couldn't stand spending money on the flip-out mat and bar combos. In enters pinterest. As I patiently scoured the site, my eyes met his woody frame, and it was love at first sight.

{credit: bare feet and a free spirit}

Be still my heart! Could I make him mine?!

I nervously checked the price, since all my other toy crushes were simply teases that cost more than my car payment, and saw that it was DIY. ha-lle-lu-jah.

The instructions were pretty straightforward- just get some wood, cut, sand, and screw. But there was a minor snafu: I don't cut, sand, or screw (ha. mind out of the gutters please). And that I'm haphazard about measuring. And that, as of today, power tools aren't my friend.

So what's a girl to do but call on her man? 

It's moments like these that I am so thankful to be married to Peyton. You see, I've come to accept that my husband is not romantic. (At least not overly so.) He gets away with this based on the simple fact that he is exceptional at fixing and making. Leaky faucet? No problem. Broken central air? Fixed. Need a new garbage disposal? Done and done. So yes, he doesn't write me love songs and give me mixed tapes cds playlists (?? clearly it's been a while.), but he makes my day-to-day existence a lot more comfortable, in more ways than one. He also saves us money. Can't forget that moola!

So I sweetly showed him this picture, reminding him that his child's brain development depended on having toys to bat around above his head and that plastic is awful and disgusting and grossly colored. It probably didn't hurt that I promised to watch that week's UT game either... But whatever it was, he agreed to do it. And when Peyton decides to make/fix/buy something, he does it right.

What I thought would be a few hour process took all day, so if you are a perfectionist like P without the proper tools and want it to be quick, don't bet on it. But the finished product is oh so sweet. 

We have it on a blanket that I made for Declan while pregnant and can switch out what toys we hang. Right now we chose some bunnies that I sewed for a mobile and a big bell ornament. He loves playing with it, as you can see, and really is trying to master that pesky motor control so he can accurately hit.

The one downside: not easily stored. While plastic flip-open mats can be folded up and tucked away, this bad boy is out for good. But it's beautiful wood grain and simplicity makes me okay with that, happy in fact, since Peyton's work gets to be on display.

So this is where we would place our tutorial, but we didn't make one. The instructions on the site were clear and thorough so we thought we'd leave it to them. And we didn't take pictures of the process. Sooo yeah, there's that...

Click here for the instructions. And I recommend you do. It is so refreshing to have a homemade, high quality toy around for Declan without having to shell out lots of dough.

Do you have any great DIY kid's gear? A love/hate relationship with the loads of mass produced "necessities" thrown upon us? I'm always looking for new projects to start (and sometimes finish) to keep plastics at bay. 



  1. wow! love it! go p! i hate the sensory overload, plastic, obnoxious baby toys too. this is just so perfect.

    love the new site look too.

  2. Thanks Camille! He already has agreed to make you one when it's time ;) Wanted to try to freshen it up and keep things simple for a bit, so thank you! Xoxo- can't wait to see you!!

  3. I'm seriously impressed. Can Peyton come over & do a make over on our house? LOL I love that you kept it in it's natural wooden state & didn't stain or paint it. I'm not a fan of the plastic junk either. I actually thought you bought this at Ikea, as it's very similar in design to some of their baby toys. Have you checked out their kid's section? Really great, inexpensive stuff.

    Can Peyton make puzzles? Hunter is autistic, and I'm always looking for new puzzles for him...maybe Peyton could have a side business. :)

    Also, the blanket-GORGEOUS. I'm seriously jealous. I need to learn how to make little creatures like you did. Would be perfect for ornaments for Hunter's Christmas tree...can you do a step by step on those?


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