Saturday, January 28, 2012

YES! We sell bananas!

ItalicOne-day Produce Cart

Shopkeeper keeping prices up-to-date!

Shopkeeper hanging up the apron!

Hungry customer drooling over fresh produce!

IKEA's felt food!
{Brilliant lettuces!}

Shopping bags & hanging fruit

Canvas-lined baskets

Hanging knobs {safer than hooks}
For the past months, I have been so consumed in completing Olivia's play kitchen, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it's after-thought; the Produce Stand.

A rainy Saturday in Shanghai allowed us time to pull out the Tool Tote and complete both projects; the Play Kitchen and Produce Stand. I had previously scoured the internet looking for samples of DIY Produce Stands. In comparison to Play Kitchens which are abundant, there were only a few Fruit Stands and I needed ours to be small and sturdy. The final design incorporated the IKEA Rast Bedside tables (times two) just like the play kitchen so there would be consistency with colour of wood and height of both play centers. I also purchased IKEA's planter hangers (10RMB each) and felt food. The baskets were on sale for 10RMB each at our local Danish homewares store JYSK. I had two left-over porcelain knobs from the play kitchen that serve as hanging knobs for the produce stands aprons and canvas shopping bags.

Instead of assembling the bedside table with tabletops flat, we put them on a slight angle and added a ledge, to hold the baskets in place. We doubled the posts so they would match the width of the planter hangers, which hopefully will hold an awning...eventually! For now they hold hanging banana's!

Aside from the shopping for supplies that I do over time and the cuts made by the woodshop around the corner, this project took a total of one day! As it turns out, this is getting far more attention than the play kitchen, by the three of us!

Play Kitchen

Laying out supplies to sit allows time for visualizing before making the cuts.
Wooden salt & pepper shakers (replaced by porcelain knobs), as well as wooden planter box, not incorporated into final design.

Considered the 'front' of the kitchen, or the 'back' to avoid any spats!

The backside serves as a fridge or cupboard, plus the sink & faucet.
Making a two-sided kitchen allows for more than one chef to participate.
One end of the kitchen can sit flush against a wall.

Auntie & Uncle sent GreenToys pots and pans for Olivia's first birthday. Love the green and blue, that match the kitchen curtain!

Everything plus the kitchen sink! Daddy carefully cut the hole for the silver bowl sink.

I admit.
My projects meant to entertain my daughter are actually a way for me to live my childhood vicariously over! Is there really harm in that?
Enjoying childhood with your child?
As long as it does not involve some scary Tots in Tiara's, I think I am good to go;)

It has taken nearly a year and not much money at all, but the play kitchen is pretty much complete thanks to Good Old Gramps sending on over a nice set of silver hinges, Auntie & Uncles Green Toys pots and pans set, Daddy's master craftsmen cutting and the fabulous guys around the block who make all the cuts with no clue what is to become of the wood.

IKEA cannot be forgotten in this list of helpers!
We bought their white porcelain knobs for the burner controls and oven handle, their white tea towels with red stripe (cut in half and re-sewn), the fabulous flowery curtain cloth and the 99RMB Rast Bedside table (times two).

Other than the hinges, which we could NOT find in Shanghai and had to ask Gramps to send from Canada, the other tricky purchase was the faucet. We considered using something that could serve as a faucet (a wooden cane top etc.) but still could not find something suitable and in the price range we hoped. Kitchen faucets are very pricey and the majority were too long-necked to be considered anyway. We lucked out to find a 25RMB faucet, perfect size at the mom and pop Chinese shop around the corner, who sell wood and other building material odds and sods. The one downfall is it is a single tap, instead of a separate hot and cold (could use as a teaching tool for children.)

The one element we are lacking is in fact, the elements.
I have toyed with a few options and want to keep the kitchen plastic-free. I bought some of IKEA's black coasters, but I am afraid that a certain small person in the house {note; it is not me!} likes to pick and chew things until they are unrecognizable. There is the possibility of painting on stove elements, but for now I am waiting for the perfect inspiration.
Feel free to forward any ideas!

Dolly Clothesline

Pretty polka-dot dolly jammies by ONE LOVE!

Waiting for our clothes to dry!
{ONE LOVE doll sets & clothes}
Kids love copying.
In all my years babysitting, nannying and teaching the wee, I learned one thing for sure; kids love to do what the big peeps are doing and take great joy in activities we see as mundane.

When I worked as a Montessori teacher, the Practical Life centers designed for children to develop motor skills necessary for everyday 'chores', made complete sense on several levels. Both boys and girls were interested in any activity that mirrored something they had seen adults accomplish and at the preschool/kindergarten level, they are developing the motor skills necessary to complete these types of tasks. Put the two together and voila! you have some very intrigued wee folks!

The clothesline pictured above is inspired by the Montessori method as well as Olivia's new-found love of UN-dressing her dollies and trying their clothes on herself. At nearly 14 months, she is still too young to master the pinch required by the clothespegs, but she loves tearing the clothes off the line and ripping apart the neatly stacked laundry~! At a later date, she will be able to put the clothes on the line, take them off again and can even learn to fold and stack them. We can further these building blocks using sorting tools; colour, type of garment or size. Providing clothing with velcro, snaps, buttons and clasps continues to enrich the playtime. All tools taught in Montessori-style education.

Originally, I had my husband help me brainstorm ways we could create a collapsible clothesline, until Olivia and I chanced upon a simple magazine tote at the dollar store. I removed the cloth holder and was left with the wooden, collapsible frame. From here, we removed the top dowel bars and threaded a thin rope through in a loop. The project in total cost 15RMb for the magazine tote and the thin rope (in Western terms, around $2.00) It can rest on a tabletop at child-height.

Now onto making dolly clothes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snotty Nose & Sugar Lips

Mmm Mmm LIPS

Love me some chipmunk hands!
Oh yeah! Now we're talking!

Getting a taste of those natural sugars!

Notice photographer-keep on chewin'

There is something about a beautiful set of baby cheeks and chipmunk hands, that make a mother melt!
Especially when the lips go ahead and get involved!
Sometimes I want to eat her face!

This week is Chinese New Year and it is a bitter one.
With Shanghai winter comes some yummy treats and one of my favourites is dried persimmon.
Essentially, a Timmie's timbit for vegetarians!
Yesterday on our walk, we picked up a bag of dried persimmons and stayed dressed when we returned home to have a feast in our chilly kitchen.
The result turned out to be some lovely photos of baby in her ushanka (complete with summer bonnet underneath, at her insistence!)
Snotty nose & sugar lips!

Mole Patrol

Giving a toy box, multiple purpose!
Olivia likes to hide.
She likes finding her own spot and escaping, behind curtains, under blankets, in our tee-pee or any one of the toy baskets we have around the house.
Dada introduced the Mole Game to her the other night. He lifts the covers and she scurries underneath and darts in all directions. Hours of FUN!!
It took all of three seconds on night two, after bath, for her to throw the covers up..and start her expedition trolling under the blanket like a wee mole!
Now Dada and I are on Mole Patrol, because she has discovered this a sneaky way to escape out of the bottom of the bed!
Clever babe!