Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Logs Made With Love
In our day-to-day lives, many of us find joy in surrounding ourselves with beauty. We decorate our homes with art and furnishings that please us. We dress in clothes that suit our own personal style. We take the scenic route home to enjoy the charming architecture and landscape. It appears we are inherently drawn to an environment that is aesthetically pleasing. Why then, do we surround our children with loud, tacky and ugly objects? I love the natural texture and beauty of wool, wood, stone and cotton. It therefore only seems logical to believe that Chi-Chi and Muffy feel the same way!
My quest for natural play objects led me into the woods early one Sunday morning, saw in hand. I had previously discovered “Tree Blocks” (www.treeblocks.com) on one of my web searches and felt that this was a woodworking project I could handle, keeping in mind my limited skill set. Considering we live on 16 acres, the majority of which is either forest or alders, it only made sense to venture into my own backyard for the project supplies. I carefully selected a few alder and birch branches to harvest and towed them back to the house to dry out for a few weeks. My dear husband, who always seems to get dragged into my endeavors, used a chop saw to cut the branches into blocks in one-inch increments. I hand sanded each block and then polished them with a sweet-smelling beeswax finish. Chi-Chi enjoyed participating in the project, happily sanding alongside me.
Needless to say, the blocks were a big hit with both of the boys. At 10 months, Muffy is fascinated with dumping them out of their basket. I don’t have to fret over the threat of toxic paint when he chooses to taste test the odd block. Chi-Chi immediately set to work building various garage structures for his cars. I too love our new blocks. They make my housekeeping duties a little more pleasant. I don’t seem to mind tidying up as much when I am handling something beautiful. I occasionally take a moment to smell the honey scent of the blocks and enjoy the melodic clinking sound as they drop into the basket. Despite the fact that I am an accountant, I love the imperfect nature of the blocks. Each one is unique and this helps the children find more creative methods to build and interact with them. These blocks definitely rank highly on the "most played" list in our household!