I still have Christmas-making to show you! Can you believe it! I don’t know where my head is.
Well, long ago I came across an article which, of course, I didn’t save (or possibly saved somewhere really, really special). It was by a mom who noticed that her little boy loved to play with the things she found at the hardware store. So she made him his own box with real hardware to open and shut and click and clack to his heart’s content.
I never got around to making one for our own kids, but now that we are grandparents, well, the time had come. I told The Chief my plan and he was all for it. We would make two — one for FX and that family and one for Pippo and that family. Although I couldn’t track down the original article I had in mind, I did find this inspiration on Pinterest.
Of course, as usual, I didn’t think to work on this sometime in the summer or any other reasonable time, and he always works hard right up until the moment Christmas is upon us, so we had to scramble to get the vision into reality.
One big obstacle for me was that the preferred vehicle for this busy box would be a box. A wooden box for carpenter’s tools, or even like the one I have my sewing things in — that would be sturdy enough. I remember Habou getting it for me from a crafts supply place, and it must have been in the late 80s. Just to judge by how I decorated it!
I am quite sure that such a thing was fairly available until maybe the 90s? And now it’s just not. I am sad about that.
Well, despite quite a bit of searching, I couldn’t find anything sturdy and simple. Or anything at all wooden. So we went with what we had in the garage — a piece of countertop that he sanded down and some other scrap pieces for the sides and back. You want to extend the back so that the sharp bolts and screw ends are hidden.
Then we went to town on the things to attach. It was fun. Even the guy at the hardware store had fun brainstorming things that click (like the innocuous looking little black knob there that actually clicks as you turn it in a very satisfying way) and snap and close and open.
We avoided electrical outlet things — those outdoor outlets with the covers that snap shut are very appealing, but we decided that it would be irresponsible of us to highlight such a thing.
Training for opening locked windows and doors seems like enough danger for one set of grandparents to bestow.
It’s hard to keep in mind which way is up, so yes, this outlet cover is upside down! But the switch is fun.
The outside faucet knob (below on the left corner) was the closest thing we could find to a single doorknob that turns (there are simple ones for closet doors but they don’t turn, so forget it). Maybe you could find a used one, but at least this turns.
And it needed a little door. I’m hoping it will be sturdy enough, but it’s easy to fix if not. The actual delay in finally giving these over (it was all done — two! — by Christmas morning otherwise) was my inability to settle on a picture for this spot. Because it needed a picture…
Finally I decoupaged this one (printed out from my computer and from this delightful book: Alice Provensen’s The Animal Fair — keep an eye out for it at yard sales!), but it might be fun to put a picture of the parents or the family in there too:
I think if you start now, just collecting random little latches and locks and hinges, you will be good to go by Christmas! I hope they enjoy their busy boxes!