Sunday, March 30, 2008

DIY Wooden Train Set

Note: The DIY wooden train track link given below is a dead link. Click here to visit my post with updated info.

Original Post: My two year old is really into the wooden train sets you can get from Brio, Imaginarium or Thomas and Friends (Thomas the Tank Engine). He plays with these trains for hours. The only problem is, you pay like $30 for this tiny little set of 12 pieces! Don't even get me started on the cost for a Thomas branded train character. Wow! Anyway, we are relying on birthdays, grandparents and holidays to fill out his set so we can build a sufficiently mongo train track. The problem for me is, I look at this wooden track and think, much to my wife's annoyance, "I can make that." Its wood, I've got a router, how hard can it be? So, to my point. I got online yesterday and found a site for a guy that has done it. He's posted instructions for building your own wooden train set online here. Your very own DIY wooden train track, cars and buildings. The step by step process is all listed here. I'm not even sure what the guy's (or ladies') name is, but in the interest of full disclosure, his e-mail starts "bkdonnelly". So I assume the last name is donnelly. Thanks Donnelly!

For my two year old's birthday, I built him a nice little train table out of that white shelf board and castor wheels you get at the home improvement store. I built it the size of an Imaginarium play mat we got and it turned out pretty good.  Thomas And Friends Sites On Sodor Play Mat By Fisher-Price (Google Affiliate Ad)  I put a drawer in it that is out of an old drafting table I no longer use to store spare track pieces. Above is a picture of what it looks like should you want a general idea of how to build your own.  Don't think you can do it yourself? Check out these cool pre-made train tables.  Kidkraft Metropolis Train Table And Set (Google Affiliate Ad), Kidkraft Ride Around Town Train Table And Set (Google Affiliate Ad).  Regardless of what you do. Make it yourself, or buy it... your kid will probably just play with the box the trains came in anyway.  Good luck!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Plastic Heart

Check out My Plastic to buy all kinds of fantastic wanna be pop culture items. Make a wall of shelves and buy a bunch of figures. Relive your childhood, only in a less wholesome way. Go there... you know you wanna.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Buy Prints. Save Cash. Help Charities.

Continuing on this vein of art for the masses... everyone has them, prints. They are an easy way to add art to your space, right? Monet's Water Lillies, Edvard Munch's Scream, Van Gogh's Starry Night... on and on, college dorm room staples. The problem is, everyone HAS THEM! Prints are great, but do you want a print that is just like everyone elses? NO! Check out the artists featured on BlueFlip Art. There are a couple reasons, they are cheap, they are good quality and they give the artist's the option to donate to charity with each purchase. Wow! How economically and socially reasonable!

From their site: (Blue Flip Art was created to help bring the work of amazingly talented artists into the hands of an adoring public without charging an arm and a leg. We believe that great art should be avail
able to all, and that it should enrich people as well as the pocketbooks of charities. What's this about charities? Participating BlueFlip artists get to donate 10% of the sale price of their prints to a non-profit charity of their choice. The artist gets compensated for their work, the customer gets a high quality print, and charities get a generous donation. How cool is that?)

So, go to Blue Flip Art and check out their stable of artists including Brian Taylor who I've been following off and on for some time. I'm planning to do a future post on him and some of his projects. He's a creative guy. (And now I'm realizing his style is like the Dekor guy in a recent post as well.) Now, onward! Go buy a new print for your bathroom wall at Blue Flip Art.

Above art copyright Brian Taylor. Check out one of his web sites

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Excessive "Cool" Use

I'm going to mention it before anyone else does... I use the word "cool" too much. Sorry.

By the way, my little boy, who is two, says "cool" as well. Wonder where he got it? "Cool car" is a favorite. He says it in a very high pitched tone, and it sounds like "coo ca". Its adorable.

Random thoughts.

Studiomama's Pallet Chair Download

11 July 08 update: The link to download this chair is no longer active. But, check out Ms. Tolstrup's very cool other designs here!)

Nina Tolstrup, also known as Studiomama, is a Danish designer living in the UK. Recently profiled in Dwell magazine, she has that European design aesthetic that is so popular. I love it. I hate it. Its too good for its own good. Its brilliant. In the end, I usually end up loving it... who am I kidding, those Europeans are just too cool.

She designed a chair in 2006 for an exhibition called Ten, 10, X, which the premise was to design something that could be had for 10 pounds (I don't know how to or want to take the time to figure out how to make the "pound" sign, sorry.) Anyway, she came up with designs for furniture that could be assembled out of pallets. Pretty smart. The instructions for a really cool chair could (can) be downloaded from her web site and built by the "Downloader" from locally sourced materials... wood pallets. Its interesting on a few levels, but mainly because pallets start out spare and utilitarian, but she managed to make them into this beautiful lounge chair, which is spare, and utilitarian, but beautiful on a whole different level than a pallet. You look at the chair and say, "that is vaguely familiar", then it hits you... a pallet! Cool.

I like this idea of being able to have high design, or a piece of art available for anyone smart enough to find it and motivated enough to recreate it. Check out Studiomama's Pallet Chair.

Check out Studiomama
Download the chair design here (11 july 08. Sorry, no longer an active link)
Check out Dwell magazine

Pallet and chair photos copyright of their respective photographers.