leader joy montessori

In a perfect world Max and Lola would be wearing all handmade organic cotton clothes and quietly playing with their Scandinavian-style natural wood grain toys. Wouldn't that be dreamy? But every parent knows the brightly colored plastic toy struggle is real! That's why I was so excited when I was asked to partner on a post with Leader Joy Montessori USA.

Leader Joy has been in business for over a decade, but their expansion into the United States is more recent. Their Montessori materials are chemical free, non-toxic, and completely environmentally friendly, not to mention easy on the eyes and yes, educational too!

I really wanted to test an item that both Max and Lola could enjoy, so I chose the scale. It includes three red weights and three blue weights in different sizes, but it was fun to look around the house and have the kids use their own toys as well. They had fun guessing which animals would weight more than others, or whose name would weight more. (Do you think it was MAX or LOLA?)

The kids were playing together so nicely- it was a good break from legos and matchbox cars.

This post is sponsored by Leader Joy Montessori, however all opinions and thoughts are my own.


little looms

I'm having so much fun with my giant loom! I think Max caught the fever too because he came home from school one day and excitedly told me that he was weaving in art class. It's one of those paper weavings, remember those? He knew all about "over under, under over" and felt like he should help me on my latest weaving. Which I loved for all of 2 minutes, and then suggested we make him his very own loom. So we did!

John got some kid friendly (not kid friendly at all, just small) hammers and we let the kids knock together their own looms. I gave them freedom of shape, which is why Max's and Lola's are different.

Most of the tutorials out there for looms suggest using nails for the warp, which is great in most cases since they are cheap and easy. But to make these safer for kids, and a little cuter, I used push pins. 

I threaded them (the warp) and then the kids chose the colors they wanted to weave.

This is such a fun, easy, and inexpensive project. It's fun to be able to share something you love with your children. One rainy, chilly night Max and I were both weaving in front of the fire and I have to say- it was cool.

**The first image and this last image is Max's work- solo, without help. I provide the yarn, but he is creating a weaving all his own.


the office / playroom

Next up on my little home tour- the office! I mean play room. Well, it's both actually. Ok, let me explain... 

Let's start from the beginning. Below is the only photo I have of this room and it was taken before we moved in. I have nothing against a formal dining room, and maybe someday we'll go there... But I work from home and have two small kids and we just needed that space for work and play. Also, there are sliding doors to the back porch in this room, so I wanted to keep it a little more open.

I knew I wanted to make this room work for me and the kids. A shared space, if you will. Plenty of desk space for all, a good amount of storage for my crafts, but accessible so the kids could be creative as well. IKEA has a "create your own" space with all different office type configurations. This was perfect since I really just wanted to figure out how to fill a whole wall with two adult desks and one kids desk. 

None of the pieces are permanently affixed to one another, so we can change out the desk tops, legs, etc. at any time. We'll probably do this soon actually, since the kids are already getting tall for their desk. 

I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy for keeping everything available to the kids. They can pull books from the bookshelves, crayons are out to draw on the easel, they own one of those drawer units- filled with paper, scissors, markers. And sometimes it is a headache, but usually it's actually not. They are more likely to create on their own terms and for once I'm not pulling something out of the closet for them. It's pretty nice.

So there you have it. This is where we work, write, weave, dance, draw and read.


DIY Hand-Stitched Rug / Wall Hanging

Have you ever been to IKEA and just think to yourself, man this place is like the Disneyland of DIY projects? I mean, IKEA hacks have officially barfed all over the blog/Pinterest world. There are so many ways to creatively use their products, and honestly, they're just so affordable. Since I've become slightly (not slightly) obsessed with weaving, I decided to do an IKEAdjustment of my own. 

I picked up the SINNERLIG Rug and hand-stitched my own design! It was so fun, easy, and for under $30, it doesn't break the bank.

All you need is a tapestry needle (because it's sturdier and longer) and some wool yarn. 

Then just start stitching! This part is really up to you. I wanted my design to feel unexpected and organic, with some tribal elements mixed in for structure. The rug is made of seagrass, so the rigidity of the weave creates these small spaces that are perfect to sew through.

The hardest part of this DIY was whether to use it as a wall hanging or rug!


the photo sweep

Ah, friends. I really love me a photography sweep. It is a simple trick I use all. the. time. I've busted this out for a majority of my Museum Shop posts because the pics come out super clean, and the product pops. But I actually use it on a larger scale too for pictures of the kids. Case in point- our Christmas card photos.



I usually do this outside because the lighting is always better. Even on cloudy days. (Actually cloudy days are better because there won't be as many shadows) So, even though the siding needs to be washed and the deck paint is peeling, inside that paper is so fresh and so clean clean. You may have toys laying around everywhere and someone was eating crackers with their mouth open next to you, but you only hear choir voices when you see that paper sweep.

That is how the card turned out. The hardest part was choosing which pictures to use, because I came out with all these cuties!

Obvs there were outtakes. Caption as necessary...

Same technique below from many moons ago. I printed these out in black and white for my living room. This was a sunny day though, can you tell the difference?

So, go get y'all some backdrop paper!
little mr moo.
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