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30/52 – Toy Stories

July 26, 2012

30/52 - Toy Stories

Back in June, I became fixated with all of these DIY play kitchens I saw popping up in blogs and on pinterest.  I was looking for a summer project and I knew that this was it.  The Doodle needed to have a play kitchen.

As luck would have it, we managed to score an old kitchen that a daycare had left by the curb for garbage pick up.  I was out for an evening walk with the dog and the Doodle’s known donor who was in town for the weekend.  It was in rough shape, but it had good bones, and all I could see was potential.  Apparently so did the Doodle’s KD as he didn’t flinch when I suggested that I needed it and we should come back with the car.  He lugged the kitchen on his back for more than five blocks and ruined his fabulous gay hair which was littered with flakes of 1970s peeling yellow varathane.

Indeed, it was beautiful.

Refinishing and refurbishing the kitchen became a family affair.  Bubaloo and Bella sanded, while Otto filled in the holes with wood putty and sanded them smooth again.  I took on the painting and installing some shiny new features.  This kitchen was begging for a sink, faucet and working oven light.

While it didn’t take long for the sanding and puttying and priming to take place, we got held up with a faucet.  I had my heart set on a play sink with a real faucet.  Only, I wasn’t willing to pay faucet prices (or really, any price for that matter) for a faucet that didn’t need to work and would be housed in a play kitchen.

I posted on f.book and an acquaintance had one at a house she was renovating.  Only it didn’t come through.  That’s when I started looking on ki.jii, freecycle, and even the ReStore, with no success.  By this time it was late June and the play kitchen just sat outside waiting to be finished.  I had given up hope of getting a faucet in a timely fashion and then resigned myself to waiting for the bathroom faucet that would be torn out in our forthcoming bathroom reno.

A month and a half later the bathroom reno began and I was more excited to wrap up the play kitchen than I was to have a nice, new non-leaky bathroom in our very own house.

The day demo began, I did my daycare pick up as fast as humanly possible and quickly arrived home to inquire about the faucet.  I had looked at what was tossed in the dumpster and what had been set aside for recycling and the faucet wasn’t anywhere to be seen.  Neither come to think of it was the old vanity, counter top or sink.

Turns out, the guys had set it on the driveway to disassemble later on in the day and by the time they walked into the house, up a flight of stairs and came directly back down with another load of debris, someone had picked it up right off of our driveway.  Vultures!  It wasn’t even at the curb.

I was crushed.  I almost gave up on my faucet and sink dreams.  I bemoaned the loss of that faucet.  I was pretty heartbroken.

Then I mentioned this in passing to our designer who was on a site visit and she offered to give us an old faucet sitting in her garage that she had torn out during an earlier demo.  Score!  We were back in motion.

Let’s have a closer look at the kitchen itself.

We changed the door on the left from opening to the side to opening up and down like a stove.  How cool is that?  I might figure out how to separate the right from the left on the top side and then paint in a grill on the left so it can be more like a stove.  We’ve also put a little push on/push off light on the stove side.

I rushed to put the finishing touches and put it all back together on Saturday as I wanted the Doodle to see it first thing when she woke up from her nap.  I wanted her to love it, but I also wanted to capture her surprised/awesome face on film.  I got the former, not the later (yet).

It didn’t take the Doodle long to get her imagination on.  She knew what to do with her new play kitchen the instant she saw it.

She loves doors, so I’m not surprised that she open and closed, and open and closed, and open and closed the doors.

It took her a while to explore the inner contents and we thought it was pretty funny that she loved the plush tomato (a food that she can’t eat because of sensitivities) and then the lettuce which she promptly gave to the dog.

Mama helped introduce the Doodle to a new form of imaginary play.  This is when the kitchen became more than doors and objects to move around.

Grandma gave the Doodle the wooden food earlier in the month in anticipation of the big kitchen reveal, and the only item she really related to was the banana.  She’s picked that up several times and giggled while pretending to eat it.

The Doodle’s big on fishie crackers, so Otto started with familiar word even though the object itself was foreign.

The Doodle got it.  She ate the fish, and then realized she could put lots of stuff in the pot on the stove, stir it up, and that Mama would eat it.

The Doodle played with the kitchen for a while, then we went on to something else, and I moved the kitchen into the house.

I was watering the plants when I peered in through the window to see an entirely amazing scene.  All three kids were playing together at the kitchen.  They were washing their hands.  The Doodle would turn the tap on, rub her hands to wash them, and turn the tap off again.  The big kids followed suit.

There was cooking and talking and lots of eating.  It was incredible to watch how much more imaginary play the Doodle was able to engage in than we thought possible, and how easily the big kids slipped back into imaginary play mode.

Otto and I were trying to get stuff done around the house when we heard uncontrollable baby laughter and squeals.  We walked into the midst of an imaginary food fight.  Priceless!

It’s pure joy to watch all of the kids play together.  I never imagined that the play kitchen would get this much mileage and from all of the kids at that. This is the best toy story possible.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2012 1:39 pm

    So great! The kitchen is just lovely. All your changes really personalized it and made it so functional and fun. LOVE the imaginary play. We’re still firmly in the “pick up a piece of food/kitchen implement and chuck it on the floor” stage of kitchen play. Maybe soon, though! With our niece I ate a whole lot of fake food for a couple of years there. “Mmmmm!” *smach smack* *fake chew* 😉

  2. August 3, 2012 10:23 pm

    It’s so fun to watch kids’ imaginations develop, and great that the big kids can help with this–I particularly love the last shot!
    And I’m so impressed with your crafty-ness! The kitchen looks great and it looks like the Doodle will be able to enjoy it for a long time to come.

  3. August 8, 2012 10:03 pm

    The kitchen is beautiful – you’re so creative!

  4. August 14, 2012 5:49 pm

    I read this post on my phone a while back and didn’t get a chance to comment, but I wanted to tell you how much I love it. It made me smile. Your kids are amazing!

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