March 3, 2010

Clementine Box Storage

I am generally (if you hadn't guessed by now) a clean up after each activity and put things away kind of girl. What can I say, I like things to be tidy. But every since the advent of the magical playdoh recipe, rolling, cutting and squishing dough has become a regular part of our day. Rather than fetching and putting it away three or four times a day, the playdoh and various cutters have lived in an old clementine box on our dining room table pretty much constany for the past month and a half. Size-wise, the box is perfect. If you've never salvaged a clementine box for corralling doo-dads, your missing out. They are sturdy, stackable and perfect for keeping everything from tools to art supplies in. I have a stash of them in the basement and the guest room closet holding all kinds of bits and bobs. There's just one problem.

They are kind of ugly.

Well, not always, last week I bought a box of clems before we really needed them because the box had "Darling Clementine" painted on it's sides. It's vintagey looking and fun and looks pretty cute with my mason jars full of thread nestled inside. But most of the boxes we've gotten aren't so spiffy, the playdoh holder included.

So since I can't see an end in site to our current playdoh love (we've moved on to green from our original blue batch because someone fed most of the blue to the dog. I'd be shocked except Nigella will eat anything, she's a child's dream dog. Broccoli? Sure, Eggplant? Yes Please. Playdoh? yummy! Playmobil dolphin? Absolutely - well that one didn't go down that well with the kids. But hey, it's a good reason to keep their toys picked up!) I decided to do something to make the box more live-with-able. Enter Modge Podge.

I'll be honest, this is not the easiest thing to decoupage, mostly because it's not smooth. Clementine boxes are put together with big nasty staples which results in a slightly lumpy finish. But even lumpy was better than how it started.

I took apart a couple of old High Five Magazines which, by the way, are the best thing I've found for recycling into kids crafts. Tons of fun art, poems and pictures and fairly sturdy paper. While Evelyn practiced scissor skills (left handed or right? She's not totally sold on either....) I pasted and podged.

Instead of trying to cut the edges to fit the slightly uneven sides of the box, I used larger pieces of paper and then went back and trimmed with a razor blade which worked pretty well as long as I was patient enough to let things dry all the way before trimming, which I sometimes wasn't. But all in all I like the result and am thinking of making another for the markers and paper that spend most of their time on the coffee table. Would it be terrible though to make that one match the living room decor????

Oh, and here's a tip that I'm sure I learned when I was studying to be a kindergarten teacher but forgot when I had children and part of my brain disappeared. Dont set out all the cookie cutters all the time. We have a HUGE bowl of them on a high shelf in the playroom and every few days I pick ten or so to put in the box, rotating them through. Having less choice actually makes her more interested, and getting to see what cutters are in the box is always a fun surprise. Geesh, you would think that one would have stuck. Blame it on Mommy Brain...