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montessori-wooden-toys

montessori-wooden-toys

montessori-wooden-toys

montessori-wooden-toys

The Montessori approach emphasizes natural materials that are safe for children and encourage imagination and self-directed play. The vast majority of Montessori toys that are not books are made of wood. Wooden toys are mostly quite simple, but they are far more than just beautiful to look at.

Wooden Toys are just Better.

They’re timeless. They encourage imagination. They are less distracting.

They will far outlive all of the plastic toys. They have been popular for centuries and are true and tried. Even though they may seem expensive, they will last for multiple children or multiple generations. Their durability naturally makes them better for the environment because they are less likely to end up in landfill a year later. Wooden toys are also much safer than plastic ones because they cannot break easily.

Wooden toys are Beautiful.

They’re more aesthetically pleasing. Having a room full of plain wooden toys and decor is actually less distracting for a child. And when guests come around, there’s less need to put all of the toys away if they blend into the decor.

Find our wooden sitting bear and pull along duck with duckling here. Save with our code PHOENIXANDTHEOCEAN.

montessori-wooden-toys

montessori-wooden-toys

We’re celebrating all the Mumma’s out there and have teamed up with some beautiful, Australian Instagram accounts to give you a super combo for you and your mini!

So let’s get to the good stuff: What Do You Win?

Each shop listed below is giving away either a product or a store credit to one lucky winner! Go to my Instagram page (@phoenixandtheocean) and follow along with all 8 Instagram accounts to enter. For more chances to win, tag your friends!

@phoenixandtheocean

That’s US!

All of our products at Phoenix and the Ocean are designed, handmade or illustrated by me, Traci Sheppard, on Sydney’s Northern beaches. I am a beach enthusiast and love minimalism homewares. One lucky winner will receive one of our A4 size Prints of their choice and a wood + clay cactus beaded garland.

@hellolittlebead

Hello Little Bead hand makes undeniably beautiful baby teething accessories. They are one of the only brands that are safe, tested and certified. The teether pictured is their exclusive wooden Monstera Leaf. Accessorize your little one at home or on the go with one of their gorgeous teethers or pram garlands.

@little.sea.luxe

We are loving the nappy clutches from Little Sea Luxe! Their products are an absolute must, especially for the beach loving Mum. Everything is made with natural, breathable fabrics, which are perfect for your little beach babe. Be sure to check out their mini beach towels and linen blooms… they are simply gorgeous!

@indieandbeau

I’ve had my eye on Indie and Beau for a while. Sarah takes the most beautiful photos and her tropical candle scents are so beautiful and strong that they will leave you feeling like you’re on a holiday at home. I’m so excited to finally have her Pineapple + Coconut one and honestly do not even want to burn it because it smells too good. Her Coconut + Lime is also to die for.

@one_little_two_little

Kirsty from One Little Two Little brings to Australia the most globally inspired fashion and furnishings for the modern Mum + bub. Everything she carries is amazing and entirely on trend. Pictured here is her beautiful, Belgium designed Moses basket. Kirsty has such an eye for style and brings to you the most sustainable products for your littles that are sure to inspire you! She is also the only Australian stockist that now carries the insta-famous Snuggle Me Organic baby lounger.

@onefinesundayco

So beautiful, so soft and perfect for every beach outing. Onefinesundayco has such beautiful turkish towels! I can’t wait to dry off in style with ours at the beach, set up a picnic, use as a baby blanket or pram cover.  And I love all their classic neutral colours! Currently obsessed with their aztec turkish throw.

@lal__nil

I’ve recently discovered a fellow Sydney brand, Lal & Nil on Instagram and was captured by Georgina’s beautiful eye for style. She’s launched an online range of gorgeous cot quilts. They come in a seriously stunning range of colours. Get cosy with your littles under these beautiful organic cotton bedspreads.

@fiddle.and.thread

Another gorgeous emerging Sydney label, Fiddle and Thread creates lovely handmade clothing and accessories for your little ones! Liz’s designs are simple and classic… and they are crafted to last in style and quality! She even uses preloved clothing to create some of her pieces… hello vintage lovers!

Head on over to my Instagram page to enter to win it all! (That’s over $300!) YAYAYA!!

scandinavian-bunny-garland

With Easter approaching, there are many things available to buy in the shops for kids. Let’s face it, most of those items are going to end up in landfill and there are certainly other, more environmental ways to celebrate Easter.

I had a pile of old linen pillow cases that I cut up into scraps and thought would be suitable for this project. Beautiful wool/polyester felt would suit these garlands even better, if you have any. Most people have old sheets or pillowcases hanging around and its a great way to recycle fabric. You don’t have to be an expert at sewing to create this garland (i’m definitely not) and Phoenix really loves these bunnies hanging in our apartment.

Let’s get started.

Scandinavian-bunny-garland

scandinavian-bunny-garland

[What you’ll need]

Old sheets or pillow cases. I chose greys and whites for the ultimate Scandi-style look.

Black or white yarn for the bunny faces

Black, white or grey embroidery thread

White string

1 piece of thin cardboard

Pillow filling or excess yarn or excess fabric to fill the bunnies

a pen

a large embroidery needle for threading yarn

a small sewing needle for thread

1 chopstick

small scissors

washi tape to hang

[How to Create]

[Draw and Cut] a bunny head stencil approximately 13cm tall x 9cm wide on your piece of cardboard.

[Trace] your bunny stencil with a pen onto your fabric and cut out 10 bunny heads. Keep in mind, you’ll need two sides for each colour of bunny. I cut out 4 dark grey, 4 light grey and 2 white bunny shapes.

[Thread] your embroidery needle with black yarn and knot it at the end. On half of the bunnies, thread and knot the cross pattern for their mouths. Coming from behind, come up through the bunny and cross over diagonally and thread back through. Thread again to the front and thread diagonally across back through. Knot at the back and cut. Repeat until you’ve created 5 bunny mouths. Don’t worry too much about the crosses being perfectly the same. Then, knot your yarn again and thread the eyes.

[Thread] your smaller needle with your white, black or grey thread to begin stitching the bunnies together. Double the thread and knot it. When threading the bunnies, I used a method called the blanket stitch. If you are new to sewing, check out this simple video to see how. Once you’re ready, layer one of your bunny faces with the same colour of a plain bunny. Begin stitching from the left ear and work your way around both ears first. Once the ears are stitched, fill them with your pillow filling or scraps of yarn/fabric. Use your chopstick to assist gently filling the ears.

[Continue stitching] your way around the bunny face until you reach 2-3 fingers width left. Fill the remainder of the bunny with pillow filling and then complete the stitch until you reach the spot where you began on the left ear. Double knot your thread and cut.

[Stitch] the rest of your bunnies.

[Cut] a piece of string approximately 100cm long and thread through your embroidery needle.

[Thread] it through your bunnies just below the ears one by one in the colour order you desire. Note that the bunnies may slide across your string when hung. If you would like them to stay into place, double knot the string after each bunny is threaded about 8cm apart.

[Fold] over the two ends and knot to create a nice loop for hanging. I used pattern washi tape to hang my garland.

scandinavian-bunny-garland

Scandinavian-bunny-garland

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5-tips-to-a-tidy-home-with-toddlers

5-tips-to-a-tidy-home-with-toddlers

My OCD kicked in enormously during my first pregnancy with Phoenix. I was excited to bring a child into our lives. I was also questioning how a little person (and all of his toys) would stay organized in our small apartment. I was imagining my minimal living room looking like a colourful, childcare centre with shiny, plastic toys piled high. There were changes that I would have to be flexible on. No more cactus pot plants in reach, candles have to be moved up higher and breakables completely removed for a while. I’ve somehow managed to combine our living room with Phoenix’s play room and I actually still love the look and feel of our space. Here are my five tips on how to keep your home tidy with toddlers.

1. Amount of Toys

The biggest chance that your living room will start looking like a daycare, is the amount of toys your children own. The more toys there are, the more space you will need to store them and the more likely that a thousand different pieces will end up everywhere. A large mess will always seem like an enormous task to complete, and chances are you will lose motivation to keep it organized, especially when it will all be pulled out again the next day. The best way to reduce the amount of toys in your living room is to monitor the amount coming in and rotate toys. Keep half tucked away in the bedroom closet and swap them around from time to time. Cull regularly. Birthdays and Christmas bring in a bunch of new, exciting toys. This is a great time to declutter, donate or transfer unused or outgrown toys to storage.

2. Maximize Wall Space

Take advantage of your walls and hang beautiful decor. Moving all of the little things off of lower, reachable surfaces created a more minimal space for us. Sometimes we accumulate too many bits and pieces and that just means more clutter and there is something to be said about a clean surface. If you’re finding that you’ve had to remove statement pieces out of your living areas and things are looking bare, maximize your wall space. Beautiful macrame, wall decals, hanging plants, garlands and framed art can add a lot of texture to your home. Shop our handcrafted wall decor and art prints here.

3. Store Everything in Baskets

Baskets are great. There are so many beautiful baskets in homeware stores right now and they are an easy, affordable, storage solution. Phoenix loves easy access to his toys and baskets help us keep them off the floor at the end of the day. We use them to keep his toys and clothes organized. When it’s time to clean up, it’s so easy to pop everything back into a basket. We love the felt storage hamper at Kmart right now.

4. Involve your Toddler

Young children are like sponges. They are watching everything we do, and can’t wait to copy us. Staying on top of your home organization also teaches them how to take care for their toys and space. Phoenix loves to do whatever I’m doing and enjoys feeling helpful. It might seem pointless to put away the toys daily, but there is a good chance that if they see you do it, they will start doing it too. Make it a daily routine before bed.

5. Opt for Neutral Toys to be on Display

Toys that will regularly reside in your living space look much nicer if they’re neutral. We love wooden toys right now, and they’re so much more beautiful to look at (if they are left out). Phoenix likes his plastic toys too, but I try and keep those ones tucked out of sight when he’s not playing with them. I secretly was just as excited about Phoenix’s wooden IKEA kitchen as he was. We’ve built it into our decor. I don’t mind that it’s out in the open because it fits into our style. Wooden toys aren’t a “new thing” either. We’ve picked up some beautiful ones at Kmart, second-hand sales and thrift stores.

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