Behind the Blog

Initially, I called this blog the "Build With Me Blog" because "build with me" was the request that I heard the most often from my two year old daughter. While the blog and my own DUPLO builds started out as something that I could do with my daughter, it has evolved into something more for me. While we most definitely still build together, we also now build in parallel.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

O Duplo Tree, O Duplo Tree!

     Just a few short months after having my second daughter, we moved from our small house in the suburbs to an even smaller apartment in the city - one state over. When I told my sister about the move, one of her first questions was "What are you going to do with all of your Duplos?" While the Duplos made it past the trimming of all the things that we have gathered over the years, most of our holiday decorations did not. Not only do we not have a yard to decorate with blinking lights, oversized ornaments and tinsel, we also do not have the space to store a lot of holiday trappings during the rest of the year. While I find this simplified lifestyle very refreshing and kind of freeing, my now five year old daughter still wanted to go all out with the Christmas decorations. Since we simply couldn't bring anything new into the apartment, I tried to think of something that we could make with stuff we already had and that could be disassembled after the holidays. Duplos to the rescue!
     Now that I am a mom, I am sort of rediscovering the season through my two daughters, and so it seems very fitting to make decorations out of materials that are so reminiscent of childhood. For me, it feels whimsical and happy - everything that I hope the season will be. Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Duplo Mother Goose: Hey Diddle Diddle

The cow jumped over the moon
Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

    When I started building this rhyme, I wasn't sure if cows really jumped. They do! On the internet, I found an assorted collection of pictures showing cows that didn't quite make the jump over the fence enclosing their pasture. They didn't seem hurt - just startled to be stuck on top of the fence beam. I also discovered a story about Regina Mayer, a German teenager, who taught her cow Luna to jump like a show horse.
    My search for stories about jumping cows also lead me to a wonderful version of this rhyme sculpted entirely from butter! Sculptors Deborah Brown and Barbara Westover made an exquisite butter "Hey Diddle Diddle" piece for the Utah State Fair. Their piece reminded me of the butter cow that makes an annual appearance at the Iowa State Fair. My husband and I lived in Iowa for a number of years and made the trip to the late summer fair several times where we saw enormous pumpkins, prize winning carrots, the world's largest bull and, of course, the butter cow.
Side View
    The Duplo cow is supported by the halo of light blue bricks around the moon. I was worried that the weight of the cow would cause this to collapse, but it has held strong! I think that the cow is a bit "blocky". I didn't have enough white and black Duplos to make it larger and smoother looking. Maybe one day!!
Front View

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Duplo Mother Goose: The Old Woman in the Shoe

The Old Woman in the Shoe
The Old Woman in the Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do. She gave them some broth with plenty of bread. She kissed them all sweetly and put them to bed.

I am back! I didn't get to build very much last year because of a really tough pregnancy. Now I am the mom to two beautiful daughters. With all the activity surrounding the new baby, I started thinking about nursery rhymes and decided that it would be fun to try and recreate some of them in Duplo. I changed the rhyme a bit because my four year old would definitely be upset at the idea of the old woman not giving the children any bread and whipping them soundly before sending them to bed. Those original Mother Goose rhymes can be pretty tough!

Side View
   "The Old Woman in the Shoe" was really fun to build, and it became a playset for my four year old. The boot is mostly hollow, and my daughter liked to open the door and windows (there are windows on each side of the boot) to place the children inside the house. She also filled the yard with more people, animals, and even Duplo food.

  The boot laces are made from Duplo gas pumps. I love using those.
Front View

Window Detail