Happy Bungalow

Wooden Toy Safety Warning

So we had a little incident here a few weeks ago; apparently you can have too much fun!  A few hundred toys were gathered, creating a sort of critical mass of fun.  There were a dozen or so rainbows emanating from our living room, and we’re pretty sure we saw a real life fairy.

To be clear, no irreparable damage was done, but the folks from NASA and the NOAA asked us to put a new notice on our toys:

“Playing with Happy Bungalow Toys may open a rift in the PLAY-FUN continuum.”

But we really don’t see the harm in honest play, so we added:

“Please play with joyous abandon!”

Interested in some living room science?  Pick up some toys in our online toy shop.wooden toy safety warning

kid illustration of family

Happy Bungalow’s Wooden Toy Promo Video

Our first promo video – put together for a grant application.  Filmed on location in the Bungalow.  Featuring our super-fun wooden toys, head-artisan Don, and an artist rending of the entire crew.

Happy Bungalow Makes Wooden Toys, Repairs Plastic Toys

As you might guess, there is no shortage of toys here at the Bungalow.  Plenty of wooden toys, sure, but we have some plastic toys as well.  We encourage everyone to buy handmade wooden toys, perhaps in our online toy shop, but there are some thing you just can’t make out of wood.  Like a tiny ladybug just a bit bigger than a penny (see below).  Perhaps you’ll recognize her as the companion of a well known [and skimpily dressed] fairy.  Wears a lot of green, has a fondness for lost things, and tinkering.

Anyway.  The ladybug is a mighty favorite of one of the Kids here at the Bungalow.  A faithful companion for months (literally never leaving his side).  Some of the paint eventually wore off, and then off came an antennae.  Liz and I were well practiced in finding the ladybug, so despite odds to the contrary, we found the broken antennae (about the thickness of spaghetti and 1/8″ long).

A superglue fix lasted about an hour.  “The ladybug broke again!”

Okay.  It’s time to get serious.

We can rebuild her.  We have the technology.  We can make her stronger.

tiny plastic ladybug undergoing antennae repair

I take our injured bug to the shop (note penny and vintage Lance’s X-Acto knife for scale).  She needs a metal rod implanted to strengthen the break.  By some miracle a company makes a drill bit just a bit thicker than a human hair (only sort of exaggerating).  I carefully drill into the ladybug, then manage to drill into the broken antennae (and not my finger).  Snip a piece of wire, glue it together, glue my fingers together.

Wait, what?

Ugh.  Yeah, I super-glued my fingers together.  Note than slicing the fingers apart with an X-Acto knife is more challenging than you might think.  But soaking your fingers nail-polish remover will [eventually] loosen up the glue (read:  1/2 hour of your life spent considering why you didn’t wear latex gloves).

But most importantly the ladybug was made whole and the Kids were happy and thankful.

Of course three weeks later it broke again.  To our workmanship’s credit though, the new break was above the bionic implant.  The broken piece was lost to eternity, but the Kids came to terms with the loss.

We’re happy to report that Ladybug is worn around the edges, but still well-loved.



Happy Bungalow is a Family Business

Happy Bungalow is a family business – Don, Liz, and the Kids.hand-drawn family portraitHappy Bungalow makes wood toys – but don’t think grandpa whittling on the back porch, rather – roaring dinosaurs, zooming fast cars, flittering fairies, and the most awesome robots you’ll find.  We use only natural wood (no stains) and only make toys we want our kids to play with (and yes, that we have fun playing with as well).  We’re an old-fashioned family business – our woodshop is part of our house and holds a number of tools, but no lasers.  Every piece is cut by hand, sanded silky smooth, and finished with love.  Well, linseed oil and beeswax actually – it turns out love doesn’t adhere to wood very well.

Robot Lords from Cosmic Space

Vintage Looking Sci-Fi Movie Poseter With Robots

“Vintage” movie poster:  Robot Lords from Cosmic Space.  Looks nice, and maybe passably real at a glance.  Though we made this one up ourselves.  The robots in the poster are renderings of our own wooden robot toys available for purchase in our online toy shop.  Pick one up and make some fun of your own.

wood dinosaurs cause havok with wooden toy cars in play scene

Dinosaurs vs Cars

The day was getting on just fine until the dinosaurs showed up and started turning over cars.wood dinosaurs cause havok with wooden toy cars in play sceneWant to have a dinosaurs vs cars matchup in your own home?  Well, just head over to our shop and pick up some wood dinosaurs and toy cars.

Robot Disco

robot toys dance on circuit board dance floor

Love Always Wins

Two handcrafted wood robots holding hands with the caption, LOVE ALWAYS WINS

Homestead – Wooden Art

This is a companion piece to another wooden art piece I did:  “Pa Never Thought Much of the Sinkhole Until the Dragon Came Out of It”

This piece, Homestead, is loosely related, or not at all related.  Copper and wood are the materials used, and are some of our favorite materials to make wooden toys from as well.wood art - log cabin - racoons eye viewwood art - log cabin with copper trees  Wood art - log cabin and outbuilding wood art - log cabin homestead

Snowman Cake (recipe)

Happy-Bungalow-snowman-cakeRecently the Kids demanded the creation of a Snowman Cake. “Snowman cake!”

“OK,” the parents of the house said.  “What’s a snowman cake?”

There followed a good five minutes determining, debating, and settling upon just what a snowman cake is.  In the end we concluded that the Kids didn’t know what a snowman cake was, only that they wanted to make one.

What resulted was a young-person directed monument to overindulgence.  Here’s how it went:

My wife baked a 13×9 sheet cake.  Everyone helped spread on chocolate frosting.  Good so far.

And here’s where, if you’re making this at home, I highly recommend you STOP.  Slice the cake and serve with a glass of cold milk or a dish of ice cream.  You’ll thank me.

We did not stop there however.  Keeping with the ill-defined snowman theme the cake was assaulted with powdered sugar (don’t think dusted with; think dumped on).  Next came colored sugar and leftover cupcake decorations.  And why not pour on a quarter cup of sprinkles?  For good measure.


We had some chocolate chips lying around.  On the cake they go!  “Somethings missing. . .”  The Kids muse.  Yes of course, we’re missing smiley faces of M&Ms.

And just in case any sweetness tried to escape (or a vegetable tried to nose its way in), the perimeter of the cake was ringed with a wall of marshmallows.

You might be thinking, “Why did you let your children put so much on top of the cake?”  Two reasons:  1. Dancing in my head was a vision of some Hallmark / Norman Rockwell family story that would be passed down for generations.  “Remember the time we made the 2,000 calorie a slice snowman cake?”  2. I do like deserts, and on paper this cake was adding up quite nicely.

But, as you’ve no-doubt sleuthed, the cake was terrible.  When we weren’t choking on powered sugar dust, the rest of the sweet lot was actively boring holes into our teeth.  And naturally none of the Kids ate a marshmallow.  Mostly they picked off the chocolate chips and M&Ms.

In the end I salvaged the day with a toy bulldozer – strip-mining the cake until the edible original layer of cake frosting was exposed.  Messy, but fun; and a respectable dessert.  [or desert – I get them confused – whichever one isn’t filled with sand and camels]

Well, I guess in the end we might have ended up with a cherished family story after all.

I’m off to the dentist now.