We're getting ready for Christmas and a pretty big home renovation project soon after, so Ryan and I are currently rearranging, packing things up, and fixing little details around the house.
Since James was old enough to crawl, we've had a wooden toy box in front of our never-used fireplace. It works great to hold toys and keep both boys out of the fireplace, but we're a little tired of seeing it there. Since we'll be getting new flooring, we're hoping to dress up the living room a bit, which means relocating the trusty toy box to a different area of the house.
So how, then, to disguise the fireplace in a less intrusive way?
Ryan actually suggested boarding it up completely, when I remembered running across this clever idea several years ago when first searching for a fireplace-disguise solution.
We adapted her instructions using a piece of wood cut to fit inside our fireplace, which we then covered with ivory felt that matches the tile around the hearth. The board is tethered to the inside of the fireplace, to prevent it from falling on the boys, and it will eventually be attached to the fireplace walls via strips of velcro. The board is extremely thin and light, so it won't hurt our little guys even if it should bump a head or two.
I cut out different shapes and patterns in colored felt, and gave the boys free reign. Rhys was delighted and proceeded to eat some small felt pieces, so I realize that I need to give them large pieces for now. James had a blast making different shapes and patterns, and then literally wiping the slate, or board, as the case may be, free with his hands. I might have gotten a bit uptight about this, and Ryan quickly reminded me that our son is not going to play with this new creation like a "sweet little girl." Point taken.
Overall, we're pretty pleased with this new toy, and I'm impressed that Ryan and I did it together, for less than $20.