Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Decorated Step Stools

Every family seems to have a lot of traditions and our family is no exception.  Because I am not a very tall person, step stools are a part of my life.  My father, the carpenter, built me my own step stool when I was little so that I could brush my teeth and wash my hands by myself, get my books off of my tall book shelves, or retrieve anything that I needed.  So, when my children were small, I decided that each of them needed their own step stool.  Thus,  a tradition was started!  At the time, I met a man who constructed unfinished furniture and bought a few unfinished one-step stools which I painted and decorated for each of my kids.  Then, I decorated stools for all of my nieces and nephews, trying to capture subjects that they were interested in.  When they're one or two years old, it is often a guess.    

Now that I have great-nephews, I decided to keep the tradition going and have already painted a step stool for each of our older great nephews.  Our two youngest great-nephews turned one this past November, and I was looking forward to painting a stool for each of them.  However, I was having difficulty finding nice unfinished stools, that were sturdy enough for toddlers!  But, I was in luck and found the perfect stools at OldVirginiaHome at   I was thrilled with these stools as they are beautifully made and  arrived in perfect condition to paint.  Even better, the stool  surface is much larger than previous stools, leaving lots and lots of room to decorate.  As you will see, I had a good time painting and I hope the boys love them!

I decorated my funny, sweet, great nephew Hudson's stool with a farm yard scene.  The theme of his first birthday party was all about "The Farm".  He loves to play with his farm toys such as his farm animals, tractors, etc.  But, I hear that he really likes to make the animal noises.

I tried to include all of the essentials that a farm would need such as a barn, of course, a tractor,  a water pump, a vegetable garden, a field of hay and hay bales, a seed bag....

...a corn field, a  Scarecrow, a crow, farm animals, and most important..Farmer Hudson!

Sadly, Hudson and his brother were too sick to attend our Christmas family get-together.  I have heard that the boys are feeling much better, thank goodness, so I am hoping that he is enjoying his stool.

My other, sooo cute, full of energy, one year old great nephew, is Henry.  Since his grandparents live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I decided to paint his stool in what I imagined his grandpa, my brother, would have loved to have as a child...his own tree house in the middle of the woods.  My bother has attained many of his dreams and is a forester who, to this day, spends quite a bit of his time in the northern woods!  I hope that Henry will point to this stool someday and ask his Grandpa to help him build a tree house...what fun!

The focus, of course, is the tree house.  But, I wanted to add as many animals as I could that he may encounter in the woods in the Upper Peninsula.  I had to include a Black bear and its cub, a doe and it's spotted fawn, a moose, a fox, a raccoon, frogs, a snake, a squirrel, butterflies, a Cardinal , and of course, a skunk!  I hear that he has enjoyed looking for and pointing to the animals!

Henry's Mom's name is Teal, so I added the Blue Winged Teals floating by in the river.

The Tree House...any kid's dream.  As you can see, little Henry has everything he needs:  a lantern, snacks- apples he has picked, a bottle of pop, a comic book, baseball, bat and mitt, fishing pole, bow and arrows, and his trusty sling shot!  He has a bucket of water if he needs it, and a tire swing.  He is wearing Scarlett and Gray (his Dad is so happy), and he is also wearing his "Stormy Kromer" hat so he can be just like his Grandpa!

A bit of a closeup of the frogs ,bees, the raccoon, and deer.

I had a lot of fun with the "greenery."  I had to add my favorite tree, the Paper Birch, but also included pine trees, a "Royal" Oak,  a Catalpa, a Willow, and a Mountain Ash.. The bushes and flowers include:  Blueberries, Daisies, Holly Hocks, Cardinal Flowers, Wild Iris, Ferns, Phlox, Milkweeds, Tansy, mushrooms, and Thimbleberry plants.

My sweet husband usually prepares the stools by sanding  (not this time, thanks to OldVirginiaHome), and staining.  He also sprays the final clear protective coat.  I use acrylic paints.

I was so pleased when my niece texted me, that when Henry received his stool, she was fondly reminded of her own stool.  She even sent of a picture of Henry "having fun" with his stool!

Henry and his Step-Stool!  

Family Traditions!  They mean so much!

Hope you have a wonderful week!


  1. Another GREAT post showing your immense creativity. The details on the stools are so amazing, Gayl. How funny, but Hudson stood on his stool just like Henry did. Do they not know stools are also for sitting? Thank you again for sharing with your readers. It was fun reminiscing about stool over the years and seeing our dust-covered ones from the 'shop!' tmv

  2. They were both SO pretty - great job Mom!

  3. Of course, another CLEVER project by Aunt Gayl!! My, the details! Such nice family keepsakes for the kids....the tradition continues. . .YOU ROCK, GAYL !
    Grmma Sally