One of my favourite things about Country Mummy is discovering wonderful small businesses and promoting their amazing products.
Sarah from Recycled Unique Furniture Design is insanely talented & creative, and her designs are in a league of their own.
From her warehouse premises she designs and makes the most incredible furniture and toys perfect for little learners. Her reviews from both private customers and as a supplier for early years education are 5*and it’s easy to see why.
She recently visited Somerset so that I could take some photographs for her new website, and the items I got to see first-hand were the mud, sand and water tables – all 3 play stations are exceptionally well made and the girls haven’t stopped playing with them since.
Sarah is happy to create designs to suit individual needs, the play stations mentioned can be made at different heights for different aged children, and if needed the sand table can slip neatly under the water table to save on space. The detail on each piece of furniture is lovely, and this kit is built to last.
There is more about Sarah and her business below, but first I thought I’d share some of the many things the girls have been up to with their new toys & why they are a fantastic educational tool…
Making potions in a mud kitchen is the perfect way for children to experience nature. In Autumn fallen leaves, conkers and acorns make up the ingredients. In winter, if it’s cold enough the potions in the mud kitchen will freeze over and you can let them have a go at breaking the ice. In Spring & Summer all sorts of plants and flowers will be starting to grow to use as ‘ingredients’
The mud kitchen is the perfect resource for this and it allows children unlimited opportunities for exploring properties, textures and colours. You can also use baked beans, tinned spaghetti, jelly or shaving foam, as well as all the natural resources such as fir cones and petals. I have discovered Penny will eat cold beans even when sprinkled in mud (!)
Make your own paint…
Put berries into the mud kitchen and set the little ones loose with a potato masher for red paint, or ground up grass for green paint, and of course mud for brown.
Chefs from around the world…
Provide some fun bits to allow little ones to cook homemade favourites from other cultures… Bella loved the chopsticks I gave her to serve her chow mein with, and loved hosting her own little tapas party with a selection of bowls 🙂
Art on the move….
A mud kitchen is the perfect base to create some sensory art from decorating mud pies to creating collages with treasures found. The ‘art’ lives outside though.
Keep the mess outside and use your mud kitchen as an outdoor dough station. It allows children to experiment with different materials and you can use natural materials such as pine cones for prints and patterns. Bella had a whole afternoon using playdough to make pizzas in her pizza oven 🙂
A mud kitchen is the perfect setting for role play when children can recreate everyday home scenes. Make sure there are enough props out there and they will be busy for hours.
Bella is in the midst of creating a mud pie recipe masterpiece. Dirt pudding cups with worms, pumpkin patch mud pie, berry & stone muffins, scrunchy leaf sandwiches and chewy stick stew
Fine motor skills…
Penny’s little hands have been constantly busy and constantly messy. Whether she has been using kitchen utensils, pouring and carrying water, digging soil, mixing and whisking or her absolute favourite, transferring mud from one container to another.
Ideas to pimp your mud kitchen – the beautiful furniture from RUFD sets imaginations soaring and the possibilities for fun keep on comin’. Some more ideas below…
- Display pictures of creatures for the little ones to know what they are coming across when digging
- Keep pots of other materials for their creations to be even more adventurous … pebbles, twigs, fir cones etc
- Chalkboard to keep the menu updated
- Add to their kitchen utensils including containers, wooden spoons and whisks, plastic jugs, pie tins, ice cream scoops, potatoes mashers, weighing scales, icing sugar and salt and pepper shakers, old dried lentils, rice and pasta and other pulses and beans.
We’ve had our mud kitchen for a few weeks now, and it’s definitely Penny’s favourite activity (bar chasing the hoover) and Bella who is not normally one to enjoy the muddier side of things has fallen in love simply because there are so many games she can play.
If you are think about a special Christmas present, or have a little ones birthday coming up I wholeheartedly recommend these play stations – the quality and design is second to none.
Below I asked Sarah a few questions so that you could get to know about the talent behind this lovely brand…
What made you decide to set up RUFD?
I always wanted to work for myself making furniture but it’s hard to leave getting paid regular income, I got the push I needed when holiday wasn’t authorised for my brother’s wedding in Thailand, so decided to set up RUFD which stands for Recycled Unique Furniture Design. The product range has swung more to kids play toys as my friend kept sending me suggestions of things to make for her little girl, my product range continues to grow as I find new ideas or make something new for a client that I elaborate.
I have developed a collection of exciting kids’ toys with cool features that are all different but co-ordinate in finish… they look beautiful, are excellent quality and stand out from the crowd, and I offer hand painted personalisation features too.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I amalgamate my ideas from Pinterest and from clients that have wanted particular specifications and turn them into something unique
What’s been the hardest part of setting up the business so far?
Having to look after so many areas of the business that all need your full attention in which are all important but prioritising them in the right order from sales, marketing , website, sourcing supplies, manufacturing the products, developing new prototypes, packaging the product and shipping, setting up a new workshop, profit and loss, customer service, accounts, the list is endless lol.
What’s your favourite part of the business?
Making clients happy with the items purchased – I’ve not had a single return. Developing products & improving them.
Tell us a bit about the process of making the furniture?
I’ve changed from using all recycled wood to a mixture of Pressure Treated wood & recycled so the product has a longer lifespan. Pallets or unwanted timber sourced are stripped by hand sanded, treated, I use a natural special technique to age the timber once that process is complete the furniture pieces are constructed and ready for the Osmo UV oil finish, this product seals those nasty splinters and gives the product a beautiful finish.
And anything else you would like to share?
My products are not flat packed so you don’t have construct them yourself… saving customers precious time 🙂
Please have a look at Sarah’s website to see her full product range currently available…
P.S the above pictures were on day 1 before the girls really found their stride… the below are a more accurate reflection of how they spend their afternoons currently looking 🙂