Lincoln Log Toy Bag

September 13, 2011

I live in a small apartment, and my living room is also my dining room, and front entrance, and family room, and play room.  And the entire space is about 200 square feet.  We are a little crowded, but we make it work.  My kids have a few toys in their room, some in the unfinished basement, and the play kitchen and playdough stuff lives in our kitchen.  Most of the toys are stored in our living room in the bottom of a big oak book case.

After my son's birthday, it was time to sort the toys and put some away that aren't being played with. When I was finished shuffling things around and adding more birthday lego to our collection, there was no longer room for the Lincoln Log box to fit upright in the bookcase.  As you can imagine, this has not been ideal for keeping the toys inside the box.  And really, since they belonged to my husband when he was a boy, the box was looking a little worse for wear.  It was past time to find the Lincoln Logs a new home.  I like to store toys in fabric bags to keep everything together, and then they can be easily stored in bigger plastic bins, or can also be put on the shelf as is.

A few years ago, I found this image of a fabric little people bag at Elsie Marley.  I love the idea having all white toy bags with appliqued pictures of the bag's contents on the front.  I know I'm crazy to use white with kids.  I actually use white in a lot of the textiles in our home, partly because we live in such a small space, and white helps things feel lighter and larger, but also because I love the way it looks.

In the past I have made bags in this style for blocks, and trains, and I decided to keep going with my theme and put together a bag for all those Lincoln Logs.  Doing the applique is easy, although a little tedious.  I use Wonder Under (bought at Joanns) to adhere my shapes, and then do a satin stitch all the way around each piece just to keep everything secure.  This is likely overkill, but I know that this bag will get dirty and need to spend sometime in the washing machine, so I'd rather just make things extra sturdy to begin with. 

There is nothing special about this bag, but sometimes it's nice to do some sewing that is useful and at least a little cute.  And easy.  It started out as two rectangles of some white cotton duck (measuring 15" by 20"), and is basically just sewn up the sides.  Nothing fancy.

The openings for the ties are in the side seam, and reinforced on either side.  The ties are made of 1" wide strips of knit fabric that I had in my stash. 

I also boxed the bottom corners to create a bit more space inside the bag.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Just line up your corners so that the side seams are on top of each other and in the center, and sew a perpendicular line through the seam.  I sewed mine 2" from the corners.
After boxing the corners, I tacked them down to keep things tidy on the inside (just like on a paper bag).  Here is the view from the inside:


And here we have how it looks from the outside as well:

It's just the right size to store a full set of Lincoln Logs, and everything stays nicely inside once the top is closed.  It's a good feeling to restore a little bit of order to our space!

What do you do to keep your toys organized?   What do you do to keep shared spaces organized?  How do you keep kid's toys from taking over your home (and your life)?  And am I crazy for using white?

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