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About Us

diana-garth-with-cap.jpgQuality, hardwood toys, made fresh daily since 1973!

We make heirloom-quality natural wooden toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. 

As a second generation toymaker, I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to continue my family's tradition of providing children with a safe, durable, and eco-friendly alternative to imported plastic toys. I'm also lucky to have my husband Garth working alongside me. We make the toys ourselves in small batches. We don't have any employees.

 

How we make our toys

makingtoyengine.jpgWe choose locally-harvested red alder (also called Oregon alder) for our toys. A non-toxic, food-grade mineral oil finish brings out the rich, warm glow of this beautiful hardwood. We cut the shapes out on a bandsaw and carefully route and sand the edges so our wooden toys have a nice smooth finish for sensitive little hands. All paints and oils are non-toxic and safe for children. We've had our paints independently tested for lead, heavy metals and phthalates and they exceed federal safety guidelines for children’s toys. 

Our toy designs combine color, sound, and movement to delight children and awaken the senses. We design and make our toys with care and we use quality materials so they are truly built to last and to be passed down through generations.

We know that handmade wooden toys are a rarity today and it gives us joy to provide you with a quality alternative to the mass-produced toys made overseas. By choosing to buy toys made in the USA you are helping to support local economies and a healthier environment. Thank you!

Diana DeFazio & Garth Hitchings, Owners/ Toymakers

A History of Papa Don's Toys

papa-don-with-cap.jpgPapa Don's Toys began in 1973 with a father's wish to make a natural alternative to plastic toys for his baby daughter (me) and later for his son, Daniel.  When he saw how much we loved his creations, our dad decided to try selling his handmade wooden toys at the Eugene Saturday Market held in downtown Eugene, Oregon. The response was tremendous - people loved his toys and he and our mom became full time toymakers. At that time and place (mid 70s in Oregon) there was a resurgence of interest in locally handcrafted items, much as there is again today.

Together, our parents grew Papa Don's Toys from its humble beginnings in a single car garage to a thriving family business. They bought land in Oregon's Coast Range and built a home and woodshop. This beautiful 60-acre homestead is still home to Papa Don's Toys. My brother and I had part time jobs as toymakers throughout our teens and early adult years.

Sadly, Papa Don passed away unexpectedly in 2009 while hiking in the mountains with our mom. When he wasn't making toys, Papa Don loved to hike in the woods, covering more than a thousand miles of Pacific Northwest trails over the years. My brother Daniel attended to the health of the toy business for the next two years.

Today, I make the toys with my husband, Garth. We're proud to be carrying on Papa Don's tradition of providing children with heirloom-quality, natural wooden toys.

 

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