Sunday, July 28, 2013

Variety is the spice of life

  So my back is on the mend and I feel less stiff and I can do normal every day things without screaming! I don't think I want to try bending and lifting much yet though, so I'm still putting off the post on my childhood dolls. To fill in, so you don't forget me, I am posting some random pictures of SOME of my doll and toy collection which I took last week. There isn't much of a theme to my collecting,other than my Skippers and Tuttis. I have a little of everything.So, here is a look at my glass case and those who dwell on top of it.
  This is obviously on top of the case.While it is heavy on the 60's, which is my childhood era, there are some more recent dolls.Seen here (Top row,left to right): Effanbee's Dorothy,and a couple of dolls from Russia,middle row: Baby First Step,Crissy,Shopping Sheryl,Tessie Talk,and a  Babysitter's Club doll,Bottom row: Effanbee Georgina?Georgette?,another Russian doll,a 60's doll whose name escapes me at the moment,a Ratti doll,Baby Small Talk Goldilocks,Baby Cheryl,and Baby See N Say. In the background you can see my 1/6 dollhouse, which will be renovated when I get the chance.
  Another case of 'a little of everything'.Playin' Jane and a vintage Valentine on the left,a Chatty Baby a couple of compo dolls,a couple of Tonner Elves,a couple of pressed felt faced dolls,Dianna Effner's Goldilocks,a Nancy Ann Storybook doll with a Patsy wanna be behind her, and a vintage Old Maid card game in front of Goldilocks. Oh, and an Ideal Shirley Temple behind her.
Another Chatty,Cathy this time. Another Shirley, Gene, Willow,Casper,Buffy and Mrs. Beasley,Moxie Girls Alice in Wonderland, some German dolls,etc.
  More of the same, plus Sister Belle(without her apron. It's here somewhere.)Matty Mattel,(His clothes are somewhere too. My son had Matty and his clothes in his room when he was younger and he can't find them!)  Drowsy,Cindy Lou Who, some corn husk dolls,and more.And yes, my glass case is WAY over crowded!

  Here is a small portion of my Skipper,(and Ricky and Scooter), and Tutti collections,(including Ivy's naked European Chris, awaiting clothes, and a Soapy Siddle Kiddle head on a Tutti body, and a Sizzly Friddle head on a tutti body.),Night Night Seep Tight Tutti is holding a cute little yarn doll. On the left is the Paul McCartney I talked about in a previous post,my two nice Larry the Lions are on the right, (New Larry is borrowing the Barbie Suzy Goose vanity bench to prop his head up.)Plus Betsy McCall, (She has a story you'll be hearing soon.),a couple of Penny Brite dolls,a wonderful handmade doll whose artist I don't know,unfortunately.She's called The Garden Nymph. Also some German dollhouse dolls, some really cute vintage doll gloves,(One red one, and a pair of white ones.), and a couple of vintage dolls made from sea shells and pipe cleaners.You also get a better view of a doll from the previous picture that I didn't mention before. She's a giant rag doll with a pressed cloth face,red yarn hair, and sort of a bobble head.Her neck is on some kind of mechanism. It's hard to explain, but if it sounds familiar to anybody I'd love to know what she is. She's on the lower shelf next to Cindy Lou Who. In the plastic bags are a red haired Tiny Town girl and an old cloth dollhouse doll. The bags were due to fear of moths, but I have lavender in the case now.Next to Paul there is a tiny old fashioned couple made of thread and cloth.
   I love the little tricycle.I wanted it very badly and Ken bought it for me for some occasion...then forgot to give it to me for ages.The same goes for the little German guy in the brown shorts. He tends to do that.
  So there you are. Something to look at while I'm gone.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

My first follower!

  I have a follower! I'm starting to feel like somebody!
  I have a bunch of posts coming up, featuring my childhood dolls and some that I always wanted as a kid but had to wait until I was an adult to get. So there are loads of dolls and toys on the way. I am on day four of a bad back situation though, so I'm in no shape to take photos, etc, as I can hardly move! I have had to resort to laying on the bed reading and watching the Planet of the Apes movies for the millionth time. They're my 'comfort viewing'. (as opposed to 'comfort food'.) They work really well because I love them so much and since I have seen them so many times, if I fall asleep I haven't missed anything. I know what happens. I always put them on when I'm sick,so now if I'm in an Apes mood when I'm NOT sick and put one on, my family will come in and say, "Don't you feel good?" So keep watching for the doll stories of my life, coming soon. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Reading Assignment #4 : Miss Osborne the Mop

  Ivy and I recently finished Sea View Secret, which was 'Reading Assignment #3'. So on to #4. My next recommendation is Miss Osborne the Mop by Wilson Gage.

The 1970's cover for Miss Osborne
 Wilson Gage was actually a woman named Mary Q. Steele, and I believe she did write some books under that name too. Miss Osborne was another book suggested by my older sister, who had also read it when she had been the age I was at the time.I only read one other book by Wilson Gage, "Dan and the Miranda", which I read when I was home in bed sick for several days as a kid. I remember that I enjoyed the story about a boy and a spider, but it didn't leave the impression on me that Miss Osborne did. I searched for a copy of Miss Osborne for years, before copying a library book out of desperation! (Yes, I know that's not legal, but I wasn't selling it, and this was the time before the internet. Now you can find and buy just about anything you want. But in those days finding scarce things was much more difficult.) I have since bought at least 2 copies of the book, including the library one I copied when they discarded it, and it ended up in the annual library book sale!
The original Miss Osborne. This is the library edition we bought, and also the same edition I read as a kid.

  Miss Osborne the Mop was originally published in 1963 and is most certainly out of print now. It still shows up online and, as I said, at second hand book sales! Another book set during the summer,the story concerns a girl named Jody who is sent to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle and cousin Dill. Jody and Dill don't get along very well, so Jody is expecting a miserable summer.Add to that situation the fact that Jody finds out she has to wear glasses for the summer. When strange things start happening it becomes apparent (to the reader at least!) that Jody's new glasses have the magical power to grant her wishes. Things really start to hop when Jody brings a mop to life. And what life! Miss Osborne is named after a teacher and she takes charge of Jody and Dill the way a teacher would. The three embark on a series of adventures over the summer, not least of which is keeping bossy Miss Osborne a secret.

The story is full of magic (gone wrong alot of the time!) and humour, as Jody and Dill--and the mop!-- become friends. The descriptions of the beautiful mountain setting are wonderful. My kids all loved the book. My 18 year old son only recently talked about the chocolate cake with orange icing that Jody wishes up for Dill! It sounded delicious and was something I always remembered too, and in fact I make such a cake every now and then.
  Expect a few tears at the end of the book, but the ending is a happy one really. Good reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Score of the Summer



   This post is getting a bit out of date. The score of the summer took place a few weeks ago, before my demon neighbors started their...stuff. But it really deserves mention, because I may not get so excited about a find the rest of the year!
  A few weeks ago I had a short yard saling weekend because I spent Saturday with my friend Lori. I only went to three sales that weekend and one of them was the same place twice,BUT I made what will probably turn out to be the score of the summer. Technically my husband made it. That Friday morning I went to one sale, an estate sale I had seen the ad for the night before. I got some great stuff for great prices.

   The Byers Choice Fence was $4, the Byers clock was $5, and the Byers fireplace,(My favourite!) was the best yet: $2! The Byers dogs were $1 apiece I think, and the Kindle guy was about $2.
  I also got some great stuff that will work great in my 1/6 doll house,especially the nautical bedroom I'm planning for the boys.
  In the end they didn't actually charge me the real total, so the stuff was even cheaper! Plus they gave me the crate I carried my stuff in! Emma has been wanting one for her bike, so that works out great.
  They were telling people that everything would be half price on Saturday so before heading to Lori's I went back on Saturday morning to see if I could get some of the things I didn't want to pay so much for on Friday. My husband went with me that time, so we split up. I headed for the room with all the paper doll books, and the room with the beautiful Victorian celluloid and velvet photo album (with pictures!) that I showed in my basement flooding post,and the pretty antique lady print. The paper doll books and the print were gone, but the photo album was still there! Yeah!
    I also got a nesting doll for Ivy's collection, and some very pretty dishes. I got a really cute vintage porcelain baby bowl.I love antique children's cups and dishes.

  But while I was doing that Ken, who had gone down to the basement first, came into the room with only two things in his hand---but what a thing!! I nearly exploded. He had a Paddington, which didn't interest me,and Larry the Lion! A GORGEOUS Mattel Larry the Lion!

My new Larry!
Larry #2


  Larry is one of those things I have been after since I was a kid. He was on every Christmas and birthday list for I don't know how long. I think I was so obsessed with him because he was not only cute and unique looking, but he was on one of the TV screens included in the TV in our Barbie Dreamhouse.  Larry is a Mattel Animal Yakker. 

From a 1965 ad for Animal Yakkers and Mattel talking dolls.

He's a pull string toy, and his mouth actually moves when he talks. 
Other Animal Yakkers were Crackers the Parrot,and Chester O'Chimp.
 He's really expensive, so I figured I would never get one.Then Ken actually got me one online years ago. I was glad to have a Larry, even if he was grungy and had no eyes.  He actually worked, and I thought I could try and rehabilitate him. But the kids and I were playing with him and his string broke, thereby silencing him forever. He was so grungy he wasn't worth having repaired.
  Then a few years later I found a nice Larry online for a really cheap price because they weren't calling him Larry the Lion. I think he was just listed as 'talking lion' or something. I don't remember how much he was, but it was affordable. Probably about $10.00.He was nice, missing a few partial whiskers, but clean and he worked and had eyes!

  I left him in his mailing box until I got a glass case to put him in. But when Ken walked in with Today's Larry he put Affordable Larry to shame! This new Larry is super clean and has silky hair and ALL of his whiskers. (#2 does have more of a beard.) He also works. I think his head may be a little droopier than Larry #2's. Ironically, #2 and #3 both have droopy heads, while #1 stands up straight and tall. I may make the poor guy some eyes after all.
   
As you can see, both #2 and #3 need to have their heads propped up.

  I'm keeping both of them. (Actually all three. Who has the heart to get rid of Larry #1, the poor blind mute. He was the answer to a life long yearning, after all.) And I can't believe not only that I hadn't found Larry the day before when I was there, but that he was STILL THERE! I did dig around a little in the top layer of the stuffed toy tub, but it looked like new stuff and I didn't feel like digging deeper. DUH! Ok, Ken found Larry, but he left behind this vintage Gund Pooh and this cute Knickerbocker Animals of Distinction musical lamb.


  

Ok, and here's another amazing part. Larry was half price, so he was...wait for it....50 CENTS!! Sometimes I dream stuff like this!! I might as well quit for the summer because if I find anything better than this Larry this summer I think I'll keel over.Oh, and they didn't charge for everything Saturday either, and they gave me one big tub, one under bed tub,and a smaller tub, all with lids. I love it when I get tubs.
  And the other garage sale I went to? I got a Mr. Peanut salt shaker for free, and a beautiful
vintage mirror with an etched bird of paradise for $5.
   Now if I can just figure out where I can hang the mirror without making my plaster walls come down.










Sunday, July 21, 2013

Everything happens for a reason



    Yesterday something totally unexpected happened that proves what I believe: Everything happens for a reason.
  My friend Lori, who has recently been having heart problems,loves animals. They're literally her life. She has loads of animals of her own, and she works as a vet technician. In her job and life she frequently finds herself in situations where she ends up rescuing animals. Sometime she finds new homes for them, but a lot of the time she keeps them. Once when I was with her we had to move a snapping turtle out of the road so he didn't get smashed.In that case she didn't need to be involved after just moving him to safety, but it isn't always like that.
  We had been talking about going somewhere this Saturday to just hang out and have fun.We debated staying here in the town I live in, or going to some other nearby town. (She lives out in the country.) I voted for 'some other town', since I'm always here. So she randomly picked a small town nearby and we went out for lunch. After lunch we did  a little shopping and then headed down the road to see what else we could kill time with. As we came to a park, (The kind with boating and camping, etc., not a playground.), Lori turned in. She had been trying to find out if they had horse riding trails and she wanted me to see the pretty view overlooking the water. As we came to the parking lot we saw a car parked along the edge. When we pulled along behind the car we saw that the guy in the car was just sitting there looking at something. What he was looking at kind of left us with our mouths hanging open. There, just grazing and hopping around, were 8 rabbits! I was sort of stunned, as I said, "Those aren't wild rabbits." They were domestic bunnies. Seven of the eight were lop earred bunnies, and the eighth was a small white bunny with red eyes. Apparently the guy had just seen somebody pull in and just drop off the rabbits. He didn't want to leave them there, since they probably wouldn't have survived the night,but he had nothing in his small car to take them in and besides was on his way to a reunion. He'd been trying to contact his daughter and grandson, who had rabbits, but they weren't answering their phone. Also, they lived so far away it probably wouldn't have done much good.Soon the bunnies would probably hop off into the woods they were right on the edge of and be gone. Lori and I were flabbergasted that anybody would do something like just dump off 8 rabbits,but Lori said she had seen it happen before. Then we remembered the fair had recently ended. These rabbits had tattoos in their ears for identifying them for exhibiting. They were someone's fair project and now they were no longer needed. Pretty heartless behavior. These rabbits were far too tame to survive in the wild. They had no fear of anything. Also, it's very irresponsible to introduce non native species into the wild. Either they won't survive, or they will survive too well, threatening native species. (We're having that situation with lady bugs around here. You may think ladybugs aren't important, but apart from being important just because they are part of the natural order of things, they also serve a very useful purpose, eating pest insects and keeping the population of such insects at a manageable level. The local chicken...FACTORIES, (The only way to describe it.) have created a major fly problem. When local ladybugs couldn't handle the problem, Japanese ladybugs were imported to help. You might think that was a good idea, but you'd be wrong. The non native ladybugs turned out to be far more aggressive than the local little red guys.They are much bigger and eat EVERYBODY, including the native ladybugs. We have hardly seen red lady bugs for the last few years. The larger brown lady bugs have nearly taken over (although we do see some hybrids.) They also BITE, and like the red lady bugs, they smell.With bigger bugs you get a bigger bite and a bigger smell...)
  Anyway,after the initial shock we immediately began to think, "What do we do? We can't just leave them here to die." Lori decided they looked healthy;clear eyes and good coats were a couple of signs.She always carries a small pet carrier with her in case of,well, with her I guess you'd say 'the inevitable'. We knew we couldn't get all 8 into it though. What to do? We started picking up bunnies, and they didn't run at all. There were a couple of half hearted hops, but mostly they just sat and let themselves be picked up. We got about 5 of the smaller ones in the carrier and she put a couple more in the back seat floor of her truck,(Which we had decided to take instead of the car because of flood warnings. Oh by the way, my basement flooded again too. Not as badly this time, luckily.)See, something else that we just happened to do that was perfect. Once the bunnies were in the truck she opened the carrier, but most of them preferred to stay inside. I got the last couple out of the ditch and we debated if they would jump out of the back of the truck. Lori was a little worried about them peeing in the floor. I said, they could jump out, and it's only two more. At this point we laughed about the idea that if you have 6 rabbits peeing in your truck, what would two more hurt?
  So we carted them back to Lori's house.I had a bunny a few years ago.(That was Lori's fault. I just went for a visit and came home with a border collie and a rabbit!) His name was Gabriel and I loved him dearly. Gabe had a stroke at one point and for a few weeks had to be hand fed and given water, and bathed by me because he couldn't get up. After a while he got well enough to clean most of himself again and got around ok, but he was blind in one eye and wouldn't come out of his cage any more.He lived for several years after that though and was a lovey boy. I still miss Gabe and get a bit sad every time I throw away the cauliflower leaves he used to love. I have thought many times about getting another bunny, but the short life span  put me off. Unfortunately I'm a sucker for a friendly animal, and I made the mistake of bonding with the next to last bunny I picked up. He's dark brown with tan highlight hairs. He rode part of the way back to Lori's on my lap and is a real snuggler. At her house we put the rabbits in a stall.Lori kept saying stuff like, "You can take yours home in the carrier." "There's a towel in the carrier."(Because the brown bunny had been wet from the park and then kept sitting with his front legs in the water dish in the stall.), and "Yours is blah blah..." I'm such a push over. I couldn't resist and besides, how was Lori ever going to find homes for EIGHT bunnies?
  I brought 'mine' home and Ivy immediately named him Jerome, after composer Jerome Kearn. 

  She had actually said a while back that that was going to be the name of our next pet, since our last one, my parakeet, is named after Irving Berlin. (Don't ask me why. I just kept thinking 'Irving Birdwing'. And by the way, I got Irving because I went with Lori to pick up HER parakeet, and bonded with Irving, who was a three week old baby who loved to be held.) Jerome has settled in nicely and is already enjoying laying in the fireplace like Gabey used to do. 

We were meant to have Jerome, and Lori was meant to save those bunnies. Otherwise we might have stayed here,or gone to another town. We might have lingered longer eating and/or shopping and the bunnies might have already hopped off into the woods.Lori might have driven the car and been less inclined to take a chance on bunnies peeing in it. (Nah, she still would have risked it.) We might not even have pulled into the park in the first place. She kept laughingly saying, "Why?! Why?!" I said, "Because it's what you're meant for. It's your calling in life." Like I said, everything happens for a reason.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yay! Deluxe Reading Dream Kitchen at last!

  Today I got something I have wanted for ages! Connie,a doll loving friend of mine was offered a Deluxe Reading kitchen by the maintenance man in her apartment building when he came in to do some work and spotted all her dolls. Connie doesn't collect Barbie (She has a few, but her love lies with Nancy Ann Storybook dolls and Mary Hoyers.),so she called me  to see if I was interested. When she started to describe it I knew exactly what she was talking about! The Deluxe Reading Dream Kitchen! I have wanted one of these for years. In the early 90's, when we were doing doll and toy shows, we did the first Barbie show by the Paducah, Kentucky Barbie club. After the show all of the dealers were invited to go to one of the members home to see her Barbie collection. I can't remember her name at the moment, (I'm thinking her first name was Rosella.),and as she was pretty old at the time she is probably no longer with us. But she was known as The Barbie Lady, and there was even an article about her in Barbie Bazaar Magazine once. Her house was literally wall to wall Barbie dolls. She had a finished basement where they obviously hung out and relaxed, and that's where she kept her vintage Barbies. Her husband had made her an enormous doll house, in which she had a Deluxe Reading Dream Kitchen. I fell in love with it then and have wanted one ever since. It isn't really my favourite era, (1930's and 40's.),but it's totally 1960's, which is when I grew up, so I do have a soft spot for it.Well, good things come to those who wait. Yesterday I had a look at the kitchen and made the guy an offer. This morning Connie called me to tell me he had turned me down, but this afternoon she called back to say he had changed his mind!

  The kitchen looks pretty good, and will improve with a little cleaning up.Get busy guys.













  That's not exactly what I had in mind.

  That's more like it.

  Skooter wipes down a chair, while Fluff gathers up the dishes for washing.
  Sample Skipper scrubs out the freezer.

  Fashion Queen tries to get those yellow marks off the table.
  Color Magic Skipper has a strange idea of 'helping clean up'.
 Ok, everybody, you've earned a break. Stop and have a drink.
  Any suggestion of food or drink of course, attracts guys. Typically Allan and Ricky show up to scope out the fridge. It's a little early. No food has arrived yet. There is milk and pop though.And ice.


  Conscientious Sample Skipper and Fashion Queen continue to work and get those dishes done.

The Dream Kitchen isn't in perfect shape, but it's not too bad, other than the dishwasher having a broken counter top.(All the pieces are here, so I may be able to repair it somewhat.)

  It also came with loads of dishes and stuff, including the the dish draining rack,salt and pepper shakers,the fridge shelves and a crisper drawer, and both cute little ice cube trays WITH the ice!  There were also some actual Mattel Barbie utensils to a couple of vintage sets.

  I stopped at  Goodwill quickly today to get change to pay for the Dream Kitchen and found a brand new roll of black and white checked Contact paper that makes a perfect kitchen floor. (And another Moxie Girl...with feet this time!)
   There are a couple of 70's pieces I'll get rid of to help defray the cost of the Dream Kitchen, because without doing that I couldn't really afford to spend money on myself right now.  Now that I think about it, with all the bad things that have been happening to me and around me, (My best friend has been having heart trouble lately, and my son cut his face and had to have stitches, and today I sliced my finger open on some broken glass.), this has been plopped in my lap to remind me that,while it doesn't make up for the heart problems or the facial scar, it at least means that not everything coming my way is bad. At this point a little hope means a lot!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Moxie Teenz Wig

  Yesterday I broke down and bought a wig for my Moxie Teenz girl. (I hated to buy a wig for her in a store when I paid almost nothing for her at a yard sale or a thrift store. I was hoping to find a wig the way I found the doll. The wig cost me more than she did!) I have to say, she does look better with hair, but this is just about the worst wig I have ever seen for a doll.



  The hair is cheap looking and thin.

  The hair itself looks greasy and you can see the clear plastic wig cap through the hair!

 
Also,the wig won't stay on her head.
   There's no way a kid could play with this doll and keep the wig on. It would end up being very frustrating and in the end the doll would have to be bald because the wig wouldn't stay on during play. It would be a much better idea if the wig had a little nib that fits into a hole in the doll's head, like the Liv dolls.(Liv doll wigs are much better quality too.)   I don't think Liv wigs would fit on a Moxie Teenz even if I cut the nib off because they'd be too small, otherwise I'd try it.
    My Moxie Teenz girl has found that Barbie dresses fit her ok, even if they are a bit short. (She has chosen this one for the time being, but she's looking for something a little longer.)

  And she can put up with the wig if shes just sitting still so it doesn't fall off.

   However, there is still one problem:

  "What am I going to do about these?!"

  On another subject, I recently found an extra Little Missmatched Uptown Girl coat,purse, and sock at Goodwill. I am ruining the whole idea of the 'mismatched' look, but I was excited she could have matching socks! I got around to changing her sock a couple of days ago,in 90 plus degree weather, and when I did I found I couldn't get her boot back on.

   I think the boot is too warm and soft, so it won't slide up on her heel. Ivy suggested ,"Why don't you put it in the freezer..or put her in the freezer." Evil child! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Reading Assisgnment #3: Sea View Secret by Elizabeth Kinsey

  I hope everyone is having a chance to get some reading in this summer. We haven't had much of a chance ourselves, but that doesn't mean we can't push others to do so! "Do as I say, not as I do!" My latest 'summer reading with your kids' suggestion happens to be one of Ivy's favourites, Sea View Secret' by Elizabeth Kinsey. Ivy has insisted that we read it every summer for the last few years. This year, even though she's 13 now, she still wants me to read it to her. I am glad to do so, because I know that these days are soon coming to a close.
  "Sea View Secret" was originally published in 1964.


 I'm sure it's out of print. I spent years trying to find a copy. This one is much harder to find than the other two books I have talked about so far. It was always one of my favourite books though, and has turned out to be one of Ivy's too. The story is set one sweltering hot summer, when two kids around 10 years old move to the suburbs with their parents and toddler twin siblings. They befriend the family in the only old house left in the neighborhood and discover a mystery surrounding some valuable rings that have been missing for decades. The rings, it turns out, could be just what's needed to save the old house from destruction by a greedy land developer, so of course they have to find them. My kids have pointed out that alot of my favourite books have to do in some way with saving someone's house. Hmm... I wonder what that means?
  The book is full of mystery, nothing scary though, some humour,and a warm story about friendship and family love. It's a nice old fashioned book, but I think kids will still enjoy it. The kids in the story all have respect for adults and take responsibility for doing chores and helping out, so maybe something like this is just what kids these days need to read! There's nothing inappropriate, and the search for the mysterious missing rings is something I think kids can really get caught up in.
  The only copies of this book I have ever seen are Scholastic paperbacks, but I'm sure it was printed in hardback at some point. As with the other books, the age recommendation depends on your child's attention span and interests. I would say you could possibly read it to them from age 6 to 10. As I said, Ivy still likes to have it read to her, but then, it's one of her special books, and this will probably be her last summer to have me read it to her.
  On another subject, the cake topper in my Beatles post was described as being made by Gay-Gem. While Gay-Gem did indeed make the exact same cake top figures, and the ones I found in my research were mostly by them, mine does in fact say Wilton on it. Just saying.                                         

Friday, July 12, 2013

Every time it rains it rains...in my basement

                                                                                                                                         
  It has been an exhausting couple of weeks. I have The Neighbors From Hell and they have been living up to the name lately.I won't go into detail, but they are taking years off my life.In addition, it has rained every day for almost three weeks. Seriously. Every day. I was about to start building an ark and taking in two of everything (except Demon Neighbors.) After so much rain the ground decided it couldn't drink another drop and started storing it in my basement instead.
  Tuesday morning there was a little water on the basement floor in one room. It was nearly all gone by Tuesday night. Ivy, my thirteen year old, and I were going to get our baths and play some games and watch tv. Around 8:00 I was about to take my shower when I decided to check on the basement one more time. When I went down I screamed. There were two inches of water on the floor and water was pouring in the old chimney flue. I started grabbing things up, trying to save them from the rising water. I had everything up off the floor, which gets damp even at the best of times, but as the water rose it just wasn't high enough. I called Ivy down and we were rescuing everything we could. At some point Fuzzy, my 18 year old, came home and we were all schlepping stuff upstairs. The water was still rising and I was literally rescuing things just before they were engulfed by water. One example is a Victorian velvet and celluloid photo album, with photos, which I grabbed up just as the box filled with water. It survived untouched, luckily.


  Eventually the water was nearly up to my knees, which, ok, that's not that high, but it was high enough that entire tubs, with other tubs on top of them, (So you'd think the weight would hold them down.) were FLOATING.I know one of the kids showed me a box of wooden dollhouse furniture that was taken somewhere to be dried out later, and I have no idea where it went.I only hope it wasn't the box with the vintage wood dollhouse living room set with velvet cushions that my husband paid more than he should have for me at an auction recently.
  The next day we were clearing out some of the wet things we hadn't saved or noticed the night before, and Fuzz found a Pedigree Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge, soaking wet, under some things in the back corner of the basement. By now she has been totally dried out and survived her ordeal unscathed.

  Aunt Sally is relieved that it's all over.
  Ken grew up watching Worzel Gummidge in England and passed his love of it on to Ivy, who owns the whole series on DVD, so it's nice to have Aunt Sally around.
   This array of international ladies all got wet to varying degrees, with Miss India fairing the worst. All are dry now and don't seem to have suffered any lasting damage.

  On top of everything else, the pilot light was washed out on the water heater and couldn't be relit.We managed on what was in the tank at 1:00 in the morning when we were finished and the water had started to recede.Ken spent most of the next day drying out the pilot with a hair drier and trying to relight it. It was just too soaked though, so Ken and I took icy showers, while Ivy resorted to a bathtub filled by pans of water heated on the stove. Yesterday a fan on the pilot most of the day finally got it dried out enough that it let itself be relit and we had hot water once again.
  We were able to save almost everything, and what we couldn't save from getting wet we have mostly been able to dry out by now. I suppose we were pretty lucky. I had recently cleared up the basement and had already rescued my father's box of photographs and had gotten things up off the floor, or it would have been much worse. And we were lucky of course that it was only a slight basement flood, and we didn't lose our whole house, which has happened to alot of people all over the world lately. Our town was built on a swamp, so just living here is asking for it anyway. Nature keeps trying to revert it back to a swamp.It hasn't rained for a couple of days now, so maybe the ground will have a chance to dry out and go back to being absorbent again!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Beatles Birthdays!

                                                                                                                                                 7 July, 2013
 Happy birthday Paul,(belated) and Ringo!
  I have had a busy few weeks, as I said last time. I had been planning a two part post covering some of my Beatles dolls and figures, starting on Paul McCartney's 71st birthday on the 18th of last month, and continuing with Ringo Starr's 73rd birthday today. Since I am so far behind, part one is going to be today, and part two will be coming sometime soon...I hope. In any case, happy birthday guys!
    

    The oldest Beatles toys in my collection  are these two guys.

The short chubby fella was made by Remco in 1964. He's an actual licensed Beatles doll. The little guy is actually a cake decorating figure made by Gay-Gem. He's unlicensed, but is obviously meant to be a Beatle, or at least cash in on their popularity. He has John Lennon's singing stance and seen closeup, if it weren't for the bad paint job, he would actually resemble John.I found some pictures of this set online. The bass drum says Go Go Swingers instead of Beatles, but they have a left handed bass player with a Hofner bass, and two guitarists, one of which is this guy. Similar enough that these days they'd get sued.



   I got the Remco Paul in a box of more 'serious' dolls at a doll auction. I promptly sold one of the dolls, which paid for the box, so Paul was free. He's a little discoloured, but he does have his bass.The cake topper came in a bag of vintage cake decorations at a yard sale. Unfortunately none of his band mates were in the bag with him.


  Skipping ahead a lot of years we have these guys. 

Unfortunately, I only have the Paul and Ringo of this 2004 series by Macfarlane. I love the look of the animated Beatles. I used to watch the cartoon as a kid and my sister and I had a couple of the inflatable dolls. I think we had Paul and Ringo,but my Mom threw them out years ago, so who knows? (She tended to throw out inflatable toys as soon as the air leaked out,even if it was just natural flattening from the course of time and not a hole.) There was a cool set of the four Beatles with an alligator too. (Sounds weird, but strange things were always chasing them in the cartoon.)
   Then there are these guys.
   They were also made by McFarlane. Yellow Submarine isn't my favourite Beatles thing,but these are pretty neat. There are loads of other YS Beatles and other characters from the movie,and I think I have the other two guys in this particular series, but I couldn't possibly buy all of them. I got these for Christmas I believe, from my ever spoiling husband.
  This is a strange little fellow I found recently.

 Apparently he's a redo of a vintage model by Hawk. He's in the same style as Weird-ohs and Rat Finks, which always make me think of Mad Magazine. Here's a close up from the back of the package.
  He's obviously meant to be a parody of The Beatles, or at least bands of that era. He is so gruesome that even my Beatles loving oldest daughter wouldn't take the extra I bought for her!
 
These are by Applause.
   I love the instruments.There is a Sgt. Pepper set too,(also have those),but I wanted these way more. In fact, I have wanted them ever since they first came out in the 80's. A friend drove me an hour to see them because she knew I would love them, but I couldn't justify spending $100.00 on dolls! (I'm still that way! Maybe even worse now that I have been an at home mom for years without an income I could wastefully spend with no one but me to answer to!) In a way, I almost wish I had bought them then because they came with a cool cardboard drum kit. I bought a Ringo from this set at a doll show a couple of years ago. He was a bit dingy and the lady didn't know who he was. She charged me $5, so even dingy he was worth it. I washed him carefully and improved him a little. I figured If I was lucky I could find the others to add eventually. I tried to search for the set every now and then.One day I randomly searched online and found a set for an amazing Buy It Now of about $45 with free shipping! I immediately bought it and later sold my lonely Ringo for almost that amount! I think this made the set end up costing me $17.00! (And that's including the $5 I spent on the Ringo in the first place.) Now THAT I can buy and not feel too guilty about. I also told my husband to include them as part of my Christmas gifts, but he refused to wrap them because I bought them myself. (The nerve!)
  
There was also a set of very similar, but slightly smaller dolls made by Sugar Loaf. I think Sugar Loaf supplied toys for claw machines. The only one I have is the John.



  These dolls are a bit shorter than the Applause dolls, have no guitars as far as I know,and are made of cheaper fabrics.(Maybe you can't tell, but John's hair has turned a nasty shade of green and his arm has fallen off. No fear. I have it and will repair him sooner or later.As for his boots, they're very like the Applause dolls' boots,and are probably with the arm...) Supposedly this set is pretty hard to find. For some unknown reason John came wearing a red wooden drum on a ribbon around his neck. (I removed that!) Poor guy must have had an identity crisis, or was desperately trying to start a 'John is also Ringo' rumour, to paraphrase "All You Need is Cash". I got him at a thrift store for a quarter I think. He looks a lot like the Applause John. He may actually be a better likeness!

He's smaller though, so maybe he could be young John.
  Well, that's it for this time. Stayed tuned for part two. If I manage to round up the rest of my figures I'll be posting it soon!
Update: If you're interested in The Beatles check out my post 'Exactly What constitutes a Doll? Happy Birthday Paul McCartney and How to Meet a Beatle'.