Friday, April 16, 2021

Some Random Things You Might Be Interested In

  I posted the Old Cottage Doll Ken got me for Easter in my last post. He got me a few other things too, which I thought might interest some of you. Not too long ago, (Or was it? Time means nothing to me any more!) , I posted about the new series of Mini Brands Toys. I said I wouldn't buy any more of them because they were too expensive for most of the things you might get. That's true. But that doesn't mean someone can't buy them for me! Ken got me one more ball, and this is what was in it, (Minus the shopping cart.)

I already had the Angelica, so now I have one more thing to trade, if anybody is interested. Here are the other three though.

Ken also got me a pack of Wacky Packages products. Wacky Packages have been around for a long time. I collected the stickers when I was a kid. Wacky Packages are joke versions of actual products. Most of them are kind of gross, but that's why kids love them I guess! The Wacky Packages products  come in a cannister sort of thing.

Within the cannister there are plastic packages with the products inside.

Here is one of the plastic bags with the products I got.

The product packaging is really good and very accurate to the real products. The Nesquik (or, 'Nesquak') container is especially realistic, and even has the little nib on one side of the lid to lift it by. (The lid doesn't really come off, unfortunately.) 

  The meatballs can is a bit large for 1/6 scale, (Extra large family size?) , but the others are perfect. Has Mini Brands done a Nesquik or a Log Cabin? If not, and you really wanted them, you could get these and print a label for them on your computer. A lot of things can be made at home, and I have seen people make containers like these out of polymer clay, but the plastic probably looks more realistic. I'm all about the realism. These could even be used in the cupboards, shelves, or on the counters in the background of photos, without anybody being able to tell they are 'Wacky'.

  I also talked in that other post about how I got free Mini Brands Toys. The free ones were on the display boxes they throw away when they're empty. Well I have had my eye on the Wacky Packages display boxes since I spotted them. The other day I was lucky enough to get a couple of display boxes at a Target. They had both Series 1 and Series 2, and I got both.

As you can see, I now have an extra Mrs. Klean and an extra Chef Borgardee...

 On other subjects I thought some of you might be interested in these cute pajama sets for the Disney Princesses Comfy Squad. They were at Ollies for only $2.99, which I thought was a pretty good price.

I don't have any of the dolls, (But I'd like to have Merida and Anna from the first series.), but I was thinking...

They fit Tammy World! Not the slippers, but the clothes do.

Tammy can wear the big plastic hair bow, but she probably won't.

"The other one says 'Nap Queen', but I'm wearing this one as clothes!"

  They also had Jasmine's pjs I think. but I wasn't crazy about them.

  Also, a random reminder that the wire handles from Chinese food take out containers are very useful, so I save them.

I had these laying around to put away and I happened to think about it.

 I used one on the Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit ornament I made for Emma last year.  

  And that's all for today. Just some random things I was thinking you might be interested in. I have lots to show you, which I'm sure you will get to see soon. Things have been compiling and I haven't been posting about them because I hate using Ken's computer. But I am getting a new computer. (FINALLY!) I'm not sure when, but soon. I'll be a lot more productive with my own computer.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

A Happy Easter with an Old Cottage Doll

 Happy Easter and Passover to everyone. I thought I'd share some cheery Spring pictures of the doll Ken gave me for Easter today.

She's an Old Cottage doll.  I've been wanting one for a while, but they can be expensive. I found this girl online recently for a good price though, and Ken bought her for me without my knowing.

Old Cottage dolls were made in England.

The company was started in 1948 by Margaret Fleischmann.

Margaret was originally from Czechoslovakia, but moved to England in 1939.

Margaret began by making dolls for her daughter Susi, who later helped her run the company.

The faces of Old Cottage dolls are hard composition or hard plastic. As you can see, my girl has some cracks in her face. 

 The dolls were available in a couple of sizes. This girl is about 9 inches tall. The bodies are padded wire, covered with felt.

I didn't know until I got this girl, that she can move her head side to side, and her arms and legs are jointed too.

The hair is mohair.

This doll does have some moth damage to her felt limbs too. The felt must be made of wool. It was in those days. Now the felt available in places like JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby is acrylic.

Her dress, which is made of a crepe like fabric, even has matching bloomers.

Her dress is removable and closes in the back with hook and eye closures.

  In the 60's the BBC comissioned Old Cottage Dolls to make a set of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee dolls. The dolls were also available to the public. I'd love to have a set of those!

  You can order the guide book to Old Cottage Dolls HERE.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Doll Book of the Month Club: The Runaway Toys

   This month's book is The Runaway Toys, written and illustrated by Lillian Baker Sturges. It was first published in 1920.

My copy is from 1934, but appears to be exactly like the original. A handwritten note on the fly leaf says it was given as a gift in 1935.

 The story is all in rhyme. According to the story Nuremburg is known for it's wonderful toys, and yet, they are all shipped out to other countries to be sold in shops far and wide. According to the story, the local kids get squat. No toys for you, Nuremburg kids!

  One night the owner of the local toy shop, (I thought all the toys were sold elsewhere. Make up your mind Lillian Baker Sturges.), leaves the door open as he heads home. The toys are all tired of sitting in the shop, and want to see the world. (Ok. Maybe this is the shop where the guy makes the toys. Maybe they aren't actually for sale.) In any case, the toys decide to leave the shop and see what's beyond. 

 They make a lot of noise as they go down the street, waking all the kids in town. The kids, thrilled to see toys walking down the street, all get out of bed and follow the toys. 

 The toys head toward the moon on the horizon. Meanwhile, back in town, mothers checking on their sleeping children find all the children gone. They chase after the kids, who are still following the toys out of town. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a Pied Piper vibe.

  The toys all board the train out of town, (Wait until the conductor finds out none of them have the fare. Hope the train doesn't have a wood burning engine...), but the mom's stop the kids before they board, promising them that if they come back they will be given all the toys they want.

  Hmmm. I'm not sure I like the lesson here. Don't run away, (as you shouldn't be doing), and you'll be rewarded with as much as you want. In any case, it's a beautifully illustrated book. I'm not sure how little ones of today would take it. Kids these days don't seem to be reading rhymes as much as they were in 'the old days' when I was a kid. (I was watching a show last night about people digging up antiques at a 200 or more year old dump. One young woman found a piece of pottery with a picture of a cow, and part of a rhyme that went, "The sheep's in the meadow and the cow's in the corn." AND SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS FROM! She said, "I've never heard that one." What?! For Heaven's sake! Am I THAT old? Nobody knows "Little Boy Blue" any more?

  The book is available online and probably in second hand bookshops and antique stores. (Pay attention though, because there are several books called "The Runaway Toys".) I think I got mine in an antique store. It's usually expensive, but I got mine pretty cheaply. 

  That's the book for this month. See you soon for another post. (Really!)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Birthday Stuff: Disney Store Doll, World's Smallest, and Mini Brands Toys

   The weather is absolutely crazy. We had some warmish weather last week. (Not this past week.) I went around without a jacket. The snow had melted, except for where it had been snow plowed into piles the size of glaciers. That takes ages to finally melt. We had rain that melted a bit more snow. Then it got really cold again. We had snow Monday! I was freezing all day and I put my electric blanket on again.  Then we had weather in the 50's Fahrenheit again. Friday night it was 38! My daffodils must be so confused.

  Last week, as I said, it was pretty warm, and Ken and I took one of our 'fun day's, and went to a  nice state park to do some walking, since my doctor says I should do 150 minutes of exercise a week. It was really nice, and I had to take my sweater off. But the melting snow had made it so muddy that our shoes were caked with mud. We tried to walk in the woods, and to the sides of the path when we could, but there was still a lot of slipping and sliding going on, and our shoes and ankles were a mess. 

We walked about two miles. I thought I would be sore because I have done so little for quite a while, but I was fine.

  Since it was my 'birthday week' I celebrated a bit and ate a few things my LPR diet doesn't allow. We had the most delicious lasagna and eggplant parmesan, which we shared so we could both try each of them. I hadn't had tomato sauce in so long! It was WONDERFUL!

   As I said, it was my birthday that week. Ken and Emma got their wires crossed and they BOTH made me a cake! They were both good though, so no harm done. There's still some left. Ken, as usual, spoiled me. I got a new lens for my camera, so no more having to focus manually. Thank goodness! And no more blurred pictures, which you will all appreciate! He also got me a couple of DVD sets and a special edition magazine, which I picked out. He hates that. He thinks everything should be a surprise. I'm just glad I get the things I wanted! He had already given me the Katherine Johnson doll, but on my birthday he treated me to a couple of dolls from The Disney store. I collect Alice things, and had been wanting the doll from the Disney Store. Once I was there, and seeing the dolls in person, I wasn't sure I didn't like the Wendy, (From "Peter Pan".), more. They were on sale if you bought two, so he insisted I get both. That's one Alice down. Someday I hope to get the full sized Animator's Collection Alice. (You can see my mini Animator's Alice HERE.)

  Of the other gifts I got, the others that would interest you all would include the World's Smallest Slinky Dog that Emma got me...

... and with the money Fuzz gifted me with I bought a couple of the new-ish Mini Brands Toys balls. I was excited about these when I saw that they existed, at Hot Topic, on my birthday. (Don't buy them there though. They cost twice as much there as they do at Target or Walmart.) The things I wanted most out of the balls were the carded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures and the Turtles mask. I got lucky and got the mask!

  But in retrospect I think I won't buy any more of the balls. Not that there aren't some really cute things in there. 

Here are the other things I got.

I would love to have a lot of the things. If a person had the money to spare and had the urge to make a 1/6 scale toy store, these would be great.

 But they're about $7 per ball, a ball which contains 5 things. Every ball uses one of the spaces to give you a shelf, which is too small for a lot of the toys, or a shopping cart, which is not in scale with the toys. (I guess you could use it as a toy too.) 

The shelf.

The cart.

A lot of the toys are actual plastic toys on card, or in little boxes. Those are nice. But far too often you get stuck with something like the JoJo Siwa hair bow,

... or some of the 'toys' that are just a reproduction box with nothing in it, like the 'Ready to Roll', above. While that was one thing with regular Mini Brands, where you might get a product that was basically an empty cardboard box, but usually it was an empty box you couldn't replicate easily with just a home printer because the package was unique,(like with the Breyer's ice cream), with these I just feel like it's not enough for the price.

  I have a bunch of the three items that are on the display boxes. If anybody wants to trade a carded Ninja Turtle figure or a Fingerling for a Rubik's cube, a Rainbocorns egg, or a box of Crayola crayons, let me know.

  One of my other presents was from my sister. She got me something I've been wanting: a DNA test kit. I am anxious to get it sent in! I'll let you know what the results say when I get them back.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

What I've Been Up To: Little Felt People

   I started this post back when Ivy was still home. That's why it is a little outdated. I held off posting until I finished what I had started, (which I am notorious for doing!) Last night I finished clothing on the last of the little felt people I had completed. Well, except for shoes. So. Here's the post. 

  Well, things continue to go wrong. Now I'm having problems with either my camera, or my memory card. I've taken pictures, including unboxing ones for a review, and they just aren't on the card. While I sort that out, and while I spend time watching TV with Ivy, I have been working on some other things. I've been wanting to try to make some dollhouse people, sort of in the style of Baps dolls. I started on some a week or so ago. They have wire armatures so they can bend, and are then covered with felt to pad them out, and are then sewn into their final felt 'skin'. The face is painted on, and clothes are added.  I made the first one without a template, just drawing a shape on the felt, then folding it in half to make sure the shape was symmetrical. I tried sewing the skin wrong side out, and then turning it and putting the felt covered armature inside, so the stitches didn't show. That proved to be hard to do, (Felt and felt tend to sort of 'velcro' together, making it hard to scoot the armature inside.) Also, it stretched the 'skin' so much that the stitches showed anyway.  It came out a little stubby, and I used brown felt. Ivy asked, "What are you making, a demon gingerbread man?" When I finished him, face painted and clothes on, she was still calling him the 'Demon Gingerbread Man'. At least I finished him!

     His stitches show badly, because I tried to sew him wrong side out and then turn the fabric right side out. He's so small that it strained the stitched turning him. It wouldn't be so bad if I had thread that matched his 'skin', but I didn't at the time. His arms are also a bit lumpy and mismatched. 

  After Ivy left for college I put hair  on him. I think he looks a lot less Gingerbread Manish now.

His jacket has some bad stitching.

  With his hair he's just under 3" tall.

  Then I actually did a smart thing I seldom do, and that's make a template. I made another doll. I tried to make the legs and arms longer, and give it more of a neck. This turned out better, but the feet ended up turned out to the side. 

  This time I sewed the 'skin' over the armature right side out. The stitches show, but it looks all right. I painted a face on it. I decided to make it into a girl. I was digging around for some thread I had that reminded me of the hair on Baps dolls. It's not quite as thin, but it works. I thought she'd look good in red, and pulled out some red and white gingham and made her a dress. Ivy said, "What are you making, Mary Ann?!" (As in "Gilligan's Island".) I saw the resemblance, but it wasn't intentional. I said no, but Ivy said, "I think you are." To throw off the Mary Ann vibe, and get her back to more of how I saw her, I made her a red cape. You'll see that in the last picture.

She's 4" tall.

She has some glue showing in her hair.

  After I made 'Mary Ann' I worked on a new template. I changed it and changed it, and ended up cutting the pieces and taping them together to get it how I thought it should be. Then I made a doll from it and found that I had not taken the extra bit of felt needed between the legs to cover the edges of the legs. The felt has to be cut out with the figure sort of spread eagle, with the arms and legs sticking out. Otherwise there isn't enough felt to go all the way around the limbs.

  I made more dolls. I ended up with these four dolls, the first one being 'Mary Ann'.

They were getting better, but that second one had a head like an alien. It would be even bigger once the hair was added. I finally decided I really didn't like the shape of the head. 

  So I figured the back of the head would be hidden by hair, so I decided to make a cut in the back, and reshape the head by stitching around the top and pulling it into a smaller. rounder shape. 

  I had all these dolls and none of them were finished. Each one was a little better though. But finally I decided to stop making dolls and finish the ones I had first. I have a bad habit of making parts or even whole dolls, and putting off clothing them. I dread it so much because it's hard for me, and I'm not very good at it. 

  Once I had painted the face on it, I saw the alien head one as kind of a 1930's lady. I don't know why.  I had to figure out what to do about her hair. I had yellow thread like the brown thread I used on TDGBM, but I had to figure out her hair style. You know by now that I don't even do my own hair. I think she turned out pretty  good in spite of that.

She's 4" tall, to the top of her bun.

 I had in mind that she should have a belt the shade of the dark maroon in the flowers on her dress. I was thinking of thin plastic cord. I knew there was something made of that stuff in this hose somewhere, but couldn't for the life of me think where it might be. I ended up searching all over for what I wanted, and ended p having to buy a whole pack of the stuff for just the inch or so I needed! In fact, I bought two packs. the first one was too wide and too stiff, so it was returned and I bought the second one. Neither one of them had the colour I wanted. They were mostly very basic colours, although the second one offered a little more variety.

   I meant to make  the two smaller dolls into a little girl, and an even littler boy. But when I started making the larger one, he began to look more like a boy to me. He's now the older brother I guess. 

He's 3 1/2" tall.

She's 3" tall.

  So here are all the ones I just finished. I just finished the little girl last night

  Of course they all need shoes now, so they aren't completely finished. I couldn't think what I should make shoes out of. They're so tiny that anything with much thickness to it would make the feet look huge. I finally thought of the thin,  modern felt I have. I think that might work. I also want to make a duffle coat for the boy from the blue flannel I bought when I got the red for his pants. One was going to be his shirt and one the pants, but then I decided to give him a plain cotton shirt. 

  So that's one of the tings I've been doing. I am way behind with things I want to post, so I WILL see you soon.