Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Life happens...

It has been doing a lot of that these last few days...weeks...

So today I have felt the need and desire to return to this caring community and since my friend Jayne featured a Teddy Challenge on her blog last week I would like to add my gathering of 'old friends' to this occasion.

I think I have mentioned before.. ( memory has taken a nose-dive of late) that my dear mother had an antique stall for many years specializing in vintage toys and other items related to the bygone days of childhood. This is certainly where my love of the old, worn and loved items of an age of innocence started. I have fond memories of the many hours sitting with my mother on her stall in the antiques market in Bath... admiring her latest purchases... She had an Aladdin's cave filled with charming characters and toys.. from Bisque French Armand Marseille dolls dressed in their lace and finery to Steiff teddies and assorted menagerie. Victorian dollshouses, early board games, tin toys, early wooden diabolo .. and much more. My favourite toy in my mother's emporium was a 1950's Triang Fox Terrier dog on wheels...with a handle for pushing.. an early walking toy and one that my son adopted for a while and called 'Baggy' for some curious reason.

I was very fortunate to inherit my mothers private collection of teddies and plush characters and these have now joined my rather moth eaten motley crue of soft toys and recent collection of vintage rabbits ....The more tattered and worn and chewed the better! I love their individual characters and I would love to know their history and who owned them... where they lived .. were they King pin of the nursery or did they end up lying under a bed.. unloved or a box in the attic for years.
I like to think by adopting these raggle taggle toys that I have given them a new lease of life amongst the higher pedigree of toys that my mother left me. Think of it as a retirement home for the unloved, unwanted and abandoned

So meet the family...

Firstly is the mixed pedigree Steiffs..and Heinz 57 assortment..
The kitten and monkey glove puppets and sleeping rabbit in the foreground are Steiffs..A German manufacturer of fine plush toys.. established in 1879 approx. Steiff toys are distinctive by the button in the ear.

The two teddies.. the one with the optical problems is a Chad Valley bear and the little blue bear with a jaunty cravat is of unknown origin.

The gorgeous little dog balanced on the back of the chair is called Oscar.. and he has suffered from a bit of mange in the past..
The retro rabbit is one I bought at Habitat when my son was born.. he was the first of my rabbit obsessions... finally Piglet... a wonderful homespun version of Winne the Pooh's friend.

Then we have my assorted rabbit family... what a fine family they are !!!
The miniatures are made from Meissen China, wood, jade and plastic..
My bunny on a bike was my Christmas present to myself last year... couldn't resist him!
There are many more characters lurking in the wings that I will share with you one day..

I am leaving one of my most treasured toys for last.. when I was about six years old my mother made this wonderfully retro cat for me from a sewing kit ... I have loved this cat for over 43 years now and it shows.. she is a little faded (like myself) and her stitches are coming loose..

I would like to dedicate this post to Jo... a very talented lass who has a particular penchant for rabbits and a certain 'Captain Rupert'. Jo is an artist and paints imaginative, witty and charming watercolours of Captain Rupert and friends.. You can find them all at Higglety Pigglety .. and see for yourself the accomplished talent of Jo's work.


asti said...

Oh, that teddy with the wonky eyes, I just want to cuddle him close.....! Too lovely.
asti x

amy said...

i love the little rabbit with the grey "suit" on. he is adorable!

Ragged Roses said...

Hello you're back!!!! Love the bunny on the bike, instant smile from me when I saw him. Thanks for this post Michele it has brought back so many memories for me and it's also reminded me of a book I use to love reading I think it was called "The Doll's House" (Not the Ibsen one!), it was on permanent loan from the library as I wouldn't give it up. I've also just remembered my collection of dolls that I had as a little girl that came from all over the world. I have them in my loft and will get them down for a photo shot one day. Take care

Country Cottage Chic said...

So lovely to see all your treasured toys Michele! Will email you soon about lunch next week!

cd&m said...

You really do have a wonderful collection of toys there, and such memories they hold.

Katherines Dream said...

Wow Michele what a collection you have. They all looked almost loved lifeless! but so lovely still!
You were very lucky to inherit your Mothers collection - how special that is.
You and I have both had a memory dive - you should here the mistakes or forgottens that I have made I am quite embarressed!
Much love
Carol xx

Lucy Bloom said...

Hi Michele, what a wonderful collection, even more special as they came from your dear mother - these are true treasures.
Lucy x

Ragged Roses said...

Hello again, I just got your email and have come back to look at that cat! So glad I did, it's wonderful, much loved and full of memories, just like you! And now you have music as well

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

What a darling collection you have! Little Piglet looks so cute! I have a few now-vintage Steiff toys my German aunt sent to me from Germany when I was little -- I think those along with my very first stuffed Bunny are my favorites.

(PS - I'm having another craft challenge if you are interested.) =)

thevintagemagpie said...

Hi Michele, now this has to be one of my favourite posts of all time. My passion for the oldest of toys has grown and grown and your collection is just wonderful. I presume you've read 'The Velveteen Rabbit'. This is my all time favourite children's story, and the one that's always requested as a 'one to one' read when they are ill. Lovely to have well loved toys handed down through your family. This post has warmed my heart xx

sal said...

Well, that was so worth waiting for, Michele...lovely;-)


Michele, music too! As promised, your collection of soft toys, but no way a motley crue, they are a wonderful bunch, that dog does look a bit uncomfortable on that chair though! Growing up around such lovely things has given you a vast knowledge of childhood ephemera, which I hope you can share with us. Your retro cat could be friends with my retro rabbit? x

Joanna said...

Sorry I ahve not been past sooner. Thank you so much, what a lovely post, I love all your rabbits and thankyou for the dedication. We think we will do the same in return I have rabbits in every single room, K has lost count, I should do the rabbit tour. Your Hopelsham rabbit looks wonderful in your collection and all your others. It must of been wonderful growing up with all your mums collection and knowledge. Its funny how what happens as a child effects us so much and how it can nuture creativity. I loved shoe boxes too, it was almost the best thing about getting new shoes. I think my mum started me of with my box thing, with a shoe box. Cleverly cutting to make a garage with a roof car park and ramp out of one shoe box. It was just right for my cars. Thank you as well for the package that arrived the other day it was ever so kind of you. We will think of some thing to send in return but we have not decided what yet. Have a lovely weekend.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Wonky and loved, love it all. Each one speaks to us and we all see things different ways. Funny how the most tattered and worn can be the most striking and beloved objects. Yours are so sweet and so adorable. Stuffed full of cuteness!!!!


Deb said...

What a wonderful collection of obviously dearly loved toys.

ChelleBez said...

You have put me to shame. All of my childhood stuffed animals are in three large garbage bags in my parent's attic; put there years ago and forgotten. I think about them sometimes and wonder what surprises I would find if I opened the bags now. Spiders? Moth holes? My intent was always to save them for my own children. Maybe one day my parents will just give them away, or perhaps I will be blessed with children and the toys will come out of the dark abyss.

Thanks for sharing your toy pictures and memories of your mom. :)

Much love,