Lately it feels like I'm being pulled in 200 directions. I can only blame myself.....I always put a lot on my plate.....I pile it high like I'm at an all-you-can eat restaurant, but I only want to make one trip. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a "time out" to stop and just be still for a moment. Go outside and get some fresh air. Lay on the grass and look up at the sky. My teddy bear Moon here is taking time to gently pet a pretty deer. A simple pleasure. I decided this morning to make a list of simple pleasures that feel more and more like luxurious indulgences nowadays:
Basking in the sun
Cuddling with my puppy
Reading a book (just for fun)
Taking a nature walk
Chatting with the neighborhood kids
Hand-writing a letter (with a pen & paper)
Going to a farmer's market
Taking a drive to look at the fancy homes in the hills
Slowly sipping a cup of tea
Looking through my photo albums (actual albums, not computer files)
Going to an empty spot on the beach just to listen to the waves
Sorting things (like beads)
Painting my nails
Making shadow puppets
What would be on your list? Feel free to leave a comment. =)
My love of everything plush began as early as I can remember. This photo is of little me, holding my Pooh bear, with four of my other plush animals in the background. Look at how happy I was! Growing up, my very favorite plush toy was a brown teddy bear that I named "Jeremy". Jeremy was a 1970's stuffed bear with a winder in his rear that played music. I still have Jeremy, packed somewhere in a box in the garage. I really need to dig him out someday and take better pictures of him. I remember also having a stuffed panda bear that I loved, a stuffed Smurfette, and a small stuffed toy mouse. Growing up in the 80's I remember Mom trying to get me interested in all the popular girly things like Cabbage Patch Kids and Barbies, but I had zero interest in them. I was more interested in forming clubs and playing "rock band" with my girl friends across the street. I also enjoyed things that made you think, like board games. My favorite board games were Stratego and Monopoly. I remember when I was about 8 years old, I played a game of Monopoly with my best friend across the street every single day for months straight. Despite my refusal to play with dolls in my youth, I never gave up my love of stuffed toys. I hope I have children of my own some day, so I can share with them my love of plushies.
My other recent designer teddy bear purchase was a "Hug Me Again" bear by Vivianne Galli in The Netherlands. This particular bear is named Moon. He is so exceptionally well made! His fur is mohair and his body is fully disc jointed. He also is substantially weighted, so it feels like you are holding a real animal in your hand. I was thrilled about the beautiful packaging, "passport", and thank you card that Moon came with. I will be taking more photos of Moon soon.....he is so much cuter out of the box.
Today I would love to rant & rave about one of my favorite teddy bear designers....Aerlinn Bears by Esther Pepper. I came across her very special hand-made teddies on Etsy, and instantly fell in love with quite a few of them. Then I did something that I really should never do. I looked at Aerlinn Bears' past sales. I came across a bear called "Little Prince" and my heart suddenly started aching for him. These bears are all made to be OOAK (one of a kind) and so I knew that I would never have a "Little Prince" bear. But after several emails to Esther, I worked out a custom order for "Blue Bell" that you see here in the photo. She is from the same pattern as Little Prince, and is all of 2-1/4" tall. I love the shape of her head, her pointy nose, and "smokey" fur. She is my very first Aerlinn Bear, but I am confident that somewhere in the future I will be receiving another package from Esther in Australia.
Burton is doing what I like to call "the Gene Wilder". I wanted to take a photo of Burton doing something that has always cracked me up. There is a scene in the 1974 movie "The Little Prince", where Gene Wilder (playing what we are supposed to believe is a fox) sits alone in a large field of wheat. See photo below:
This shot of Gene always made me laugh and when Burton and I went on our nature walk, I saw these tall fields of green plants & weeds and I instantly thought, oh how funny would he look sitting alone in a large field a la Mr. Wilder? Burton obliged and made silly me very happy.
One of my favorite places to visit, about 4 minutes from my house, is called Hiltscher trail. It's located in the hills of Fullerton, where many people own horses. You will find people taking their daily walks for exercise, people biking, people walking their dogs, and sometimes, people on horses. I recently took my small Chihuahua, Pee-Wee, to Hiltscher trail for an afternoon walk, and Burton the bear accompanied us. I took many photos of Burton, but this particular shot reminds me of one of my favorite childhood books, "The House At Pooh Corner," by A. A. Milne. In this book, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends enjoy a game called "Pooh Sticks". They all stand on a bridge and each of them drops a stick into the river below at the same time. They quickly move to the other side of the bridge, to see which of their sticks will emerge first (the winner being the one whose stick appears first). Below is an illustration of Pooh Sticks from the book:
It's too bad there was no water under the bridge for Burton and I to play our own game of Pooh Sticks. Someday we will have to go river-hunting and find a suitable bridge. I know Burton would love that.
These are my other two Steiff animals, both of which were purchased yesterday at a flea market in Irvine. The kitten I recognized instantly as a Steiff, even though she does not have an ear button or paper tag. I had had several different Steiff kittens on my eBay watch list in the past month, so I was familiar enough with their look & construction, and felt confident purchasing her for fifty dollars from this nice flea market vendor. I love how tiny she is.....she is about the size of some of the 5 week old foster kittens we are currently caring for. The penguin was a surprise gift from my husband yesterday. I had finished my shopping at the flea market and my hubby and I walked to the parking lot. I opened the car door and sitting in between the two front seats was this sweet penguin. Since my hubby and I normally split up at the flea market to do our shopping separately, he has the opportunity to surprise me with gifts from time to time. Her name is Peggy the penguin.
I wonder what kind of animal will become my next Steiff?
Easter will soon be here. My Steiff collection at present is quite small, but with the Easter holiday around the corner, I am very glad that in my collection are two fabulous Steiff bunnies. To me, no mass-produced line of stuffed animals has the quality and charm equal to that of a Steiff.
The bunny on the left was my very first Steiff purchase. I purchased it a couple months ago at my favorite flea market, about 30 minutes from my house in Long Beach, California. I picked it up off the table to examine it, I was promptly told by the vendor that it was a Steiff. I had always wanted a Steiff animal, and at the time, the price of forty dollars was both something that I thought was reasonable (for a Steiff) and also something that I could afford. So I made it my first.
The bunny on the right I found at a flea market in Irvine. I was drawn to its cute face and so I asked the price. Fifteen dollars. At that price, I assumed that I was just buying an average quality vintage stuffed animal and was not particularly concerned with finding out the manufacturer. When I went to pay for it, the seller said to me, "It's kind of cute, isn't it?" I definitely agreed. A couple weeks later, I was browsing on eBay and came across the exact same stuffed bunny. I was shocked to see that both in the title and in the description, it was identified as a Steiff. I searched eBay's completed listings for Steiff bunnies. I found another just like it that sold, and yep, it was identified as a Steiff. I was thrilled to know that I purchased this sweet bunny - a Steiff - for just fifteen dollars! It seems that I am just drawn to this German line of plush animals. Since then, I have acquired two more.....a tiny kitten and a tall penguin. And I'm quite positive that there will be many more to come.