Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chernobyl Strawberry Shortcake House

I am trying out a new iPhone blogging app. This is because I'm hardly ever at my computer. I'm usually at my storage unit with over 10,000 different toys.

I like to quickly share with you my interesting find today. The Berry Happy Home! This is the first time I have ever found one while thrifting. That's saying a lot for somebody who's been doing this for 20 years.

I was already having a really good thrifting day. I found a My Pretty Pony (one of the first my little ponies).

Then I found several bags of 80's toys including Sea Wees and Petite Ponies. I turned the corner and found three Care Bear stuffed animals from the 80s which I promptly snatched up.

Then, amid all of the wreckage of children's play sets there sat the Berry Happy Home!

Unfortunately, it looked like he been through some sort of terrible disaster. Therefore, I have dubbed it the Chernobyl House.

It's base is broken in several places, the stickers are wrinkled and some of them are missing, the plastic is yellowing. But...BUT it only cost me $3.10!!

Worth it? Maybe.

I could attempt to restore it since I don't currently have a Berry Happy Home and would really like one but what I will probably do is strip it for parts, clean the reusable ones and sell those in my store to save up for one and more mint condition.

Poor gross little thing!

Incidentally I have found something to be true. When you are at a thrift store and you find something from the 1980s it is about 90% more likely that you will find another thing from the 1980's. For that reason, when I find one object I look very closely for the items that got donated along with it, and usually I score!

I hired a nice gal to help me list over 1,000 toys this summer. Its going to take a lot of work but we are already part way done. She kept asking me if toys were really worth anything. I gently explained to her that people enjoy preserving pieces of their childhood. It makes them feel happy. She didn't get it.

Not many people do.

Which is probably why no one else wanted to by the Chernobyl house?

Did you find anything recently?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Connect With Me + Thoughts on New Toys

Plum Loves You

Wow! What a fun week for toy collecting!

I hauled like 20 boxes from my storage unit filled with toys. I'm going to start listing some of my doubles on Etsy as I have time. Toy and antique selling is a great side gig and super fun to boot! I promised myself that I wouldn't go thrifting until I list at least half the boxes, which is like 500 items. I'm not kidding. Its nuts! Luckily, my semester is almost over so I will have time to do this over the summer.

There are literally 200+ My Little Pony (Vintage, and G3) to go through. The rest are random 80's miscellany! My daughter (9) is going to help me comb out some of the hair. I swear, pony hair is a tyrant!

Did a lot of work this week on setting up some online profiles. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, oh my!  If you want to connect with me on any of the following places to see pictures and share information about toys, please do!

ETSY - The Pink Room

I don't want to get super sales-y on this blog. I am doing it for fun, not as a money thing. But when I share finds, 90% of the time they will materialize in my Etsy store. This is because I am really strict about how many toys I will allow myself to keep. I make myself earn them through hard work. So finding something, even if I don't own one already, doesn't mean I get to keep it. I use toys as a motivation to get other things (like school, art, tough projects) done. If one can turn obsessions into positive, healthy things, then one has won.


I discovered that Instagram is a great place to meet other 80's/90's toy lovers!  Within about a day I had made some bffl's and gorged myself on pics of other people's hauls. Lots of fun! I also have a nasty habit of liking about 500 photos a day. I can't be helped.


I'm mainly going to set Twitter on auto. I have ifttt uploading new Etsy and Instagram pics and I will Tweet when I have a new blog post. I'm not a huge tweeter but lots of people use Twitter so I thought I would create a feed there in case any of you are super active on that!


I'm currently using Pinterest to hoard rare item photos, to keep track of my collections and to just generally waste a lot of time liking and repinning 80's toys!

Okay, now that's all out of the way!

Aren't we all just super jazzed to see these guys in stores again:

I LOVE that they are using the old molds! Some other toy lovers believe this destroys the value of the old toys but I don't believe that to be true. Look at Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Ponies and Care Bears. Each of those had re-releases where they used the exact molds from the 80's and nothing happened to the value of the originals.

The way I see it, re-releases puts old toys in new hands and helps the value increase over time.

Popcorn is my favorite of all of them. On Saturday I went to Toys R Us and bought both these cuties. I plan to give them to my niece.

(Incidentally, just now as I was typing up this post, a deer came to visit outside my window. I posted the pic on Instagram. My office is in the basement and my computer is just in front of my window. I live near the mountains so wildlife is a regular occurrence!)

While at Toys R Us I also saw some cute new toys called Moonbeams. They are transparent, light-up creatures with little houses and vehicles. They reminded me of the transparent Charmkins I just blogged about. I am not sure if they will take off though. There seems to be something of a lack of consistency when it comes to their cuteness. Some are really strange-looking, others are adorable. Also, there have been some complaints online that they are made of hard plastic and they break easily.

Finally, I saw some other toys that reminded me of various 90's toys I used to drool over. Soft Spots! They are little PVC collectable dogs that resemble Blues Clues characters. They also bring to mind the animal versions of Magic Diaper Babies. They have five-pack sets as well as blind bags and a few playsets. I really think they are cute. Not sure if they have lasting power though. I would love to see kittens and bunnies and other animals added to the mix.

Did you see a new toy that reminds you of the 80s/90s recently? Do you follow a newer line of toys you adore? What do you think about re-releases? Go ahead and share in the comments section!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Greek Charmkins Alert!

Back to business!

I get excited about international versions of our favorite American toys. First of all, they are hard to come by. Second of all, they are sometimes difficult to get here to America. Third of all, they are almost always WEIRD!

Case in point:

I came across Greek Charmkins the other day and boy are they strange.

Why are they transparent? Why are they simply painted? Here's my guess:

1 - They are either knockoffs made after the machinery molds were sold off by Hasbro. This has happened a lot in the vintage toy industry. Companies cancel production on certain lines and so they unload machinery off their books by selling them to a lesser company.

2 - El Greco (an Italian/Spanish/Greek toy manufacturer) purchased the rights to sell these in those aforenamed countries but decided to do it on the cheap, eliminating the paint process. Remember, Italy especially has extremely strict import/export laws. Most toys have to be manufactured in Italy to be sold in Italy. I am not sure if this is the same with Greece and Spain but it makes sense that toys that got manufactured in Italy would be exported to these neighboring countries.

We won't know until someone finds one MIP, my guess is that #1 is true. I believe this because often when molds are re-sold a contingency is they have to remove identifying brand characteristics (example: the hearts on Care Bears bums had to be removed when the molds were sold for Angelorso bears).

I actually bought several Greek Charmkins and when I get them I will let you know what I find out!

Incidentally, I spent a month in Italy last summer and looked HARD for 80's toys. But not hard enough! I didn't find anything. Well, in Florence I found this crazy junk shop and located some Oodles, but didn't buy them. I couldn't speak Italian so it was hard to ask the lady who owned it if she had any 80's toys. But I did visit a lot of regular toy stores!

In front of a Toy Store in Sirimione, Italy. It had been raining hard all day!

I went around and tried to find more Greek Charmkin pics on the web and ended up finding a few. I started a pinterest board for them. It's going to be fun to collect variations of Charmkins over time.

PS - It's fun to be back to blogging!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Holy Cow! What's This? Angel is BACK? After . . . what? Four Years?

Hello folks.

I know this is weird to abandon a blog for four straight years and then come back as if nothing happened but what can I say? I am back.

Here's what happened:

- Job Loss
- Death
- Cancer
- Divorce

All this is true. I suffered the loss of three dear people. One to suicide, one to cancer, one to a stroke. Then I myself got diagnosed with cancer--which I am in treatment for. I am only 34. Somewhere in the mix I lost my job and my marriage.

In other words, the world of ADULTS rushed in and took over my life. I started to hang around different people. People who made it very clear that being "child-like" isn't cool. The opinions of these people severely affected my inner sense of self. Death and cancer made me feel existentially confused and, frankly, I had no idea what to think about life in general. Did anything matter? Was I important? If I die, what would my life have meant? I went on to study the meaning of life and God and all that. I filled my head full of philosophical erudite junk. I had to know what it was all about.

When you are studying the big questions it is really hard to goof around with toys. Everything went into storage. To pay for a surgery that I didn't have the insurance coverage for, I sold off a large part of my collection.

Things were bad for awhile. Over time I felt I was slipping farther and farther away from who I really was and becoming this orphan-thing. No longer was I light-hearted, goofy and passionate.

But time has this amazing way of bringing us back to ourselves. In time, I ditched all those people who thought my child-like self was shameful. In time I began to slowly started to come back. With the help of good people along the way, I remembered.

Fast forward to today. Things are not only good for me again, they are FAR BETTER than they were when I started this blog. My cancer looks to be in remission, I am in school, I am with the perfect man and I have brought what's left of my toys out of storage.

When I opened the boxes of my old toys I found an emotion there. It was joy. Just light joy. And I came to the conclusion that at times in life there are terrible things at our doors. Things we have no control over. Anxiety is always creeping in, threatening our mental health. We have to constantly prove and re-prove ourselves to spouses, kids, employers and parents. There is competition out there. There is, frankly, a whole lot of evil.

But toys will always be there. Toys will always bring us back to our fundimentals, our childhood. A place where we still believed that we might, if we ran fast enough, find the end of the rainbow.

I did not want to live a life devoid of the simple pleasures of the toys of my youth anymore. People NEED things that eliminate and reduce anxiety. We need things that bring us easy joy.

Remember that scene in Toy Story where Buzz finally flies? He has suffered incredible losses, but he's different now. He is finally a truer version of himself. No more is he burdened down with self-delusion and self-pity. He is flying!

That's me.

We live in a wonderful time. Nerds rule the world. Toy nerds are everywhere. But still there is so much shame in our culture surrounding collecting, child-like things, hoarding, passion over something that won't make you rich, and anything that isn't "done" by the "cool kids."

I reject that shame. I refuse to feel it.

Instead, I will live in this adult world if I have to. But honestly, it will not take all my joys away from me. It won't take my toys.

I'm back!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Care Bears Care-A-Lot Playset Information & First-Shot Prototype

 I found the above image online years ago. Check out the differences between the catalog first shot (above) and the finished product (below). I especially love that gooey cake Birthday Bear and Tender Heart are about to devour. If you look closely you can see that the shapes are very similar but subtly different.


  Rarity: Semi Hard to Find 

MIB VALUE: Around $80 Complete, $100 with box

MIP Pictures

On the sides of the box it says: "Use the Look About Loft to help the CARE BEARS see if anyone needs some special "CARE BEARS" help! You can help the CARE BEARS have fun sliding in their cloud chairs. And how about a ride on the swinging star? Oops, looks like Bedtime Bear has found another place to sleep."

Additional Info
The designer of the remarkable playset was a Kenner Employee by the name of David Winslow.

This playset was sold worldwide. It appeared on the market with the 1st-issue poseable line in 1983 and the package remained the same throughout 1987. The European box is slightly different as you can see in the above photos.

It came with the following loose and removable accessories: Blue Slide, Attachable Telescope, Attatchable Sun (Top of Playset), Blue Cloud Table, 3 Cloud Chairs, Yellow Swing, Yellow Spinner (Poseables sit on it and it spins in the center of the playset), Heart Tabletop Piece, Star Tabletop Piece, Cupcake Tabletop Piece. No poseables were included with the set.

David Winslow's Origional Care-A-Lot artwork:

Helpful information from David Winslow: "I was a designer for Kenner in the early 1980's and developed product for Care Bears along with Strawberry Shortcake. Up for auction from my personal files is the the original rendering (25 X 19 INCHES) presented to Kenner management to get the go ahead on the Care a Lot playset. Also included is an early production sample boxed for the playset, an original Kenner inter office write up for the Care Bear line that was passed out at the meeting. Original drawings inclued for the elevations of the playset that were used by the model maker to start creating this toy."

This art set was auctioned off on ebay in July of 2007. Notice the variations from the produced version, a heart window, an entrance from the back, a middle pole, sun and moon retraction, etc.

Click on the Picture to see it full sized


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Child Doll Restoration

A very nice girl in Canada sent me these rather tragic My Child dolls.

Both were very stained, with gerying faces and hands. The dark-haird one even had some food substance all over her face, neck and chest. I decided I needed to save these poor gals, post haste!

I stripped them down and prepped a cocktail of detergent and fels naptha paste, which I applied with a toothbrush to all the messy spots.

You might recall this post where I show my new method of spot-cleaning my stuffed animals using a Waterpik flossing system. I wish I got a video of how easily all the gunk came off with the water pressure. It was amazing! Dirt just vanished away, like counter crud in some sort of infomercial. If I find another dingy doll I promise to make a video, it was fun and cool and not hard on the dollies at all!

Here they are, wet but clean!

After they dried I applied new makeup using watercolor pencils. Don't they look pretty!

Click on the image to see!

Time to do their hair!

I scrounged up an outfit for the knot-top and washed the original jammies blondie came in.
And voila! New dolls!

I put them up on my little white shelf along with my other two My Child Dolls. I have given them names too!

Here we have: Ebony, Robbie, Allie and Erica.

I must say as a side note, I have had the most horrible couple of weeks at work and just in general. I am so grateful I have toys to help get me through. They are faithful friends who always help get my mind off things.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Glo Friends Sleeping Bag Colors

This weekend I went through my Glo Friends collection to determine what I still need to complete it. For several months I have been gathering MIP pics to determine the sleeping bag colors and I am getting closer to finding out what went with what. If you can help, please let me know.

Glo Bashfulbug - Blue
Glo Bonnie Beetle - Purple
Glo Bookbug - Green
Glo Bopbug - Blue
Glo Bug  - Purple
Glo Clutterbug - Light Orange
Glo Cricket - Yellow
Glo Doodle Bug - Red
Glo Firefly - Orange
Glo Grannybug - Blue
Glo Horsefly - Blue
Glo Skunkbug - Orange
Glo Snail - Orange or Blue
Glo Snugbug - Pink
Glo Spider - Red with blue trim
Glo Tootlebug - Blue
Glo Worm - Green  or Yellow

Glo Nuttybug - ??
Glo Prayerbug - ??
Glo Flutterbug - ??
Glo Butterfly - ??