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.

INSTAGRAM

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.

TWITTER

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!

PINTEREST

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!