Adventures In Cute: Child Collectors

After reviewing her book, Hello, Cutie!: Adventures in Cute Culture, I had the chance to interview the collector and author, Pamela Klaffke. In her book, she mentions that her young daughter is also a collector. Since I’m a big fan of children who collect, I wanted to speak with Pamela specifically about her daughter’s collecting.

Hello again, Pamela. Let’s talk a little bit about your daughter and what she collects.

Her name is Emma, she is 11-and-a-half and is in sixth grade. She primarily collects Blythe and Dal dolls, anime figurines, Pokémon plush toys and game cards, plus stuffed animals in general.

When and at what age did she begin collecting?

She’s been collecting since she was a toddler — first with Care Bears, then My Little Pony, and big-eyed Lil Peepers plush toys. Her interest in each collection lasted about 2-3 years and she was really focused. She would usually just buy items for her collections, rather than just a bunch of random toys.

Did you have to encourage her to collect?

It’s not something we really discussed, but being a collector myself I certainly didn’t dissuade her, except maybe when the stuffies started to edge her out of her bed! We had to start keeping them in bins. But collecting has always interested her and come quite naturally.

As a parent and a collector, I feel that the act of collecting is a great thing for children. It helps with practical things such as handling money, negotiating, making decisions, etc. While regular shopping has some of these things, collecting is different and even better than just going to a toy store. Even without the vintage aspect of learning about history, there’s far more involved… It’s not as easy because there’s more to sift through, no catalog pages to circle, etc. A child learns to value imperfect things — while perhaps learning to take better care of the things she collects (because “older” can mean “more fragile”). And I do believe that the role of collector is rather like the role of artist. What things do you think your daughter has learned or gained from collecting?

She’s definitely learned how to save money for an item she wants — she saved for four months earlier this year to pay for a special, limited edition Blythe doll. She’s also learned how to research the best price for items online and can spot a good deal. Many of the things she collects have to be ordered from Asia, so she’s become pretty savvy at ferreting out the bargains. She also combs every nook and cranny of a thrift shop in search of a genuine 1970s vintage Kenner Blythe doll. She’s heard the stories of people finding them in unlikely places and hopes one day it will happen to her!

Here’s hoping Emma finds her big score!

If you or child collect dolls, toys, and other cute things, you’ll love Pamela’s book.

My Mom’s Old Teddy Bear

This is my Mother’s teddy bear. I’m not sure how old it really is. But, she wasn’t the first owner of this bear. My brother used to keep it in his bedroom when he was a boy. Currently, it’s in his house, in the spare bedroom. I saw the bear there when I visited over the Christmas holidays. It doesn’t look any different from the first time I saw it as a kid.

The bear’s arms and legs are held with a thin rope which has become loose through the body so the arms and legs both dangle around. The head is a bit loose at the neck, but it doesn’t dangle. The fabric/ textile over the body is a little thread bare looking, like an old, worn in carpet. Overall, I think the bear is in pretty good shape. The embroider on the face is still tight and hasn’t got any damage from wear and tear at all. As an experienced embroiderer, that is pretty remarkable. The bear is stuffed with something pretty dense. It has no leaks so I can’t be sure what is actually in there.

We never played with this bear. It was given the respect due it’s age (and the fact that it was Mom’s bear) and we rarely touched it. She had a few other toys leftover from her time as a child but the bear is the one my brother liked best. He had his own bear, bought for him. Also, a dog Mom made him. So he had stuffed animals to play with. That bear was always special. It didn’t get to play with the other toys but it did get to watch from it’s perch on top of the clothes dresser.

Cymruted Collectible Bears: Teddy Bear Identification by Build

The Teddy Bear Museum: Teddy Bear History

Flickr Teddy Bear Photo Groups:


Making Wedding Gifts Heirlooms

We don’t discuss a lot of new things here at Inherited Values, but today we make an exception…

One of my friends is helping a friend with her wedding plans and the subject of wedding gifts came up. Specifically those wedding gifts the bride and groom give to those in the bridal party, the groomsmen, the parents, etc.  As lovers of vintage and antiques, we naturally gravitated to the idea of an excuse to scour antique malls and online stores for just the right gifts. But not everyone loves old things.

Personalized Teddy Message Bear

Since weddings are special occasions, when families grow and joint memories begin, you want to give pieces which will be saved — you want to give things which will become heirlooms.

Heirlooms are those items saved and passed along within a family for generations. They all have to begin somewhere. But in order to become an heirloom, they must be special enough to be saved by the first person they are given to. This means they should be special from the start, carrying not just the weight of the special occasion itself, but the warmth and significance of the relationship itself as well as offering some sort of practicality or use that make the items more than jut dust collectors. (If that “practicality” notion bothers you, please see the history and origins of the word!)

When selecting gifts to mark the occasion of a wedding, consider who the item is for, their role in the special day, and what sentiments are likely to be attached to that day. Drinking glasses and flasks are popular for men because items associated with drinking are reminders of the wedding toasts made. Jewelry and jewelry boxes are popular for female attendants because they are reminders of special days in the past as well as more to come. Personalized teddy bears are great options for children because they are playmates for that day, and toys that sit proudly on display to remind kids of the special day they took part in.

Of course, the more weddings a person has participated in, the more glassware and jewelry they are likely to have, but it just requires a bit more thinking…

There really aren’t any wrong gifts to give, but thinking about the future use of items helps ensure that they will be saved — and on their way to becoming heirlooms!

Sweet Pink Kitty Paws – It’s Saalfield Oilcloth!

I’ve seen and sold a number of items from Saalfield Publishing Co., Akron, Ohio, before, but I’ve never seen anything like this uncut oil cloth with cats printed on it dated 1913.

The entire sheet of oilcloth measures 36 and 1/2 inches by 24 and 1/4 inches. It has three cats which are to be stuffed with cotton. Two are sitting (the largest is 17 inches tall, the other 9 and 1/4 inches tall), and the third is laying down (measuring 9 inches long). The largest one sits on the oval piece (a cardboard insert is to be added to stabilize it).

I love-lovelove the tiny pink kitty paws!

Complete instructions for making the family of kitties are printed on the fabric. The question is, would you even dare to cut it?

The charming antique oilcloth (available for sale at and images via kouleegirl) opens a whole new possibility for me in collecting Saalfield things — something I’ve not seriously collected yet. Yet.

Things like this get me excited! So I plan to spend some more time studying the collection at Kent University, where they have a nice Saalfield Publishing Company collection (1899 – 1976).

The collection includes artwork, oversize galleys, printing plates, etc., catalogs, and publications from 1899 – 1976. Or you can view lists of the collection’s holdings by series (linen books, paper dolls, activity books, etc.).

Sadly, Kent does not have any images from the Saalfield Collection online; but fans can check the university’s FAQ on the collection for more information.

Teaching Old Stuffed Dogs Tricks

sweet-vintage-stuffed-dog-faceI suppose technically, this vintage sawdust stuffed dog belongs to my stuffed animal collection, but like Tigger, I resist calling him a collectible.

In truth, I often resist calling things “collectibles,” because that tends to make people think of them as part of some set of things, as opposed to the more individual sentimental reasons for owning them… But in this case, I snatched up this old stuffed dog because it reminds me of my dog.

Well, at least a simplistic or childlike rendering of him.

Ween (named after the band; not short for Weiner), is a mutt with ancestorial Aborigonal roots. He does not like to have his photo taken, and we presume to imagine he fears photographs take his soul or pieces of it. As a result, I have very few photos of this dog. Here’s one, taken with a cell phone — before he figured out that it was a camera too.


So now I must content myself with posing the vintage stuffed dog, rather than my always-eager-to-be-prone dog.



But don’t worry, my sweet old stuffed doygie likes to lay prone too. Quite lifelike. Or as lifelike as an old dog can be.


If you think I’m somewhat crazy for taking photos of my toy dog, check out The Secret Lives Of Toys at Flickr and you’ll see that I’m not alone. *wink*

Lessons In Plush Toys (Or Whose Head Is Stuffed With Sawdust?)

my-tigger-the-sawdust-stuffed-toy-tigerI don’t recall how old I was when I received this tiger, whose head at least is stuffed with sawdust. Tigger, as I named him, seems to simply just have always been… When not waiting for me in my bed, he often could be found riding on my shoulder, wrapped about my neck. We’ve had a long life together, the two of us. Every one of his scars tells a story, a story of a lesson I learned.

Tigger is the reason I cared to learn how to sew. I loved him so much, I had to repair him myself and there are the clumsy stitches of childhood sewing down his back — in multiple colors of thread, each indicative of the multiple repairs — to prove it.


If it weren’t for Tigger, who knows if I’d be able to replace a button?

But the most embarrassing story involves the mark on his left or backside.

This dark spot marks a dirty secret… When I was about eight years old, I thought I was super smart, sneaking a big grape gumball into bed with me. Once tucked in, I popped it into my mouth, assured that I’d chew for awhile and properly rid myself of it before falling asleep. I mean what sort of idiot would fall asleep chewing gum and risk choking on it, as my parents feared?

…Morning came, the gum was forgotten about until I grabbed Tigger to bring him down with me for breakfast. When I picked him up to place him on my shoulder, there it was – a giant gob of chewed purple goo.

Poor Tigger!

And poor me if I were to be busted!

Amazingly, the gum had only attached itself to the plush tiger, not my nightgown or my bedding, so I rushed to save Tigger (and my own hide). Not having access to any how-to guides, or knowledge or possibly using ice to help me, I began to scrape the gum off. It mushed, but it didn’t really move. My mind flashed to a gum at school memory, when Liz had to have the teacher cut the signs of Scott’s affection out of her hair — I grabbed the round-tipped scissors from the desk I shared with my big-mouthed baby sister and managed to hack the purple blob off before she discovered — and outed — me.

Tigger still has a purplish bruise. But no one else would notice. Like my bruised ego, he carried it around as a reminder that not all parent’s rules are stupid.