These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

Reference + Family Fun = Awesome!

So if you’ve poked around here at all, you might get the idea that I’m into vintage graphics. Especially vintage children’s graphics.
Well, right, and right again.

The internet is a wondrous place with a load of great imagery to sift through of course, but a jem of a website that I came across a few years ago is Kiddie Records Weekly. Basically once a week for about 4 years, these awesome people have been uploading a vintage children’s record, complete with graphics to this site. Not only can you have a look through their archive of album covers, but you can download or stream the audio files ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! How awesome is that? (Ok, I’m listening to the “Flying Mouse” as I type this)

Here are some of my favorite images found in the archives of Kiddie Records Weekly:

Say what you will about Disney, they have a long history of amazing graphics. “the Flying Mouse” and “Elmer Elephant” are two of my favorites.

I love the flat graphic quality of this Eagle and the Thrush cover. The birds of course are lovely, but the bunny and pie-head squirrel are equally great!

Grumpy Shark is awesome! Is it the illustration of the shark, the border or the color scheme? I don’t know, but I may be listening to this one next!

Here is a beautiful Christmas cover. I love the line art in the wings.

More freaky than anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables are these anthropomorphic clothes, shoes and socks. Look how happy the family is. You think they would run screaming. I mean my room is generally a mess, but when the clothes get up and dance by themselves, it is WAY PAST time to clean! (But a fine use of the typeface “Hobo”!)

This is another really outstanding cover. The juxtaposition of the line art with the filled in bear is really fabulous. And is the girl with the bear? I may need to listen to find out what is going on here.

After all of the brightly illustrated covers, this one stands out with it’s simplicity. A simply beautiful cover. And orange. With polka dots. And monkeys. What’s not to love?

Okay, those are my favorites. Now go download and listen to a few yourself!

A Doggone Fine Fisher Price Collection

My husband Dave and I came across a display of Fisher Price toys in an antique mall in Massachusetts while on our honeymoon. That day we bought one, that week we bought two, and the collection was born!

Fisher-Price was founded in 1930, in the shadow of the Great Depression. Herman Fisher, Irving Price and Helen Schelle combined their diverse manufacturing and retailing experience to create 16 wooden toys that they introduced at the International Toy Fair in New York City. The whimsical nature and magical surprises of those first toys quickly caught on and became the hallmarks of Fisher-Price.
I am lucky enough to have this awesome article, printed in the 1939 Mechanics Illustrated, about the inventor of some of Fisher Price’s first mechanical toys. It features the original 1938 Snoopy Sniffer (FP#180) on the cover. (My Snoopy Sniffer is shown above.) He measures 16.5”L x 5.5”L x 7”W.

Snoopy Sniffer was the first of Fisher Price’s long dogs. He was followed in 1940 by Woofy Wowser (FP#700) 15”L x 6.25”H x 3.75”W

Snoopy Sniffer was remodeled in 1955, then again in 1958 with the 13.5”L x 4.5”H x 4”W model shown below.
Fisher price had many smaller dogs. In my collection are the 1945 Merrie Mutt (FP#473), who plays the xylophone as you pull him.
He measures 7.5”L x 8”H x 4”W

In 1951 Butch the Pup (FP#333) was born, measuring 6”L x 4.75”H x 2.5”W

Nosey Pup (FP#445) came out in 1956, and has an awesome nose that moves in and out and up and down as he is pulled along. He measures 6”L x 4”H x 4”W

Wiggy Woofer (FP#640) debuted in 1957, measuring 8.5”L x 5”H x 3.25”W. Wiggy’s ears are attached to his wheels, so his head moves side to side as he is pulled.
In 1961 Playful Puppy (FP#625) also had his ears attached to his wheels. He measures 6”L x 4.75”H x 2.75”W.
In 1963 his ears were updated from black to blue. (FP#626) Having a wood shoe dangling from his mouth, when he is pulled he appears to play and shake it up.
That is it for my Pups. My collection only includes pre 1964 toys, and I don’t have everything in my collection, but it gives you an idea of the great graphics the Fisher Price company was known for.
Maybe next I’ll show you my Ponies!

A Cool Ride

Yesterday, my son reminded his dad that we have been wanting to take a ride on the Aqua Link. Long Beach is named for its five and a half miles of coastline, and the Aqua Link is part of the citys’ transportation system. It links the east Alamitos Bay area with the west Rainbow Harbor area, by boat. As we live in the east end of Long Beach, we thought it would be fun to ride our bikes to the Alamitos Bay Aqua Link dock, take the boat with our bikes to the west end of the city, and ride home down the bike path on the beach.
What a great day it was! The boat ride is only $5.00, and takes you first up the Long Beach coastline, where we got to see seals lounging on buoys, and an up close view of the off shore oil islands. Our first stop was by the Queen Mary, an historic ocean liner and WWII troopship. The view from the water was fantastic! The second stop is at Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific, where we and our bikes got off. The nice thing about taking the bike path down the beach from that end of town, is that it is more or less a downhill ride, which leaves you free to check out the architecture along the coast, or if you are lucky, check out the water for dolphins. Yes! we saw dolphins jumping in the water, about halfway through our ride! So there you go – the perfect day: A bike ride, seals, dolphins and a boat ride. What could be better?

Here are the cool bikes we took on the journey:


Boys bikes, a 1941 Elgin, and a 1954 J.C. Higgins.


Girls bikes, a 1941 Elgin, and a 1965 Foremost.