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

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!

Our House is a very very very fine house (part 2)

(Part one here)
Ok, this post is a bit overdue, but I have been searching through every stack, drawer, and picnic basket (don’t ask) full of photos in my house and come to this conclusion: apparently 15 years ago, when we did the first round of work on our house, I took almost no after photos. Drat!
Here’s what I can share of the “early years” We gutted the bathroom, and demoed an illegal bathroom that was stuck in a corner of the tiny bedroom. While removing some wall board in the bedroom, we uncovered this fabulous Lady & the Tramp wallpaper. Unfortunately it could not be saved.
We pulled out all the nasty carpet in the house and repaired termite damage in various places in the floors. We also pried up the kitchen floor, which you may recall was black and white linoleum that had been painted over in green. Underneath was old growth fir, which along with the rest of the wood floors, we refinished.
We pulled out all the old plumbing ourselves, (in the process discovering the washing machine had been just dumping it’s water into the wall), dug the trenches for new plumbing, and had copper pipes put in. We also got all new wiring. We made new drawers for the kitchen, stripped yards of wallpaper, and painted the inside of the whole house.
The bathroom got new hex tile, vintage clawfoot tub, and a wood wainscot and storage cabinet that we built and painted green. We also added the stained glass in the transom above the door, and I stenciled a duck border too. (To go with my collection of vintage rubber ducks.)
All in all, we worked every weekend for about 4 months before we could even move in. We did everything ourselves, with the exception of the plumbing, electrical and tile install. It was exhausting, but in the end, we had our cute little bungalow, newly painted with colors of green and yellow. (Hard to believe now, but having color on the walls was a big deal 15 years ago).
The year before my daughter was due, we had the outside painted so it went from this:
To this:
The back yard also got landscaped, and went from this:
To this:
We loved our little bungalow (it was just under 1200 square feet) but after Sadie, then Theo came along, we had to decide: Move or remodel? We were worried that if we sold our house to move to a bigger house, whoever bought our house would just level it. We couldn’t let that happen, and were arrogant enough (if I’m being honest) to believe that we at least would try to remodel it “right”.
So stay tuned for Part 3: Going Up!

Tri County Fair: 3 Times the Fun!

So over Labor Day Weekend we took the kids for one last road trip before they go back to school. We headed up to Bishop, CA where I grew up, to attend that marvel of childhood: The Fair! Bishop in fact hosts the fair for all 3 nearby counties, Inyo, Mono and Alpine, and yet it is small enough to have that good old country fair vibe.
Immediately upon walking in, we were greeted by a free raffle table sponsored by McDonalds to win one of 8 kids bikes. I love free. This free came with strings: the kids had to be present to win, and so had to watch the Ronald “comedy” hour. Lucky my husband hates going in the quilt building, (too much fabric in one place gives him nap time flashbacks and he instantly goes comatose), so he stayed outside with the kids, more kids and “Ronald” while I looked at the handmade goods. Walking through the displays of craftiness made me hungry, so I went to get corndogs for the family, and just as I was adding the ketchup, I hear Ronald call out “Theo Emery” What? did I hear that right? I had the camera hanging from my neck, 3 drinks in one hand, and 4 corndogs in the other, so I missed getting photo of Ronald asking Theo if he’s seen Theo Emery, as Theo yells “I AM THEO EMERY! I”M RIGHT HERE!!!” But here is a photo of my little winner, with Ronald and the other lucky winners.
That was the start, and probably the highlight, of a great day.
We also hit the Petting Zoo,
The Trout Derby, where the kids were determined, but the trout just laughed at our efforts, as per usual.
DSC_0739.JPGWe rode the Rides
DSC_0770.JPG And played Games
DSC_0795.JPGDSC_0794.JPG We saw fine displays of home grown awesomeness,
DSC_0801.JPGDSC_0743.JPG And great graphics all around.
DSC_0792.JPG All in all, I’d say we had a blast!