What I learned about vintage soft toys part 3 Teddy Bears

Oh yes everyone loves a Teddy Bear. I collected them for a long time still have some now but not quite as many as I did. We visit ramsbottom in bury like having a browse in the teddy shop can’t resist but only looking! Love the handmade ones.

*teddy Bears

cute fury soft toys with arms and legs and cute faces here’s the story.🐻


Did you know that the Teddy Bear was invented in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt? It all began when Theodore Roosevelt was on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi on November 14, 1902. Mississippi’s Governor Andrew H. Longino had invited him, but unlike other hunters in the group, Theodore had not located a single bear.

Roosevelt’s assistants, led by Holt Collier, a born slave and former Confederate cavalryman, cornered and tied a black bear to a willow tree. They summoned Roosevelt and suggested that he shoot it. Viewing this as extremely unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear. The news of this event spread quickly through newspaper articles across the country. The articles recounted the story of the president who refused to shoot a bear. However, it was not just any president, it was Theodore Roosevelt the big game hunter!

lifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, read the article and decided to lightheartedly satirize the president’s refusal to shoot the bear. Berryman’s cartoon appeared in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902. Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, saw the cartoon and had an idea. He and his wife Rose also made stuffed animals, and Michtom decided to create a stuffed toy bear and dedicate it to the president who refused to shoot a bear. He called it ‘Teddy’s Bear

Cartoon drawing

Teddies was made simultaneously by toy makers Morris Michtom in the U.S and Richard Steiff in Germany in the early days. The teddy bear became an iconic children’s toy, celebrated in story,song ,film. Since the creation of the first teddy bears which sought to imitate the form of real bear cubs. Teddies have greatly changed in style,colour,material and now big collectors items with older and rarer appearing  at public auctions. Teddy bears are very popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love ,valentines,congratulations,or sympathy.

michtom had great success with the teddy bears he founded the ideal novelty and toy co. Richard steiffs designs steiff exhibited the toy at the Leipzig toy fair in March 1903 .where it was seen by Hermann Berg a buyer for George Borgfeldt & company in new york( and brother of composers Alban Berg). He ordered 3,000 to send to the U.S. The record shows the bears being made but not arriving at there destination as they was shipwrecked. How ever this story was disputed as they never arrived thought they wasn’t durable enough to survive until the present day.Steiff and michtom were both making teddy’s at the same time neither would have known of the others creations.

Early michtom teddy
Early steiff teddy  these bears had buttons in ears

Seymour Eaton wrote the book series The Roosevelt Bears, while composer John Walter Brattonwrote wrote the instrumental The teddy bears picnic. Then later had words by lyricist Jimmy Kennedy.

Early teddy bears were made to look like real bears, with extended snouts and beady eyes. Modern teddy bears tend to have larger eyes and foreheads and small  like  doll features that enhance the Toys cuteness Teddy bears are also manufactured to represent different species of bear, such as polar bears,grizzly bears, pandas etc.

While early teddy bears were covered in tawny mohair fur, modern teddy bears are manufactured in a wide variety of commercially available fabrics most commonly synthetic fare but also velour,denim ,cotton, satin and canvas.

Commercially made, mass-produced teddy bears are predominantly made as toys for children. These bears either have safety joints for attaching arms, legs, and heads, or else the joints are sewn and not articulated. They must have securely fastened eyes that do not pose a choking hazard for small children. These “plush” bears must meet a rigid standard of construction in order to be marketed to children in the United States and in the European Union.

There are also companies, like Steiff, that sell handmade collectible bears that can be purchased in stores or over the Internet. The majority of teddy bears are manufactured in countries such as China and Indonesia. A few small, single-person producers in the United States make unique, non-mass-produced teddy bears. In the United Kingdom one traditional teddy bear company remains, Merry thought which was established in 1930 mohair the fur shorn or combed from a breed of long haired goats, is woven into cloth, dyed and trimmed. Alpaca teddy bears are made from the pelt of an alpaca because the fiber is too soft to weave. In addition to mohair and alpaca, there is a huge selection of “plush” or synthetic fur made for the teddy bear market. Both these types of fur are commercially produced.

Teddy bears are a favourite form of soft toy for amateur toy makers, with many patterns commercially produced or available online. Many “teddies” are home-made as gifts or for charity, while “teddy bear artists” often create “teddies” for retail, decorating them individually with commercial and recycled ornaments such as sequins, beads and ribbons. Sewn teddy bears are made from a wide range of material.

The teddy bear will be going on for a long time

Thankyou for reading

I also collect pictures of teddy bears over on my Pinterest  so take a look 

An RAF Boulton Paul Defiantcrew pose with their teddy bear mascot at RAF Biggin Hillduring World War II

Retail sales of stuffed plush animals


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What I learned about vintage soft toys part 2 cabbage patch kids

I have been over come with the love for vintage toys and the fascinating story’s of them. I was to old for the cabbage patch kids doll in the 80s but would have loved one all the same. People went crazy for them fighting in the shops to get hold of one Madness. So here’s the tale of how it began….

*Cabbage patch kids

Where do babies come from? If you answered, “a magical animatronic tree in Cleveland, Georgia,” you’ve likely been to BabyLand General Hospital, the toyshop, museum, and maternity ward for Cabbage Patch Kids, the dolls that swept American playgrounds in the 1980s. Now have celebrated forty years and had a birthday party at its north Georgia headquarters—complete with the giveaway of a special fortieth-anniversary doll, handmade by the company’s creator himself, Xavier Roberts. 2018

But how did it all begin !

What they call the soft culptured dolls handmade in the beginning then later manufactured  in the thousands.

The dolls were originally invented by a Kentucky artist named Martha Nelson Thomas. Martha first started making them in the early 70s, and would “adopt” them out to family and friends. The dolls eventually caught the eye of Xavier Roberts, a Georgia man who ran a gift shop. He bought some of  marthas dolls and sold them for more money.she was just a lovely crafty lady and didn’t want her dolls she called little babies sold for high prices so she stopped selling them to him. Xavier Roberts was a quilter artist in his own right decided to make his own dolls and the cabbage patch kid was born.

After reading this story I came across these dolls two original dolls made by Martha  Nelson  Thomas  so bought them Need some tlc but love them.

Martha nelsonThomas little people dolls 1984

xalia Roberts 1976

As the story gos 21 year old art student, Xavier Roberts rediscovers “needle molding” a German technique for fabric sculpture from the early 1800s. Combining his interest in sculpture with the quilting skills and so created the little people to be adopted then went on to call them cabbage patch kids.

heres one of his first designs

Xavia Roberts first cabbage patch little people

Dexter wins a first place ribbon for sculpture in 1978 at the Osceola Art Show. Xavier begins delivering his hand made Little People Originals and exhibiting them at arts and crafts shows in the southeast. He finds that many parents are happy to pay the $40.00 “adoption fee” for one of his hand signed Little People Originals.
Returning home to Georgia, he organizes five school friends and incorporates Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc. Xavier and his friends renovate the L.G. Neal Clinic, a turn of the century medical facility in Cleveland, Georgia, opening “BabyLand General® Hospital” to the public.

Cabbage patch kids growing in the garden

Xavier’s dolls, which each had his signature printed on the bottom became wildly successful over the next few years. Their popularity reached its peak in 1983, when shortages of the dolls over the Christmas period led to mini-riots in toy stores across the country. Martha Nelson didn’t make a single penny from her creation

For those of you who were alive and breathing with any form of cognitive thought in the 1980s remember the Cabbage Patch Kids — especially the craze of 1983. Cabbage Patch Kids was a staple to the American childhood during the 1980s. It was a Black Friday sale, but instead of great prices on a 50-inch flat screen, you’re getting a vinyl face and soft-bodied toy for the full retail price Couldn’t see that happening today.

1983 craze for cabbage patch dolls

Cabbage patch dolls have now been made by different company’s over the years. Still with the xavia Roberts signature. Who wouldn’t want to visit baby land and own a unique cabbage patch kid me please. Even now I know the history I would still want one. I relate to Martha being a maker my self she didn’t want her creations to be exsploted they was special unique to her she went on making them till she died.

Martha and her babies

Fascinating story and cabbage patch kids live on now even doing the soft sculptured ones again.

Vintage cabbage patch kids

I have adopted a few including Martha’s creations to renovate bring  back to new. Harder than that sounds as more based in America items for dolls are rare here and postage is high but I will keep trying maybe visit one day😊

Thanks for reading Julie

cabbage patch taking a bubble bath 😊💕

Cabbage patch kid 1985

See this  video

I love Dolls so take a look at my collection of pictures over on Pinterest

I have just started selling vintage toys so visit my Etsy shop


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What I learned about vintage soft toys part one sock monkeys

Vintage toys

Making sock monkeys I was always fascinated about where they originated from ? So wrote about it at the time !  Love vintage Please read on if interested I will tell you more……

*sock monkeys

Everyone knows what a sock monkey is. You probably played with one yourself as a child. But did you know that a sock monkey actually made an appearance at the Academy Awards? And that one of them even starred in batman returns

Stuffed toys are a rather recent invention. The first manufacturer to concentrate on soft toys was the German company Steiff, which was founded in 1880 and invented the teddy bear in 1902.

When the European trend reached the United States in the 1920’s, mothers started making their own stuffed toys from socks. Nowadays, when people think of sock monkeys, they automatically think of so-called Original Rockford Red Heel® socks — gray work socks with a distinguished red and white heel.

I made one of these myself and I called him Rockford you can still buy these socks today with pattern on how to make


These socks were originally made by the Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois (hence the name) since 1890, and patented in 1915. When the company decided to include sock monkey instructions with every pair of the Red Heel® socks in the 1950’s, the true marketing magic began.

The pattern was published in a craft magazine in 1955, and in 1958, the first book dedicated to sock monkeys was published. By then, elephant instructions were published as well, and sock monkeys became an important part of every American childhood.

As with every trend, it slowly died down, only to be resurrected again in the 1990’s, when the baby boomers shared their own childhood memories and started making sock monkeys again.

Sock monkeys will always be part of my life as I have been making them for over 4 years . Nice to know how it all started and the history.

Now made out of all socks in different colours but all very unique to the person making them.

Thanks for reading lots more to tell you about the history of soft toys


you can see a collection of vintage sock monkey pics over on Pinterest 

click on boards


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