Monday, Wednesday through Saturday: 10:30 AM - 6 PM
Sunday: 11 AM -5 PM
CLOSED on Tuesdays
1410 Industrial Park Ave. at the Tri-City Shopping Center in Redlands, CA, 92374
Extremely easy access from Interstate 10 in Redlands between San Bernardino and Palm Springs!
Find us NOW at our NEW HOME, at 1410 Industrial Park Avenue in the Tri-City Center
Open 6 days a week!
Friends from Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties and beyond: Do you pass "routinely" through Redlands on your travels?
Make Us a “regular” stop!
SAVE MONEY with our current (or any past version) DISCOUNT COUPON (good on ALL regularly priced merchandise) soon to be appearing in the March issues of the Redlands, Highland and Yucaipa Coupons Monthly delivered to a mailbox near you!! We will soon have a stack of them in our shop in case you don't receive them in your own mail. REMINDER: You can use any of our previous coupons that may be floating around in a drawer, your purse or wallet, because they NEVER expire!
And we have a NEW set of Customer Reward packages for Spring that you can earn by spending a little "too much" money at one time in our shop!. However, if you just want to purchase one without spending any more, you will still receive a huge discount off of the value of the contents as shown here:
Just in from Ganz: some pretty Acrylic Crystal Flower basket ornaments to add a little "BLING" to your Spring!
Need a thoughtful little gift to add some sparkle to someone's desk or window sill (like maybe Mom or Grandma, since Mother's Day will be here on May 9?)--and maybe brighten a few spirits while you are at it? This Acrylic Crystal Pot of Spring Violets was just too charming for us to pass up--we hope you will be inspired to pass one on, too! (About 4" tall)
We've been trying to get Acrylic Crystal Hummingbird Ornaments, a VERY popular request, for MONTHS! They have arrived, on Thursday, May 6--just in time for Mother's Day! These come in a bunch of graded color variations, with each sporting a miniature metal hummingbird charm dangle--very pretty (we WISH we could find Butterflies as nice)--about 5" wide!
Here's a pretty printed Spring Flag from Two-Group Flags that would work for at least a few weeks after Easter! Available in both the House and Garden sizes, it is printed to read correctly from either "front" or "back"!
We can't think of a better flower to bridge the time between the hyacinths and daffodils of late winter and the daisies, cosmos and iris of late spring than colorful Tulips! However, we very seldom see them as the main design element of Decorative Flags--and hardly ever used as effectively as these in a simple, elegant and brilliantly-hued bouquet with petals and leaves beautifully accented in appliqued felt! With a greeting of "Welcome" as simple as the rest of the design, this is a gorgeous, double-sided flag that is equally richly executed--and reads correctly--on both front and back sides! What a lovely way for your home to see in Spring!
Is there anybody out there who DOESN'T love Hummingbirds? We've been looking for the last several years for an especially elegant one of those FANCY, double-sided appliqued and embroidered Decorative Flag designs that features a hummer, with not very much luck, but THIS year Evergreen Enterprises had this amazing style starring not only a fabulous Hummingbird (its head is actually a metallic, glittery fabric!), but also one of our favorite kinds of delicate, pendulous flowers, Fuchsias (these are brilliantly printed in rich spring hues with added dimensional felt accents)! We nabbed it up in both House and Garden Flag sizes--and there is ANOTHER, similarly rendered, but slightly different design scheduled to ship as soon as Evergreen receives it next month that is equally stunning!
If you are more into Butterflies than Hummingbirds (we really cannot decides...!), here is a GIANT Swallowtail appliqued in glorious detail among the flowers onto one of those same double-sided, multifabric (there's even a little sparkle on the textile composing its wings!) Decorative Flags from Evergreen! Both House and Garden size flags in this stunning design are in stock NOW!
We DO have this fabulous double-sided appliqued and embellished Dragonfly Flag in BOTH House and Garden sizes! That midnight-blue ground is the perfect backdrop for all those pretty bright printed Spring flowers (the orange ones have three-dimensional pop-pom centers!) and that HUGE Dragonfly's wings are appliqued in an iridescent fabric that sparkles in the sun! Shouldn't one of these be fluttering around your home?
We often prefer the presentation value of those fabulous appliqued and embroidered flag designs, but we found this printed style to be so brilliantly hued and finely detailed (at a level that cannot be matched on an appliqued flag), so stunningly screaming SPRING (couldn't you just jump into that garden image?), we simply had to add it to our Flag Collection--in both House and Garden sizes. At least some of you who have seen it agree, because several of these have already flown off of our display!
We thought last year's fancy Flamingo Flag from Evergreen was exceptionally bright and elaborate--until we got THIS year's version! Double-sided, appliqued and embellished, this Flamingo Flag design is more brilliantly hued and decorated and that deep violet-blue background really makes the rest of the elements pop! Available as both House and Garden sizes, this is a Flag that can take any Flamingo-lover from Spring right on into Summer! HOT!
Yes, we do already have one gorgeous double-sided, appliqued and embellished set of House and Garden Flags from Evergreen in the Hummingbird motif, but we thought this one was different enough--and so appealing we couldn't decide between the two designs--that we got this style, too! Right now, only the Garden size is in stock, but the full-sized House Flag version should be shipping to arrive in about two weeks!
We interrupt showing you images of Spring Decorative Flags to let you know that we also have in stock newly arrived Patriotic Flags! (Meanwhile we are awaiting additional designs in both categories coming soon from Custom Decor...)
In order to give your seasonal Decorative Flag choices more "staying power" (like maybe throughout the entire Summer...), we always make a concerted effort to find designs in a Patriotic theme that do NOT have a specific reference to a specific holiday like Independence Day, but include enough red, white and, blue to make the connection! Here is a great double-sided, printed and dimensionally embellished example from Evergreen Enterprises! Two of those Sunflowers have raised felt petals and loopy centers and the bow is real ribbon! House and Garden sizes are in store now!
Although the main focus of our Flag orders from Evergreen Enterprises tends to be on their fancy, double-sided appliqued and embellished styles, this printed design of the Statue of Liberty's Face splashed with water-color hues in all the colors and then some of her melting-pot population was just too unique and stunning to pass up! We have both the House and Garden sizes in store now!
The Flag creators at Evergreen Enterprises have become enamored of the Mason Jar, usually filled with flowers, as a comfort-evoking country-style design element--and here it is in one of their double-sided, brilliantly printed and dimensionally embellished Patriotic Flags! The jar itself is decorated in stars and stripes, surrounded by a red, white and blue celebratory bunting background and the floral bouquet echoes those colors, with added star-spangled picks and streamers! No text refers to any specific holiday so this design could take you from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July and maybe even all the way to Labor Day at summer's end! We got both house and garden flag sizes, but have no idea how long either will last in store...!
Here is a fun Sunflower-filled Decorative Flag with a Patriotic nod to see you into summer! This one is a printed design, but on a fabric that, although quite soft and with a very nice drape, has a texture that purposefully gives this style the overall look of an oil-on-canvas painting! Bursting with brightly colored, sunny weather flora and fauna, we have this design available, at least for the moment, in both House and Garden Flag sizes.
This Patriotic Little Red Wagon is all ready for the parade, filled with red, white and blue petunias and decked out in American Flag motifs! Mainly brightly printed in deep, long-lasting hues, this double-sided (two layers of fabric) design features actual small, separate, fabric American Flags spot-attached to the surface and standing out from the background, slightly gathered/folded as if they were "waving"! House and garden sizes still in stock... for now!
This beautiful retro-look Patriotic Flag design could only be accomplished with the subtleties of the print process! Otherwise the feather details on the majestic American Eagle, the lofty softness of the background clouds, the rustic tones of the shield and the lush pink hues of the apple blossoms (as American as the pie!) would have been lost and/or flat on an appliqued design. This lovely style is still correctly readable from either side--and we do have both the House and Garden sizes in store.... for now!
This fun appliqued and embellished double-sided Garden Flag features a red, white and blue Bicycle decorated with matching stars on its front wheel spokes! Patriotic colors are echoed in the contents of its handlebar basket filled with flowers--and on the streamers trailing away from the grips! Only available in this smaller size, with no reference to a specific celebration or holiday, you could "peddle" this design all the way through Summer!
We now resume looking at NEW (printed) Spring Decorative Flags, these just in on Thursday, April 22, from Custom Decor, along with some matching Accent Magnets and another surprise "accessory"!
What could be more cheerful than a pile of pretty sherbet and grape-ice colored Pansy "Faces" on this Decorative Flag design to "Welcome" your guests and--any passersby--who will immediately notice how well-dressed your home is for Spring? We ordered both House and Garden size Flags, the matching Accent Magnet--AND the coordinating Mailbox Cover!
If tumbling Pansies are too "casual" for your liking to "Welcome" guests to your neighborhood, how about this pretty pastel country-style Wreath done up in fancy Cabbage Roses (that has already attracted some "visitors" of its own!)? We ordered this lovely printed design in BOTH House and Garden sizes, along with the matching Accent Magnet AND Mailbox Cover!
With our little shop located here in Redlands, it's pretty much de rigueur to nab up Decorative Flag designs featuring anything citrus! Fortunately, this one featuring a Wreath of Lemons is lovely enough to deserve to be displayed around here! In fact, it may be hard to resist doing just that, especially now that the aroma of citrus blossoms is filling the air! Choose from either the House or Garden size Flag! Add the matching Accent Magnet and/or Mailbox Cover to "complete" the look!
What could be more adorable "helping" in the garden than this sweet little Kitten taking center stage in an intimate vignette of potted Primroses and Geraniums accompanied by a Mason Jar filled with a bunch of airy Spring blossoms, all of which seem to have attracted some equally cheerfully-hued and lightly fluttering Butterflies?
House Flag? Check. Garden Flag? Check Accent Magnet? Check! AND Mailbox Cover? Check!!! All in store NOW!
This brilliantly printed Flag design just about screams "Spring!" (maybe even a little "Summer"....) with its bouquet of fabulous Gerbera Daisies accented with sprigs of Wisteria! They've already attracted beautiful "matching" Monarch Butterflies and a brightly-hued plaid border echoes the color scheme "painted" by these natural elements! Enjoy this palette of colors in the House or Garden size Flag, the coordinating Accent Magnet and/or Mailbox Cover, all in store now!
Here is another Flag design featuring Gerbera Daisies and Butterflies--in almost the same color palette as the one above, but with an entirely different feel! This one, while just as brilliant, is a little more abstract and relaxed, with the Daisies floating as airily as the this-time lemon-yellow Butterflies against the merest suggestion of a green garden backdrop, all done in a rather ephemeral watercolor look! Those real Daisies will fade in your garden, but this flag could carry your decor well into summer! This style was so popular last year, we were pleased to find it offered again this season. We THOUGHT we still had the matching Accent Magnets on hand, but turned out we must have sold them all and should have reordered! However, we DO have both the House and Garden size Flags AND the coordinating Mailbox Cover back in store NOW!
Remember that Custom Decor does not make heavy, double-sided burlap/appliqued Flags in any size but the Garden version--because using their means of manufacture the House size would become too heavy and too expensive to produce to sell for an acceptable price. Consequently, there are no matching accessory items to coordinate with the appliqued Flags they do make. However, we couldn't resist this double-sided Garden-size Burlap Flag with all these cheerful Ladybugs appliqued onto printed and embroidery-outlined Daisies, even without the matching Accent Magnet or Mailbox Cover! We get, instead, added dimensional Daisy and Ladybug Dangles to enliven this stand-alone design with just a little whimsy!
This HOT flag design was available last year--and was so popular we sold out! Is it any wonder? We liked it enough--and were happy to find the House size version listed again in this year's collections from Custom Decor--we had to reorder it!
What is not to like about a vivid RED vintage pick-up Truck filled and surrounded with spring and summer favorite flowers, Sunflowers and Daisies? Those little Ladybugs dotting the forefront flowers just add more to the fun! No Garden sized flags left, but we do have the matching Accent Magnet in this design!
If you love the design elements of Sunflowers, Daisies and Ladybugs, but find the addition of a red Pick-up Truck to be at odds with your own personal nostalgic memories, here is a WOW!! Spring/Summer Flag that features only the (BIG!) bugs and flowers! This one we do have in both House and Garden Flag sizes--and we have the matching 8" round Accent Magnet!
We LOVE the lush detail and intense hues of this printed all-season Flag design with a Patriotic theme (it is simply impossible to get this kind of near photo-imagery on an appliqued flag)! Drawing on the red, white and blue colors found in nature, this design calls upon them to frame those of our beloved American Flag! Unlike the case for the appliqued Flags from Evergreen Enterprises, besides the House and Garden sized Flags, we can also provide a matching Accent Magnet in this beautiful design!
Here's one more Patriotic Flag, this a printed design featuring a country-style Wreath of red Geraniums and maybe white Phlox flowers accented with a star-spangle Bow and American Flags! If your style is more country folk art than photo-realistic, this is a sweet down-home way to express how much you love your country! We ordered it especially because we could get not only the House and Garden sizes and matching Accent Magnet, but also the coordinating Mailbox Cover!
Our entire selection of everyday PopUp Greeting Cards has been refilled and updated for 2021!
Now that ALL of those boxes full of plush that arrived at year's end are unpacked, WHERE do we even begin to show you images of what they contained? By default because they each came in a box of their own, we started to show some (BIG) Sea Life from the newly arrived Fiesta shipment while we were waiting for the rest. Now it seems like a good approach to show you the newest "stuff" just added by habitat, since they are "related" even though they came from diverse suppliers, and where we can at least group some pieces, especially when we got more than one version of the "same" animal, for their "portraits". We will revisit our Ocean Habitat soon soon enough, but since we are looking directly across our counter at the South American Rain Forest Habitat and especially loving the little jewel-like New World Monkeys we just received from Hansa, we've arbitrarily decided to start there!
Not a lot of our vendors are currently producing a variety of realistic Monkeys from any habitat, so we of course turned to Hansa who makes things like these small, but exquisitely detailed (and, not surprisingly, not inexpensive) New World Monkeys! Starting at the top of the image and moving clockwise we have a classic Squirrel Monkey adjacent to a completely charming little Titi Monkey. On the lower right sits an adorably fluffy tiny Pigmy Marmoset and the collection is rounded out by another classic, a Capuchin Monkey, looking a bit like a world-weary little old man! We are so impressed with not only the artistry and craftsmanship inbued in these pieces by the Hansa artisans, but also the distinctive character obvious for each lovingly rendered species!
It has been awhile since we have had Tropical Frogs in our South American Rain Forest Habitat and we are happy to welcome back an old friend from Wild Republic, The Red-eyed tree Frog! This time we also added a Citronella Poison Dart Frog just for fun and because we could!
Everything Hansa produces is basically fabulous in quality, attention to detail and realism of portrayal of any creature they make, but they excel especially in their depiction of birds in plush! We simply had to add some of Hansa's beautiful Parrots to our South American Rain Forest Habitat, if for no other reason than for what colorful accents they provide! Note the hand-drawn feathers and facial details on these little works of artistic sculpture!
No South American Rain Forest Habitat would be complete without Sloths--and our collection of Sloths (we do have several) would not be complete without this guy from Hansa, who is arguably one of the best plush versions available! Good-sized, sitting at about 13" tall and executed in remarkable detail, in case that sweet expression on its face is not enough, his entire head can turn--and he's even huggable!
Our South American Rain Forest Habitat has been repopulated for 2021!
We are very pleased to have what is probably our favorite plush Rattlesnake back in stock after a too-long absence! We love the beautifully printed scales on this version from Fiesta and how it is posed coiled and ready to strike! And, yes, there are rattles in that tail!
We found this handsome Desert Tortoise in the Wild Republic Catalog! Isn't he a handsome addition to our Desert Habitat?
These two awesome Armadillos, one from Douglas (left) and an interestingly posed one from Wild Republic (right) just joined our Desert Habitat. Can you see why we like to get the "same" plush animal from different suppliers? We love how every designer has their own take on any given creature--and we especially love bringing you choices!
This exquisite plush "sculpture" of a North American Gray Fox from Hansa just joined our Desert Habitat (It could just as easily have "lived" in our northern hemisphere Forest Habitat, but that one is already jammed with Red Foxes, including a BUNCH of NEW ones, and this one can be found in desert environs...). We are completely blown away by the subtle variations in colors and textures of this duskily well-camouflaged predator, to say nothing of that suitably sly expression on its face!
Although sparsely populated in nature, our Desert Habitat is newly refilled with an array of creatures adapted to live in its harsh environment!
Starting on Africa today (it's a BIG Habitat, so this could take awhile!) with a couple of just sweet little Elephants, both from Aurora! The standing one, covered with silky "hair", is just stiff enough to remain upright, but the laying one is "floppy", smooshy-soft, with lush velvety fur!
What African Habitat would be complete without a Dromedary Camel, an animal so historically crucial to travel and trade across especially the northern part of this continent? In truth, we often do not have camels represented in this collection because not all that many acceptable (at least to us!) plush versions even exist! However, this is currently not the case since Douglas has finally designed and executed an especially nice Camel complete with the caravan referencing harness, posed kneeling, just waiting for a load to carry!
Here is another simply spectacular Fox from Hansa! This one happens to be a South African Bat-eared Fox, so it resides in our African Habitat. Those "bat-ears" are crucial for survival as this fox hunts for small prey below the surface of the ground which it detects by directing those ears to listen very carefully! We are so impressed with the craftsmanship employed to go from portraying that tail composed of lush fluffy plush to the finely trimmed detail of the muzzle and face (and everything in between!) of this exquisitely rendered creature!
All of our other Hedgehogs (and we just got in a good number of new ones!) are currently residing in our Northern Hemisphere Temperate Forest Habitat, as one would expect European Hedgehogs to be about! However, given that Hansa tells us that this small but precisely intense creature is an AFRICAN Pigmy Hedgehog, you will find him in that Habitat, along with the Bat-eared Fox and Dromedary Camel! Sporting a crest of fur vaguely reminding us of a carefully coiffed Mohawk hairstyle, the purposefulness of his expression could have us believe he is about to step up to the podium on those tiny little feet and expound authoritatively about some subject on which his well-versed expertise deserves to be paid attention!
This unabashedly lushly handsome 22" long (without the tail!) adult male Lion is NEW from Douglas. Matching the quality standards of everything else in the Douglas line of plush, including its elegant tactile appeal (it is every bit as soft as it looks!), we WISH this company would make more wild animals, especially when they would all be this nice! We will have to be content with loving their dogs, cats, horses, barnyard and fantasy creatures--and count our blessings when they do occasionally surprise us and drop something as lovely as this lion into their collection! Thankfully, we have an African habitat to accommodate him!
Who, other than Hansa, would expend such loving craftsmanship to portray a creature as gnarly as this remarkably accurately rendered Vulture? Obviously they believe--and we agree--that every creature holds an place of honor within Nature and deserves to be so respectfully presented. We have to admit that this is one of our favorite Hansa pieces--and we are very pleased to welcome it back to our African Habitat, a place decidedly less than complete without it!
This adorable little squirrel-sized primate just joining our African Habitat from Hansa is known as a Bush Baby, partly due to its diminutive size, but also for its huge eyes and rather plaintive cries, like those of a small child. It is rendered in the same kind of exquisite detail as larger pieces made by the artisans at Hansa, edging into the realm of sculpture as much as "toy"--but one you can hold in your hand and even stroke or cuddle its soft "fur"!
Do we happen to have any Cheetahs in our African Habitat?
The disappointing answer to this fairly common question (about a creature that can be surprisingly uncommon to find in plush versions) at our shop was, up until the end of December, "Right now we have exactly zero Cheetahs"...
Obviously this situation has changed--for the waaay better!
In fact, one reason we temporarily "forgot" to order Tigers was because we were SO excited about all the new Cheetahs we were finding that we had to add to this popular area! If you love Cheetahs you simply must check out all of these awesome plush renditions just added to our African Habitat!
Now that we've restocked all our favorites plus added the recently described "newbies" (note the special little area just for Flamingos!) our African Habitat is back to an "acceptable" level of choices! Come check it out!
Since we've shown you all the new and restocked "stuff" in our African Habitat, it's time to move over to our Asian Habitat right next door!
Before we get to inhabitants of the main Asian continent we want to draw your attention to the Asian Habitat shelves closest to our African area (just left of the Flamingos!) to find some interesting creatures from places like the Southeast Asian Islands and Madagascar! The latter is where to find Lemurs like this pair to draw to, a Red-ruffed and a Sifaka Lemur, both new to us. They will soon (we hope!) be joined by a returning Ring-tailed Lemur, currently on back-order from Wild Republic!
This adorable munchkin of a creature comes to us from Hansa (you could tell, right?) and is a Baby Tarsier! The adult version was out of stock when we ordered, but even this 6" tall incarnation has a head you can swivel! Rather than inhabiting the main Asian continent, species of Tarsiers are found on the Southeast Asian Islands of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nocturnal primates in their own family, Tarsiers are the only entirely carnivorous group of living primates, dining mostly on insects and spiders with an occasional small bird, lizard or bat also included in their diets, although Tarsiers can in turn fall as prey to any of the latter three! Those big eyes that give Tarsiers an edge while hunting at night also contribute significantly to their extreme cuteness quotient...
There are a number of different species of diminutive Old World Monkeys found mostly in Southeast Asia, including portions of India and China within that region, peninsular areas of Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, and/or Sumatra and Borneo that are commonly called Leaf Monkeys. They are typically arboreal and earn their common appellation from the main component of their diets. We are pleased to welcome this little little 7" portrait from Hansa of a generic version of this too-cute-for-words primate back to our shelves!
It may be hard to wrap one's head around, but this large nocturnal tree-dwelling primate fills the ecological niche on the island of Madagascar that Woodpeckers fill almost everywhere else! The Aye-aye is a lemur that hunts using a method known as percussive foraging, first tapping on tree trunks or limbs to find grubs and then harvesting them by gnawing an access hole with its sharp teeth and extracting them with a specialized long finger to consume them! Like those of many rodents, the Aye-aye's teeth continue to grow indefinitely, so it needs to grind them down chewing through tree bark on its way to prey!
Asia is home of one of the most famous and fantastically beautiful birds in the world and we just added FOUR NEW plush versions to our Peacock collection, one each from Hansa, Douglas, Folkmanis and Aurora (that's not counting one from Wild Republic that was previously holding down the space alone and another fantasmagorical one soon to arrive from Ganz)! We are so impressed with how wonderfully each manufacturer has rendered its Peacock--and how different each one is from the other!
Looking at the attention to detail on this rendition of a Pallas' Kitten, a diminutive feline endemic to, but widely distributed within the montane shrublands and grasslands of Central Asia, we are stunned at how closely the artisans at Hansa have matched its specific features as described by Wikipedia,
"The Pallas's cat's fur is light grey with pale yellowish-ochre or pale yellowish-reddish hues. Its forehead and top of the head is light grey with small black spots. It has two black zigzag lines on the cheeks running from the corner of the eyes to the jaw joints, and five to seven dark transversal lines across the lower back. Some hair tips are white and some blackish. Its chin, whiskers, lower and upper lips are white. The underfur is 40 mm (1.6 in) long and 19 μm (0.00075 in) thick, and the guard hairs up to 69 mm (2.7 in) long and 93 μm (0.0037 in) thick on the back. Its fur is soft and dense with up to 9000 hairs per cm2 (58,000/in2). Its eyes are encircled by white. Its iris is yellowish, and its pupils contract to small circular slits in sunlight. Its ears are grey with a yellowish tinge on the back and a darker rim, but with whitish hair in front and in the ear pinnae. Its rounded ears are set low on the side, so that it can peer over an object and show only a relatively small part of the head above the eyes without depressing the ears. This gives its face a look of ferocity and unrest. It has narrow black stripes on the back, and its grey tail has seven narrow black rings and a black tip..."
That, plus it is about as cute as a bug!
If the markings on this plush rendition of what is obviously not a domestic cat don't seem to be consistent with those you might recognize as belonging to regular Leopards, Cheetahs, Jaguars or the like, it is because this represents none of the above! In fact the markings on this wild cat are so distinctive, that its common name is derived directly from their unique appearance! This is a "Clouded Leopard", a wild cat inhabiting dense forests from the foothills of the Himalayas through mainland Southeast Asia into southern China. Clouded Leopards are solitary cats that exhibit advanced climbing skills useful for a largely arboreal existence, although they do spend time hunting on the ground at night when they are most active, preying upon medium sized vertebrates (e.g., the size of pangolins, binturongs, pheasants, small deer and the like). Per Wikipedia, "Its head-and-body length ranges from 68.6 to 108 cm (27.0 to 42.5 in) with a 61 to 91 cm (24 to 36 in) long tail. It uses its tail for balancing when moving in trees and is able to climb down vertical tree trunks head first."
We used to be able to obtain a nicely positioned, laying Clouded Leopard from Fiesta that is no longer available so are happy to see this one appear in Wild Republic's collection. In fact the fur pattern and texture on this version may be the more luxuriant!
Our Asian Habitat would be sadly lacking without Pandas--and betcha we couldn't order just one style, either! So we ended up with a lovely, fluffy PILE 'o' Pandas, of course! There's one from Ganz, one form Wild Republic and a couple of different ones from Douglas! Now making a choice among them is YOUR "problem"!
Lest those reptile-lovers out there think we are ignoring you, allow us to reassure you that we are VERY pleased to present not only one, but two different plush interpretations of a snake well-known as a denizen of places in Asia--and are delighted that BOTH the Wild Republic (left) and the Aurora Myoni (right) artisans used a few strategically placed stitches to position their Cobra coiled and ready to strike with its hood famously flared!
We got so excited to find so many of our manufacturers making awesome Cheetahs that we forgot to check our inventory of Tigers while ordering just before Christmas--and as it turns out we needed some of those! So we have meanwhile remedied that situation!
And if, as we must, we are going to have traditional orange Tigers in our Asian Habitat, it is simply de rigueur to have a few in White as well! That big one is every bit as lush and fluffy as the image would imply (its smaller compatriot is silky smooth and also eminently huggable, too)!
We can hardly call our Asian Habitat complete without representing the OTHER big Cat besides the Tiger, this one famous for its solitary existence in the icy cold extreme altitudes of the Himalayan Mountains! The only way we could get a naturally posed, laying down, counter-positioned version from Wild Republic at this time was to go with the JUMBO size shown here! This magnificent Snow Leopard's body is about two feet in length (and is as soft as a pillow--which you could use it as!)--and its big fluffy tail is nearly as long! It takes up an entire shelf unto itself, although, having no choice, we've managed to jam another plush piece or two on and around it...
And the grand finale of new additions to our Asian Habitat is...the Hansa Snow Leopard (just LOOK at that face--need we say more?)!!
Our newly restocked Asian Habitat has entire shelves full of Tigers, White Tigers and Snow Leopards with plenty of additional critters from Peacocks to Pandas stacked on and around them!
In moving on to describe refilling our Australian Habitat, we feel so fortunate to have Bocchetta Plush Toys, actually based right there on the continent in question, as an awesome resource for plush representations of some of the renowned and unusual denizens of this unique spot of real estate on our planet! Separated from other land masses for eons, most of Australia's land mammals evolved as monotremes or marsupials rather than as the familiar placental mammals filling similar niches everywhere else on earth! The Kangaroo is, of course, one of the more famous members of the marsupial group--and even though American companies can provide perfectly fine examples, we had to restock this magnificent rendition designed by artists who, living with them on a daily basis, most genuinely appreciate and accurately render their special, distinguished features!
One of our favorite reasons for having found Bocchetta Plush Toys from Australia is that they make a beautiful and altogether accurate, reasonably sized and priced Tasmanian Devil! Our only other current source for this famous critter from Down-under is Hansa; of course their piece is gorgeous, but also big at almost life-sized, with a matching Hansa price-tag, all of which is moot at this moment because Tasmanian Devils are out of stock/on back-order right now at Hansa. Thankfully, this one will serve as a perfectly fine, maybe even better, alternative choice for now--and alongside the Hansa one when it next becomes available!
OK--so almost everyone knows what a WOMbat is, but what about a NUMbat? This is one of the Australian critters we knew nothing about until we discovered it in the Bocchetta catalog! Turns out, although of course a marsupial (it evolved in Australia!), this mostly solitary creature is not closely related to other marsupials and is, unusual for this group, fully active in the daytime, rather than at night. It's mouth and tongue are adapted to efficiently slurp up its almost exclusive diet of termites, up to 20,000 a day for an adult, but because of its relatively small size and lack of strong claws for digging it must make inroads on the weakest parts of termite colony structures, usually shallow and unfortified underground galleries that termites construct between the main concrete-hard nest mound and their feeding sites and must hunt them when the termites are active and can be detected by the Numbat's strong sense of smell!
Although similar in name and also a marsupial, this Australian "Brushtail Possum" is more distantly related to our American Opossum than it is to kangaroos and other Australian pouch-incubating mammals! It is also mainly nocturnal, but dining more on plant leaves, including eucalyptus, than on smaller animals, although an occasional insect, bird egg and/or chick or other small vertebrate can be an acceptable addition to its diet. Like our opossums that have become accustomed to human habitation, per Wikipedia, "common brushtails are inventive and determined foragers with a liking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and kitchen raids". Not generally rendered in plush by our regular US vendors, this specimen is another welcome addition to our Australian Habitat from Bocchetta Plush Toys!
Here are a couple of versions of an Australian animal you may actually have heard of before! The Frilled Lizard is probably one of Australia's most famous reptiles and we were especially pleased to receive not only the rendition of one by Bocchetta (left) who is based on the continent and SHOULD be familiar with this critter, but also a full-body Puppet design from Folkmanis. If you are sufficiently coordinated (and have large enough hands to reach it), the puppet has an air bladder in its tail that allows the operator to actually puff air into the frilled collar to inflate it!
Although the Australian Quokka is reminiscent of cute western hemisphere rodents like Prairie Dogs or even certain rats, it is a marsupial relative of kangaroos and wallabies, although in its own separate genus. Only cat-sized itself, it can be preyed upon by introduced domestic cats, dogs and red foxes and due to such predation and significant loss of suitable habitat has become ecologically vulnerable. A nocturnal herbivore, the Quokka is able to climb small trees and bushes to reach leaves to munch on, but also eats grasses, sedges and other vegetation which it partially chews and swallows to regurgitate and chew as cud much like cows!
Here is another Australian marsupial (of course) that we had never heard of until we looked at Bocchetta's catolog! Unlike the Quokka, the various species of quolls are carnivorous. Per Wikipedia, "Quolls eat smaller mammals, small birds, lizards, and insects. Their natural lifespan is between two and five years. All species have drastically declined in numbers since Australasia was colonized by Europeans, with one species, the eastern Quoll, becoming extinct on the Australian mainland, now found only in Tasmania. Major threats to their survival include the cane toad, predators such as feral cats and foxes, urban development, and poison baiting. Conservation efforts include breeding programs in captivity, one of which is taking place in Tasmania with support from Rewilding Australia and Conjour.
Ah--at last an Australian animal besides a Kangaroo that you might even recognize--or at least have heard of! Being in Australia, Bocchetta Plush Toys would be expected to offer some Wombat choices and we picked out the two supporting this pile 'o' Wombats from them! Obviously, a little different in size there are a few additional subtle differences as well (eye and feet treatments); the Wombat on the top of this heap comes to us from Douglas and varies from the other two! Our really, really favorite Wombat is made by Hansa, but it is currently out of stock--it is also considerably more expensive than any of these--and we are happy to offer these alternative choices in our Wombat selection!
OK, OK--we do know that Kiwi Birds are not Australian, but rather, from New Zealand! However, Australia is the closest continent and doesn't boast enough indigenous animals to fill an entire habitat of its own, so much like Madagascar critters hanging out with those from Africa, our Kiwi(s) will be found in our Australian Habitat!
This one is, much to our surprise, from Aurora, a manufacturer who doesn't usually stray too far from the common and well-known creatures of land and sea for inspiration for their plush creations. We suspect one of their designers got their hands on some of this extra-fancy Luxe fabric and realized it would be the perfect thing of which to construct a Kiwi Bird, with the long, color-tipped fibers looking so much like the fine, needle-like feathers these flightless birds sport instead of flight feathers! We couldn't agree more!
Here is our Australian Habitat, updated with lots of interesting new pieces from Bocchetta, our supplier right there on that continent, among others of our awesome vendors, for 2021!
Moving out of our Australian Habitat, we're going to let these three shimmery Mermaids be our introduction to all the NEW ADDITIONS to our Sea Life Collection! We love how the multiple shiny fabrics of each costume compliment the beautiful skin-tones of each Mermaid and although all are different, each adds a a watery sparkle reflecting the marine habitat of these Sea Ladies!
If you know anything about us at all, it should be that when it comes to choosing stuffed animals for our shop we are ALWAYS attracted to the unusual and possibly even the strangest, so when we saw this pair of exotic fish appear in the Ganz catalog we HAD to have them! Ganz isn't even a company we would have expected to spend the time to get something as weird as the Lion Fish and the deep sea Black Seadevil, complete with its fishing line/lure to help attract unsuspecting prey near enough for it to grab, realistically correct (we expect them to provide us, rather, with awesome-cute Teddy Bears, Cats and maybe Puppies!), but we think they did a "fantastic" job with both of these designs!
So, speaking of exotic, we knew the moment we saw this fantasmagorical Sea Serpent appear alongside Dragons in the Douglas collection of fantasy creatures that we would need to add it to our Ocean Habitat! We love how it curves like the waves and how its scales have such a watery shimmer!
Just in case the Sea Serpent from Douglas is not complicated enough for you, we also have a slightly more over-the-top one from Folkmanis! Being from Folkmanis makes it, by definition, a Puppet so its motion in water need not be suggested merely by shiny scales, but you can fully animate its motion by moving BOTH its head and tail
Now that we have several to choose from you absolutely "otter" come check out our new collection of Sea Otters! We also have an even bigger collection of River Otters to rival these, but that's entirely different Habitat!
Do we have any Narwhals? Of course we do!
'The big smooth one with the printed dapple detailing comes to us from Wild Republic and the smaller, fluffy-huggy one is a Douglas creation, so it is soft, soft, soft!
We love Folkmanis, not only because all of their full-body plush pieces are puppets that you can either just display or fully animate, but mainly because they make creatures nobody else even thinks to try! Here is one example we haven't seen from any other plush supplier, a Giant Claim--with an equally unique dose of personality to accompany its unique form!
Here is another creature bringing some exceptional "character" to our Ocean Habitat, also from Folkmanis! The body and legs are accessible for animation by the hand of a puppeteer--or the entire Crab can be pulled back into its shell, just like any realistic Hermit Crab would need to be able to do!
Even though we already had a standard Dolphin or two in our Ocean Habitat we had to add this unusual Vaquita Porpoise from Fiesta! Limited to a tiny region in the north end of the Gulf of California with their population numbering at just around 60 individuals, Vaquita Porpoises are currently the most endangered mammal on earth. With Vaquitas being unintentionally caught during fishing operations, those activities have been suspended in its range in order to hopefully rescue the species. The distinctive facial markings, dark circles ringing each eye, have given the Vaquita Porpoise the nick-name, "Panda of the Seas"; these markings and the beaklike structure of the Vaquita's mouth are unique identifiers for this porpoise.
This smallish (17" across, stretched out), but luminous textured velvet and velour Octopus in colors to match the Sea comes to us From Douglas , so you know it also FEELS as awesome as it looks!
It has been quite some time since we have had Douglas's cute and colorful little Blue Crab in store, but it was about time to welcome it back to our Ocean Habitat! It's there now, waiting to be appreciated once again--just for you and all of your "crabby" friends...!
We were delighted to find this adorable little Puffer Fish in the Wild Republic catalog! This is the diminutive species of which the male carves out a huge and elaborate nest on the sandy sea floor to attract a mate only to have it swept relentlessly away by the waves once this goal is accomplished! It has been featured for this feat on at least one PBS Nature program recently--and it's hard to comprehend how such a little fish keeps track of such a massive design and actually maintains its symmetry long enough for any female to notice! Of course, we suppose it COULD just be that cute little smiley face that ultimately attracts the right girl...? We certainly hopes it attracts you to our Ocean Habitat!
Be sure to visit our Ocean Habitat, newly restocked for 2021!
And moving on to our newly restocked Forest habitat...
We are pleased to offer no less than three designs of plush Great-horned Owls now residing in our Forest Habitat! Bottom left is the Wild Republic version, on the right is the one from Douglas and overseeing both of those is the majestic Puppet Great-horned Owl from Folkmanis with a head you can swivel and eyes that can blink!
Leave it to Douglas to be the first of our plush suppliers to provide us with a Great GRAY Owl! This imposing creature has been missing from the collection of Barn Owls and Great-horned Owls and we are happy to welcome it to our Forest Habitat!
Here is a great example of why we love to be able to present the same animal in plush from different suppliers! Both of these are relatively accurate renditions of a Red-tailed Hawk, each portrayed handsomely, but with specific traits accented quite differently by their respective designers! Having both in this case also provides alternative size options for different spaces as well. On the left is the version from Douglas, accompanied on the right by the one by Wild Republic.
No Forest Habitat would be complete without representatives from one of its most iconic groups of residents, SQUIRRELS! And we have a good collection to choose from, including a couple of exquisitely detailed and complex renditions from Hansa (sitting on the wooden block), as well as simpler and differently sized versions in a variety of typical squirrel colors!
We got so excited to show you all the Squirrels in our Forest habitat we almost forgot to share this iconic Bird of Prey we are delighted to add to our collection! This elegantly rendered Peregrine Falcon is new from Douglas, the only supplier we are aware of who can even supply one as a plush piece and, as usual they got it right in all its regal detail while managing to keep it soft and huggable!
So, if we're going to have Squirrels in our forest, we have to also have Chipmunks! Both of these are adorably cute and detailed, albeit it to wildly different degrees. The one on the left, being a little sculpture from Hansa, is about twice the cost ($27) of the sweetly huggable Douglas version (not at all bad at about $13) on the right. We're all about providing you with choices, right? Here we have a couple of nice ones you can easily discern but not necessarily DECIDE between!
Another iconic and well-known wild forest (and increasingly urban) critter is the Raccoon! Meet our scurrilous crew of masked Bandits, each of which looks like its very own brand of mischief, all now residing in our Forest Habitat!
If one Hedgehog is cute and fun, more must be better--so we HAVE MORE! All of these are adorable and offer choices as to size and price (and expression!), but the coolest one is the hand-puppet (top left on the box) because, not only does it have an opening for the puppeteer to insert a hand to animate it, but it also has a second opening at its base that allows it to be turned completely inside-out-into a ball--just like the ones Alice in Wonderland got to smack while playing croquet with the Queen!
Moose were unacceptably absent from our Forest habitat until recently, but now we have these three distinctive choices! Gotta LOVE the schozz on that mush-soft lay-down guy in front made by Douglas in that fabulous D-Lux fabric!
So we already showed you our collection of Sea Otters, but least we forget about their forest and stream dwelling cousins, we have even more River Otters to choose among! What strikes us about these guys is not only how different they are from the maritime version, but also how differently each supplier has portrayed the whimsical character of each River Otter shown! The one standing up with the most attitude and looking slick enough to have just emerged from the water is Hansa's "sculpted" version with "alternative" contributions from Gund, Aurora and Wild Republic!
So, we went from having approximately zero Red Foxes in our Forest habitat in early December to having too many now to show in one image! This group features a lush Ganz Heritage Plush Collection version (top, left) alongside a Wild Republic design (right) with a rendition in front that is not only beautiful and exquisitely detailed, but being from Folkmanis, is also a full-body Puppet you not only can cuddle, but animate from within as well!
Red Foxes, Round 2: Here are the rest of the Red Foxes we just added to our Forest Habitat--and each of these is from Douglas, so you know they feel every bit as wonderful as they look! The two darker ones are constructed of that fabulous new D-Lux fabric that in this case incorporates that minky, light-to-dark color gradation on each fiber of long fur. This stunning piece is not only "D-Lux", but also completely "D-licious" to handle!
We were very pleased to find a Badger in the Douglas catalog at last. Everyone else's seem to always be out of stock, but this rather portly little version made it into one of our most recent shipments--and yes, that deep, frosty fur is every bit as lushly soft as appearances here would suggest! What a sweet face, too, for a creature with the propensity for a bit of grumpiness!
We've had several Brown Bears (although one of those just sold a few minutes ago) in our Forest Habitat for some time and were finally able (this guy has been on back-order since December!) to add this luxuriant Black Bear! Looking at that lush fur, it's not hard to figure out that this is a piece from Douglas or to guess how amazingly huggable it is, even though it does have an appropriately sturdy and imposing presence!
We were every pleased to find a Badger in the Douglas catalog at last. Everyone else's seem to always be out of stock, but this rather portly little version made it into one of our most recent shipments--and yes, that deep, frosty fur is every bit as lushly soft as appearances here would suggest! What a sweet face, too, for a creature with the propensity for a bit of grumpiness!
This luxuriant Black-footed Ferret comes to us from Douglas. Looking at its lean and wiry body and lush fur it's no surprise to note that this in a member of the same family as weasels and minks. Dependent upon prairie dogs as its main prey, its numbers in the wild declined nearly to extinction when prairie dog populations tanked during the 20th century. Discovery of a small remnant group of Black-footed Ferrets in Wyoming in 1981 allowed for a captive breeding program "launched by the US Fish and Game Service that resulted in its reintroduction into eight western US states, Canada, and Mexico from 1991 to 2009. As of 2011, over 1,000 mature, wild-born individuals are in the wild across 18 populations, with five self-sustaining populations in South Dakota (two), Arizona, and Wyoming. It was first listed as "endangered" in 1982, then listed as "extinct in the wild" in 1996 before being downgraded back to "endangered" in the IUCN Red List in 2008." (per Wikipedia).
This guy HAS to be the gnarliest Alligator we have ever seen rendered in plush! Not only does it have those fabulous cat's eyes and iridescent, colorfully mottled scaly "skin" and plastic "claws", but since it is made by Folkmanis you can animate it from the inside by hand, including opening and closing that toothsome mouth!
We have the cool Bison back in stock!
The one on top is a classic from Douglas (we generally just about hate that kohair fabric on cats--they "should" have lush, standard, plush fur--but it is just about perfect in its different forms for a piece like this with curly and straight fabrics of varying pile lengths: "shaggy" really looks shaggy on this Bison--and the entire piece is still soft!). The two in front are from Wild Republic and we really appreciate that they took the trouble to make a Bison Calf (left) as well as the adult (right) as they really do have distinctive features as baby Bison!
Our northern hemisphere Forest Habitat, including our Audubon Bird Collection (these are the ones with the authentic songs recorded by Cornell University and brought to us by Wild Republic), has been fully restocked with TONS of choices (many are new designs fresh for this year)!
Moving on to our Fairy and Fantasy Habitat, we obviously have to show you some pretty fantasmagorical Unicorns! Well, this piece from Douglas is technically a "Cat-icorn" and it has to be one of the most colorfully embellished creatures we've seen that started out as basic, pristine white! It is, without a doubt, the fluffiest piece we have in the Unicorn category!
Not quite as fluffy as the "Cat-icorn" we showed above from Douglas, but every bit as soft (can you say "melty"?) and possibly even more colorful, with the added feature of a braided mane embellishment, is this seated "Rainbow Unicorn"! This piece is so soft it almost has to lean on something to keep from collapsing into a multi-hued cloud with a horn and a tail!
As soft to the touch on its surface, but stiff enough to stand without wires, so not as smooshy-soft to hug as the Rainbow Unicorn above, this awesome mottled Teal Unicorn from Douglas is not only a fabulous combination of lush hues, but has the added feature of both an extra long groomable tail and mane--it even comes with ts own little brush to help with that!
Could we have a Fairy/Fantasy Habitat with Unicorns and no Dragons? Well, maybe, but how lame would that be, especially since there are some pretty awesome NEW plush Dragons now available from several of our coolest suppliers, including this recently arrived Black Dragon, "Vincent" from Douglas? We love his shiny metallic silver fabric claws and underbelly and, even better, deep red under-wing webbing! How distinguished--and imposing!
Most of the Dragons we source from Aurora tend more toward the cute than the gnarly end of the spectrum, but this one just might be the exception that makes the "rule"! We were especially attracted to the sophistication of that deep-indigo-to ice-blue mottled fabric--and that was before we even noted the coordinating shiny metallic wings, spines and feet! Most unusual, but perfect from a design standpoint is the fancy fluffy "mane" in Renaissance hues of olive green, teal and magenta! A uniquely awesome and stately Dragon from Aurora!
When it comes to Dragons this year even Ganz has gotten in on the fun! This super-shiny Green Dragon is made from an iridescent fabric with scales that grade through the colors of the rainbow on a chartreuse ground--and if that wasn't "fancy" enough, its wings and underbelly are covered in multi-hued sparkling sequins!
Oh--and that shimmering fanciful Dragon from Ganz also comes in PINK!
Our friends at Folkmanis Puppets make some of the most fabulously rendered creatures of all sorts and there is no category in their line for which this is more true than their Dragons! This little Winged Dragon, although one of their smaller ones, is certainly no exception, with different textiles aptly chosen and applied for the body, spines wings, wing-veins, inside of the mouth, teeth, claws and even that forked tongue, sparing no detail along the way during construction! Cool just to look at, as a Puppet it can be made to come alive by the hands of a puppeteer!
Leave it to Folkmanis to even attempt a shimmering, swirling, flying version of a "Jabberwocky"! This one, amazing in its luxurious detail and rich heavy fabrics is structured such that it really needs a puppeteer to fill it out and give it substance--and when that occurs it becomes magnificent!
This BIG (over 12" tall) winged Wyvern Dragon from Folkmanis is lovingly constructed of golden crushed velvet and two wildly different versions of colorful scaly fabric to create an imposing and impressive piece that becomes even more so as an animated Puppet!
Our Fantasy Habitat is now jam-packed with all sorts of Imaginative Creatures for your choosing enjoyment!
Even though our first experience with Bocchetta Plush Toys in Australia was, in fact, as our only source of plush Pit Bull dogs, we understandably enough thought this supplier would become a go-to source for unusual and unfamiliar Aussie marsupials besides the well-known koalas and kangaroos our stateside vendors can supply--and indeed they have so become. What we did not expect was to find them to have such a great collection of plush Dogs and Cats--and in breeds we have often not been typically able to find at all and if so, rendered as well or even more interestingly as from our best suppliers (including, much to our surprise, Douglas)!
This gorgeous Schnauzer is a prime example! Douglas has had a very nice Schnauzer off and on in its plush dog collection, but not at this time and even if they did, this version is in a different pose and would give it a design and materials run for the money! This beautiful piece from Bocchetta is about 14" tall in this seated position and it is every bit as lush and fluffy and pleasing to hold as it is to look at! The first one we ordered stayed on our shelves for maybe a week once it arrived, so we immediately ordered two more! The first of these did not even make it from the box to the shelf as it was nabbed by a customer who asked if we had one as we were still unpacking the shipment. The second one was also gone in under two weeks once it made it to the display! We have three more as of this moment, but cannot guarantee for how long...!
Bocchetta Plush also provides us with this little detailed jewel of a Chihuahua in Black and Brown (all our Douglas ones are fawn-colored!). Anyone with even a little sewing experience knows how difficult it is to render small items of any sort in fabric ("Mommy, make some clothes for my Barbie, pleeeese", "...Noooooooo....!")--and we think the Bocchetta artisans have rivaled even Hansa with success in that regard depicting this diminutive dog breed with its accurately placed markings, finely sculpted pointed nose, rounded head and correctly shaped and proportioned ears--and still managed to give it such a sweet and attentive expression!
Here is Bocchetta's version of a classic Bulldog in all it's wrinkly, smushed-rather-flat glory, complete with that almost-sad, sleepy expression! Somebody MUST need to add this couch potato to the cushions already residing there!
Bocchetta Plush Toys brings us fancy Poodles, one snow-white and standing, the other coal-black and lying down, both with cute little bows on their ears! Even Douglas is not making a medium-sized Poodle in any color right now, so we are pleased to find these from our friends at Bocchetta!
Bocchetta is the ONLY manufacturer we know of that makes legit, realistic Pit Bull Dogs in plush! A few American vendors have tried but this dog's often unfair "reputation" as a "mean" and "dangerous" breed sadly seems to preclude retailers from wanting to stock enough of them to be worth the vendors' trouble, manufacture being demand driven as it is! We are really glad Bocchetta does not seem to have picked up on this breed bias and, in fact, makes not only these two beautifully rendered versions in Gray and in Black and White, but a couple more we will show you tomorrow!
Black and White Border Collie "Chase" from Douglas (rear) is back in store (we always feel lucky when he is not on indefinite back-order because is is SO popular!)--and now he has a new seated buddy "Tommy" from Bocchetta in Australia where they know a thing or two about working dogs!
We were delighted to find an actual color-variation (we have NEVER seen one in this color from any of our US suppliers!) on this popular working dog and are very pleased to be able to bring you this gorgeous BROWN and white version of a Border Collie from Bocchetta--sitting at alert attention, looking like he's ready to get busy ("Show me to some sheep!")!
Douglas was one of the first plush companies to take on the complex challenge of rendering a blue-merle Australian Shepherd ("Sidney", top right) in any kind of textile--and they invented at least one fabric (that also shows up as the tails of their small grey squirrels!) to make that possible! Now that they can get their hands on that fabulous new DeLux material, they obviously had to use some to make the bigger and better version! Maizie (laying in front here) turned out so fine that she graces the front of the 2021 Douglas plush catalogue! If you are an Aussie Shepherd fan, shouldn't she be gracing at spot in your home, too?
And here is the brand NEW for 2021 blue merle Australian Shepherd from Bocchetta, now part of their "working dogs" collection--a different enough (grown-up!) version to be well-worth adding to ours too!
The Aussie Doodle, a cross between an Australian Shepherd and standard Poodle, has become an incredibly popular mix of dog breeds, largely because the resulting offspring are incredibly cute! This cuteness quotient was enough for Douglas to recognize the "need" to create a plush version and we doubt they could have done any better, especially since they stayed with the puppy version! What you can begin to suspect looking at that fluffy "fur" but cannot fully appreciate without holding this little guy is how fabulously SOFT and cuddly this piece turned out to be--plus Douglas manages to convey just the right "personality" for this combination of two great dog breeds!
Sheep Dogs are one of the breeds of Dog that comes and goes in availability as stuffed animals and consequently, we have not had them in stock for awhile. We're not sure why, but since they seem to be "in fashion" at this moment, we nabbed a couple from different suppliers while we could! The large laying version is from Douglas--and we did brush its hair out of is face so you can see that it does, indeed, have eyes buried under it all! The designer of the Ganz rendition sitting next to it was a little less effusive with the woolly, face-covering fur, but still a nice rendering of a classically furry, huggable dog breed!
Not a lot of plush Terriers out there either, so when these two showed up, one (left) seated at about 9" tall and described specifically to be an Airedale in the Ganz Heritage Collection and one (right) as a NEW 18" D-Lux fabric laying down version (Mixed Terrier!) in the Douglas catalog (in fact, this one made the cover!), we HAD to nab them both! Terrier lovers take note--and don't miss the "opportunity" should you happen to "need" a stuffed animal rendition!
We try to keep in stock at least one plush "generic" Dog we can envision as some little kid's best buddy to cuddle, sleep with and drag along everywhere! It has to be cute and floppy and soft and huggable, with a sweet face that indicates astute attention being paid to any secrets being shared! At this time this yummy 16" long (it can sit or lay down) Labradoodle by Douglas would be our choice as it meets every one of these criterion--and it even has curly "fur"!
Going from a "generic" Labradoodle to these very specific and precise plush French Bulldogs (in two variations, no less!) is made possible by Bocchetta! These little guys are the most realistic and accurate we can find anywhere and we are consequently SO grateful to have this company as a resource for you!
Being as mush-brained for dogs as we are we are always on the lookout for plush versions of Dogs we have not seen done as such before! Sometimes that includes breeds we have never even heard of (just like our exotic wildlife occasionally does) like this Flat-coated Retriever provided by our favorite plush dog manufacturer, Douglas! We know essentially nothing about this breed except that it is categorized as a working gundog like other kinds of Retrievers. With its distinctively "feathered" legs, chest and undersides of tail and belly compared to smooth upper body head and ears, it must present as an entirely handsome creature in real life! This plush version looks like it could easily serve as some deserving young man's best plush buddy!
And from the beautiful solid coal-black fur of the Flat-coated Retriever we shared above/yesterday, we go to this wonderfully detailed portrait of a snow-white breed, the cute-as-a-bug--and simply fabulous--Westie! This is another breed we've had trouble consistently finding in plush in any form, but leave it to Douglas to make not only an accurate, but excellent one--making sure to portray it as an adult in a breed-standard show-cut! This one should be on the way to a championship place in the heart of any Westie lover!
Douglas brings us yet another somewhat unusual Dog Breed to find rendered in plush! While almost every manufacturer that makes plush dogs eventually gets around to some form of German Shepherd, Douglas has responded to a specific interest in the distinctive Belgian Malinois! We've actually had a few requests for this breed over the years that we've never been able to satisfy--until now! And of course Douglas has captured the intense and distinguished character of this handsome working breed!
OK--when someone purchased our last Quokka, we knew it was "time" to reorder from our friends in Australia, Bocchetta Plush Toys (Alert to budget: Danger, Danger!)! We try to keep in stock the wonderful Australian Cattle Dog from Douglas that is made of an amazingly soft, merle-printed, suede-like textile, but the last two of those sold out a few weeks ago, so we decided to try the Bocchetta version of a dog they should be eminently familiar with until we can get another order in to Douglas, especially because Bocchetta's designers have a wildly different take on this particular breed! We love how handsome this guy is and how relaxed and naturally his laying-down pose presents (it's probably one of the few way to see a working breed like this staying still)! He is also soft, but in a different way, with thick, rich classic plush, from the Douglas design. And doesn't he have the sweetest, most alert and engaging expression--with that cute little tongue barely hanging out of his open mouth just making him look alive?
This beautifully executed laying German Shepherd from Bocchetta is BACK in STOCK (along with more Quokkas, a new Potero, a new Flying Fox and a new Emu, not to mention several fabulous Cats, all from this fun company based in Australia)! Much like their amazing Schnauzer, this piece is stunning enough that it sells out, not quite as fast, but still rather quickly (we got an extra one this time...). Unlike the Schnauzer, we do have alternate choices in the US for German Shepherds (Douglas and Ganz currently have good versions in their current collections; a few from additional companies are almost an embarrassment to display on our shelves, so we avoid them!), but this is the BEST one we can find anywhere in this size and price range, being much more detailed and naturalistic in its portrayal, showing off the most iconic characteristics of this well-known and admired breed!
We like the laying German Shepherd from Bocchetta so much we thought it well worth trying the seated one, too. We wanted the 14-15" tall one proportioned to "match" the laying one we love so much, but those were out of stock this time around so we opted for the 8-9" just to see how that pose looks in person! We have to say that there is no loss of detail--or personality--on this smaller size and it comes with the advantage of being a little less expensive than the larger one. Totally handsome!
What fun to find such a charming example of a plush Golden Doodle in the Bocchetta Dog Collection! A little bit Poodle-curly and a little bit Retriever-"feathered" with plenty of that "Golden" just to please the eye, we think this rendering of this now-classic breed combination admirably showcases the best of both, while looking like it is just waiting for a hug!
We are pleased to have this quintessential spotted Fireman's Dog back in stock! Much easier than the real ones to keep entertained and out of mischief is this eminently soft and huggable Dalmatian from Douglas!
Was it insane to drive across the desert to Kingman Arizona and back in the dead of summer? Yes!
Was it worth it to meet this little guy? ABSOLUTELY!
Meet "Gilead" being held by Breeder Julie Vanderlinden of Shadow Mountain (now Long Valley) Aussies about a week before our visit (at about 4 weeks old) on July 29. His Dad is "Gideon" and we wanted to name him something at least as distinguished! The esoteric history associated with this name, per Wikipedia, includes the fact that Balm of Gilead was a rare perfume used medicinally, that was mentioned in the Bible, and named for the region of Gilead, where it was produced. The expression has come to signify a universal cure in figurative speech. "Gilead" as a given name means roughly "everlasting joy (or happiness)" in Hebrew.
"Gilead" will likely quickly be shortened to "Gilly", which our favorite Reference Librarian (thanks Bonnie!) informs us is colloquial English for a carnation!
What do you think?
Gilead is GROWING! Here he is at about 6 weeks old!
And at 8 weeks!
Here's Gilly settled into his palatial digs in his newly remodeled kennel at home--with elderly rescue-dog, Dusty, worrying over him in the background (it's GOOD to have company again!).
Gilly, coming from the Arizona desert, is completely certain that the "water" bowl on the ground in his kennel is for playing in, especially scraping all the water out (we are REALLY glad we put in that decking or he would most certainly be a mud-puppy both morning and evening)! Hence the narrow-mouthed, chin-high version on the fence in front of him that he actually drinks out of!
Ah--that HUGE crate at the Shop is not so bad, afterall--and Gilly's toes are MUCH safer here than under Kathy's desk chair! There's plenty of room (and food and toys!) in there and Gilly gets to come out for potty breaks (he's already about trained himself about these), brushing and anytime a customer would like to greet him for free hugs and puppy kisses. Help keep Gilly from getting bored from not having enough people to meet and welcome to the shop, his official day-job now!
Gilead got to spend our "day off" on Wednesday, October 21, testing a NEW TOY and learning to negotiate a LOT of exercise/exploration possibilities on his awesome tie-out run! No wonder he was sleepy on Thursday!
At about 5 months of age Silly Gilly's grown-up fur is beginning to replace his fuzzy puppy coat--and it's coming in all swirly-curly, at least on his back, so far! We LOVE those cute little ringlets of fur doing just what it "wants" to do--and becoming beautiful in the process!
We finally managed to have the camera and Gilly together at the same place and time on 1-3-2021!
At just over 6 months old, isn't he becoming a really handsome Dude? (And he's tall enough to chew on his doghouse roof!)
Gilly, at almost exactly 10 months old, has become quite the road warrior, riding for hours without complaining (watching out the windows trying not to fall asleep the entire time!) and still being ready after a good night's sleep camping out with plenty of appropriate "social distancing" (it's a BIG desert!) to help with packing up! Pics from Hole in the Wall Campground, East Mojave Desert Preserve, April 28, 2021:
We just realized that we ordered so much "Stuff" for our Medical Area from both I Heart Guts AND Giant Microbes that we had to expand our display for this "interesting" Collection...
The I Heart Guts shipment arrived in June, 2020 and plush Body Parts/Organs from this supplier found their way onto the shelves of our newly expanded Medical Area! They have now been surrounded by plush Cells, Organelles and Molecules in a shipment from Giant Microbes that was delivered a few days later!
Giant Microbes used to package a number of their cells and germs as mini pieces of three inside of a deep Petri Dish. They no longer do this, probably for the same reason sleeve after sleeve of Petri Dishes shipped to the research lab Kathy once worked at were returned for replacement--Petri Dishes are incredibly subject to fracturing with the slightest ding in the right spot, so losses probably made this kind of packaging, while adorable, a case of diminishing returns! That is certainly not to say we no longer can get, for example, plush Red Blood Cells. They simply are only available only as individual, larger (the "giant" in Giant Microbes!) pieces. As you can see, these are at least as cute, if not more so, as the mini versions! In order for you to better see them, we will be showcasing additional plush Cells that arrived in the most recent shipment from Giant Microbes and are now surrounding the I Heart Guts plush Body Parts in our Medical Display Area!
If you are going to make plush Red Blood Cells you pretty-much HAVE to make plush White Bloods Cells as well! No worries! Giant Microbes does just that! (Now in store in our Medical Area!)
And to be sure those Red Blood Cells can properly clot as needed, there must also be Blood Platelets, AKA thrombocytes) Not enough Platelets in the blood can result in bleeding that cannot be stopped, but too many can cause spurious clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
And, of course all of those different kinds of Blood Cells need some kind of medium to swim around in while being transported throughout the body to do their jobs. Enter Blood Plasma, a bit of a challenge to convey as an individual plush item. Giant Microbes' solution to the problem is to present Blood Plasma as a single "liquid" droplet, albeit a slightly fuzzy one (which we also think looks a little like a fried egg...), lacking nothing at all in terms of "personality"!
Meet a plush version of a Stem Cell! Stem Cells are undifferentiated cells, for example those found at the center of early mammalian embryos, that have the capacity to develop into almost any kind of specialized cell needed to function in various developing/adult tissues. Deciding what specialized cells stem cells ultimately become is a highly complex process depending on precise regulation mechanisms, but until that happens a Stem Cell has the capacity to develop in any direction. Note how this trait is suggested here by the rainbow coloration and neutral expression of the as yet undefined plush Stem Cell!
Our very favorite thing abut supplying our Medical Area is what a great marriage the plush Body Parts from I Heart Guts make with complimentary plush Cells from Giant Microbes!
Here is a perfect case in point: The plush Heart is from the former and the Heart Cell is from the latter. We love how anatomically correct I Heart Guts has made the Heart--and that the Heart Cell from Giant Microbes not only makes a faint heartbeat sound, but lights up in concert with it when pressed...!
If we can have a plush Pancreas from I Heart Guts, it seems only fitting to also have plush Pancreatic Beta Cells from Giant Microbes! Since Beta Cells are the ones specialized to produce Insulin to manage blood sugar levels, Giant Microbes includes a plastic model of an Insulin (gigantic!) Molecule stashed away inside a special zippered pouch inside each Beta Cell!
Today's Medical Dynamic Duo is plush organ, the Stomach from I Heart Guts accompanied by an individual Stomach Cell from Giant Microbes!
It take a LOT of Muscle Cells to build a big strong Muscle. Luckily, Giant Microbes makes plush Muscle Cells and I Heart Guts has the "Muscle" to provide the plush organ they make up!
This I Heart Guts plush organ represents a Kidney. The particular plush Kidney Cell that Giant Microbes decided to make is a Podocyte, a very specialized kind of cell that, with the help of very specific proteins, wraps itself around tiny knots of blood capillaries within the kidney to facilitate filtering of waste from the bloodstream, an amazingly complex process that allows two kidneys to clean 400 gallons of blood every day!