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LOOK what just arrived! VERY FINE "Stuff" in a nice shipment from Bocchetta Plush Toys, complete with the Australia Post sticker and Customs documents!
Based on the quality of the medium-sized German Shepherds that we continually run out of and reorder from Bocchetta, we've been inching toward trying a few of their really large (right around 2 ft long laying down--in very naturalistic counter-positioned lounging poses) dogs! We added several breeds to our collection, a Husky, a new Saint Bernard and, of course, the larger German Shepherd, that arrived in this shipment--and we have to say that they did not disappoint! We only got one of each to see/show them. We can get more as long as Bocchetta has them in stock, but we would advise getting your request in early if someone on your Christmas gift list would be as blown away as we are to receive one! Be sure to check them out next time you visit!
Not even gonna use words here to try to describe how gorgeous this fluffy BIG (about two feet long!) Husky with the sumptuous minky coat is! We WILL indicate that Bocchetta is especially picky about getting the details on all of their pieces right! In fact, one cat has been retired for several years because they could not source quality plastic eyes in the perfect color for that breed... NOT a problem for the stunning blue eyes of this finely designed and rendered plush Husky!
We don't know of any other manufacturer who makes this large of a plush Saint Bernard, including Douglas! Puppy versions are available, but we just think that "huge" is such an important part of any description of this breed, we would rather have a grown-up version that honors that! This design is brand new even for Bocchetta--and at about 2 feet long it is definitely sized for bear hugs!
We are impressed with how well the Bocchetta designers have captured the intelligent and alert expression so characteristic of the German Shepherd dog on this stunning 2 ft. long laying-down plush version of this classic breed! Aside from that, we just want to bury ourselves in that soft and luxuriant German Shepherd style "fur" carpeting its body--it looks ready to maybe wrestle a little and lick our faces, too, if we try to do that!
This Spine is one of the newest additions to the I Heart Guts collection of plush body parts--and is articulated to bend, making either a satisfying or disturbing sharp click as its curve is incrementally changed. We just gifted one to our new chiropractor (it was too perfect not to!) and even he was impressed!
This is the newest permutation of the Skin Section from I Heart Guts! The former version (now retired) had a "skin tone" in a highly unrealistic yellow-orange hue not found in Nature. The intent of this design is not to reference race, but rather to hint at those highly envied summer tans some of us will soon have to be working on. As the introductory announcement from I Heart Guts says, it's just "More melanin!"
Plush Brains from I Heart Guts are back in stock! And, just in time for Graduation, we have the "Graduate Brain Cell" from Giant Microbes, complete with its own miniature mortarboard, now in store!
The healthy Graduation Brain Cell from Giant Microbes is a silly, fun way to commemorate an auspicious occasion; this plush depiction of the excruciating inflammation of a Brain Cell involved in a Migraine Headache (note the ice-pack attempt at mitigation), not so much! However, it could be an empathetic gesture of understanding and support toward someone who suffers from this painful malady!
Here is a new malady from Giant Microbes that we know will hit home with more than a small number of sufferers! This disease is MUCH easier to deal with as a plush piece than in real life because all you have to do to "cure" it is to turn the unhappily afflicted Stomach Cell inside out where it becomes a smiling healthy Cell!
A plush version of a DNA Molecule has been available from Giant Microbes for quite some time--and now the perfectly complimentary RNA Molecule to go with it can finally be had! In store now!
Any list of elements of life would be incomplete without a representative Chromosome! It took them awhile, but the folks at Giant Microbes FINALLY have a plush one in their collection--and now we do too!
OK--we have to admit that these NEW plush Skulls from Giant Microbes creep us out just a little--in fact, we originally tried to get them in for Halloween last year, but they only recently became available! The smaller one is a little under life-sized and amazingly accurate for a plush piece--except for possibly showing open eyes instead of empty sockets! NOT the case for the giant version that has not only sockets with removable Eyeballs to place into them, but also an Inner Ear, Brain Cell and small Brain that can tuck conveniently into their own little zippered compartments! Over the top? We should say so--but more or less biologically correct!
THESE are the exceedingly popular Acrylic Crystal Hummingbirds (ONLY 2 of each color for a total of 12 pieces received) from Ganz that we have been waiting almost a year to get back into stock--and that have returned to a "Product Unavailable" status in their catalog yet again! There seems to be a serious set of manufacturing problems, including difficulty in procuring the necessary materials as well as the workers to make many similar acrylic crystal items featured by Ganz. We are not certain when or even if these will be made again, so keep this in mind if you foresee "needing" any!
SAVE MONEY with our current (or any past) DISCOUNT COUPON (good on ALL regularly priced merchandise)! We just sent in our ad copy for the new Spring version that will be appearing in the May issues of the Redlands, Highland and Yucaipa Coupons Monthly delivered to a mailbox near you!! We have stacks of the current Redlands and Yucaipa editions (and will be getting the new issues as soon as they publish in May!) 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 WINNER!!
LOOK at all the Easter swag just won by Deborah S. from Grand Terrace! And all she had to do was fill out an entry form for our drawing when she made a purchase here!
No worries if you happen NOT to be Deborah! You can participate in our "Fantastic Spring" Customer Appreciation Gift Basket Drawing starting...NOW!
Look at all the cute components we're putting in our Customer Reward Gift-with-Purchase packages for Spring! Some pretty cool swag going into each of these that you can easily earn for free for spending a little "too much" (not really--you know you always get good quality for your money when you SHOP LOCAL here!) with us!
New for Spring, these pretty pastel Acrylic Crystal Bird Ornaments, faceted to enhance the shiny bling factor and embellished with sparkly bead strings and drop pendants hang about 6.5" long and are made to brighten your own day or that of someone special!
Also new for Spring, these loooong (about 12") faceted double Acrylic Crystal baubles each feature a delicate metal filigree Butterfly clinging to the lowest of the two crystal pendant orbs. Available in the pastel tints shown.
New this year--and just in!
While we're waiting for the very popular larger, more highly faceted, clear doves holding either a silver cross or a pink heart to be restocked and shipped from Ganz (later this month, but after Easter????), we scooped up an assortment of these NEW delicate, color-kissed hummingbird-sized Acrylic Doves, also in flight--and also potential exquisite, spirit-lifting little gifts (or keepers)!
Graduation "Stuff" is up for members of the mighty Class of 2022!
Celebrating a Graduation this year?
We have a selection of House and Garden Decorative Flags to help honor the occasion!
Congratulatory Graduation PopUp Greeting Cards are now in store!
Getting a hold of those fabulous three-dimensional appliqued and embellished, double-sided flags made almost solely by Evergreen Enterprises has been a real challenge lately. If we didn't order this year's Spring Flags before this time last year, they were already sold out by January--or simply did not get made at all, in some cases--but we managed to nab a few really nice ones (just not the varied selection would would have liked)--and those have been selling fast since we had them out with the Easter ones!
Here's a Spring double-sided decorative House Flag for the lover of Gerbera Daisies that features three huge ones printed inside a checkerboard frame and accented with felt centers!
We thought the graphic design alone for this, another double-sided and embellished House Flag from Evergreen Enterprises, was adorably cute even if it had been merely a flat printed flag. However, the addition of the sparkly bling of metallic wing glitter along with that pair of fuzzy, pipe-cleaner antennae to one Ladybug, plus fluffy dimensional center accents to the appliqued Daisy motifs, puts this decorative Spring (Summer, too!) Flag firmly in the fabulous category!
While we are talking about flag designs featuring Ladybugs, we were so stunned by this macro view of what has become a huge Ladybug enjoying a visit to a giant Daisy that, even though it appears printed on a faux artist's canvas background rather than as an appliqued and embellished Flag from Evergreen Enterprises, we had to add it to our collection for Spring this year! Available in both the House and Garden Flag sizes, we also got this as a mailbox cover!
This printed Garden Flag (we tried for the House size, but did not receive...) from Evergreen Enterprises is at least as riotously Spring as our interior decor for the season! Featuring Goldfinches amidst a flurry of Queen Ann's Lace, Coneflowers, Bachelor's Buttons and more seasonal flora, this design is having a hard time containing the joy of spring within its borders!
The design of this fabulous double-sided appliqued and embellished House or Garden Flag from Evergreen Enterprises is another take incorporating three giant Gerbera Daisy flowers as central elements! These tend toward the somewhat more fanciful, with green "eyes", two being dimensional looped felt, dotting each flower center, with additional green dots at the tips of printed swirls dancing around them. Brilliantly printed plaid border bands and polka dot corner squares, each of the latter framing a unique kind of butterfly, exuberantly dance this flag firmly into Spring!
We have one House and one Garden size flag left of this doubled-sided appliqued design from Evergreen Enterprises starring a HUGE Swallowtail Butterfly with sparkly iridescent wings alighting on yet another Gerbera Daisy! In fact, there seems to be a field of flowers in the background from which to partake, so this Butterfly can certainly celebrate Spring--and add its beauty to your front yard--without going hungry!
Here is a vibrantly hued double-sided, appliqued and embellished flag from Evergreen Enterprises featuring brilliant Hummingbirds visiting an equally intense floral "banquet"! The iridescent breast and felt wing accents on the front bird are appliqued with fancy stitching! One each of the House and garden sizes left in store!
Here is a sweet spring printed flag from Custom Decor full of dancing watercolor Pansy "faces"! How could anyone approaching not feel "Welcome"?
Fresh Citrus is always at "Home" here in Redlands and while this flag design is graced with sunny Lemons (in a classic "marriage" with Blueberries!) rather than oranges, it does remind us how thirst-quenching lemonade from locally grown lemons can be, especially as our temperatures heat up going from Spring into Summer!
Spring is the perfect category to find decorative Flag designs featuring Butterflies! The simple, mostly solid sulphur-yellow ones on this House or Garden flag bring a brightly contrasting flutter of happiness to what is already a flurry of brilliantly hued Gerbera Daisies announcing the season!
Brilliant white Daisies are the backdrop for this printed House Flag! Their sunny yellow centers are echoed by the golden to orange wings of happy Butterflies descending on the myriad flowers in droves for a snack in a microcosm snapshot of Spring!
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!
We are always delighted when we can bring you a breed of dog that is almost impossible to find as a stuffed animal! We've even been known to have things (like plush Pit Bulls!) shipped in from as far away as Australia to make this happen for you! Fortunately, we did not have to go that far afield to find this beautiful Weimaraner; even better, this one comes to us from Douglas whose sensitivity (not to mention quality of design and materials!) in rendering especially dogs in plush is a hallmark of their pieces! Nothing less than you would expect here for this handsomely rendered breed--in classic solid steely gray with BLUE eyes!
Although we often recommend this handsomeh piece for someone in need of a plush "generic dog" dog, it is , indeed, specifically designed to represent a Newfoundland Puppy! This sturdy breed in real life happens to have particularly long, thick and rich fur (Newfoundlands are used by various international agencies like Coast Guards for water rescues because the trained dog, strong enough to "tow" several grown men, will happily engage its webbed paws to paddle out to a struggling potential drowning victim and all that person has to do is grab onto that fur coat anywhere and keep their own head above water while the dog swims them strongly and confidently back to the rescuers!), frosted here with that characteristic white patch on the chest. That along with such a sweet, soulfully friendly face, makes even a stuffed animal version of the Newfoundland a reliable and huggable best buddy!
Our Dog Collection just keeps on growing! We have so many plush dog breeds that they are kind of surrounding our Flag Wall at this point, so be sure to look on both sides!
Next up: CATS!
One definition of "almost-impossible-to-find kind of stuffed animal" could most certainly be solid-colored Black Cats, especially if we are talking LONG-HAIRED solid-colored Black Cats! Once again we turn to Bocchetta Plush in Australian for something very special that is not a marsupial endemic to that continent! Here we have not just one, but two different renditions of this feline rarely executed in plush (even adult plush panthers are hard to come by--and they commonly serve as mascots for sports teams and schools)! And we think it would be hard to match the "cat-itude" portrayed by these poses--or the fine, arrogantly fierce expressions on the faces of these two guys!
Do we have any Calico Cats?
Why, yes, we do: two lush soft and floppy versions from Douglas and the one in front with the magnificent attitude form Bocchetta Plush! All are simply fabulous, darling!
Here is Bocchetta's extra-FANCY, long-haired Tuxedo Cat in two poses, both in store now! Plenty of "cat-itude" confidence in each pair of striking golden eyes--because they know perfectly well how utterly gorgeous they each are!
We can find plush long-haired Himalayan Cats all day everyday right now, but procuring a short-haired Siamese is another issue! Back we went to our master of Australian animals expertly rendered in plush--and found these gorgeous, accurately portrayed sitting and laying Siamese Cats. Clearly these slender and sleek versions, both exuding Siamese aloof cool (how gorgeous are those eyes?), would not be mistaken for Himalayans!
This fluffy snowball of a long-haired, pristinely White Persian Cat comes to us from Ganz and is a member of their extra-quality, realistic Heritage Collection! The expression in those bright, gemstone blue eyes give this ermine-coated confection an additional air of royalty consistent with the lushness of rich "fur" that almost melts under a stroke or a hug!
This fantabulous black and white and gray long-haired Cat, "Zoey", comes to us from Douglas--and we think it may have been just a perfect "excuse" to showcase how gorgeous that new D-Lux fabric can be when used to construct a very special stuffed animal! Awesome to look at, this one is great for a big (22" without the tail), melty-soft hug, too!
Here is yet another gorgeous seated long-haired (fluffy!) Cat from Bocchetta, this one in soft (visually AND physically) gray and white--and fully infused with that special, fiercely and unapologetic Cat attitude!
OK--so we showed you our gorgeous, long-haired White Persian plush Cat a couple of days ago... Even harder to find is a SHORT-HAIRED solid White Cat in plush! Leave it to Douglas to bring us one that is not only accurately adorable, but also melting-marshmallow soft! This one almost dissolves to the touch--and may be even softer than the fluffy Persian!
If you were even vaguely impressed by the long-haired black and white Cat, "Zoey" from Douglas that was made especially beautiful by its construction of D-Lux fabric, this one has to be Douglas' piece de resistance of Cats! Done in several changes (colors, fur lengths) of that special D-Lux textile, this Maine Coon Cat features "fur" stunningly mottled from rich reddish brown-black to tints of beige that is as richly soft as it is hued! It's also huge (the box it is laying across is 14.5" long--and it almost doesn't fit!), as befits this breed that was literally developed to hunt Raccoons!
Our "Cat House" is once again full (more like overflowing)!
Next featured inhabitants: Barnyard and Stable--wait until you see the Chickens!
NONE of the rest of our plush Chickens are ANYTHING like this frivolous fellow from Ganz!
However, he was just too goofy to pass up--and we figured we all could use a laugh!
Now THESE Chickens are more like what we would expect to find in our Shop! We don't know of any other manufacturer that can render stuffed versions of Birds so believably and with such accuracy, with nary an actual feather in sight, than our friends at Hansa Yes, they ARE priced as you would expect any exquisite sculpture, plush or otherwise, to be. They are also life-sized in stature at about 16" (the amazing Red Hen, right) to 18" (the magnificent Rooster, left). We are just waiting to hear them crow or cluck--and fluff those "feathers"!
Not a wit less detail on this slightly smaller (and a little less expensive) 11" Rooster from Hansa verses the 18" one shown above! We are so impressed with how believably Hansa manages to depict "feathered" birds in plush--and very pleased to have this one also gracing our Barnyard Habitat!
Hansa describes this lovely Lady as an Alsace Hen--and she is in the same size range as the 11" Rooster above! She also sports the same level of thoughtful and sensitive detail, as does ANY Hansa plush piece! They are all more soft sculpture than "toys" (we can see these Chickens sharing a collector's display case along with the carefully chosen brass, tin, wood, crystal and ceramic versions), but thoroughly safe for children 3 and up!
This pretty little fowl is identified by Hansa to be a French Hen. She, too, is similar in size to the Hansa 11" Rooster--and perhaps the best color match to it, should anyone feel compelled to possess (or gift to an adoring collector) a PAIR of especially beautifully executed plush Chickens!
In case you were wondering, we do have perfectly fine alternatives to the extra special (and admittedly pricey!) versions of plush Chickens from Hansa! This colorful Red Hen and Rooster are from Ganz (at under $30 each) and are part of their quality Heritage Collection of realistic stuffed animals! We are SO glad they decided to make some Chickens, too!
Also found in the Ganz Heritage collection of realistic stuffed animals is this handsome all-white rooster, a much more refined version than the Foghorn Leghorn of cartoon fame!
We can always count on Douglas to bring us cool options for a given animal rendered in plush! Here we have their entirely different take from Hansa or Ganz on a couple of unique (and exceedingly soft!) versions of Chicken Hens we are pleased to have among our Barnyard Habitat choices!
Chickens are clearly not the only birds that Hansa artisans are capable of exquisitely constructing! Out of the corner of the eye this Pigeon is easily mistaken as real--or at least as a taxidermied specimen. It takes closer inspection to reveal it as sculpted and airbrushed (just admire its neck coloration) life-sized piece of fabric art!
Leave it to Hansa to not only accurately depict the physical features of this infamous member of the Corvid Family of Birds, whose members are known to be highly intelligent--as well as occasionally a bit smart-assed--but to also capture the cocky personaity of the Crow! Relying on its immediately recognizable silhouette, the Hansa designers wisely demured from attempting to ruffle the look of their softly scupted Crow with "feathers", but using a short-pile, velour-like fabric concentrated on presenting the smooth, sleek appearance this elegant gangster of the bird world always seems to manage to project!
From Hansa's portrait of a jet-black cocky Crow we now go to thieir pristine vision of an angelic White Dove--with all that sass appropriately replaced by sweet demure innocence!
This purposefully scruffy-looking fellow is a Raven from Folkmanis, the Puppet folks! Although his rather unkempt appearance already gives away some of his sketchy character, you can make his demeanor even more scurrilous by the way you animate him!
Having a Barnyard kind of also implies the possibility of growing crops like vegetables--and whenever there is produce there are critters looking to "profit" from its presence! This little Chipmunk must be in hog-, er, rodent-heaven, having found himself a Watermelon big enough to live in while he works on devouring its super-yummy flesh! He has even created multiple entries on the sides plus one in the bottom for your to get into and move him to his favorite--because he is also a Finger Puppet!
Yesterday's Chipmunk in the Watermelon is not the only Barnyard inhabitant to take advantage of the accompanying harvest bounty! Following its cousin's cue, this little field Mouse has similarly taken up residence in a fat little Pumpkin (we LOVE the botanical details of the stem and leaf!)! Also from Folkmanis and, therefore, also a (finger) Puppet, this little Mouse can be made to pop in and out of the nice cavity it has carved out for itself in this big, accommodating fruit!
We've been adding awesome Douglas Horses to our Stable!
When the gray and white version (hiding in back) of this ultra-soft, gorgeous laying Spotted Pony arrived earlier this year, we could not believe how it feels like it is dissolving to the touch when handled! We loved that characteristic so much, not to mention the typical Douglas detailing of the lush two-colored mane and tail, we HAD to have this newly arrived milk-chocolate and white rendition! Both are like picking up a cloud!
For a little smaller (13.5" rather than 17" long like the pair shown above)--and alternative color choice, also in extreme softness--Douglas provides us with this laying Pony in caramel-tan with white "socks" and a flowing blond mane! And then there is also the further embellishment of a silken golden braid to emphasize the fact that this horse is FANCY!
Oh--and it also comes in this handsome buff color!
This elegant steed is part of the Douglas Princess Horse collection and is designed with long combable (brush included) mane and tail WITH decorative embellishments, including ribbons, beading and a braid! This black and white Indian Paint pony, should there be any question, is the "Warrior Princess" Horse!
The fabulous (and fabulously popular) "Pauline" Spotted Pig from Douglas is back in stock a second time this year! Were her attractive black spots and charming personality not enough to boost her into the celebrity category, those lush huge soft pink ears would certainly seal the deal! We expect her current appearance in our Barnyard to be typically brief, as usual....
We knew as soon as we saw it that we had to add this little plush Pig to our collection, because it is a very specific breed we haven't seen/don't already have--and we knew it would be wonderful because it is part of the high-quality, realistic Myoni Collection from Aurora! Meet Aurora's a sweet little Hampshire Pig, a well-known and quite distinctive domestic porcine breed a few 4-H and/or FFA members past or present may actually even recognize! (Go ahead and Google the breed to see how accurate this portrayal is!)
As soon as Douglas was able to get their hands on that fabulous new "D-Lux" plush fabric they began to lovingly render some of everyone's favorite animals in this crazy-rich material! Obviously, as popular as their "regular" Pigs are, they could not leave out doing one this big (16" long), soft (a little more fluffy than your average Pig!) and "Lux"urient! "Charlize" is one impressive Pig from whom you won't shy away from giving a nice big hug!
One more little Piggy to talk about before we move on to another area of our Barnyard/Stable! This little Piggy could go to market--or just about anywhere else--because it has WINGS! And not just any wings, but rainbow-striped ones to carry it aloft! This little Piggy can be found in either/or/both our Barnyard AND Fantasy Habitats!
For unknown reasons it seems we always have difficulty finding anything plush in the donkey/mule category! This is a new addition to Douglas collection of Floppy Farm Animals--and we are so glad they included a Donkey! What this design might(?) lack in extra realistic detailing it more than makes up for in melting softness!
If you prefer elegant detail over smooshy softness in your plush Donkeys (you will always sacrifice a little squishiness when a piece is designed to stand by itself), Douglas also provides us with this realistically rendered handsome creature! We are impressed with how much of the essence of Donkey the Douglas designers managed to "stuff" into this beautiful 12" tall representation!