How to Clean – Maple Town Flocked Toys

How to Clean - Maple Town Toys

Have you ever watched Maple Town? It is an animated series from the 1980s featuring anthropomorphic animal characters, within an adorable utopic town, that taught little life lessons in each episode. When I was little, my mom recorded it onto VHS for me and I watched them over and over; I also had several of the toys and I still have them!

These toys have been up in the rafters of our garage for over 20 years! They’ve held up better than my My Little Ponies (see how I cleaned them here), but they are still careworn and very dirty. I want to clean these toys to prepare them for my daughter to love and play with!

If you have any flocked toys, whether they are Maple Town characters, Sylvanians, Calico Critters, So Soft My Little Ponies or another, I’ve created this handy guide to help you give them a good cleaning without removing their flocking. Let’s get started!

FLOCKED TOY
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
Before cleaning.
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
After Cleaning.

SUPPLIES

  • Container
  • Powdered OxiClean
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper or dish towels

INSTRUCTIONS

Important! Since flocking is attached to the toys with glue, warm to hot water or air could dissolve the glue and remove the flocking.

  1. If your toy has any clothing, remove it and set it aside (see “Clothing” section below).
  2. In the container, prepare a small batch of the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water. Allow the water to cool completely.
  3. Take the toothbrush, dip it in the OxiClean bath then gently tap the water onto the toy to wet the flocking (this may take several dips and taps to wet the flocking over the whole toy). We are not scrubbing with the toothbrush, just transferring a controlled amount of water onto the toy. 
  4. Use your fingers to rub the OxiClean water into the toy’s fur and set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes. I set mine on a white plate and boy did some dirty water drain off of them (see photo)!
  5. After your toy has sat for 10 to 15 minutes, turn on your tap on the lowest stream it can distribute water, and carefully rinse each character. Take care not to linger too long over joints so water doesn’t leak inside.
  6. With a paper towel or dish towel, gently dab each toy to remove excess water, then set them somewhere safe to dry overnight or longer until they are dry to the touch.
  7. If your toy has any clothing, continue see the “Clothing” section below.
CLOTHING
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
Maple Town character clothing, before cleaning.

SUPPLIES

  • Container
  • Powdered OxiClean
  • Needle (Optional)
  • Thread (Optional)
  • Scissors (Optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Important! If you’re worried about a particular article of clothing, please do a spot test first, before soaking the whole item.

  1. In the container, prepare the OxiClean per the instructions with warm water.
  2. Place the toy’s clothing in the warm OxiClean mixture to soak. There are some types of fabric that will not react well in OxiClean.
  3. Keep an eye on the clothing and remove it from the bath once clean. Some of my toy’s clothing was clean within 30 minutes, some of them took a couple of hours.
  4. Remove the articles of clothing from the soak and rinse them thoroughly. Squeeze the out the excess water, smooth out any wrinkles, and set them aside to dry.
  5. If there are any loose threads the clothing that will not unravel the garment if cut, you can use the scissors to snip them off.
  6. If there are any tears in the clothing, select thread that is similar in color and thread your needle. Carefully sew the tears back together using appropriate, simple stitches.
  7. After your toy and its clothing are clean and dry, re-dress, and display or enjoy!
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys
How to Clean - Maple Town Toys

Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Bibliography

Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama Bibliography

I fortuitously found our first Llama Llama book at a local library book sale. It was October and I collected what halloween-themed children’s books I could find, then brought them home. Zoey immediately fell in love with Llama Llama Trick or Treat, handing it to us over and over again until both my husband and I could (and still can) recite it from memory. 

Since October, we have collected Llama Llama Gives Thanks, Jingle Bells, I Love You and Easter Egg. As I researched the author, Anna Dewdney, I was deeply saddened to hear that she has passed away. Her stories and her artwork are so heartfelt and beautiful; we love them, and will continue to collect and read all of her books.

As we continue to introduce Zoey to more Llama Llama stories, I’ve created a bibliography of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series. Please feel free to use it too if you need it! Her estate has released some books posthumously and I’ve decided to include those that have the same look and feel as the originals.

Posthumously

Please take a look at other Children’s book author bibliographies I’ve created here:

Bob’s Burgers BUJO – May Spreads

Bob's Burgers Tina May Spread

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Bob’s Burgers planner, but I have yet to find one, I’ve decided to make my own!

I have been admiring bullet journals for the past year, and attempted my own, but hit a wall with how complex I was trying to make them. This is technically my first bullet journal so please bear with me as I learn what works and what doesn’t.

Each month will be themed for a different character or idea and this month is Tina themed! Check out my past month’s themes:

For May’s weekly spreads, I decided to start with Tina’s “Everything’s OK” face. Tina is (for the most part) a rule-follower like myself and has a really hard time lying and/or hiding her emotions when she knows something’s wrong.

Bob's Burgers Tina May Spread
Bob's Burgers Tina May Spread

I couldn’t do a Tina theme without any horses and one of the most memorable horses in the series is Tina’s imaginary horse Jericho (voiced by Paul Rudd) from the “The Horse Rider-er” episode.

Bob's Burgers Tina May Spread

Checking out all the butts!

Bob's Burgers Tina May Spread

And last but not least, one of my favorite moments is when Tina raises her literal (eye)glasses during a toast in “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”.

Check back next month for a Teddy themed spread!

Mercer Mayer Core Little Critter Bibliography

Mercer Mayer Core Little Critter Bibliography

Mercer Mayer’s core Little Critter books are another staple series of my childhood!

I fondly remember my mom reading All by Myself, Just Me and My Dad, Just Me and My Mom, Just Grandma and Me, and (my personal favorite) Just Go To Bed! The stories felt so relatable and cozy and the artwork, although quirky, was also very warm and welcoming.

As I research this series, I realize that as much as I loved the books I knew, there are so many more I’ve never had the pleasure of reading! I am starting to collect Little Critter books to read to my daughter, so I’ve created this one-page handy dandy bibliography to keep track as I go! Please feel free to use it too if you need it!

See my Bill Peet bibliography here, and my Dr. Seuss bibliography here!

Bob’s Burgers BUJO – April Spreads

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Bob’s Burgers planner, but I have yet to find one, I’ve decided to make my own!

I have been admiring bullet journals for the past year, and attempted my own, but hit a wall with how complex I was trying to make them. This is technically my first bullet journal so please bear with me as I learn what works and what doesn’t.

Each month will be themed for a different character or idea and this month is Gayle themed! Check out my past month’s themes:

For the April weekly spreads, I decided to start with Gayle’s cats. Poor Gayle is mostly a hot mess, but she has many redeeming moments and her cats mean the world to her. I started with Mr. Business, who definitely demands his own weekly spread, and followed him with Pinkeye and Jean Paw’d Van Damme.

One of Gayle’s most iconic moments I had to include is in the episode “Art Crawl” when she feels the universe is telling her create paintings of animal butts and display them in the restaurant during the local Art festival.

Check back next month for a Tina themed spread!

How to dye Easter eggs with food coloring!

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Food Coloring

I had every intention of making naturally dyed eggs this year. Every. Intention. Then I realized I did not leave myself enough time to prepare and create the dyes. Going natural is a labor of love that I would still love to do…next year.

This year, I dyed a small amount of eggs using food coloring, vinegar and water. It was a lot quicker, a lot simpler, and I was pretty happy with the results!

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Food Coloring
SUPPLIES
  • 4 16 ounce mason jars
  • 8 teaspoons of vinegar (2 for each color/jar)
  • 4 cups of water (1 for each color/jar)
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • 8 hard boiled eggs
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare each mason jar by adding two teaspoons of vinegar to each one.
  2. Boil the four cups of water and carefully pour one cup into each mason jar.
  3. Add drops of food coloring to create the desired shade (don’t be afraid to add a lot, I used 40 drops of blue in one jar) and stir until the color, vinegar and water are well incorporated.
  4. Gently add two eggs to each color, allow the the water to cool slightly, then seal the lids and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Remove the mason jars from the refrigerator and carefully remove the eggs from the dye, then drain the rest.
  6. Rinse the eggs, gently rubbing with your fingers to remove the darker colored film covering the eggs.
  7. Gently pat the eggs dry with paper towels.

I used the mason jars I had available, which were 16 ounces with regular mouths. I dyed two eggs within each jar; I probably could have crammed 3 eggs into each jar, but I didn’t think that would have given them an even coating of the dye. Please feel free to multiply the recipe and enjoy!

Bob’s Burgers BUJO – March Spreads

Bob's Burgers BUJO for March with Linda

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Bob’s Burgers planner, but I have yet to find one, I’ve decided to make my own!

I have been admiring bullet journals for the past year, and attempted my own, but hit a wall with how complex I was trying to make them. This is technically my first bullet journal so please bear with me as I learn what works and what doesn’t.

Each month will be themed for a different character or idea! I started with Bob for January, Valentine’s episodes for February and March is for Linda. I tried to hand draw some more pieces this month instead of using mostly stickers.

For the March weekly spreads, I decided to draw small snapshots that remind me of Linda. The first snapshot is what I would consider Linda’s catchphrase. I see her as such a positive force in the family that’s always willing to try new things and get out there! Alllllright!

Bob's Burgers BUJO for March with Linda

The second snapshot is from the episode “Friends with Burger-fits”. Linda and the kids run a Thunderdome-inspired wrestling league and I love how Linda dresses up and gets so into playing with her kids.

Bob's Burgers BUJO for March with Linda

The third snapshot is from the episode “Eat, Spray, Linda”. Linda gets stranded on her birthday and struggles to make it home. While the family is looking for her, Bob and the kids visit a bakery and the owner has a photo of Linda that says “Do Not Feed” on it. I think someone overdid it on the free samples!

Bob's Burgers BUJO for March with Linda

Check back next month for a Gayle themed spread! I’ll have to get started on it right now so I’m not late again!

DIY Spring Sensory Bottle

Happy Spring everyone! Spring has now sprung and it’s a time for fresh growth, vibrant colors and new life! Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. And, if I’m being completely honest, I find sensory bottles fascinating too, so let’s make one!

SUPPLIES

  • A 16 ounce clear, plastic bottle
  • A funnel
  • 1 1/2 cups of white rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • Green food coloring
  • Miniature insect (or other spring inspired) erasers 
  • Glue (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the rice in a resealable plastic sandwich bag.
  2. Add the vinegar and food coloring to the rice. You can add however many drops of food coloring you’d like, I added 20 drops.
  3. Seal the bag and shake well until the color is well dispersed throughout.
  4. Spread the rice onto a baking sheet and allow it to dry overnight.
  5. Place the funnel in the mouth of your bottle and use it to fill the bottle with half of the rice.
  6. Remove the funnel and add half of the insect erasers.
  7. Screw the lid back onto the bottle and shake until well incorporated, then remove the lid and replace the funnel.
  8. Add the rest of the rice and the rest of the insect erasers.
  9. Replace the lid onto the bottle and shake well again until well incorporated.
  10. If your child is older and you worry about him/her undoing the lid, you can coat the inside of the lid with glue, then screw it back onto the bottle. This will secure the lid and make it harder for little ones to unscrew the lid and create a leak or spill the bottle’s contents.

Enjoy!

Link’s Item Guide – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Link's Items Guide

If there’s one thing I do when I play a game (besides trying to relax and enjoy myself), it’s look up information. I get curious or stuck, and I find myself turning to the internet for answers. There are a lot of good guides out there that are super helpful, but what I don’t see are an abundance of simple and clean visual guides that lay out all the information in one place.

I finished playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past earlier this year and it felt good to finally find everything and complete the game! I thought it would be helpful and fun to make a couple guides on where to find all of Link’s equipment and items for anyone else who may be curious and wondering where they are.

This visual or infographic guide is for Link’s “Items” as categorized on the inventory screen. After much consideration, I decided to organize the items alphabetically by their name.

I have also created another guide for Link’s “Equipment” and action or “Do” items as categorized on the inventory screen.

Please let me know if you would like me to work on a guide for the other collectibles within The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or if there are any games you would like to see visual information or guides for in the future! I love helping people, discussing games and organizing information!

Link’s Equipment Guide – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Link's Equipment Guide

If there’s one thing I do when I play a game (besides trying to relax and enjoy myself), it’s look up information. I get curious or stuck, and I find myself turning to the internet for answers. There are a lot of good guides out there that are super helpful, but what I don’t see are an abundance of simple and clean visual guides that lay out all the information in one place.

I finished playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past earlier this year and it felt good to finally find everything and complete the game! I thought it would be helpful and fun to make a couple guides on where to find all of Link’s equipment and items for anyone else who may be curious and wondering where they are.

This visual or infographic guide is for Link’s “Equipment” and action or “Do” items as organized on the inventory screen. I will have another guide for the “Items” as organized on the inventory screen.

Please let me know if you would like me to work on a guide for the other collectibles within The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or if there are any games you would like to see visual information or guides for in the future! I love helping people, discussing games and organizing information!