While stuffed animals are made up of different materials and parts, we cannot deny that their outer lining or what most people refer to as its “fur” is what dictates the cuddliness, softness and feel of the toy. After all, they make up a huge chunk or about 95% of its outer structure. It’s what we see and touch for the most part.
Through the years, stuffed toy manufacturers have used an assortment of materials and at certain occasions even a combination of them at a time. While others have been in use for decades and even more than a century, there are those that have just enjoyed prominence today. Today, let’s get to know about the more popular fur options for our stuffed animals.
This supple, rich and smooth fabric is characterized by its long soft nap or pile. It consists of silk, rayon, cotton or similar other material and is described to be luxuriously soft, rich and full to the touch. A god number of the earliest stuffed animals manufactured in the day used this material which is why the term “plush toys” came into existence.
Mohair refers to a type of soft silky wool from the Angora goat. This renowned fabric has a silk-like texture, high luster or sheen and a velvety touch backed by its resiliency and durability making it a favorite material for toys then and now which earned it the moniker “diamond fiber”.
Also known as faux or fun fur, this material was first introduced back in 1929. As its name suggests, it is made to resemble natural fur but is instead made out of synthetic fibers. Unlike real fur, it doesn’t require cold storage so it’s easier to handle and tends to last longer even without meticulous care. Because it’s fabric through and through, many manufacturers have switched to its use in a bid to support animal rights and welfare. It’s a popularly utilized fabric not just in the toy industry but also in fashion and lifestyle.
While majority of stuffed animals are seen with either fake or real fur, fabric has now become a popular option. Made out of either solid colors or of intricate patterns, they come in varied textures too. Sometimes, brands use a combination of different fabrics and patterns to come up with a more interesting look and texture to the toys.
In this world, we’re all shoppers. Unfortunately, not everyone is a smart shopper and that could take its toll especially when it comes to one’s wallet. Unwise choices and purchases are in essence a waste and a loss. But what separates a smart buyer from someone who’s not isn’t complicated. If anything, the differences are simple. So simple in fact that it can shock anyone. So what exactly does a smart shopper do when they buy teddy bears online?
Number 1: They research.
As simple as it might sound but yes they do their homework. Shopping for toys or pretty much anything online requires a lot of research especially when it comes to running a quality check on the shop and its products. Since you can’t see and touch the items, at least not yet, you’ll have to rely heavily on research.
Number 2: They observe.
Number 3: They listen.
Smart shoppers also listen to other customers. They make it a point to look up and read reviews, feedbacks and testimonials about shops and products they wish to buy from. They also know which blogs, forums and websites are trustworthy and which aren’t. They do a lot of listening but they’re also cautious and take them with a grain of salt.
Number 4: They understand.
Before a wise buyer shops for teddy bears online, they make sure to carefully read through and understand the process, policies and products of the online store. They will first understand the procedures, the FAQs page details, the shipping terms, the return policy and pretty much the entire process including their rights and responsibilities as a customer.
Number 5: They compare.
Lastly before a smart shopper will buy teddy bears online, they will first compare it with a physical store near them and with other online sellers. They will canvass and they will compute if buying from this certain shop will be most the most convenient and efficient option for them. They know that value may come with a price but it has to be reasonable and it still has to be efficient.
Stuffed animals may be cute and cuddly but when it comes to the gift wrapping department, it can be a little tricky. Because they come in all shapes and sizes, it can be pretty difficult to find the right supplies especially for the bigger items. Fret no more because today we’re dishing out a step by step trick that’ll up your wrapping skills in a flash. Read up.
Step # 1: Find cool wrapping paper.
Think about the recipient and what they might like. If the packaging appeals to them, it builds up the hype and betters the experience. There are lots of options for sale or if you’re crafty enough you can DIY one yourself using paint, stencils and a craft paper. Into calligraphy? Put that into god use. It’ll make quite the unique and personalized print for that wrapping paper. We suggest putting the toy inside a box so that you could disguise it. Stuffed animals have a pretty obvious form. We don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Step # 2: Always add a bow.
Think about it as the cherry on top. These ribbons simply make the present even more special than it already is. There are various ways to tie a bow and depending on how simple or grand you’d want it to be, the internet is brimming with tutorials. Open that search bar and type the words in. You’ll be a master bow maker in no time.
Step # 3: Add a little extra.
Apart from the toy, it would be fun to add another present into the mix that’s related to it. It could be a necklace which can be tied around the stuffed toys’ neck, a diary to hold memories between the recipient and the toy or perhaps a little accessory for the teddy like a matching hat or clothes. This is optional but don’t you think it would be fun?
Step # 4: Print out a birth certificate.
Remember those beanie babies? They went viral during the ‘90s and early 2000s because of this. It’s simple but it’s a fun addition. Look up a blank certificate, print it out and place it in a pretty envelope. Leave the name blank so the recipient can choose one themselves.
You see, wrapping and gifting stuffed animals should be fun not only for the recipient but also for the giver. What are you waiting for? Time to wrap!
Wear and tear is one of the world’s biggest villains. A lot of the things we own and have will eventually deplete or depreciate as time goes by and the more we use them. Collectible Steiff bear is no different. Of course, there are ways to slow the process down called care and maintenance.
But what’s rarely discussed is the list of factors that hasten the wear and tear of these toys. If you’re interested to know what they are then you better read up.
If too much humidity can feel unsettling and awful for humans, it can be too even for inanimate objects but for a different reason. With humidity comes moisture. With these present, the teddy bears are at a risk of mold and fungi growth. This not only creates discoloration but will eventually rot the toys causing their early demise.
Ever heard of organization and storage? The lack of it and/or improper utilization will also spell trouble for our cuddly friends. Why so? Without a proper storage system, they become prone to more dirt, to insects and to the unfriendly hands of pets and kids. Remember that these items aren’t essentially for play.
As mentioned, pets are a threat. Just because those collectible teddy bears look cute and cost a lot does not mean they’d be willing to spare them. Cats and dogs may see them as chew toys and we wouldn’t want that.
Although teddy bears are essentially toys, collectibles aren’t made for this. They can be a little more delicate. Plus, many of them cost considerably a lot. Give those kids better toys to play with. These ones won’t bid well with play time and playground games.
They make the toys look horrid and they can even come with a smell. Dirt is a major blunder which is why regular cleaning is a must. Things like dust can accumulate over time and cannot be completely avoided while other factors like food spills can be.
Last but not the least, keep those collectible Steiff bears away from bugs! They’d love to bite into its fur and penetrate the stuffing. Truth be told, insects love to make a good home in just about any stuffed toy. They’re very hard to get rid off and will most likely send those collectibles to toy heaven stat.
You might be wondering what the whole world was thinking when collectors from all around the globe snatched up most if not all available Steiff Queen Elizabeth bears in a heartbeat. They pretty much sold like pancakes! What about it?
In the world of toys, the brand Steiff reigns supreme. It pioneered the design of teddy bears a century ago and since then the toy has become a worldwide hit with other companies even releasing their own takes on the design.
But apart from Steiff pioneering the teddy bear industry, it is also widely popular for its vintage pieces that managed to survive the past decades bringing with it lots of history. Likewise, the brand releases special and limited edition models most of which are collaborations with other brands or companies and commemoration designs such as that of the black mourning bear released during the tragic Titanic incident.
The Steiff Queen Elizabeth is likewise a special piece manufactured as a tribute for the said British monarch. The year 2015 marked Her Royal Majesty’s milestone of becoming the world’s longest reigning monarch after surpassing the 63 year, 7 month and 2 day record set by the late Queen Victoria.
The company made sure to design a piece as regal as can be. With only a number of bears manufactured, it is considered to be among the brand’s limited edition releases thereby it comes with the trademark button in ear but in gold plating and the red and white fabric tag that accompanies all limited edition releases.
Among its many special features include its regality. Made with none other than luxurious white Schulte mohair, one of nature’s most prized natural fabrics, the bear is velvety soft and smooth to the touch. Its high luster fur makes it quite the toy it is. Plus, mohair is known to be very durable. It doesn’t shed off easily even when pulled. It clocks at thirty centimeters in height and has brown eyes and a black snout.
Moreover, it is dressed in a majestic deep blue coronation robe and a matching crown on top of its head. The Steiff Queen Elizabeth is also a special musical bear. Right off of its chest, it plays the national anthem entitled “God Save the Queen”. On one of its bottom paws, a golden embroidery of a musical staff can be found which further stamps such feature.
Many people think that the only way to score vintage collectible bears is to battle it out in auctions or head for the nearest specialty shops. You’ll be surprised to know that you can actually score some pieces in the unlikeliest of places such as antique stores and flea markets. Before you sway your head from left to right and vice versa, hear us out first.
You see, many people aren’t aware of the items hiding in their basements so when it’s time to give them away or sell them at a yard sale they don’t put much thought and attention to it. This is how a huge number of collectible items end up in antique shops and flea markets and this is also the reason why you should never discount these places while searching. If you really are a collector by passion then you’ll check them out.
But how exactly do you buy collectible teddy bears in these places? We have a few tips.
Keep an open mind. – These venues keep the most random of treasures so you’re never really sure of what you’ll find. Similar to thrift shopping, make sure that you always have with you an open mind and a good eye (or two) when scouring for pieces to add to your arsenal.
Be vigilant. – Although there are shops or sellers that greatly curate their items, it’s still a good practice for you to stay watchful and actually inspect the toys prior to your purchase. You’ll have to acknowledge their condition as well as validate their authenticity using your skills and knowledge which brings us to the next item on this list.
Come prepared. – You’ll need at least the basics when it comes to the knowledge about collectible teddy bears and how to differentiate fakes or replicas from the real deal. It would be wise to bring with you a smart phone or anything else that can help you make a quick research should you need it.
Set a limit. – As is with any other shopping escapade, budget is of huge importance. You won’t want to go over what you can afford. That’s not smart at all so set a spending limit and stick to it. Collectible teddy bears are priced differently and depending on the combination of various factors like rarity, age and condition.
Stuffed animals are no doubt cute and cuddly. But over time and as they get played with, these toys are bound to get dirty too. Dust, oils, food stains and the like will not only make them look old and dirty but they too can hasten their wear and tear. Of course, we don’t want that. So to help everyone with this dilemma, we give you a little run down on how to clean and wash these babies. Take a look!
1. Examine – Assess the level that you’d have to work with. Is this process just about washing off dirt? Will there be a need for repairs? How about bugs? You need to know what you’re dealing with. 2. Read – Most toys come with a tag. It’s usually a fabric one attached and sewn into the hemline that bears the manufacturer’s logo alongside care instructions and materials used in production. Be sure to take a look at this. It will give you an idea as to the thigns that must be and cannot be done to the toy. 3. Freeze – For stuffed animals that have a bug infestation, they must be sealed inside a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for a day or two. This shall help kill the bugs and eggs. 4. De-stuff – After two days, carefully undo a small portion of the hem and remove the old stuffing alongside the insects and bugs. Make sure to put those in another sealed bag and throw them away. 5. Wash – Prepare lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Say no to bleach and any form of heat as these can erode certain parts of the toy and dull its color. This can be done by hand using a soft bristled brush or by machine. With the latter, place the toy inside a mesh bag or pillow case first for extra protection. 6. Rinse – Again, make sure to use lukewarm water. Rinse repeatedly until soap is completely removed. 7. Dry – Let the stuffed animals sit on a slightly inclined surface for a while to let excess water drip. A machine dryer would make this job easier. But you can also air dry these toys or use a handheld dryer. Just make sure that it is not exposed to the sun or uses the warm setting of your dryer.
8. Stuff – Once dry, you can now put a new set of stuffing into your stuffed animals and sew the opened hem back up. Voila, good as new!
Yes, you’ve read that right. You can buy teddy bears online. After all, what can we not shop via the internet these days? Technology has raised things a notch higher and has elevated the bar for convenience in terms of shopping. But then again, even with its benefits and perks, one must still remember to apply their smart shopping practices to make the most out of it. Care to discover tips? If you do then read on.
Research about the toy. What type of teddy bear are you after? How about its manufacturer? Make sure that you know perfectly well what you are after because the internet can be pretty overwhelming. Its ten times more than your usual department store because options are virtually endless. Stop and think and define what you seek first.
Perform a background check on the shop. It would be silly not to. You have to make sure that they are not only legit but the quality of their products and services make every penny spent worth it.
Take a look at feedbacks. The best way to assess whether an online shop is great is by checking customer feedback, reviews and testimonials. Some of these may already be found on the site but it would also be best to check forums and blogs.
Scrutinize the smallest of details. Where do they hold office? What brands do they carry? How long have they been in business? These things may seem trivial at first but they will surely help you assess if the seller you will be transacting with is the one.
Understand terms and conditions. Before hitting the check out button, make sure that you fully understand the rules and policies that the site upholds because you wouldn’t want to end up realizing that your expectations won’t be served.
Assess shipping arrangements. How long will it take to have your toy delivered? How far will they come from? These are important not only for scheduling purposes but also in order to assess any customs and duties that might come with the purchase, if any.
Weigh the fairness of return policies. If the item sent is damaged or the wrong one, you’ll want to return it so be sure that you’ve carefully read the return policy attributed to it so you can decide not to transact if you deem them unfair in the first place.
Steiff stuffed animals come in all shapes and sizes. Some even come from decades of old with a few bearing more years than our grandparents. These toys have become quite an international favorite then and now. With their impeccable designs, undeniable allure and timeless charm, they are certainly not leaving everyone’s shelves, desks, beds and playpens.
Young and old alike, we all have these cuddly wonders either for play or for display. They’re toys for the kids and collectible pieces for the kid at heart. Regardless, it is a Steiff owner’s responsibility to ensure that the said bears are well taken cared for. Even with their impeccable durability, their longevity will still depend on how well they are maintained and love so today we’ve decided to dish out some pro pointers on how to take care of Steiff stuffed animals.
Provide for proper and adequate storage. – This is not only for sanitary purposes but also to keep the toys away from certain risks such as having pets chew on them. At the same time, this will ensure that they won’t act as a safety hazard considering that when stepped on, they are likely to cause one to slip. Cabinets, floating shelves, dresser tops, toy chests and cabinet drawers would do well.
Perform regular inspections. – Get those eyeballs rolling and go check up on those teddy bears on the regular. It won’t hurt to examine them at least on a monthly basis to see if they would need any cleaning or repair. The earlier you detect them the earlier you provide for the needed fix.
Know their needs. – Now we don’t mean this like we would if we’re talking about a pet but even teddy bears have their needs, food excluded. Because Steiff toys are manufactured using different materials, it is important to be wary of what these materials are to provide the right care for the items. Check their tags or look it up on the internet.
Wash and repair as needed. – When washing your Steiff studded animals, see to it that you use very mild soap and zero bleach. Water should be lukewarm. Use soft-bristled brush, sponge or cloth. When drying, use the cool setting on your machine or handheld blower and never dry them out in the sun. Heat is likely to fade out colors. When a damage is detected, repair it immediately or bring it to a repair shop if you need assistance.