Thursday, June 26, 2014

Your Mohair Teddy Bear - So What Exactly is Mohair?

An Adorable Pair of Charlie Bear Mohair Kitty Cats
A lot of people do not realize that the mohair that their teddy bear is made from comes from the fleece of the Angora mohair goat.  Angora goats are shorn in the same way that sheep are shorn for their wool.

So where did Angora goats originate from?  Angora goats took their name from the ancient Turkish city of Ankara, which was very close to where they originated. The Turks thought so highly of these special goats that none left the country until the sixteenth century. The first exports landed in Spain and France, but Angoras didn't reach American shores until 1849. The most valuable characteristic of the Angora, as compared to other goats is the value of the mohair that is clipped. The average goat in the U.S. shears approximately 5.3 pounds of mohair per shearing and are usually sheared twice a year – once in the spring and once again in the early fall.
The United States has developed into one of the two largest producing nations of mohair in the world with an annual production in excess of 2.4 million pounds. This was all due to the initial importation of a small flock of seven does and two bucks in 1849.  The other two principal sources of mohair are South Africa and Turkey. Texas, with a herd of 220,000 goats is the primary mohair region of the United States. The main region is on Edwards Plateau in Southwest Texas, where the mild dry climate and hilly, brushy terrain are particularly well suited for raising Angora goats due to their dry mountain origin.  (The town that is well-known for their mohair production is San Angelo, Texas).  In fact, if you would like to read more, the "Mohair Council of America" located in San Angelo has additional information to read.It is a well-known fact that Angora goats produce the best mohair in hot areas with low rainfall, which explains why Texas is well-suited for raising Angora goats. 
Mohair fleece has always been the superior fabric for making teddy bears. There are many reasons for this:  1) mohair has an incredible luster to it, and dyed mohair resists fading caused by time and the elements and is very hard wearing; 2) mohair is almost non-flammable; 3) mohair is considered the most durable animal fiber; 4) the natural fibers from mohair have the ability to absorb and release atmospheric moisture; 5) mohair is characteristically resistant to soiling; and 6) mohair possesses great tensile strength.  Diameter to diameter it is stronger than steel!

All in all, collectible teddy bears made from mohair tend to cost more than bears made from plush and they also tend to hold their value as well.  

Quote of the Day - "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Introducing Silver Tag Bears from the UK

We are now carrying Silver Tag Bears by Suki, a UK company.  Do you recall the teddy bear manufacturer, Russ Berrie?  These were very popular collectible teddy bears in the past but it appears that this company could not survive the Great Recession.

A company named Suki Gifts International, based in Hampshire, United Kingdom, bought out this company and is now producing a new line of collectible bears named Silver Tag Bears.

Already very popular in both Europe and Australia, we were very fortunate to be the first US retailer of these adorable teddy bears.

Each teddie is exclusively designed in the UK and has the classic bear hump on its back.  Each is fully jointed and is given a nice weight by adding beans.

So far there have been two Collections of Silver Tag Bears released and a third is planned to be debuted in September 2014.  Each of these collections consists of 6 teddybears that is limited to 1500 pieces per each bear.

Additionally, each teddy is made from a multi-tonal plush fabric and comes with their own carrying box and logo tissue paper.  And each is reasonably priced.

Please check out these new bears if you get the opportunity.  We expect that they will gain in popularity just as Charlie Bears from the UK did.

Quote of the Day - "Play for more than you can afford to lose and you will learn the game". - Winston Churchill

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Department 56 Village Replacement Parts

A key determining factor when deciding whether or not to carry Department 56 Villages and accessories was the plethora of calls we had received requesting information on how to acquire a replacement cord or adapter for a retired D56 village or accessory.

We were frustrated in that we could not assist the customer.  So we decided to try becoming more knowledgeable about Dept 56 replacement parts.

In order to track down a required adapter, replacement cord, or light bulb we are now able to directly contact a Dept 56 representative who handles this specific subject.  She has nicknamed herself "Ms Lit Town" and has a massive database to refer to when trying to track down a retired piece. She told us that there are over 200 power cords alone and her database consists of more than 5000 pieces to include both Villages and accessories.  (I had inquired about a replacement cord for a 2001 piece and she quickly came up with the name and SKU number for it).

Some of these replacement parts can be ordered by us through Enesco (which distributes Department 56 products) or through Ms Lit Town for older pieces.

So, if you are in need of any type of replacement part for your Department 56 Villages, please do not hesitate to contact us at  We will try our best to track down and order that part for you.

By the way, there are some amazing Department 56 collectible figurines and villages that have been introduced for 2014.  Please take a look!

Quote of the Day - "Life isn't about getting and having, it's about giving and being." - Kevin Kruse

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Snowbabies by Department 56 and A Resurgence in Fisher Price Toys

As is the case with many things, history repeats itself. That can be said with the resurgence of popularity with Fisher Price Toys for babies.  For most Americans, either they have fond memories of owning a Fisher Price toy when they were a baby; or buying one for their children; and even of buying of one these nostalgic play toys for their grandchildren.  Whatever the case might be, Fisher Price toys have remained popular for many years.

Fisher Price has been in business for more than 75 years, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.  This company has become one of the world's largest and most trusted name in preschool toys.  It has been said that the three entrepreneurs that founded this company (Herm Fisher, Irving Price, and Helen Schelle) were definitely in touch with their "inner child".

Kristi Jensen Pierro, creator of Snowbabies by Department 56, realized the monumental staying power of Fisher Price Toys and has introduced a Guest line of Snowbabies that incorporate several of these cherished toys along with her Snowbabies.

Included in this year's collection are:
1.  Chatter Baby which showcases the Fisher Price telephone
2.  Rock-A-Stack Baby which features the colorful FP stacking toy

3.  Pull-A-Tune which includes the Fisher Price xylophone
Please trust us in that the real thing is even cuter than the stock images.

Quote of the Day - "I had always imagine paradise as a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges