Saturday, December 14, 2013

Science Toys: Plush Poison Dart Frogs

In addition to offering eco-friendly, US-made toys, The Toy Cove provides toys to encourage your child's interest in science.

My favorite biology-based toys are the poison dart frogs (and the non-poisonous Milk Frog).
Plush Amazon Milk Frog
Blue Amazon Milk Frog

Orange Plush Poison Dart Frog
Orange Poison Dart Frog

Neon Green Plush Poison Dart Frog
Neon Green Poison Dart Frog

Yellow and Black Plush Poison Dart Frog
Yellow and Black Poison Dart Frog
These brightly colored, super-soft stuffed animals are a full 11'' inches long, and crafted from Eco-Fi felt, a fabric constructed from recycled plastics.

Then there's the Mama Poison Dart Frog. Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs are incredible parents. Dad carries water in his mouth to keep the eggs covered, and later he and Mom carry their baby tadpoles on their backs from pool to pool, until they sprout legs and set off on their own adventures.

Teach your little tadpoles about these amazing amphibians with The Toy Cove's larger-than-life version:

Mama's three little tadpoles stick to the soft velcro hearts on her back.

And off they go!

Educational, Environmentally Friendly, and US-made, only at The Toy Cove.

(Remember to check out our coupon post for great holiday savings!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Coupons

You've only got a few days left to order presents online, and you're still not sure what to buy. You want something thoughtful, something they'll use, something that wasn't made in China by an underpaid factory worker.

Well, never worry, because at The Toy Cove, your plush friends and I aim to please. Free shipping? Of course! Use the code FIRSTCLASS at checkout to get free First Class domestic (USA) shipping. This code expires on December 20th, but I highly recommend you order before December 18th, to ensure Christmas delivery.

But maybe The Toy Cove's typical $2.75 shipping doesn't sound so bad. How about an item discount instead? 'Like' The Toy Cove on Facebook to get a 25% off code, good for any item in the Etsy shop (including gift certificates). Don't have a Facebook account? Just leave me a comment below. Expires December 31st, 2013.

Go on. Give your loved one (or yourself) an eco-friendly, US-made handcrafted plush this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stuffie Stories: Leah

Leah is a rescue bear. She, like thousands of other stuffed bears, was created in a factory.

The teddies made in plushie mills are neglected, stored in horrible conditions, only to be shipped off to chain stores as seasonal items. The bears receive no better treatment there, and those that are not sold are sometimes shipped back to their distributors to sit in dark, cramped storage for another year.

photo by Michael Wolf
See more at

I found Leah on a Christmas clearance at a grocery store. I hate to support plushie mills, but she looked so starved for love that I couldn't bear to see her shipped back to storage. I paid for her, and brought her home. Like most factory-produced bears, Leah was nervous and easily frightened. With the help of my other stuffies, she has adjusted well, and is happy and carefree as any lovingly made toy.

Aside from the obvious harm to the plushie, factories like the one Leah was made in are usually harmful to the human workers as well. Many factory hands in various parts of the world are subjected to poor and hazardous working conditions, and are paid only a pittance for their labor. But because it is cheaper to hire workers in other countries, rather than US workers (who require a minimum wage and workplace safety measures), the majority of stuffed animal providers use such factories.

This is why I do what I do. And it's also one of the reasons I use all US-made materials when crafting my plushies, because US workers are far more likely to have their rights upheld. So, next time you buy a plushie, consider buying from a local, small business. Not only are handcrafted toys are routinely of a higher quality than those from plushie mills, you'll be supporting an artisan, rather than a conglomerate who couldn't care less about workers rights and safety.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stuffie Stories: Beauregard

I can't help looking at the plushies when I'm out at a thrift store. The toys there all have their stories, though most of them are sad.

Beauregard is a well-loved plush dog I found at Goodwill. Although I wasn't really looking to adopt that day, I knew the moment I saw him, before I even picked him up, that he needed to come home with me.

Beauregard, The Toy Cove
You can spot a beloved toy no matter what circumstances he's fallen into. Beau's once-plush fur was thoroughly matted and tangled, but he had that unmistakeable "knowing expression"* in his eyes, declaring that he had once been loved dearly enough to be made Real.

"I declare if that old Bunny hasn't got quite a knowing expression!"

After I paid his adoption fee and got him home, a closer inspection revealed that Beauregard had likely been the favorite pet of a little girl, as evident by the stick-on earring on the underside of his left ear.

Only Beau and his former owner know how he ended up in a basket at Goodwill, but I like to think the little girl wasn't given a say in the matter. Maybe her parents told her she was too old for toys and had to give him away. Or maybe they 'cleaned up' her room one day when she was out. Sometimes I wonder if he was accidentally left somewhere and unable to be retrieved. Whatever the reason, I hope she wasn't too sad. I know I still miss my plush friends who've been lost over the years.

And even if Beau's story was one like Jesse's from A Toy Story, no amount of 'growing up' could change the years the little girl spent taking care of him and loving him.

Beau remembers his last owner with love and fondness. But he's living in his retirement home now, with all my other plushies and me, secure in the knowledge he'll never be let go of again.

This is the point in my blog where I usually direct you to my shop and encourage you to buy a new, eco-friendly plush from me. But, this time, I'd like to ask you to consider adopting a "used" stuffed animal this holiday season, one who needs to be loved again. Check your local thrift stores or yard sales. Every plushie needs a loving home. :)