German seamstress Margarete Steiff contracted polio as a baby and was forced to use a wheelchair most of her life.
In her spare time she began making stuffed elephant pin cushions for her friends from a pattern she had found in a magazine. When she saw children playing with her stuffed elephants, she decided to try her hand at making other stuffed animals and the Steiff Company was born. She designed all the prototypes herself and insisted on only using quality materials; wood shaving stuffing, mohair bodies and glass eyes.
The company motto, “Only the best is good enough for children”.
That was in 1880. Today, Steiff animals are still made almost entirely by hand.
It was Margarete’s nephew Richard who suggested that the Steiff company make its most important contribution to the world.
A stuffed bear.
She was hesitant, but made one anyway. Until that point, they had made mostly dogs, cats, monkeys, mice, and pigs. Steiff bears were a tremendous hit and in 1907 alone the company made almost a million of them.
Her nephew Franz devised the brass button to distinguish genuine Steiff animals from the slew of fakes that were flooding the market.
In case you didn’t know, the Teddy Bear owes its name to our 26th U.S. president, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.
While on a hunting trip in Mississippi, after the President failed to make a kill, his hosts tied a bear cub to a tree and presented it to him to shoot.
The President refused to shoot such an easy target. He was quoted as saying, “Spare the Bear.”
This action was immortalised in a Washington Post cartoon.
Companies immediately began to make stuffed bears to commemorate the act, but it was the Steiff bears that were the most popular.
In the early 90′s, Ralph Lauren’s design team was struggling to find a birthday gift for the man who truly had everything. One of the tailors suggested they dress a Teddy Bear as a Ralph Lauren model; grey flannel trousers, an oxford shirt, and a cashmere sweater. Naturally, they used a Steiff bear.
Mr. Lauren loved it.
So much so, that he partnered with the Steiff company to sell the “Preppy” bears in his stores in a limited run of 5,000.
They were a huge success, and launched a whole line of sweaters, hats, t-shirts and even dishes with the bear image. Several more bears followed; a cowboy, a Russian girl, a collegiate, a bohemian, a sailor, bears in suits, and even a formal bear in a tuxedo with a white waistcoat.
I was lucky enough to snag one of these RL Steiff bears; in jeans, a chambray shirt and a hand-knit American flag sweater…..
He’s number 2868, out of 5000.
Here’s a shot of that Steiff ear tag.
Just one bear so far,
Pretty sure that’s enough.
But ya never know…….
Say you’re sitting around with about 600 American flag toothpicks in your possession.
Just using this as an example, mind you. I mean, who just happens to have several hundred American flag toothpicks on hand?
(pause, followed by uncomfortable forced little laugh)………guilty.
Why did I let that happen? Was I really going to make that many cupcakes?
I found them for 30 cents a box a few years ago……and pounced without really thinking it through.
And now, after several cupcake-less July 4ths, I think I’ll use them to make a wreath.
On the off-chance that one of y’all isn’t quite the hoarder that I am, and wants to copy this project…..I found the same toothpicks for sale on Amazon.
But they are slightly more than the 30 cents a box that I paid. (During the Bush administration)
I also have this 18 inch white styrofoam wreath form. Pretty sure that I got it at Hobby Lobby.
Same one I used for the Peppermint Candy Wreath back in December. (not the EXACT same wreath………but you get the idea)
I used a little wire to make a hanging loop on the back of the wreath form……….like so.
Then I flipped the wreath over, so the hang loop is on the back……..sheeesh,
and go to town sticking in the flag picks.
I tried to get them as close together as possible, and at a slight angle.
After I covered the entire wreath, I went back over my work and added a flag everywhere there was a hole.
Nice and full.
After all, I have several hundred of those little picks. Might as well use all of them.
So to refresh:
600 American flag toothpicks + 18 inch foam wreath + a couple hours =
Happy America, Everybody!
Ohhh yes, you can.
Sharpen scissors with sand paper, I mean.
All’s ya need are dull scissors (Something we in the Cavender house are never in short supply of. Maybe we should stop using them for cutting wire) and sandpaper. I used 220 grit.
Fold the sandpaper in half (rough side out) and cut away several times, making long straight cuts.
Your scissors will be ready to handle anything…….
Except wire, stop cutting wire with scissors.
If any of y’all are ever lucky enough to catch me on a Karaoke night, and I’ve already had a few beers, I usually sing a song by this guy…
Although he was John Cougar when his career started. (A name his record label stuck on his first album without telling him.)
This is the song I’ll most likely be singing, Ain’t Even Done with the Night.
Yeah, the video is a little cheesy, but the song is just greatness – Very Springsteen/Dylan-inspired, and I’ll bet you’ve either forgotten it/or never heard it before.
Either way, you’re welcome.
Anyhoo, stumbled on John Mellencamp’s weekend house in Architectural Digest recently.
The article’s a couple of months old but I thought the house was worth sharing.
This is the private stretch of beach alongside the property.
The house, whose architecture was inspired by a church in Myrtle Beach that John took a picture of, is located on Daufuskie Island. The South Carolina island, just across from Savannah Georgia, was until recently inhabited entirely by descendants of freed slaves. The island is still so private that it’s only accessible by boat.
John hired interior designer Monique Gibson, who filled the house with “upscale simplicity”. Yeah, it’s a little more austere that I usually like my houses. But just look at all the vintage portraits that pepper the place, those open kitchen shelves, the bare bulb light fixtures, and even the master bathroom has a sort of “grown-up summer camp” feel to it. And just how much do I love those vintage Pyrex beakers on the 27 foot-long metal console table. So, so very much.
It just makes me want to sing……
…….but not without a few beers first,
We noticed quite a few visitors on the “Cavender Diary Visitation Stats” coming from Apartment Therapy this week.
So I followed them back to the source and found this……..
Yepp, there’s our den, and that big, beautiful American flag, featured under “American Style”……….right next to Martha – American Icon
It’s certainly great to have the unsolicited web exposure.
This picture was a few years ago after I completed the base for those Ikea expedit shelves, and made them look like a Real piece of furniture.
Here’s a few bigger pics…..
We’ve been fortunate enough to have been featured on Apartment Therapy several times; our garage, our kitchen, our master bedroom, and even been nominated for Best Home Blog a few times……
And every time we are, ya know what bothers Apartment Therapy readers the most about our house? (a very close second is all the taxidermy and the cow hide rugs) ………………..That darn American flag.
Don’t believe me, just read the comments on the AT post. All from people who think it’s disrespectful to display an American flag inside the house.
What the what?
It’s not a political statement.
I love that flag…….and everything that it stands for.
In fact, there’s one in almost every room of our house (sort of like Where’s Waldo?)
So haters, get over it…..and let’s all start displaying more American flags.
Like the ones featured in this ancient post of ours.
Have y’all ever heard of such a thing? Potato salad with all the fixin’s of a baked potato.
We hadn’t either…
Sounds pretty simple. Let’s give it a shot, shall we?
Start with about 4-5 good-sized Russet Bakers.
I leave the skins on, so my salad is more baked potato like, and I make sure that I scrub them extra well.
Always dice the potatoes in uniform chunks…….so they all cook at the same rate.
Put your diced potatoes in a stock pot and add just enough salted cold water to cover them, but not too much.
Bring the pot to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to medium and simmer.
The simmering time varies depending on what size your dices are. Potatoes are done when they are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork.
Mine took about 8 minutes.
When they are done enough, drain them in a colander and let cool completely before mixing into a salad.
If they are too warm, they will melt the cheese.
To the 5 cubed, cooked, and cooled potatoes I add:
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 cup of mayonaise
- 2 cups graded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 package cooked/chopped pepper bacon
- 1 package (about 1/2 ounce) fresh chives, finely chopped
- plenty of salt and pepper
Gently fold all the ingredients together, don’t wanna smash the potatoes too much, and you’re done.
Chill it for a few hours before you serve. (and sprinkle some bacon and chives on top for presentation)
Tastes amazingly similar to cold mashed potatoes.
….and who doesn’t love cold mashed potatoes?