Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Color Collaborative: July: Mend

 
A battered and faded stuffed baby doll lives in our house. Her name is Stinker, and she belongs to the GB. Stinker, so named by the GB when she was a toddler, was a present from Santa Claus for the GB's first Christmas. The GB was three months old then. Stinker was the first toy she ever really loved, and the attachment has grown over the years. Now at six, the GB still sleeps with Stinker every night and carries her from room to room during the day.

2011

Stinker started life as a soft doll with a velour-like covering. Her hands and face were pale peach. Her hat and bodysuit (both non-removeable) were candy pink with satin trim on the sleeves, feet and hat. The trim was in pink, yellow and green - stripes for the sleeves and a swirly pattern for the feet and hat. Stinker's hair is straight now, two narrow, faded yellow ribbons hanging down over her face, but it used to be curled in corkscrews. Her once-vibrant blue eyes and pink facial features have faded to less distinct shades.


Over time, Stinker has taken on a dinginess. She is sort of grayish all over now, but that doesn't bother the GB. She comes up with the most interesting situations and scenarios for Baby Stinker. Above, Stinker is seeing a doctor, who wears Ziploc sandwich bags on her hands and uses the handle of a jump-rope to administer crucial medical treatments. It has been interesting to watch their relationship evolve. Stinker is more than just a soft thing to cuddle. She is also a conduit for many of the GB's thoughts and feelings and fears, and the GB often speaks through her, telling us when Stinker is worried about something and reassuring her about new experiences.


Stinker was a woman of action when she was younger. Both small Bears played with her a lot. She was thrown across rooms and dangled over stairwells. She raced at high speed through the house, strapped precariously to a doll stroller. Noses were wiped on her. She was vomited on. Back then, Stinker took rides in the washer and dryer, tied inside a pillow case, until she became too delicate for such adventures. Now, she is gently hand-washed in a basin with warm water and a drop of Woolite. She has given up the dryer altogether.

Thankfully, Stinker stays cleaner in general nowadays than she used to, but she still gets plenty of attention. Stinker is so deeply loved that she often develops holes and tears in her seams. We try to mend her as soon as possible when this happens, so as to preserve her for good playing and sleeping. She has stitches on most parts of her body. It's actually the Bear who mends her most often, getting out his own sewing kit to repair these injuries to dear little Stinker. Here, he repairs Stinker's hat earlier this summer; the little satin piece at the top had torn and the stuffing was starting to come out.


He really enjoys the opportunity to fix Stinker for the GB. He talks to Stinker while he works, telling her each step of the way as he threads his needle, prepares to make the first stitch, closes up the hole with tiny, neat stitches, ties the thread and cuts it off. The GB watches raptly, looking a little nervous and listening carefully, knowing that Daddy will fix Stinker and make her as good as new, or almost. She tells Stinker not to worry. When he's done, he gives Stinker back and they hug and hug. I love that he does this for her, and that he does it cheerfully and with imagination and kindness.

Christmas Day 2008

It's just my own personal theory, but I think Stinker and the GB get along so well because they looked alike when they first met. For the GB, it must have been like looking in her (plastic, somewhat distorting) toy mirror. No wonder they fell in love so fiercely and enduringly.

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Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
Sarah at mitenska
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

34 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! I love it when children have such a special attachment to a toy. Josh has a teddy that at ten he still has to have to get to sleep! It is so lovely the way her Daddy takes such an interest and care in mending stinker (love the name!).x

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  2. Great name! What a precious toy - I love the way she has been cared for by everyone over the years. I'm sure LG will treasure her forever. xx

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  3. That's a lovely story Jennifer x

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  4. I love this post Jennifer. Every child needs a Stinker and it's wonderful how your husband cares for her. A man good with a needle is a great catch :-)

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  5. Such a lovely post :) That special childhood toy never strays far from your heart no matter how old you are. Your husband is wonderful!

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  6. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing :)

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  7. I loved reading about Stinker, and as so often when I read your posts Jennifer it triggers lovely memories and a wave of day dreaming. Thank you!

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  8. A beautiful post, I love the way your sweet husband is stitching stinker, enchanting!

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  9. What a lovely post Jennifer! In our house it was bears, my son had Bruno and my daughter had Normer. You've brought back memories! :)
    V x

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  10. What a lovely post, Jennifer. Long live Stinker! :o)

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  11. I like the makeover :) Very cute!

    www.anaediblecomplex.com

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  12. That's very touching. My daughter had a favourite small stuffed toy called Orla. Memories.

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  13. It's lovely that Stinker has endured so long and continues to be mended.

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  14. Oh how I adore this post Jennifer! How sweet of the Bear to be so patient and imaginative with his repairs. I still have my teddy bear from when I was a child. Our grandchildren now play with it. He's missing an eye and his nose and his mouth disappeared years ago, but I still love him.
    Blessings my sweet friend,
    Betsy

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  15. This is such an endearing post Jennifer... That last photo even gives me goosebumps (the "good" ones, of course !), GB is oh so totally adorable !!
    I still have my version of Stinker, luckily my mom never threw anything away, she kept réally everything and let me decide what I wanted to keep, when I was older (even now, she sometimes finds some of my old stuff in lost corners and calls me to come around :-))
    Now back to reality : are you SERIOUS !?! The Bear knows how to handle a needle and thread ?? Oh my, I am born on the wrong continent :-))) ! American men are amazing ! Or maybe (and more probable, I think) you have "captured" a truly unique specimen of the male race !
    Xxx

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  16. Gosh, she looks so much like you! It's the first thing I noticed when I saw her cute little face.

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  17. That last picture is fantastic. But it's also wonderful that you have this visual record of the GB and her daddy caring for Stinker together.

    That dinginess you mention, I suspect that every mother of a child with a well loved soft toy recognises that 'colour; :o)

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  18. What a gorgeous post Jennifer and that last photo is so beautiful. Just lovely, Bee xx

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  19. Oh yes, the grey-beige hue that so many once-vivid soft toys take on over time - I recognise that well! Bella and Angus's favourite soft toys are similarly faded, and similarly loved. I adore that last photo - she looks exactly like she does now, but a baby, if you know what I mean. xx

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  20. Oh what a gorgeous baby your sweet little girl bear was. It's so nice when a toy is really loved isn't it. My littlest boy is taking his bear everywhere with him at the moment. In fact he's developed a little hole by his ear that needs mending soon. CJ xx

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  21. Aww - this is so sweet! I think your Bear is pretty special to be fixing Stinker with such love.

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  22. I love that last pic. This is so sweet, thanks for sharing.

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  23. What a lovely post. So lovely in fact, that I'm a bit teary. DD1 has a small teddy bear that's a horrible, neon yellow. I can't remember where it came from, but suspect it was from one of those grabby machines on a seaside pier. It's never been named, except by me (I call it "ugly teddy"), but DD1 takes 'it' (I'm not even sure if it was ever determined to be a boy or girl) with her whenever she goes away. Ugly Teddy's even been abroad, on a plane and then on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean with DD1 and grandparents. I suspect that this ugly specimen of soft toy-ness will be put in DD1's suitcase when she goes to France next month on a five-day tour with the orchestra she plays with!

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  24. I loved this post, Jennifer. The well-loved doll, the small girl who shares her life with it, and the loving mom who puts it into words.

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  25. Your husband is so cool how he shows your daughter how to mend and does it so kindly. What great parents you both are. We made it to Boise, ID.. home tomorrow. Can't wait! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  26. So enjoyable to meet and read about Stinker, Jennifer. So many homes have one of these precious toys, the toy you clean and mend, and the despair if it ever goes missing. It is wonderful to read your post, reflecting on the relationship with the GB. You are wonderful parents, you two :)

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  27. We have toys like that in our house too, and also a blanket that is now so fragile through repeated washings that it has to live in a pillow case, like a precious relic (which of course it is). As parents we get so fond of these much loved toys too. X

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  28. Love that last picture!
    Joe has Panda. He cost £3 and is from Ikea, and has holes and stains and an expression of resignation. Life hasn't been kind to Panda (he's currently to blame for all Joe's misdemeanours) but he's extremely well-travelled and gets to sleep in a warm bed every night.
    Must follow your example and make a few repairs, although retrieving Panda from Joe is a real struggle...
    Have a great weekend.
    S x

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  29. That is brilliant! We all need a Stinker I think. I love the story of how he gets fixed though, my DD's little 'Petie' has been under the needle many a time too and she frets slightly about him each time. They really do bond so strongly don't they?

    S x

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  30. Such a lovely post, Jennifer. The story and pictures are just adorable....I especially love the last picture. How nice that your husband shows GB how to carefully and neatly mend her treasured doll...Special times in your lovely family life.
    Helen xox

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  31. That last photo is just fabulous. No wonder they are soul mates. Jo x

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  32. Hey Jennifer,
    I absolutely adore this post! What a wonderful childhood journey your girl bear and Stinker are having together. And the name! Quite brilliant.
    Leanne xx

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  33. Another lovely Color Collaborative post Jennifer. I hope my little one has a friend like stinker to grow up with. x

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