Thursday, 28 June 2012

Little Red Riding Hood - Ostheimer wooden toys

Many months ago I started work on a new project, it was to be called 'Fairy Tale Friday' and was an ambitious plan to make little films of classic stories featuring some Cottontails characters.

Well, guess what? I totally overstretched myself, have abandoned the project and made the decision that such matters are best left to the BBC!

However, I did take some nice photos as part of the project and it seemed a shame not to share them, so here are a few of the stills from the film that never was (starring a whole range of relevant Ostheimer wooden toys, and a few irrelevant Ostheimer rabbits, because this is Cottontails after all...)

Little Red Riding Hood

Take this basket to your grandmother

And don't stray off the path!

Off to granny's house

Meanwhile, not too far away...

Distracted by bunnies

"Where are you going, little girl!"

Wolf arrives at granny's cottage...

(It's not looking good for granny...)

 In the cupboard with you!
(I'll have you later, for pudding)

Little Red Riding Hood arrives...

 ...and finds 'granny' in bed

My what big teeth you have etc etc etc....


Oh thank goodness! A woodcutter arrives...

He saves the day

And rescues granny from the cupboard

And they all live happily ever after...

...especially the bunnies
(who are much happier when there's one less wolf around)


All the little wooden toy animals and people featured in the story are made by Ostheimer, and everything is available to buy at Cottontails  - find them all here.

Ostheimer are one of very few toy makers in the world who still make toys in a completely traditional way. It's wonderful.

Each piece is individually sawn, sanded and hand painted - not one part of the production process is computerised which is extremely unusual today. Made from sustainable wood - maple, ash and alder - with water based non toxic paints and a walnut oil finish, each piece is eco-friendly, hand-crafted and unique.

They are not inexpensive, we know that, but each little animal truly is one of a kind, and the ethics and toy-making philosophy of Ostheimer are exemplary.

And as for my film making activities, don't worry - there will be many more curious little Cottontails films in the future, just not any full on fairy tale feature films!!

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Hare About the House

You are going to love this!

Thank you so much to Annette over at The Dragon House of Yuen for introducing me to A Hare About the House, a charming 1950s natural history book. It records one man's adventures sharing his home with a rescued hare and his companion rabbit - and was written in the days long before house rabbits were as popular as they are today ('Yes, Humphrey, pet rabbits used to live outside. Imagine.")

I promise it will lift your day to dip into this book and you can get a PDF of it right here: A Hare About the House.

I started it a couple of nights ago and plan to continue tonight. It is an excellent distraction while the football is on, and Humphrey likes me to read aloud :)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Introducing the Cottontails Price Nibble!

Okay, quiet please..... hush everybody.... I would like to introduce a brand new and rather fabulous reason to shop at Cottontails... Are you ready? Very well then... Drum roll please....It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you.....

....The Price Nibble!

Quite simply I have taken a handful of our very best selling toys and taken about 25% off the RRP, therefore ensuring we have the keenest prices around on certain core items, and hopefully enticing some more customers to the website... (where they will fall in love with Cottontails and shop with us for life...).

Cottontails Price Nibble

It may be madness (and it does sort of go against the grain for me) but my other half (who is far better at matters commercial than me) promises me it will ultimately make Cottontails far more profitable. 

And of course that would mean more of the finest carrots for Humphrey!

So, when you are browsing through the website, look out for the little nibbled carrot in the Price Nibble logo, and know that you are getting a super-duper price - for example, look at some of the lovely Moulin Roty Grand Family animals.

And if it all works out okay, I will be adding a few more 'nibbles' over time...


Monday, 11 June 2012

Hello Flower Sisters! Welcoming some new Maileg rabbits...

Maileg are best known for their characterful 'Brother and Sister' range of fabric rabbits - long tall bunnies with dangly limbs and sturdily stuffed linen bodies. They have become a modern classic and often grace the pages of Country Living magazine etc - casually propped up in the middle of the bed, or resting on a book shelf somewhere.

And now they have launched a new family of rabbits - The Flower Sisters. They still have the same simple fabric charm and dangly limbs, but there is one crucial difference: these rabbits are lops! 

Their bodies are a bit lighter than the classic 'Brother and Sister' bunnies, their embroidered faces have a sweeter character, but the main difference is definitely their long - very long! - floppy ears.

So far there are only four bunnies in the family and they are all girls. Meet Rose, Viola, Lily and Bell.

Also new in this week - some lovely Maileg stationery and posters, for example the classic Carrot Story poster, and some cards featuring the Brother & Sister bunnies.

I hope you like the new arrivals and you can find them all in the Maileg section of Cottontails.