"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “toys

Puzzle People

imageimageimageimageMy  father bought this puzzle in 1976. He’s the one who got Mark saying Sacramento at age 2, when you’d ask him “what’s the capital of California?”

This summer Mark took his family to see ten more state capitals/ capitols.

The handcrafted wood puzzle was missing New York and Lake Ontario. For years! Missing puzzle pieces is such a bummer. I’m not sure why I waited so long to see if I could get replacements.

Wk, I just received the hand cut replacement pieces and although the wood is a bit thinner these days and the color brighter, it is wonderful to have the puzzle complete again.

Besides New York is my birth state (yes, I grew up in the Garden State- New Joisey)

Thank you Puzzle People Michael and Pat Smith of Philo, California for completing the puzzle once again,  40 years later.


#creativesprint Day 2

Getting unstuck in the creative department, that’s the purpose of these exercises, prompts! 

From #creativesprint Blog spot  Day 2 

“Author Hans Christian Anderson was born on this day in 1805. Make something inspired by a children’s fable or fairy tale.”


The Three Bears at home for breakfast with a bit of backlighting. 

I’m thinking making photography is making art. Looking forward to seeing what fellow participants are posting for day 2.

TOYS of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Exhibit

Heinz History Center- downtown Pittsburgh 


A sampling of the exhibit. I went with the Retired Teachers after a luncheon at Lidia’s.

Memories of childhood in America.

 Here are a few-Erector sets and Tinker Toys. Lincoln Logs. Slinky and Etch-a-Sketch, Pac Man and Star Wars. Barbie dolls and GI Joe. Mr. Potato Head and trolls. Spirograph and Cootie.  Howdy Doody, Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers. 

Maybe you’ll recognize one of your toys from your childhood. 


Filling the Claw Machine

Before Thanksgiving vacation, I was looking for the game Scattergories. It was sold out in  two places I’d looked.  (and it wasn’t in this discount store either) It’s still on my list.

When I see a Claw Machine I think of random news reports about small children getting up into them somehow.,

I asked if the Claw Machine was popular which was a dumb question cause there she was refilling it with loads of stuffed animals.  Turns out there is a lot of info about the Claw Machines and the mechanical cranes. Here is an article about The Science Behind the Claw Machine Will Enrage You at Buzzfeed

Then I looked up How to Win at the Claw Machine, not that I want to win any of the stuffed animals but wondered if there was a strategy. click- Win at a Claw Machine 

I’ve not attempted to use one……..yet.

In fact, I didn’t even know there was science or strategy behind it!




Different Dollhouse Occupants- Simpsons Chess Set

When I was visiting my friend Donna (with the doll collection),  I was leaving and I noticed her granddaughter’s dollhouse and the occupants.

The SIMPSONS?  They are just the right size.

Her Uncle Tony’s chess set put to use.  She’d arranged them so neatly, all in a row.

(I didn’t even know there was a Simpsons Chess Set.)

Simpsons Chess Set

Shirley Temple Still in her Box, Toodles, a Nun Doll. a Yo-Yo Doll and Other Childhood Friends

My friend Barb collects all kinds of dolls, most from her childhood,  There’s a photo of her in one of the pics, holding her doll.  She has a glass and wooden cupboard filled with her collection.  The reflection makes it tricky to get a clean shot,  I  looked up Toodles  and she is definitely a contemporary from our childhood years in the ’50’s.  What do you collect?

Shirley Temple Doll



yo-yo doll

Their gaze isn’t always direct, but can be felt sometimes

This weekend I shared Maura’s bedroom in Ohio and Anna joined us, too. We shared some laughs.

Turns out there were more “kids” in the place than just the granddaughters.

The happy boy doll with the open mouth is Baby Michael and he is ALWAYS happy like you see him in the photograph.

If I heard right, he was a score in the Consignment Store.

The tiny baby was Anna’s first doll but she’s almost 11 and so sister Maura has taken over her care now.

baby dolls

A Photo Shoot Idea Results in a Teeth Clench, a Grimace and a Bobblehead Shot

Eight years ago I created a homemade book for granddaughter Anna for her third birthday. You know those blank white books you can buy in an art store or school supply?    I photographed Baby Doll doing all sorts of things around the house and yard and swing set. I even had the photos printed on PAPER and mounted them on the pages and wrote a caption for each shot.

Anna wasn’t  a collaborator then as it was a surprise for her.

You get the idea of the book I made.  And I thought I could make another one, no problem. HA!

Today her sister Maura (5+) thought it would be a great idea to make a book together, starring her Bitty Baby and Chelsea baby dolls and her AG Clare.  I thought it sounded like a good idea, too.

Only problem, Maura suddenly got into some unnatural poses and grimaces and it didn’t look right to me.  Also the dolls seemed to have more vacant stares than good old Baby Doll (originally belonging to their mother Erika) who seemed MUCH more cooperative and responsive to my direction (plus it was my direction alone previously)

But I can learn from the experience of the photo shoot.  The results did not match my vision. But Maura had a blast and likes the pictures and we all had a great laugh.  Erika thinks my efforts are funny.  I think it is good to show the outtakes sometimes, too.

I showed today’s pics to her mother Erika and she said she loved them all.  Her brothers and sisters are the one who said that Maura looks like a Bobblehead in the one (due to Grandma’s angle and perspective)

Maura liked the photographs, just fine by her.

So here is what we came up with and for me it is back to the beginning and reworking the shots and getting Maura to ease up on the posing.  Will see what we come up with on the next attempt.

Maura arranging her”kids”IMG_1811 2




Ooops down one subject



And the Bobblehead shot.


Getting Ready for a Couple of Houseguests


My DIL called last night and asked if the boys could stay at Grandma’s house this weekend when the family comes in town for the big wedding.

Since their sisters are flower girl and junior bridesmaid the others will be very busy.

I’ve pulled out the PLAYMOBIL and LEGO and the little indoor tent. Stocking some of their favorite things to eat. Gearing up for company.

Tomorrow at school three classes taking finals  and then I have to read and grade them but at 2:44, I’ll be out the school door and headed to pick up my two grandsons for the weekend at my house. Very exciting.


Jack and Michael

Jack and MIchael share a chair while building LEGO®


Star Wars Lego® Figures Photo Found on my Phone

Either Michael or Jack, one of my grandsons, took this photo of Star Wars figures..  I found it in my December Photo Stream in Aperture tonight.

I hadn’t seen it before, didn’t notice it.  I know I didn’t take it.  The kids love to use the electronic devices.

Any it was all set up and photographed (on the piano I’m fairly certain) and here’s their shot.  Guest  blog photo by one of them.

I’d left the mini Light Sabers in a gift box with a friend’s gift but she mailed them out from Pittsburgh in a card so they got to Ohio in time for Christmas.  Need light sabers  to do battle!!  Thanks V.

Something about mini figures invites creative and imaginative play.

star wars legoEither Michael (8) or Jack(6+) took this photo with my phone.  I found it in the December photo stream tonight.