Monthly Archives: June 2013

Getting our ‘swing on’ in the Townsville Eye…

The Townsville Eye Magazine featured the fabulous Solvej Baby & Toddler Swing in it’s Things We Love page at the weekend. We love the swing too – not only does it look gorgeous and provide ample weightless fun, but the Solvej swing can be used inside and out and is fantastic for little ones’ development.  The canvas swing converts from a baby swing to a toddler swing using a domed leg divider when your child is around three years old. This means the swing is suitable for children aged about six-months to six years (from when bub can sit up unaided through to 40kg). That’s long-lasting play value! For more information, click here.

My favourite toy as a child…

Our Chief Poobah Deborah Latouf grew up with three sisters in regional WA. Deb recalls how, on Christmas Day in 1971, she and her siblings excitedly unwrapped three identical-looking presents and said hello to Brandi, Sheena and Dina.

“I was not really a doll girl and I can’t recall having another one, but Brandi was the bomb!” Deb enthuses. The plastic-limbed Crissy Growing Hair Dolls dolls had rooted hair, sun-kissed skin and were very similar in appearance; the main difference being the colour of their lace dresses. “I loved her tanned skin, though these days we would think it was a bit orange, and I always wanted to look like her… her hair fascinated me.”

Deb with Brandi the doll at Entropy

Ladies in lace: Deb with her much-loved Brandi doll

For Deb, the biggest drawcard of the leggy California-style doll was a knob at the back that you turned and her hair became shorter, like an instant haircut. To make it long again was just as easy — if you held in her belly button her ponytail popped out again. “The only problem was when one of my sisters gave hers a real haircut, not realising that the hair wouldn’t grow back,” Deb laughs.

The three dolls were such a loved part of the sisters’ lives that about five years ago — long after Brandi, Sheena and Dina had been re-homed — Deb got on eBay in a hunt for the long-lost toys. She was successful on all three accounts and presented the childhood treasures to her sisters at Christmas. “It took me ages to find them as I was trying to get them in mint, unused condition in the box, which was not that easy,” Deb says. “My sisters appreciated the effort I went to and it just proves how we get attached to our toys… children are not going to be sentimental about a computer game or an iPod as they get older, as there’s no emotional attachment to it.”

Brandi doll

Deb's 1970s Brandi doll networks with 2013's Corolle dolls


While Deb admits dolls have changed a lot in 40 years, she says the attraction for children is still the same. “I have always thought that you need to love the face of the doll – that’s the most important thing,” she tells. “The face needs to be realistic and we often get requests for hair and eye colour combos that match the child. Not all dolls should be blonde-haired and blue-eyed. There were not many multicultural dolls around when I was growing up, but we work hard at Entropy to make sure we have good selections of them now.”

Here are some of Entropy’s gorgeous dolls. For more stunning dolls that your little one will adore, click here.

Petitcollin's Shopping Girl

Petitcollin Shopping Girl

Corolle 33cm Les Cheries Cecile

Corolle 33cm Les Cheries Cecile

Haba Philippa Doll

Haba Philippa Doll

Kathe Kruse Bath Baby Nuri

Kathe Kruse Bath Baby Nuri

Corolle Bath Baby Boy

Corolle Bath Baby Boy

Corolle's Calin Yang

Corolle Calin Yang

A day at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Entropy supported the annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Saturday, June 15, 2013 with a lucky dip stall. We had $5 dips across the baby, toddler, boys and girls categories and all funds raised went to 4TOFM’s Give Me Five For Kids campaign, which supports the Townsville Hospital Children’s Ward.

It was held out at Melville’s Farm at Alligator Creek and was lots of fun!

Here are some snapshots from the day.

Elf Bec with our Folkmanis Alpaca puppet - he fitted in with the llamas on Melville's Farm

Elf Bec mans the lucky dip stall

The Dunne family were our first lucky dippers of the day

Little Pearl shows us what a real teddy looks like

4TOFM's Minty leads the charge with the teddy bear conga line

Elf Carly digs up past Sylvanian treasures

Sylvanian Families were easily my favourite toy growing up. Why? I have always been an animal lover so was naturally drawn to the cute animal figurines over pretty dolls, but I really think it came down to the ability to get totally lost in the wonderful world of Sylvania.

Here I am with the traditional version and newer take on the monkey family.

I was fortunate to have a Country Manor mansion (which had a battery-powered chandelier light that could be turned on and off), bakery, horse-drawn caravan, playground and camping sets, and several complete Sylvanian Families (including three generations of the Wildwoods from the tiny rabbit twin babies to the grandparents with wire glasses and walking sticks… too cute!). Mum says I would spend hours alone in my room playing and making-up stories (the only sound she’d hear would be if my boisterous younger brother would try to join in and destroy something!). I really loved, and still do, the way that each character has their own name and personality; which I think children can associate with members of their own family (and, on a deeper level, it highlights the different types of people who make up a community). Also, the extensive product range and level of detail that goes into each item blows me away.

A modern take on my tent with Ingrid's Camping Set

A modern take on my tent with Ingrid's Camping Set

I still have all my Sylvanian Families collection carefully boxed away and, after nearly 25 years, I unpacked it all at the weekend. To say it was like Christmas was an understatement! I’m pleased to say that being a slightly OCD child has certain benefits, as they look nearly the same as what they did brand new. One particular treasure I unearthed that I’d completely forgotten about was the Singer-style sewing machine. It looks like someone has magically shrunk it as all the main details remain the same: It has a tiny little ruler and drawers that open-up to reveal cotton spools that would fit four times into the size of my fingernail. It’s amazing that they and all the other teeny tiny pieces of Sylvania (from camping spoons and backpacks, to tiny cakes and labelled bottles of fizzy drink) haven’t been misplaced over the years.

A modern take on my playground with the sand pit & paddling pool set

I brought some of the collection in to show the other Entropy elves and one of them commented how sweet it was that I could pass them down to my own future children. Well, we’ll see about that – maybe I want to keep them all to myself!

Make sure you take advantage of our 25% the entire range of Sylvanian Families ahead of our Snaps of Sylvania competition that starts on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Photograph your favourite Sylvanian Families out and about to win an exclusive money-can’t-buy collector’s table with Log Cabin. Runners up will nab a Nursery Tree House.

Here are some examples of what you can do to prepare your entry….

In these shots, my Waddlington and Thistlethorn Families are enjoying their typically North Queensland lifestyle.

Sylvanian lovers may also be interested in this: An entire Sylvanian community was created for Toy Fair 2013. Imagine being able to jump in and play with that!

Winter warmer: Needle felting

Keen felter Diana Miller recently tested out our Quirky Birds needle felting kits with the help of her nine-year-old daughter Maya.

Quirky Birds needle felting kits

Quirky Birds reviewers Diana and Maya

“It’s very relaxing and therapeutic,” Diana tells, “It’s like sculpting with wool!”

Diana and Maya tried the Penguins and Mice Quirky Birds felting kits and were impressed with the little creations. “Everyone we have shown cannot believe how cute they are,” Diana laughs.

However, she does caution about the suitability of the activity for seven-year-olds – the age recommended by the manufacturer. “Maya is nine and needed my supervision as the needle is quite sharp, so I definitely wouldn’t give it to a seven-year-old,” she says. “It’s such a fun activity that produces beautiful results, but it requires patience, accuracy and concentration… great for winter days indoors!”

She says the penguins were easier than the mice for beginners, and advises all would-be felters (experienced or not) to watch the video before beginning. “Also start small and do the simple shapes initially, then keep adding to it to get definition… you can make your ‘pets’ as detailed as you like and add your own embellishments.”

Diana and Maya took their creativity one step further and made a teddy bear with the felting wool that was left over. “He looks more like a koala, but it shows your imagination really is the limit!”

Quirky Birds felting kits are available in penguin, mice and dog versions, RRP $34.95

Diana and Maya's needle felting creations

Quirky Birds dog felting kit