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A Trip Down Memory Lane: Your Childhood Toys

Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/02/2013 - 11:11 PM

Ever depict your favorite childhood toys in your art? I'm enjoying revisiting memories of those spinning, whirring toy tops...

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Art on 12/02/2013 - 11:19 PM

I would depict them, but Disney / Lucas would likely want a cut:


Posted by: Michael Geraghty on 12/02/2013 - 11:25 PM

A really good topic Carmen, kids would play with toys for years, now they end up in the skip or on the tip before the year is out, I believe that once you took the personal input out of toys, like the wind up mechanical toys, we took all the interest out. After the Big earthquake in Japan, the Japanese toy makers started to develop toys that children could wind up again or rocking horses that were powered by movement. I look forward to the return of physical mechanisms even in high tech toys, just imagine little johnie peddling his bike around the block with a small dynamo on the wheel that would charge his toys up that he can play with when he gets home, instead of waiting for a shop to open to buy new batteries, by which time the expensive toy is in the cupboard and forgotten.


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/02/2013 - 11:35 PM

That's quite the collection, Art...

Depends on the kids & situation, Michael -- looking back in the 60's...a neighborhood boy had every imaginable novelty that he would soon tire of...

I had an Etch-a-Sketch -- which bored me other than taking it apart to see what was in there making those lines.....dolls creeped me out with their staring eyes slamming shut when you lay them down....

My dad -- an engineer -- taught me to make a rolling gear with a spool & rubber band, a bit of wax and a can wind it up and it travels across a surface quite nicely.

Anyone remember Minibricks?

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Michael Geraghty on 12/02/2013 - 11:42 PM

The problem with most high tech toy's Carmen, is that once you have pressed the on button, that is the end of the interaction, just sit back and let the toy show you what it can do. The kid that winds the toy up when he needs to use it has better interaction, and when they break, you look at how you can fix it but with a small plastic domino with microcircuits in, right in the cupboard or bin. kids don't even make bows and arrows or catapults these days, and the phrase I am bored just did not exist!.


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/02/2013 - 11:45 PM

I think kids today are enjoying the best of both worlds -- just depends on who's encouraging & engaging their minds...

In regard to fixing circuits & chips & all -- my IT guy sure knows how to fix my, and his, 'toys' & his young daughters are completely absorbed in watching him work...he teaches them readily.

A friend of mine thrilled her high school art class by having them build a catapult as part of an interactive project...real -- not virtual -- so there's hope, yet ;)

Photography Prints

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Michael Geraghty on 12/02/2013 - 11:55 PM

A friend of mine thrilled her high school art class by having them build a catapult as part of an interactive project...real -- not virtual -- so there's hope, yet ;)

That is the interesting part that our push button world has left behind unfortunately Carmen!


Posted by: Michael Geraghty on 12/02/2013 - 11:59 PM

One of my favourite toys, and one that has inspired a generation of engineers was the Meccano set here in the uk, and no doubt something similar in your part of the world as well.


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/03/2013 - 12:08 AM

Kinesis has always been a fascination... remembering those toy tops of long ago are what are inspiring my latest creations I'm having fun with :)

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 12/03/2013 - 12:24 AM

Great choice for art, Carmen. Wonderful shape, so many possibilities for colors & textures, and the relationship to kinesis. I remember these tops. I loved them then and I still do.

My favorite childhood toys were troll dolls - I chucked the Barbie family at about 7 years old when trolls arrived, and never looked back. Hairdos, hair color, clothing, drama - so many creative ways to play with them.

Spirograph was also very cool. Even after some of the teeth broke.


Posted by: Michael Geraghty on 12/03/2013 - 12:30 AM

I remember them well, nostalgia is something inherent to the timeframe. Many thanks for your feature of my latest work in your "Digital and Traditional 3D Modeling" group Carmen, I have been absent from the forums for a big part of the last 3 1/2 months, but the work is just starting to come to fruition, so will have more time to spend on my prints.

I still have not had much time to try out blender, which I need to delve into, but hopefully in the new year. If only we had more hours in the day!.


Posted by: Angelina Vick on 12/03/2013 - 12:34 AM

Fun tops! =)

No. I have never tried to depict a childhood toy...hmm....


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/03/2013 - 12:40 AM

Thanks Kathi & Angelina -- the process that led me to creating these forms goes back a few years when I was sorting stained glass for a project -- sorting through my trays of gorgeous colors & shapes triggered a memory of happiness from childhood & those early toys.

Troll dolls! Just about the only type I enjoyed -- at least they had great, wild hairdos & a grin :)

Spirograph -- now there was inspiration + + + for a young artist -- bliss! "Even after some of the teeth broke." And we persisted --- we knew we could make magic!

You're welcome Michael --the learning curve in 3D modeling is time consuming -- & definitely worth every moment invested.

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Ann Powell on 12/03/2013 - 10:32 AM

Fantastic tops Carmen! One of our neighborhoods favorite outdoor toys was cardboard boxes. There was a place on the block where they were dumped for trash collection and were not flattened. We used to build forts and just about anything for hours on end. Some years ago when I was working in a day care we had a huge cardboard box that had been around a refrigerator, open on one side. We let the kids play with it and they were obsessed until it finally fell apart. Another big attraction with my daughter's friends was a giant pile of dirt due to some construction in the area. The kids abandoned all their high priced toys and went for the dirt!


Posted by: Mary Bedy on 12/03/2013 - 10:38 AM

I used to play with Colorforms. In fact, I bought myself one last year when I bought my granddaughter one. Been thinking of making some photos and playing with them after making some interesting abstracts.

For those who don't remember or never had "Colorforms", they are plastic shapes (lines, squares, circles, triangles) in all different sizes in red, blue, green, yellow and I think black. You get a plastic coated board in black and one in white (I can't remember if you get the other colors for the board), and the shapes "stick" to the board since they are both plastic. I used to like to create interesting landscapes with it.

And, yeah, the spirograph was fun too. I think I have one of those somewhere as well....


Posted by: Roger Swezey on 12/03/2013 - 10:42 AM

My prize possession in 1942...An Erector Set made of wood..(Steel went to War)


Posted by: John Rizzuto on 12/03/2013 - 10:49 AM


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/03/2013 - 11:28 AM

Thanks for your shares everyone.....

~ Ann & thanks re: tops -- enjoying exploring new skills in 3D modeling -- so much fun!

Boxes -- so many possibilities -- the instinct to burrow & build is a strong one. The dirt pile -- for sure -- remembering a huge pit back of my childhood home in
the field there -- that sadly turned into another yard with a house....

~ Colorforms Mary -- hadn't heard of them till now -- I can see exactly how well that would work. I created something similar -- only using magnetized
backing decorated with all kinds of adhesive backed plastic/mylar scrap leftovers acquired from a sign company that donated reams of it, in every color of the rainbow to an art project with adults with developmental disabilties I was involved in.

Placing shapes & moving them around on cookie tins in myriad combination kept project participants endlessly engaged.

~ Roger -- another bit of history learned -- much appreciated -- before my time so seeing that wooden set is a real eye opener. I knew about metals going to the war
effort/munitions, hadn't thought about toys being 'adjusted' accordingly.

~ John -- 2 of your images triggered 'instant recall' -- Mr. Potato Head & the Jack In The Box. Really enjoyed the Mr. Potato head sets -- a fun pasttime...

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Theresa Tahara on 12/03/2013 - 1:41 PM

I am very nostalgic now that I am older. Even joined a FB group from my home town. Fun
My pictures seem to have disappeared so I deleted them. :-(


Posted by: Janice Drew on 12/03/2013 - 1:56 PM

As a child, I played with simple things and would be entertained for hours. Ball and Jacks...Pickup Stix...A basketball sized ball for Dodge ball...softball and bat...metal roller skates with key, etc.

I had one doll. I still have her. It was a Betsy Wetsy.
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Posted by: Martin Davey on 12/03/2013 - 2:57 PM

Lego, toy Trains ,more lego, more trains, then lego trains!

Father And Son Building Model Railway-digital painting


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/03/2013 - 3:17 PM

~Theresa -- very comforting to look back, isn't it? Don't follow on your images disappearing -- how?

~ Janice -- Pick Up Stix -- thanks for the memory jog -- loved those too! Metal roller skates with key -- worked best paired with a solid pair of hard soled leather shoes -- those grips would just cut into the plastic of running shoes....remember adjusting the central slider to fit your shoes? And that you still have your doll -- amazing!

Lego, Martin -- had similar building bricks called Minibrix -- they were pretty cool too ;) Packaged in a large cylindrical can -- emptying that thing out & appropriating your sibling's was just the ticket to then wear them and go stomping around like a robot :)

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 12/03/2013 - 3:34 PM

I had a slingshot my grandfather made, with inner-tube rubber for elastic, and a leather pouch.
He also made a rubber band gun, also shot rubber-bands made from car inner-tubes.
My dad made me an oversize Lincoln Log set, out of 2x4s, which we could use to build a playhouse.
When I was about 7 or 8, I was allowed to solder sheet metal with a pretty big soldering iron, and make toy motor-boats, propelled by (are you ready) big rubber bands made from auto inner-tubes.
I had a Lionel electric train with an oval track set up on a 4x8 sheet of plywood.
I had an erector set, and a girder and a Girder and Panel building set for skyscrapers.
Our death-by-sled flexible flyer short sled was our favorite, because it was easiest to steer. We had some pretty steep hills.
I was allowed to make things out of wood with a coping saw, which I enjoyed a lot.
We had a 45 rpm single record-player, with favorites being Peter and the Wolf,
Peter the Piccolo (Who lost and found his solo),
Jazzbo Collins telling a jive version of the Three Little Pigs.
My favorite book was "The Space Child's Mother Goose", sort of a post sputnik technology spin of mother goose with great parody rhymes and really fun illustrations.
It's back in print:
I think that this book can probably be credited for my love of words and vocabulary.


Posted by: Roz Abellera on 12/03/2013 - 3:53 PM

No way, Art! ;)

I was such a Star Wars nerd when I was a kid (still am). I had every one of those action figures complete with the carrying cases and the Millennium Falcon, Death Star Chamber, X-wing fighter, you name it. I wish I would have kept all of it because a lot of them are worth hundreds of dollars to collectors these days.

-Roz Barron Abellera


Posted by: Marlene Burns on 12/03/2013 - 5:13 PM

We grew up on tops for Chanukah ( dreidels) ;)
My all time favorites were a tennis ball ( up against the side of the house) and my pogo stick!


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 12/03/2013 - 5:28 PM

This thread is good timing Carmen, the painting I did today is of a childhood toy!! I will post it here tomorrow when I can get a good photo of it!!


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 12/03/2013 - 6:01 PM

My other grandfather was a machinist for a time, and he used a lathe to make a solid aluminum top with a steel tip. You wind a string on it and throw it down hard for a good spin. He told me that when he was a kid a game they played with tops, where you would try to hit the top of another boy's top, and split it in half. I suppose this would have been the ultimate weapon for that game. I never saw in in later years when I tried to find all the special things I had left at home.


Posted by: John Rizzuto on 12/03/2013 - 6:23 PM

Thank you Carmen.


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/03/2013 - 6:43 PM

Wow -- loving this journey with everyone -- popping in to say thanks & will catch up with you later -- have to get to a couple of things.... first 3D modeled dreidels...

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Bellesouth Studio on 12/03/2013 - 7:19 PM

TinkerToys, wooden blocks, Dale Evans cowgirl outfit, wood and rope tree swing, pogo stick, dress-up
My brother and I would take turns playing together- one day we'd play with the his Army Men in the sand, having battles, etc and the next we'd play with my metal stove and refrigerator and tea set.


Posted by: Michael Simoneit on 12/03/2013 - 8:22 PM

I've had my Lionel train set for almost 30 years. Still looks fantastic!


Posted by: Theresa Tahara on 12/03/2013 - 8:39 PM

Hi Carmen.
Pictures not showing - apparently there is a glitch in the system that Sean is working on.


Posted by: Tom Druin on 12/03/2013 - 8:51 PM


Posted by: Marlene Burns on 12/03/2013 - 8:54 PM

They are beautiful! I have a collection.....crystal, china, glass....each too lovely for words...nd i display them all year!


Posted by: Louise Reeves on 12/03/2013 - 8:58 PM

In 1963, I got a Horsman baby doll, complete with cradle and stroller from Santa. I walked that doll up and down the street all the time; it was the size of a real life baby of about 7 months old and was dressed in pink flannel pj's. In time she got more and more ignored until I didn't even know where she was.
Fast forward to 2005 and a house up the road is having an estate sale. When I mentioned to the man there that I collected dolls, he said he had a few upstairs. Well, it was more than a few, it was a roomful of lawn bags filled, dressers piled high and the bed covered in them. Reaching into one of the bags, I pulled up a doll and started to cry. There was my baby! Or, I should say, her identical twin, right down to the pink pj's. Along with a Chatty Cathy and some others, she came home with me.
I was playing around with scanning objects and scanned the doll. I then played around in Photoshop and came up with this:
Art Prints

She won the 2006 Excellence Award at the East Brunswick Fine Arts Festival, much to my shock.

Oh, and the first Horsman baby? My sister found it in my parents' basement, dry rotted and in need of some TLC, so she put it back together, gave it a new outfit and gave it back to me. Alas, her head did not stay onto the repaired body, so now she is my....ready for it?...."Headless Horsman".


Posted by: Benjamin Yeager on 12/03/2013 - 11:26 PM

I am nostalgic to a fault. These are some of the toys/games I loved as a kid.

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Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/04/2013 - 11:31 AM

Thanks again everyone, for sharing your many 'triggers' for inspirations - Chatty Cathy, table hockey, Lite Brite,early gaming devices...

~ Rebecca -- you really struck a chord with 'tea set' -- had a miniature Blue Willow, enjoy the 'grown up' full size version -- a gift from the best MIL in the world. She found the legend of Blue Willow displayed on a tea room wall -- she copied the words & had an artist friend create a beautiful art piece with Letraset -- computer graphics not so readily accessible at the time....

~ Michael -- have a photo of your Lionel train set?

~ Tom -- marbles -- still fond of them...think they're partially what piqued my interest in working with glass...

~ Thanks Marlene -- & why not display all year -- treasures are best enjoyed close at hand.

~ Louise -- your doll scanning experiment had quite the result -- congrats on your award for it in the festival! 'Headless Horsman; -- good one :)

Now remembering I had a woodburning set, & a chemistry set that was great for making mini rockets with alka-seltzer soaked innards that left significant dents in the kitchen ceiling. Sulfur was great fun too ;) A cartooning kit I sent away for unbeknownst to my mother who, although dismayed at my 'initiative' -- paid the $17. COD charge in the hope that'd keep me occupied for a minute or so ... It came with a beautiful poseable, wooden mannequin -- my first drawing 'model'. $17. was a fair chunk of change in 1965....approx. $50. today.

Top(s) of the morning to you...

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 12/04/2013 - 11:40 AM



Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/04/2013 - 11:41 AM

Love it Shana -- imagination's where it's at!!!

Glitch -- wasn't there for a moment -- then it appeared -- gone again. I did go to your portfolio & knew it was the new one as you'd described a new piece with a toy yesterday...:)

Photography Prints


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 12/04/2013 - 11:42 AM

Still having issues..not posting correctly..


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 12/04/2013 - 11:43 AM

Things are showing up blank on my end!! Thank you Carmen!! I'm glad you like it!!


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/04/2013 - 11:44 AM

FAA Forum images are sometimes not appearing.....on again, off again....I posted in mine for a try -- I can see it in that post -- but not yours -- and then I did again, in yours for a moment...peek-a-bear, & you're welcome...

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Louise Reeves on 12/04/2013 - 11:49 AM

Yea, everything's a blank for me as well.


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 12/04/2013 - 12:04 PM

It's happening to a few images in other threads too, there must me some kind of work going on behind the scenes or something.


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/04/2013 - 12:39 PM

There was talk about that work going on in another thread last night....heading out...catch you later

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


Posted by: Michael Simoneit on 12/04/2013 - 3:52 PM

@Carmen I tried to copy/paste pics of my small 5x8' layout from my iPhone to here but couldn't make it happen. Will try again later from the laptop.


Posted by: Fran Riley on 12/04/2013 - 6:27 PM


Posted by: Carmen Hathaway on 12/04/2013 - 6:57 PM

Michael -- not so sure you can copy & paste directly from your iPhone -- as long as your image is hosted on a site you can copy & paste the image URL here....

This is a piece I created a while back, based on memories of those enticing early orbs and such...

Art Prints

~ Carmen Hathaway ~


This discussion is closed.