For our prompt of “Bluebird” today, I decided to sketch one with some magnolia blossoms. I’ve always loved these birds. As a kid, I was thoroughly fascinated by them, because they are the state bird in Missouri, which is where I’ve lived my whole life. And seeing one is said to be a sign that joy and happiness are heading your way in the future. Not sure if it counts when it’s just a sketch and not the real thing, but I do hope my little bluebird brings a bit of happy your way. I was a bit rushed today as after lunch Philippe and I decided to visit The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures here in Kansas City. I hadn’t been in many years and it’s constantly expanding. It now boasts the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection and one of the nation’s largest antique toy collections on public display. Needless to say, it took all afternoon to view it, but we had a total blast! I’ve mentioned before how much I love miniature things and well, of course toys, and so my inner child was wildly delighted today. And, it was a joy to take a walk down memory lane and experience all of the fun things that made my childhood so wonderful.

It’s been a challenge to even write this post as we’re still in the process of reliving all of those toys we enjoyed as kids. So, I just have to type in the moments in between. At the museum, I saw my beloved monkey that I had when I was a kid. Philippe took one look at it and was a bit alarmed. It’s not the usual cartoon-like variety but one made to look like an actual chimpanzee. Seeing it again though, I was so thrilled! There was also an original Mousetrap game and Philippe told me that he remembers seeing it, but never played it and always wanted to try it. So now, of course, I’m going to be purchasing one so we can give it a go! They also had the original Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots, which looked way bigger than I remembered. It was a massive toy, indeed as it turns out! In truth, I realized that I’d already sketched so many of the things on display. In many ways, I guess, I’ve accidentally managed to make a bit of a toy museum right here on Doodlewash. I was surprised at how many things I’d doodled that were on display.

One of the most distinct revelations of our tour of toys today was that everything modern has just become super cheap and less detailed. Seeing older versions of toys, I was impressed by all of the colors and details that existed back then. These days, it’s too expensive to produce those toys, so today’s versions seem a bit cheap and uninspired. We’ve reached a phase in our existence where artistry in toys has nearly disappeared. It’s all about making things on the cheap and reducing the number of colors and detail in order to drive a larger profit. The result is jarring when you revisit the toys that we all grew up with and loved. Yet, I was inspired because that’s precisely why people love finding unique and awesome things directly from artists online. This is precisely why there’s such a fun resurgence in finding makers who can make something of actual value. Something that takes skill and has lots of wonderfully artistic attention to detail. It makes me happy that artists, crafters, and makers have managed to create a gloriously new toy store that we can all appreciate. It’s a wonderful celebration of creativity that feels just like finally meeting that bluebird of happiness.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Bluebird Magnolia Flowers Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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35 thoughts on “Bluebird Of Happiness

  1. Oh, I’ll bet that museum is amazing! I just bought hubby a toy – a fascimile fart gun modeled after the one from Despicable Me. It was a hit, of course. I mean farts on demand, how could it not be, right?

  2. When Joe and I were first dating we bonded over toys we loved as kids. Mine was the Liddle Kiddle doll, and his was a fire truck that had a controller wired to it. His cousin told him he could make it go faster so Joe let him cut the wire. Needless to say, it never worked again. And that’s why Joe became an electronic repair guy. He said he always knew that if he knew more, he would have been able to fix that truck.

  3. Ahhh, the bluebird of happiness. So pretty. They always remind me of Snow White. Old toys were the best! I have a soft soft for older dolls. Dolls today aren’t cute, a lot of them are skanky looking. 8P

  4. I’d love to visit that toy museum! I have a few pieces of doll furniture from the 1950s. The wood is beautiful and the craftsmanship superb. It was made in the Midwest and of a quality that made me keep it all these years. Now toys are all plastic, and filling up our landfills when they get worn out and thrown away.

    1. It was such a cool museum! 😃💕 And yeah… things from back then feel like something worth keeping. Today’s toys are just too cheap. On display was a 75 year old teddy bear that one woman kept her entire life!

  5. Well, who couldn’t be cheered up by such a beauty, and those colours! The museum sounds like so much fun! I hope they have an Oozinator in their collection – a toy as memorable as that really needs to be preserved.

  6. Beautiful bird and flowers. Would love to try to draw, ink and paint it, with your permission of course. I’m just trying to learn from some paintings that jump out at me. Yours definitely did.

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