A history of Easy-Bake Ovens

An Easy-Bake Oven from the late 1960s, featuring Betty Crocker branding, faux-wood paneling, and the kitchen color du jour, avocado green. (Courtesy of Todd Coopee)

Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says:

Our very own Lisa Hix just interviewed Todd Coupee, who is a collector of Easy-Bake Ovens and wrote the definitive work on the subject, Light Bulb Baking. In her article, Lisa recounts how she and her kid brother destroyed her childhood Easy-Bake Oven (they tried to cook a green plastic steak from a Mattel Tuff Stuff play set, which melted under the incandescent bulb's 350-degree heat), and explains how Kenner ignored the gender politics of the day by marketing the oven to both boys and girls (to have done otherwise would have excluded 50 percent of the toy's potential audience, so the reasons were purely financial).

Easy-Bake Evolution: 50 Years of Cakes, Cookies, and Gender Politics

Seven year old girl tells Lego off for gender stereotyping in toys: "make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"


Charlotte, who is seven, wrote this devastating letter to the Lego company over the way that girl characters and boy characters are handled in its increasingly gendered toys: "All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks."

She calls on Lego "to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"

That's a pretty unassailable request. Thank you, Charlotte, for putting it so well.

7yo Charlotte writes an adorable and strongly worded letter to LEGO regarding the lack of adventures for girls.

Widespread Panic bassist: collector of Hot Wheels and Wacky Packs

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Over at Collectors Weekly, BB pal Ben Marks interviews Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, but not about his music. Turns out, Schools is an avid collector of Hot Wheels, Wacky Packs, and vinyl records.

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Epic stop-motion action-figure videos: Einstein vs Darth Vader

Patrick Boivin is a stop-motion animation genius who does insanely amazing and expressive things with cheap action figures. I could watch Einstein kicking Vader's ass for hours.

Patrick Boivins' channel (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Cthulhoid My Little Pony toy mashup


Little Maddie is Big Shot Toyworks's first character in a new toy line called "Friendship is Maddness." (via Laughing Squid)

The source of the Dungeons & Dragons monsters

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Where did Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax find inspiration for his magical monsters like the Bulette, Rust Monster, and Owlbear? Apparently inside a bag of crappy plastic "Prehistoric Animals" sold at variety stores in the early 1970s! Tony DiTerlizzi has more: "Owlbears, Rust Monsters, and Bulettes, Oh My!" (via Laughing Squid)

Tiki Transformer


Mike "Nemo" Mendez created "TikiTPrime Warrior" for today's Transformer Show at Toy Tokyo. This is definitely a case of two great tastes that taste great together.

Custom-Feature: TikiTPrime Warrior by Nemo (via Neatorama)

Museum display of toys confiscated from London schoolchildren


A British teacher and artist named Guy Tarrant has assembled two cases' worth of toys confiscated from London schoolchildren, soliciting them from fellow teachers. The collection represents items from 150 schools and 30 years, and is on display at the excellent Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The Childhood Museum is very close to my home, and it's one of my favourite London museums -- I like it better, even, than its enormous parent institution, the V&A down in South Kensington.

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Beastie Boys send copyright threat to toy company that remixed "Girls"

The Beastie Boys have sent a legal threat to toymaker GoldieBlox over the company's extremely clever ad, which parodies the Beasties' early track "Girls". The ad rewrites the lyrics (which are pretty terrible in the original) to insist that girls should take control over their world, reject passivity and subservience, and make things (the video accompanies this with the creation of a Rube Goldberg device that ultimately switches off a TV showing girly toy ads).

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Price-drop for Makies, design-it-yourself 3D-printed dolls


Makies, the 3D-printed toy company that lets you design your own poseable action doll, has just announced a major price-drop, to £69 (down from £99), just in time for the hols! Makies is based in east London, and ships worldwide.

(Disclosure: I'm extremely proud to be married to Alice Taylor, the founder and CEO of MakieLab)

Buy a toy, help out a toy-store owner who was robbed on her birthday

Heather writes, "All around amazing lady, Kristen Rask, who owns and operates the delightful Schmancy toy store in downtown Seattle was robbed on her birthday- literally. Thieves broke into her shop, breaking the glass door and stole her computer, Ipad and cash- ON HER BIRTHDAY. Kristen is a great friend to plush artists, hosting one of the only handmade plush toy art shows in the country, Plush You, and works tirelessly on her store and the numerous books she's published. She's also an amazing lady, taking time out her busy schedule to mentor people in her field (myself included). Luckily, her inventory was left intact- and since the holidays are right around the corner, the best way to help her out is by shopping at her store." Cory 2

Give your doll a makeup-friendly finish with PVA glue

The folks at Makielab have created a sweet series of stop motion animations featuring their 3D printed, custom Makie dolls in a variety of adventures, and giving advice on modding, improving and tweaking your doll. The latest installment demonstrates a technique for coating a doll's face with PVA glue to create a washable finish that will stably hold makeup until you wash it away, allowing for multiple facepaints.

Makies How To: Easy Doll Makeup!

(Disclosure: My wife Alice is the founder and CEO of Makies)

Sirens of the Lambs: Banksy's shrieking-squeaking toy-stuffed meat van tours New York


Photo: Peter Le

This weekend, puttering around in Brooklyn in the wake of New York Comic-Con, Heather and I saw the strangest thing: a sinister-looking truck loaded with stuffed, loudly-squeaking animal toys, tooling down the street. We went through the possibilities. PETA, perhaps? An advertising campaign? Turns out that it's Banksy!

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Incredible Lego projects

Wired posted a gallery of the best Lego projects of all time, as collected by Mike Doyle in his new book, Beautiful LEGO.

Dinosaur toy, made in space


This lovely stuffed toy dinosaur was created by ISS/Nasa flight engineer Karen Nyberg for her three year old son, created from scraps left aboard the station. She uploaded the pic to Pintrest. As Collectspace recounts, this may be the first stuffed toy made in space.

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