The History of Strawberry Shortcake Character

The History of Strawberry Shortcake

"Smile a sunny morning. Sunny is the style. 
Even if you're yawning, you can yawn a smile." 
- Strawberry Shortcake 

Strawberry Shortcake is a female cartoon character who originally appeared in 1977 on American Greetings cards drawn by artist Muriel Fahrion. The character went on to become a beloved doll in 1980 and in that year a whole line of Strawberry Shortcake items were made that included scented dolls and so much more. She proved to be extremely popular and more than 1,200 related items were released with sales of more than 500 million dollars in the first year alone.  She went on to appear in television commercials, on fundraising programs, on television specials and in her own shows.

Here's a  Strawberry Shortcake video that shares her complete history. It was released when she celebrated her 40th birthday in 2020.

I love the striking image and the red, pink and mint green colors on the Strawberry Shortcake themed baby coverlet shown at the top of the page.  You will find it and a few other vintage Strawberry Shortcake items in my eBay store by following this link.

It will come as no surprise to fans that there was a 40th Anniversary doll (shown above) issued in 2020 to celebrate Strawberry Shortcake's birthday. It's a reproduction of the first doll that was released in 1980.  You can find the reproduction Strawberry Shortcake doll on Amazon by clicking right here.

Do you remember Strawberry Shortcake? How about her cat Custard and her friends, Blueberry Muffin, Apple Dumpling and Huckleberry Pie?

See you
in Strawberryland!

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Our Petrie Island Ottawa Breakfast in the Park

Petrie Island, Ottawa

During 2020 when the world as we knew it had changed because of the pandemic, my husband and I started a new weekly tradition. That is, Breakfast in the Park. Every week we awoke early and headed out the door with breakfast, tea and coffee in hand.

Chris is retired and I work from home selling on eBay. With the arrival of the virus and the resultant safety measures that meant it was no longer safe to participate in our regularly scheduled activities, it quickly became evident that we needed to plan outings. If we did not, life was going to pass us by while we hung about the house and walked around and around our neighborhood in our new daily exercise routine.  

We called our outings Breakfast in the Park (BITP).  I shared them and related photographs on Facebook and Instagram and now I am going to share them here on my blog. While our outings may have happened in 2020, they remain destinations in Ottawa for anyone looking for a local outing.

Our first Breakfast in the Park (BITP) was at Orlean's Petrie Island. We had a nice walk well before the crowds arrived for the beach.

We saw Canadian critters including turtles and Canada geese and their adorable goslings and we heard lots of bullfrogs. In my cellphone photograph, you can almost see a pair of turtles sunbathing on a log. Sorry, cellphones do not zoom far enough to take a good picture in this situation so I have chosen to illustrate the top of this post with an original painting or postcard by It's Cleo Loi that you can find on Etsy by clicking right here.

According to the Petrie Island website, Petrie Island is home to painted, snapping and map turtles with the last two considered at special risk on Ontario's Species at Risk list. Finally, one musk turtle, a threatened species, was seen on the island in 2008.

Watercolor Turtle Painting or Postcard

After our walk, we had breakfast on a bench overlooking the water. Petrie Island is well set up for picnicking with lots of space and a good number of benches and picnic tables if you go early in the day. It is an active family destination as the day goes on, especially in the summertime. Ordinarily, there is a canteen and washroom facility open in dedicated buildings. As far as I know, they did not open last year but there were a number of portable washrooms available.

Petrie Island Turtles on Log Ottawa

Are you contemplating visiting Petrie Island? Looking for a day trip in the Ottawa area?

Happy Trails!
Treasures By Brenda

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Easter Bunny in Training Jigsaw Puzzle (2021)

Easter Bunny in Training Jigsaw Puzzle by Sunsout

Here I am again, having found another fun Easter-themed jigsaw puzzle. This year Sunsout's Easter image is called 'Easter Bunny in Training' and features an Easter basket and an adorable dog and sweet pair of kittens dressed for Easter, hence the reference to being in training.

I loved the Chocolate Easter bunny 'True Love' and the 'Now That's Art' themed puzzles I featured in 2014 and 2020.  

If  you like this one, the 300 piece Easter Bunny in Training puzzle, you will find it on Amazon by clicking here

If you are on Pinterest and you like jigsaw puzzles, please follow my jigsaw puzzle board. You might also like my board dedicated to all things Easter

Jigsaw puzzles make wonderful gifts throughout the year, even at Easter time. 

Happy Puzzling! 

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The Historic Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building in Ottawa

 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building Ottawa

Our travels during this past year have looked significantly different because of the pandemic. We travelled nowhere, as was necessary, and even our local outings changed. While we went for walks in different parts of the city and the surrounding areas through our weekly Breakfast in the Park outings, we were not able to personally visit any of Ottawa’s amazing museums, galleries and buildings nor to participate in any of the city’s usual offerings, which were cancelled.

Last night we joined Heritage Ottawa and Conservator Kelly Caldwell for a lecture on Zoom. Normally, Heritage Ottawa provides walking tours but things have changed for them, too, and they have pivoted to providing lectures about Ottawa’s history. 

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building Ottawa

Last night’s lecture was called Gold, Snakes and Mother Insurance: Preservation of the 180 Wellington Building Mosaic. We learned about a building that we previously knew nothing about. That is, the 1920s era Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building as shown above on a postcard from eBay.

Located downtown, the building was built in 1927 and is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture that was designed by architects D. Everett Waid of New York and J.A. Ewart of Ottawa for the Canadian headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that some call ‘Met Life.’ 

What you cannot see or even guess at from looking at the outside of the building is that the interior contains an amazing vestibule with an elaborate Byzantine-style mosaic ceiling. The mosaic, created in the United States by American muralist Barry Faulkner, has nearly one million pieces of coloured glass tile. It was designed as an elaborate advertisement of sorts to promote Metropolitan Life and their products and depicts “The Great Metropolitan Mother” protecting her policy holders.

180 Wellington Street Building Byzantine Mosaic Tile Vestibule

Since then the building has evolved and changed hands. In the 1950s, two levels and a wing on the east were added. By 1970, Metropolitan Life was finished with the building and had moved out and, in 1973, the building was purchased by the federal government for offices and to house the Canadian Postal Museum. In 1984, some Members of Parliament (MP) had their offices moved to the building.

The building was closed in 2010 for a 425 million dollar renovation that saw the interior pretty much demolished and the foundation rebuilt with important historical details preserved. The work included asbestos abatement and seismic reinforcement and in 2016 reopened as a modern, safe office space, which now houses MP Offices, committee rooms and a library.

The following is a three-minute video about the building, the restoration and the mosaic. It will make you want to see the inside of the building, too.

Considered a hidden jewel, you need to walk through the brass doors at 180 Wellington Street and look up. My husband and I would love to see the interior of the building, but do not know if the public is welcome since it is now a secure government building. 

Have you been inside the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building or the Wellington Building, as it is now called? Do you know if it is open to the public?


Vintage The Mountain Stream Oil Painting by Donalee Forbes

Rushing Mountain Waters Vintage Oil Painting Donalee Forbes


Mountain stream, clear and limpid, 
wandering down towards the valley, 
whispering songs among the rushes — 
oh, that I were as the stream! 

Mountain heather all in flower
longing fills me, at the sight, 
to stay upon the hills in the wind and the heather. 

Small birds of the high mountain 
that soar up in the healthy wind, 
flitting from one peak to the other
oh, that I were as the bird! 

Son of the mountain am I, 
far from home making my song; 
but my heart is in the mountain, 
with the heather and small birds.

For Merle's Vintage Challenge on Instagram, today's prompt was 'water' and I am happy to share with you this poem by John Ceiriog Hughes (1833-1887) as well as this vintage 1958 oil painting by Donalee Forbes of water rushing down from the mountains and through the forest.

If you like this Welsh poem, you might enjoy Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson's book, A Celtic Missellany, which you can find on Amazon by clicking right here. It contains poems and prose from the 18th to the 19th century from the Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Cornish, Breton and Manx.

You will find the original Donalee Forbes oil painting shown above as well as other framed and unframed original oil paintings in my eBay store by clicking right here.

See you 
at the art store!

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