Bright eyed dolls in satin dresses, a tiny bed hidden beneath a zoo of stuffed animals,  crisp white linens that smell like outside, books that tell of a thousand adventures….while these might not make Julie Andrew’s list of her favourite things, they are most certainly at the very top of mine.  Little treasures that are amassed over a childhood, carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed,  all come together like an eclectic little village to create the perfect place to be a little girl.  Or a fairy princess.  Or a toadlet.  A place where dreams are woven, stories shared, and imagination explored.  A special place where all that was needed to keep the closet ogre at bay was a blanket that reached over your head.

Thanks for joining us today as we continue our series “The Antiques Toad Show“, with a play date in an antique bedroom furnished in enough bric-a-brac to make any fairy princess proud.  We were very lucky to have access to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum, thanks to our very good friend who just happens to be the curator of this wonderful little place.  Many of the artifacts have been donated by local families over the years to collectively bring us a taste of what it was like to live more than a hundred years ago in this pastoral community.

So let’s put on our best patent leather shoes and our fanciest dresses and head back to a time when dragons were real, anyone could be royalty, and magic was always possible as long as you had your canister of fairy dust in your pocket!

Little Girl's Bedroom - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Little Girl’s Bedroom – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This very well could have been my bedroom when I was growing up, which just proves that little girls have always been the same no matter how far back we go.  Now, just to clear up any misconceptions regarding my age, I would like to say in my defense that the little white pot under the bed was fortunately absent in my room.  However, the rest is not that different.  It didn’t matter at all what others considered to be treasure, suffice it to say that we all had our own idea of what made the cut and ended up on the bedstand.  For some it was dolls made of fine china with whimsically painted faces, or dainty jewels stored in a box that played music when you peeked inside to see if the ballerina still danced when the top was closed.  And while these things are undeniably wonderful, there are really two things that stand out for me from my tadpole years.

Just like this little girl, I loved doll carriages. I loved dolls as well, and had plenty of them, but I loved frogs and toads even more, so usually the babies in my carriage were green and bumpy and when well-meaning grown-ups, muttering the usual niceties in the appropriate “isn’t that sweet” tone pulled the blanket back to see the “baby”, well, let’s just say it usually didn’t end well.

The other priceless treasure I remember with much love was the hand crocheted bedspread my mother made for me one year.  She worked tirelessly on that blanket, carefully stitching together a million squares with bulbous roses in the middle until I finally had my own rose garden stretching across my bed in a vibrant sea of orange and red and gold.  It was heavy enough to flatten my toes, but it also kept the monster who lived under the bed firmly in his place.

Little Girl's Bedroom - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Little Girl’s Bedroom – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

This antique toy just goes to prove that kids will be kids, no matter where, or when, they live.  This paint set is reminiscent of the one I used to have, where great masterpieces could be created with a brush and a little water, swirled over a crusty piece of clay-like substance that would suddenly and magically turn into red, yellow, green, blue and purple.   Unique works of art that would run down your arm and onto your clothes, some even making it on to the paper that would majestically hang on the refrigerator and drip onto the kitchen floor.  Yet nonetheless, a beaming mother with her face full of delight would plant a kiss on your forehead and swear that a prettier picture had never existed and never would.  At least until the next one.

Little Girl's Bedroom - Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Little Girl’s Bedroom – Metchosin Pioneer Museum, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

And who doesn’t have a favourite story that was read so many times that eventually the book was redundant except for the pictures?  Tales of adventure, of romance and chivalry, of castles and dragons and faraway places.  Between these pages were found the seeds of imagination, of endless possibility and dreams that really did come true.  Images that danced in your head and took on a life of their own as the lights dimmed and your head sank into the pillow, fueled with a palette of ideas for tomorrow’s escapades.

Alas, it is said that youth is wasted on the young, but I must respectfully disagree.  Just like our many varied treasures, it is something carefully crafted and woven, pieced lovingly together with great care and intention,  preserved forever in the aging hearts and minds of those brave enough to never walk past a waiting swing in the playground.

Thank you so much for your visit, I hope we can get together again soon and find some new things to explore.  Until then I must hang up my roller skates and put away my crayons and pretend to be a grown up once again.  Just so you know, no frogs or toads were harmed in the making of my childhood, and were promptly and gently returned to their homes after their carriage rides with kiss on the nose!  And while not one of them ever magically turned into a prince, I eventually found a prince who magically turned into my perfect toad when I kissed him on the nose.

Until next time!


Mrs. Toad

  1. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Ahh Mrs. Toad…you’re an amphibian after my own heart. I loved dolls and doll carriages but was really a tomboy at heart. Awesome post (I think your giving Toad a run for his money). The images are outstanding. I love the last one…it speaks volumes (no pun intended).

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Edith, I wrote this one with you in mind my good friend! The images, as always, are the wonderful handywork of one talented Mr. Toad. Thank you so much for your great comments and on-going friendship of all folks green and bumpy and always know that puns are welcome (and encouraged) here!

  2. avatar LensScaper says:

    A wonderful piece of writing and images to match. I was never a baby girl and I never had a little sister but I can substitute item for item in your story and it rings so true. There was always a Red Indian hiding in the tree outside my bedroom window. How about persuading Mr Toad to write the twin of this article about his own childhood toys and thoughts?

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      What a great idea Andy, I’m sure Mr. Toad has many tadpole tales to share! Truth be known, most of his toys are still in the attic! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, we’re always happy to see you here at the Hollow.

  3. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Well done Mrs Toad,your storyline really is a marvelous accompaniment to these wonderful images.Thanks for taking the time to share!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Fred for your thoughtful comments! The images really are the stars of this piece, and for that I owe Mr. Toad a huge “thanks”. Thanks for taking the time to pop by today. Cheers!

  4. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nice work Mrs. Toad and I LOVE that shot of the book!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Jim, I agree that last shot is just makes you want to snuggle into that warm blanket and read. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is an outstanding post Mrs. Toad! And you had great images to incorporate as well. It’s great to see that places like this exist to share these treasures from another time. Like Andy, I don’t know much about little girl toys but I grew up with all of the essential G.I. Joe stuff, Hot Wheels, and Matchbox cars!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comments Michael. I think that you and Mr. Toad would have shared many happy hours together playing with those Matchbox cars…we have a box of them upstairs!

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Wonderfully written post Mrs Toad with terrific images. I love your comment about that little white pot – too funny. Being from a family that had 3 generations of boys, it is nice to read about what is was like to be a little girl.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Hi Len, thank you very much for your comments, they’re very much appreciated! Yikes, 3 generations of boys…your mom and grandma must have been busy ladies! Thanks so much for your visit.

  7. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Mrs. Toad and the magic pen has created another enjoyable treasure. 😉 The images and word-crafting really make this a great post.

    I am so drawn to that old paint set, it’s fascinating to me for some reason. I was never artsy enough to actually paint so this is a mystery, but I really like it.

    Thanks again for an enjoyable visit.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments Jimi, it really means a lot to us. I just love that old paint set as well. I was an only child so I spent a lot of time playing with stuff like this, it was truly an adventure not to get paint all over the place!

  8. More gems! I love that paint set

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks Mike, there is just something fun about looking at history through the eyes of a child! Thanks for taking the time to pop by!

  9. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Awesome set Toads – love the paint set. What great character in it!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Hi Jim, thanks so much for your comments. Isn’t it just fun to see how kids amused themselves before XBox! lol!

  10. avatar Kelly Olson says:

    Really enjoyed this, and I also loved the shot of the paint set. Awesome! The sweet little bed with the old blanket that had kept some little girl warm and cozy is sweet. I also loved seeing that old carriage! Thanks again!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Hi Kelly, thanks very much for taking the time to leave these wonderful comments! I really love that blanket as well, it just has such a warm and homey feel to it. I bet it kept closet ogres away for many years! Thanks for popping by today!

  11. avatar Mrs. Mudpuppy says:

    Great post again Mrs. Toad! Love the imagery you conjure with your words, it’s like being transported back in time!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Mrs. Mudpuppy, it’s so true, being in this little museum really is a trip back in time. I just love that the artifacts belonged to the local families that built this little community, and of course, having The Curator to tell us the stories just makes it so much more tangible. Thanks for your comments today!

  12. avatar Bob Lussier says:

    What a wonderful post! Great images and extremely well written!

  13. avatar ehpem says:

    Mrs. Toad – you have done a wonderful job of illustrating Mr. Toad’s great photographs – pictures by the both of you. What a team!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Ehpem, it is easy to find the words when starting with such great images, so hats off to Mr. Toad! Thanks so much for stopping by today, we really appreciate your friendship and support.