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12 Deliciously Different Plush Toys

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Look around the world wide web if you want to get a gift that no one else will think of, with a little help from your friendly mental_floss internet scouring service. Some of these plush toys are suitable for children, but not all of them!

1. Alex


Artist AngelaTiara made a rag doll version of Alex DeLarge from the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. This was a custom order, but I hear you can contact her to have a doll made for yourself.

2. Biochemies


Jun Axup is a graduate student and science artist who started Biochemies as an art and comic site to make science fun and accessible. Biochemies is now branching out into the plush toys business, starting with these cute DNA molecules. The set includes adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine, all with magnets in the correct spots in order to bond with each other! You can pre-order yours through Kickstarter.

3. Admiral Akbar


It's not a trap! Jennifer at Handmade Stuffs made this 18-inch tall Admiral Ackbar doll to guide your troops safely to victory against the forces of the Dark Side.

4. Slimer


Jennifer's Etsy Store, Handmade Stuffs, is full of plush characters you won't find at the local toy store. She's got a cuddly Skeletor, Hellboy, Mr. T, and this soft Slimer from the movie Ghostbusters.

5. Two-headed Teddies


Sara at The Tangled Web makes and sells knitted mustaches and anatomical hearts, but I particularly like the two-headed teddy bear. The heads are not identical -they have different-colored eyes! It also has two hearts for twice the love. And get this -the felt fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles.

6. Companion Cube


The cake may be a lie, but the Weighted Companion Cube Plush is real. And you can choose not to incinerate it! If this makes any sense, you must be a fan of the game Portal. The Companion Cube cushions your Portal dreams and is available from Think Geek.

7. Pancakes


How tasty it would be to cuddle up with a stack of pancakes! A stack of three includes a pat of butter and a smile.

8. Pillow Fight!


Swinging a plush sword or light saber makes an everyday pillow fight into something awesome. Bryan Ku's Pillow Fight! is, sadly, an art project at this point, and not (yet) mass-produced. He made these weapons and explosives by silk screening fabric.

9. Edward Gorey's Black Doll


The Black Doll is a creepy unfinished rag doll that appeared in many of the author/illustrator's stories. Now you can have your own!

A life long friend of Edward Gorey's made The Black Doll for him in 1942. Gorey visited her while she was making it and upon seeing it insisted on keeping it in its unfinished state, lacking a face, arms and clothing. In spite of her objection, Edward Gorey prevailed. It may be the first recorded instance of Gorey's enduring dedication to engaging the imagination. The incomplete Black Doll has remained a recurring enigma for almost 70 years appearing in many of Gorey's books and drawings as well as being the subject of his silent screenplay. This is the first time The Black Doll has been produced for Edward Gorey's devoted following.

The doll is offered in a limited run of only 2,000, in conjunction with the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

10. Nyan Cat


Most likely to be named the biggest meme of 2011, Nyan Cat comes in many handmade plush versions, but every time I try to track one down, someone buys it! As of this morning, the plush Nyan Cat shown here is available from Etsy seller SunlitDaydreams.

11. Red Shirt Bunny


This brave bunny looks as if he knows what fate befalls all Star Trek red shirts! He is a Woolykin, and was sold almost as fast as he appeared. Jennifer Hugon is the artist behind the Woolykins, which have been made in other cuddly pop culture critter forms. If you want one, you'll have sign up at her Etsy shop to be notified when she returns from maternity leave.

12. Teddy Scares


Teddy Scares are teddy bear zombies! The bear pictured here is named Sheldon Grogg. The bears come in both 6-inch and 12-inch sizes, and each come with their own dreadful backstory.

See also: 10 Bizarre but Cuddly Plush Toys, 13 Plush Toys Grownups Will Love, and 10 Strange and Wonderful Plush Toys.

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Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Knock-Off Versions of Nerf Ammo Can Cause Serious Eye Injuries
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Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Nerf toy guns and their foam projectiles, as marketed and manufactured by Hasbro, are virtually harmless when used as instructed. But, as reported by CNN, a recent paper in the UK medical journal BMJ Case Reports is providing a reality check when it comes to using the mock weapons and off-brand ammo improperly.

Three unrelated patients were treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London with ocular injuries that were sustained as a result of being "shot" with Nerf guns. Two adults had bleeding and inflammation in the eye; one 11-year-old had bleeding, inflammation, and damage to the outer retinal layer. All three suffered what the paper described as "significant ocular trauma." Attending doctors treated their swelling, and all symptoms resolved within a few weeks.

So what happened? In the case of one patient, a Nerf play session went awry as a result of using non-licensed ammo that isn't subject to Hasbro's quality control measures and may be made of harder materials as a result. On their Nerf landing page, Hasbro cautions users to "never modify any Nerf blasters or other Nerf products. Use only the darts, water, rounds, and discs designed for specific Nerf blasters."

Pediatric ophthalmologists interviewed by CNN recommend that protective eyewear be used whenever anyone is playing with Nerf weapons. It's also advisable never to aim for the face when shooting and to avoid attempting to modify the weapons to shoot faster or farther.

[h/t CNN]

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fun
Watch Craftsmen Shape Gobs of Molten Glass into Colorful Marbles
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iStock

Marbles aren't just for schoolchildren. Humans have likely been playing with the tiny toys for thousands of years, as indicated by ancient Egyptian artifacts and other objects studied by archaeologists. These trinkets have been crafted from materials including clay, stone, wood, glass, and metal. But in the early 1900s, Akron, Ohio–based Martin F. Christensen changed the way the playthings are made when he invented an automated machine that produced glass marbles.

Christensen's machine ultimately paved the way for the mass production of marbles. But in the video below, you can see how they're made the old-fashioned way. Produced by The Magic of Making—a series of short educational films created along with BBC—and spotted by The Kid Should See This, the clip shows glass makers in action as they use large ovens to melt granules of sand into liquid, and as they stretch, twist, and shape the molten goo into fragile (yet still playable) creations.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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