Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Caterpillar and a Monster

When I was out walking last Monday, I came across this street art on a housing estate in Kilburn. Isn't that fantastic? I hope you can see it past the fence -- it's a long centipede with a ladybug, a bee and a grasshopper inside it.

I photographed it that day, but it was really hard to get the right exposure because the upper left part of the photos was so bright, with all that sky, and the lower right was so dark, beneath the trees. So I went back yesterday morning while walking Olga and took some more pictures, including this HDR shot (above), which basically layers three different exposures to get the most range.

Here's another angle (not HDR). I have no idea who the artist is.

The area across from this estate is woodland, which borders some railroad tracks. As is often the case, lots of household rubbish had been dumped in the woods, on the other side of a fence running along the street. As Olga and I walked past, I spotted this guy among the debris:

He was muddy and sodden, but basically intact. Later, through the magic of the Interwebs, I learned that he's a character named Brobee from a children's television show, "Yo Gabba Gabba."

Inspired by Sarah and Fresca, who have blogged about rescuing vintage stuffed animals, I thought, "I'm going to salvage this guy!" So I tucked him into a plastic bag and brought him home. I unstuffed him -- fortunately his back was handily sealed by velcro -- and found a plastic inner component that apparently once allowed him to make noises or speak. It didn't seem to work, and I threw it out. Let's keep things simple, shall we?

I ran him through the washing machine on "ready to wear," which seemed to be the shortest wash cycle. Unfortunately it also included a dryer cycle, which I hadn't intended, but it didn't seem to harm him except to slightly yellow his plastic eyes. He emerged clean and fluffy.

I ordered some new polyfill stuffing, and when that arrives he'll get re-stuffed. And then I have a plan for him.

See? It's not so hard to stay busy during lockdown!


  1. When you have got Brobee re-stuffed is your plan to throw him over to Olga and tell her it's a squirrel? Brobee will last approximately four seconds.

  2. I remember Yo Gaba Gaba from my niece. What a wonderful rescue! And I love that art!

  3. omg Steve, I love your posts so much. You are so much like me. If I had a large van there is nothing that would please me more that to go round collecting up stuff others have dumped.
    Who would rescue a dirty doll, take it home and wash it? not many but I know I would. What did Dave say?
    The insect painting is absolutely brilliant. someone had the vision.
    Have a lovely weekend

  4. Keep us posted as to your plans!

  5. Not only a savior of woebegotten plant life, but forgotten loveys, too. Good man.

  6. I love your creativity. Who'd have thought that this soggy little doll would have been given a whole new outlook on life. So now I'm wondering the fate of this dolly. Will it be to sit on a collectible shelf? Or maybe give cuddles and smiles to a child? Or will it be a bedtime buddy for a little shelter doggy? In any case, I can't wait to see the finished doll. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  7. Now you've got me curious! What's the plan? I'll be watching!

  8. especially when you are a connoisseur of trash. good job. if people would go back to repairing and slavaging we would have so much less trash. modern humans are lazy though.

  9. oh, and I thought from the first picture that the centipede was a sculpture but I see it's painted on the bulkhead.

  10. I love the centipede. Now there is a sentence I thought I'd never utter. I can't wait to learn the fate of Brobee! And, I wonder what kind of sound he made when his "vocal box" was working.

  11. Wonderful art work there. Love that centipede. Good rescue of that Yo Gabba Gabba. It'll be interesting to see it again in its new life.

  12. Awww thank you for rescuing that sad little guy.

  13. You are The Rescuer, a little known super-hero brother of The X-Men!

  14. I am super impressed by how well that fluffy came out in the wash!

    For some reason the caterpillar skeeves me out - which is odd because I like real ones - but it's still well done :)

  15. The caterpillar is wonderful. I too have put stuffed soft toys in the washing machine. One even continued to speak afterwards, much to my surprise.

  16. OMGosh What wonderful ART. I had a bit of trouble seeing it at first but I got out my magnifying glass Miss Edna sent to me and I ooohed and aaaahhhed ad I marveled at the bee, and the little guy you rescued is just too cute.
    I kept thinking that I had seen him someplace and then I knew it had to be a character from a child's television show.
    I am so glad that you rescued him. I can't wait to know the plan you have for him. I bet it will be awesome no matter what!

    Have a wonderful evening.

  17. YP: Actually, Olga has never been interested in stuffed toys. She's been given a few and she won't play with them. She only likes tennis balls and Kongs!

    Mitchell: I'd never heard of it before!

    Briony: I'm glad you're on my wavelength! People throw away way too much perfectly usable stuff.

    Ms Moon: I'll let you know! The polyfill stuffing was "damaged" in transit (what that means I have no idea) and returned to Amazon, so I had to reorder it. My plans have been slightly delayed. :/

    Mary: I can't stand waste. Can't stand it.

    Edna: I'll let you know when the time comes! :)

    Red: Ha! It's nice to create some blog suspense!

    Ellen: Yeah, it's a shame no one fixes anything anymore. I just don't understand our disposable culture. The centipede is actually painted on a concrete ramp.

    Sharon: I don't know! I've had second thoughts about removing it, but trying to repair it with that intact seemed like a tall order. Plus, in general, I hate toys with plastic talky bits inside them.

    Robin: Isn't that cool art? I have no idea what it means, really, since I don't think centipedes consume bees and grasshoppers, but it's a cool effect. Maybe just a way to remind us of the value of insects.

    Linda Sue: He looks happy, doesn't he?

    Catalyst: Yeah, it's a fault of mine, for sure. I hate seeing perfectly good stuff trashed.

    John: Ha! I admit the silly expression on his face is what drew me in!

    Jenny-O: Yeah, the artwork is really good. The insects are rendered very skillfully.

    Andrew: Maybe I acted hastily in throwing out Brobee's voice box?!

    Beth: I'm impressed you knew him! I don't think I've ever seen him before. Not that I watch much children's TV -- LOL!

  18. Steve! Well done, you!
    I enroll you, with your permission, as an honorary Gold Star member of SNARP--the Stuffed Needy Animal Rescue Project.