The thoughtfulness in the gift of a whale is felt wholeheartedly with this never-seen-before vintage whale balance toy, pretty in blue and inspired by the love for Bernese Mountain dogs.
It was just an ordinary summer day. I spent a couple of hours in the morning at the beach and then joined my husband later for lunch at one of our favorite spots, Bitter End in Wells, Maine.
When we arrived home, a rather large box sat in our open garage.
I had earlier been informed that a surprise was in the mail, and my fingers were crossed that this might be it.
And it was…
Why I blog
I started this vintage and thrifty home decorating blog about 4 years ago now. And it has been so much fun and an amazing creative outlet for me. But the best part has been meeting the nicest and most thoughtful people who also share a love for vintage, thrifty, and antique home decor.
And Bernese Mountain dogs…
Like my friend Susan, who follows me over on Instagram. Susan and her daughter run their own antique business, Red Maple Antiques, selling online and at markets across Michigan, and Susan also had a Bernese Mountain dog named Ruger.
We chatted over several months, and Susan expressed how sad she was that her Berner Ruger had recently been diagnosed with cancer. And we Berner owners know that this is more common than any of us would like, unfortunately.
We have lost two Berners before Ella to cancer. Our first, Charlie, at 11.5 and our second, Gretchen, at just 7 years old. It is heartbreaking and devastating. But the love they give is like no other.
Meet Charlie and Gretchen
Charlie (Charlene Chester Tristar) was our first-ever Bernese Mountain dog, and she lived an amazingly long and healthy life for a Berner at 11.5 years old. She was loving, well-behaved, and very mellow.
Gretchen (Gretchen Hanna Glenmegan) was on the small side, a bit skittish, and had paws like the Christmas Grinch. She was the absolute sweetest, and we took her everywhere we went. And she always carried a stuffed animal along with her.
Unfortunately, my Instagram friend Susan lost her Bernese Mountain dog to cancer, and we commiserated together while the photos and videos of Ella kept her smiling. And Susan was encouraging and supportive of us when Ella went in for her ACL surgery earlier this summer.
I share all of this with you today so you may recognize why this package was so endearing.
Living in Michigan, Susan had found this vintage balancing toy whale at an online antique shop out of Jamestown, Rhode Island, called Gladding Goods, and thought it would be something I would really like.
And you know what?
Nikki of Gladding Goods also had a Bernese Mountain dog named Scout…
What do you think?
It comes in two pieces: the whale on top balances on the base, representing the sea.
A tap of the bottom weighted piece allows the whale to rock back and forth while balancing on the base.
And the whale’s eyes and mouth open and close while the spout moves equally.
When were balancing toys popular? “Balancing toys were popular in the 19th century. The Western balancing toys were traditionally made from tin or metal, dating back to ancient China and India, where they were most often carved from soft wood. Illustrations of balancing toys can be found in educational literature from the 18th century. The physics governing the movement of such toys intrigued and amazed people. Balance toys came in various forms, and this particular shaped one is traditionally called a skyhook. Made of recycled Tin and Iron.” See more from “The Ancient Mariner.”
Oh my goodness, I couldn’t be more fond of this vintage blue balancing whale toy if I tried.
And you know what?
It looks fantastic in every room of our home. I tried it out in the living room on my new side table, which you may see more of in the post, Irresistible New England Antique Barn Sale | Budget Friendly.
It matches so beautifully with all the vintage coastal touches that fill this room.
You may also enjoy this Quaint Nautical Decor Corner With a Vintage Wow Factor post.
And I know this vintage balancing toy whale would also look so quaint in our coastal cottage guest bedroom. But I want to eye this cutie daily, and we don’t frequent this guest room daily like we do the other rooms in the home.
You may see more of this coastal cottage-style guest bedroom that I mention above in the post, Small Cottage Guest Bedroom, Vintage and Delightful.
I settled on displaying my newly gifted treasure on top of the old cabinetry in our sunroom. Where we enjoy morning coffee and afternoon summer happy hours.
You may also enjoy the Antiquing Down East, A Day’s Jaunt post.
I added a few cut hydrangea stems in a farm stand glass vase from our front yard for a soft touch next to my new handsome whale balancing toy.
Do you recognize the two sunroom pictures with antique gold frames on the wall? See more in this post, Black Frames to Antique Gold Frames with Annie Sloan.
You may also be interested in learning about the “CRIES of LONDON” prints on the wall too in the post, 3 Finds at a Flea Market Near Me This Weekend.
Here, I added the balancing toy whale and hydrangeas to the glass nesting coffee table we have in the sunroom. Which I also adore.
See what I mean? This vintage whale balancing toy fits in so nicely everywhere!
A big shout out and thank you to Susan for this thoughtful vintage beauty! We will treasure it dearly at our home here in Maine.
Country Home Magazine
One of my fabulous “Dabbling & Decorating” readers recently sent me these photos of a similar vintage whale balancing toy featured in Country Home Magazine. The article is titled “New & Nostalgic,” dated 2015.
Pretty neat, right?
I’m so glad you dropped by, and if you are new to my blog, welcome! I hope you enjoyed visiting our Home in Coastal Maine with us today.
Be sure also to check out our Home in Vermont, where we spend winters enjoying the coziness of home in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
SHOP THIS POST
From my recent research, finding a vintage whale balancing toy is difficult. I can see that they have been for sale for a time or two on Etsy and eBay, so keep looking if you love this little gem as much as I do. Here are a few similar ones to get you started.