Cheap and cheerful childhood toys

I’m participating in the lovely RJ Scott’s annual autism blog hop again and this year the theme is childhood toys, so I’m talking about my childhood obsession with picture scraps…


Before I get on to this first and all-absorbing obsession of mine, a word or two about the hop. Firstly, you can check out RJ’s chosen charity, Lindengate here – it’s a mental health charity that works with autistic children like RJ’s son:

More than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems.

A bunch of authors are posting throughout the blog hop and hosting giveaways to raise awareness. My giveaway prize is any of my backlist books to a commenter on the post. Edited to add: the winner is Alicia Fourie ❤ 

And so to scraps.

Does this inadequately-bewinged cherub look familiar to any of you?

fat angel

The cherub was extremely familiar to me because when I was around 6-9 years old (it’s difficult to be exact but we’re looking at around 19809ish)  I was an obsessive collector of scraps and this particular picture was ubiquitous!

Scraps were literally no more than pictures that you bought and collected. I stored mine between the pages of books. They were sold at my local newsagent in A4 size sheets, with the individual pictures held together with little tabs.

You can see the tabs holding the pictures together in the image below. I remember buying this very set and I ABSOLUTELY loved them. I would stare at them for ages. I remember thinking of this group as almost achingly tasteful, which, looking at them now is rather sweetly funny.

angel4 scrap

Scraps were currency. We swapped them (and some of the ones that were circulating amongst my friends were years old, passed on from older sisters and cousins). The seasonal angel scraps above – and the pink, blue and lavender angel heads at the start of this post – were very much at the premium end of what was available. The inadequately-bewinged cherub was rather less popular and scraps like the ones below (hands, flowers) were frankly despised.

hands scrap

And then there were the strange religious ones. I definitely had some of these ones…

religious2 scraps

I wonder what happened to my scraps? Presumably a day came when I tossed them out, or maybe I gave them to another wee girl. I can’t remember. But I still remember those angel faces, and the odd 1940s aesthetic that permeated all the pictures, even though I was buying them in the 1980s

16 thoughts on “Cheap and cheerful childhood toys

  1. I have to recognise I never had scraps. My favourite toys where teddy bears, I loved to cuddle them. But then, I love animals, so I guess it was showing from a early age. I also loved books, already as a kid. I had lots of fairy tales… I wish I know what happened to them. As for my teddies, I donated them all, except my favourite one, which I still keep 😉


  2. The toys I most coveted at that time were invariably pink and plastic and deeply disapproved of by my ferociously feminist mother!


  3. I remember those scraps! I vaguely recall I had a large ‘scrap book’ with blank pages and I pasted them in, creating collages etc. according to my mood. No idea what happened to it. My grandmother had a screen – not at all sure whether it was for draughts, privacy or merely decoration – which had been covered in similar scraps and then varnished, No idea what happened to that, either! Thanks for putting me in touch with my memories!


  4. The one I wish I had now was the Magical Musical Thing, shaped vaguely like a keytar (’80s, you know!) but with plastic touchpad notes. They sounded vaguely like a cross between an electric guitar and a synth, and someone who could read music (I couldn’t yet) probably could play real songs on it. The keys were super-sensitive, though, and once the family was awakened by something pressing on it in the middle of the night, and the droning note had my mom fearing it was a fire alarm. The batteries were a pain to replace, too, so out it eventually went. I guess I could see if they still exist on eBay or something, but my house is so full of books etc. that I should resist the urge.


  5. I’ve never heard of “scraps” before but some of the cherubs look a lot like valentine cards that kids used to exchange in elementary school. I do remember cutting things out of magazines, I guess similar to your scraps. 🙂

    Thanks for the chance to win one of your books.


  6. I think I’ve seen scraps before but just didn’t know they were called that. As a kid I didn’t have any toys of my own A lot of my childhood was spent at the library or just running around the house hiding behind the couch, in areas of the house or trying to walk across the back of the couch pretending they were balance beams.


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