Turing Tumble in stock

We love Turing Tumble! This STEM game helps take the mystery out of how computers work as you solve a series of challenges with marbles. If you’ve seen it online and been intrigued, you might be wondering … where to buy Turing Tumble? It’s sold out at many stores and has become quite hard to find, but we are glad to have Turing Tumble in stock and available to buy on our website, www.pufferbelliestoys.com. Ordering cutoff is December 17 for holiday delivery.


Turing Tumble in action

Squishable avocados are the hot toy of 2017 and we have them in stock!

Oh yes! We do! As of today we have BOTH the full-size Squishable Avocado and the Mini Squishable Avocado in stock and ready to rock.

15″ Squishable Avocado

7″ Squishable Avocado


The Year of the Coloring Book: Coloring with Inktense

We’ve declared 2015 the Year of the Coloring Book! Johanna Basford has a new one coming out in February (Enchanted Forest) and that’s what kicked off our excitement, but it just seems like coloring is overall having a moment — there are some incredible new titles that we are having so much fun with.

Today I took home a new one from Peter Pauper Press called Joyful Designs. It’s in their Studio Series and it’s illustrated by Joy Ting. A couple really nice things — the art is printed on one side of each page only, so you can use pens, markers or even watercolors and it doesn’t matter if the color bleeds through to the back. And the pages are micro-perforated, so if you want to you can tear them out (or you can leave them in).

I started a design with Inktense colored pencils by Derwent. I’ve had these pencils for a while but never used them much. I bought them intending to use them on fabric (they’re permanent after being wet and then dried), but that project never got off the ground. So I had them hanging around and decided to try them on this project.

And I love them!

I started by coloring the whole design with the pencils. Then I brushed water over some parts of the design to get a watercolor look. In other areas I brushed water and then colored over the areas again — that gives some really intense color saturation. And I also tried dipping the tips of the pencils in water and adding accents that way. I found that I almost got TOO much color on the page with that technique, so I used it sparingly. Here are two pictures — one with the first layer of color, and the second after I added water and additional ink.

The colors got so intense that it’s sort of like a 1970’s look — very groovy.

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils, with water and additional ink

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils, with water and additional ink

New year, new … all the things OMG!?

I start off every new year thinking about the things I want to change here in the store. Better staffing, better merchandising, cleaner desk, less paperwork piling up in stacks above my head. Smarter buying, better cash flow, cleaner floors, better programs and events. To be honest, it’s completely overwhelming. Big tasks seem like too much to tackle all at once, and if I try to do things bit by bit, I get interrupted (or, really, lose focus) and they don’t get finished. I bought a planner. Maybe it will help? And I’m trying to think of small tasks that I can do in a sitting. Maybe they’ll add up over time, or boost my confidence so that I can work on the “big stuff” (brand-new computers and a new point of sale system that I bought last fall and was too chicken to install before Christmas. Just for an example).

So today I took three new pictures for the front page of our website. And now I’m taking a coffee break. Seems about right.

2015 january slides science and nature

january 2015 slide just for fun

january 2015 stuffed animals slide 2

“How was your season?”

Everybody loves to ask us this! And we love it when we can say …

It was the BEST ONE EVER.

Thanks to our friends and customers near and far for making 2014 the best and MOST FUN year ever at Pufferbellies. We can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store.

Make a bunch of pom poms! Fast!

If you’re crafty at all, you’ve probably made pom poms. Slowly. One at a time. It’s fun but time consuming.

With this little tool you can make a BUNCH of pom poms fast. All at one time! Big ones or small ones. And then use them in all your crafty projects like home decorating, sewing, knitting, gift wrapping and more.

Hunger: let’s wrap this up. A fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank


Did you know that the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank serves more than 114,000 of our friends and neighbors every month? Did you know that with just one dollar, the Food Bank can provide four meals? On Saturday, December 13, we want to help.

You probably know that we offer free gift-wrapping on your purchases all year long. For every gift we wrap here at Pufferbellies on the 13th, we’ll donate $1 to the Food Bank. If you’ve ever seen our store on a Saturday in December, you know we have the potential to wrap a lot of gifts!

While we don’t usually accept tips for wrapping, we will gladly take them on the 13th, and we’ll add 100% of the money in the tip jar to our Food Bank donation.

And if you’d like to bring non-perishable food to donate, we’ll have a table to accept it.

Can’t make it to the store on the 13th? Simply place your order on our website that day, specify your wrapping instructions before you check out, and we’ll add your dollars to the donation.

Let’s do our part together to end hunger this holiday season.

Small Business Saturday 2014 wrap-up

I am having a hard time expressing my feelings about this year’s Small Business Saturday.

Erin S at Small Business Saturday

Erin S at Small Business Saturday

We had our best day in the history of the store (nine Christmas seasons). It was amazing. We did not expect it, and we are so grateful for your support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

On the night before Small Business Saturday, I wrote a post on Facebook that went like this:

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday. It’s easy to forget this, but behind the scenes at pretty much any small business you visit, there’s a person (or more than one person) who lies awake at night worrying, wondering, planning and dreaming. A person who can’t imagine their life without the business they’ve built. I recently read an article about Bonnie Slotnick and her cookbook shop in NYC. She said, “I am the store and the store is me.”

I think we are truly lucky in Staunton to have so very many wonderful, successful small businesses. Those businesses are a big part of the reason that our little corner of the world is such a great place to live. I can’t wait to take some time tomorrow to shop at my favorite small businesses and show my fellow sleepless dreamers how much I value what they’ve built.”

I did sneak out of Pufferbellies for an hour or so to shop, and I felt the energy of Small Business Saturday all around our little town. And when I got home, I slept. All night long.

LEGO Friends Advent Calendars – still in stock!

Great news! If you are searching for a 2014 LEGO Friends Advent Calendar (#41040), you are in luck — we still have them in stock! $29.99 + $8 shipping (US shipping only). We ship Priority Mail, so you still have plenty of time to get a calendar home before the 1st of December. Here’s the link to order:

2014 Lego Friends Advent Calendar

2014 Painted Pumpkin Contest at Pufferbellies starts October 13!

2013 winner of the Pufferbellies Painted Pumpkin Contest

2013 winner of the Pufferbellies Painted Pumpkin Contest

We want to fill the windows at Pufferbellies with works of pumpkin-y art! Bring your painted pumpkins to the store starting Monday, October 13 through Thursday, October 23 and we will display them in our front windows.

The final chance to vote will be the evening of the 24th at our Halloween Hullabaloo.

The pumpkin that gets the most votes will be named the champion, and the person who painted it will receive a $50 Pufferbellies gift card, $50 worth of free gelato from The Split Banana, Co. and bragging rights ’til next year’s contest!

We will also offer voting on Facebook! The pumpkin with the most Facebook votes will receive a $25 Pufferbellies gift card and $25 worth of Split Banana gift certificates.

The winner will be announced on October 25, and you will be able to pick up your pumpkins any time between the 27th and Halloween (so they can decorate your porch for the holiday).

Group or family entries are welcome.

Please limit your pumpkin to a maximum of 12″ tall, and be sure it is uncarved. Any style of paint or decoration is permitted, as long as the pumpkin is not cut. Pumpkins that have been cut or carved will NOT be accepted, because they will rot in the heat of the window. 🙂