What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Accidental Collection: Leo Ward Birds

Nearly every blog I read, somewhere along the line, they find a Leo Ward Bluebird when they are out thrifting.  They are sweet little bluebird, made of a beautiful deep blue glass.  If you have ever gotten a swap, gift or won anything from me......you have probably received a Bluebird in your box.

The company is actually located right here in my neck of the woods - Terra Studios.  Although most people think if it isn't signed Leo ward, it's a fake.  But, that's not true.  He designed and developed the bluebirds.   And then he taught fellow artisans, including his wife and children, to make them bluebirds.  You may find Leo Ward and his wife Rita Ward as well as a host of other signatures on the bottom of the bluebirds.  They are all what people refer to as "Leo ward" birds.  They are all, in fact, Terra Studio Bluebirds of Happiness. 

When I say they are plentiful in my area, I am not kidding.  There is usually one at every thrift and yard sale.  maybe more than one.  I had picked up a couple to place in a windowsill along the way.  When we cleaned out The Breadman's parents house after they died, we found those bluebirds everywhere.  We knew she had a few in her windows, but when we started packing things up, we found one here, one there, one int he bathroom, three in the laundry room and so on and so on.  We even found one behind the stove when we moved that out! 

The Bean has always had an eye for colored glass so he likes these birds.  We decided that the birds from that house would make a nice memory for him to have when he was older.  Now we pick them up at yard sales when we see them, but we try not to pay more than 50¢ for any of them unless they are a different color or unique.  We only buy the single birds since the doubles take up too much room.  We do have a few of the smaller ones, but those came from the in-law's house.  When I heard there was going to be a special edition pink bird for Breast cancer, I wondered if I would ever find one.  I was surprised when I found one about two months later at the thrift for 25¢.
I do have them all in a glass case.  I don't really like them all crowded in there,  but they stay organized and clean.  That's a big one - clean and dust free!  Taking photos of them is not easy with the glass background.
We have about fifteen of them that have broken tail feathers. They were still too pretty to toss.
 So, I put those out side on the window ledge of our bay window for the sun to sparkle through.  They look pretty all lined up.

In addition to the famous blue birds, there are also clear, cobalt, amber, red and pink.  We have some of all of them.   They also make other animals in addition to the birds.  We also have ducks, frogs, elephants ans a few other animals on a different shelf.

They range in size from a bit bigger than your thumbnail to palm sized and every size in between.  I have a special love of the tiny ones, so I nearly always pick them up to add to out collection.
As we cleaned out my Grandmother's house, we found a box full of them there too.  So, home they came.  I recently saw a photo of The Breadman's Grandma's house and noticed a collection of them there too.  I don't know what will happen to her collection, but I wish some of them could come to The Bean.  It makes a nice collection and a nice way to remember his three Grandparents.  I have a feeling that The Bean might be able to open his own "Leo Ward" museum someday!

***This post seems to be popular for those of you looking for values on Leo Ward birds.  Please visit Terra Studios for information.  I will say that most Leo Ward birds are lovely, but not particularly valuable.  I'd guess the $10-20 range.  


  1. You know I love these blue birds. When I found one in a thrift shop and posted it, you told me what it was and I was very excited. So if I ever see more I will add them to my collection. You have a fabulous array of colors.

  2. I never have come across any Leo Ward birds in all of my thrifting, but thanks to you I always look! I adore the ones you sent to me. I think you should pull out a few of those pretty amber ones to put with your Halloween decor!

  3. When I cleaned out my mother's apartment I found 2 that I kept and put in my window she also had a clear one that I kept. I guess it is easy to get a collection going.

  4. THANKS for showing your collection!

    Any that I find at sales around here are either Dollar store copies, or if they are 'The real thing' they are priced like GOLD!!

  5. I have one! I'd love to keep it in the window but my cat has a thing about breaking things (like my insulators!) that I put there.

  6. I bought my first bluebird today 4-13-2013 at a yard sale. It is signed and dated 1985. I have a few pieces of finton and my bird will look pretty displayed with them.
    Geneva Turner.

  7. We have two sets. A big and little, the blues are signed Leo Ward, the 'reds' are signed Ron Ray. A question though: the red pair are scuffed up and the red colour is coming off, showing clear glass underneath. Is this usual? (Were there signed fakes? At what these items went for, I don't see the economic reason to do fakes.) We love them and keep them in the kitchen window, which has a southern exposure. Having birds with the amberina and Bristol blue stuff in that window, well, sunrise can be psychedelic!

    1. I also purchased a red cardinal with the paint coming off. I called Terra Studios and they told me that Ron Ray had nothing to do with Terra Studios and his birds were knockoffs. Some of Ron Ray's birds were painted on the outside, thus the peeling off.

  8. Are birds signed W Ward the same as Leo Ward, I know his name is Leo W. Ward. If true, why did he do that, do you know?

  9. I have a metallic color blue bird multi colored that is signed Leo ward 1994 does anyone know what the color is called and the value. Fourclover65@yahoo.com

  10. My mother had one when she passed I kept it many years later when a dear friends mother passed away she have me something of her mom's it was a bluebird. As I've gotten older various woman who I was close to have passed away and oddly somehow a new blue bird makes it to my home. I had about 7. On April 28th I woke up and 2Alex into my lichen there was a bluebird on my lichen table I had never seen before. No one k,ow where it had come from and I had never seen it before. It upset me. 4 days later my daughter passed away at age 26. She had been struggling with an infection in her heart. The reason I'm online tonight looking at bluebirds is well frightening for me. I've been downsizing my home thinking of moving after 50 years out of my hometown. My daughter was one of My set of twins. Her brother Burks is here in town with me. I was going through some random things in my room when I picked up Kadi's bluebird. I put it in the box with the others. Several hours later goo g thru some other things there the bluebird was again. I thought we'll I put that up. As I went to place it in the box is when I noticed there are two of them. I cried for an hour. Long story but I am trying to find out who made them and where they originated.

  11. I found and purchased his "Lonely Little Blackbird" today. She is quite beautiful and lovely!

  12. I have a blue bird that's signed and dated 1988 is it worth anything? My name is Amanda btw


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