Title:
PLUSH TOY CONTAINER APPARATUS AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floral apparatus includes a stuffed toy having a body that has an opening within the body. The opening is sized to receive a plant or floral arrangement. A method includes forming an opening within a stuffed toy; and placing a floral arrangement or plant within the opening.



Inventors:
Polfliet, James A. (Renville, MN, US)
Polfliet, Nathan A. (Volga, SD, US)
Application Number:
11/675138
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, SON T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHWEGMAN LUNDBERG & WOESSNER, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus comprising: a stuffed toy having a body; and an opening within the body sized to receive a plant.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a liner.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a stiffener positioned within the body of the stuffed toy, the stiffener positioned near the opening within the body.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a container adapted to sized to substantially fit within the opening.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 further comprising at least one plant held in the container.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further including a moisture management system.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the moisture management system further includes a tray sized to fit within the opening.

8. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the moisture management system further includes a drain in fluid communication with the opening.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a container adapted to hold a plant, the container fitting substantially within the opening.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a set of instructions for using the apparatus.

11. A floral apparatus comprising: a first plush toy; and a second plush toy, at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy having an opening therein, the opening adapted to substantially surround a plant container, the opening within the body of the at least one first plush toy or second plush toy.

12. The floral apparatus of claim 11 wherein the at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy having the opening therein includes a stiffener, the stiffener for maintaining the shape of the opening.

13. The floral apparatus of claim 11 wherein the at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy having the opening therein includes a liner.

14. The floral apparatus of claim 11 wherein the first plush toy and the second plush toy each have an opening therein, wherein the opening in at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy is in the body of the first plush toy or the second plush toy.

15. The floral apparatus of claim 11 wherein the at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy having a drip tray fitting within the closed end of the opening.

16. The floral apparatus of claim 11 wherein the first plush toy and the second plush toy are theme related.

17. A method comprising: forming an opening within a body of a stuffed toy; and placing a floral arrangement within the opening.

18. The method of claim 17 further comprising lining the opening formed within the body of the stuffed toy.

19. The method of claim 17 further comprising bracing the opening.

20. The method of claim 17 further comprising managing moisture associated with the floral arrangement.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/839,936, filed Aug. 25, 2006 under 35 USC119 (e).

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to a plush toy floral apparatus and methods for making and using a plush toy floral apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Florists are in the business of sending floral arrangements and live plants to all sorts of people. The florist typically takes an order from a customer. Many times the customer seeks to send a floral arrangement or live plant to a third party. Many customers call a florist and explain a situation and then seek the florist for advice or suggestions regarding what to send to the third party. As a result, florists are always looking for new options to offer customers for floral arrangements and live plants.

One market segment that seems to have an unmet need is that of children. For example, a child might be sick or even hospitalized. Typically, a child is sent a floral arrangement in some sort of ceramic vase. To make the floral arrangement directed toward the child a plush toy is generally strapped to the floral arrangement. In essence, the toy is for the child and the floral arrangement is for the other adults visiting the sick child. If the child likes the looks of the toy, the toy is separated from the floral arrangement so the child can play with the toy. The remaining floral arrangement may be destroyed. Certainly the overall look of the arrangement is changed or degraded. At best, the resulting stand alone floral arrangement or live plant may be something of interest to adults. However, the child to which the floral arrangement or plant was sent is disinterested. As a result, the floral arrangement and stuffed toy have missed the point which is to bring some joy to the child.

Another aspect that is lost on such floral arrangements is an educational component. It has been found that environmental issues are increasingly becoming a regular part of everyday life. As our population becomes increasingly urban, many children are not learning about growing plants or various aspects of our ecosystem. In fact, many children do not even realize that plants need light and water. As a result, many children do not appreciate the basics about the surrounding environment and the issues related to the environment. Therefore, learning how plants grow, will teach children to appreciate other aspects of the world around them.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is pointed out with particularity in the appended claims. However, a more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description when considered in connection with the figures, wherein like reference numbers refer to similar items throughout the figures, and:

FIG. 1 is perspective view a stuffed or plush toy having a planter therein, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 2 is an perspective view of a plush toy having an opening therein, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a plush toy, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another moisture management device, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a method for forming a plant holder that includes at least one plush toy, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pair of plush toys, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a pair of plush toys, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a kit that includes at least one plush toy, according to an example embodiment.

The description set out herein illustrates the various embodiments of the invention, and such description is not intended to be construed as limiting in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention can be practiced. The embodiments illustrated are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the teachings disclosed herein. Other embodiments can be utilized and derived therefrom, such that structural and logical substitutions and changes can be made without departing from the scope of present inventions. The following detailed description, therefore, is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of various embodiments of the invention is defined only by the appended claims, along with the full range of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.

FIG. 1 is perspective view a stuffed or plush toy 100 having a container 130 therein, according to an example embodiment. The plush toy 100 could also be called a stuffed toy. The plush toy or stuffed toy 100 includes a body 110. The plush toy 100 shown in FIG. 1 is a fictional character. Many stuffed toys or plush toys replicate either an animal or a fictional character. The body 110 associated with such a stuffed toy or plush toy 100 includes an upper torso 111, a lower torso 112, a set of legs 113, a set of arms 114 and a head 115. Thus, the body of a plush toy or stuffed toy includes all the portions of the stuffed or plush toy that generally occupy a volume and which includes the natural shape of the item replicated by the plush or stuffed toy. The container 130, or a major portion of the container 130, is positioned within the body 110 of the plush toy 110. The container 130 includes a lip 132 near the open end of the container 130. The container 130, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, include a live plant 140 or the container may include cut plants (not shown). The container 130 is not limited to holding cut flowers or plants for floral arrangements (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2), but can be used to contain any number of different types of items, including a plant 140 as shown in FIG. 1. In other example embodiments, the container 130 could include cut flowers, blooming plants, candy, popcorn, small toys, or anything children or adults might enjoy. The container can also be used in an arrangement with another plush toy, a set of balloons or another plant, or the like.

FIG. 2 is an perspective view of a plush toy 100 shown in FIG. 1 that with the container 130 removed from the body 110 of the plush toy 100, according to an example embodiment. With the container 130 removed from the plush toy 100, the opening 120 can be more easily seen. As shown in FIG. 2, the plush or stuffed toy 100 includes an opening 120 formed within the body 110. The opening 120 is sized to fit the container 130. The opening 120 generally is sized so that a major portion of the container is surrounded when the container 130 is placed into the opening 120. The opening 120 in the plush toy, as shown in FIG. 1, is sized so that the top of the opening 120 catches the lip 132. In other words, the lip 132 is not positioned within the body 110 of the plush toy 100. In some embodiments, such as the one shown in FIG. 2, the lip 132 flairs away from the major portion of the container 130. Therefore, the opening substantially surrounds the major portion of the container 130 and the lip 132 fits over an edge 122 of the opening 120. In other embodiments, the lip of a container does not flair out or have an outer diameter significantly different from the major portion of the container. In this arrangement, the lip 132 of the container may not fit over the edge 122 of the opening 120 but merely extends beyond the edge 122 of the opening 120, and beyond the body 110 of the stuffed or plush toy 100. As shown in FIG. 2, the opening includes a lining 124. The lining 124 is formed so that it is substantially the same size as the opening 120 in the body 110 of the plush toy 100. The lining 124 is stitched or sewn to the body 110 of the plush toy 100. In some embodiments, an adhesive is used to attach the lining 124 to the body 110 of the plush toy. The lining 124 is also finished by stitching or sewing or otherwise attaching the lining 124 near the edge 122 of the opening 120.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a plush toy 100, according to an example embodiment. The opening 120 shown in the body 110 of the plush toy 100 is rough. The material used to stuff the plush toy 100 is shown on the inside of the opening 120. The stuffed toy or plush toy 100 is provided with a stiffener 320 which stiffens the opening 120 and helps to maintain the shape of the opening 120. The stiffener 320, is a strip of stiff material that has a height approximately equal to the height of the opening 120. The stiffener 320 has a first end 321 and a second end 322. During construction, the first end 321 is attached to a portion of the stiffener to form a ring of stiffening material that has a diameter slightly smaller than the size of the opening. The lining 124 is then placed over the opening 120 and the stiffener 320 positioned within the opening. The stiffener can be any stiff material malleable to one of several positions. In this particular embodiment, the stiffening material is available from Uniek of Waunakee, Wis. as Quick Count Plastic Canvas. A moisture management system 310 is placed in the lined (with liner 124) opening 120. In this particular embodiment, the moisture management system 310 includes a tray 311 that catches excess water from the plant. The tray 311 fits within the bottom of the opening 320. In this embodiment, the tray 311 is not provided with any sort of drain and merely holds water until the water evaporates or until water wicks up into the plant. It should be noted that the tray can have any height, including a height that is slightly less than the container 130. The container 130 fits within the lined opening 120 and within the tray 311 associated with the moisture management systems 310.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another moisture management device 400, according to an example embodiment. The moisture management device 400 includes a tray 411 and a drain tube 420. It should be noted that the tray 411 can have any height, including a height that is slightly less than the container 130. The tray 411 has an opening 412 therein. The opening 412 is placed at the lowest portion of the tray 411 as positioned within an opening, such as opening 120, within a plush toy, such as plush toy 100. During installation or construction, the drain tube 420 is placed through the body of the plush toy and an opening is made at the exterior of the plush toy 100. The drain tube 420 extends beyond the body 110 of the plush toy. In this embodiment, when one overwaters a plant in a floral arrangement, the tray 411 catches the water and then any excess passes through the drain tube 420 and away from the plush toy 100.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a method 500 for forming a plush toy 100 that includes a container 130, according to an example embodiment. The method 500 includes forming an opening within a body of a stuffed toy 510, and lining the opening formed within the body of the stuffed toy 512. In still other embodiments, the method 500 includes bracing the opening 514 before finishing the lining. In other words, the opening in made the plush toy, and then the opening is braced with the stiffening material, and then the opening with the fabric liner which is placed over the stiffener. A tray is then placed within the lined opening in order to manage moisture associated with the arrangement 516. The tray, in some embodiments, would have a height similar in height and width to the flower pot. The tray would be slightly wider so the flower pot could fit inside the tray. The flower pot and potted arrangement could then be added to the opening within the tray to complete the floral arrangement 518. The flow diagram of FIG. 5 does not necessarily depict a certain order of steps. In some embodiments, the stiffener can be added such that it would be visible before the flower pot is placed into the opening. In the embodiment described, the stiffener is covered by the lining.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pair of plush toys 600 and 601, according to an example embodiment. The plush toy 601 is separate from plush toy 600. The plush toy 600 includes a container 630. The plush toy 601 does not include a container. The plush toys are related to one another in the arrangement. Plush toy 600 is a mother dinosaur while the plush toy 601 is the offspring of plush toy 600. As shown, at least one of the first plush toy 600 and the second plush toy 601 includes the container 630.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a pair of plush toys, according to an example embodiment. The arrangement includes a first plush toy 700 and a second plush toy 720. The plush toys 700 and 720 are again related in that each starred in a common movie. Each of the plush toys 700 and 720 includes a container 730 and 730′ which is fit substantially within the body of the respective plush toy 700, 720. It should be noted that the plush toy 700 (tow truck) includes a body 710 which includes the natural shape of the item replicated by the plush toy. For example, the body 710 of the tow truck plush toy 700 includes a cab, a bed of the tow truck, and a set of tires which are attached to the tow truck. In essence, the body 710 includes the solid volume associated with the plush toy or stuffed toy 700.

An apparatus includes a stuffed toy or plush toy 100 having a body 110. The body 110 of the stuffed toy also includes an opening 120 within the body 110 sized to receive a container 130. The apparatus, in some embodiments, includes a liner 124. In other embodiments, the apparatus also includes a stiffener 320 positioned within the body 110 of the stuffed toy 100. The stiffener 320 is positioned near the opening 120 within the body 110. The apparatus can include a container 130 adapted to hold a plant 140, cut flowers, candy, balloons or the like. In some embodiments, the apparatus further includes a moisture management system 310. In some embodiments, the moisture management system 310 further includes a tray 311 sized to fit within the opening 120 or a drain 420 in fluid communication with the tray 411. A container 130 can be provided for holding a plant. The container 130 fits substantially within the opening 120.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a kit 800 that includes at least one plush toy 810, a set of instructions or instructional material 850 for using the apparatus 810, according to an example embodiment. In the example embodiment, the plush toy includes a container 830 that holds a plant 840. The instructions 850 include instructions on the care and nurturing of the plant 840 or for any type of plant. In some embodiments, the set of instructions 850 also includes instructions for cleaning a drain tube 412 or for emptying a tray 311, 411 (shown in FIGS. 3 and 4) in the event the plant is over watered. The instructions or instructional material 850 may also include information about plants as related to the environment or any other message deemed appropriate for the audience. For example, the instructions may also include educational materials. For example, the instructional materails may address environmental issues that are increasingly becoming a regular part of everyday life. The instructional materials may also include information about growing plants or information about various aspects of our ecosystem. As a result, some children may come to appreciate some of the basics about the surrounding environment and the issues related to the environment, as well as other aspects of the world around them.

A floral apparatus includes a first plush toy, and a second plush toy. At least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy has an opening therein. The opening is adapted to substantially surround a plant container. The opening is within the body of the at least one first plush toy or second plush toy. The floral apparatus can include a stiffener for maintaining the shape of the opening. The opening can include a liner. In some embodiments, the first plush toy and the second plush toy each have an opening therein. The openings are in at least one of the first plush toy and the second plush toy is in the body of the first plush toy or the second plush toy. The openings or opening, in some embodiments, includes a drip tray fit within the closed end of the opening. In some embodiments of the floral apparatus, the first plush toy and the second plush toy are theme related.

The foregoing description of the specific embodiments reveals the general nature of the invention sufficiently that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt it for various applications without departing from the generic concept, and therefore such adaptations and modifications are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments.

It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation. Accordingly, the invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, equivalents and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.