Thursday, 22 February 2018

Lovable Rogues

It is Rodney's first birthday today!

Not that he is in the least bit bothered, as he'd rather be eating sardines and hunting for 'who-knows-what?' in the garden.


Young Rodders has grown into a mighty fine looking tiger-cat in his first year, although I am sure he believes he is a dog as wherever my dogs are, you'll usually find him either chasing their tails, claiming their bed, or just hanging out on the floor with them. He has definitely made himself 'one of the pack'.


He was such a tiny kitten when he first came home last April and was always getting into scrapes, but since then he has become an affectionate, cheeky fellow and is now very much one of the family.

Oh ... and as you can see, I am happy to report, he did eventually grow into those ears!

Happy First Birthday Rod xxx

:-)


I think ginger cats have huge personalities. Rod's predecessor Toffee sadly left us a few years ago. He too was a tiny scrap when we adopted him from a local farm, but he soon settled in and became a crafty, lovable rogue. He was a big part of our family for many years. I don't have many photos of him, but I found this picture of him enjoying his sunny spot recently and it made me smile, so I thought I'd pop it here to remember him on Rodney's birthday.

:-)

Monday, 19 February 2018

A walk with a view

The sun shone yesterday and there was a hint of Spring in the air, so we took the dogs to White Horse Wood Country Park for some fresh air fun. Previously there have been cattle in the fields when we visited, but yesterday they were nowhere to be seen, so Polly and Betty had an absolute blast running through the hills and fields off lead.


The park is very steep in places and although it doesn't cover a wide expanse, it is a challenging walk and can be a wee bit hard on 'more mature' knees, depending on which paths you choose. The views over the Kent Downs are spectacular though, so it really is well worth the creaky joints! We opted to stroll along the North Downs Way as it runs along the edge of the park, then climbed back up a very steep hill to re-enter the park. The hill was so steep in fact, I needed to stop and catch my breath halfway up! I perched myself and my girls on the incline, then when my heart had stopped beating frantically, just sat and admired the fabulous view ... after all, there's no point in taking a walk with a view, if you don't stop to admire it is there?!

:-)

A rainy start

It's a rainy start to the week here in Kent and there is no hope of my being able to photograph my latest teddy bear in the garden. I put my thinking cap on and remembered my studio equipment, which has been gathering dust in the garage of late.


It's a bit of a long winded process setting it all up, but I did enjoy taking a few 'proper' studio photos of the teddy bears I currently have waiting to find for new homes - mind you, Rodney's 'assistance' wasn't in the least bit welcome, so he was unceremoniously packed off quick-smart to another room!


And the new teddy bear? Well, to my great surprise and delight, almost as soon has her studio photos were uploaded to my website a little earlier, she was adopted!

17" Memory has been adopted.

For anyone who missed her arrival on my website, this is 'Memory', a very traditional teddy bear in a pretty vintage pink shade of mohair.

My fingers and toes are now crossed for Albert, Lonnie and Whisper ... here's hoping they too will find special homes soon. 

:-)

Friday, 16 February 2018

Practice makes perfect - hopefully!

My youngest sister, like me, is learning to draw, so we have set up a little art group to encourage each other, together with a few close friends and family who also enjoy artistic endeavour. A couple of months ago, Laura challenged me to draw, paint or craft something, every day for a year - she's a hard taskmaster! So far I am on target, having completed something arty every single day since New Year's Day. 

This was yesterday's quick sketch ...


The idea is to improve with practice, so hopefully this time next year I will be able to share a masterpiece!

:-)

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Spring Cleaning

Was tidying my workroom cupboard earlier and came across this lovely photograph of a past collection of big bears I created several years ago. I remember the photo was taken by my sister ... she did a great job and we had loads of fun together in her studio that day!


 I'm not sure why the photo landed up in the back of my cupboard, but it made me smile today, so I have put it back out on display. I perched the pic behind my teddy bear trophies which were also gathering dust, but have today been washed so are now sparkling when the sun shines through the window. 

All this organising and cleaning can only mean one thing .... surely Spring is just around the corner?!

:-)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Twists, turns and teddy bear artistry

Time is a funny old thing isn't it ... I was hunting through some old photographs for pictures of my biggest bears and came across this one taken about twenty years ago, with my huge 32" 'Miguel the Magnificent' alpaca teddy. We were perched on the steps outside my kitchen window while my then husband, snapped a quick photo to record the creation of this huge teddy bear, before he took a flight to meet his new owner in the USA.

Me and Miguel the Magnificent circa 1998.

So much in my life changed since those days. After this happy pic was taken, I became divorced, a single mum and eventually, left my home of twenty three years, to begin a new life with my now husband and two teenage children. Then my kids grew up and made careers for themselves, left home to build their own nests ... and joy of joys, my grandson was born!


Just before my son left home my Dad passed away unexpectedly, which took a great deal of coming to terms with, as I rattled in an empty house each day. I filled the silence with waggy tails, noisy barks and golden sunshine thanks to Polly and Betty, my two beautiful golden retrievers and more recently, added a cheeky ginger kitten into this rather lively mix - one thing is absolutely certain, the house is no longer too quiet and I have no time left to rattle any more!


Thinking about things further, it wasn't until after the photograph with Miguel was taken, I finally plucked up sufficient determination to learn to drive, passing my test on the second attempt, at the grand old age of 42! I also taught myself to use a computer properly, learned among a zillion other things, to create a website to showcase my bears, write a blog and to utilise social media effectively. I also joined the Open University to develop my writing skills, then surprised myself by passing well!  And when a very boisterous Polly puppy arrived, I nervously signed up for dog obedience training classes and once again surprised myself by actually managing to teach not one, but two naughty puppies to become polite doggy citizens. I learned how to use a digital camera to photograph bears, to make cloth dollies and recently, to paint and draw. 

Me and Lonnie, February 2018

Since the early 1990's, I have witnessed the ebb and flow of teddy bear collecting and watched it reshape dramatically with the birth of the internet ... it has been a fascinating period of historic teddy bear change, both in terms of design and collecting ... and one in which I have enjoyed a privileged view! 

On a personal note, although my life has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns throughout those twenty something years, thankfully the one constant has been my teddy bears. The passion to create these gentle creatures has remained with me, during the best and the worst of times.

There must be many reasons people become teddy bear makers. Mine was simply that I always loved traditional bears, ever since I was child and I had an itch to create my own ... then once I'd started, I couldn't bear to stop!

Thank you so very much if you have been a part of my teddy bear history. I have met many lovely people from around the world during my time as a 'bear artist' and am eternally grateful for the kind homes shared with my teddy bears and the kindness shared with me. 

:-)

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A cosy corner

Last week, I treated myself to a little art desk for my birthday, after realising that if I had a tidy up and organised myself properly, I would be able to free up enough space to transform a corner of my workroom into a cosy art corner.


I am thrilled with my new work space and looking forward to playing with my art materials safely away from Rodney's mischievous reach ... that naughty cat just can't resist stealing paintbrushes!

Rodney

Now that I have my teddy bear work station on one side of the room and my art station on the other, I will be able to tuck myself away and create to my heart's content whenever the mood strikes - and best of all, can leave my work out on the desks and close the door in the knowledge it will stay safe until I am ready to return to finish it!


I am so very grateful to have such a lovely creative space to work in. It is full of my crafty bits 'n pieces, pictures of my kids, craft books and teddy bear materials. It has everything I could possibly need to hand. Until he bought his own house several years ago, this was my son's bedroom, but I claimed it back when he flew the nest, then, with the help of my husband, turned it into my creative sanctuary. It is a lovely bright sunny room, full of 'happy' creativity and the perfect space in which to create teddy bears ... and now also, to paint!

:-)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Instagram and allbearbypaula

Just to let you know, I have opened a new Instagram account to share photos of my teddy bears. Instagram is a fun, simple way of sharing photos online quickly and I think it's the perfect way to show you what is happening in my sewing room.


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xxXxx


If you would like to follow allbearbypaula, please visit the link below:


I am looking forward to sharing 'All Bear' snippets on Instagram.
Everyone is welcome to join.
In fact, the more the merrier!

:-)


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Mud and strawberries

Well, the number might be a little harsher these days (!) but thankfully my 55th birthday was still heaps of fun!


Not that tromping through extreme mud in the pouring rain would be everyone's idea of birthday fun (!) but when you have very excited dogs and little 'uns eager to try out wellies in puddles, anything is possible! For me, it was all about sharing birthday time with my sister and her family. These days work and family commitments pull us in all directions, so getting together like this was extra special.  I must admit to missing our sister time, so was delighted when Fo organised this fun muddy walk and invited us all back to her home, dogs included, for a lovely celebration and a warm up afterwards.
Thank you Sis, it was so good to catch up with you all and to share some proper sister time.


My actual birthday was a couple of days after the muddy walk and by some strange fluke, my kids, their partners and my mum, all had time off work, so were able to visit me on a weekday afternoon. As I thought I would be spending the day alone with Polly and Betty, I couldn't believe my luck when 'my lot' and mum told me they would be celebrating with me!  We shared a super afternoon together, chatting, laughing, eating the delicious strawberry and fresh cream cake my daughter-in-law made especially for my birthday ... and generally being entertained by my very lively grandson! Come to think of it, we were four generations of family celebrating my birthday this year, making it a very special birthday for me.

Thank you family, for sharing my birthday.
You made my day a very happy one!

Much love to you all xxx






Sunday, 4 February 2018

Available teddy bears

January is always a tough month for teddy bear adoptions as Christmas takes its toll on us all, so, I have decided to sweeten the price of my two available teddy bears this week with a little 'Winter Sale', in the hope it may help them find their way to caring new owners soon. 

16" Lonnie

21" Albert

Also, as it's my birthday tomorrow, it couldn't be a better time to be a tiny bit frivolous!

;-)

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