Saturday, 23 March 2019
Friday, 22 March 2019
It was 1983 and I had recently celebrated my twentieth birthday. I remember laying on the hospital bed as I gazed in complete awe at the tiny warm bundle propped against my knees ...
Those thirty six years have flown past and my tiny bundle has since blossomed into a beautiful, talented, caring, loyal and totally awesome daughter, a daughter who has always faced life's challenges with grace, humility, determination and a kind heart.
So today I would like to say 'Happy Birthday' to my totally awesome Daughter.
Wishing you the happiness and love you so deserve.
With all my love always,
Thursday, 21 March 2019
After working with Magnolia's fluffy, nose tickling, alpaca last week, I decided to have a break from all things fluffy and work with the other end of the teddy bear fabric spectrum this week ...
As regular readers will know, I love Harris Tweed, a beautiful pure wool fabric, woven in a fabulous array of colours and patterns and perfect for making creative cloth bears. For my current project, I have opted for a herringbone pattern, contrasted with a simple stripe (but I'm afraid you will have to wait for the colours to be revealed when he is finished in the next day or so!)
Designing and making a cloth bear is a slightly different process from creating their furry cousins and I tend to pick and choose techniques used in both cloth doll and teddy bear making, to create my own range of 'Tweedy Teds'.
For anyone considering making a cloth bear, here are a few thoughts that spring to mind:
Keeping an eye on proportion at the pattern design stage is very important, as tweed has a looser weave than the usual mohair backing, which means a body and limbs can easily looked overstuffed and far too wide, which in turn can make poor teddy look very uncomfortable and far too big for his own head!
Closing seams and inserting glass eyes is also a challenge because of course, without fur, there will be nowhere to hide any finishing stitches ... and as any professional teddy bear maker will tell you, finishing work must be as invisible as possible! Nose stitching can be tricky too, as it's not easy to stuff the nose area as firmly as you can in a mohair bear, without distorting the muzzle shape, so the tension of your embroidery thread becomes all-important to achieve a perfect finish.
When it comes to stuffing a cloth bear, care has to be taken to not only ensure the weave of this wonderful fabric (if using tweed for example) isn't pierced with the pointy end of a stuffing tool (easily done!) but also to make sure teddy isn't lumpy, is suitably firm to hold and won't have misshapen paws ... and speaking of paws, I line those with wadding so they have a nice smooth finish when stuffed. I prefer to add a few plastic pellets in the centre of teddy's tummy cavity to weight, whether furry or not, so I contain those in a separate bag to ensure they don't pop through the weave when cuddled.
Jointing can be done with hardboard joints and cotterpins/nuts 'n bolts, but depending on the cloth used, size of your bear and it's purpose, (ie., will it be a gift for a child* (please see note below) or is it intended as an adult collectible?) you may prefer to reinforce the fabric at the site of the joint and line the joints. Alternatively, why not try buttoned thread joints? They are often used in doll making and can look fab on teddy bears too, especially if you make your own buttons!
Lollipop, an award winning thread jointed cloth bear
designed by Paula Carter
For anyone wondering if making a cloth bear is easier than making a mohair bear, the answer I would give is a resounding 'no'. In fact creating teddy bears from fur-free cloth is a great way of laying bare any teddy bear artist's true bear-making talents! That said, it is great fun to choose fabrics which reflect your own themes and ideas and have the freedom to create truly unique and original teddy bears!
*NB: if creating cloth or fur teddy bears for children to play with, please do not use glass eyes or any parts which could be a choke hazard. Use plastic safety joints rather than hardboard/cotterpin joints to attach limbs. If preferred, you could stitch head and limbs to body with extra strong thread, rather than jointing. Don't include plastic pellets in the tummy cavity and most importantly, check very carefully that all pins have been removed from teddy before he is given to the child to play with.
Tuesday, 19 March 2019
I hit a bit of a lull in enthusiasm for my 'learning to draw' project over the past few months, so put down my pencils for a while, but now I'm feeling the creative urge again, so it's time to have another dabble, before my fragile inclination crumples forever ...
I would like to learn how to draw realistic animals, but for me, they just don't happen and instead, I am more likely to find a fun teddy bear making an appearance at the tip of my pencil. Ho hum.
With the old adage 'draw what you know' (or should that be 'write what you know?!) dancing in my head, I thought I'd restart my artistic endeavour with a picture of Polly and it looked reasonably promising to being with, but eventually I became frustrated by my clumsy attempts to reproduce her fabulous wavy fur. Back to the drawing board Paula ...
At least this week's free hand pencil portrait of my daughter can be said to bear a slight degree of resemblance and is an improvement on a previous attempt from a couple of years ago - but my goodness, I struggle with noses and angles! That said, I can see I am starting to get the hang of hair, so yes, I guess that can be called progress?! Hopefully, one day, I will have learned enough to do my beautiful girl a little more artistic justice.
So, I suppose the moral of my sporadic drawing story has to be don't give up ... and in particular, don't be so self-critical, that along with any rogue pencil marks, you also erase the joy of learning!
I know, it's easier said than done eh?!
Saturday, 16 March 2019
Hello from a grey and stormy UK!
Spring has taken a step backwards here this week and my dog walks have been decidedly gusty for the past few days! I am hoping this stormy weather will soon blow itself out and give Spring the opportunity once and for all to arrive. I would dearly like mud free, warm, dry walks for a change please ... and while I am on the subject, it would be perfect if the local magnolia blossoms I see in neighbouring gardens, could have a chance to bloom properly, without being blown at gale force from their branches!
Despite rain and gales, it has at least, been a great week for bear making and I have been working with alpaca, a lovely natural fabric, perfect for creating comforting chunky, cuddly, teddy bears.
So, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I would like to introduce you to my latest teddy bear 'Magnolia', hot off the press! She is a beautiful oatmeal coloured alpaca girl, now available for adoption ... and of course, cuddles!
For further details, please visit:
And if you are able to offer Magnolia a kind home, I would be delighted to hear from you!
Thursday, 7 March 2019
It has been an action packed, poo roll filled, barky, welly wearing, hard working and sometimes completely exasperating six years, but during that time Polly has taught me that life should always be enjoyed to the max in wide open spaces, fun can be had almost anywhere ... and loyalty and trust are almost as important as cheese and sausages. We have worked hard, played hard and snuggled together, every single day, without fail.
Polly, now aged 6
Polly at 7 weeks of age, on her first day at home.
Happy 6th Birthday to my beautiful 'Big Bird' today ... the really rather fabulous, Miss Terjack Terzi!
Thursday, 28 February 2019
Exactly year ago this week, we were being battered by the 'Beast from the East', a ferocious snow storm but for the past three days this year, the sun has been warm, the skies blue and daffodils and blossom are starting appear everywhere. It seems there can be no predicting our British weather!
We're enjoying early Spring sunshine this week!
Having fun in the sun at a local Woodland Trust with my Grandson.
We climbed a tree together, so this photo was to celebrate us not falling off our perch!
We climbed a tree together, so this photo was to celebrate us not falling off our perch!
Needless to say, I have been making the most of this unexpected sunshine by going out and about with my dogs and my Grandson. After all, how often are we ever able to enjoy warm sun in the UK in February?!!! We have enjoyed some lovely local walks together and have all been feeling relaxed and happy in the Spring sunshine.
12" Roly Poly
Happily, I also finished a cheerful new bear for my website between walks. I hope you will agree, he is a cracking little chap!
'Roly Poly' is now available for adoption from my website, so if you would like to know a little more about him, please click the link below ... thank you!
Update: Roly Poly has now been adopted.
Monday, 18 February 2019
That feeling when the sun comes out after a long, hard Winter!
We took the girls for a long ramble through our local woods, around the perimeter of the pear orchard and across a huge 'scrubby field' yesterday. The sun shone, it was warm and we noticed a gentle hue of fresh green cast over the landscape and tiny buds on trees ... we were left in no doubt that Spring is close by.
And of course, there is nothing quite like owning Golden Retrievers to help you fully appreciate the joy of Spring as goldies positively bounce with excitement whenever the sun comes out!
Sadly, like so many areas in the South of England, our local green spaces are now under threat of development. What was once a beautiful field full of wildlife, birds, berries, crops and happy memories of beautiful evening sunsets, is now bricks and tarmac. We watch helplessly each week as yet more trees are torn from our lovely pear orchard to make way for a community centre and with our hearts sinking, await the inevitable moment when diggers plough ruthlessly through our ancient bluebell woodland to lay an approved road. Dear old 'Scrubby field' will also eventually be built upon, as we fear, will our favourite 'Pea field'. These are sad, sad times for this county, historically celebrated as 'The Garden of England'.
Naturally as a walker and a dog owner, I enjoy our natural environment at all times of year, but in Spring, nature's moment for rebirth, somehow this loss seems ever more poignant ...
I also write a blog called 'Polly's Progress' and almost six years ago, wrote the post below ...
I hope you enjoy sharing these happy memories of 'our field'.
Thursday, 14 February 2019
Today was a beautiful sunny day and I spotted the first crocus of Spring ... they are such delicate little flowers pushing through the earth and after a long Winter, are a welcome sight. I have had a nasty bout of 'flu recently so to find Spring just around the corner, cheered me no end!
Today seems the perfect day to share my latest little teddy girl with you and yes, I have named her Crocus!
If you would like more details, this sweet 11" bear is now available to adopt from my website:
Updated: Crocus has been adopted and will be living in the US!
Updated: Crocus has been adopted and will be living in the US!
Monday, 11 February 2019
It has been quite some time since I last played with my art materials, so when I saw the #janedavenportinspiresme #fairyuary challenge, I decided I ought to revisit my inner aspiring artist and give at least one of the prompts a try ...
After teaching myself to draw and paint for the past couple of years, I think I have at last reached the conclusion that my favourite drawing medium is pastel pencils, with the addition of a little watercolour and sparkles now and again for good measure.
I find it very relaxing to sit quietly blending layers of chalky colour in front of the tv and love the soft, pretty effect it creates ... so perfect for fairies!
Sunday, 3 February 2019
It has been a snowy week, so beyond my daily dog walk, I have had very little inclination to leave my workroom. Happily, my self-enforced hibernation has resulted in the production of this rather lovely teddy bear..
I think she is pretty as a picture in palest peach mohair and when I woke this morning, Ottie had been adopted overnight ... a very pleasing start to this wintery Sunday!
Thursday, 31 January 2019
Winter has arrived in Kent and this week, we have a sprinkling of snow. It may may be chilly, but it is also very beautiful out in the sunshine!
Polly and Betty love a snow day, so despite a heavy chest cold, I muffled up and we went out for a short walk yesterday.
Betty had a blast chasing her ball on the playing field ... but found it much harder than usual to see the green ball against the snow and had to sniff around to locate it each time I threw the ball.
And both my girls had a wonderful time chasing each other through the trees!
It may not have the longest walk, but Polly and Betty were so excited by their snow day, they quickly wore themselves out and promptly fell fast asleep when we arrived back home, providing me with the perfect opportunity to cosy up in my workroom with a mug of of hot coffee to work on my latest teddy bear. (Coming soon!)
I think there's more snow predicted in the UK this week, so keep warm and stay safe everyone!
Thursday, 17 January 2019
For me, one of the most magical things about being a child of the 60's, was growing up with 'Mary Poppins' on film, sitting glued to Bert's chimney sweeps, as they belted out 'Chim chim cheree' whilst twirling across London's rooftops, laughing and singing with Jane, Michael, Bert and Mary Poppins, as they levitated to the ceiling to join Uncle Albert for an 'I love to laugh' tea party and having my little girl heartstrings tugged by the elderly lady, who every day warbled 'Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,' on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.
I was inspired to try a little sketch!
I don't mind admitting, I have been a die hard Mary Poppins fan all my life and of course, brought my children up watching it too, so to be honest, I was sceptical that a modern day 'Mary Poppins Returns' could possibly live up to my devoted childhood expectation ... but thankfully, I couldn't have been more wrong!
My daughter, daughter-in-law (both in their thirties) and I, went to watch the new film on the Big Screen last week and were completely swept along, as the new 'Practically perfect Mary Poppins' brought back a world of wonderment and laughter to Cherry Tree Lane, more than half a century after the wind last changed...
I can happily report we all agreed it was every bit as joyful to watch Jack's lamplighters 'Trip the light fantastic', as it had been to see Bert's chimney sweeps dancing across the rooftops all those years ago, it was a delight to enter Topsy's laughter filled upside down life and an absolute breath of fresh air to see London cast in such a spectacularly magical light.
And the new Mary Poppins herself? Well, she has a slightly more mischievous twinkle to her eye perhaps, but there can be no doubting she is exactly who she claims to be ... Mary Poppins has indeed returned!
I'm off to a slow start with my first bear of 2019!
Introducing 'Jack', a sweet-faced modern classic teddy bear, wearing one of my cosy hand knitted scarfs. I'm happy to tell you, Jack was snapped up from my website within a nanosecond of making his début this week, so now it's time for me to start work on my second bear of 2019 and this time, I think I'll stay with the modern classic theme, using a beautiful shade of cinnamon mohair.
First things first though! Being self-employed means the Tax Man takes priority at this time of year. His deadline for Self Assessment Returns looms large at the end of January and needless to say I've left mine until the last minute, as usual!
Friday, 4 January 2019
I'm not really the biggest fan of New Year's Eve, it always makes me feel a bit sad to be waving away another year and my dogs are frightened of the midnight fireworks. This year I spent the wee small hours of 2019 on my living room rug, with an anxious Polly and Betty pressed tightly into my sides as they fretted about the 'war zone' happening outside.
Whilst New Year's Eve doesn't float my boat these days, I do always enjoy a good walk on the first of January and this year, invited my family to Teston Bridge Country Park which meanders along the River Medway. The weather was was crisp and dry for our first walk of 2019 and we were treated to the most fabulous winter sunset on our return.
Starting a brand new year 'outdoorsing' with my family, gave 2019 the best possible start for me and hopefully for each of them too. We all love a good welly walk together!
This year my Granddaughter joined us for her very first New Year's Day walk. She snuggled safely in her sling, smiling and chatting along the way, while her big brother, now a lively four year old, sploshed through muddy puddles and collected sticks to tease his auntie with.
It was a lovely walk, relaxed and fun, with beautiful scenery, shared with the people who are my world. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say, the perfect start to a New Year!
So, time to say goodbye to 2018 and hello 2019.
I am looking forward to a year full of family, fun and time to create. I am not making New Year resolutions, just a promise to myself to make the best of every day.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
May 2019 be all you hope for.
Sunday, 16 December 2018
The All Bears arrived at a steady pace throughout 2018, finding new homes around the world, with most settling in America, Australia, Germany and the UK. They made their débuts in a lovely array of colours, some traditional, others more flamboyant ... and they welcomed 'The Tweedy Teds' to their midst, a collection of colourful cloth bears, created from traditionally hand woven Harris Tweed. It was also fun to reintroduce large panda bears after a long break and to squeeze in a rare mischievous black bear, just in time for Halloween!
Sadly we lost dear Strudel bear in our first ever delivery disaster in twenty five years of international shipping, but thanks to my extremely kind spirited and patient collector, I was able to remedy this heartbreaking loss by creating a beautiful new Strudel teddy, now living happily in the US with her delighted new owner. All bar one teddy bear, found new homes this year and I am certain Douglas will soon join the list of happy 'All Bear' adoptées. In the meantime, I am enjoying the company of this handsome teddy very much! To bring my year of teddy bear making to a close, I introduced my final teddy of 2018 to my website today, a sweet fuchsia pink girl named Ivy.
After a busy year, it is now time for me to set down my stuffing stick, tidy up my workroom in readiness for 2019 and welcome in the spirit of Christmas, but first I would like to thank you all for sharing my blog and for your kind interest in my teddy bears throughout 2018, with extra special thanks to those of you who were kind enough to adopt one of my bears.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year,
With warmest hugs,
Paula ... and the bears xxx
Update: Ivy and Douglas were both adopted before Christmas!
It hardly seems possible that, with only a few days until Christmas, it is now time to introduce you to my final teddy bear of 2018. Ivy is a lovely 14" teddy girl, created from a pretty, dark fuchsia, mohair (please note, her mohair is slightly darker than the photograph but as usual I have struggled with my photography with this fabulous coloured mohair!) To find out a little more about Ivy, please pop over to my website: www.allbearbypaula.com
2018 raced by and besides making your teddy bears, I have also been busy looking after my cheeky Grandson every week (he is now four years old and full of mischief!) ... as well as obedience training my bouncy golden girls. Somehow I also managed to squeeze in a lovely family holiday in beautiful (but windy!) Cornwall in September, which despite the inclement weather, was the absolute highlight of my year. It sure has been a busy one!
So, the time has come for for me to wind down and welcome in the spirit of Christmas but first, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind interest in my teddy bear this year. It has been my absolute pleasure to send my teddy bears around the world to live with their special people!
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Updated: Ivy has been adopted!
Monday, 10 December 2018
Big bears can occasionally take a little longer to find new homes than their smaller, less expensive pals; especially in the current economic climate and now that I don't exhibit at shows. As we run headlong towards Christmas this year, I find I have two big bears who have remained with me for a few weeks and as I always prefer to have all the bears I make adopted before the end of a year to enable me to begin again with a clean slate in the New Year, I have decided to offer these two beautiful teddy bears at a special seasonal discount on my website, in the hope they will be able to start 2019 with their special people.
Reducing the price on teddy bears is always a tricky decision ... the bears are as beautiful as they were on the first day they were made and I am just as proud of them, so I would hate anyone to think they are less than fabulous teddies! These bears are special heritage teddy bears, beautifully handcrafted originals, created from fabulous luxury mohair, they are teddy bears worthy of a place in any serious collector's hug, but at this time of year, I understand that demands on a purse can be many, making luxury purchases a stretch for collectors. As it is almost Christmas, I would prefer to find homes for my bears at a lower price if possible, as my gift to you, rather than have them sat on their lonesome in my workroom indefinitely ...
I will run this special offer until Christmas.
If you would like full details, please popover to:
Update: Conkers and Douglas have been adopted!