Monday, 31 March 2008

Ahhing and aarghhing!

The rain eventually eased yesterday afternoon, so Stuart and I drove over to Detling with the intention of taking a gentle stroll through 'White Horse Country Park'. We've often driven past the park en route to visiting my Mum, but have never taken a walk there.

After our recent decorating, we were crying out for some fresh air and exercise and as the ruins of Thurnham Castle are a little way inside the park, it seemed a good idea to visit them. We ran down the path, past all the grown-ups, to find the castle, which was tiny and once we'd seen what was left of it after several centuries had taken their toll, Stuart thought he'd climb a small hill to admire the view. I watched cynically as half a dozen eager goats chased up behind him and thought I'd take a more dignified approach to my mountaineering.

Thurnham Castle ruins at White Horse Country Park

I picked my way gingerly through the nettles at the bottom of the hill and began my ascent but without warning, my trainers let me down badly and in what felt like slow motion, I slid less than gracefully back down the horribly muddy slope, landing on my knees in a slump at the bottom, hands spread out in front of me as I grabbed desperately at clumps of nettles to steady myself.

The goats didn't seem in the least bit perturbed by my antics and my gallant knight, minus white charger, also remained oblivious to my escapades as he gazed enigmatically across the countryside from his vantage point. I squelched my way upright and whined pitifully, until he caught my wail on the breeze, picked his way delicately down the hill, espied my sorry state and promptly roared with laughter. Only when he had recovered his equilibrium sufficiently, did it dawn on him to hunt for some dock leaves with which to rub my poor prickled palms. Charming eh?!

That all happened within the first fifteen minutes of our walk and naturally, we weren't going to give up on our excursion simply to spare my mud-splattered blushes, so we left the castle and its goats, pointing ourselves in a general 'downwards' direction along the road beyond. After a little while and to avoid too much of a trek back uphill on the return journey, we took a left turn towards what we thought would be a pleasant, level tramp through woodland.

Two and a half hours later, even Stuart was gasping for breath as we squelched our way through mud swamps, hiked the steepest of rocky hillside footpaths, clambered over barbed wire fences past marauding sheep and then to cap it all off, "I think we should just walk up these steps back to the castle Paula ... I'm sure it'll be easier ..." at the top of said steps, found ourselves gasping desperately, leaden legs refusing to carry us further. Once our breathing had steadied to a less volcanic rate, we heaved our respective bulks back to the top of the steepest of all mud swamped hills, using the farmer's wire fence as a pulley. Bent double and grimacing as we fought to reinflate our lungs, we were met at the top by several small children happily playing catch with their parents. Needless to say, if you ever find yourself perched on the top of a hill, there really is only one way down,"run Paula, it's the easiest way ..." called Sir Galahad as he recovered himself at the bottom of the hill ...

Yeah right.

I descended in the most undignified manner, legs buckling as my body finally caught up with the rest of me, to a chorus of raucous laughter from said several small children, accompanied by a round of discreet snickering from their parents. Hmph.

Oh and in case you are wondering, no, we didn't race back along the path to the car like daft teenagers afterwards, no, we staggered back, our bodies in shock, feeling every ache of the fact we are no longer in our twenties (or for that matter, even our thirties).

In many ways I would agree, it is a shame I didn't remember to take my camera with me; the views from the tops of those swampy hills were indeed spectacular. However, on the other hand, at least this way my dignity (and my camera!) remains intact here in Blog Land as there can be no photographic evidence of such tomfoolery to be held against me!

Erin Rose wearing her pink cardi knitted by Auntie Paula

I'm afraid I only have one tiny pic (purloined) of Thurnham Castle and very little else to offer you. Having said that, do you remember the cardigans I shared with you in earlier posts? Well, my sister Laura has sent me photos of little Erin Rose wearing them and I'm delighted to say, they fit her at last!

So, maybe the mental images of my Sunday stroll will entertain you today and the pics of my cute niece can provide the 'ahh' factor for this post!

Erin Rose wearing her lilac cardigan - knitted by Auntie Paula!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Abe

I mentioned a little elephant in my previous post and now, through the magic of Blog Land, I can introduce him to you. As you can see, he's full of vintage charm! I've called him Abe. He was a devil to photograph, so I hope these pics have managed to capture his personality!

Abe is just under eight inches in height and as those of you who follow my blog regularly will recognise, he bears a deliberate resemblance in proportion and shape to my own hand made childhood elephant, 'Ellie'. I think Abe is a funny wee scrap of trumpeteer and I'm really not sure what you'll make of him, so please let me know if you think he's the kind of elephant only his mother could love! My instincts are that he would make a super companion for a special vintage, or vintage style bear; one thing's certain, he's definitely a great size for the job.

Left: woollen elephant 2008 - Right: my original 1960's elephant

I've developed the original softie elephant pattern a tiny bit, to include a jointed head and a head gusset in what was a simple two piece head, to give the head more definition, I've also taken a little more artistic licence with his trunk shaping, but other than those minor adjustments, I've kept Abe pretty true to my original 1960's elephant.

I last used Abe's mohair to create Walter, my recent vintage style bear and as this mohair is perfect for that aged feel, I thought it would be interesting to see how it would work with my three piece, unjointed body design ... I've combined the mohair with a lovely silk/velvet blend in an antique bronze colour for his inner ears and have given him vintage style matt boot button eyes. I didn't want to overwork this design, because I wanted him to retain a simple charm. He's been great fun to make, but tomorrow, I promise, it's back to the bears for this bear maker! Mind you, now I come to think about it, I may just have enough of this fabric leftover to make a companion bear in similar style to Abe ... now there's a thought!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

What will be, will be!

My Easter daffodils

Easter? Easter you say? But, would you believe it snowed?! Yes, we actually had snow here in Kent on Easter Sunday. These are the pics from my garden to prove it. Brrrrrr! Puddle was fascinated by the snow and couldn't wait to investigate first hand in the garden. She scaled the heights of our back fence just to get a closer look at the flakes, daft puss! If you look closely, you can spot her doing her tightrope act in this pic ...

Puddle's first snow!

Still, at least the snow gave me a good excuse for staying warm inside and indulging myself with the chocolate eggs my children and Stuart gave me. A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips, don't they say? Ah well! Those delicious eggs were gorgeous dark chocolate and believe me, any forthcoming excess pounds will have been well worth it! Mmmn!

My Easter catkins

Because of the decorating (after all, it wouldn't be Easter without a spot of decorating would it?!) I've been all at sixes and sevens this week, which is why it's taken me until today to update my blog. I hadn't even had so much as half a chance to start work on my 'hush hush' bear plans until this afternoon and to be honest, I can't even use the excuse that I've been doing all the decorating because I only lifted a paintbrush briefly! (I know, shame on me!) I'm such a klutz with a paintbrush, I do like to try but I'm never happy with the results and I always seem to end up wearing more than I put onto the walls.

Work in progress!

Stuart has worked so hard to finish the lounge this week (after painting all the dark wood white at my request, I think he'll be more than happy if he never sees another pot of white paint as long as he lives!) and I'm really pleased with how it has come together; at last it's feeling like home. Once our new mirror and another light fitting have arrived and been put in place, we'll be done with all the titivating. Hopefully by tomorrow we should be able to put the furniture back in place for the last time and actually start relaxing in our new surroundings.

I left Stuart to the painting and crept up to my workroom today with the intention of setting to work on my new secret bear design ... (secret so if it all goes wonky I won't have to tell anyone and look a fool!) Suffice it to say, I have a new style of ted head cut for this design and I was raring to get to my sewing machine, but unfortunately the power went off for hours this afternoon and I couldn't use my machine after all, very frustrating!

Instead of working on the 'sssshhhh' head, I cut out a little elephant; this tiddly trumpet blower will be an extension of my earlier elephant pattern (the one I made for my new baby niece) with the three piece body shaping. I've decided to develop him just a tiny bit and this time incorporate a head joint, which hopefully should give him a wee bit more character. I don't know if anyone will want him when he's finished because after all, I'm not known for my elephants; still, when all's said and done, what will be, will be!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Compatibility

'Simeon' 16"

What a testing week it has been! My old computer had been groaning every time I tried to do any work on it for quite some time and so I had to face facts, the poor old thing was past its sell by date. Naively, I decided to buy a new desktop pc. It arrived by courier and my son and I soon had the hardware set up, plugging all the right cables into all the right holes ... "job's a doddle," I recklessly thought. However, when I enthusiastically pressed the pretty blue button to fire it up, I wasn't at all prepared for the nasty non-compatible nightmare which greeted me.

I won't bore you with the details, but one awful migraine and two entirely frustrating days later, I finally managed to establish how to make the wretched, sneaky thing work. Oh and in case you are wondering, no I am not a complete computer dunderhead! I'm no whizz kid either, but I can usually get where I want to go without too much trouble. Anyway, to cut a long and painful story short, I ended up having to upgrade my modem, upgrade drivers for all my hardware, upgrade to AOL 9.0VR, work out how to migrate my website and accept the fact that my Microsoft Outlook files aren't ... yep, you guessed it, compatible! GRRRRRR!!!! One thing's for sure, by this point I wasn't feeling particularly compatible either!


'Simeon' 16"

I've spent today installing the new wireless modem, networking the family's pcs' and re-establishing contact with the outside world and at last we are up and running. There was a brief moment when I almost threw a blue fit because I thought my lovely Canon digicam wouldn't work with the new system, but in the nick of time I discovered that if I use the card reader, rather than the usb cable, it works perfectly. Phew ... (and breathe Paula!) In fact, now that I've just about finished fighting with my new 'Vista' system, I suppose I should be honest and tell you, we're actually bonding quite nicely. It's an absolute whizz at opening files, even my juicy photo graphics and it has the most enormous hard drive ... ah, surely you can't blame a girl for having her head so easily turned?!

Baby Erin's pink cardigan finished at last!

Enough of my trials and tribulations, at least I can report one or two things that actually went okay this week! I managed to finish the 16" bear 'Simeon' above, especially for my little knitted vest top and after an hour in the armchair clacking away, Erin Rose can at last wear her new pink cardigan ... no bumble bee buttons though, they didn't match perfectly enough, so I've settled for pretty pink flowers instead. Hopefully my sister will send me a pic of Erin wearing her new cardi soon! Laura, are you out there in the ether listening? Fingers crossed Erin hasn't grown too quickly and this cardi still fits her! ;o)

Oh before I go, I should mention the mohair! Simeon bear is made from some fabric I last used quite a few years ago. I remember making a Christmas bear called 'Yule' from this fabric ... hmmn, I wonder where he is now? (Hunts determinedly through files and bingo! Finds a pic especially for you ...)

'Yule' 20" 1999/2000 ish

Anyway, as I was saying, I haven't seen this particular fabric on sale for a very long time. I do know it was used by Steiff and used to be available in black, white, gold and chocolate. I had this piece of chocolate left over and have kept it ever since, ready to use again when I had an ideally sized pattern designed for it. Well, after all this time, the day finally came!

By the way, the name 'Simeon' flowed as follows ... Easter, hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, Simnel cake .... Simeon! And that dear pop pickers, is how my head works. Worrying eh?!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Dusty jackets

'Bears and how to make them' by Margaret Hutchings - first published 1964

I saw this book on Ebay recently and thought it would make a great addition to my workroom book shelf. 'Bears and how to make them' by Margaret Hutchings was published in 1964 and as a child of the sixties, of course I couldn't resist the opportunity to discover what was being taught about bear-making back then! The term 'teddy bear artist' wasn't coined until the mid 1970's and yet, this book proves the art of teddy bear making was being referenced in detailed publication more than forty years ago! It really is a fascinating book and is still completely relevant today. In fact, if you look at the examples of trapunto feet for realistic bears in the picture below, it would seem that little should ever be classed as completely new in terms of teddy bear design!

I also found another of Margaret Hutching's wonderful books for a few pounds while I was auction shopping and it arrived in the post a couple of days ago. 'Modern Soft Toy Making' was first published in 1959 and is a veritible goldmine of soft toy making information.

'Modern Soft Toy Making' by Margaret Hutchings - first published 1959

Don't be put off by the term 'soft toy making' by the way, many of the techniques featured in this vintage book are still used in modern bear artistry today. In fact, if you have an urge to begin designing your own teddy bears, I think it's entirely useful to study as many toy making and crafting books, past and present, as possible, in order to fully understand how best to develop your potential. I've been designing my own range of bears for about fifteen years and I am still discovering new skills, which for me, is a major part of keeping the process fresh and exciting.

'The Splendid Soft Toy Book' - first published 1981

I remember reading a recommendation for 'The complete book of stuffed work' by Toni Scott on a forum several years ago, so I hunted for a copy and eventually tracked one down in the US. I had it shipped over and although it doesn't have much to say about bear making specifically, it does contain a wealth of information relating to all things soft sculpture, much of which can be interpreted in terms of bear design, by a creative mind.

'Complete book of stuffed work' by Toni Scott - first published 1978

And then of course, there are recent bear-making manuals aplenty; these are the three I would class as teddy bear artist bibles and no self-respecting bear art shelf should be without them!

'101 bears to make' by Nancy Tillberg, 'Constructing teddy and his friends' by Jennifer Laing and 'A bear of my own' by Rotraud Illisch

Aside from crafting publications, you can also enhance your bear design knowledge greatly by studying many other teddy bear related books. I'm thinking of reference books featuring vintage/antique bears, auction house catalogues, specialist collectors'magazines etc ... I'll share some of my favourites with you another day!

In the meantime, do keep your eyes peeled for some of the rarer vintage gems - they can often be found in second hand bookstores, or on internet sites. Don't be put off by tatty dust covers, because often you'll find a treasure trove of relevant bear-making information inside those faded covers and all for only a few pounds!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Patient Porcini

'Porcini' 20"

Here he is, finished at last! This is 20" 'Porcini', the mohair and silk bear I was working on in my last post. I love the quality of this new fabric, it has such a wonderful sheen, unlike any other mohair I've used previously. The shade is so subtle too, really pretty. If you would like more pics and details, please pop over to my website, where Porcini is now waiting patiently in the hope he will soon meet his special someone!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Shining Success Story!

I have another special surprise to report today! I received my subscription copy of the April issue of 'Teddy Bear Scene' magazine yesterday, only to discover that my 'Billy Buttons' bear has been included in a super article entitled 'Shining Success Stories'! What a lovely compliment!

If you would like to purchase a copy of this month's mag, you will find it on sale in most large branches of WH Smith in the UK, or pop along to http://www.teddybearscene.co.uk/

Teddy Bear Scene magazine issue 128 - April 2008

I am so delighted this dedicated mag has taken the time to highlight and actively support the international competitive work taking place in the world of bear art. And that reminds me, 'Teddy Bear Scene' is now accepting entries for their own 'Readers' Choice Awards' and as 'Billy Buttons' was a finalist last year, naturally, I am keen to kickstart my competition entries for this year with a submission. Time to put my thinking cap on!

Don't worry, my head hasn't been completely turned by competitions and publications, I am still primarily occupied with the business of bears and just to prove my point, here is a preview of my latest 20" bear ...

20" Bear in progress ... mohair/silk blend

... he'll be finished and of course named, later today, so please pop over to my website in a while, if you'd like to find out more about him. By the way, this bear is made from the softest shade of mushroom in the mohair/silk blend I mentioned in an earlier post and boy oh boy, is it gorgeous!

'Restoring teddy bears and stuffed animals' by Christel and Rolf Pistorius

No matter how many years I've been designing bears, there's always more to learn and alongside my frequent bursts of internet research, I also like to keep my eyes open for interesting bear-related publications. I spotted this book by Christel and Rolf Pistorius on Amazon.co.uk last week and couldn't resist adding it to my bookshelf because it offers a great opportunity to learn about the construction of vintage bears, from the inside out. I have several other interesting books on their way to me too ... but I'll save those titles to share with you another day.

In progress - Erin Rose's pink cardi!

And finally, I must make time to finish the pink cardigan this week! At this rate little Erin Rose will have outgrown it before the cute little bumble bee buttons are finally sewn on!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Paula Carter aus England

How exciting! I have an article published in an online German magazine! Would you like to read it? You would? (!) Okay, here's the link:

I do hope you have more luck understanding the article than I did - sadly, my schoolgirl German is horribly rusty and limited to counting to ten, telling someone I am hungry and ordering a beer, so I can only guess hopefully at what is being said about my bears ... still, on the plus side, at least you can rest assured I should never go hungry or thirsty in Germany!

Postscript: I have just found the original interview questions and my answers, so if you are like me, linguistically challenged and would like to read the article, this is the gist of it:

Questions:

Please describe your bears with your own words.

When I was a toddler, my parents bought me a large teddy bear (who, at the time, was almost as big as I was!) from the English manufacturer 'Chiltern'. This special bear gave me a wonderful sense of security for many years to come and for that reason, I have always been drawn to bears of significant proportion. My own designs stay true to this concept; they are substantial teddy bears with their roots based in traditional English teddy bear design, yet with a contemporary flavour - I like to think of them as modern classics.

- When did you start making bears and what was the occasion?

Initially, as an adult, I indulged my fascination in the early Chiltern Hugmee teddy bear, by hunting out books to discover more of their history. One thing led to another and before long, I had stumbled across a specialist collector's magazine, which of course told me all about artist bears and how to find them. I visited a London show and was so excited to find such that artistically designed bears of every shape, size and much character were being created today! I came away from that show clutching a bear-making kit and from that day to this, approximately fifteen years later, I have continued to create my own bears.

- Do you recollect the first teddy that you made yourself?

The first bear I ever made was from a child's toy making kit. I hand sewed him from start to finish and when he was complete, named him 'Orange Blob Bear'. He wasn't very handsome, my son loved him though!

- How do you get ideas or inspiration for new bears?

I am constantly thinking of new ideas for my bears, I take inspiration from almost everywhere. Poetry, stories, places I love, food, unusual names, elements of nature, beautiful fabrics ... there is always something to inspire me! I also love to research antique bears and that will often lead me into an idea for new work.

- What do like most when making bears?

I really enjoy the whole process of making bears; there's something entirely satisfying about creating personality from raw materials. However, I think it's important to stress that for me, making bears isn't just about bear craft. It is about the process of design, creation, promotion and administration. As I sell my work to achieve an income, the art of running my own business is every bit as important to me as the craft of creating my bear designs and that involves being a 'Jack of all Trades'. As well as my crafting skills, I also rely heavily on my computer skills, marketing techniques, administrative ability and so forth!

- Do you have a personal great dream regarding the bear making?

My goals are quite simple. I would love to continue to be able to create beautiful bears of quality, for collectors to enjoy. It is important to me to continue to be part of the movement promoting bear art, working hard to bring it to an even broader audience.

and especially regarding England
- Please tell us something about the place where you live. What's your place of birth?


England is my home and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. These days I live just outside the county town of Maidstone in Kent, but I was born in Hampshire, near the sea and have always loved the British coastline; it can be rugged, dramatic and yet always so beautiful. I also love the hustle and bustle of our Capital city, London, which is about an hour and a half's drive from my home. London is such a fascinating place, with wonderful architecture, fabulous museums and of course, the bright lights of the West End!

- Is there a teddy bear scene in England (regular fairs, competitions, magazines ...)?

England was the birthplace of several important teddy bear making manufacturers throughout the past century: Chiltern, Chad Valley, Merrythought, Deans, to name but a few. These days there is a thriving teddy bear scene in the UK and we have many dedicated bear artists bringing exciting new designs to the industry. Specialist collectors shows take place throughout the country but my favourite UK shows are held in Kensington Town Hall in February and September. Both shows are run by
www.hugglets.co.uk and they showcase an amazing array of talent, both from the UK and overseas. Definitely a must for any collector's calendar! We also have two important UK monthly publications, the 'Teddy Bear Scene' magazine and 'The Teddy Bear Club International' magazine. Both magazines work extremely hard to support bear art and each sponsors an annual competition, designed to promote the status of the teddy bear as art.

- Do you think that your bears are influenced by your place of residence/country or would they look the same if you lived elsewhere?

I think the fact that I am British has played an important part in the way I approach my bear making. I love the early English bears, (particularly those manufactured by Chiltern from the 1920's/1950's) and have always been hugely inspired by my country's bear making heritage.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

That's the way ("aha, aha") I like it

'Willow' 20"

This is 'Willow' ... do you remember the unfinished chocolate panda bear pictured on my worktable just before the Hugglets show? Well, three heads later, here she is, complete at last. I don't usually have issues with my heads, usually they come together first time, so I just couldn't work out what the problem was with my lovely panda, then the penny dropped, I'd been trying to make a boy and she just wasn't! Once I'd worked that out, it was plain sailing and yesterday, I spent a very pleasant day bringing her to life.

'Willow' won't make it as far as my website I'm afraid, because she has been snapped up already and will be flying off to meet her new owner across the Atlantic in America, on Monday.

Next week I'm going to work on a couple of bears for the website because (as has been pointed out by several collectors this week - thanks everyone!) it really is in dire need of some new bears. I don't know quite what direction I shall take yet, but I do have some beautiful fabrics to play with, in particular a wonderful silk/mohair blend, which is powder soft and newly imported to the UK from Germany, in exclusive colours. I purchased a couple of very pretty shades of this gorgeous Schulte fur at the Winter Bearfest show and I'm really looking forward to working with them. That's definitely the beauty of being self-employed, I get to create what I want, when I want, how I want, with no one to tell me otherwise and that's the way, ("aha, aha") I like it!

'Willow profile'

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Pride of Place

It came! I've been waiting anxiously for my TOBY Award to arrive since I received notification of winning it in January and at last, I can share it with you! It's very pretty, cut to catch rainbows, so I shall keep it proudly on my workroom window sill, where it can sparkle rainbows and inspire me every day!

British Bear Artist Award 1998 and
TOBY Industry's Choice Award 2008

The other award in the picture also lives on my workroom window sill. It might be ten years since it was awarded to me, but it is still very precious and I am extremely proud of it. Back in 1998 I entered the 'British Bear Artist Awards' with a 32" (yes, I did say 32 inches!) bear called 'Himself' and I was completely shocked, overwhelmed and totally thrilled to win first place in the 'Big Bears' category, competing against some immensely talented, most esteemable bear artists.


My 'BBAA' was a huge honour for me because I had only been making bears for a few years at the time and never for one moment dreamed I would stand a chance of winning what was then, the UK's most prestigious national teddy bear art award. It just goes to show, anything is possible if you truly put your heart and soul into it.

'Himself' 1998 'BRITISH BEAR ARTIST AWARD winner!

Today, I have been planning my competition schedule for 2008. This year I am feeling very positive and encouraged by the achievements reflected through my rainbow trophies, so I am going to take part in several competitions, not necessarily with a view to collecting more trophies, although wouldn't that be lovely (!) but more with a view to participating enthusiastically, shoulder to shoulder with those bear artists who like me, believe competitions help keep our bear world vibrant and inspirational.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Dabbling

I've always made bears who look brand, spankin' new and whilst I've often admired other bear makers' wonderful vintage style bears, have never dabbled in that particular genre myself ... until now! This is 'Walter', a 13" vintage style ted with boot button eyes and a little waxed nose. I've made him a wee bit 'slumpy' with loose joints and slight understuffing and well, as I sit here with him on my desk and ponder him, I think he's beginning to grow on me (metaphorically speaking of course!)

'Walter' profile

The knitted vest I showed you in my earlier post is a tiny bit big for Walter and as his mohair feels so scrummy, I've decided to leave him 'in the bare' and will make a bigger bear especially for the vest, another day. I guess that's just the way things pan out from time to time and there's no point fighting it, you just have to go with the flow!

'Walter' 13" vintage style ted 2008

Monday, 3 March 2008

Sunshine days.

T'was Mothering Sunday here in the UK yesterday and as my poor Mum has been a bit under the weather lately, I popped over to see her in the afternoon, armed with posh chocs, some pretty Spring flowers and a couple of bottles of Lucozade as a 'pick-me-up'. We sat in the conservatory, drinking coffee and eating chocolate biscuits while we nattered about life, the universe and of course, my newest tiddly sized niece, who happened to be visiting with her mummy and big sister. Needless to say, I couldn't resist another Auntie cuddle.


In fact, through the family grapevine, I recently discovered that quite a few of my family pop quietly in to read 'Bearing All' from time to time (I had no idea!) and Mum is one of them, so if you're out there Mum, I hope you're feeling better by the time you read this post!


Of course, as a Mum myself, I too was treated to a burst of sunshine yellow flowers and lovely girlie pamper products. Both my son and daughter gave cards designed to make me smile and as you can see below, my son's card was very apt! It was nice to feel appreciated yesterday, but all in all, I feel pretty lucky all year round because of course, I am Mum to the best kids in the world.


Earlier today, I took a photo of the apple blossom tree which grows right outside my bedroom window; it won't be long before those buds turn into zillions of tiny flowers, filling my window with blossom, pretty as a bridal bouquet! I have a little pot of ornamental daffodils blooming on the patio too ... oooh, I do love Spring flowers and it will be tulip time soon!



This burst of Springtime yellow is tugging at my creativity, so today I'm going to fling open the window in my workroom and invite the sunshine to stream through. Then I'm going to finish this little fellow because it's about time I gave that cute knitted vest a bear to wear!

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