Monday, 30 June 2008

Viva Espagne!

Our lovely Majorcan villa, tucked among the lemon trees


No Paula posts for an entire week?! What is my blog coming too! I must apologise to you for the lack of All Bear updates, but about a week ago, the time came for this bear maker to quietly slip her moorings and head for warmer climes. So, in the wee small hours of that Saturday morning, I struggled bleary-eyed, to ready myself for a much anticipated and well-earned holiday on the island of Majorca and that's where I have been tucked away, ever since!

Posing at the Marina, Puerto Pollensa



Enjoying an after dinner stroll along the sea front, at Puerto Pollensa


A romantic jetty restaurant, dinner for two, a beautiful view

We have had such a lovely time! The weather has been fabulous, our villa delightful, the local scenery breathtakingly mountainous (particularly one hair-raising drive through those mountains! Gulp!) the restaurants al fresco with extensive menus and delicious food. All in all, a perfect getaway!

A wonderfully balmy evening by the sea

The magic of Puerto Pollensa at twilight


View over the roof tops

Lovely local pottery shop

Getting arty with the camera whilst having coffee in the Town Square!

About to climb the 365 steps to the Calvari Church

At the top, the tiny Calvari church

Fabulous views across the town from the church

Taking in the view across Pollensa town - looking slightly vertiginous!

Breathtaking mountain views, en route to Formentor

Taking in the sheer drop behind the wall!


Stunning view from the Formentor mountain road

Feeling very aware of the sheer drop behind me!

Beautiful turquoise sea at Cala san Vicente

Now that I've unpacked and ploughed through the holiday laundry, it's time to put my bear-making head back on again and I must admit, I feel wonderfully refreshed and raring to get back to work, but not before I've taken a moment to share a few of my Majorcan holiday snaps with you.
I do hope you enjoy them!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Competing URSA style!

I received email notification that public voting for the 2008 'URSA Awards' (held by the online www.bearsandbuds.com magazine) will begin on July 1st; so not long to wait for the big event now!

22" Gorgeous George - Category 3/large bear dressed & undressed

I think I mentioned a little while ago I had taken the plunge and entered my bears again this year, promising to share my entries with you nearer the time voting began. The standard of craftmanship will no doubt be outstandingly creative and of course, will be completely international, so who knows how my three teddy bears will fare against such strong competition, but as I always say, if nothing is ventured, how can anything be gained?! Besides which, I am looking forward to joining in the fun, so to coin another old saying, 'in for a penny, in for a pound!'

23" Raffles - Category 7/Caricature bears, clown or zany

Gorgeous George, Raffles and dear little Florrie will be taking their competitive places alongside many, many, wonderful creations on July 1st and the voting in this competition will be extremely fierce! So if these bears of mine have in any way tugged at your heartstrings, please consider placing your vote on July 1st to help them along their way ... thank you! I do hope you enjoy the competition!

Let the fun commence!

14" Florrie - Category 2/medium bear dressed & undressed

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Back in the swing ...

I don't know why, but shows always leave me feeling the need to down my bear-maker's tools for at least a week after the big day. Perhaps it's some kind of 'bearing burnout' syndrome? I can't remember a single show in all the years I've been exhibiting, which hasn't left me feeling this way. It's certainly not due to a lack of design inspiration, because I always come home bursting with enthusiasm for my craft, I just don't come home with the energy to do anything about it!

'Molly'

In fact, it's hard not to be inspired when you are surrounded by such an incredible array of talent on show days. After a show I usually return to my workroom determined to 'up my game', not that I'm particularly competitive (that gene seems to have passed me by!) but simply because it is impossible to rest on one's laurels whilst such creativity abounds. Believe me, collectors have never had it so good both in the UK and overseas! I think the quality of workmanship has risen dramatically in recent years and nowadays, bear artists are also well aware of the need to realise an individual identity in their work if they hope to attract the eye of the discerning collector. Our humble teddy bear has much to achieve to guarantee 'Top Bear Status' throughout 2008 and beyond!

16" Molly

After tidying away my stand after the TBAE in Stratford, I have spent the past week and a half working on the computer, organising accounts, promotional materials, supplies, freshening my website and so on, until the day before yesterday, when I finally felt sufficiently organised and recharged to return to my workroom. I thought I would ease myself back into my post-show bear-making with a gentle project, a pretty 16" girl bear created in a lovely piece of baby pink alpaca, with soft brown tips. I hadn't intended to purchase fabric at the Stratford show, but this piece was too gorgeous to leave behind and it made me think of a delicious strawberry sundae, drizzled with chocolate ... oooh, way too indulgent for this teddy bear maker to pass by!

I'm pleased to be able to tell you that after being uploaded to my website yesterday, 'Molly' found a lovely new owner within the hour and will be staying quite local to me, as her new Mum lives just across town!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Postcards from home

I love receiving postcards, don't you? This gorgeous postcard arrived on my doormat a few days ago, sent from 'Victor's' new owner to let me know he (actually now 'she', but that's a whole other story!) is settling in well to his new surroundings and is currently enjoying a very privileged, comfortable life in his new owner's living room!

Recent postcard sent to me from collector.
What a handsome 1930's Steiff teddy bear!


So many collectors over the years have been kind enough to send me postcards, letters, emails and pretty notelets to let me know how much they enjoy their new bears, so I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone; I really do appreciate these thoughtful gestures and they always make me smile!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Collect it!

After an entire day spent catching up with outstanding tasks on the computer, I'm afraid this entry will be brief. I've been sat on my swivel chair for so long, my bum is now very numb! One of the numerous jobs I needed to tackle today, was the creation of a little advertisement for the August Issue of 'Collect It' magazine (on sale July 10th) and this is the result of my fiddlings in Photoshop ...

(In view of the fact that he was created especially for 'Teddy Bear Scene' magazine before the rug was pulled from under it, it seemed entirely appropriate to use 'Victor' for my first advertisement with 'Collect It' magazine!)

When the final issue of 'Teddy Bear Scene' plonked dejectedly onto my doormat yesterday morning, I came to the conclusion I would have to reconsider my future advertising options, limited though my budget may be! 'Collect It' magazine covers all aspects of collecting, with a small section dedicated to teddy bears written by none other than Kathy Martin (ex-Editor of TBS) herself! A quick call from the magazine confirmed they would indeed be covering 'Teddies 2008' - (my next major Hugglets show which takes place in September) so I have decided to give them a whirl. In fact, I actually quite like the prospect of putting my advertisement under fresh noses, noses yet to realise they belong to potential
bear collectors!

If you are curious to find out more about 'Collect It' magazine, you can visit their website by clicking this link: http://www.collectit.info/

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

On the shelf

20" bears, Rodney & Loretta

Of the ten bears I created for the TBAE show, only two remain with me now. Rodney and Loretta are now available to purchase, so if either, (or maybe even both ... they make such a handsome couple!) of these lovely centre-seam, growling bears tugs at your heartstrings, you are most welcome to contact me for more information. Full details for both bears are now available on my website at www.allbear.co.uk

Thursday 12th June update:
Rodney has now found his special someone and will be joining them in the West Country very soon! On an impulse yesterday, I decided it was time for an auction, so I have now listed the lovely Loretta on Ebay.
Monday 16th June update:
Yippee! Loretta has now found her perfect person and is no longer 'on the shelf'!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Summing up Stratford Upon Avon

'So, how did Stratford go Paula?' I hear you ask. Well, now that I've had time to put on my thinking cap and mull things over, I can tell you that overall, I was very impressed by the organisation of the show and I loved catching up with old friends, some of whom I haven't bumped into since my early days selling on the UK show circuit.
 
Unfortunately I must have had a 'senior moment' whilst making my preparations for the show. I thought I had organised my trip with military precision, but when I went to set up my stand on arrival, had to face facts, my memory is nowhere near as good as it used to be! I had left the entire centre section of my stand at home in Kent. It just goes to show there is always room for calamity on show days, no matter how experienced you are! By some miracle, I had a spare table covering in my box of tricks, so had to improvise by tipping the entire contents of my transporting box out under the table, turning the box upside down, covering it with the spare sheet et voila! Not perfect by a long shot, but I think I just about scraped myself out of trouble!

The Civic Hall is a super venue, not big enough to overwhelm and not small enough to tire of quickly, it was beautifully dressed by the organiser and I absolutely loved the addition of balloons everywhere ... so cheerful! Mind you, Sunday was very warm and by the afternoon, the temperature in the Hall sure had risen! Phew!

 The Civic Hall is the white building next to the Clock Tower

 The magnificent 1887 clock tower, outside the Civic Hall

I think overall, the show achieved its promise to offer a new collecting experience and managed to create an enthusiastic atmosphere amongst both visitors and exhibitors. Hopefully next year it will bring forth even more eager visitors! There was a super mix of teddy bears available from a wonderful range of bear artists, both newly establishing and old timers. I'm afraid I didn't manage to take more than a couple of photos inside the show but you should get the general idea. I think Samantha (show organiser) is going to add her collection of photos to the event website, so if you would like to see more pics please pop over in the next few days when she's had a chance to upload them. http://www.teddybearartistevent.co.uk/

We stayed at the White Swan Hotel, just a few steps from the Civic Hall

Stuart chilling out in the afternoon sunshine on Saturday
The Garrick Inn, where we had a lovely dinner. Stratford's oldest public house, dating back to the 14th Century!

On a personal note, my weekend in Shakespeare's home town of Stratford Upon Avon was an absolute treat and for those of you who love a little history and revel in a little literature, here are a few of the photographs I took on our balmy Saturday evening, spent exploring the town.

The house where William Shakespeare was born in 1564
The Guild Chapel, rebuilt in 15th Century - isn't it magnifcent in the evening sun!

 
Twilight on the River Avon

 

Modern uses for historic buildings ... the pizzeria!

Breathtaking Harvard House 1596, now houses the Pewter Museum. The intricate carvings on the front of this building are fabulous!

Nash's House, Shakespeare's retirement home 1597
Hey, there's even a very pretty teddy bear shop!

The RSC theatre is undergoing renovations, still a crowd pleaser though!

Stratford's War Memorial Gardens


16th Century Hall's Croft, Shakespeare's daughter's residence

Beautiful Tudor buildings around the town

The old Grammar School built 1428, where Shakespeare was educated

The beautiful Holy Trinity Church built in 1210, Shakespeare was baptised and buried here.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit to Stratford Upon Avon! I must admit, I was frustrated by lack of time and next time I visit, I would love to arrive in time to beat the 5pm closure deadline for the Shakespeare's Trust buildings and immerse myself in some of the wonderful history available by actually entering the buildings!

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