My spicy panda twist for 2009!
That said, I certainly don't want to leave tradition behind, because I really do love making traditional bears! So my other bear, whilst classically centre-seamed and of typical English teddy bear proportion, will incorporate my contemporary 'appley' head shaping and a modern palette of soft blues and greys to give him freshness of appeal, whilst retaining a respectful nod to tradition.
Crafting a modern palette of soft blues and greys ...
Artist designed teddy bears are created across a broad spectrum; at one end they take inspiration from a classical history and at the other from wildly creative imagination. There are bears for all tastes and all seasons, each with a rightful place in the artist bear portfolio. If you are new to collecting teddy bears you may be searching for a traditional teddy bear, to remind you of the nostalgia of childhood, but please, keep an open mind and take time to view as many bear artists' catalogues as possible, because only then will you begin to see the creative potential a modern day teddy bear offers. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself by falling in love with a style of bear hitherto unconsidered!
Thursday, 29 January 2009
My spicy panda twist for 2009!
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
January 2009 issue - Australian Bear Creations magazine, perfect for the coffee table!
This month's issue (it is published bi-monthly) is packed with goodies, so if you would like to treat yourself to a subscription, why not visit http://www.woodlandspublishing.com.au/abc/ Or you could do what I did and place an overseas order through www.isubscribe.com
Remember 'Jolly'? Well, here he is again, this time featured in my first quarter page 'Australian Bear Creations' advertisement for 2009!
Monday, 26 January 2009
"The blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in proximity in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandisement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these awards are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give your kind attention to these writers!"
High praise indeed! As I understand it, my duty as recipient of this award is to ensure it's safe delivery to eight further bloggers who should then choose eight recipients of their own. We must all include the text "I'm feeling very honoured to have been chosen," which of course, we are! So, without further ado, these are the eight blog writers I would like to pass on the award to, in the spirit in which it was intended. Please pay them all a friendly visit!
Firstly, right back at ya Amanda! I know you've already received this award, but I'd very much like to endorse it for the kindness you have shown me recently and also for the help you have offered to 100 Best Bear Blog Artists:
Oh dear, my next choice has already been honoured too! Ah well, I'll name her anyway ... Ellen, this is for the work you did for the bear artist community with your special 'Christmas Parade': http://ellen-borggreve-design.typepad.com/
This lovely lady doesn't update her blog often, but behind the scenes, she works tirelessly to help bear artists both in the UK and overseas. Jane, we all thank you for your friendship and commitment: http://doodlebears-and-friends.blogspot.com/
Laura Lyn should also be presented with this award for the friendship, charm and assistance she so generously extends: http://teddiesbylauralynn.blogspot.com/
Am I allowed to share this with my sister too? Tina's blog gives a wealth of information helpful to anyone interested in photography and when combined with the endless help and advice she regularly sends my way, I think she should receive her first blog award: http://tinas-viewfinder.blogspot.com/
Friday, 23 January 2009
'Blackbeary' will be winging his way across the Atlantic to meet his new owner next week!
And if you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about on this Friday afternoon (believe me, you wouldn't be the first!) here's the poem:
Warning - When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
By Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Have a carefree weekend!
Thursday, 22 January 2009
My birthday raggy doll
Me being me, of course I couldn't leave it at the dolly could I?! I also discovered this great book about recreating the earliest rag dolls, written by Shannon McConnnachie of Sweet Liberty Homestead and as I am fascinated by the historical development of crafting toys, I snapped it up. I was delighted when that too came in today's post! This book has only just been published, so I'm thrilled to have my very own copy and am really looking to snuggling up in my armchair later today and burying my nose in it; the photographs inside look fantastic - I really think this book is going to be a great read.
'Stitches in time' ... by Shannon McConnachie of Sweet Liberty Homestead
So rather than concern myself about becoming yet another year older in a fortnight, instead I'm having fun doing exactly as I please without feeling the need to act my age; now that's how an impending birthday should make you feel, don't you think?!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Learning to knit - a few basics
Lately I've been making some very simple scarfs for my 20" bears - they'd make a perfect starter project for a new knitter, so once you've mastered cast on, garter stitch and cast off, why not make your favourite bear a scarf? This scarf should fit a 20" bear comfortably:
The finished 20" bear's scarf
Using double knit wool and a pair of 4.5mm needles, cast on 25 stitches.
Monday, 19 January 2009
100 Best Bear Artist Blogs
After hunting around for a while, I found some lovely bear graphics on sale for just a couple of dollars, so I snapped 'em up and have been playing around in Photoshop to create a couple of banners and a cute background for our shiny new '100 Best Bear Blogs' ranking service. Now all we need are some members! So, if you're a bear artist reading this and you have a bear artist blog you'd like to promote, please nip over and sign up so we can get this thing moving!
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Step-by-step visual aids are handy learning tools, in this case a book by Fay's side and Mum sat next to her ready to demonstrate with her own set of needles at a moment's notice!
Hey, we're up and running with our first row of garter stitch!
Finally, after hours' of practice and several calls to help unpick mistakes, Fay is now knitting stocking stitch independently!
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Friday, 9 January 2009
So instead of being a busy, buzzy kind of day, today is rather a snuffly, breathless, muffly headed kind of day - which leads me to recall a quote from one of our greatest philosophers ...
"The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about."
AA Milne/Winnie the Pooh - as pertinent today as ever!
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
'Huffy' - 20" alpaca teddy bear
Now available for purchase from www.allbear.co.uk
NEWS UPDATE: Huffy sat patiently on the website for about an hour before being invited to the US to live - he'll be flying high very soon!
Monday, 5 January 2009
So of course, me being me, the first thing I wanted to try and do (after ramping up the central heating) was photograph the falling snow, but boy is that easier said than done! After quickly scanning a few helpful webpages, I came to the conclusion the snow would probably melt long before I'd progressed far enough in my self-tuition. Ah well, I supose there's always next year!
I have to venture to the Post Office today, so pretty though the snow may be, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a quick defrost before I have to jump into the car ... I'm not very brave when it comes to driving in adverse weather conditions and for me, even a light dusting of snow is a nail biting experience - pathetic eh? But bear in mind I didn't take my driving test until I was 42, a mere three years ago. I have a lifetime of bad weather driving experiences to catch up on before I earn the right to feel more confident.
'Buttons the Clown' knitted doll was finished yesterday afternoon. I had a very pleasant time clacking away on my bamboo needles while watching the wonderful Dame Judi Dench in the BBC series 'Cranford'. (Stuart bought me the series on DVD for Christmas, on the strict understanding he wouldn't actually have to watch it with me; instead he went to the football muffled up to the eyebrows and almost froze to death - the lengths some men will go to, to avoid period costume drama eh?!) Incidentally, I took this clown picture with no flash; yes, I may be hopeless at catching falling snowflakes, but after all my Christmas practise, I can now take a fairly reasonable picture indoors, no longer bleaching out all the colours by relying on flash - aha, progress indeed! Now, if I could just work out how to light the subject so I don't have any shadows ...
A winter's morn in Maidstone!
Slip sliding along ...
Sunday, 4 January 2009
But today is Sunday, so no bear-making for me just yet; instead I have the promise of a peaceful afternoon to myself while Stuart does that inexplicable man thing and braves the cold to join his dad watching their footy team play live. I fully intend to make the most of my 'me' time to finish the colourful little fellow below, whilst watching a suitably 'girly' film and toasting myself in front the fire ... could anything be more perfect on this icy January Sunday? Oh yes! You're absolutely right, I should include some chocolate ... first though, some piping hot soup!
2009, not only a time for review, but also a time for renewal. Twelve more bear-making months lay before me and I am hoping they will be creatively fulfilling and of course, profitable! The best thing about a new year is with it comes a clean slate and after a family filled fortnight, I am ready to lay aside my 'Mum' head until teatime each day (when they return home from work hungry!) to claim back my daytime hours and begin work on my 2009 bears.
A tidy workroom for Jan 2009 ... note to self: those shelves need new bears to sit on them Paula!
I spent a few necessary hours tidying during the Christmas holiday and am now happy to have a well organised workroom I can move around in again - it was resembling a dumping ground before Christmas. I also have a delicious stash of new fabrics to work with and like the proverbial kid in a candy shop, I can't wait to indulge myself and start bringing these half metre beauties to life.