Friday, 30 October 2009

Magical Mayhem webshow tomorrow!

My MAGICAL MAYHEM
mini webshow will be hosted live at www.allbear.co.uk
tomorrow! 

The exact opening times are: October 31, 2009 at 12:15pm to November 1, 2009 at 11pm

I will be donning my witch's hat to introduce my latest bears, fresh from the All Bear's cauldron!
I do hope you will be able to visit and share the Halloween fun!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

UK Teddy Bear Guide 2010 Available Now!


The UK Teddy Bear Guide published by Hugglets

This is the 23rd year of publication by the Hugglets team and it's a terrific resource for anyone who loves bears both in the UK and overseas.  The cover price is a mere £5.95 plus postage ... so go on, why not treat yourselves! 

Click here to visit the Hugglets website:

 http://www.hugglets.co.uk/guideindex.php

Oh and just in case you are wondering, the beautiful bear in the picture holding the Guide is my lovely 'Dudley', a wonderful 25" bear created by Frank Webster of Charnwood Bears.  Sadly I haven't seen Frank in a while and can't find his work online; unfortunately he isn't advertised in the new Guide, so I can only assume he is no longer creating his wonderful bears ... please let me know if I'm wrong, I'd love to see Frank's bears again!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Magical Mayhem peekaboo!

It's so close to Halloween and I'm still working hard to finish bears for my mini 'Magical Mayhem' show which I promised would take place over All Hallowes weekend.  To be honest, I would have preferred to have one or two more bears in the pipeline, but never mind, the select few I have created so far are pretty magical, even if I do say so myself! 

I hope these peeks whet your appetite for a spooktacular weekend!







The 'Magical Mayhem' mini webshow will be live on my website at http://www.allbear.co.uk/ on Saturday 31st October from 12.15pm (GMT) until Sunday 1st November ... I do hope you'll be able to stop by for a little Halloween fun!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Teddy Bear Annual 2010 starring Morris!

I'm squealing with excitement!  I've just discovered 'The Teddy Bear Annual 2010' available for pre-order on Amazon and there, large as life on the cover is my bear 'Morris' busy being a cover star!!!!!  This is a wonderful coup for 'All Bear' and as you can probably imagine, I am grinning from ear to ear today!
 

The Teddy Bear Annual 2010 - on sale November 19th!

If you would like to pre-order a copy for your bookshelf please visit: 

Friday, 23 October 2009

Whoo Hoo! Featured Downunder!

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!  It's arrived at last!  And all the way from Australia!  My copy of the Nov/Dec 09 issue of 'Australian Bear Creations' dropped through the letterbox on Wednesday and please forgive my excitement, but I am so thrilled to have a four page feature published 'Downunder' all about my bears and my work as a bear artist!


Australian Bear Creations magazine - Nov/Dec 2009 issue

If you would like to purchase a copy of this great teddy bear magazine, please visit the Woodland Publishing website at:
http://www.woodlandspublishing.com.au/abc/

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sindie

I was so sad to hear of Sindie's passing. An old friend from way back, I knew Sindie Smith as a girl who could light a room with her laughter, creativity and enthusiasm. Sindie's battle with breast cancer ended last Thursday and at just thirty nine years old, there seems no rhyme or reason ...


I hope Sindie will forgive me for this old photograph taken in the good old days! Sindie Smith and her lovely 'And Finally Bears by Sindie Smith'.

If you knew Sindie and would like to offer a donation to 'The Cavendish Centre' in her memory, (a registered charity which offered much needed support to Sindie, Gary and their two daughters during her illness) please visit the following link. Thank you.



Sindie's husband Gary manning their 'And Finally Bears by Sindie Smith' stand at the Rochester Bear Fair in 2000.

And finally, I'd like to say my goodbye to Sindie by sharing her thoughts on the well documented ailment ...

'BEARMAKERS' BUM!'

In Sindie's own words ...

"My research has a long way to go, however I have discovered some very interesting facts:

1. If you hold your food higher than your mouth, all the calories jump out before you can consume them.

2. Long, thin foods i.e. chocolate fingers, sausages, Kitkat, Niknak crisps, spaghetti Bolognese etc maintain their form when consumed so you will become long and thin too.

3. Ring doughnuts, coconut ring biscuits and bagels have low fat centres so are okay to eat.

4. Anything with lots of air in it is also low fat i.e. Aero, chocolate mousse, Wispa etc .

5. Avoid anything round (see no.2) such as apples, tomatoes, ricecakes, grapefruit, pickled onions etc."

Sleep tight Sindie. You won't be forgotten and whenever we think of you, we'll always hear your laughter.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A spot of autumnal deer stalking ...

It was such a beautiful afternoon here in Kent on Sunday!  We couldn't wait to get outside and enjoy the local landscape which is currently ablaze with rich Autumnal colour, so we drove to Sevenoaks to ramble through Knole Park and do a little deer stalking into the bargain!  I hope you enjoy sharing these photographs of our lovely Autumn afternoon ...

Knole House owned by the Sackville family since 1603

The Knole Estate in October

Knole's beautiful Autumnal woodland

I love the colours of autumn and crunchy leaves under foot!

The Parkland covers a thousand acres ...

Side view of Knole House

Pretty Bambi's wander freely in the park

Stag

Gentle fallow deer

I wish my eyelashes were as long hers!

As you can see, the deer seem to enjoy being the centre of attention!

We had a wonderful afternoon at Knole Park! 

If you would like to learn more about Knole, please visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-knole

and ...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Surprise!



I had such a wonderful surprise yesterday when my postman delivered a completely unexpected gift.  I have no idea what I've done to deserve such kindness, but I am so happy 'Lenny the Elephant' has been sent to live with me!  

He was created by my friend Laurie (please check out Laurie's lovely work at www.laurieloubears.com) She decided Lenny and I would be well suited as I have a fondness for ellies.  Well, as you can imagine, I'm totally bowled over and keep giving my special little ellie a cuddle ... he really makes me smile!

Thank you Laurie, thank you so very, very, much!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Better late than never, a book recommendation!

When I saw this bear making book online, I thought I'd order it and take a peek to see if it would be useful to recommend for new bear makers.  'Bearmaking 101' by Carol Lynn Rossel Waugh was first published in 1999 and although I know of Carol Lynn's reputation as a bear maker, I haven't ever had the opportunity to read her book, so I was very curious to see what the book had to offer.


'Bearmaking 1001' by Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh

Now that I have a copy of this hardback book on my lap ten years after it was first published, I can happily tell you it's a lovely, detailed bear crafting manual with plenty of photographs for visual learners and some super patterns, including a bear with a centre seam head gusset and a teddy bear marionette!  If you manage to find a copy of this book on Ebay, Amazon or similar at a reasonable price (I only paid a few pennies for my copy from www.thriftbooks.com on Amazon) I'd recommend snapping it up fast - it's a goody!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Posh Paws

I was hunting through my computer files today and came across a tutorial I put together a while ago.  I guess it's not much use to anyone gathering dust in my pc files, so I thought I'd share it here and put it on my 'tips' page in the hope someone might find it helpful!

Starting at the very beginning - a simple tutorial designed to help you achieve a professional finish for traditional paw pads,
particularly on larger bears.



1. Draw out your footpad on the reverse side of your fabric and inside the cutting line, draw a sewing line. This can be done by reducing your foot pad pattern to incorporate your sewing seam, or if you are careful, you should be able to wing it like I do, by carefully using your existing footpad as a template - shifting it to accomodate the seam allowance (I like to use about 1/4" seam allowance for a nice secure footpad.)



2. Cut out your foot pad and fold in half. Using dressmakers' glass head pins (large size) mark the centre of the toe and heel from reverse through to front side of fabric as shown.



3. Pin the toe of the footpad horizontally through the seam of the foot piece - toe end. Then pin the heel of the footpad horizontally through the seam of the foot piece - heel end. Make sure your pins are inserted through the seam allowance area and NOT through the main footpad area.



4. Using the dressmakers pins vertically, pin evenly around the footpad, into the seam allowance, gently easing the edge of footpad into place so that it is level with the mohair foot edge.



5. Oversew footpad in place by hand, removing pins as you sew. Take care to stitch seam of foot at toe and heel, securely and centrally to footpad.



6. At this point your footpad should be securely and evenly hand sewn in place, like this.



7. Transfer your work to your sewing machine. Making sure your tension and stitch length are perfect for sewing invisible stitches (ie they don't show when leg is turned rightside out) sew carefully around pre-marked stitch line taking particular care around the corners.



8. Remove footpad from sewing machine and by hand, tack a piece of quilting wadding/batting (for my big 'uns I prefer to use 8oz wadding/batting) so that it covers the footpad. Take care to stitch into the seam allowance so tacking stitches are not seen when leg is turned right way out. Trim away any excess wadding to ensure a perfect fit, before turning leg the right way out for stuffing.



9. Finally, turn leg piece right way out and stuff foot evenly. If you've done a good job, your footpad will be completely smooth, even in shape and you shouldn't be able to see the stitches ... check the corners of your footpad carefully as this is where the stitches are most likely to show if your tension is too loose.

When drawing out your second footpad, make sure you reverse the pattern piece first. If you've done a really good job, both finished footpads will match in size, shape and finished quality!


In my experience over the years, there are no short cuts to achieving professional looking footpads!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Christmas? Oh no it isn't!

Another weekend has flown past in a flurry of housework chores and essential shopping - before we know it, the Christmas season will be in full tinsel bedecked swing!  It's only the beginning of October and already the stores would have us believe Christmas is nigh, but I'm determined to enjoy the seasonal celebrations in an appropriate order ... Halloween and Guy Fawkes night first, then and only then, will I embrace Christmas!


And just to prove my point, I started work on Witchypoo Number 2 on Saturday!


At the moment, she looks a little like an angelic E.T ...

Still fiddling around with her boots ... the first coat is drying in this pic.

Several coats of paint and potion later, she has distressed brown pointy boots.

Now it's time to decide which witchypoo frock she'd like to wear for her big night out ... this one?


... Or this one?
Sorry Witchypoo Number 2, you'll have to wait until next weekend to be dressed - those Magical Mayhem bears are demanding my attention this week!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Old Faithful


'Old Faithful'

Before I put on my pointy hat and cast a spell over my witch's cauldron to create the 'Magical Mayhem' show bears, I want to share this lovely chap with you.  He's called 'Old Faithful' and was commissioned by a collector in the States.  I finished work on him yesterday; he's made from beautiful dense alpaca, which is a fabulous fabric for creating the most 'teddy' of teddy bears. 

'Old Faithful' will be jetting off tomorrow to meet his new owner in America!


20" 'Old Faithful', a special commission.

Right, time now for me to create a little hubble bubble before Halloween!

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