Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas memories ...

Christmas with my family came and went in what now seems the bat of an eye.  I loved spending those precious few festive days with my family, but now the time has come for life to roll forward towards a New Year.  Before I let Christmas 2010 slip away though, I'd like to take this opportunity to preserve a few happy memories here...

Christmas Eve ...

My son, Christmas Morn!

Daisy's first Christmas

Cheers!  Our Christmas Day lunch

Boxing Day walk in Mote Park ...
Fay modelling her Christmas woollies

Hungry birds on a frozen lake!

Mote Park, beautiful in the wintery sunshine

Me and Stuart walking off our Christmas pud!

Fay and Stuart chuckling ...

Sunset over the frozen lake

There are only a few days until the clocks strike midnight to welcome in 2011.  Like many of you, I will say goodbye to 2010 with my heart full of both happy and sad memories - but let's not dwell on the past, let's wave it goodbye and step boldly forward into the new year ... after all, our future awaits us.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A bear is for life, not just for Christmas!

We drove through a blizzard to reach the supermarket on Saturday and everything looked so beautiful in the snow, but the downside of the snow is that it causes havoc in the UK because we aren't properly prepared for it; our airports have closed, our trains can't cope with the icy conditions and horror of horrors, many of our delivery companies can no longer guarantee parcels will arrive in time for Santa's big night out! 

13" 'Clara'

My last bear of 2010 is a pretty little girl called 'Clara' and she would make a super Christmas present for any bear collector, but sadly with the weather meddling the way it is, I would need to whistle up a magician to ensure she could sit under your Christmas tree in time for the grand present opening on Christmas morn! 

I have popped Clara on my website in the hope she finds someone special to love her, whether she arrives with them this week, or a few days late for the Christmas celebrations ... after all, a bear is for life, not just for Christmas!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Secret Santa!

Can you keep a secret?!  I have a little treasure to share with you today, she travelled all the way from Singapore to boost my battered Christmas spirit ..

These three little friends were made by Rita Diesing of Ridibears

Little Bine arrived yesterday and snuck under my Christmas tree as quietly as a little mouse to squeeze between her two new friends.  No-one else knows she's there yet ... only me!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Buttons in Santa's Sack!

I'm supposed to be tackling some Christmas shopping today, so I'd better get my skates on, but before I launch myself towards the festive frenzy, I want to take a moment to introduce 'Buttons', the first of the three bears I told you about yesterday ...

'Buttons' is now available from www.allbear.co.uk

Isn't he a sweetie?!  I finished him last night and must admit, I wouldn't mind finding him under my own tree on Christmas morning!  

Dear old Buttons will soon be hopping into Santa's Sack, so if you are still searching for your special 2010 Christmas bear, please pop along to www.allbear.co.uk to find out all about him!

Update: I am delighted to say, Buttons has been adopted in time to spend Christmas with his new owner!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Stuffing.

I've been mulling over advertising this week. I haven't done anything about it yet though, but think I probably ought to as I am aware mine has been woefully inadequate during 2010.  In the current economic climate it's tricky to judge where best to allocate precious bear business funds and I'm sure I'm not the only bear maker with a tendency to allow advertising to slide down the 'to-do' list in favour of purchasing lovely fabrics!  I think there comes a point when a well placed advertisement is definitely useful to remind collectors a bear artist is still alive, kicking and creating beautiful bears .. maybe I should turn this mull into a New Year's resolution?

Mango Chutney & Morwyn, pictured in Teddy Bear Times magazine!

It is of course, always a bonus to have bears published, so this month I am extremely grateful to Dawn, editor of Teddy Bear Times magazine, for including three of my bears in the Christmas issue of Teddy Bear Times magazine.  If you would like to order a copy, or even sign up for a subscription, please visit www.teddybeartimes.com for further details.

2010 Christmas issue of Teddy Bear Times magazine

With only a couple of weeks until the Christmas festivities take over, I freely confess a need to wind down and take a much needed break.  After my rollercoaster 2010, I feel as though the stuffing has been knocked out of me and I'm craving a little relaxed time with my family; perhaps then I will find strength enough to make a postive start to the New Year ...

But enough of that, first I have three teddy bears in my work basket, waiting for me to stop waffling on and stuff them before Christmas!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Perfect peace.

Miraculously the rain crashed down clearing heavy snow and ice from the Kent roads, in perfect time for our Sunday afternoon drive into the heart of the countryside. Despite the melt, many fields were still dusted with snow, glistening in the winter sunlight ...


We arrived at the vineyard prepared for the cold and also for muddy fields, Fiona wearing trendy leopard print wellies, me muffled in a cheerful orange and pink striped scarf and bright pink boots.  Squelching past row upon row of vines, our laughter rang out as we tried to decide which would bear luscious grapes for a fine red wine harvest next year and as we did, it became clear to us, we were in the perfect place, on the perfect day ...


As the sun dipped in a final glorious blaze, we stood shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and a little later, with tears and smiles we walked away, content our Dad was at peace, at last.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Wellies, woollies and waterproofs!

Since my previous post, the wintry conditions haven't improved; in fact Kent is now officially a Winter Wonderland.  I think the best thing to do in times like this is batten down the hatches, make a nice hot cuppa and admire the view through the window, but we had no milk or bread yesterday, so I had to concede a need to bundle myself into wellies, woollies and waterproofs and brave the snow if I wanted some lunch!


My clomp to the supermarket was breathtakingly cold, yet undeniably beautiful ... isn't it amazing how a thick covering of snow turns even the most ordinary of scenes into a picture postcard?!


By the time I arrived back on my front porch, I looked like an abominable snowman and couldn't wait to peel off my snowy layers to make a hot drink.  Needless to say, I didn't venture out again, instead I snuggled into my armchair my feet toasty in furry slipper boots, to finish little Nicholas's winter cardigan.

16" Nicholas
This afternoon I'm going to tuck myself up in the warmth of my workroom ... I feel a pink bear coming on and this snowy weather is perfect for bear making!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The weather outside is frightful ...

My heart sank when I heard the predictions for snow throughout the UK this week, which is most unlike me.  Last year the heavy snow and our fleeting picture postcard world had me reaching for my welly boots and camera ...


But not this year.  This year I'm staring out the window praying for the fastest thaw known to man, because I made a special promise to my Dad before he left. By hook or by crook, I must travel in the next few days, because some things in life and death are more important than the weather.


So today I'm cosying up in my armchair to finish knitting this bear's woolly pully, but I'll be keeping one eye on that window, willing the sun to shine and the snow to melt away ...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Hustle and bustle ...

Hmmn, I'm thinking this blog makeover will take some getting used to.  The header seems enormous, but if I make it any smaller it doesn't centre properly ... I spent ages yesterday trying to resolve that particular conundrum, hunting for answers and cut 'n pasting CSS script into a Blogger thingummy over and over again, to no avail.  Sometimes computers are entirely frustrating, don't you think?!

Speaking of which, I probably spend way too many precious hours sat at my computer, but without them I swear I'd go stir crazy.  It's hard to remember how I ever coped without the World Wide Wide at my fingertips.  One thing's for sure, I spent far more time traipsing round shops back then, which meant fresh air, exercise, faces, hustle, bustle and so many more pairs of lovely shoes ...

High Street, Maidstone, on a very cold November afternoon

These days I do all I can to avoid said town; after all, in this age of internet shopping, who needs it?  But when I ponder beyond the end of my oh-so-convenient, time-saving keyboard, I reach the conclusion it's all a bit sad,  I mean, how many times do we wander dejectedly round our home town, only to complain about a rash of tatty fronted, budget shops dominating the High Street?  I for one, plead guilty to the crime of preferring to purchase online from my favourite websites ... yes, I am that lazy shopper responsible for the demise of the High Street. 

On the rare occasion I am forced to venture into town, I store up every concievable town-based task, to delay the prospect of having to return for as long as possible.  I hate queueing, grumpy shop assistants, loutish youths smokin' and cussin', chewing gum on pavements, having my ankles rammed by unwieldy pushchairs, fighting for parking spaces, tiny overheated changing rooms ... the town shopping experience is no joy for this 'Mrs Meldrew'.

But sometimes, despite everything, I miss it.  There's no rhyme or practical reason for this, I just occasionally crave a little hustle and bustle, the choking taste of diesel, the glitz and glitter window displays, that special smell of bookshops, the myriad of faces ...


So maybe today, I will resist the WWW's wonderful world of websites and take myself into town for the real interactive deal instead; after all, Christmas is a-coming and just this once the computer can't compete with a town dressed in tinsel!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Cosying up!

Niklaus, Rudi and Spruce are ready to travel to their new owners, so today, I'm waiting in for the courier to arrive.  I have a new bear in pieces on my workroom table - he is all sewn up, has his head stuffed and won't take long to finish, but I might save him until tomorrow because today I fancy cosying up in my armchair for a spot of knitting instead.  


Working on the little jacket above rekindled my passion for knitting last week; there's something very comforting about the art of knitting, especially at this time of year when it's so chilly outdoors.  In the absence of any teeny tiny babies to dress, I'm sure I can soon conjure up some lovely new teddy bears to model my winter woollies!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Christmas is a-coming!

Following on from yesterday's post, I am happy to report after my efforts to update my website, two of my bears were adopted; little Rudi and Spruce were quickly snapped up and will be spending their Christmas in England, so as you can imagine, I couldn't be more delighted today!

Rudi - adopted

Spruce - adopted

I quite liked the tartan backdrop I used for the show, but I do think it was worth taking new photographs to showcase these bears a little more effectively ... let's hope the work I did yesterday helps Puddin' and Frankie to find special new homes in time for Christmas too!

Puddin'

Frankie

I came to the conclusion there is no point hiding from the fact Christmas is a-coming, so yesterday I took the bull by the horns and gave my website a festive makeover.  If you would like to take a peek, please pop along to www.allbear.co.uk  I have also opened 'Santa's Sack' on the website in preparation for my Christmas bears - hopefully these small steps will tempt a little festive cheer from this bearmaker!

This is the Christmas webpage graphic I created; it features 'Robin Red', a dear little traditional bear I made for Christmas 2009.  He lives in Singapore now ...


I have also used 'Robin Red's' picture on my 2010 'All Bear' Christmas cards.  I received them from the printer's a couple of weeks ago and am very pleased with the result.

2010 Official All Bear Christmas Card

Overall, yesterday was a very busy day!  Besides setting up my studio for bear photographs and overhauling my website, I also made a Christmas bear mosaic for my home page, featuring some of my Christmas bears past and present ...

Festive All Bears past and present

Another task this week was to tackle my entry for the 2011 TOBY Industry's Choice Awards in time for the December deadline.  I didn't have any success in this competition in 2010, but as they say, you've got to be in it to win it!  So, I've put my 2011 entry together and will be nipping down to the Post Office to send it to the US later today - fingers crossed eh?!

2011 TOBY Industry's Choice entry

I can't pretend I feel entirely festive yet, but it is only November, so there's still hope for me!

Monday, 22 November 2010

A rethink.

The Teddies Worldwide Show came and went over the weekend.  I'm happy to say Niklaus found a new home at the show and will be flying off to Singapore this week, but sadly the show didn't manage to secure new homes for Puddin', Spruce, Rudi or Frankie, so now I must work hard to remedy things by finding caring new owners for each of these lovely bears in time for Christmas ...

16" Frankie

18" Spruce

13" Rudi

20" Puddin'

I'm going to pop them onto my website at http://www.allbear.co.uk/ later today, but first I think I'll take their photographs again, this time on a plain background; I think that tartan cloth is perhaps a little too distracting!

Wish them luck!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A little peek ...


It's almost time for Daphne's brand new online 'Teddies Worldwide Holiday Bear Show'.  Although I haven't managed to make a great number of bears for this show, I am very happy with the few I do have ready and I think there may be time yet for a 'just one more bear', as long as I stay focused and settle down to some concentrated work today!


To give you a little taste of what's to come, the lovely big growler below will be available when the show goes live on Saturday ...


22" 'Niklaus' will be available to purchase from the show!

Of course, this show isn't all about me (!) there will be 74 other international bear artists exhibiting this weekend, which means a wonderful array of fabulous bears to choose from in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Daisy in November?!

It was such a pleasure to open the curtains to blue sky and a frosty white lawn this chilly November morning ... I could almost hear Dad whispering to me, 'you should be in the garden PJ, it's beautiful out there!'  He would have been up early on a day like today, sweeping leaves and enjoying the bird song as the sun steamed frost from the fields at the bottom of his garden.  


So I opened our conservatory door, watched my cats scamper outside and followed them in my furry slipper boots, grabbing my camera on the way.  The first thing I noticed was how peaceful it was and I could hear dew dripping through the ivy on the fence as its frosty leaves warmed.  There was a solitary rose bloom in the flower bed ... I daresay those fragile petals will flutter to the ground in the next day or so, but this morning my 'November Rose' was pretty with dew and Dad, I'm going to dedicate it to you x

Toffee and Puddle shot off up the lane to explore, but Daisy never strays far if I'm in the garden ...




Daisy couldn't quite understand why her garden had turned white overnight and she hopped daintily across the stepping stones to avoid treading on frozen grass.  She is eight months old now and as you can see, has become quite the beautiful young lady cat since I last took her picture!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Teddies Worldwide Holiday Bear Show


The show must go on!

Yes, it's time for me to announce the 'Teddies Worldwide Holiday Show' sneak preview which launches on Monday 15th November.  Please visit for an enticing glimpse of what's to come when this brand new show opens to collectors next weekend (weekend of 20th & 21st November).

In the meantime, I need to head back to up my workroom to finish my special show bears ... there's still plenty of work to be done!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Ticking by.

Brrr, it's chilly here today!  The wind and rain have been doing their damndest to make sure I stay indoors and leave pruning my roses for a brighter, calmer and hopefully warmer day.  It's probably for the best, because I still have my 'Teddies Worldwide Holiday Show' bears to complete and the days are ticking by ...


The trouble is, after losing Dad in the middle of September, my creative focus seems to have drifted away from me too.  Day to day life is pretty much back to normal, but Dad was a big part of my day-to-day, so it feels as though there is something important missing in the place he used to fill.  I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to pick up the 'phone to him lately, only to have to ask him a question in my head instead - I can usually hear his answer when I do that, but it's just not the same as hearing him hurrumph down the 'phone line after a hearty chuckle. I guess I'm still trying to work out how to come to terms with someone so close, being so impossibly far away now ... and by the way Dad, if you're looking in today, Scrabble just isn't the same without you either.


Don't worry, I'm not falling apart at the seams, I'm just clearing my head onto my keyboard on this wet and wild autumn morning.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Forever Autumn.

This little dear little Autumnal bear is called Acorn.  He travelled all the way from Texas in America to sit beside my bed and remind me always of beautiful Autumn days ...


Little Acorn was made by Elena Barry of  http://myprimitivesistas.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much Elena xxx

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

More Halloween Hocus Pocus!

Emerald Witch Paula

I promise faithfully to move towards Christmas shortly, but first, I must just share these fab Halloween photos with you all.  My sister Tina brought her amazing new 'bells and whistles' camera to Fo's All Hallowes party in Wormshill at the weekend and worked some pretty spooktacular magic ...

Our first official meeting of the coven!

The coven meeting goes to pot!

Beetlejuice with my witchypoo sister Fiona

Eeeks!!!!

My witchypoo Mum with my Wizard Stuart!

Chief Witchypoo Fiona

Sin-derella

Spooky Sis!

Our cute mini Hubble Bubble pumpkin

'Me 'n my girl' ... my son tormenting his poor purple witchypoo Hannah!

Two ol' crones enjoy a sisterly cackle!

Pumpkin Tina with her lovely daughters (plus our cute mini pumpkin!)

Aw, Count Dracula with his very own Pumpkin!

SCREAM!!!!

Soooo scarey ... gulp!!!!

Sisters dear!

Fay vamps it up!

Auntie Emerald Witch with two of her gorgeously naughty nieces!

Thanks to Tina, there were so many fantastic Halloween photographs.  It was really tricky to select just a few to show you here ... I do hope you have enjoyed sharing our family Halloween fun!

Our Mum, as an eerily realistic witch!

Tina, if you are reading this, thanks kid with much love from us all xxx  You did a fab job capturing everyone's smiles and the spirit of our Halloween. Dad would have absolutely loved these pics (not to mention the fact that he wouldn't have been able to resist offering a few well chosen words on the subject of Mum's costume in particular! Lol!)

Apple bobbing!

If you would like to see more of my amazingly talented sister Tina's work, you are very welcome visit her website below:

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