Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Nikkety Nakkety Noo!

It would seem I am not the only one with a penchant for Halloween - this special Halloween clown bear was snapped up within moments of appearing on my website and even before I had the chance to introduce him to you!

20" 'Nikkety Nakkety Noo'

'Nikkety Nakkety Noo' was a heap of fun to make and I'm delighted with how he's come together, just in the nick of time for Halloween.

I will be indulging in some family hubble bubble myself this All Hallowes Eve ... yes this daft bear maker will be donning her 'emerald witch' outfit, complete with pointy hat and sparkly green fingernails and gathering with her coven of witchypoo sisters to dance around the cauldron at the witching hour! 


I hope you all enjoy a magical Halloween ... hocus pocus, let's have some fun!

Friday, 22 October 2010

The UK Teddy Bear Guide 2011 - out now!

The 'UK Teddy Bear Guide' for 2011 dropped through my letterbox this morning and I was so delighted to receive it, I couldn't wait to race upstairs for my little camera to share it with you!

The UK Teddy Bear Guide 2011

This is the 24th edition of the annual Hugglets Guide and believe me, it's a cracker! The cover bear is called 'Bolero' and was created by 'Vintage Bears' in France - c'est magnifique!  I think this is my favourite ever Hugglets Guide front cover!

The Guide is a mine of teddy bear related information and an absolute must have for anyone with a passion for teddy bears.  If you would like to purchase a copy, it will be available shortly from:


By the way, are you wondering who the bear holding my copy of the Guide is?  Well,  I'll tell you ... he is my lovely 1940's Chiltern Hugmee 'Bobby Bear'.  I bought him  from the (sadly now closed) Petersfield Bear Museum in Hampshire, long before I began bear making.  The museum was opened in 1984 by Judy Sparrow to showcase her spectacular collection of antique teddy bears.  After admiring all Judy's fabulous bear treasures, I regretfully ambled towards the door to go home and Bobby Bear caught my eye ... I couldn't take my eyes off him and had a lovely chat with Judy and her husband; needless to say, Bobby Bear came home with me and has been with me ever since! 

'Teddy Bears' written in 1993 by Judy Sparrow

Back in 1993, Judy had her delightful 'Teddy Bears' book published in hardback by Magna Books. It features some beautiful photographs of Judy's antique bear collection and it is still possible to find copies if you hunt online.  In fact, I found several copies available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ today.  It's a lovely book and if you have an interest in the history of teddy bears, I would highly recommend grabbing a copy for your bookshelf if you are ever lucky enough to find one!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Testing times!

After listening to the gloom and doom of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's financial review yesterday, I hardly dare suggest anyone might care to adopt a new teddy bear ... but what is a bear maker to do?  The artist bears of the world will always need good homes and we poor bear makers still need to eat and pay our way! 

I finished little Stanley yesterday and after my recent break from work, would love to find this dear little chap a caring new home as soon as possible ...

12" Stanley

We are working through a tough financial climate of course, but hopefully beautifully crafted teddy bears can stay strong and survive these testing times.  Fingers and toes are crossed for little Stanley's future!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

“A few clowns short of a circus”

I was browsing through some of my earlier blog posts today, when I came across one I'd entitled, 'There ought to be clowns'.  I wrote the post back in May 2007, at a time when I was excitedly preparing to embark on a new range of bears ... in fact, back then I had just started to design my big clown bear 'Billy Buttons' who subsequently went on to win the coveted 'TOBY Industry's Choice Award.'

23" 'Billy Buttons'

Billy Buttons blazed a successful trail for me and since 2007, I have enjoyed making many more clown bears.  As they always make me smile, I thought you too might enjoy sharing a few of my favourites here today ...

23" 'Raffles'

Naturally, as he's the logo bear for my blog, I think I should begin with the rather majestic 'Raffles'.  He won an URSA Award in 2008 ... seems these clowns are pretty popular with the voters eh?!

20" 'Kefalonia'

One of my personal favourites this year has to be Kefalonia, a pretty clown bear created in beautiful peach and white to reflect my lovely holiday in Kefalonia.

20" 'Victor'

As an English girl through and through, I jumped at the chance to create a patriotic bear for a magazine when I was invited by the Editor.  'Victor' was the result and I had such fun designing him!

19" 'Crocus'

I created Crocus to celebrate Springtime and entered her into a competition, but she didn't win an award that year.  It makes not a jot of difference to me though, I still think she was a lovely Spring clown bear!

20" 'Tipsy'

How could this festive clown bear fail to make you smile?!  I made Tipsy to celebrate Christmas a few years ago ... hic!

20" 'Sophia'

My lovely Sophia was designed for the 'Edwina's Friends' shop and quickly found a new home in France. 

19" 'Mayhem'

And as we all know, I love Halloween, so mystical 'Mayhem' created in vintage red and green last year, has to be on my 'favourites' list!

20" 'Calypso'

I have a lovely collector in the US who adores brightly coloured bears.  She commissioned Calypso, challenging me to make him as brightly coloured as possible.  I had such fun hand dyeing the fabric for this cheerful bear and was delighted with the outcome!

20" Cornelius

Cornelius was a beauty!  He was created from both antique and modern mohair in such rich Autumnal colours ... very handsome if I do so say myself!

14" 'Rhubarb'

By the way, not all my clowns have been big bears, little Rhubarb was only 14" and such a cutie!

28" 'PaZaZZ'

My affair with clown bears began many years ago when I designed my very first clown called 'PaZaZZ'.  He won second place in the British Bear Artist Awards way back in 1999, then flew off to Hong Kong - I wonder where he is now?

There have been many clown bears along the way and I know there will be many more in future.  I simply love making these colourful characters!  In fact, if you keep watching, I may even have a Halloween clown bear on the horizon for this year, so if you love clowns, please watch this space!

If you would like to read my earlier 'There ought to be clowns' blog post, please click the link below:

Monday, 18 October 2010

Restoration.

As you may know from recent earlier posts, my family and I have been through a very challenging few weeks, so yesterday I decided it would be a good idea to go out walking in the Autumn sunshine and share a few hours of family fun.

Knole House

The ancient parklands surrounding Knole House in Sevenoaks are spectacular at this time of year and as October is also mating season for the deer, the park stags were in fine fettle when we visited yesterday!

A stag mewing for his mate

Pretty fallow deer

We had a lovely time watching the deer and my kids, big as they now are, were thrilled when the deer approached them to share nuts foraged from under the trees.

Fay befriends a deer

Little deer, big son!

Fallow deer taking a Sunday afternoon nap

Last year the Clock Tower on top of the mansion house was hidden behind scaffolding and green netting, so I was delighted to see it has now been fully restored and looks like something you'd find perched atop a fairy castle ... such a pretty clock!

The restored Clock Tower

For me, the most special thing about yesterday wasn't the spectacular scenery though, it was the opportunity to see my family laughing happily together again after so much heartache.

Fay

Anthony

Stuart

Fay strolling with Auntie Fo

Anthony with his Hannah


Knole Park is a beautiful place and our visit gave a real lift to my spirits.  Dad would have said, 'life is for the living PJ' and that was crystal clear to me yesterday.   Although I continue to feel a deep sadness that he can't be with us now, I know he would have loved these pics and would have been happy we are all able to enjoy life without him.

If you would like to visit Knole Park, please see the website below for further details ... it's well worth the trip!

Friday, 15 October 2010

A little Hubble Bubble!

When I was a very little girl, one of my secret pleasures at this time of year was to borrow a special book from the school library.  I can't remember what that enchanting book was called, but the pictures of witches flying on broomsticks over the rooftops had me enthralled!

14" 'Hubble Bubble'

The magic and mayhem of 'All Hallowes Eve' is fast approaching, so as part of my 'back to work Paula' plan, I decided to allow myself a fun project this week and my little 'Hubble Bubble' is the result.  It only took this cheeky little wizard bear a few minutes to cast his spell when he appeared on my website earlier today, so on our next moonlit night, he will be pointing his broomstick 'Downunder' and whizzing off to meet his new owner in Australia, just in time for the Halloween celebrations!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Nesbit, a 2010 URSA Award Winner!

Thank you to everyone who voted for 'Nesbit' in this year's URSA Award competition. 

I am delighted to be able to tell you Nesbit has won second place in his 'Hugely Huggable' category!

'Nesbit', a 2010 URSA Award winner!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

When the world stops turning.

Thank you so much for your kind messages of support during the past two weeks, they have brought me comfort during this sad time in my life.  Sometimes life is impossible to prepare for and the recent loss of our Dad has been one of those times.  Since childhood my four sisters and I, like most daughters I am sure, always believed Dad possessed super human powers and would be around forever.  Knowing that I won't be able to pick up the 'phone to talk to him, or sit and chat over a cuppa again, breaks my heart, but as so many of you have said, he may have slipped peacefully away, but I know he never will truly leave me.


As you can imagine, the past two weeks have been among the toughest of my life and for a moment I'm sure the world actually stopped turning, but with Dad's words ringing in my ears I have picked myself up, dusted myself down and will be trying my best to 'get on with it girl' ...

So, now it's time to think about moving forward once more and with a smile on my face, I'd like to share a little secret with you ... I have a wedding to plan! Yes, Stuart and I will be quietly 'tying the knot' next year.  Stuart proposed to me shortly before Dad passed away and happily, I had told Dad of our plans for the future and he was delighted for us.


Next week I will start work on my bears again because I feel the need to make my world normal after all that has happened.  Aside from work, plans are also afoot for a family Halloween party at the end of the month and it may give you a chuckle to learn I have purchased a new broomstick, pointy hat and full green witch costume in preparation!  (I've no doubt there are those who believe the broomstick to be my usual method of transport, but I can confirm, this will be the first time since leaving school, I have ever risen to the challenge of fancy dress!) and yes, I can genuinely tell you I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing my family dressed to impress this All Hallowes Eve!

Time to let our world turn again ...

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