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:

Monday, 1 November 2010

Miss Mayhem too!

In my last post I introduced you to Nikkety Nakkety Noo, my Halloween clown bear and today I can share 'Miss Mayhem' with you too.  She has been a secret project, kept under wraps for fear of my sister Fiona discovering what I've been up to ... you see, I wanted to give Miss Mayhem to Fiona at her Halloween party yesterday, as a surprise early birthday present!

'Miss Mayhem'

I am happy to report my Witchypoo sister Fiona, was delighted with her Witchypoo Dolly Doodle!  An early Happy Birthday to you Sis xxx

'Sin-derella' with her Emerald Witch Auntie Paula!

We enjoyed a whole heap of All Hallowes Eve mischief in Wormshill under cover of darkness last night ... it was the strangest sensation pulling up to my sister's driveway on the outskirts of the village and seeing her house bathed in eerie green light with werewolves, witches, wizards, vampires and pumpkins outlined in the kitchen window! 

Here are a few of my daft family members in full 'fright night' regalia ...

Fo's Simon as 'Beetlejuice'

'Wizard Stuart'

A bevvy of Halloween terrors!

The Pumpkins!

Our lovely Halloween clown, my niece Justine

My Vampire niece Lauren with Erin, our mini Pumpkin

A pretty scarey bunch eh?!

My photographer sister Tina (big pumpkin!) took some super pics, so when she's ready, I'll see if I can borrow some to show you a few of the other characters (unsurprisingly, our Mum made a spooktacularly realistic witch ... now why didn't that surprise anyone I wonder?!)

I must confess, my witching hour celebrations aren't quite what they used to be and this cranky ol' Emerald Witch is yawning like crazy today as she types her post to you ... I think it's time she put her broomstick safely back into storage until next year!

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