Monday, 28 February 2011

Mama said there would be days like this ...

It was show day in London yesterday, so I carefully packed my bears the night before, raised a bleary eyelid (just one!) when the alarm went off at 6.20am, then struggled out of my warm duvet and into the shower.  I'm a zombie at that hour of the day and there's no point talking to me until at least 8am, so Stuart packed up the car while I tried to convince my sleep-puffed face to accept make-up and face the day.

It was a beautiful morning, briskly cold, but with clear blue skies and fortunately for us, clear roads too.  We arrived at Kensington Town Hall without a hitch and set up the 'All Bear' stand in plenty of time for the grand opening.  A queue of eager collectors snaked down the road, so all things considered, the signs looked promising ... 

My stand at the 'Winter Bearfest' yesterday ...

But I had a sixth sense and I don't know why, or how it crept up on me, but I looked at Stuart as the collectors rushed into the Hall and I could tell he felt it too ... something was missing. You know the kind of feeling you sometimes get when everything looks as though it should work, all the omens have been good, but then gut instinct takes over and whispers 'I don't think this will be your day ...'  I wonder, does anyone else ever have that feeling? And if they do, do they have a scientific explanation?!  I wish I could rationalise it!

A bear's eye view

Anyway, I pushed all such thoughts to one side,  smiled brightly and began to chat with my visitors.  I chatted and chatted and chatted some more ... then eventually, after seeing my show collection complimented, cuddled and cooed over throughout the five show hours, I realised the day had slipped past and I had to face facts .. every single one of my lovely bears would be returning home with me!

Waiting patiently ...

Now, I know I am far from being the world's greatest saleswoman.  In fact if I'm truthful, selling at shows is something I always dread. I love meeting and chatting to everyone, but selling my own work face to face?  Oh no!  Even after all these years, I'm still a hopelessly well-mannered, slightly shy, English lady at heart, politely terrified that if I invite collectors to pick up a bear for a cuddle, or boast a little about my work, my poor visitor may feel 'pressured' to buy and think me rude.  No, I prefer to believe my bears will sell themselves without any assistance from me, but yesterday proved there always will be times when both they and my visitors, need more of a helping hand than has ever come naturally to me.

Fortunately for us all, several kind collectors were waiting patiently in the wings, hopeful of adopting their special bear but unable to visit the show in person. I am so pleased that today, I am able to make travel arrangements for these bears to ensure they will soon be with their 'forever' owners ... happily, some things are just meant to be!

13" 'Polly' & 'Solly' are hoping to be adopted soon ...

I am working hard to find special homes for my remaining bears, so if Polly, Solly, Maxwell, Bramwell, or Boswell tugged at your heartstrings and you would like to consider adoption, please let me know - we'd all love to hear from you!  Full details can now be found on my website.

www.allbear.co.uk

28/02/11 update: Hooray, Solly has been adopted!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Introducing my show bears!

So here they are!  All nine bears, ready for hugs a-plenty in London on Sunday!  If you can make it to the show in Kensington Town Hall, please stop by stand 63 in Hall 2 to meet me and the bears in person ... we'd love to see you there!

15" Etta

17" Bramwell

17" Larkspur

20" Boswell

15" Ella

22" Maxwell

13" Polly & 13" Solly

16" Myrtle

Well, as you can probably imagine, that's me beared out for this week!  All there is left to do is sort out adoption fees, hangtags and the like, pack up my little car, then early on Sunday morning haul my backside out of bed and 'hit the road Jack' ...

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Winter Bearfest Show ... a preview!

Who would think it could take virtually all day to photograph nine bears?  Well it's true!  Not only that, it's a bit like a full body workout with all that bending and stretching ... anyway, enough of my aching bones!  I turned my lounge into a studio today and am content to say my bears posed, preened and even pouted a little in front of the camera.  With two days in hand, I am at last able to boast I actually have a full complement of show bears ready for their big day out in London on Sunday!  Yay!!!!!

This collection of bears will debut at 'The Winter Bearfest' show in Kensington Town Hall, London SW8, on Sunday 27th February!

Well, I suppose I ought to to tidy all my bears and studio equipment away now, so I can put my feet up and relax in time for tonight's Corrie - one thing's for sure, after all the clambering around, I haven't much energy left for anything other than watching TV!

www.hugglets.co.uk
I hope to see you at the show on Sunday.
... whoops, I almost forgot to mention I'll be exhibiting in Hall 2 on stand 63!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Finishing touches ...

Here I am again, with only a week until my first major show of 2011.  I'm aiming to have nine bears completed for the big day and am busy putting the finishing touches to bear number six today.  Would you like a quick peek?


Here she is!  I've been working on her authentic vintage colouring this morning and I'm happy to say, she's coming along beautifully!


Much as I love bare bears, I think it's especially important to get the finishing details just right for show day ... after all, they need to be 'dressed to impress' to meet their public!  I finished my knitting above a few days ago and it has become a smart little teddy bear jacket, complete with vintage button ...


And for a bigger bear, I used the same red wool teamed with green, to make a stripey scarf ...


But I'm not one for frills and flounces and I'm certainly no dressmaker, preferring understated accessories, like this lace collar tied with prim style rusty bells ...


In fact, I love bears simply dressed in plain bell collars, or with nice round bells tied around their necks ...


So, I hear you ask, who is the sixth bear and how has he been finished?  Well, a bearmaker has to keep a few things up her sleeve doesn't she?! Sorry, but you'll have to wait and see!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Somewhere special, just for me!

As I can't show you any new bears yet, I thought you might like to see how my new workroom is progressing instead.  Stuart has been tucked away in there for days, painting and papering like a good 'un! We're almost ready to order the new carpet and after feeling down in the dumps at the start of the year when my son left home and vacated this room, I'm now very excited about my new creative space!

Stuart wallpapers my new workroom

The room is such a bright, sunny room and with Spring just around the corner, I've chosen a pretty pale green wallpaper with a white chrysanthemum flower print ... it's really fresh and feminine and I love it!

I am really looking forward to filling up that big cupboard with my craft materials!

As this room is bigger than my current workroom, I have decided to put an armchair in the corner.  Stuart isn't convinced I'll get much in the way of work done with a comfy chair to sit in, but I think it will be perfect for hand sewing. 

When I was a little girl, my Gran had an old fashioned wing chair in her dining room and I always loved to sit in it, so I've chosen just such a chair and found a dainty hand quilted cushion to match my room colours. When my room is finally ready for me to move in, I'm sure you'll find me happily whiling away many an hour sat in my lovely new chair!

My comfy new wing chair

It's important to me to have photos of my special people around me while I work, so I've also been choosing special memories to make me smile, for a family photo wall ...

A few special photos ...

And of course, being a forgetful ol' lady, I will need a memo board for all my 'must remember' bits 'n bobs.  I chose this one by 'Gisela Graham' and gave it a little Paula makeover with new fabric for the pin board, a photo I took of the camelia Dad gave me for my birthday many years ago (it's still growing well in our garden!) a favourite pic of me with my kids visiting Brighton Pier when they were youngsters and one of my lovely pale pink roses ...

My memo board ..

Naturally when you work from home as I do, it's important to have a clock to tell you when to break for coffee and cake and when to down tools each evening.  This is the one I have chosen for my workroom wall ...

'Home is where your story begins ...'

As you can see, I've had a lovely time choosing my special things and Stuart has worked hard to decorate and make the room pleasant for me to work in. Our next task is to find a suitable carpet and then to shop for shelves and maybe a new work table ... 

I'll let you know when we're ready for me to move in and actually start work on some bears; it won't be long!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Reading the signs ...

I love playing with my old bear photos and recently found this website for creating collages, so naturally, I had to have a twiddle didn't I?  This little heart shaped collage celebrates Spring and is now featured on the home page of my website: www.allbear.co.uk


If I look out the window I can see crocus flowering in my garden, a tiny pot of snowdrops with pretty white heads and daffodils pushing through the earth ... yes, I think I can safely say, after our long, dark Winter, at last Spring is on its way to brighten the UK!

If you would like to create a photo collage, check out: http://www.shapecollage.com/

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A Happy Birthday!

It was my first birthday without Dad on Saturday and in truth, I wasn't really looking forward to it ... after all, there I was, about to notch up yet another year further away from forty, rapidly hurtling towards fifty, but this time with no Dad to sit in my armchair supping his mug of sugarless tea and chuckling as he called me 'old girl'.  My son had left home, my daughter was enjoying a hen weekend in Spain with the 'girls', so it was definitely a day best left to pass by quietly ...


Silly me!  As if my family and friends would allow that to happen! I woke to Interflora knocking on the front door with a stunning display of long stemmed roses from Fay and from that moment on was overwhelmed with special cards, gifts, flowers (my goodness, so many flowers!) caring messages and family visits for the rest of the day. 


I received many birthday cards this year, cats, elephants, butterlies, flowers ... all of my favourite things!


... a beautiful personalised handmade card from my sister Lynda in Basingstoke ...


This one was from my sister Fiona, carefully chosen to reflect our dancing days as young girls ...



And I was completely thrilled when, knowing I will soon be moving workrooms, my son and his girlfriend presented me with a lovely basket full of special gifts carefully chosen to match the decor - in fact, Hannah made the gorgeous inspirational pieces of art for my wall ... such a talented lady!


I have been very touched by everyone's thoughtfulness this year; it made my birthday more special than I could possibly have hoped for. 

I'm sure I don't say this often enough ... thank you all for caring about me xxx

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Crooners ...

When I was commissioned to create 'classic Paula Carter' bears for 'Silly Bears' of Aberdeen, I wasn't sure quite where to start - after all, throughout my fifteen years of bear crafting, I have tackled many styles of teddy bears (with the exception of miniatures, very little bears and realistic 'on all fours' bears ... they still elude me!) so I am continually 'evolving'.  I scratched my head for a while, then arrived at the conclusion the clue was in the word 'classic'.  As I love classic bears and have designed many 'modern classics' during my time as a teddy bear artist, it has been no hardship to create three such beauties, especially for Julieann's lovely shop, in bonny Scotland!

'The Crooners' are now available from http://www.sillybears.co.uk/artists/index.cfm?page=96

I confess to indulging in the occasional ol' fashioned, honey-toned croon while I work and as these bears came to life, their names fell perfectly into place ... so I'd like to introduce you to Nat, Sinatra and Bing, my 'Crooners'!

14" Bing

20" Sinatra

23" Nat

Now it's time to start work on my 'Winter Bearfest' show bears ...  there are only 24 days until the big day out in London and I am way, way, way, behind in my bear-making schedule!

If you have a passion for teddy bears and would enjoy a fabulous, bear-filled day out, please join us at Kensington Town Hall on the 27th February.  You'll love it!


For full details, visit the Hugglets' website at: http://www.hugglets.co.uk/

UPDATE: The crooners have sold out!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Do-it-yourself!

After hunting high and low on the Web for a teddy bear calendar to hang in my new workroom, it dawned on me I had everything I needed to make my own, right here at my fingertips ... doh!

My very own 2011 ALL BEAR calendar!

So about a week ago, I uploaded my favourite teddy bear studio shots from last year's crop of designs to www.bonusprint.com to create a personalised 2011 teddy bear calendar.  I must admit, I am tickled pink with the result.  Roll on the day when the decorating is finished and I can actually hang it on the wall!

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