Thursday, 31 March 2011

Disco Diversion ...

I've been in a bit of a sulky teenage fug today ... you know when you have to do something you really don't want to think about, let alone do?  Well, I've been having one of those days.  Anyway, without boring you with the detail, suffice it to say a blast of my special pink disco CD, played at full pelt while I was photographing my latest bear this afternoon, soon had me sorted ... there's nothing quite like 'It's raining men' by the Weather Girls, to set a '70's-at-heart-girl' back on the right track is there?!

16" Gracie is now available from www.allbear.co.uk

So this is 'Gracie', a pretty dusky pink girl bear, duly photographed, uploaded to my website to a disco beat and ... ready to adopt!

Update: I'm delighted to tell you Gracie found a lovely new home in the US shortly after appearing on my website!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A pair of old timers ...

These delightful old timers are patiently waiting to be adopted.  They are slouchy, cuddly fellows with a calm, kinda laid back outlook on life ...

20" Boswell

17" Bramwell

At the moment they are keeping me company in my workroom, but I'm sure they'll be happy to move on to pastures new, when the time is right for them ...

If you would like to find out more about Boswell and Bramwell, please pop over to:

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Signs of Spring ...

I'm sitting at my desk with the doors to the garden flung wide open today because Spring has arrived and it is absolutely glorious!  I think there's something very special about early Spring in England and it has me reaching for my camera ...

My special pink camelia

The photograph above was taken only half an hour ago and is of a special camelia given to me by my Dad, many years ago.  I brought this plant from my previous garden when I moved house four years ago and nervously transplanted it, hoping it would survive the upheaval.  Luckily my pink camelia loves its new garden and as you can see, is blooming enthusiastically! Dad, always a keen gardener, would have been delighted his gift to me still brightens my garden each Spring ... and brings a smile to my face.

Daisy soaks up a little early Spring sunshine!

As you can see, Daisy too has been enjoying the Spring sunshine this morning ... reaching her pretty little face to the sky, just like my camelia!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Feisty, fun and ... fabulous!

This day, twenty eight years ago, was a momentous day for me because my first child, my beautiful little girl, entered the world.  I can hardly believe how quickly the years have flown past, but time as they say, waits for no man ... or woman for that matter! 

My precious new baby girl - 1983

Being a mum is what my life has truly been all about, from the moment I held my little girl in my arms.  Today that tiny bundle celebrates her 28th birthday and has become a feisty, fun, messy, most beautiful girl.  I'm going to embarrass her publically today, by thanking her for all the love and joy she has brought and continues to bring, to my life. 

Fay!

So,
Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Fay,
With all my love to you always,
Mum xxx

Monday, 21 March 2011

My new workroom - an update

In case you've been wondering, my new 'den' is really starting to take shape! 

First I moved my special chair into place ...
and carefully placed my favourite photograph of Dad right beside.


Then challenged myself to build a (very simple!) shelving unit to accommodate all my craftbooks ...


... and they are now in situe in my new, super-organised craft cupboard.


Stuart built a smart display cabinet for my bears, bits 'n bobs ...


Which I am absolutely thrilled to bits with!


And my lovely gallery of 'special times' makes me smile every time I walk through the door ...


My cute knitted dog doorstop, a gift from my son and his girlfriend, is now 'on guard' at the foot of the door ...


... beneath a pretty welcome sign (also a gift) ...


All I need now is a new desk to work on and a sewing chair - they've been ordered and should be here in a few days, so there's not much longer to wait until I will be able to add the final finishing touches and declare my new workroom officially open for bear business!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Pink Welly Sunday ...

So what does a bear maker do with her Saturday afternoons when her fella is at the footie?  Does she grab her credit card, car keys, high heels, lipstick and head for the designer stores?  Well, I hate to disappoint, but these days this one doesn't!  I much prefer to drive out to Wormshill to catch up with my sister, for chat, coffee, cake and last weekend, a squelchy pink welly walk too ...

My sister Fiona with Bugsy

Following my leaders!

Squelch!

Caught on camera by my niece Lauren!

I think it's safe to say our dollying around days are slipping away in favour of  fresh air family fun! 

Thanks for another lovely afternoon Fo, looking forward to the next one xxx

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Hey Dilly Dilly!

After our long cold Winter, at last the earth is gently warming, encouraging beautiful Spring flowers to brighten my garden.  As you can probably tell, the pastel shades of Spring have definitely been my inspiration this week!

13" Dilly is now available from

I do hope you have enjoyed sharing a flavour of early Spring with me today!

Wednesday evening update: Dilly has been adopted!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Pretty Polly!

I haven't done this in quite some time, but in my quest to find Polly a new home, I worked my way methodically through the Ebay process this morning.  She will be available to purchase for just three short days, so we'll see what, if anything, transpires! 

13" Polly is now available on Ebay! 

Good luck Polly!

Update: Polly has been adopted!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Scaling down, a personal challenge!

I am traditional girl at heart when it comes to making bears, with an unashamed penchant for crafting beautiful, big bears.  A big bear is always such a comfort, he has a sense of nostalgia, a proud bearing and of course, in my case, is a constant reflection of my childhood companion, 'Big Ted' ...

Paula with Big Ted 1964

Making big bears seems to have come naturally to me. I understand their proportions and how to bring to life their endearing expressions. Above all, I understand their appeal for collectors, simply because I share that same passion for these grand teddy bears.

Since my first attempts at bear-making, I have always made big bears.  In fact over the years, some of them have been enormous!  As you can see below, 'Miguel the Magnificent', created over ten years ago, made a significant statement at 32"!

'Miguel the Magnificent' with Paula

And in 1998, I was absolutely thrilled when my 32" bear 'Himself' won the 1998 'British Bear Artist' Award for big bears!

32" 'Himself'
Winner of the 'British Bear Artist Award for big bears in 1998

Much as I love them, I am aware there are considerations to be made when purchasing big bears - for example, space and cost!  These bears need considerable elbow room and their travel expenses can be pretty hefty. Having said that, I am certain the pleasure of adopting one, always outweighs the pain of affording and accommodating a big bear, in the long run.

And speaking of pain, these big guys can play havoc with a bearmaker's stuffing arm!  After months of suffering with a frozen shoulder as a result of working on my big bear designs, I have had to rest my arm as much as possible and am at long last free of pain ... and hoping to stay that way ...

After so many years of confident big bear design, you might now begin to understand what a challenge making a little bear would be for someone like me.  Yesterday, after many year's of avoidance, I decided to make eye contact with that challenge and began to design what for me, will be a positively tiny teddy bear ...


Working in such small scale posed new challenges ... turning little limbs and ears was very fiddly and finding mohair with suitable pile length was definitely outside my comfort zone - not to mention outside my stash of big bear fabrics!  Fortunately I found a scrap of sparse mohair with which to begin my new project ...


One of the benefits of working on a much smaller scale, was that my bear began to form far more quickly than a big 'un would have done!  Within a few hours, I had little stuffed arms and legs and was all ready to start work on my little bear's head!


I couldn't resist showing you a couple of size comparisons; the big foot on the right belongs to one of my 22" bears ...


And this footpad belongs to one of my 13" bears!  So, as you can see, my latest design will be very tiddly indeed by comparison!

Today I need to source teeny, tiny eyes and hardboard joints to finish this wee bear ... please pop back soon and I'll show how he/she progresses!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Hobbying!

The trouble with bear-making is that it begins as a hobby, then worms its way into your soul and before you know it, you're running a business!  That's how things happened for me anyhow ... and the trouble with running a business, is that before you know it, you no longer have a hobby ...

The perfect cross stitch kit for me?!

Every so often, I crave a totally un-bear related project and this year, I have decided to try my hand at cross-stitch.  The odd thing is, despite making bears for my living, I have never been terribly confident with hand sewing.  Yes, I can embroider a nifty nose, close a seam and twiddle a little with stitchery now and again, but I'm conscious that embroidery for me has always been a bit of a challenge.  I blame it on being a hopeless leftie - while my right handed friends' stitches flowed in one beautifully neat, praiseworthy direction at school, mine were a confused, unpraiseworthy shambles!

Several of my sisters enjoy cross stitch and I am in awe of their expertise.  I am approaching this project with an 'if they can do it, surely so can I?' attitude ... (whilst privately keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I don't make an utter 'big sister' fool of myself!)

My sister Lynda's beautifully neat cross stitch tapestry work ...

Being me is never straightforward.  I'm not sure why I can't allow myself to take an uncomplicated approach to learning a new skill and simply purchase a simple kit, but no, much as I'd prefer it to be, that's really not my style and knowing me, I've probably bitten off far more than I will ever be able to chew.  Ah well, if nothing else, I can safely say I had fun sourcing the perfect kit and the ideal daylight lamp ...

Several hours later ...

As I can never face bear-making straight after a show, I'm giving myself a spot of 'Paula time' this week in the hope I will bond with my latest hobby.  I settled myself into my armchair today for a few intensive hours, familiarising myself with my sewing frame, threads and charts; needless to say it didn't begin well ... several restarts later, I have what to me looks a totally inadequate amount of sewing to show for my time and now I'm wondering whether I can spare ten years or so to actually complete this latest project!

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