Thursday, 28 February 2013

A bear like Alice ..

Isn't it odd how memory works ... I've been working on this teddy all week and until this morning wasn't sure if I'd made a he or a she bear, then remembered making the hand knitted shawl collar she's wearing, tried it on and hey presto, her gender was defined.  I still didn't have a name for her though, then for some inexplicable reason the name 'Alice' popped apparently out of nowhere into my head and triggered a memory from way way back, to a gift my mum bought me when I was a young girl, a hardback novel called 'A town like Alice' written by Nevil Shute.  

17" Alice

It's been at least thirty five years since I read that book and probably as many years since I last gave it a second thought, but today either the book memory triggered my bear's name, or my bear triggered that specific book memory ... I'm not sure which, but it made me wonder, do we really ever forget anything, or can memory store every tiny detail of our lives in case some seemingly insignifcant snippet might come in handy sometime? I wonder ... !

Monday, 25 February 2013

Mary Jane's Tearoom

So what does a bear maker do on show day, when she can't go to the show?  Well, in my case I sat in my armchair glued to three back-to-back episodes of Downton Abbey, whilst finishing this cute knitted teddy for my Great niece; she's been on the back burner for a while, so I am very pleased to have completed her at last!


Sunday at home may not have been quite as exciting as show day in London, but it was relaxing and enjoyable.  By the way, if you enjoy knitting, the pattern for 'Candy', together with several other equally enchanting designs, is available to purchase from the lovely 'Mary Jane's Tearoom' website ..


Happy knitting!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

No Show!

It's Sunday morning and as you know, I should be in London at the Winter Bearfest show in Kensington Town Hall, but instead I'm home, feeling a little 'out of the loop' after cancelling my stand.  On the plus side, I didn't miss having to wake up at horrible o'clock this morning and certainly haven't missed heaving my stand equipment and bears from the car to the exhibition table against a freezing February wind across the River Thames, but I am missing the excitement of our first major UK show of the year and it is an odd sensation not to be taking part with my latest bears on this occasion.



I may have posted these photos before, but they still make me smile, so I'm sharing them again today.  They were taken about twenty years ago at a Hugglets' show and as you can see, my son and I were making the most of our visit back then! We visited the shows as a family of passionate teddy bear collectors and always had a wonderful time choosing special bears to take home.  The enormous bear you see us both holding on this occasion, is 'Sir Hugh', made especially for me by one of my oldest bear making friends, the utterly charming Mr. Frank Webster.  We took Sir Hugh to MacDonalds for a burger and chips after the show and as you can imagine, he raised quite a few smiles from passers by!


These days of course, I'm on the other side of the table introducing my own range of teddy bears to collectors.  I tend to spend the entire day chatting because teddy bear shows are always extremely sociable!


It doesn't matter how many years I've been exhibiting, after setting up my stand in the morning, it's always a nail biting time waiting for the doors to open and a stream of eager collectors to flood into the hall.  I've never been the world's most confident sales person, so standing beside my new offerings at opening time is a daunting process until the first visitors have stopped for a chat and a hug with my bears, reassuring me my creations are a welcome addition to the show.


During a show, I can never resist taking a peek at the vintage bears; all those gorgeous old teddies with secret histories ... if only they could talk!


And if I can stop chatting for long enough to wander round the stands myself, mohair suppliers' stands are a tremendous lure; I'm just like a kid in a candy store among all those fabulous new fabrics!


It's far too cold to do much else today, so I shall log in to Facebook from time to time to enjoy my friends' show photographs as they share them.  I hope everyone has a fun show in London and as for me, I will just have to be patient and look forward to taking part again when the next teddy bear show comes to town in September!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Hurry up Spring!

So much for all my Spring hopes!  
I came downstairs to a flurry of snow this morning; Winter it seems, is back to torment me, brrr!!!

11" Mimosa

I won't be swayed by the weather though, Surely Spring is just around the corner?  My new little alpaca girl bear is dressed ready for warmer days and prettier gardens ... come on Springtime, hurry up!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Knitting Episodes!

Several episodes of Downton Abbey later and my little lilac girl bear is all ready for Spring, dressed her best hand knitted frock.

14" 'Lila'

Waiting in my work basket is a half made cream alpaca bear and I am wondering if the snuggly turquoise cardigan I began knitting at the weekend will fit; there's one sleeve and a neckband left to finish, so I think I can justify treating myself to another episode of Downton Abbey this afternoon, horaay!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Convalescing

I spy hyacinths and crocus peeking through the earth in my garden and the sun is shining ... could this mean Spring has at last arrived?  I do hope so!


I'm feeling much brighter today ... I am a great believer in the body's capacity to heal itself and rest seems to be working well for me this week, for which I am eternally grateful. Sadly I have had to cancel my stand at the Hugglets show in London next weekend, but on a happier note, since the pressure to meet the show deadline has been removed, I have instead been able to enjoy a little knitting and Downton Abbey on DVD ... there must be worse ways to spend a few days!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Best Laid Plans

Fifty was an unwelcome birthday, for all the wrong reasons.  It began nine days ago, in the usual manner of days, with a hot shower, but before I had time to check my mirror for mischievous wrinkles, a nasty pain bit me in the side and my birthday celebrations took a rapid downhill tumble towards cancellation.  The doc suspected kidney stones, combined with an infection and as the pain was so great, there was nothing for it but to stay in bed for a week and pray for it to pass.  Thankfully it did eventually pass and I'm now back on my feet, wobbling my way slowly around the house again.  Needless to say, after such a dramatic arrival, I rather lost my appetite for celebrating my first half century on this planet ...


Which was a shame, because my family went to so much trouble to make it a special day.  My daughter bedecked our lounge with balloons, streamers and confetti, there were lovely cards, many of which had been hand made,  a pretty cake ready for candles, guests and platters of party food ... such a pity, but I guess, once in a very blue moon, that's life.


As is the way of all things, after drama, we move on and already Valentine's Day has arrived! 

So Stuart, my husband, my friend, it is the perfect day to thank you for taking such good care of me and keeping my spirits up while I have been unwell ... I really don't know what I would have done without you.  

You are already mine and for that Valentine, I thank my lucky stars xxx

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Fact Facing

After worrying my work was going nowhere fast throughout January, I now find I did actually manage to complete nine bears, not to mention the several still in progress ... so my bearmaker's 'fug' has at last been replaced with a tentative sense of accomplishment, just in time for February's onslaught.

These five Tiddler bears will be hopping over to the 'One More Bear' shop in Trentham on Monday, a tiny bit later than originally planned, but only by a week or so ...

Little Blue 8"

Nutmeg 8"

Herbie 8"

Tiddly Ted 8"

Pickle 8"

And as soon as my latest Tiddlers are in the post, I will be straight back to my 'work-in-progress' basket bears, to whip up a few more for the Hugglets show and also to try and finish my order for a US shop - all going well, I should be able to share more news about that order later this month.

Despite time fast running away from me before the show in London, there is one thing I can't postpone ( much as I might prefer too!)  Half a century on this planet is apparently momentous enough to require a nod to its gravitas, together with a birthday cake with my family, so on Tuesday I am obliged to set aside my sewing and instead face my fiftieth birthday full square in the eye ... 

... but until the very last minute I reserve the right to squint reluctantly at this most belligerently ageing of numbers and pretend I'm still a fabulously youthful, energic 25 year old, with the world at my tippytoes!

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