Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Knit one, sneeze one ...

Despite the beautiful sunshine outdoors, today I've been zapped by a sore throat and cold, so I'm curled in my armchair with my knitting needles, molly coddlin' myself.


Hopefully I'll have the back of this frock knitted by tea-time and will then be able to set this little girl bear aside while I work on a few of her friends and complete the 'Teddy Bear Hollow' shop order I promised a while ago. Despite my tardiness with orders this year, lovely Julie the shop owner is still eager to have my bears in her shop and has been kind enough to wait with all the patience of a saint, for my bears to arrive at her store.  

Thank you so much Julie!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Polly's Progress

As blogging is one of my favourite things to do and as Polly's updates on my 'Bearing All' blog have started to dominate the content, I have decided to write a brand new blog, especially for Polly!  This way, not only do I get to share more of her photos and exploits, I can also chart our achievements and frustrations, which as time goes by should hopefully help me with Polly's training.  

So, if you have enjoyed my Polly posts and would like to follow her progress, please bookmark our new blog 'Polly's Progress' ... we hope you enjoy the read!



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A moment to reflect ..

Anyone who ever lost someone close in unexpected circumstances, will no doubt recognise the pattern of raw emotion ... shock, disbelief, anger, deep sadness, but ultimately and eventually, quiet acceptance.  After three years it seems to me, extreme loss never leaves us, rather it fulfills a purpose to teach the truth of life and help us to evolve beyond the constriction of pain.


So today isn't a day for dwelling on loss. 

For anyone going through what I went through three years ago, I would rather offer hope ... you will learn to cope, you will evolve and you will know joy again, but please be gentle with yourself, healing takes time.

Remembering my Dad today.
xxx

Monday, 16 September 2013

A year on ...

A year ago today, Stuart and I were married!  
Our first year as an official 'Mr & Mrs' has flown past and it really doesn't seem possible twelve months have slipped by since we gathered with family and friends to share our vows and exchange rings.

Mr and Mrs ... a year ago today!

We celebrated on Saturday evening with a fabulous candlelit slap up meal in a cosy corner of  The Black Horse in Thurnham, a beautiful 18th century country inn which serves the most delicious food.  Usually I would choose a glass of dry white wine to accompany a special meal, but was so delighted when I saw 'Curious Brew' from Chapel Down Vineyard on the drinks list, that I ordered that instead ... we served 'Curious Brew' to our guests on our wedding day in memory of my Dad, so naturally I wanted to raise a glass to him on our first wedding anniversary.

'Pearl' by Yvonne Andrew of Bebbin Bears

As a very special momento of our first year together, Stuart bought us the most beautiful bear called 'Pearl' from last weekend's show in London.  I wore pearls on our wedding day, so this bear is absolutely the most perfect teddy choice to mark our first anniversary as husband and wife.  She was created my friend Yvonne Andrew (Bebbin Bears) who is one of the most lovely teddy bear ladies.  Pearl now sits daintily on our mantelpiece and we couldn't be more delighted with her!

Mr & Mrs ... taken by my daughter, a few weeks ago.

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that ... just as I was about to finish writing this post the doorbell rang, so up I jumped and there on my doorstep was a delivery of the most gorgeous orange flowers (the colour of our wedding flowers!) sent with love from my daughter ... thank you so much Fay, that was such a lovely, thoughtful surprise!!!!


So here we are a year on as 'Mr and Mrs' ... we laugh together, grump together, love together ... and most importantly, are together!

Happy First Anniversary Husband, 
Still making my world turn,
With all my love to you always.
Here's to our second anniversary! 
xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A touch of Autumn

The nights are drawing in, sparkling dew covers the grass and spiders are busy spinning intricate webs across my roses; yes, Autumn is definitely creeping into my garden.  It won't long before our beautiful English countryside flames with orange, red, plum and gorgeous golds and we all start wearing woolly pullys and thick socks again ... I love this time of year, everything feels so cosy!


Yesterday I worked on giving my website an Autumnal makeover.  It took a good few hours to change all the backgrounds and tweak everything, but I think it was worth the effort. 


I do hope the new look gives you a flavour of Autumn in England and makes you feel snuggly and warm when you visit!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Show Time!

After missing the past two Hugglets' shows through illness and my wedding, it felt as though I'd been out of the loop for far too long, so being back in the swing of things in London on Sunday was a real treat for me, a bit like coming out of a long hibernation!

My 'All Bear' stand set up

The sun was shining when we set out in the morning and the roads were quiet, so we arrived at Kensington Town Hall feeling relaxed and looking forward to the day.  As we unloaded the car we noticed a lovely long queue of 'early bird' collectors ... always a good sign!

The Great Hall

This is a large show, with about 170 exhibitors spread over two floors, so most visitors come prepared to spend the whole day enjoying all there is to offer ... and even I donned 'sensible' shoes for the day!

Peeking out from behind my stand!

The day passed in a flash and it seemed everyone was having a fun time chatting about bears, life, the universe and beyond. I really enjoyed meeting new collectors and catching up with old friends ... shows are always such sociable events among bear makers because they bring us together, when usually we live so far apart.  Some of us have known one another for many a long year, so it's lovely to catch up in person.

My able assistant!

And if you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes, this picture will give a clue ... Stuart my able assistant, trying to fathom 'The Sun' crossword!

Frank Webster's beautiful bears across the aisle

I was delighted to have some of my oldest bear friends close by, across the aisle were lovely Frank and Sue Webster, on the stand next to me was dear Yvonne (Bebbin Bears) and a couple of stands along were Lynette and Paul Littlejohn (LJ Bears) ... there were plenty of other friends in other halls too, so we all tried to make time to squeeze in some catch-up time; after all, bear shows aren't all about the selling you know ...

But sell we did!  I was delighted to wave goodbye to all but one little bear on show day and couldn't have been more thrilled that Sunday was a big bear day for me.  Only little 'Huey' came home again ... perhaps he was a little lost among those big 'uns!  I'm sure he will soon find a new home, so until then, I'm happy to have him back in my workroom to keep me company.

And on the subject of bear adoptions, I was bowled over by a very special surprise at the show ... but I'm going to keep that story for another day!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

In the nick of time!

I must admit, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever be ready for the 'Teddies 2013' show tomorrow, but thankfully the bears are now ready, even if I am not!

My studio is still cluttering the living room floor, but no matter, I'll get to that in a moment, first let's enjoy a few Autumnal show bear photographs, at what is almost the 'eleventh hour'!

20" Harvey

13" Ha'penny

18" Buster (pre-ordered for collection on show day)

20" Harley

12" Huey

22" Horace

I will also have my sweet little ellie 'Butterfly' and her teddy friend 'Meadow' joining us, together with a Prim Dolly Doodle Witchypoo and two fun sock monkeys my daughter kindly made for my table; so hopefully, there should be plenty to keep show visitors entertained.  All that remains is for me to organise pricing, hangtags, stand paraphernalia, walking the dog and a good night's sleep ... mind you, by the time I've finished the four tasks on the list, the fourth might be a bit ambitious ... 

So I will most likely be the bleary eyed bear maker on table 75, in Hall 2, if you happen to be passing!  Hope to see you there and I promise to try not to yawn :o)

For full show details, please visit:

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Polly's Progress

Polly and I are touched to have received such keen interest and support from both blog and Facebook friends, so have decided to share tales of our progress here with you on a separate blog called 'Polly's Progress' ... http://pollyandpaula.blogspot.co.uk/

Here are the most recent entries, I hope you enjoy the read.

Paula and Polly (aged 6 months)

August 2013

It was our third visit to dog training school today, but I freely confess, the drive out to the field is still more of a white knuckle ride than a delight.  Each time I pray fervently for no oncoming traffic so my little red Corsa can tackle those flint stewn lanes without being forced into the dreaded 'long winding reverse'!

Thankfully Polly has taken to the car like the proverbial duck to water, hopping onto the back seat without a moment's hesitation. She settles comfortably on the back seat (wearing her 'Klick Safe' car harness) with her soft black nose resting between the front seats and every so often she gives me an encouraging lick on my left arm as we drive along.

Taking part in a formal class is proving to be a very different ball game from practicing Polly's obedience skills in our back garden, or on our local daily walks.  Skills she performs easily at home, seem to disappear as if by magic when she goes to school.  Despite her initial dislike of lead walking (picture every conceivable trick in the 'Naughty Puppy Handbook' and believe me, Polly mastered them all ... her favourite, to plonk herself belly down on the ground, flatly refusing to budge!) and since Kevin (instructor) visited us at home to set me straight with some sound puppy walking/training advice, walking with my cheeky girl has become far more of a pleasure.  We've progressed from willful lead hanging and twirling, flopping to the ground and chasing cars, to earning treats by walking like a young lady at mum's side ... maybe not yet perfect, but definitely much improved and thankfully, more controlled.

Or at least, so I thought until today ...

It's the holiday season so classes are subject to change and today, Polly was tacked onto a big boys' class. Unfortunately one sniff of those testosterone fueled fellas had her all in a flutter, abandoning any modicum of doggy decorum.  To be fair to Polly, she did reasonably well with 'sits', 'downs' and 'stays' when asked, but as for 'heeling' on the lead, there wasn't a hope with a handsome bruiser strutting his stuff to her right.

I must admit, today's session was less than pleasurable for me, not least because as a 'newbie' I am still trying to grasp what is expected, also Polly hasn't yet settled into her exciting new surroundings, which makes working with her quite physically demanding (and me feel every creak of my fifty years, lol!) ... but no matter, we muddled through the hour and half required and in terms of progress, I am happy to report Polly redeemed herself with an enthusiastic attempt at running through the agility tunnels which spooked her last time ... she also executed a reasonably solid 'down stay' at the end of class, which was a great improvement on our last session.  Good girl Polly!

As for me: tired, disheveled, sweaty (sunny day!) and feeling fairly inadequate in the face of far more accomplished classmates, just about sums it up!  All in all, 'could do better,' is probably a fair assessment of my training skills at this point ...

Hopefully this old dog will soon learn a few new tricks!

xxx

DECISION TIME
September 2013



Making the decision to have our beautiful Polly spayed, wasn't taken lightly.  I researched thoroughly, discussed the matter with our vet of many years and quite simply, agonised.  The arguments on both sides of the spay equation were compelling, but the medical benefits were sufficiently significant to convince me it would be in Polly's best long-term interests to be spayed ... and as I have no intention of breeding or showing her, my primary concern will always be to keep her happy and safe.

I had several sleepless nights as the date for Polly's operation approached and to be honest, felt as though I was abandoning her as I gave up her lead to the vet and walked away.  Then I waited nervously for half past twelve to hurry up, so I could ring the surgery receptionist to ask how Polly was.  As it turned out, my anxiety was needless, Polly had sailed through surgery and would be ready to collect in a couple of hours.

Naturally my lovely bouncy girl was a little dozy and confused straight after her general anaesthetic, but by tea time had perked up considerably and even managed to eat scrambled eggs for her tea.  I must admit, I expected her recovery to be far slower, but she has shown no obvious sign of pain, had no 'accidents' with toileting and if she didn't have a little scar on her tummy, it would be impossible to know she'd ever even had surgery!  

Polly is delighted to be home and as you can see from the photograph of her playing with her Kong feeder, taken a couple of days after her operation, is completely back to her usual playful, cheeky self!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Bunny out of the bag!!!

The cat is out of the bag (Or the rabbit in my case lol!) and I can now let you into a little secret ... 

'Clover' has been honoured with a 2013 'Excellence in Bear Artistry' award!!!!!!

Whooooo!!!!

'Clover'  has won a 2013 Excellence in Bear Artistry Award!

I couldn't be more thrilled as this is my first ever rabbit entry into a professional bear crafting competition and being honoured in this way by a panel of expert judges is a huge compliment!

Now the professional judges have cast their votes, the winning entries are entered into a public choice category so that you, the collectors, can also have your say ... so please pop over to the 'Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards' website to study the winners carefully and cast a vote for your favourite creations ... thank you!


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