Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year's Wish

The final day of 2015 has arrived here in the UK in a sunny, gusty, showery kinda way, making it crystal clear Christmas is now over with and a new year beckons ...


I loved Christmas Day this year. My kids and their partners came home and as they are all adults with busy lives of their own, I never take that for granted.  It was extra special to have them back around my table, sharing Christmas dinner as a family ... and this year, for the first time, celebrating with my little Grandson Toby.


I think Toby brought with him the true spirit of Christmas this year ... as only a child seeing the magic of Christmas through innocent eyes can.


Being able to spend Christmas Day with my family was very special and to share in Toby's Christmas magic, the most precious Christmas gift of all.


So here we are today, our family celebrations done and a New Year waiting for us. As the final hours of 2015 tick by, I don't have a New Year's Resolution, but I do I have a wish ... 

I wish for a happy and safe year ahead for my family.  I wish for my children's hopes and dreams to be treasured and I wish for my Grandson's life to be held precious by his family and the world around him.

Happy New Year to you all,
With my love. 
xxx

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Step into Christmas!

I am sure there are many ladies of a 'certain' age who like me, are mums with kids who grew into adults without warning, then flew the coop.  It sure takes a while to adjust to making festive preparations without excitable youngsters at home to share the tinsel and Christmas sparkle ...  


But I have always enjoyed the approach of Christmas and taken a pride in making our home cosy and filling it with the aroma of festive cooking spices, so although it may have taken a while for my Christmas spirit to waken this year, waken it did ... the moment my kids told me they wanted to come home to share Christmas!


So, my cake is now baked and covered in marzipan, a fruit pudding mixed and steamed and my red and green biscuit tin is heavy with home baked gingerbread. The Christmas tree is twinkling merrily and my husband has even hung fairy lights outside our house to welcome guests!


Tomorrow I will ice the Christmas cake (better late than never, my son loves the icing!) and wrap the kids' gifts.  I may be late with preparations this year, but I am determined to be ready on Christmas Eve when my daughter and her fiance come home.  We will be joined on Christmas Day by my son and his family, so as you can imagine, I am excited about sharing the magic of Christmas with them all and of course, with my little Grandson!


So, despite a quiet house in the lead up to Christmas, it's fair to say I am enjoying my tinsel and sparkle preparations this week ... as I wait for my family to come home and step into Christmas.

:-)

Monday, 21 December 2015

Catching up for Christmas

Met with my nieces from Portchester yesterday afternoon. They drove from Hampshire to Kent for a Christmas catch up with family and arranged for us to meet at beautiful 'Mote Park' for a fun walk with our dogs.

Our Christmas family catch up in the park

Unfortunately my sister Fo and I don't get to spend nearly enough time with our Hampshire nieces now they are all grown-up and working so far away, so it was great to have an opportunity to spend some time walking and chatting with  them. They brought their mum's (our sister Tina) cheeky Cockerpoos, Woody and Jessie, with them and my sister Fiona and her husband Simon brought Autumn, their magnificent German Shepherd girl.  My son and his family donned wellies to meet us there and of course, if there's a doggy party to be had, my gorgeous goldie girls, Polly and Betty, are always happy to attend!

Cousins catch up!

In fact all five dogs had a wonderful time racing around and re-acquainting themselves.  It was so much fun to watch them enjoying their family Christmas catch up too!  


So thanks for taking the time to travel up from Hampshire to see us all Justine, Kerri and Mark. The dog walk was a great idea - we all thoroughly enjoyed it and Polly and Betty wish Jess and Woody a very Happy Christmas!

Safe trip home girls and Mark.  
Have a great Christmas ... and let's catch up again soon! 

xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Shedding new light on Malteser

By the way, I took new pics of Malteser sitting on my little bench in the garden today. I wasn't entirely happy with how the studio lights had affected his colouring, so thought I'd see if daylight was better for him ... and the result is so much better in natural light!  Let's hope they help Malteser to find the new home he so deserves. He really is a lovely traditional teddy bear.

20" Malteser

If you would like to see Malteser's new photographs and full adoption details, please pop over to my website:


Good luck Malteser!

:-)

Update: So the new pics did the trick and Malteser has been adopted!

Christmas Past and Christmas Present

I confess to making only one Christmas bear this year.  I know, shocking isn't it?! Much as I would love to have made more, not to mention some Prim Dolly Doodles too, between training Betty and minding my Grandson, time conspired against me.

  
While Polly and Betty snoozed after their very muddy walk in the woods this afternoon, I filed photographs on my computer and came across several Christmas bears (and dolls) I made in better organised years - I think they span about ten years. They made me smile, so I made a little 'Christmas Past and Christmas Present' collage to share here with you today.

I hope they make you smile too.

:-)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Stepping into my Christmas stride

It has taken a little while to get into my Christmas stride this year and as yet, it is still a work in progress, but we do at last have a bauble bedecked tree in the window, a collection of friendly snowmen waiting patiently on the hearth and two excited young Golden Retrievers, who are wondering what on earth is happening.


Yep, Christmas is now definitely on its way and if I listen very, very, carefully, I can even hear the tinkle of sleigh bells far away in the distance .... !

:-)

Saturday, 12 December 2015

What the Dickens?!

Introducing a little festive spirit at last!



This is 'Dickens', a sweet 14" teddy bear in the most heavenly velvet soft red mohair.  He'd love to share Christmas with someone very special.  
I wonder, could it be you?

For full details, please visit: 



xxxxxx


Wishing all my lovely teddy bear owners, past and present, a wonderful Christmas and above all, a peaceful 2016 wherever you are in the world. 

Thank you all so much for your generous support and kindness.

With warmest hugs,
Paula and the All Bears 
xxx

Update: Dickens has been adopted!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A mum always knows!

I knew he would be 'The One' the very first time I met him.  
Something about his open manner, easy smile, the way he looked at my daughter ... and how her eyes sparkled and softened when she was near him. 
They were two halves of a whole, even then.
A mum always knows!


So when Neil asked me for my daughter's hand in marriage on Friday, I couldn't have been more thrilled to formally grant my permission and more importantly, to give him my blessing.  A little later I received an excited call from Fay on holiday in a wild and wintry Cornwall, to tell me what I already knew would happen, she had accepted his proposal!

I am so happy Neil will be my official son-in-law.  Not only is he perfect for Fay, he has already become a very welcome member of our family and is a perfect fit for us too!

So,
Congratulations you two!
I am bursting with happiness for you both and so proud of you!!!

With loads of love and pride,
Mum xxxxx

:-)

A pan of Christmas cheer

What with one thing and another, I completely missed 'mix-up Sunday' this year, so on this rainy Sunday afternoon, I am taking full advantage of two sleepy dogs and a husband working all weekend, to bag myself some 'Paula play time' ...


The kitchen radio is bouncing out cheery 70's hits (SO my generation! Abba's 'Waterloo' is playing as I type, reminding me of my Dad's penchant for the lovely blonde singer who wore a blue satin jumpsuit with a heart shape cut out revealing a cheeky tummy button!) ... and the dogs are snoring contentedly at my feet as I mix my pan of Christmas cheer.  It's odd, but I never feel in the least bit festive until I have made a Christmas cake and pudding for my family ...

Well, well, well, I do believe there may be a tiny hint of something festive tiptoe-ing up on me at last!  Better late than never eh?!

:-)



Wednesday, 2 December 2015

An inviting decision

I um-med ah-ed for quite some time when invitations for next year's Hugglets' shows arrived, because after so many years exhibiting at their lovely London shows, committing to a change of plan, had me feeling very torn, but the truth is, I have been struggling to create enough bears to set aside for shows since Polly, Betty and my Grandson arrived and to be absolutely honest, after twenty years of bear-making, much as I have enjoyed the shows, I no longer have an appetite for the inevitable deadline crisis that always has me in a last minute twirl of bear-making madness.


Preparing to exhibit at bear shows is time consuming and costly, so I have come to the conclusion that in preparation for 2016, it is time to put on my big girl pants and make a firm decision about how to move forward. The result is, I will be taking a break from shows for the foreseeable future.  

There. I've said it, so that makes it real. Phew!


So, I am looking forward to working at a more gentle pace, creating bears from the heart, walking each day with my girls, taking care of home, hearth and  husband and of course, sharing time with my precious Grandson while he is still little enough to need me. 

Yes, I think it's time to put the brakes on a little and maybe even smell those roses!

I will continue to share new bears via my website and will of course, keep in contact as usual, through my blog, mailing list, Facebook page, Twitter, Bearpile and ... well, you get the picture. 

You can take the bear-maker out of the shows, but you can't take the bear-maker out of the ... er bear-maker!

:-)

Monday, 23 November 2015

Wynter

We've slipped quietly from the mild golden days of Autumn, into the frosty nip of Winter in the bat of an eyelid. I can hardly believe how fast a year passes these days ... it will be Christmas in less than five weeks and I haven't even mixed my pudding yet.


Still, there's nothing quite like an early morning walk in the woods with my girls crunching on frosty leaves, so perhaps I shouldn't complain too much.  So long as as the sun is shining, I really don't mind wrapping up warmly for a stroll ... a wintery chill is always invigorating!

And of course, a new season should always herald the arrival of lovely new teddy bears ...

Today I'd like to introduce you to 'Wynter', a pretty 19" bear in frosty shades of lavendar (more lavendar than this pic in fact, as I have discovered lavendar is another shade which is difficult to photograph under studio lights!)

Wynter is now available for pre-Christmas adoption from my website: 


Keep snuggly all!

Update: Wynter has been adopted.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Copper Carpet

Not quite sure how I managed to find time to finish him this week, but somehow, between dog training, walkies and Grandson time, it happened!

16" Copper

So this is 'Copper', a rather lovely 16" mohair teddy.  As soon as I spotted his gorgeous mohair, I couldn't resist ordering it because it put me in mind of our favourite Autumn walks in the woods ... the leaves are golden, crunchy and carpeting the ground here right now, it's absolutely beautiful.


While I had my studio set up, I also took new photographs of 'Malteser' - dark brown bears are so tricky to photograph, but I think I prefer these pics of him to the ones I first took ... especially the one of him with Copper, it's so cute!

Malteser and Copper

20" Malteser 

Both of these lovely teddy bears are now available to adopt from my website:



Update: Copper has been adopted!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Time for Toby

Can't tell you how delighted I am to have been asked to take care of my Grandson, now that it is time for his mummy to return to work.


As it is such a privilege to be able to share special time with Toby while he is so little, I have decided to put aside my bear-making for one day a week and make time to enjoy simply being with my Grandson. 


We spent our first full day alone together yesterday and had so much fun playing with toys, reading books, climbing, walking, chatting and of course, chuckling!
  
I am completely smitten with this little lad ... being his Nana is the best job ever!!!

:-)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Remember, remember

My kids may be in their thirties, but they have never been too old to don wellies and celebrate Guy Fawkes night with me ... and happily this year, my Grandson was able to join us for the first time too! 


Watching little Toby wrapped safely in my son's arms, gazing at the sky with smiles and wide-eyed wonder, was a very special treat for me. Sharing traditions with my closest family has always been important.  Thanks kids, for always remembering and never failing to make time.


There is always a moment on Guy Fawkes night, when an especially spectacular firework illuminates the night sky and if I listen hard enough, I can almost hear my Dad's voice over the fizz and crackle.  He would have loved sharing fireworks with his Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren ... he always did enjoy a good Bonfire Night celebration.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.

Never forgotten Dad xxx

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A heartfelt teddy bear

The traditional teddy bear will always be at the heart of my bear-making.  Those golden oldies of years long past embodied comfort and security, so as a modern day bearmaker, I think it's every bit as important today, to weave heart and soul into our bears, as we steer them safely through flashing, beeping, technological toys, into the hearts of future generations.

20" Malteser is now available to adopt from:

In this computerised age, I make no apologies for my very traditional teddy bear.  Yes, he may be a simple chap, but please keep in mind, he is honest and true in his design.  He may not have beeps or sirens, flashing gizmos, nor triple AAA batteries, 

but ...

'Malteser' is a heartfelt teddy bear. 
Made by me, especially for you.
xxx

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..


Depressingly, our local council is currently on a mission to build houses and shops on any what seems like any available green space around the outskirts of town.  Thankfully, our local award winning 'Mote Park', bequeathed many years ago to the people of Maidstone, is still a beautiful place to take a stroll ... 


Autumn is my favourite time of year for walking in the park because that's when it flames gold and red with unabashed flamboyance. We explored some of the quieter areas of the park last weekend with Polly and Betty and I loved watching them running and playing together in the autumn sunshine.

Even though I have walked here for more than forty years, I never tire of visiting.  There are always new memories to made and misty memories of happy times, waiting for me along each pathway ...

:-)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Goosebump

Little 'Goosebump' disappeared almost as quickly as I could say 'boo' yesterday!


No sooner did I send him to my website, than he was invited to spend Halloween with a lovely new owner!  I'm certainly not complaining, but sending 'sorry that one already sold' emails to eager collectors who only just miss a bear they are excited about, is always tough.  

I can't stress enough, if you fall in love with a special teddy bear, either on a website, or at a show, please trust your instincts and adopt as quickly as possible, because if you've fallen head over heels in love, the chances are someone else has too ... 


Happy Halloween Bear Collecting Everyone!

:-)

Monday, 19 October 2015

Our Annual Family Tromp

Our annual family tromp through the  Knole Park Estate to spot deer and enjoy the fabulous colours of Autumn, has become something of a tradition in recent years ...


For the past few years, my sister Fiona and I have gathered as many members of our own families as possible (including dogs!) to meet in Sevenoaks for a walk around beautiful Knole Park each October.  We sling cameras over our shoulders, lead up our dogs to keep the deer safe, don wellies or walking boots, then set off after lunch, for a few hours of fresh air, family chat and fabulous scenery.   Yesterday's tromp was truly spectacular ... the stags were rutting, the trees aflame in fiery reds and golds and of course, our family spirits were high!

Silly sisters selfie .. as is traditional!

I look forward to this special day every year, so was determined not to be floored by a heavy cold this week.  Despite huffing and puffing uphill and a case of wobbly legs after the walk, I was so glad we all managed to get together to share Sunday afternoon at Knole again this year.  Fiona and I always enjoy our grown up kids 'outdoorsing' with their cousins; there is something immensely satisfying in watching the next generation, their partners and now kiddies too, sharing and enjoying time exploring together.  As mums and also as sisters, we take a real pride in that!

:-)

Tommy Sunshine

... and in case you were wondering, yes of course I made a special teddy bear to celebrate my Grandson's first birthday!

'Tommy Sunshine'

A bright yellow teddy bear with a twinkle in his eye ... brim full of sunshine and smiles.

Happy Birthday Toby!

:-)

Happy First Birthday!

It was my Grandson's first birthday last week and goodness me, how that year has flown.  As you will understand, this little man is the apple of his Nana's eye ...  a little boy with a chuckle guaranteed to light the darkest of days!


I was absolutely delighted when my son brought Toby to visit me on his birthday. We went for a lovely long walk in the woods after he'd opened his presents, something we've always loved to do as a family and something Toby also loves.


So little man, a year on this earth and already you have made me the proudest Nana ever!  I have loved watching you unravel life's puzzles with your Daddy's quiet determination and your mummy's gentle spirit, as you explore the world with increasingly steady steps.  Getting to know you has been so much fun and the smile you give when you hear my voice, is the most precious gift of all!


Happy First Birthday to you Toby.
Stay safe, love life and always be kind.
With all my love always,
From,
Your Nana xxx

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A Polly & Betty catch up

Last weekend was a quiet one for us, so a chance to don walking shoes and enjoy some Autumn sunshine at Cobtree Manor Country Park with our girls ...


Little Betty is now almost five months old and a happy, cheeky little soul.  She is so much fun and I am constantly amazed by how fast she learns new skills.  Having a big sister to look up to has definitely helped Betty master the basics quickly, but even without Polly's guidance, this little girl is very switched on, constantly impressing me with a sweet-faced eagerness to please and a lovely natural enthusiasm.  Betty and I enrolled at Obedience School together recently and I am delighted to tell you, she is already proving herself to be as bright as a button.


As for my beautiful Polly (now two and a half years old), she will soon be undertaking a spot of 'urban training'.  I thought it might benefit her (and me) to join a small group which trains in real life situations, so we have signed up with an ex-guide dog instructor and our first walk is going to take place right through the centre of our busy local town, which should certainly put our obedience skills to the test!

Two such lively young girls keep me on my toes as you can imagine, but they do enjoy a snooze or two every day, so don't worry, there's still time for my bear-making.  In fact, I am currently working on a little Halloween teddy bear for my website and am hoping to finish the Halloween Prim Dolly Doodle I started a while ago.  Speaking of which, I'd better sign off and get to work ... Halloween is fast approaching!!!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Excellence in Bear Artistry

The 2015 announcements have been made today and I am delighted to tell you, my 'Mr Moonshine' is among the select few honoured with a prestigious ... 

'Excellence in Bear Artistry - Judges Choice Award'!


So, right now, I will take a quiet moment to enjoy my success and give thanks that after twenty long years of making bears, they are still appreciated ... something in this fast moving creative industry, I never ever take for granted!

The next stage of the competition is the public vote.  If you would like to cast votes for your favourite teddy bear from each category, please visit the EBAA website by clicking the link below:


:-)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Deja vu!

You may be experiencing a little 'deja vu' at the sight of this fine fellow, but you can rest assured it is simply because he is a limited edition shop exclusive teddy bear and the third bear of his series!

'Dustin'

 I am delighted to be able to tell you, 'Dustin' No.3 will be making his way to 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich tomorrow.

:-)

Friday, 25 September 2015

Some Blackberry Crumble

An Autumn memory ... before my youngest sisters were born, Dad would take me and my sister Fiona along the lane near our house to gather blackberries at this time of year.  We carried pails to fill with good intentions, but of course ate more than we saved and arrived home with telltale purple juice stains around our lips and probably bellyache too!

Blackberrying with Grandad

Stuart and I have always enjoyed walking in the countryside with his grandson at this time of year, foraging for blackberries along the way.  When he was little it was fun to show him fruit didn't have to arrive covered in polystyrene trays!  We're looking forward to 'fruity foraging' with our younger grandchildren too, just as soon as they are tall enough to reach the berries safely ... 

13" Blackberry Crumble

For me, Autumn is very much a time for being outdoors with family.  I guess the beauty of childhood memories is that the best ones can frame what  becomes important in our future ... and in my case, can fill teddy bears with happy memories too! 

I finished 'Blackberry Crumble' today.
 I hope he makes you think happy Autumn thoughts.

:-)

Update: Blackberry Crumble has been adopted!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Parental Advisory

It's been said before I know, but it bears repeating: new mums should be given a precautionary notice when first they take those precious little bundles into their arms.  Something along the lines of: 'Advisory: On loan'!


There was a feature about 'Empty Nest' syndrome on TV this morning and as I drank my first coffee of the day, I found myself murmuring in sympathy with the mums interviewed, whilst pondering my own job as a mum; after all, let's be honest, nothing really prepares you for the news your work is done, does it?  I don't mind admitting I found the rising panic and intense sense of loss, tough to handle both times.  Waving Anthony off first, followed by his sister Fay a short while later, with a smile and my blessing, was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 'Independence Day' always seemed a vague horizon away, I really wasn't ready for it to actually arrive on my own doorstep ...

But now, both my kids have homes of their own, good jobs, lovely life partners and in the case of my son, a family too.  We share time often and have evolved a whole new grown-up 'us', which is very special to me.  It took a while, but I did eventually come to accept that my grandson's beautiful smile and my son and daughter's independent happiness, are a fair exchange for all the years I shared with them at home.  Naturally there are times when I miss their noise and banter, but even so I wouldn't change a thing ... they earned their independence and so did I!

:-)

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Dish of the day!

I couldn't resist naming this little mushroom coloured fellow 'Stroganoff' ... after all, it is the season for dusting off the stockpot to make yummy casseroles and stews!

16" Stroganoff

He hopped straight off my website shortly after I popped him on yesterday evening.  It seems Stroganoff is a very popular dish!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Dear Dad,

Dear Dad,

That fateful September morning when the 'phone rang and our world stopped turning was five years ago today.  Wherever you are, I hope you know we five 'girls' still talk about you often and the words 'Dad would have ...' punctuate our conversation, whenever we are together.


Needless to say, when we are together, we are every bit as loud as ever we were!  Fo 'n Simon invited us to celebrate their wedding in true Hoppé style this year and their special day reminded each one of us of the importance of making more time to spend together ... there is nothing quite like a dance floor and disco tunes to bring sisters together!



Naturally, everyone is busy with their own life these days, but as you always said, it is important not to forget that family is what truly counts in life, so maybe we need to try not to allow quite as much time to slip through our fingers in future ...


Your grandchildren are all doing really well ... yes, all ten of them. They are such a fine crop!  From youngest to oldest, you can rest assured they have all turned out to be vibrant, independent achievers, bright, compassionate, beautiful and interesting. They are so much fun to be around and most definitely grandchildren to be proud of! I think the last picture of the ten of them together, was taken in your garden a good few years ago, so perhaps we should update that, as they are all growing up so fast! Your Great Grandchildren are also beginning to explore the world ... I am sure little Toby will take his first solo steps any day now and would you believe, young Ella has just started nursery school! Fo and I are so proud of this precious pair.


Five years on and I still miss our chats Dad.  Most of all though, I miss being able to sit down quietly with a cuppa, just making make sense of life with you.


Time heals as the saying goes, but it doesn't fill the space.

Love always,

PJ xxx

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Polite Request

Copyright: All Bear by Paula Carter 2013



I hope you enjoy sharing my blog and politely request that you do not copy either text or photographs without my permission.



Thank you.