Monday, 25 May 2020

Bumblin' along..

I'm still bumblin' along here at All Bear. Making teddy bears is who I am and as I really don't know how to be anyone else, even in the midst of a pandemic, I have continued to create bears whilst 'locked down' and without doubt, will continue so to do, as and when the dreaded Lockdown eventually ends... whenever that may be. As yet the end of UK Lockdown restrictions still lies somewhere beyond the rainbow, a glistening mirage of hope and prayer...


That said, thankfully we have recently been granted an additional freedom privilege from on high... that of being permitted to meet one other person, from another household. The meeting must take place in a public space and be socially distanced by a required two metres, so it is still not possible to meet with younger grandchildren. However, with the required attention to detail in mind, I am thankful that it has at last been possible to take a relaxed walk in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic with my daughter in our favourite local park.


Given this new freedom, it has been necessary of course, to choose between offspring as only two people may 'gather' in public at any given time. I can only imagine how some families reconcile such divisive ruling among their nearest and dearest, but in my case it was quite a straightforward decision, no toss of a coin, or favourite child selection required. My adult daughter lives alone and has been almost completely isolated from the 'real' world for nigh on three months, with only her three cats for company, while my son has the household hubbub of his wife and children to keep him on the straight and narrow.


Spending time walking and talking in the fresh air with my lovely daughter, was a relief, a very precious moment, a heartbeat of our normality. I so long to have both my kids put their keys in my front door, let themselves in and have them raid my biscuit tin like old times, but until that day returns, I am just grateful for the small but significant mercy our UK Government has now seen fit to grant.

A small step maybe, but a step nonetheless.

Friday, 24 April 2020

April




April has been such a beautiful month, with the exception of a few chillly days. The weather this month would have been perfect for celebrating my son's 35th birthday, had we not been quarantined from one another under the UK's Lockdown rules, at the time. It should also have been a wonderful month for exploring our local woods and enjoying the bluebell with my grandchildren. Instead, we have had to make do with virtual contact online and the one thing that proves, is that virtual lives are simply not enough for anyone...

I so miss the chaos, the cuddles and the smell of my real life. I want to hear squeals on a Tuesday, shrieks of laughter, mischievous whispers. I want to feel the warmth of little hands in mine, to read stories snuggled together on the sofa, to chase around the garden together, to wipe spaghetti hoops from chins and snot from noses. 

I just want this Lockdown to be over, so I can be Nana again.

That's all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Hickory-Dickory

Never in my wildest dreams (not that my dreams are usually particuarly wild!) did I imagine I would be sharing my teddys under home confinement, due to a worldwide health pandemic and Government Lockdown. It seems the world has turned upside down, inside out and back to front of late and it is all extremely discombobulating, to say the least...

Nonetheless, the little things of life continue here without much interruption and I am extremely grateful for the calm of my teddy bear sanctuary, during these unfathomable times...

We have now completed our first full week of Lockdown here in the UK and I must say, it has been most strange to be prohibited by the Prime Minister from visiting my own family! I miss my children and grandchildren hugely, but at least we are able to keep in frequent contact via the magic of 'Facetime' and of course, by chatting on the telephone. Receiving a video call from my Grandchildren is a rowdy affair and seeing their excited faces and race to share news of discoveries, games and treats, makes my Nana heart absolutely sing!

I purchased writing paper last week, so plan to dust off long forgotten handwriting skills and send a few old fashioned penpal type missives t0 my Grandchildren by snail mail ... that will surprise them, if nothing else!  I have been recording stories for them too and it has been fun to revisit Winnie the Pooh and share his world with Toby and Izzy thanks to the miracle of modern technology. Not quite the same as snuggling together on the sofa to read of course, but at least a good way to keep our life as normal as possible until we can see each other again ...



... and I pray that won't be long.

Stay safe.
Stay busy.
Stay positive.

Tick. Tock.

Much love,
Paula x

Monday, 23 March 2020

#teddiesinthewindow



The world has fast become a scary place to be and teddies in the window can bring a smile and a sense of comfort for children and adults alike.

Please join in and show the little ones in your area that you are thinking of them during these dark days.


#teddiesinthewindow

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

A new arrival!

What a weekend! 

Storm Dennis blew in and as the wind howled and rain crashed, a precious baby girl, my third Great Niece, made her way into our world in the wee small hours of Saturday...


It seems only a blink of an eye since I had the privilege of being present at her mummy's birth, an unforgettable, beyond words, experience, one I shall always hold dear.

The older we get, the faster the years fly it seems and now this brand new generation is growing fast and bringing my family such joy.

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter Lauren and Terence, I am so very happy for you!

Welcome to the world Miss Millie Louise, 
wishing you a safe world of opportunity and love.

With all my love,
Your Great Auntie Paula.

xxxXxx

Friday, 14 February 2020

A many splendoured thing

On this Valentine's Day..

13" Love

A sweet little pink bear, to celebrate that thing called 'Love'.

:-)


Monday, 10 February 2020

A wild weekend..

On this lovely sunny (if windy!) morning, it is time to introduce a new 15" bear ... I would like you to meet Dorian.

Dorian is a lovely pastel bear, created from beautiful dense Schulte mohair ... and best of all, he is very huggable!

Available from my website:


15" Dorian

What a weekend it has been for walking dogs. Storm Ciara swept across Great Britain yesterday, creating high waves and havoc as she raged through the country. I managed to take Polly and Betty out for a short walk in the morning, but standing upright was quite a struggle at times! By the time the storm took a real hold, we were back home with our drawbridge pulled firmly up ... definitely a Sunday for catching up with episodes of 'The Crown' on Netflix and my knitting.

It's still pretty windy out there today, but a little less dangerous now, thank goodness!

:-)

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Words of wisdom from Pooh..

It was my 57th birthday yesterday and despite it being a work day, my special people still made the time to remind me, our lives are interwoven and that is worth celebrating...


So, thank you everyone. I hope you will always know that I am so grateful to be part of your lives and to have you in mine.  Being your Mum, Wife, Nana, Mother-in-law, Daughter, Sister, Auntie, Great Auntie and Sister-in-law, roots me in this world and makes me who I am...


In fact, I couldn't be me without all of you ... and that truly is the greatest birthday gift of all.

:-)

xxx

Friday, 31 January 2020

Making a splash!

I think January has to be the bleakest month of the year with its short, dark days...



 It seems to drain the colour from everything!

14" Merriweather

Hopefully the bear I have just finished will help put that right, by adding a very welcome splash of teddy colour to our dreary Winter days...

So, if, like me, you too are craving a little colour in your world, please pop over to my website to meet my latest teddy bear 'Merriweather'!


I hope he makes you smile while we wait for Spring to arrive.

:-)

Update: Merriweather has now been adopted!

Monday, 20 January 2020

Be mine?

This dashing fellow is currently en route to Germany to share a Valentine's Day hug or two, with his new owner...

17" Romeo

 Gute Reise Romeo!

:-)

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Dark January Days

When the wind howls, days are dark and the garden is like a muddy swamp, the best thing to do is snuggle on the sofa to share a good book ...


We have had a stormy few days here in Kent and I don't mind admitting, I am weary of gloom and longing for the brighter days of Spring. 

Yesterday my Granddaughter and I spent the day playing dollies, singing and reading books together. Thank heavens for time spent with Grandchildren ... these amazing little beings have the power to brighten even the darkest of January days!

Once I have braved the stormy elements with my dogs today, I plan to head back into my workroom to work on a new teddy bear. 

Please pop back soon for pics ... hopefully the sun will be shining by the time I'm ready to share this bear!

:-)

Thursday, 9 January 2020

New Year, New Inspirations!

I don't know if anyone remembers, but about ten years ago I created a my own range of raggedy style cloth dolls called 'Paula's Prim Dolly Doodles'...




These dollies were so much fun to make! As I haven't made a doll for absolutely ages, I have decided to try and find time to explore doll making alongside my teddy bear making, in 2020.  To kickstart the new year, I started work on a large felt doll project in the Christmas holiday, using a 1998 pattern created by Janet Clark ... Janet used to make the most wonderful bears and dolls and I have always loved her work. I am hoping I can do Jan's pattern justice! I promise to share pics of my finished dolly when she is ready...




Besides working with felt, I have also been exploring 'Waldorf Dolls', a lovely gentle style of doll, created using natural fibres and needle felting. I would love to design my own dolly based on this interesting method of doll-making, so have gathered a box of bits 'n pieces and several, now out of print books, to teach myself the necessary techniques. I do love a new project in the new year ... it is always the perfect time to learn new skills! Who knows, I may even make the occasional Prim Dolly Doodle between bears too...

Here's to a super creative 2020!

:-)

Monday, 6 January 2020

Little Bear Blue

And of course, a new year should always herald a new teddy bear...

Little Bear Blue 14"

'Little Bear Blue' is my very first bear of 2020. He is a 14" mohair teddy, in the most beautiful sky blue Schulte mohair. Let's hope he brings us blue skies and sunshine throughout this new year!

For the teddy bear fans among you, 'Little Bear Blue' is now available for adoption from my website:


Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a year of hugs and smiles ahead!

:-)

Update: Little Bear Blue has now been adopted.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

New Year's Day Molehills

2020 squelched off to a boggy start when my family and I met in Mote Park for our first welly walk of the year, on a rather gloomy New Year's Day.


I love this park in all seasons and no matter the weather, always enjoy a walk here. It was doubly special to walk with my kids and grandchildren as we entered another new year together. I used to love walks here with my kids, thirty something years ago, when they were 'nowt but a pair of cheeky mini munchkins, sploshing on the edge of the lake in red wellies and I am touched that they still recall our games of poohsticks under the old stone bridge and adventures as we searched for Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit in the woods.  The best childhood memories should always be magical enough to last a lifetime.


And now of course, my grandchildren also don wellies to explore this beautiful park with us. This year Toby decided he was hunting for bears, which involved some very muddy adventuring, not to mention a jolly good splosh in the lake with Betty. Little sis Izzy, was happy to collect sticks as she toddled through mud and across molehills, somewhat determindedly picking herself back up every time she tripped over.



This is a walk we have done countless times before as a family, but each time there is new fun to be had for everyone... and as I watch my children, grandchildren and dogs playing together in what has always been my favourite local park, the years fall away easily and fond memories of my time here as a young mum happily 'outdoorsing' with my son, daughter and our dog Harvey, can still make me smile, so very many years later.


Some walks are about more than scenery and fresh air... some walks have the power to evoke memories of your happiest times and to remind you that despite the muddy molehills of life, what truly counts is walking through it together.

:-)

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

It's just another New Year's Eve

It's another New Year's Eve with our year almost at an end and to be honest, I'm all for a quiet night in with the telly tonight. It always seems to me there is something a wee bit maudlin about ringing in a new year after a family Christmas, then letting the old one, full of memories of loved ones, slip like grains of sand through the fingertips on the stroke of midnight...


So 2019, I thank you for my family times, for the fun times ... and for the days of sunshine. I wish our time together could have lasted longer; maybe less of a race from start to finish, perhaps more of a gentle stroll with warm sun on our faces but here we are, just another New Year's Eve, another one like all the rest.

And of course tomorrow a new decade will dawn. May it be full of hope, possibility and of course, love and laughter for everyone.

2020, I ask that you take good care of my family, continue to fill my grandchildren's days with magic and above all, keep safe our world for them.

xxXxx

Thank you Blog Reader, for sharing a glimpse of my creative world this year, for reading my ramblings and simply for being out there ... wherever there is. I wish you all a kind and gentle 2020 and hope to see you here again soon.


Happy New Year!

:-)

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Christmas Magic

Christmas 2019 crept up on me, so my preparations were very impromptu this year but somehow, everything came together at the last minute and as always, we enjoyed our traditional family holiday at home together. 


Somehow, despite the festive rush, I did manage to fit in a pantomime with the Grandchildren and make a pudding, cake, mince pies and a cute new angel tree topper ...


Miracles can still happen at Christmas it seems!


Then in a blink of an eye, almost as quickly as it had arrived, our Christmas magic vanished, along with Father Christmas and the shreds of leftover wrapping paper. 


Having my children and grandchildren together under our roof for Christmas is something I never take for granted and am always very grateful for ... because for me, being together around the table with my family at this time of year, is the true magic of Christmas.

:-)

Monday, 9 December 2019

Robin's Red

After yesterday's far too luminous photographs of my latest teddy bear, I thought I'd better try again, so I went back out to the garden this morning, armed with my faithful Canon EOS 400D SLR camera...


There is occasionally a teddy bear who is determined to be more of a challenge than most of his easy going pals and Robin Red is certainly one of those bears! He is the sweetest of teddy bears and his mohair is very beautiful, but I don't mind telling you, it really is quite a challenge to photograph for a simple 'point and shoot' photographer of teddy bears like myself!


I think I'm just about there and for now, these photographs will suffice - they aren't perfect but at least they are an improvement on the virtually fluorescent pics snapped on my mobile 'phone camera yesterday.


I think I will update my website with these photographs for the time being and just keep trying with the photography of little Robin Red ... fingers crossed I figure out my camera settings soon.

In the meantime, if anyone has any handy tips on how best to photograph red teddy bears, I would be happy to hear them!

:-)

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Robin Red

Well, I couldn't let Christmas pass without a red teddy bear now, could I?! 

12" Robin

While I was out walking with my dogs earlier this week, I spotted a cheeky little robin redbreast sat upon a branch with his chest feathers fluffed, as he watched us, watching him. He made me smile and think of my Dad, so I have named this red teddy bear, Robin Red.  

Incidentally Robin teddy is not flourescent red as his photograph suggests, he is in fact a beautiful deep Christmas red, but heaven only knows how you convince a camera lens of that! Cameras seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to red fabric ... I may try to photograph my little Robin Red again tomorrow, please wish me luck!

In the meantime, if you would like to adopt this sweet festive teddy bear, he is now available from my website and ready to hop into Santa's Sack!

www.allbearbypaula.com

:-)

Update: Robin Red has now been adopted.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

A frosty start!

The world turned white in my little corner of the UK earlier today. It wasn't quite snow, but the heavy frost covering the garden first thing this morning was absolutely beautiful and the spider's webs woven through my washing line were so lacy and delicate!


I braved the cold to take a few photographs of my latest bear 'Neve', a sweet 14" teddy and her larger pal Brandysnap, a rather fabulous 20" traditional boy.


I wasn't sure about the studio pics I took of Brandysnap last week, so thought I'd try again in the natural morning light ...


I must admit, I like the outdoor shots best ... but the question is, which do you prefer?!

Both Neve and Brandysnap are now featured on my website, so if you would like to find out a little more about them, please pop over to:


Thanks!

:-)

Update: Neve and Brandysnap have now been adopted!

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Santa's Sack

So here it is, Merry Christmas!  
(Well, almost!)

20" Plumduff

Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and for this bearmaker, it is a time to cosy up in my workroom and simply enjoy creating a few special teddy bears, with a gentle nod to the spirit of our most festive season.

20" Brandysnap

The first two such teddy bears are Brandysnap, now wearing a cheerful Christmas collar tied with seasonal gold ribbon and Plumduff, who jingles happily whenever he is hugged. Both of these beautiful teddy bears are now on my website, hoping to hop into Santa's Sack in time for Christmas Day!


:-)

Update: Plumduff and Brandysnap have now been adopted!

Monday, 18 November 2019

Bigger Hugs!

I recently began putting an annual portfolio of teddy bears together and as I sorted through photographs of my 2019 bears, it dawned on me, there have been fewer big bears this year, which, I must admit, was something of a surprise to me.

20" Brandysnap

Years ago, most of my designs were substantial, truly 'hug me' teddy bears, the kind of bears who demanded their own armchairs. I have always been well known for creating big bears and of course, still love to make them but am aware that such teddies take up considerable space and so many collections nowadays are feeling the squeeze after years of loyal teddy bear collecting.

It has been refreshing to work on medium and small sized teddy bears this year, but I would hate for my 'big 'uns' to become the dinosaurs of the bear world, only to be found in storybooks and imagination!  There are so few bear artists still making proper big teddy bears that I am very reluctant to let mine go.  So, as we roll towards Christmas Day, I plan to include at least one or two 'bears of stature' on my website, because as you may already know, bigger bears give bigger hugs!

Hopefully there will be a collector or two, with a cosy corner waiting in their collection, for just such a special teddy bear.


:-)

Sunday, 10 November 2019

They sit no more at familiar tables of home..

Our town honoured the fallen with a parade on Remembrance Sunday, so we stood watching, as uniformed soldiers, service personnel, First Aiders, Air Cadets and of course, the British Legion veterans, marched proudly across the old stone bridge to pay respect to their comrades, at the War Memorial.





It was a beautiful, cold, crisp November day.


Polly and Betty, wearing poppy bandanas as a mark of respect, were on their very best behaviour, as we followed the march up the road, to join in the Service of Remembrance.


After the service, we headed to a little snack bar for hot drinks and freshly cooked sausages to thaw us, before walking back to the memorial to see the poppy wreaths and to pay our own respects.


It was lovely to witness the town coming together to honour those who gave their lives to protect us, to hear the congregation singing the National Anthem together and to listen to the bugle play the 'The Last Post', but the most moving moment was as we read the hand written message on a tiny wooden cross laid at the end of a row of similar such crosses in the garden, placed discreetly behind the main War Memorial...

It read simply.

'For my Dad'.


The Fallen
Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.


Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.


They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.


But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;


As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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